Readers add to “indicators of high-quality digital learning” | John Watson | 3 Min Read

Last week’s blog post, The indicators of high quality digital learning, ended with an invitation to readers to weigh in on what they saw as indicators that the post hadn’t included. And weigh in they did, mostly regarding two main points. The first point was about teachers and instruction, and the second about mastery learning.
The original post put teachers and teaching first on the list of quality indicators:

  • “An active role for teachers, whether they are online, f2f in a hybrid school, or both. This is the easiest indicator conceptually, because in 20+ years of studying the US K-12 online learning field, we have found that literally every successful school or program places a premium on teachers. (This shouldn’t be a surprise because it applies to all physical schools as well.)
  • “A premium on teachers” manifests as strong hiring practices, professional development, and ongoing teacher support. Professional development is combined with ongoing support that is embedded and offered consistently throughout the year.”

The main point that readers wished to add was regarding the ways that teachers in online and hybrid modalities could “identify and provide intervention/remediation/enrichment to personalize instruction.” I agree, and would add…

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John Watson

As Evergreen’s founder and primary researcher, John Watson is responsible for conducting, writing, and presenting research as well as providing testimony on digital learning matters to state boards of education, legislatures, and charter school commissions. He has extensive knowledge and experience based on his two decades working in online learning and education technology. This background has afforded him a wide-reaching network across the spectrum of education professionals, policymakers, and subject matter experts as well as the ability to provide insightful, dimensional analysis and recommendations. After earning his MBA and a MS in natural resource policy at the University of Michigan, John went to work for one of the first Learning Management System companies, eCollege, in early 1998. He launched eCollege’s K-12 division, called eClassroom, and managed eClassroom’s research and business development. This experience was the springboard for John’s independent consulting in environmental policy and education which evolved into what Evergreen Education Group is today. John is deeply moved by stories of students and teachers who have been positively impacted by technology in classrooms, online courses, and innovative schools. He strives to tell these stories accurately and to clearly explain the challenges inherent with digital learning in order to bring an honest, balanced perspective to Evergreen’s insight and recommendations. His ability to approach research and relationships with consideration for bias and hierarchy makes him a natural connector between information and people. John has presented and led panel discussions at numerous conferences and convenings. In addition to his research for Evergreen, John writes regularly about various issues related to digital learning and is a contributing author of the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. His and Evergreen’s work has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Education Week, and eSchool News, and he has also appeared on NBC Nightly News.