Distance Learning Environments
teaching and learning with education technology
Says United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) President Elaine Shuck: Education technology isn’t a “nice to have” anymore —it’s critical to the success of students throughout their education.
Video infrastructure and online access are changing the way students learn. Flipped classrooms offer students the ability to watch lectures on their own time and communicate with peers and teachers online. Teachers can now use their classroom time to lead activities and discussions that drive home the subject matter in a more memorable and engaging way.
Distance learning can provide students with access to experts and experiences across the globe while minimizing the limitations of cost, time, and travel. Personalized learning plans use various tools and technology to challenge students in ways that are designed specifically for each one’s needs, skills, interests, and learning style.
Successful schools will find that the proper implementation of collaborative infrastructure, video conference access, digital learning tools, and cloud storage will pay enormous dividends in terms of performance.
The Nebraska Virtual Instruction Source (NVIS) is a web-based, state-wide clearinghouse for distance education course offerings, as well as a means to connect with content providers that offer educational services like virtual field trip experiences. Create an account and start searching for course and content providers. http://nvis.esucc.org/default.aspx
Begin NVIS discussions by contacting Digital Learning Services Director Diane Wolfe.
Beth Kabes, Blended/Distance Education Coordinator
Schools have more interactive video conferencing technology (VCT) solutions than ever before.
Schools in the ESU 1 & 2 regions with dedicated distance learning rooms and/or portable cart devices will probably have Polycom brand multi-point control unit (MCU) installations. Newer VCT systems are high definition (HD) while older systems are not. Schools in other Nebraska ESU regions may use other brands, LifeSize, for example.
Any or all of this device diversity may impact signal transmission and video stream quality. Specific IP dialing procedures apply when rooms and carts are both involved in a VCT session. Consult the distance learning technology specialist at the school of course origination for assistance; or, at the originating school's associate ESU for troubleshooting.
Schools without, or even schools with, traditional distance learning technology installations, may want to consider a cloud-based desktop-installed VCT solution. ESU 2 utilizes Zoom Pro. Zoom licenses are available for purchase by ESUs through the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council (ESUCC), which negotiates discounted pricing.
Begin VCT discussions and purchases by contacting Digital Learning Services Director Diane Wolfe.
School districts typically utilize a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) with, or even without, a VCT infrastructure.
There is no longer a single state-wide ESUCC-supported LMS system. My eLearning via Angel Learning, Inc. was sold to Blackboard.
Begin LMS discussions and purchases by contacting Digital Learning Services Director Diane Wolfe.
For more information about distance learning environments or digital learning tools, contact Diane Wolfe, digital learning services director, at 402-721-7710 ext. 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.