Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/27/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:00:56 AM Start
08:01:25 AM Presentation: Preparing Teachers and Administrators for a Virtual Education Setting
09:16:38 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Preparing Teachers and Administrators for a TELECONFERENCED
Virtual Education Setting
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 27, 2017                                                                                        
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: PREPARING TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS FOR A                                                                       
VIRTUAL EDUCATION SETTING                                                                                                       
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
PETE LAFRANCE, Education Technologist                                                                                           
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Representing himself, presented information                                                               
on preparing teachers and administrators for a virtual education                                                                
ANDREW CHLUP, Educational Technologist                                                                                          
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Representing himself, presented information                                                               
on preparing teachers and administrators for a virtual education                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:00:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY  HUGHES  called   the  Senate  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:00  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Begich, Stevens, and  Chair Hughes. Senators                                                               
Coghill and Giessel were excused.                                                                                               
^PRESENTATION:  PREPARING  TEACHERS   AND  ADMINISTRATORS  FOR  A                                                               
VIRTUAL EDUCATION SETTING                                                                                                       
   PRESENTATION: PREPARING TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS FOR A                                                                
                   VIRTUAL EDUCATION SETTING                                                                                
8:01:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  announced a presentation on  preparing teachers and                                                               
administrators  for  a virtual  education  setting,  from the  IT                                                               
perspective. The  presenters from  the Anchorage  School District                                                               
will be speaking  from their personal experience,  rather than on                                                               
behalf  of  the  district.  They   will  be  speaking  from  both                                                               
management and staff levels of  an organization. They may provide                                                               
insight  on  the  differences  between   teaching  in  a  virtual                                                               
classroom versus a live one.                                                                                                    
8:02:47 AM                                                                                                                    
PETE   LAFRANCE,   Education   Technologist,   Anchorage   School                                                               
District,   representing   himself,  presented   information   on                                                               
preparing  teachers and  administrators for  a virtual  education                                                               
setting. He noted working in a  virtual world is a big change for                                                               
educators. He shared his teaching  and IT experience in a variety                                                               
of   educational  settings.   He  now   works  as   a  technology                                                               
collaborator  at  Mirror  Lake   Middle  School  where  he  helps                                                               
teachers  use   technology  effectively   and  teaches   a  video                                                               
production class.                                                                                                               
He recalled memories of connecting  with teachers, the heart of a                                                               
good education.  One of the  biggest challenges of teaching  in a                                                               
virtual world is to open  the doors to interpersonal connections.                                                               
He  noted the  importance of  teacher training  as it  relates to                                                               
virtual education. The biggest predictor  of success with virtual                                                               
education  is  the  teacher training  component,  which  includes                                                               
supervision.  Another   component  for   success  in   a  virtual                                                               
classroom is for the teacher  to set appropriate expectations and                                                               
concrete goals.                                                                                                                 
8:09:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH   spoke  of  discussions  of   virtual  education                                                               
approaches with presenters from Florida  and New York. He said in                                                               
times of budget  crisis the availability of  courses is affected.                                                               
He asked whether expanding coarse  options due to technology is a                                                               
8:10:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. LAFRANCE said yes. He  provided examples of specialty courses                                                               
in  Luxemburg   International  School   made  available   due  to                                                               
technology in  education. They were  a huge benefit to  the high-                                                               
achieving students.  He cautioned that it  becomes more difficult                                                               
to offer low-achieving students appropriate courses.                                                                            
8:11:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH referred  to a  discussion about  what a  teacher                                                               
needs to  know about  technology in  education to  incorporate it                                                               
into  the  classroom. He  asked  if  Mr.  LaFrance was  aware  of                                                               
teacher training courses, instruction, or in-services.                                                                          
MR.  LAFRANCE spoke  of  his own  master's  program in  education                                                               
technology  at   Michigan  State  University.  He   stressed  the                                                               
importance of  the teacher's role. The  Anchorage School District                                                               
offers  a  program called  iSchool  for  learning technology.  He                                                               
noted  the  problem  is  that   technology  is  always  changing.                                                               
Creating  habits  of  mind  in  teachers  and  helping  them  see                                                               
technology  skills  as an  evolving  process  is also  important.                                                               
Having  continual  exposure  to technology  tools  and  effective                                                               
teaching models are important to teacher training.                                                                              
8:15:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  pictured a virtual professional  development course                                                               
showing ineffective and effective teaching.                                                                                     
SENATOR BEGICH added the importance of learning by doing.                                                                       
He  spoke  about  the  importance of  levels  of  readiness  when                                                               
exposing  students to  virtual  learning. It  includes  a lot  of                                                               
