This pdf is designed for anyone who seeks a role as
a well-informed contributor and leader in the changing landscape of Online and mobile approaches to learning and communication are revolutionizing the form and nature of our educational
systems in and nontraditional settings.
ONLINE TEACHING in K–12
“Offers strong guidance for leaders and educators shaping the future of K–12 online
education by providing practical, research-based approaches for high-quality, effective
—Susan Patrick, president & CEO, iNACOL
Online Teaching in K–12 is an essential hands-on reference and textbook for
education professionals seeking success in the planning, design, and teaching
of K–12 online courses and programs. This skillfully edited book brings together
more than two dozen experts and practitioners to present innovative models and
methods, successful programs and practices, useful tools and resources, and
need-to-know information on key aspects of online teaching and learning.
Organized in three parts—Foundations, Supporting Diverse Learners, and
Implementation Strategies—Online Teaching in K–12 will be welcomed for its clear
and timely coverage geared to supporting teachers, administrators, professional Models, Methods, and Best Practices
trainers, colleges, and schools in their quest for excellence in online education.
for Teachers and Administrators
“A timely and thorough compendium focusing on theoretical frameworks, student
diversity, and strategies for teaching and learning implementation in the K–12 space …
a must read for educators who are using online components in the classroom or
wondering where to start.”
—Melissa Layne, editor-in-chief,
Internet Learning, American Public University System
BRYANS-BONGEY & GRAZIANO
“I have been an educator for 16 years, including nine as an online teacher and administrator,
and Online Teaching in K–12 is the most comprehensive resource on K–12 distance
education I’ve found.”
—Orlando Dos Santos, high school principal,
Nevada Virtual Academy
“Online Teaching in K–12 will serve as a key resource for teachers, schools, districts, and
states desiring to design, facilitate, and direct online courses and programs that engage
and empower K–12 students.”
—Norman Vaughan, Professor, Department of Education,
Mount Royal University, from the foreword
Sarah Bryans-Bongey & Kevin J. Graziano
Models, Methods, and Best Practices
for Teachers and Administrators
Sarah Bryans-Bongey & Kevin J. Graziano
Medford, New Jersey
First Printing, 2016
Online Teaching in K–12: Models, Methods, and Best Practices
for Teachers and Administrators
Copyright © 2016 by Sarah Bryans-Bongey and Kevin J. Graziano
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any
electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems,
without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote
brief passages in a review. Published by Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton
Pike, Medford, New Jersey 08055.
The contents of Chapter 11 were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department
of Education (#H327U110011). However, said contents do not necessarily reflect the
policies and opinions of the DOE or of any other Federal Government department and
no government endorsement should be assumed.
Publisher’s Note: The editors and publisher have taken care in the preparation of this
book but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no respon-
sibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for incidental or consequential
damages in connection with or arising out of the use of the information or programs
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their prod-
ucts are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book and
Information Today, Inc. was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been
printed with initial capital letters.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Bryans-Bongey, Sarah, 1956- editor of compilation. | Graziano, Kevin J.
editor of compilation.
Title: Online teaching in K-12 : models, methods, and best practices for teachers and
administrators / Sarah Bryans-Bongey and Kevin Graziano.
Description: Medford, New Jersey : Information today, 2016. | Includes bibliographical
references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016002982 | ISBN 9781573875271
Subjects: LCSH: Web-based instruction. | Internet in education. | Computer-assisted
instruction. | Distance education.
Classification: LCC LB1044.87 .O55 2016 | DDC 371.33/44678—dc23
LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2016002982
Printed and bound in the United States of America
President and CEO: Thomas H. Hogan, Sr.
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: John B. Bryans
Project Editor: Randall McClure
Production Manager: Tiffany Chamenko
Marketing Coordinator: Rob Colding
Indexer: Nan Badgett
Interior Design by Amnet Systems
Cover Design by Denise M. Erickson
Tables and Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
PART 1 FOUNDATIONS
Chapter 1 The Online Course Environment: Learning
Management Systems (LMSs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Chapter 2 The Online Teacher: Skills and Qualities to be
Successful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Steven C. Moskowitz
Chapter 3 Building Community in K–12 Online Courses:
The Community of Inquiry (CoI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Chapter 4 Online Constructivism: Tools and Techniques for
Student Engagement and Learning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Michael Kosloski and Diane Carver
Chapter 5 TPACK as Mediated Practice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Rolin Moe and Linda Polin
iv Online Teaching in K–12
Chapter 6 Captivating the Online Learner: Frameworks and
Standards for Effective Technology Integration. . . . . . . . . . 91
Chapter 7 Online Student Teaching: From Planning
to Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Lori Feher and Kevin J. Graziano
PART 2 SUPPORTING DIVERSE LEARNERS
Chapter 8 Flipped Learning: Making the Connections and
Finding the Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Kevin J. Graziano
Chapter 9 Virtual School-Home Communication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Dianne L. Tetreault
Chapter 10 Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and
Online Learning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Luis Pérez, Kendra Grant, and Elizabeth Dalton
Chapter 11 Helping Special Education Teachers Transition to
K–12 Online Learning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
Richard Allen Carter, Jr., James D. Basham, and
Mary Frances Rice
Chapter 12 Assistive Technology in the 21st Century
Online Classroom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
PART 3 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES
Chapter 13 Teacher-Created Online Content: Two Teachers’
Tech Tales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Christopher Rozitis and Heidi Weber
Chapter 14 Student-Centered Digital Learning Through
Project-Based Learning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Chapter 15 Open and Free Educational Resources for K–12
Online and Face-to-Face Classrooms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
John Elwood Romig, Wendy J. Rodgers, Kat D. Alves, and
Michael J. Kennedy
Chapter 16 Tools and Strategies for Assessment in an
Online Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Kim Livengood and Lesley Casarez
Chapter 17 Mobile Apps and Technology Integration for
Virtual and Hybrid Learning Spaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Appendix: Abbreviations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
About the Editors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
About the Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
TABLES AND FIGURES
1.1 Matrix of Module Design Based on Nine
Events of Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
5.1 Guiding Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
7.1 Challenges of Online Student Teaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
7.2 Benefits of Online Student Teaching. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
11.1 Making IEP Plans Meaningful for Online Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
11.2 The Three Cs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
15.1 OERs Databases and Search Engines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
15.2 Mayer’s Design Principles and Brief Descriptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
17.1 Learning Tasks and Their Associated Mobile Applications. . . . . . 295
1.1 Wireframe of an LMS interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.2 Example of an organized file structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
3.1 The CoI model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.1 Visual representation of technological pedagogical
content knowledge (TPACK). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
5.2 Data graph regarding the gold advantage for two teams
in League of Legends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
5.3 A math question built from online gameplay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
6.1 The SAMR model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
10.1 Online learning and UDL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
11.1 UDL instructional planning process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
15.1 CAP used for vocabulary instruction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256
The number of K–12 students participating in online courses and programs
continues to increase in the United States (Hanover Research 2013). The
Keeping Pace with K–12 Digital Learning: An Annual Review of Policy
and Practice Report for 2014 indicates that 30 U.S. states now have fully
online schools, and 316,320 students across the country attended these
schools in SY 2013–2014, which represents an annual year-to-year
increase of 6.2 percent (Watson et al. 2014, p. 5). With this steady rise in
the number of K–12 online students, concerns have been raised about the
quality of this educational experience. What theoretical and conceptual
frameworks should be used to guide a successful online learning experi-
ence for K–12 students? How can an ever-increasing diversity of K–12
students be meaningfully engaged and supported in this educational
environment? What are the best practices and educational strategies for
implementing an online K–12 course or program?
