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Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students

This week we welcomed Dr. Vicki Phelps to chat about teaching GT students online. Dr. Phelps is an Assistant Professor at Milligan University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level coursework focused on teaching methods, instructional strategies, and literacy education. With over 20 years of experience in gifted education, Dr. Phelps is passionate about equitable practice and keenly focused on meeting the unique learning needs of gifted and high potential students. She applies her specialization in gifted motivation by focusing on deep levels of student engagement through innovative, research-based instructional strategies and personalized learning. Dr. Phelps regularly presents at state, national, and international gifted conferences and enjoys leading professional development addressing differentiation and collaborative practice for school districts and special groups (via Amazon.com).

The advent of universal online learning for all students during the early days of the Pandemic has fundamentally changed how it’s perceived, but also how it can be improved. For GT students, motivation and passion are key. For many GT and advanced learners, differentiation and faster pace may be all that is needed. However, for others, there is a need for opportunities to delve deeper into the content by experiencing greater depth and complexity. GT students are motivated when they are passionate not only by what they are learning, but by how they learn through critical thinking and creative problem-solving. It becomes incumbent on educators to seek out best practices in gifted pedagogy.

Educators can motivate students learning online by presenting them with consistent challenge and accelerated pace when warranted. GT students need the opportunity to work independently, but also with intellectual peers to improve social skills in groups settings. When successfully implemented in online environments, they can re-ignite motivation and a passion for learning. When teachers and parents support each other during online learning, students benefit from this partnership which can be a motivating factor in better learning.

Educators play a pivotal role in successful online learning. Teachers should have a robust understanding of how giftedness affects GT students’ academic performance, achievement, and their mental health. Successful engagement in online learning is predicated on student behaviors involving attendance, participation, and presence as well as how enjoyable and interesting they find the content presented (Ronksley-Pavia & Neumann, 2020). Communication is a key factor in the success of online learning. Progress monitoring, facilitation of building relationships with other students, and one-on-one communication are all important (Luna, 2022). Teachers can provide flexibility in online learning taking into consideration when and where learning takes place, student choice and voice, openness to self-directed learning, and personalization of content and instruction.

The past few years have been an intensive experiment on what works best in online learning due to the Pandemic. For far too many, it was like showing up at the School Science Fair having done your whole project the night before. What distinguishes great learning models online is how well they integrate tech; the availability of tech; and the competency of educators’ use of tech to facilitate learning. Online learning is a great place to provide enrichment, the blending of online with in-person instruction, and distance learning when appropriate.

An enrichment model is well-suited to online learning as it provides access to an expansive reservoir of information and resources. It can be used alone or in the classroom to supplement traditional learning or even during RTI sessions. Distance learning as an alternative to in-person instruction can be a great online learning model when students cannot be in class due to geographic location (of the student or place of learning) or physical limitations.

How can tech integration help GT & advanced learners to shine? Tech integration when done right can enhance, enrich, and differentiate learning for GT and advanced learners. It can showcase ability not always revealed in a traditional classroom setting. When GT and advanced students engage in online learning, they should have an opportunity to shine. It does little good to upload lessons normally taught in the classroom which aren’t enhanced through technology to improve learning. Educators need to constantly review their use of tech in online settings and insure that what they are doing for their GT students is providing opportunities to enhance critical thinking skills and ways to think more deeply about the content. Online learning needs to be engaging and make use of innovative approaches to tech which promotes higher order thinking and is purposeful in the lives of students.

Underachievement for GT and advanced learners in an online environment can be a real concern. This often happens when learning needs are not being met; followed by disengagement and ultimately, underachievement. Educators should look at a student’s behavioral, affective, social, and cognitive engagement which encompasses participation, attitude towards learning, involvement with peers & teachers, and self-regulation. Designing successful online learning experiences for GT and advanced learners which minimizes underachievement should consider the work of Betts & Neihart’s six gifted learner profiles and their guiding principles for each one.