teacher  interaction with  the lower  ages,  and more  technology                                                               
learning at the  upper grades. He pointed out  that some students                                                               
can't learn  that way. He  asked when  it is most  appropriate to                                                               
introduce different levels of technology.                                                                                       
8:17:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   LAFRANCE  agreed   that  learning   is  related   to  brain                                                               
development. At  the International  School in  Luxemburg students                                                               
participated at  their own level.  At the elementary  level there                                                               
was a  slow introduction to  learning the tools;  later, students                                                               
were able to  engage with the curriculum; by  4th grade, students                                                               
were creating their  own curriculum, such as a  video project. He                                                               
added  that middle  school students  can create  cross curricular                                                               
projects.  He stressed  the importance  of  parent training  with                                                               
technology education.                                                                                                           
8:21:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS said  he has  heard exciting  things in  virtual                                                               
education,  but he  did not  think virtual  education necessarily                                                               
provides a  cost savings. He  wondered whether it is  an enhanced                                                               
means of education or a cost savings.                                                                                           
8:23:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. LAFRANCE  shared his experience managing  a technology budget                                                               
and suggested  that cost  savings should not  be the  main reason                                                               
for  using technology.  He  maintained  that technology  programs                                                               
don't cost less  if they are done well initially.  Later on there                                                               
may  be  cost   savings,  but  initially  there   are  costs  for                                                               
equipment, training, and  staffing. His focus has  always been on                                                               
maintaining the quality of education.                                                                                           
SENATOR STEVENS  recalled the  importance books  used to  have in                                                               
homes,  whereas, today  parents need  to be  educated to  support                                                               
their students  in the  virtual world. He  wondered how  to reach                                                               
the lower achieving, unmotivated student with technology.                                                                       
8:27:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  LAFRANCE agreed  that  some  students do  not  do well  with                                                               
technology  unless  a teacher  is  present.  A classroom  teacher                                                               
knows more  about a student than  a virtual teacher in  a virtual                                                               
classroom.  He  agreed  it is  a  difficult  question.  Different                                                               
modalities, the  use of creativity,  and the chance to  explore a                                                               
student's own interest sometimes helps.                                                                                         
8:29:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES agreed  there is a lot of initial  upfront cost. She                                                               
said  she looks  at  technology in  education  as increasing  the                                                               
quality  of education  by  increasing the  access  to some  great                                                               
teachers and course offerings.                                                                                                  
8:30:49 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
8:32:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES brought the meeting back to order.                                                                                 
She pictured a school in  rural Alaska with 25 students, multiple                                                               
grades,  and one  teacher who  has been  trained in  some content                                                               
areas.  She noted  that scenario  is  a focus  of hers  - to  use                                                               
technology in the classroom to  gain access to more good teachers                                                               
and course offerings.                                                                                                           
She  asked whether  two-way,  virtual,  synchronous education  is                                                               
good for  low-achieving students if  the teacher is  virtual, but                                                               
there  is support  provided by  a local  instructional aide.  She                                                               
wondered if a technical aid would also be needed.                                                                               
She noted that  the estimated turnover cost per  teacher is about                                                               
$50,000.  The  turnover  rate  in villages  is  quite  high.  She                                                               
inquired if Mr.  LaFrance thinks the scenario  she proposed would                                                               
be successful.                                                                                                                  
8:36:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. LAFRANCE  agreed it was  a good  scenario to think  about. He                                                               
opined that  the two-way  model could work  well in  that diverse                                                               
rural  classroom  with local  aides.  He  thought technology  was                                                               
reliable enough today  that a technician would not  be needed. He                                                               
agreed   that  some   low-achieving  students   do  better   with                                                               
technology than in the regular  classroom. It also opens the door                                                               
to high-achieving  students. He spoke of  a project-based charter                                                               
school  where   he  worked  that   challenged  students   at  the                                                               
appropriate level.                                                                                                              
8:40:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  wondered whether curious  children can  be directed                                                               
to seek out and read information on the internet.                                                                               
MR.  LAFRANCE  agreed  that  it could  be  motivating  to  search                                                               
information  independently.  It  does  demand a  basic  level  of                                                               
information literacy and navigation skills.                                                                                     
SENATOR BEGICH pointed  out that Dan Walker is  trying to connect                                                               
technology in  small villages with  homes. He thought  that model                                                               
was interesting.                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES hoped it would increase conversations in the home.                                                                 
8:43:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS recalled that during  his time as a professor and                                                               
as   a  legislator,   the  world   of   technology  has   changed                                                               
drastically.  He asked  Mr. LaFrance  what he  envisions for  the                                                               
