The Digital Backpack. Your Resource for Online Learning
Young smiling student relaxing outdoors, she is sitting on the grass and using a laptop, summer camp concept
Summer Learning
Nikki Herta

7 reasons why your high-achieving students deserve online summer learning options

For self-motivated learners, taking online summer school courses can be liberating because it allows them to make progress toward their goals while studying at their own pace in time blocks that fit their busy schedules. In some cases, online programs offer students more learning options with more flexibility than their face-to-face counterparts.

Blended Learning
The Digital Backpack

Podcast: Engagement Hoopla

In this episode, Jeff and Erin chat with Emily Sicilia about engagement in the classroom. They explore how to define classroom engagement, and chat about Hoopla, an app Emily shares that has changed their reading lives!

Jeff Gerlach sitting at his desk with a laptop and microphone
Jeff Gerlach

Design Learning for Visually Impaired Students with NVDA

Jeff reviews Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA), an open source screen reader for Windows. Screen readers help those with vision impairments to access digital content. Teachers can use screen readers to check that web content for lessons is accessible to students with visual impairments.

Paper letter with "The End" written on it, with a broken paper heart next to it
Blended Learning
Erin Luckhardt

An Open Letter to “Sit and Get” PD

My old friend — When I first started teaching, it was always you holding my hand. You were there for my first conference. Since the beginning, you’ve set my expectations for what professional development should be like. This may be difficult to hear, but it’s time for our relationship to end.

Online learning graphic representation
Nikki Herta

How Does Online Learning Really Work?: A Conversation with Mitch Albom

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we hosted four panel discussions on Mitch Albom’s radio show on WJR 760. In this segment, Mitch Albom explores the day-to-day realities of virtual education in depth with a panel of our online teachers and students.

3 men climbing a mountain. All three are helping eachother climb.
Blended Learning
The Digital Backpack

Podcast: Power With, Not Power Over

In this episode, Jeff and Erin chat about the concept of “power with vs. power over” — inspired by a recent book study of Jim Knight’s High-Impact Instruction — and host a great interview with the always amazing Val Capel.

Nikki Herta

How Effective is Online Learning in Michigan

Let’s be honest: Online learning in Michigan, as a whole, is in deep need of reform. Since 2010, the average pass rate for online courses in Michigan has hovered around 60 percent. Compared to the pass rate for traditional classrooms, this statistic has led some to condemn virtual schooling as a failed experiment.

A money tree coming out of a book in a library
Michigan Virtual

Michigan’s Literacy Crisis is a Public Health Crisis

Who suffers when our literacy rates are low? In this blog post by Tamara Bashore-Berg, we dive into the startling reality of Michigan’s literacy crisis and explore Dr. Nell Duke’s argument that this issue is, at its heart, a public health crisis.

Silhouette of kids playing with technology
Nikki Herta

Turning Digital Natives into Digital Citizens

Two educators share their experiences teaching digital literacy Last week, I had the great pleasure of speaking to two educators about their experiences teaching digital

Godfrey-Lee Public Schools Rebel U Shield
Blended Learning
The Digital Backpack

Podcast: Live Episode @ Rebel U

In this episode, Jeff shares some audio from a recent teacher professional development session on podcasts, then Jeff and Erin chat about using classroom experience to shape professional learning.

Keep up with the latest Michigan Virtual has to offer