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eLearning Update: Supporting Virtual Teachers

Researchers from Boise State University have released a follow-up report to the 2008 edition of "Going Virtual!", which is about the needs of online teachers.

"Going Virtual! The Status of Professional Development and Unique Needs of K-12 Online Teachers" is based on a survey of 830 K-12 online teachers. Perhaps the most jarring statistics from the report are that a quarter of brand new online teachers reported receiving no training before they began, and that 12 percent received none within the first five years of teaching online.

Areas where teachers wanted more professional development included the psychology of online learning, such as cyberbullying and online disinhibition, and how to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the online classroom.

Over half of the teachers surveyed said they had been trained how to use social networks for professional development, and social networking training was the least desired kind.

There's surprisingly little research that catalogs professional development for online teachers, so this series of reports has been incredibly helpful to get an idea of the scope of PD for virtual teachers. I highly recommend it.

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