8:44:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. LAFRANCE spoke of a  diffusion into multiple devices, always-                                                               
available  devices with  ubiquitous  access to  the internet.  He                                                               
predicted  that there  will be  more operating  systems, such  as                                                               
Chrome in  the Cloud,  that are  less demanding,  less expensive,                                                               
with multiple options and easier interaction.                                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS thanked Mr. LaFrance for his answer.                                                                            
CHAIR  HUGHES  thought  there  also might  be  holograms  in  the                                                               
future. She thanked Mr. LaFrance.                                                                                               
8:48:03 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW   CHLUP,   Educational  Technologist,   Anchorage   School                                                               
District,   representing   himself,  presented   information   on                                                               
preparing  teachers and  administrators for  a virtual  education                                                               
setting.  He spoke  of his  experience with  virtual and  blended                                                               
learning schools and teacher training.                                                                                          
He  listed  three considerations  when  working  from a  district                                                               
perspective  with  virtual  schooling.  The  first  is  access  -                                                               
devices  and  bandwidth.  The  greatest   limiter  in  Alaska  is                                                               
bandwidth. The second is appropriate  course materials. There are                                                               
strong  materials in  the  middle school  to  high school  range,                                                               
decent  materials in  the intermediate  grade  levels (3-5),  but                                                               
very few independent study practices in the lower grade levels.                                                                 
The second  consideration with virtual  education is  the balance                                                               
between  competency-based  courses,  such as  Algebra  I,  versus                                                               
experience-based materials, such  as performance. The competency-                                                               
based course  involves progression based on  skill mastery versus                                                               
seat time.                                                                                                                      
He  drew  attention  to  the  third  consideration  with  virtual                                                               
education, student  support models.  He spoke of  bi-furcation of                                                               
teaching duties in  the virtual classroom; a  content area expert                                                               
to  assist  students  and/or  a success  coach  to  motivate  and                                                               
support the student. The  traditional classroom teacher fulfilled                                                               
both roles. They found that  self-driven courses needed a success                                                               
coach to motivate the student and provide context.                                                                              
8:53:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked whether  an instructional  aide could  be the                                                               
success coach  in rural schools,  and what kind of  training that                                                               
person would need.                                                                                                              
8:53:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP related  that there were several  learning models, such                                                               
as  blended   models,  with  the   use  of   paraprofessional  or                                                               
classified  staff, but  with counseling  skills.  In small  rural                                                               
schools the aides could bring  cultural context into their roles.                                                               
He suggested that  they would need a few years  of preparation to                                                               
learn how to support the students and parents.                                                                                  
8:55:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked how to  provide an education to  those who                                                               
wish to remain in a  substance lifestyle. He wondered if distance                                                               
learning contributes to loss of population in rural villages.                                                                   
8:56:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP spoke of his  experience on the Navaho Reservation when                                                               
he did  his master's program.  One of  his peers from  the Navaho                                                               
Reservation said that educational  technology enabled students to                                                               
remain on  the reservation and have  a blended modern/traditional                                                               
He  opined that  in  20 years  artificial  intelligence will  put                                                               
everyone out  of jobs. The people  who will be best  equipped for                                                               
the modern  world will  be the deep  thinkers and  artists. There                                                               
are traditional  and philosophical understandings  throughout the                                                               
world; with technology a person can work from anywhere.                                                                         
Traditional understandings  become problematic when  connected to                                                               
large scale courses,  such as an adaptive  learning system geared                                                               
toward  a  typical  understanding  of  the  world.  However,  the                                                               
opposite  can  be  true  as well;  personalized  courses  can  be                                                               
developed  with a  Native understanding  of the  world and  still                                                               
address academics.                                                                                                              
8:58:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that is  the  question he  has been  asking                                                               
superintendents.  He  maintained that  there  is  a third  choice                                                               
beyond  college  and  vocational  education, those  who  wish  to                                                               
remain in the  village. Two superintendents, one  from the Bering                                                               
Strait  School  District and  one  from  the Lower  Yukon  School                                                               
District  are developing  curriculum  criteria that  accommodates                                                               
those  who wish  to  stay in  their villages.  He  has asked  the                                                               
superintendents and the commissioner  to work together before the                                                               
State  Board   finishes  its   planning  process.   He  predicted                                                               
something would come out of the discussion.                                                                                     
9:00:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  said he has  seen the expansion of  awareness of                                                               
the Yupik cultural in Kodiak.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HUGHES commented that learning  Native skills might provide                                                               
village students the best of both worlds.                                                                                       
She  asked  Mr. Chlup  to  address  the  questions asked  of  Mr.                                                               