Some key criteria which support GT students online include advanced content, depth & complexity, autonomous learning, active involvement, and creativity. A successful online learning experience will provide real-world connections for individual students, provide ample opportunities for feedback, and consider a student’s psychosocial skills (time management, reflection, collaboration). It allows GT students to learn at their own pace, have individual attention, prepare for college, gain time management skills, and become more independent.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Teaching Gifted Students Online: 5 Strategies to Enhance Remote Learning

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students Designing Online and Blended Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 5–8

Virtual Instruction for Gifted Students | UCONN Neag School of Education

Differentiating Technology for Gifted Learners | NAGC

The Benefits of Online Learning for Gifted Students | The Davidson Academy

Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms | Gifted Child Quarterly

Helping Gifted Students Learn Online During COVID 19 (pdf)

Do Gifted and Accelerated Learners Flourish in an Online High School?

Impact of Internet Connection on Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Course Quality at an Online High School (pdf) | Boise State University (dissertation)  

The Perceived Appeal, Challenge, and Learning Choice for Gifted and Talented Students in Advanced Placement Mathematics Courses (pdf) | Pepperdine University (dissertation)

Distance Learning for Gifted Kids During the Quarantine

E-Learning Opens Doors for Gifted Students | Education Week

Gifted and Talented – Remote Learning Resources | NJ Department of Education

Distance Learning Programs | Hoagies Gifted

How Gifted Students Benefit From Online Learning

UK: Why Online School is Perfect for Gifted Students

Remote Learning through a Mobile Application in Gifted Education | Gifted Education International

5 Ways Gifted Students Can Benefit From Online High School

Teaching Gifted Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Evaluating Information Page

Photo courtesy of Dr. Vicki Phelps.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

What Gifted Education Looks Like Around the World

Gifted organizations exist in most areas of the world. Many are non-profit organizations or NGOs, but some are also government sponsored. The World Council (currently headquartered in the US) has nearly 30 affiliates around the world. It hosts a biennial conference in various countries. One of the newest organizations is the World Giftedness Center, begun in 2017, as a joint venture between  the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and the Hamdan Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance in Dubai.

Other countries express differing attitudes regarding gifted children and their education. It’s valuable to explore the various approaches they use to see what works best. Many countries rely mainly on ‘talent development’ when considering how to educate gifted youth with less emphasis on the social-emotional needs of students. These types of programs are often government supported. In some countries which do not support gifted education, gifted organizations provide the sole support for parents and educators of gifted children. They serve as models of innovation and resourcefulness.

Europe has some of the oldest and most established organizations providing resources to students, educators, and parents. Many work in association with universities to provide in-person and online classes for free or low-cost. Europe also has a talent support network (ETSN) that runs centers in multiple countries. It was established with the help of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) in 2015 and has 21 centers in Europe and 4 outside Europe. Several European countries have also partnered with US universities such as Johns Hopkins’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) to provide educational opportunities for gifted children.

Countries in Asia and the South Pacific (ex.: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam) have widely divergent approaches to gifted children and their education. Until very recently, China provided excellent support for gifted education, but this has radically changed this year due to political changes in the country. Vietnam has a vigorous support system for its students. Australia and New Zealand have supports similar to the US. The Philippines is supported by the Philippine Center for Gifted Education. India has numerous government-funded organizations providing gifted education.

Many countries in South America have vibrant gifted organizations supporting GT learners. A good place to access information on South American resources is in Facebook groups. They include groups for both parents and professionals. Academic competitions are an important part of gifted education such as the Children’s Knowledge Olympiad 2022.

