PBS TeacherLine® Unveils Course on Virtual Teaching as Demand for Online Learning Accelerates


Online course prepares educators to teach growing contingent of virtual learners

Arlington, Va. (Jan. 24, 2012) – An increasing number of K-12 students across the country are taking advantage of online learning options. Thirty states have full-time online learning schools open to students from districts statewide, while 40 states offer state-run virtual schools, according to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning. Researchers project that by 2014 more than 10 million students will be taking virtual courses. PBS TeacherLine is launching “TECH570: Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching” to fulfill the need for highly effective virtual educators and to help districts prepare for this revolutionary transition in education.

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The six-week course goes beyond simply teaching about the online tools for virtual teachers, but delves deeply into the critical knowledge, strategies, and techniques to support student achievement in an online learning environment while aligning to the standards from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the NEA Guide to Online Teaching. Prospective virtual teachers are guided through the course by an exemplary course facilitator who models how to build community, strategies for working with virtual students, and assessment techniques. The course offers project-based online learning experiences, helping educators develop the practical skills, resources and materials required for effective virtual teaching for K-12 students.

“As millions of families opt for the flexibility and convenience of virtual learning, teachers are faced with the challenge of adapting their instruction to the dynamics of online teaching,” said Rob Lippincott, senior vice president of education for PBS. “The ’Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching’ course gives educators an eLearning Toolbox and allows them to practice the skills needed to support student achievement in the online environment.”

According to education experts, skills required for online teaching are different from the skills used for face-to-face instruction in the classroom. Key differences include curriculum, social dynamics, assessment strategies, and technical challenges. “Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching” helps teachers bridge the gap from face-to-face instruction to online instruction and sets them on a path for virtual teaching success.

TECH570 takes approximately 45 hours to complete, and costs $525. Teachers can earn PDPs, CEUs, or graduate credit from one of the more than 30 higher education institutions that have partnered with PBS TeacherLine. The course will first be available February 29, 2012.

About PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is committed to helping teachers acquire the skills they need to prepare students for a successful future. PBS TeacherLine provides high-quality, affordable professional development for PreK-12 educators through facilitated, online courses, collaborative learning communities, and exemplary Internet-based resources. Currently, more than 80 courses across multiple subject areas are offered. Teachers can earn continuing education units, professional development points, and graduate credits for course completion. The courses have been developed in conjunction with leading education organizations, including the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Concord Consortium, and International Society for Technology in Education. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 118 million people through television and nearly 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBSPressroom on Twitter.



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