The book Online Teaching in K–12: Models, Methods, and Best Prac-
tices for Teachers and Administrators addresses these questions and issues
head-on. With regards to theoretical frameworks, this book begins with a
Foundations section that clearly describes the collaborative-constructivist
learning theory that forms the bedrock of a successful online educational
experience. From this perspective, a student, in collaboration with a com-
munity of learners, takes responsibility to construct and confirm his/
her own knowledge (Vaughan et al. 2013). Based on this approach to
learning, the book then provides three conceptual frameworks for design-
ing, facilitating, and directing an online course. These include the com-
munity of inquiry (CoI), technological pedagogical content knowledge
(TPACK), and substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefini-
tion (SAMR) models.
The CoI theoretical framework (Garrison 2011; Garrison et al. 2001)
has been instrumental in helping researchers create and sustain collabora-
tive learning communities in the online setting. This is the first framework
viii Online Teaching in K–12
developed specifically for the online instructional environment, and there
is a growing body of research attesting to its value in guiding the design
and implementation of blended and fully online courses that engage and
Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler’s (2007) TPACK model was spe-
cifically created as a blueprint for integrating technology in K–12 educa-
tion using a constructivist approach. Another conceptual framework that
was developed for K–12 education based on a constructivist approach to
learning is the SAMR model (Puentedura 2015). This framework has the
potential to act as a catalyst for transforming an online K–12 educational
experience by redefining and creating educational tasks and experiences
through the use of computer-based technologies.
The second part of the book addresses the question and concern of
how to meaningfully engage and support diverse student learning needs
in an online course or program. In the K–12 context, this support begins
by developing a strong collaborative partnership with parents of online
students. It also involves the application of universal design for learning
(UDL) principles. The concept of UDL is related to the idea of universal
design (UD), which is an architectural concept involving design of physi-
cal accessibility for all. Assistive technologies (ATs) such as voice-to-text
computer applications can be used to effectively support a UDL approach
in an online K–12 course or program.
The third part of the book focuses on implementation strategies that
move online K–12 courses and programs from simply delivering content
to enabling students to develop metacognitive strategies in order to learn
how to learn. Mitchell Kapor (2015) states that “getting information off
the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” The challenge
for online teachers is to focus on educational strategies that effectively
make use of this global storehouse of digital content to support student
learning. Strategies that are based on a constructivist approach to learn-
ing and involve inquiry and project-based activities can help students
learn how to solve problems and become critical consumers of internet-
based resources. For example, the Stanford mobile inquiry-based learn-
ing environment (SMILE; Seol et al. 2011) makes use of mobile devices
for collaboration and creativity by tailoring digital content and problem-
solving activities to local issues and customs. In addition, assessment
strategies should be designed that focus on assessment for learning rather
than of learning. Assessment in a K–12 online context can take on a triad
approach where students are receiving feedback from not only teachers,
but also external experts, their peers, and, most importantly, themselves
Online Teaching in K–12: Models, Methods, and Best Practices for Teachers
and Administrators will serve as a key resource for teachers, schools, districts,
and states desiring to design, facilitate, and direct online courses and pro-
grams that engage and empower K–12 students.
Garrison, D. Randy. E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and
Practice. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2011.
Garrison, D. Randy, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. “Critical Thinking, Cognitive
Presence, and Computer Conferencing in Distance Education.” American Journal
of Distance Education 15, no. 1 (2001): 17-23.
Hanover Research. “Future Trends in K to 12 Education,” 2013. https://ts.madison
Kapor, Mitchell. BrainyQuote.com, 2005. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes
Mishra, Punya, and Matthew J. Koehler. “Technological, Pedagogical Content Knowl-
edge (TPACK): Confronting the Wicked Problems of Teaching with Technology.”
In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference
2007, no. 1 (2007): 2214-26.
Puentedura, Ruben R. “SAMR: Approaches to Implementation,” 2015. http://hippasus
Seol, Sunmi, Aaron Sharp, and Paul Kim. “Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning
Environment (SMILE): Using Mobile Phones to Promote Student Inquires in the
Elementary Classroom.” In Proceedings of the 2011 World Congress in Computer
Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing, 2011.
Vaughan, Norman D. “Student Assessment in a Blended Learning Environment: A
Triad Approach. In Assessment in Online and Blended Learning Environments, ed.
S. Koc, P. Wachira, and X. Liu. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2015.
Vaughan, Norman D., Marti Cleveland-Innes, and D. Randy Garrison. Teaching in
Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry.
Athabasca, Alberta, Canada: Athabasca University Press, 2013.
Watson, John, Larry Pape, Amy Murin, Butch Gemin, and Lauren Vashaw. Keeping
Pace with K–12 Digital Online Learning. Durango, CO: Evergreen Education
In bringing together the insights and experiences of more than two dozen
experts and practitioners, Online Teaching in K–12 represents a significant
contribution to the field of online teaching in K–12. We are grateful to all
our contributing authors, including foreword author Norman Vaughan,
for sharing their expertise. The book would not have been possible with-
We would also like to thank Information Today, Inc., and specifically
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher John B. Bryans, who provided outstanding
guidance and support throughout the project.
Our thanks also go to Randall McClure and Pat Greenwood for their
excellent attention to detail during the editorial process.
Finally, we would like to thank our families, colleagues, and students
for inspiring our work.
The landscape of K–12 education has changed dramatically in recent
decades. Our education system today is seeking to adapt and respond to
the demands of a shifting economy as well as the changing structure and
demographics of the U.S. family. Emerging technologies are the norm,
and the demands to prepare citizens for college and careers continue to be
emphasized in the context of standards-based learning.
While we know many students will need to fill roles and careers that do
not yet exist, we also know that citizens of all ages will need to constantly
learn and retrain themselves for new opportunities and careers that reflect
our changing world. This suggests that not only do schools need to pre-
pare students for jobs and college admission and tests as we know them,
but that they also need to develop and reinforce skills in collaborating,
problem solving, evaluating information, adapting, and innovating. While
some of our online learners may initially seem more adept at these roles
than others, practical online experiences are essential for students’ long-
term success in school and after graduation.
Online programs first became popular in higher education, continuing
education, and professional development settings. However, blended and
fully online courses and programs have now taken hold in K–12 educa-
tion. Teachers and administrators who may have extensive education and
background in face-to-face (f2f ) classrooms and schools are now expected
to lead and succeed in this new environment. Meanwhile, teacher prepara-
tion programs are realizing that online pedagogy comes with its own set
of challenges and opportunities. For K–12 teachers to excel in an online
setting, there is a learning curve in which new skills are emphasized, and
it is not enough to be an outstanding teacher in the f2f classroom alone.
The emergence of professional learning communities and organizations
gives testimony to the fact that online programs provide significant oppor-
tunities in K–12 education. The Online Learning Consortium (OLC)
started out as the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) in 1992. Its grant programs
and advocacy fueled the early development of blended and online learn-
ing in American higher education, and it is now a worldwide organization
xii Online Teaching in K–12
dedicated to providing access, advancing online learning, and supporting
institutions, individuals, professional societies, and corporations.
Beginning in 2003, the North American Council for Online Learning
(NACOL) drew worldwide attention that caused it to expand interna-
tionally. In 2008, NACOL evolved to become iNACOL—the Interna-
tional Association for K–12 Online Learning. iNACOL continues to be
an active force in online education, as it is dedicated to supporting K–12
quality online and blended programs and practitioners at all grade levels.
iNACOL not only brings together a professional community for teach-
ers, but also unites a professional community for school counselors and
Likewise, the International Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE) hosts a popular and highly valued Online Learning Network
dedicated to supporting a professional community of K–12 teachers.
The rapid growth of online programs and their appeal to practitioners
mean that organizations and other support structures and resources are
needed. Professional K–12 teachers are seeking support that will allow
them to develop and sustain exceptional online experiences to meet
evolving needs of the 21st century learner. This book is dedicated to
promoting that goal.
While one might be tempted to view K–12 online programs and
schools as discrete and alternative forms of teaching and learning, it is
more realistic to view such programs and schools as part of a larger and
changing system that is redefining education today. K–12 online programs
and schools have become drivers of change. Educational policy and phi-
losophy are also in a state of transition as the changing landscape requires
educational leaders to articulate concepts such as the greater role of educa-
tion and the need to prepare students for collaboration and innovation as
well as for success on proficiency tests. With a range of online programs
and administrators expressing different goals and values of education, the
manner in which online programs and schools continue to develop, grow,
and evaluate their own effectiveness could have far-reaching implications
on how public education and schools will evolve in the future.