Gifted education is widely supported in the Middle East; both by governments and private organizations. In Saudi Arabia, gifted education began in 1968. Gifted programming and services for students began in 1999 with the establishment of Mawhiba and there are now nearly 90 centers for the gifted throughout the country.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children

Potential Plus UK

NACE: National Association for Able Children in Education

NZ Centre for Gifted Education

AAEGT: Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented

International Gifted Consortium

ECHA: European Council for High Ability

CTYI: Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland at Dublin City University

ETSN: European Talent Support Network

Association of Hungarian Talent Support Organizations

“We Want to Be Educated!” A Thematic Analysis of Gifted Students’ Views on Education in Norway

Comparative Experience of Socio-pedagogical Work with Gifted Children in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan (pdf)

Chance for Gifted Kids in Japan to Get a Leg Up in School

Asia-Pacific Federation on Giftedness

The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education

India: Can You Call your Child ‘Gifted’? Check out the Qualifying Criteria AICTE has Come Up With

Australian Gifted and Talented Education: An Analysis of Government Policies (pdf) | Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Jornada Nacional Altas Capacidades México (FB Community)

Ingennios Illuminare (en English)

Mexico: Centro de Atención al Talento

Asociación Altas Capacidades Argentina

Current Status of Gifted Education in Saudi Arabia | Cogent Education

Turkey Gifted and Talented Education, Culture, Health, Superior Foundation and College

World Giftedness Center

Egypt: Al Alfi Foundation

Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation For Distinguished Academic Performance

India: AICTE Announces Good News for Naturally Gifted Students

Here Are Seven African Child Prodigies You Should Know

Schemes and Provisions for Gifted and Talented Students in India (pdf)

Denmark: Gifted Children

Czech Republic: STaN Association of Talent and Giftedness

Saudi Talent Foundation Mawhiba Develops Professional Skills of Educators

Facebook Groups:

SO(bre)S(alientes)

Douance-Communaute Virtuelle de parents et de professionnels

Altas Capacidades Mx

European Talent Support Network

World_Giftedness_Center

Dabrowski International

European Council for High Ability

Journal of Gifted Education and Creativity

Parenting Gifted Kids in Ireland

Mary’s Gifted Contacts

Papis, profes y ninos con Altas Capacidades

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

What Benefits Do National Gifted Organizations Bring to the Table?

There are many different national gifted organizations, but not all have the same purpose. Some are primarily dedicated to education; others exist to meet social-emotional; and several are hybrid models addressing the needs of educators, parents, and students. The best known is the NAGC in the US. PPUK is its counterpart in the UK. The Council for Exceptional Children has a TAG division. The AAGC is another organization located at Duke University. GHF Learners assists gifted homeschoolers. SENG is an organization dedicated to the social-emotional needs of gifted individuals. The Acceleration Institute is located at the Univ. of IA’s Belin-Blank Center. Davidson Institute houses a Young Scholars program. See links in our weekly blog post.

Joining a national organization can provide many benefits to both educators and parents. Many serve as advocates at the national level seeking funding for research and programs such as the Javits’s fund. Being a member at this level can help individuals gain a national perspective and access to niche groups such as 2E, PG, LGBTQ, and homeschoolers. There are many exceptional networking opportunities as well. Membership at the national level provides discounts on educational materials, conferences, and webinars. Most also have regular communications regarding the latest news in gifted education.

Many national organizations have state and regional affiliates which work together sharing resources. State organizations generally work with nationals when conferences are held in their state. National and state organizations often offer dual memberships or discounts on each other’s memberships. The NAGC has an annual conference specifically for leaders in state organizations culminating in advocacy efforts with members of Congress.

National conferences are rich sources of high-quality professional development through sessions and keynotes with leaders in the field as well as access to the latest research in gifted education. All national conferences have areas where books, curriculum, and other materials can be viewed and purchased. Vendors are often present for demonstrations and to answer questions. Networking sessions during the day and in the evening provide ample opportunities for both educators and parents to meet and discuss topics of interest.

National organizations can offer teachers research-based curriculum and teaching strategies through their websites, webinars, and conferences. The NAGC has a dedicated publication, Teaching for High Potential, specifically for educators. Through national organizations, teachers can connect with individuals providing PD for their school districts and speaker bureaus for district-wide events. The NAGC also provides K12 National Standards for GT teachers. Via membership, several national organizations offer professional journals for educators and academics.