9:01:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP stated  that the biggest advantage  to virtual learning                                                               
is  access to  a  variety  of other  coursework.  He referred  to                                                               
Clayton   Christensen's   work   out  of   Harvard,   "Disrupting                                                               
Education," describing a spectrum of  zero technology access to a                                                               
course that is  only 80 percent as good as  having a face-to-face                                                               
teacher,  to multiple  opportunities.  He suggested  that was  an                                                               
important piece  to consider when  adding technology  - something                                                               
is always better than nothing.                                                                                                  
He  commented  on teacher  training.  He  noted  a group  out  of                                                               
California  working  on  "Leading  Edge  Certification",  a  free                                                               
educational resource for training  educators in technology. Also,                                                               
visualpromise.org   offers   micro-credential,   competency-based                                                               
checks for online educator training.                                                                                            
9:04:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP addressed student readiness  - he highlighted the skill                                                               
of executive function as a level  of readiness and how to prepare                                                               
kids for that.                                                                                                                  
He stressed  the importance of  parent involvement in  K-8 online                                                               
education programs.                                                                                                             
He turned  to the topic of  cost savings as it  relates to online                                                               
education. "The  Chronicle of Higher Education"  did a comparison                                                               
of course  fees and found that  higher end courses cost  the same                                                               
or higher than regular courses.  He said in his previous district                                                               
they saved costs on competency-based  courses. However, there are                                                               
many  cost  factors to  consider  in  a  cost analysis,  such  as                                                               
teacher  training, curriculum,  devices, and  bandwidth. Some  of                                                               
the cost shifted to parents,  depending on how much bandwidth and                                                               
devices the district provided to families.                                                                                      
9:06:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP  discussed how to activate  low-performing students. He                                                               
noted  the  importance  of  relevance  -  whether  a  student  is                                                               
connecting with the curriculum. He  agreed that some students are                                                               
excited by  online work, and some  don't like it. He  pointed out                                                               
that  different  types  of  students   perform  well  in  blended                                                               
programs, such as  autistic students who are  at different levels                                                               
in various subjects.                                                                                                            
9:07:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP  brought up  areas of  concern. There  is a  very small                                                               
amount of  data around  the success  of student  online learning,                                                               
especially for  special education. There  is also little  data on                                                               
graduation rates.  There are problems with  students hopping from                                                               
one  online  school  to  another  resulting  in  lack  of  credit                                                               
acquisition and low graduation rates.  He stressed the importance                                                               
of tracking overall success.                                                                                                    
9:08:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  suggested a success  coach/counselor could  help in                                                               
that situation.                                                                                                                 
9:08:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  summarized that  for student  hopping there  is a                                                               
need for  a process  in place  to track a  student who  goes from                                                               
program to  program. There is  also a  need to develop  a special                                                               
education tracking system.                                                                                                      
MR. CHLUP said yes, those are both key considerations.                                                                          
9:09:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS inquired what the future holds.                                                                                 
MR. CHLUP used the term "adaptive,"  a blend of what computers do                                                               
well  and  what humans  do  well.  Computers  are good  for  rote                                                               
learning and humans are good  with learning as a social activity.                                                               
Students need to learn to  contribute to their communities and to                                                               
society. Virtual  learning struggles  with the social  aspects of                                                               
learning. He predicted  a balance between the two  provided by an                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH  offered an  example  of  planet searching  where                                                               
scientists do  not use  algorithms because  a human's  ability to                                                               
see minute changes is unsurpassed.                                                                                              
9:12:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   HUGHES   asked  whether   asynchronous   competency-based                                                               
programs   might   provide   cost  savings.   She   referred   to                                                               
synchronous, performance-based virtual courses,  such as those in                                                               
the Copper River  School District, and asked  about the potential                                                               
for increased quality of curriculum, as well as cost savings.                                                                   
9:13:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CHLUP  said it  depends on the  competency of  the classified                                                               
staff.  He  wondered,  depending  on course  areas,  whether  the                                                               
students could  do as well without  teacher-directed instruction.                                                               
His  experience is  that synchronous  learning  relies on  direct                                                               
instruction due to the limits of technology.                                                                                    
9:15:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES responded that the teacher uses interactive tools,                                                                 
not just direct instruction.                                                                                                    
She thanked the presenters and made announcements.                                                                              
9:16:38 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Hughes adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                  
at 9:16 a.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
iNACOL-State-Policy-Frameworks-2015-1.pdf SEDC 2/27/2017 8:00:00 AM
Equity Matters 2016 - Executive Summary.pdf SEDC 2/27/2017 8:00:00 AM