Course quality, the level of personalization, communication options
and processes, student interactions, and the types of learning experiences
themselves can vary widely from one online program or course to the next,
and such programs and courses can be driven by dramatically different and
incompatible policies or philosophies of what an online course of study or
online program can and should look like.
In their quests to design programs and experiences that are optimal for
online learners, teachers and administrators may ask themselves the fol-
lowing questions: Do K–12 online students need or want personal inter-
actions with peers and/or with adults? Are such interactions important,
and do they serve a role in a democratic online classroom? What level of
freedom should an online teacher have to teach the required content in a
creative and authentic way? Is it possible for online teachers to be effective
when they host their first class in the virtual environment of the learning
management system (LMS)? What kind of preparation do teachers need
to teach online? How can new online teachers gain a vision of what crea-
tive and effective online courses look like? Are teachers and administrators
excited about the potential for a new online format and how it might be
used to promote student success? If not, what could this mean for our
students and our emerging educational system? How can administrators
of online programs stay informed and support teachers, staff, students,
and families? What are other experienced online teachers and researchers
discovering? This multi-authored book, Online Teaching in K–12, explores
and helps to answer these and many other questions.
Divided into three parts, the first part of this book covers essential foun-
dations, and delves into technical, pedagogical, and practical elements that
form the basis for any successful online course or program. The second part
of this book recognizes the diverse needs and skills of students and shares
strategies for engaging and supporting diverse learners. The third and final
part of this book emphasizes implementation strategies for teacher-created
content, project-based learning, assessments, free and open resources, and
mobile devices that expand the horizons of online teaching and learning.
Through the collective insights and expertise presented in Online Teach-
ing in K–12, new and experienced online teachers and administrators
alike have access to a hands-on resource that can expand their knowledge
and skills and improve their success in this emerging and challenging
Audience and Purpose
Online Teaching in K–12 is designed for anyone who seeks a role as
a well-informed contributor and leader in the changing landscape of
K–12 education. Online and mobile approaches to learning and com-
munication are revolutionizing the form and nature of our educational
systems in f2f and nontraditional settings. Gaps in understanding the
xiv Online Teaching in K–12
availability, limitations, and evolving potential for these approaches
lead to loss of authority, influence, and advocacy. This book is for those
teachers and administrators who want and need to be successful in the
design, delivery, and sustainability of K–12 online courses and pro-
grams. With the widespread growth of online teaching and learning
at all levels of K–12 education, those needing to know include policy-
makers, program managers, principals, teachers, parents, and faculty
members in teacher preparation programs across the country. Here, we
have gathered the knowledge and experience of an outstanding team of
contributing authors in order to highlight models, methods, and best
practices pivotal to quality online programs. Our intent is to present
a single volume that will serve as an essential resource for a range of
How to Use This book
Online Teaching in K–12 can be used to support teachers and adminis-
trators with on-demand essentials, including key models and methods in
online teaching and learning. It is also appropriate for use in professional
development and teacher preparation programs, as its content includes
practical information that can support and enhance the work of the busy
professional seeking to get started with online formats or to take online
teaching to the next level.
For leaders of K–12 educational policy as well as teachers and adminis-
trators in online programs and courses, this book shares expert knowledge,
vision, and information designed to communicate capabilities of online
programs and systems that may otherwise take time and experience for
the uninitiated to discern. Without understanding the capacity of online
infrastructures, programs, and methods, teachers and administrators com-
ing into online education are at risk of confining themselves to that which
is known, anticipated, or dictated as opposed to striving for the best of
what is currently or potentially possible.
Readers may wish to read the chapters in the context of each part or
to refer to them as specific questions or needs arise. The index provides
a useful launching point from which to locate information on a specific
topic of interest. In addition, readers will find a glossary of abbreviations
and acronyms, and an About the Contributors section to learn about the
various contributors. The chapters themselves include a wealth of prac-
tical strategies and examples, along with pointers to dozens of online
resources including free and low-cost teaching, management, and com-
About the Chapters
Written by experts and practitioners in the field, this book’s chapters are
organized within three parts: (1) Foundations, (2) Supporting Diverse
Learners, and (3) Implementation Strategies. This thematic organization
aside, each chapter stands on its own in providing expert consultation on
the topic at hand.
The seven chapters that comprise Part 1 present foundational informa-
tion relating to systems and environments, the teacher-learner experience,
models and standards, and training programs that prepare teachers and
schools for success in online teaching and learning. In Chapter 1, “The
Online Course Environment: Learning Management Systems (LMSs),”
Xavier Gomez shares need-to-know information on the LMS—the central
software and system used to support online teaching and learning.
Building upon Gomez’s discussion of the technical infrastructure comes
Chapter 2, “The Online Teacher: Skills and Qualities to be Successful”
by Steven C. Moskowitz. The author describes unique communication
demands and the human angle of what teachers need to know to succeed
in an online course. His research on the dispositions and strategies used by
successful online teachers provides useful advice and support.
While Chapter 2 emphasizes the changing demands and expanded role
of the online teacher, Chapter 3 by Sarah Bryans-Bongey provides a vision
to help teachers meet those demands. Entitled “Building Community in
K–12 Online Courses: The Community of Inquiry (CoI),” the chapter
shares specific suggestions as to how online teachers can use cognitive and
social approaches to engage, satisfy, and retain online students.
Whereas the CoI model was developed specifically for online and
blended learning, the next three chapters share more general or long-
standing learning theories in the context of K–12 online classrooms.
Written by Michael Kosloski and Diane Carver, Chapter 4, “Online Con-
structivism: Tools and Techniques for Student Engagement and Learning,”
provides teachers with guidance on how to maximize active and compel-
ling constructivist approaches in the K–12 online setting.
Chapter 5—“TPACK as Mediated Practice”—describes a technol-
ogy integration framework that builds upon earlier work by educa-
tional psychologist Lee Shulman. Authors Rolin Moe and Linda Polin
xvi Online Teaching in K–12
share practical examples that allow teachers to apply the technological
pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework in the online course
Another model that continues to guide teachers in the best practice
integration of technology is substitution, augmentation, modification,
and redefinition (SAMR). This model is described by Chery Takkunen-
Lucarelli in Chapter 6, “Captivating the Online Learner: Frameworks and
Standards for Effective Technology Integration.” Here, readers explore the
SAMR model, discover key standards, and plan effective and engaging
technology integration in online teaching and learning.
Chapter 7 is entitled “Online Student Teaching: From Planning to
Implementation.” Written by Lori Feher and Kevin J. Graziano, the chap-
ter concludes the Foundations section by covering an essential human
resource issue in K–12 online programs: the readiness and training of pre-
service teachers to skillfully educate the online student. Feher and Grazi-
ano describe the overall status of online student teaching, and they share
preliminary research on how one college is addressing this need.
Students in online programs represent diverse backgrounds, interests,
and needs. Given the entirely new setting of the online environment,
schools need to rethink traditional programs, services, and environments
and find ways to support the new generation of K–12 online learners. Part
2, Supporting Diverse Learners, aims to survey resources and strategies
that allow educators to support, engage, and motivate learners. Chapter
8, “Flipped Learning: Making the Connections and Finding the Balance,”
discusses the flipped classroom as a research-based gateway to online
teaching and learning. Written by Kevin J. Graziano, the chapter helps
f2f teachers understand and get started with online approaches through
the use of flipped learning. Graziano shares significant data on the model’s
success, and explains how this web-enhanced approach can support a wide
range of students.
Chapters 9 and 10 delve more deeply into the realm of online teaching
and learning, and, as with Chapter 8, these chapters provide strategies that
capitalize on web-based and asynchronous approaches as well as the use of
multimedia to help students comprehend, revisit, or retain information.