National organizations dedicate resources for parents such as parent liaisons, parent specific periodicals and information about mental health resources and professionals. SENG offers SENG Model Parent Groups to guide parents on raising gifted children. GHF also provides online sessions for parents interested in homeschooling. The CEC has dedicated resources for parents of twice-exceptional students.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

NAGC: National Association for Gifted Children

SENG: Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

IEA: Institute for Educational Advancement

Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development

Davidson Institute

GHF Learners

NAGC Member Engagement and Resource Guide

SENG – Why Become a Member

GHF Membership

NAGC State Affiliate Resources

NAGC Expert Speakers Bureau

SENG State Liaisons

NAGC Annual Conference

2022 SENG Online Annual Conference

GHF Gifted Home Education Conference

NAGC Educators

Belin-Blank Educator Programs

Davidson Institute: The Educators Guild

SMPG: SENG Model Parent Groups

NAGC Resources for Parents

Davidson Institute: Free Gifted Resources and Guides

Talking Points

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

What Can State Gifted Organizations Offer Parents and Teachers?

Most, but not all, US states have a state gifted organization. Currently, there are 6 states – AK, DE, NV, RI, SD, and WV with no known organizations or online presence. Without a federal mandate, no state is required to support gifted education. States with strong gifted education policies tend to also have state organizations supporting educators, students, and their parents. If you would like to follow any state organization on Twitter, I have created a list which you can follow here.

State gifted organizations provide resources in the form of information about gifted education, newsletters, professional journals, webinars, and volunteer opportunities. They are a rich source for networking with like-minded stakeholders through conferences, assistance in forming parent groups, and student enrichment/extracurricular activities. Many state organizations offer credited professional development for educators, conference discounts, and scholarships to programs for gifted students.

Networking with others in the gifted community is a prime benefit of attending a state conference. It’s often the first place where parents and educators interact in a cordial setting. State conferences provide an excellent setting for educators to learn from leading voices in gifted education, access the latest literature in the field and even meet the authors, and develop new perspectives. During sessions and keynotes, conference attendees can learn about the latest developments concerning state legislative advocacy efforts and their personal impact.

Local gifted support and advocacy groups are one of the biggest beneficiaries of state gifted organizations. Most of them provide organizing strategies and potential affiliation opportunities. State organizations offer local groups networking opportunities in their region and state-wide as well as advocacy resources. With affiliation, local groups benefit from conference discounts, discounted memberships with national organizations, and access to speakers’ bureaus for local events and meetings.

What resources can state organizations offer teachers? State organizations can be a rich resource for continuing education in the form of professional development credits both online and in-person. This is essential in states requiring yearly PD for certification. Educators can access the latest information regarding best-practices, curriculum, and state regulations through targeted conference sessions, webinars, and PD opportunities at their local schools. State organizations often also provide job and career listings for educators both locally and state-wide.

What resources can state organizations offer parents? State organizations are often a parent’s first and best source about gifted education, opportunities for their children, and information on state regulations and guidelines. Parents can receive information on how to organize support groups from their state gifted organization and networking opportunities with other parents in their area or region.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

State of the States in Gifted Education | NAGC

U.S. State Gifted Organizations | Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Alabama Association for Gifted Children

Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented

California Association for the Gifted

Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education

Colorado Association for the Gifted and Talented

Kentucky Association for Gifted Education

Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted

Wisconsin Association for the Talented and Gifted

Florida Gifted Network

TAGT: Become a Member

AZ – AAGT: Membership

Illinois Association for Gifted Children: Become a Member  

TAGT: Conferences

AL – AAGC: Conference 2022

PAGE: 2022 Annual Conference

TAGT Parent Support Groups

PAGE: Affiliate Chapters

CAGT: Why Choose an Affiliate?

TAGT Professional Development

TAGT Emerging Leaders Program

AZ – AAGT: Teachers

WATG: Parenting

CAG: Parents

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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