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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Interview with Karen Locke (New Series - Life in the E-Learning Organization)

Welcome to Life in the E-Learning Organization. Today's interview is with Karen Locke, who works with project-based e-learning.

What is your name, and what is your involvement with e-learning?

Karen Locke. I work at EdVisions Off-Campus High School in Minnesota. We are a project-based school associated with EdVisions, which is a nonprofit company helping to promote the use of project-based learning in different states around the country. The “parent school” was Minnesota New Country School, and we are kind of an online “offshoot”. We are a charter school and we also get money from a Gates grant from the Gates Foundation.

How did you get interested in distance education?

The opportunity to spread education based on projects (as opposed to education based on pre-written curriculum) to students at home was very exciting, so I joined the group that was designing the program.. Students in our school work at home and in the community, logging hours on projects in a variety of areas so they can get credits and graduate from high school. We help them design the projects, but they are truly self-initiated (as much as possible, since they also need to fulfill distribution requirements).

What is your favorite new trend in distance education?

I like to help students use video and/or audio presentations to show their learning. I’m also interested in the Ning network (our school has its own site) , Elluminate (our school meets there), and Classroom 2.0 (see ) where teachers help introduce each other to different online resources.

What is your favorite technology?

Elluminate has been wonderful - we teach math, hold advisory meetings, see student presentations, and our students have meetings like Movie Madness (discussing current movies)

What kinds of instructional materials do you use in elearning?

Students tend to do internet research, interview experts, and we use Accelerated Math for most of our math. I also use site for designing math review sheets for special ed kids

How do you use textbooks in e-learning?

Occasionally individual kids use textbooks on something they’re interested in, but otherwise we don’t use texts.

What is your favorite quote? or, what’s a book that caught your eye recently?

Quote: “This life is a test- it is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do”. (anonymous)

Book- “The Deep Democracy of Open Forums” by Arnold Mindell. The Deep Democracy of Open Forums: Practical Steps to Conflict Prevention and Resolution for the Family, Workplace, and World This isn’t about online education, but it’s about helping organizations (including schools) to become more aware of what is happening there, raising issues that need to be dealt with and showing how to deal with them.

Interviewed by Susan Smith Nash

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