In Chapter 9, “Virtual School-Home Communication,” experienced
K–12 online teacher Dianne Tetreault shares success strategies to establish
and maintain communication between and among teachers, learners, par-
ents, and coaches. As with the varied tools and approaches described in con-
nection with Graziano’s flipped classroom, Tetreault discusses the creative
use of asynchronous, synchronous, and even social media communication
tools to support the home–school connection for the online classroom.
Chapter 10, by Luis Pérez, Kendra Grant, and Elizabeth Dalton, is
entitled “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Online Learning.”
The authors describe a multifaceted approach that involves varied repre-
sentation of content, numerous options for student action and expres-
sion, and choices that encourage student engagement. By making the
most of rich opportunities within the online environment and available
multimedia web tools that can serve as a resource or an outlet for expres-
sion, the chapter describes an approach geared to bolstering the success
of diverse learners.
While UDL aims to support a wide range of learners, it does not
totally eliminate the need for support from special educators and/or the
use of assistive technology (AT). Chapters 11 and 12 complete the sec-
ond part of this book on support for diverse learners by covering those
Chapter 11, by Richard Allen Carter, Jr., James D. Basham, and Mary
Frances Rice, is entitled “Helping Special Education Teachers Transition
to K–12 Online Learning.” The chapter shares important information that
can be used by special education teachers and principals seeking direct
and indirect approaches to supporting the significant population of K–12
online students with special needs.
As is the case with the need for special education teachers, AT can be
a key component in a K–12 student’s ability to participate in an online
program. In Chapter 12, “Assistive Technology in the 21st Century
Online Classroom,” Jacqueline Knight defines assistive technology and
provides a wealth of information and resources relating to AT’s unique use
in the online setting.
Taken together, the chapters in Part 2 provide approaches to anticipate
and address the needs of diverse learners. These chapters explore the use
of flipped learning, AT, universal design, and promote the use of services,
methods, and tools that are conducive to student learning and success.
In the third and final part of this book, Implementation Strategies, five
chapters delve into implementation strategies that describe teacher-created
content, student-centered and project-based learning, the curation of free
and open educational resources, assessment challenges and solutions, and
mobile learning approaches. Contributing authors round out earlier sec-
tions on foundations and diverse learners with a range of approaches for
implementing online teaching and learning.
xviii Online Teaching in K–12
Chapter 13 covers “Teacher-Created Online Content: Two Teachers’
Tech Tales.” Here, Chris Rozitis, a secondary online teacher, and Heidi
Weber, an elementary teacher, collaborate to share tried-and-true content
strategies that are relevant to online teachers and learners across all grade
levels. Their collective wisdom emphasizes strategies teachers can use to
build content for students at all grade levels.
Next, Chapter 14 provides additional ideas and approaches to guide
online teachers in their quest to help students learn. In “Student-Centered
Digital Learning Through Project-Based Learning,” Andrew Miller shares
ideas, considerations, and procedures needed to create and facilitate an
authentic project-based learning experience for students in the online
Throughout various chapters of this book, authors have reflected and
shared their own online teaching experiences, favorite websites, tools,
and resources. Chapter 15, “Open and Free Educational Resources for
K–12 Online and Face-to-Face Classrooms,” provides readers with start-
ing points that will allow them to locate useful multimedia resources that
supplement and enrich the teaching and learning process. As experts in the
creation of a specialized form of multimedia teaching tool, authors John
Elwood Romig, Wendy Rodgers, Kat Alves, and Michael J. Kennedy also
share research and how-to information needed for teachers to create and
contribute their own content to the growing database of open educational
Following on the heels of the three previous chapters that emphasize
content creation, student-centered learning, and content curation, Chap-
ter 16 provides important information on how such content and project-
based approaches can be assessed in the online environment. Written by
Kim Livengood and Lesley Casarez, “Tools and Strategies for Assessment
in an Online Environment” discusses various types of assessments, free and
low-cost tools for implementation, and industry standards that influence
technology integration and online learning. By sharing tools to support
the essential role of assessment, this chapter supports information pro-
vided elsewhere in this section on implementation strategies.
Chapter 17 imagines the possibilities of “Mobile Apps and Technol-
ogy Integration for Virtual and Hybrid Learning Spaces.” Author Gregory
Shepherd explores exciting ways by which mobile learning (M-learning)
can enhance and enrich the online course experience and sharing of ideas,
information, and resources to allow teachers to implement M-learning.
This final chapter of Part 3 on implementing the teaching and learning
process recognizes that online learning does not simply take place in front
of a computer. Exciting opportunities exist for students to research, collab-
orate, discover, document, learn, and even teach in the larger community
and environment. The final chapters of this book as a whole are dedicated
to helping teachers and administrators rethink the possible and tap the vast
potential of the online format.
Why You Need This Book
Based on prolific growth of K–12 online programs, data suggest an imme-
diate and widespread need to design and implement online courses and
programs. Online Teaching Methods in K–12 is intended for preservice
teachers who are just learning about online teaching as well as for in-service
teachers who may need to transform their classroom from an f2f to online
or blended format and need ideas, resources, or assistance to get started.
Those already working in online programs as teachers or administrators
will also find value in this book.
The demand is expanding for online programs and courses that meet
the needs of learners who may be in high school, middle school, or ele-
mentary school. This book is dedicated to supporting those with a vision
and ambition to become expert teachers, facilitators, and leaders, includ-
ing those who are being called upon to develop (or quickly adapt) to fully
online formats. It provides practical and easy access to essential founda-
tions, differentiation and support strategies, and effective approaches to
implementing successful online programs and courses.
Written by 28 experts and practitioners, Online Teaching in K–12: Mod-
els, Methods, and Best Practices for Teachers and Administrators is here to sup-
port teachers and administrators with creative, research-based, and expert
information on the wide-ranging aspects of online teaching and learning.
Teachers today are faced with a changing landscape and constant
demands on their time and creativity. In face-to-face situations, it is
often enough for an experienced teacher to rely on his or her background
knowledge and ability to make a lesson engaging and effective. Likewise,
principals and other school administrators can often move from one brick-
and-mortar setting to the next with ease. However, the online setting
requires an entirely new set of skills and experience and brings with it
great opportunities along with challenges. We hope this book will support
administrators and teachers in the quest to build, reinvent, and sustain
dynamic and responsive schools of the 21st century.
C h a p t e r 6
Captivating the Online
Learner: Frameworks and
Standards for Effective
Online learning, like any educational environment, requires careful and
intentional instructional planning. Online learning provides many oppor-
tunities to engage students in 21st century skills and in ways that were not
possible before, and online teachers should ensure that virtual learning
spaces take full advantage of those opportunities. This chapter provides
K–12 online teachers with an opportunity to understand how technol-
ogy integration can be leveraged to optimize the learning environment in
ways that engage learners. This chapter also examines frameworks such as
the substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition (SAMR)
model, 21st century skills, the International Society for Technology in
Education (ISTE) standards, and the International Association for K–12
Online Learning (iNACOL) standards to help guide planning for effective
technology integration in online learning.
The online learning environment requires that students access material and
interact with their teachers through web-based systems; however, because
students are working online, teachers may falsely assume that students are
engaging with technology in meaningful ways. This false assumption can
lead to poorly designed online courses that do not take full advantage of
92 Online Teaching in K–12
the transformative opportunities that technological advances offer. It is true
that navigating through the learning management system (LMS) environ-
ment can create opportunities for students to increase their technological
skills. However, taking an online course does not mean that the student is
utilizing technology in ways that are meaningful, empowering, and engag-
ing. Online courses provide exciting opportunities for teachers to create
engaging student activities and assessments if teachers and instructional
designers are intentional in planning for these experiences, however.
Consider the following scenarios:
Becca, a high school sophomore, is taking an online Ameri-
can Literature class. Her current reading assignment is to
read Chapter Two of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Haw-
thorne. After completing her reading assignment, she logs
into her online class and reviews what she needs to complete.
