Best practices in teaching K-12 online: Lessons learned from Michigan Virtual School teachers

Meredith DiPietro
Richard E. Ferdig
Erik W. Black
Megan Preston
University of Florida, Gainesville


Virtual schools are rising in popularity and presence. Unfortunately, there is a relative dearth of research related to teaching and learning in virtual schools. Although there are numerous handbooks addressing teaching online, there is little research on successful online teaching in the K-12 arena. Much of the existing research focused on teaching online is rooted in face-to-face content, not focused on content areas, built upon a post-secondary audience, or fails to use data from the teachers themselves to triangulate findings. This article reports on a study of 16 virtual school teachers from the Michigan Virtual School (MVS). It reports on best-practices from the interviews conducted with MVS teachers; and also provides research triangulation for those practices. The paper concludes with implications for policy, research, and practice.

About the Author(s)...

Meredith DiPietro is a doctoral candidate in Educational Technology at the University of Florida. Her research incorporates theories of psychology and pedagogy to investigate the integration of digital technologies into online and off-line educational environments. She has extensive experience working with virtual schools and is currently researching the pedagogy of virtual school teachers. She may be contacted This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Richard E. Ferdig’s research centers on combining cutting-edge technology with current pedagogic theory to create innovative learning environments. Dr. Ferdig is an associate professor in Educational Technology at the University of Florida, where he co-directs the EdTech Online Program.

Erik W. Black is a doctoral fellow and candidate in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. His research blends contemporary psychological and educational theory in the analysis of data derived from virtual and technology-rich environments.

Megan Preston is a elementary education major in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. She has experience working with virtual school to explore the instructional practices of virtual school teachers.

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