Online Tools  for Teachers of  Gifted Students



Theresa Monaco, Ph.D.









Theresa Monaco

Theresa Monaco is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Center for Gifted and Talented Education at the University of Houston. Her homepage URL is  She has authored:

Monaco, T. (Ed.) 2nd Edition (2002) Biographical Directory of Leaders in Gifted

Education. ISBN# 0-89824-434-X
Monaco, T. (Ed.) (1999) Gifted Program Evaluation: Ensuring Equity and

Excellence. ISBN# 0-88092-240-0








Delivery Format

This is an online course presented with a live chat room complemented with a web enhanced asynchronous environment on message boards, allowing participants to engage at their own convenience from home or school.  Since the complete course is contained in a format to accommodate the teacher’s work and home schedule, class participants  commit to complete the course activates by the university due date. .


Class Requirements

The class space will be open a few days prior to start of course with reading material and space for experimentation with the tools. Participants are encouraged to visit the site during this time to familiarize themselves with the environment.


The delivery site is  Merging the standards of curriculum instructional strategies and the tools available in WebCT/VISTA technology is an exciting process.  Curriculum is critical to the content area of any subject.  Technology allows for innovative ways of delivering curriculum. The use of control panel and course menu of WebCT/VISTA follows:


Control PanelSkip Control Panel
Visible to Designers
 Add Page or Toolß AND/OR DESIGNER
 Manage Filesß       AND/OR DESIGNER
 Manage Courseß       AND/OR DESIGNER
 Change Settingsß        AND/OR DESIGNER
 Content Assistantß         AND/OR DESIGNER

Course Menu

 Syllabusß Consists of Course Information, Conceptual Framework, Course Objectives—correlated to state’s standards, Course Requirements, Class Content, Class Attendance—participation on discussion board, Student Evaluation—the activities and the grade value, and a Grading Scale.
 CD-ROMß Barbara Clark has given us permission to use a 60-minute videotape of an overview of the textbook. 

*** Control Panel is not visible for student, only for faculty login.


Homepage ß Includes links to all of the class information



The Homepage serves as a guidepost to link resources that support the course objectives. When previously learned information needs refreshing, a glossary is available in every class to refresh memory. The Texas State Plan is available to check school district and school building compliance with state requirement for exemplary status. Links are also available to check the latest research on Education Resources Information Centers (ERIC,) among others.










Class Page

Each class outlines the required readings, advocacy reports, a power-point presentation to outline the class content, audio and video clips, a discussion board correlated to each class, a Sunday afternoon chat room with topics that review each class’s content, and selected readings with the option for class participants to select their own class topic related selected reading.  Also provided is the option of doing a class related fun activity. Class topic content is supported by interactions on the class discussion boards. Class participants may debrief, get and give personal feedback, give suggestions for course improvement and share their personal reactions to class topics. 






Discussionsß Students turn in their weekly class assignments in the designated “box”--where I post graded work as they come in, students also have to complete a personal professional biography.  Recently, the students have requested to add their photographs to this personal biography.  


Discussion Board

“This was a long and important chapter discussing the how of educating gifted students. Several models of differentiation are listed—Kaplan’s grid, Bloom’s cognitive and affective taxonomies, and Renzulli’s Enrichment Triad Model to name a few. Optimizing learning is the main focus of the chapter. Seven important steps for optimization are listed. The first two are discussed at great length in the chapter’s remaining 65 pages. The other steps are subjects for later chapters in the book. The steps are: create a responsive learning environment, integrate the intellectual processes during instruction, differentiate the content, assess the learner’s knowledge/understanding/interest, individualize instruction, evaluate learning and teaching, and reflect on/revise the process (p. 326). The parts of the chapter that interested me the most were the exercises for promoting a responsive social-emotional learning environment (pp. 331-334), the suggestions for integrating visual and verbal thought processes (pp. 341-344), and all the information about intuition (pp. 365-373). New and interesting for me were the three types of intuition: rational, predictive, and transformational.” – Brekka Larrew


E-Mailß The primary source of contact, “personal”—as opposed to the discussion board, this is where students put in their private thoughts that they would like to share with either me or another class participant



The e-mail tool is used to update class participants with current events and to give private feedback about grades.



Chatß Bi-Weekly meetings where the students, guest speakers and myself interact on a given topic.  This is always recorded, and posted on the Discussion Board.

White Boardß Functions like a chalk board, teachers and students are able to write and draw in order to get points across









Calendarß Students use this to find out when assignments are due, and when exams will be posted, etc. 



The calendar serves as a timeline for the course. It alerts the class participants to due dates, class content to be covered on the mid-term and final as well as requirements for special projects. Since this is not a course in using technology, learning to click on the “the little blue date” is sometimes a learning experience for some class participants.






Fun Activitiesß Substitute Content Activity for students who are unable to attend bi-weekly chat meetings


Fun Activities

The fun activity has become a popular alternative to the chat room. Some class participants choose to do this activity instead of participating in the one hour bi-weekly Sunday chat room. They always have the option of reading the chat room conversation at their own leisure.  The chat room/whiteboard conversation is posted each week. Since the whiteboard allows the identification of the research under discussion. Each class participant is credited with the comments made. For example, if we are discussing  Joe Renzuli’s triad model, the title of his research is placed on the whiteboard with class participants comments noted (Class participant’s name and the year.)This gives the class participant credit for his statement and also teaches paraphrasing.




Exemplary Productsß used to show students products from previous classes—to help them have a better understanding of what is being asked of them.


Exemplary Products

Exemplary products are used as rubrics. Frequently asked questions can be answered by looking at a product produced by former students.  For example, since every advanced course requires a publishable manuscript class participants are required to turn in the selected journal’s publication guidelines. The answers to often asked questions like length of paper, use of references, and typing font are referred to the selected journal. Projects produced by former students like published manuscripts or power point presentations can be used as a guide for self-evaluation.  All student products are available for public viewing, but grades are kept private.