She responds to a discussion post on what she thought about
Chapter Two. In addition, she takes an online vocabulary quiz.
As she is required to respond to two of her peer’s posts each
week, she reads a few of the other student posts and offers com-
ments. She reviews the requirements for an assignment and
sees that she will need to write a paper on specific character
traits for a character of her choosing. Since the paper isn’t due
for several weeks, she decides to wait to begin the assignment.
Cooper is also a sophomore taking an online American Litera-
ture class and is also reading The Scarlet Letter. He begins his
weekly session by viewing a video from his teacher on Voice-
Thread. She provides big ideas from the reading and asks the
students to consider some critical concepts. She also reminds
students of what they are required to do for the rest of the week.
Cooper is required to provide a video response with his own
ideas, questions, or comments. He can comment to the teacher
or to another student’s ideas. As part of his tasks for the week, he
is also required to begin creating a plan for a video documentary
on the setting of the story with another student. He must cre-
ate a Google Doc to share his planning with other students and
invite the teacher to comment. The teacher encourages Cooper
to seek out primary sources on the time period for The Scarlet
Letter. In addition, she asks him to document how he is going to
Captivating the Online Learner 93
delegate the tasks to complete the project. He begins to create a
timeline and planning sheet for the documentary. He also needs
to write his weekly journal where he blogs as if he is a character
from the story. He skims the blog entries of a few other students
and then begins to write his own entry.
Which of these two scenarios demonstrates an online learning environ-
ment that most engages the students in collaboration, research, and crea-
tivity while utilizing digital tools? Which student do you think is having
a richer experience interacting with the teacher and other students? Most
would agree that Cooper, the student in the second scenario, is utilizing
technology in a much more effective manner. Most would also agree that
the second scenario provides more opportunities for learners to collabo-
rate, create new material, and think in complex ways. The use of the tech-
nology in the second scenario demonstrates how teachers can create online
learning experiences that are engaging and empowering.
Teachers in any setting should be focused on practices that can increase
student learning, and effective technology integration provides an oppor-
tunity to do so (Loertscher and Koechlin 2013). While distance and online
learning have been in practice for many years in a variety of formats, recent
technological advances provide exciting opportunities for online teachers
to create learning activities that were not possible before. Consider how
exciting it would be for students who are studying another country as part
of a social studies assignment to participate in a live interview with other
students from that country via Skype. Virtual learning can provide natural
opportunities to engage students with technology in ways that are more
difficult in onsite settings. If designed with student engagement in mind,
teachers can take advantage of online collaborative tools such as Google
Docs, wikis, or video hosting sites such as YouTube or virtual simulations
and web-based video conferencing. The possibilities are endless.
At the core of instructional practices should be why and how. The online
environment presents exciting opportunities and challenges to effectively
incorporate technology. One challenge facing many online teachers is
that they may have had very little experience learning online; therefore,
they lack models for planning online learning experiences (Yuzer and
Gulsun 2014). Another challenge noted by Volkan Yuzer and Eby Gulsun
(2014) is the newness of the K–12 online learning landscape. There may
be fewer colleagues who teach online to share ideas with or to collaborate
with to create learning experiences. However, frameworks, standards, and
94 Online Teaching in K–12
other conceptual ideas, grounded in research, can provide a roadmap for
effective instruction that can address these challenges. The frameworks and
standards provide a rationale and guidance for what that technological
integration should look like.
Effective technology use can impact student achievement. Many
researchers have found strong links between effective technology use in
classrooms and student achievement (Green and Siegle 2002; Noeth and
Volkov 2004; Valdez et al. 2000). Gilbert Valdez along with several col-
leagues (2000) conducted a meta-analysis of more than 800 studies involv-
ing technology and student achievement in the early 1990s. Each of these
studies showed a positive impact on student learning. At every level, from
preschool to higher education, a positive correlation between effective
technology use and student achievement has been routinely identified
(Valdez et al. 2000). In fact, in most cases, this gain in student achieve-
ment could be measured by using standardized achievement tests. In 2001,
in its report to President Bush, the RAND Group stated that its studies
also showed “that educational technology has begun to improve student
performance and holds the potential for enabling far greater improve-
ment” (Kirby et al. 2004, p. 20).
It has been argued that how technology is used is the key to improved
student achievement, and expecting technology usage to increase student
achievement without giving thought to how the technology is used in the
learning environment is misguided (Green and Siegle 2002). In a study of
all fourth- and eighth-grade students in Idaho, the researchers found an
increase in student achievement for those students whose teachers used
technology in ways that empowered students to solve programs and think
critically (Green and Siegle 2002). Richard Noeth and Boris Volkov (2004)
found many positive correlations between effective technology use and
student achievement. For example, Noeth and Volkov (2004) found that
students were more motivated when using computer technology, learned
more efficiently when using computers, and were more likely to retain
information. It is critical to note that simply providing access to technol-
ogy (e.g., working online in an LMS) will not be enough to address low
student achievement (Noeth and Volkov 2004).
As teachers design learning environments for K–12 students, they should
think about their learners and the types of activities and assessments that will
engage and empower them. Marc Prensky (2001), an international leader
in education, discussed the possible digital disconnect between K-college
learners and their teachers. Prensky labeled these K-college learners “digital
Captivating the Online Learner 95
natives” (p. 1) and teachers “digital immigrants” (p. 2) in part to demonstrate
the different approaches to using technology. Computer technology and all
of its supports such as video games, cell phones, MP3 players, and more
have been around since these students were born. Prensky discussed how
this digital environment has impacted the learning processes of these learn-
ers. Prensky stressed that students have typically spent more than 10,000
hours playing video games and over 20,000 hours watching television,
while they have spent just 5,000 hours reading: “Computer games, e-mail,
the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their
lives” (2001, p. 1). Prensky points out that learners, due to these experiences
with the digital media, think and process information differently than past
students, and teachers who have not grown up with these digital experiences
typically teach in ways that do not embrace these different ways of thinking.
Worse yet, is the fact that teachers do not appreciate or understand these
new and different skills that their students possess. For example, digitally
native learners enjoy random learning experiences and can more quickly
make digital connections between tools in comparison with their teachers.
Knowing this, online teachers need to carefully think about their instruc-
tional planning, keeping their digital native students in mind.
Some models of online learning encourage the creation of a course
that is designed once and then can be taught again and again with little
insight from the teacher and with little opportunity to empower students
(Loertscher and Koechlin 2013). Predictability is the selling point of these
types of courses, but as David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin (2013) point
out, these courses can also be “deadly boring” (p. 50). In these types of
courses, students have little opportunity to create content, collaborate with
their peers, or work in creative and innovative ways.
In any educational setting, good instruction allows students to demon-
strate their learning in a variety of formats. For example, sometimes online
courses overutilize text-based discussion forums as the primary way to com-
municate with students, which can be limiting for some students and pro-
vides only one way of engaging with students. However, allowing students
to communicate and collaborate with a peer or peers can be accomplished
with different tools such as Google Docs or web conferencing programs
such as Google Hangouts, Skype, and other tools such as Adobe Connect.
As stated earlier, online teachers may have the false belief that tech-
nology is integrated into the course because students are working online
and accessing content through computers or mobile devices. By its very
nature, online learning incorporates the use of technology. However, like
96 Online Teaching in K–12
any educational setting, the use of technology can be poor or rich. It can
engage or bore. It can provide opportunities for students to be creators of
new information or products, or support environments where students
are merely consumers of technology. To help online teachers create com-
pelling and powerful instructional learning environments that meet stu-
dent needs and interests, research-based frameworks and standards can
be leveraged to provide guidance for how to best implement technology.
There are many frameworks to guide the planning of effective technology
use. They have many overlapping and similar ideas and concepts that sup-
port each other. In this chapter, we examine two conceptual frameworks:
the substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition (SAMR)
model and the 21st century skills framework. We also review two sets
of national education standards that provide guidance for effective tech-
nology integration: the International Society for Technology in Educa-
tion (ISTE) student standards and the International Association for K12
Online Learning (iNACOL) quality online course standards.
