Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Single-Site Case Study of Elementary Online Teachers’ Experiences Using Web-Conferencing to Differentiate Instruction in a Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
by McCarthy, Jeanne, Ed.D., Widener University, 2020, 235; 27833344
Abstract (Summary)

K-12 students enter Pennsylvania cyber charter schools with a wide-range of learning needs. The Aurora Institute’s Standards for Quality Online Teaching (v2) (2011) specify that effective K-12 online teachers differentiate instruction using a variety of online tools and instructional strategies to address students’ learning differences in online learning environments. However, to date few studies exist examining how K-12 online teachers use the tools of online learning environments to differentiate instruction (Beasley & Beck, 2017). To address this gap in the research base, this study examined teachers’ use of one key tool used to deliver instruction in online schools, a web-conferencing environment. Web-conferencing environments (WCE) are online platforms that enable real-time collaborative learning experiences between students and teachers. This qualitative single-site case study examined how 10 elementary online teachers use WCE to differentiate instruction in a Pennsylvania cyber charter school. Data for this study was collected using a survey, interviews, and teaching artifacts. An in-depth analysis of the data produced 6 strategies describing how teachers can use a WCE to differentiate instruction in their online classrooms: 1) pacing content differently for students, 2) providing choice for students to select a preferred learning method (synchronous or asynchronous), 3) providing peer learning activities in breakout rooms, 4) providing individualized instruction, tutoring and support on course progress, 5) providing small group instruction targeted to students’ learning needs, and 6) targeting different content and materials to the learning needs of student groups. The examination and analysis of the 6 strategies within this study provide ideas and applications for using a WCE to differentiate instruction specific to teachers working exclusively in online learning environments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wolfe, Zora
Commitee: Ciampa, Katia, Joyner, Beverly
School: Widener University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Elementary education, Educational technology
Keywords: Differentiated instruction, Elementary online learning, Elementary online teachers, K-12 online learning, Online differentiation, Web conferencing
Publication Number: 27833344
ISBN: 9798607323516
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