Are Our Standards Standard?

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This week we were tasked with exploring iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. As I read through them, most seem to be simply good teaching. It often pains me that we need to put the basics of good teaching into writing, with my thought being that everyone should be doing this already. Why do we need to write it down? I see examples of this throughout the IEPs I write for my special education students. Why have we created accommodations and modifications such as “check for understanding”,  “reteach as necessary” or “refocus and redirect”? It’s hard to believe that there are teachers that don’t do this, but there must be. It reminds me of the old joke about adding “Rinse” to the directions on a shampoo bottle. It must be there because someone wasn’t!

Many of these standards remind me not only of Common Core standards but also of the ISTE standards, all rolled into a smaller package. As a special education teacher, I found Standard F very important.

The online teacher is cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and incorporates accommodations into the online environment.

My district is looking into how best to accommodate those students who, for whatever reason, are unable to maintain in a physical building. I can envision offering online classes at some point in the future to help these students find success outside of the school walls. It can be difficult to differentiate, modify and adapt classes, lessons, and materials for students whom we see every day. Ensuring that we are meeting academic needs while finding ways to level the playing field for students with disabilities in a wholly online environment is going to be challenging. I have several students who are taking my algebra class without being in my classroom. I provide the curriculum and materials, and someone else is providing any necessary instruction. Looking at these students, I think it would be extremely difficult to keep them motivated and engaged in a fully online class while allowing for remediation and strategies to address their learning differences. The more I learn in this class, the more I am thinking we might need more of a blended curriculum as I think more support will be necessary to foster success.

If one were to remove the word “online” from each of the iNACOL standards, it would be difficult to tell which of these were meant for online and which were Common Core or ISTE standards. In removing that one little word, it is easy to see that each and every standard listed applies to any environment that includes education and learning.

The study of mathematics lends itself well to authenticity. A quick Google search will show hundreds of links for simulations, games, and projects to make math more meaningful. Finding these sites was a large part of EdTech 541. The site I created to house my lessons, links, and sites can be found here. Lists of resources can be found on my Weebly Resources page. I also created a page of digital math and science online learning activities. I have used many of these in my classroom, with others being bookmarked to use someday.


iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Retrieved from



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