In this section, we examine two frameworks: the Four Cs from the 21st
century skills framework and SAMR. These frameworks can help teachers
and instructional designers think about effectively integrating technology in
ways that optimize the learning environment. John Dewey (1916) stated that
the “Social environment forms the mental and emotional disposition of behav-
ior in individuals by engaging them in activities that arouse and strengthen
certain impulses” (p. 13). Dewey suggests that teachers never educate directly,
but indirectly by means of environment. Dewey explained this issue when he
wrote, “Whether we permit chance environments to do the work, or whether
we design environments for the purpose makes a great difference” (p. 15).
Teachers can be intentional in their planning so that the online learning
environment can capitalize on this phenomenon. When online courses are
planned with intentionality to integrate technology in ways that put students
in the driver’s seat and utilize technology to create community and collabora-
tion, there is a much higher chance for student achievement.
21st Century Skills Framework: The Four Cs
The 21st century skills framework articulated by the National Education
Association (NEA) from 2012 along with the more recent version by the
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) from 2015, both developed by
Captivating the Online Learner 97
teachers, education experts, and business leaders, provides an architecture
that addresses the essential skills and knowledge that students need to be
successful as future citizens and students. This group of individuals formed
the P21 and provides guidance and advocacy for the essential skills in
the framework. The 21st century skills framework is a massive document
that provides guidance for teachers and student outcomes in several areas
including content knowledge, global awareness, life and career skills, as
well as information literacy skills and competence with digital tools. Of
these skills, Daniel Pink (2006) writes, “The future belongs to a very dif-
ferent kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and
empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people...will
now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys” (p. 1). Pink, a
bestselling author, has written on several topics that address the changing
landscape of the future work environment. His work reinforces the need
for teachers to embrace teaching in ways that empower students to think
critically and to understand that the world is interconnected. His work
reinforces the need for teachers to think about the skills laid out in the
21st century skills framework. Several themes strand through the 21st cen-
tury skills framework. These strands include global awareness, leadership,
At the core of the 21st century skills framework are the Four Cs.
The NEA (2012) noted that the Four Cs are the most important of the
21st century skills in preparing students for future success. They include
• critical thinking
The NEA (2012) writes that the Four Cs are critical to supporting stu-
dents as they enter an ever-changing and more complicated work environ-
ment. Therefore, it is critical that online learning environments do not
revert to skill and drill and lower level thinking activities. Instead, online
courses should take advantage of new technological advances such as shared
web spaces that include applications like wikis and blogs. These applica-
tions allow students to communicate and collaborate in asynchronous
fashion across space and time, and online learning environments are posi-
tioned well for these types of rich experiences that can address the Four Cs.
98 Online Teaching in K–12
A brief description of the Four Cs with an example of how this could be
applied in an online learning environment follows.
Critical thinking: Critical thinking, as defined by P21 (2015), requires
that students engage in problem-solving and a deep analysis of concepts
and reflection. Students should solve complex problems that have multiple
solutions. They should ask questions and provide different points of view
on issues. For example, music students might listen to a musical passage
and provide an individual interpretation. Students would then listen to the
interpretations of their peers and provide a synthesis of what they believe is
meant by the passage (NEA 2012).
Communication: NEA (2012) writes that communication skills for the
21st century include many of the same skills that have always been impor-
tant (e.g., public speaking, writing, listening, and nonverbal communica-
tion). However, added to these core skills is also the need to have the skills
to communicate through and with digital tools and with people from all
over the world. For example, using a Google Doc, small groups of students
in an online science class might create a list of interview questions for an
archeologist on a dig site. They would then share their questions with the
scientist and participation in a live Skype session with the scientist.
Collaboration: Collaboration for students can be defined as the ability to
work effectively in teams with a willingness to be flexible (NEA 2012). Stu-
dents working in effective collaborative teams share the goals of the project
and take the responsibility to address their role in the project. For example,
students working in small groups might investigate an environmental issue
in their community and come up with a plan to share what they learned
and to advocate for a solution. To help raise awareness of the issue, the stu-
dents might create an email or social media campaign (NEA 2012).
Creativity: Students should be encouraged to develop, elaborate, ana-
lyze, and provide original work (NEA 2012). As part of creativity, stu-
dents may need to work collaboratively with other students and may
need to be open to hearing new perspectives (P21 2015). For example,
students can apply and synthesize their learning on topics using web tools
such as Smores or Prezi. They could create a demonstration or simulation
to synthesize the content of a unit of study utilizing Google Slides or by
creating a digital story. Students could then share their work on a class
blog or in small groups to receive feedback and then refine and resubmit
Thinking about the Four Cs can provide a powerful and compelling
way to help teachers effectively integrate technology into the online
Captivating the Online Learner 99
learning activities. In fact, online environments may be better positioned
than onsite classroom settings to incorporate information technology
that allows students to simulate the types of activities that students might
encounter in future workplace settings. Consider the growth of web-
based video conferencing to host meetings and collaborative activities in
the workplace, for example. Students in online courses could have many
opportunities to experience participating in web-conference video ses-
sions. They might be tasked with setting an agenda and leading a session
on a collaborative project, or they may be asked to create a presentation
and present their work live to a small group of their peers. In each of
these cases, students are learning about how working in web-based meet-
David Loertscher and Carol Koeshlin (2013) point out that virtual
learning yields exciting opportunities for students that are not possible
in traditional face-to-face (f2f ) environments. The ideas of collaborative
intelligence, for example, where learners from across different settings help
to create something new, is an exciting idea that can transform the online
learning environment. Teachers can plan for learning activities that go
beyond the virtual classroom walls and instead find opportunities to inter-
act with individuals around the world.
The SAMR model, developed by Ruben Puentedura (2015), provides
another way to examine educational technology use. SAMR is an acronym
that stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition.
At the heart of the model is the idea that, when properly used, technology
can help to transform educational experiences and have a positive impact
on student achievement (Puentedura 2015). What does it mean to use
technology in ways that transform the educationally experience? Each of
the four levels describes how educational technology may be used. Puent-
edura points out that teachers can plan instruction with technology that
either enhances or transforms the educational experience with transforma-
tion being an important goal.
The bottom level, substitution, identifies technology used in ways that
do not transform teaching but rather serve as a substitute for tasks that
could be performed in other ways. For example, a student might use an
iPad to take notes on a presentation. As you can see, this task could be
substituted with a nontechnical tool like a pad of paper and a pen.
100 Online Teaching in K–12
As you move up each level, the educational experiences of the students
move towards transformation. Redefinition, the top of the four levels,
describes educational tasks and experiences that would not be possible
without the technological advances. For example, a group of online stu-
dents might create a collaborative digital presentation using Google Slides
that includes music, hyperlinks, videos, images, and recorded narration.
This task cannot be substituted with a nontechnical approach.
When teachers discuss the SAMR model and instructional planning,
they may use the phrase teaching above the line (Puentedura 2015). Teach-
ing above the line means that the students are working at the modification
or redefinition levels. At these levels, the educational experience is mov-
ing towards transformation. There is a significant shift in the way that
the technology can be used to enhance learning when moving above the
substitution and augmentation levels to modification and redefinition
(Jacobs-Israel and Moorhead-Lang 2013). This line shifts the student to
the creator rather than just the consumer of technology. The tasks that
occur above the line would be impossible without the use of the technol-
ogy (see Figure 6.1).
A brief explanation of each level and how this might be demonstrated
in an online learning experience is provided in the following section.
Substitution: A student working in this level might complete a task
that uses technology but could be substituted with nontechnical materials.
Figure 6.1 The SAMR model. hippasus.com/rrpweblog
Captivating the Online Learner 101
A question a teacher could ask is, “Could the task be completed without
technology?” (Puentedura 2013). If so, the technology task would be cat-
egorized as substitution. For example, a student listens to a presentation
and takes notes on his laptop.
Augmentation: At this level, the technology acts as a “direct tool substi-
tute, with functional improvement” (Puentedura 2015, p. 6). A question a
teacher could ask is, “Have I added an improvement to the task process
that could not be accomplished with the technology at the fundamental
level?” (Puentedura 2013). In this scenario, a student might add an image
and a hyperlink to a set of notes from the presentation (Jacobs-Israel and
Modification: At this level, the tasks are “significantly redesigned.” Mul-
tiple applications are normally involved in this level (Puentedura 2015, p. 6).
A question a teacher could ask is, “Does this modification fundamentally
depend on the new technology?” (Puentedura 2013) Melissa Jacobs-Israel
and Heather Moorhead-Lang (2013) describe how students working at
the modification level might create a collaborative presentation about their
favorite books using Animoto. The students’ slide shows could then be
shared in a virtual book fair.
Redefinition: The technology provides for “the creation of new tasks,
previously inconceivable” (Puentedura 2015, p. 6). A question a teacher
could ask is, “How is the new task uniquely made possible by the new
technology?” (Puentedura 2013). Jacobs-Israel and Moorhead-Lang (2013)
give an example of students using apps such as Toontastic, which allows
students to act as the creators of content as they can design their own ani-
mated films. These digital stories could then be shared with others online
where they receive feedback. In this example, the task is not possible with-
out the technological application. In another example, students could
work collaboratively online to design and create their own app to solve
a problem faced by society. The Mobile CSP (2015) project utilizes App
Inventor, a free web-based application developed by MIT, to help students
learn computer science principles as students create real apps that work on
The tools may change, but the framework and models provide guid-
ance. SAMR provides another way to think about technology integration
in online learning environments. Teachers should intentionally plan for
experiences that are above the line. In doing so, they have a better chance
to engage learners and support student achievement goals.
102 Online Teaching in K–12
Standards: ISTE and iNACOL
Organizations such as the ISTE and iNACOL provide a set of stand-
ards to guide effective technology integration. While the standards go
beyond technology integration efforts, these standards provide a foun-
dation to guide this aspect of instruction. What is now possible in the
virtual world would not have been possible even a few years ago, and
these standards can guide teachers to make the most of these new tech-
nologies. In this section, an overview of each set of standards is provided
along with ideas on how they can help teachers plan for effective tech-
ISTE’s (2007) standards for students are organized into six categories. As
you review the six categories of the ISTE standards for students, you may
want to think about the ways that the standards align with the Four Cs and
SAMR. You will see many similarities on how each of the models support
The six categories of the ISTE (2007) standards for students are as follows:
1. Creativity and innovation: Students demonstrate creative
thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products
and processes using technology.
2. Communication and collaboration: Students use digital media
and environments to communicate and work collaboratively,
including at a distance, to support individual learning and
contribute to the learning of others.
3. Research and information fluency: Students apply digital tools
to gather, evaluate, and use information.
4. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making:
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct
research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed
decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
5. Digital citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and
societal issues related to technology and practice legal and
6. Technology operations and concepts: Students demonstrate
a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems,
Captivating the Online Learner 103
A review of the six broad categories of the ISTE student standards
shows that they reinforce the Four Cs as well as the SAMR model. Stu-
dents engaged in online collaboration can be taught to apply the ideas of
digital citizenship, as noted in ISTE Standard Five (digital citizenship).
Students working online have the opportunities to work with others across
the country and the world, interacting with other individuals and groups
of people. James Banks (2014), an international leader in multicultural
education, reinforces the need for students to understand the cultural and
social issues that are required to do this well. He highlights in his book, An
Introduction to Multicultural Education, a set of changing demographics,
trends in global migration, and rapid globalization that are transforming
the world and the way that we interact with each other. He writes, “Citi-
zen education should help students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and
skills needed to function in their nation-states as well as in a diverse world
society” (Banks 2014, p. 28).
Online courses that require students to collaborate with others in other
locations and provide support for this work can help students achieve this
goal. The ISTE standards underlie the importance of creating learning
environments that can best prepare students for their future.
iNACOL is an organization devoted to the quality of online courses and
programs. They have done extensive work to create evaluation criteria
to help teachers and other stakeholders of online courses and programs
understand the critical components of effective online courses. The criteria
are thorough, extensive, and focus on 11 broad areas as noted in the 2012
publication, National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. These 11
standards, organized A-K, provide guidance for online teachers to design
courses that engage students and create rich learning experiences.
Each category (A-K) has several areas that reinforce each of the frame-
works as well as the ISTE standards highlighted and discussed in this chap-
ter. Several of the criteria presented here are perfectly aligned with the ideas
discussed earlier and reinforce the idea that how technology use matters.
For example, criteria under several of the A-K categories support collabo-
ration, digital citizenship, communication, and use of emerging technolo-
gies. In the following section, samples of these criteria from the broad
categories A-K that are directly related are highlighted. As you review these
sample criteria, consider how these ideas support the other frameworks
and standards previously reviewed.
104 Online Teaching in K–12
From Standard A:
The online teacher knows and understands the role of online
learning in preparing students for the global community they
live in, both now and in the future (iNACOL 2011, p. 4).
From Standard B:
The online teacher knows and understands the use of an array
of grade-appropriate online tools for communication, produc-
tivity, collaboration, analysis, presentation, research, and con-
tent delivery (iNACOL 2011, p. 5).
The online teacher knows and understands the use of
emerging technologies in a variety of mediums for teaching
and learning, based on student needs (iNACOL 2011, p. 5).
From Standard C:
The online teacher knows and understands the techniques and
applications of online instructional strategies, based on cur-
rent research and practice (e.g., discussion, student-directed
learning, collaborative learning, lecture, project-based learn-
ing, forum, small group work) (iNACOL 2011, p. 6).
The online teacher knows and understands the process for facil-
itating and monitoring online instruction groups that are goal-
oriented, focused, project-based, and inquiry-oriented to promote
learning through group interaction (iNACOL 2011, p. 6).
From Standard E:
The online teacher knows and understands the responsibilities
of digital citizenship and techniques to facilitate student inves-
tigations of the legal and ethical issues related to technology
and society (iNACOL 2011, p. 9).
From Standard H:
The online teacher knows and understands the reach of
authentic assessments (i.e., the opportunity to demonstrate
understanding of acquired knowledge and skills, as opposed
Captivating the Online Learner 105
to testing isolated skills or retained facts) are part of the evalu-
ation process (iNACOL 2011, p. 12).
From Standard I:
The online teacher knows and understands the role of student
empowerment in online learning (iNACOL 2011, p. 14).
From Standard K:
The online teacher knows and understands critical digital lit-
eracies and 21st century skills (iNACOL 2011, p. 16).
The online teacher knows and understands appropriate use
of technologies to enhance learning (iNACOL 2011, p. 16).
iNACOL’s (2011) mission states, “The International Association for
K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to
a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that pre-
pare them for a lifetime of success” (p. 2). Clearly, the iNACOL standards
support this mission and reinforce the Four Cs from the 21st century skills
framework, the SAMR model, and the ISTE standards for students high-
lighted in this chapter. These sample iNACOL standards criteria provide a
compelling mandate for online teachers to design online learning experi-
ences and courses that are rooted in effective technology use.
Effective online learning design takes time, creativity, and hard work. Like
all good teaching practices, online instructional planning must focus on
student learning and requires effort backed by research. What is now pos-
sible in the virtual world would not have been possible even a few years
ago. These technological advances should be harvested and optimized to
incorporate the very best of online teaching and learning. The frameworks
and standards highlighted in this chapter provide guidance and offer a
way to examine the level of technology use to support student learning.
Loertscher and Koeshlin (2013) reinforce this point:
If “learning” is what we are after, whether blended or totally
online, then a move must be initiated from locked-in,
content-driven packages to participatory knowledge-building
106 Online Teaching in K–12
experiences. Learners need to be free to work individually,
cooperatively, and collaboratively, with the best information
available in technology-rich learning environments. (p. 53)
Online teachers should do their best to plan for and teach in ways
that empower and engage learners. They should provide opportunities for
students to prepare for an ever-changing world. Harnessing the power of
emerging technologies provides new and exciting methods to transform
online learning and therefore helps students reach their potential.
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About the Editors
Sarah Bryans-Bongey, EdD is an assistant
professor of education at Nevada State Col-
lege (NSC). She received her doctorate in
teaching and learning from the University
of Minnesota. She also holds a master’s
degree in educational media and technology
and undergraduate degrees in English and
film studies from The College of St. Scho-
lastica and Syracuse University, respectively.
She is a licensed 7–12 English language arts
teacher and has taught English classes to
10th and 11th grade high school students
in NSC’s TRIO Upward Bound program.
She is a certified K–12 library media specialist and was a teacher-librarian
in Minnesota public schools. She also worked for 10 years at The College
of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, where she was academic technol-
ogy coordinator and taught online graduate courses relating to research,
instructional design, and educational technology.
Dr. Bryans-Bongey’s research interests include online and M-learning,
educational technology integration, student engagement, and schools for
the future. Her research on universal design for learning (UDL) and teach-
ing with technology has led to various publications and presentations,
including a chapter in the book, Dancing With Digital Natives: Staying in
Step With the Generation That’s Transforming the Way Business is Done.
306 Online Teaching in K–12
Kevin J. Graziano, EdD is a professor
of Education at Nevada State College
(NSC). He received his doctorate in
international and multicultural educa-
tion with a minor in educational technol-
ogy from the University of San Francisco.
His teaching and research interests
include teacher education, educational
technology, and teaching English as a
second language. Dr. Graziano received
the 2012 Nevada System of Higher
Education Board of Regents’ Teaching
Award, the 2006 Nevada State College
iTeach Teaching Excellence Award, the
2006 City of Henderson and Henderson Chamber of Commerce Outstand-
ing Teaching Award, and the 2005 American Education Research Associa-
tion (AERA) Scholar-Activist Award.
Dr. Graziano taught English as a second language at Charles University
in Prague, Czech Republic and completed his master’s thesis and doctoral
dissertation in South Africa. He has published numerous journal articles
on teacher education and continues to present at national and interna-
tional education conferences.
In 2012, Dr. Graziano completed two international teacher-training
fellowships and later received a Fulbright Specialist grant to Sakhnin Col-
lege in Sakhnin, Israel. In all three projects, he trained faculty and students
on educational technology and photovoice, the use of documentary photo
graphy and storytelling. He is former chair of the Innovation and Tech-
nology Committee for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher
Education (AACTE) and is the current co-chair of the Mobile Learning
Special Interest Group for the Society for Information Technology and
Teacher Education (SITE).
About the Contributors
Kat D. Alves is a doctoral student in the Curry School of Education at the
University of Virginia. Before beginning her doctoral program, Ms. Alves
spent 7 years as an elementary school special education teacher in the Char-
lottesville area. Ms. Alves has a master’s degree in special education and a
bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from the University of Virginia. Ms.
Alves’s research interests include improving literacy outcomes for students
with high incidence disabilities. Specifically, she is interested in reading
comprehension and vocabulary at the upper elementary and middle school
levels. Ms. Alves’s primary program of research at the University of Virginia
focuses on training preservice and in-service teachers to use evidence-based
practice (EBP) for vocabulary and reading comprehension.
James D. Basham, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of
Special Education at the University of Kansas. He earned his doctorate
at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Basham’s research
foci include the implementation of universal design for learning (UDL),
learner-centered design, innovation, and technology as it relates to cog-
nition, learning, and behavior. Individually and as part of a team, he
has been awarded more than $12 million in research funding. Currently,
he is a co–principal investigator at the Center on Online Learning and
Students with Disabilities (COLSD). Dr. Basham has consulted several
school districts, universities, state agencies, foundations, and corporate
entities regarding educational technological innovation. Finally, Dr.
Basham is the co-founder and executive director of the Universal Design
for Learning Implementation and Research Network (UDL-IRN), an
organization that promotes research into UDL practices across the range
of educational settings.
Richard Allen Carter Jr. is a doctoral student in the Department of Spe-
cial Education at the University of Kansas. Prior to initiating his doctoral
work, Mr. Carter worked with learners with disabilities in elementary
308 Online Teaching in K–12
school settings in Kansas and his home state of North Carolina. His cur-
rent research focuses on the implementation of self-regulation practices
for students with disabilities in both fully online and blended learning
environments. He has also conducted work that looks at disability accom-
modation and individualized education program (IEP) development and
implementation in online schools. In addition, Mr. Carter assists with
studies that examine a broad range of effects of online instruction for stu-
dents with disabilities for the Center on Online Learning and Students
with Disabilities (COLSD). He is currently part of a research team that is
implementing technology-enabled personalization for students with dis-
abilities in public elementary schools.
Diane Carver, PhD is the director of career and college readiness for the
Bethel School District in western Washington. She previously taught busi-
ness education at the high school and postsecondary levels and served as
the state supervisor for business and marketing education in the Office of
Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Washington. She has
worked extensively with career and technical educators providing profes-
sional development in curriculum integration, instructional techniques,
and student engagement strategies. Dr. Carver has published articles in
journals such as Business Education Forum, Techniques, and the Interna-
tional Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. Her research
interests include career and technical education, online learning, and alter-
native learning experiences.
Lesley Casarez, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Cur-
riculum and Instruction at Angelo State University and also manages the
online Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling program. She
earned her doctorate in educational psychology from Texas Tech Univer-
sity, a master of education in counseling from Sul Ross State University,
a Master of Education in elementary education from Texas State Univer-
sity, and a bachelor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.
She has numerous professional presentations in online learning and dis-
Elizabeth Dalton, PhD is adjunct professor at the University of Rhode
Island, Communication Disorders Dept., senior consultant for Dalton
Education Services International (DESI), and director emeritus of devel-
opment and research for TechACCESS of Rhode Island. She holds a PhD
About the Contributors 309
in Education from University of Rhode Island and was postdoctoral fellow
in universal design for learning (UDL) leadership at Boston College and
the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), Inc. Dr. Dalton has
spent many years teaching in K–12 special education as well as teaching
teachers at the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island
College. She consults in areas of curriculum and program development,
assessment, diversity, and technology implementation, including ALL
ACCESS in the Libraries, a recent IMLS project allaccessri.org/. Dr. Dalton
presents on UDL and technology nationally and internationally, is past
president of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society
for Technology in Education (ISTE), and currently serves as co-editor for
the Journal of the International Association for Special Education (IASE).
Lori Feher, MS earned her MS in Education and BA in Physical Educa-
tion and Health from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ms. Feher has
worked as a teacher, learning strategist, coordinator of student teaching,
and curriculum developer over the past 30 years. Ms. Feher spends a great
deal of time researching information to keep current in what she is teach-
ing and is familiar with the best techniques for presenting information and
engaging audiences. Ms. Feher has always believed that the key to happi-
ness and success in life is rooted in mental, physical, social, and intellectual
well-being. Her personal well-being is strengthened by spending time with
her family and friends, exercising, eating right, acquiring knowledge, and
devoting time each day to being grateful.
Xavier Gomez, MEd has been an instructional designer for over 10 years.
Though he dabbled in corporate training, he has worked in higher educa-
tion for the majority of his career. He was a member of the core group
responsible for expanding instructional design for online delivery at Uni-
versity of California Berkeley Extension, the group that now functions as
Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education. At the University of San
Francisco (USF), he was chosen by the director of online education as the
first instructional designer to help build an instructional design team and
to establish a culture of online education at USF. Now as senior instruc-
tional designer, he provides guidance to the instructional design team in
matters of pedagogy, technology, and best practices.
Kendra Grant, MET is an educational consultant working with a variety
of companies and institutions on the design and delivery of eLearning,