Virtual School Meanderings

July 8, 2014

CANeLearn 2014: Ontario Summit – Panel Discussion

Canadian E-Learning Network LogoAs I mentioned in the previous entry, today I am attending the CANeLearn 2014: Ontario Summer Summit here in Toronto, which is thematically entitled “Blended and Online Learning in Canada: State of the Nation.”  I’m continuing to blog the sessions.  So the second session was described as:

Panel Discussion – Emerging Trends in K-12 Blended and Online Learning: A Pan-Canadian View

Join in a lively discussion on State of the Nation of Blended and Online Learning across Canada as panelists engage directly with delegates and wrestle with finding successful strategies to support blended and online learning approaches in classroom and school programs across the country. Provide direct input into how the Canadian eLearning Network (, a pan-Canadian national organization, can help support your efforts in your own classroom, school, program, region, and province.

Check out the latest information from the State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada publication and report prior to joining in with the panel (

Discussion Format:

  • Panelists will provide brief opening remarks of 3-5 minutes on emerging trends in their programs.
  • Moderators will invite questions and comments from the audience. Please keep your remarks brief. If you can’t say it in under a minute, folks will likely tune you out.
  • We will curate the conversation on the back channel (Twitter hashtag #canelearn) and bring it into the live discussion (BYOD).
  • Panelists may also ask questions of the audience.
  • Audience members may add to the discussion with their own successes, issues, and insights.

The session is not intended to be a panel of experts presenting their ideas with a chance for audience questions. It is a planned and structured dialogue. Much of which will flow to the afternoon workshop session for further discussion, and to foyer and lunchtime conversations that are a key part of this networking event.

Tuesday’s panel dialogue is an opportunity to try to make Blended and Online Learning “real” and share openly the risks, challenges, and problems associated with developing flexible learning practices in a manner that augments good teaching, fosters greater learning, and leverages today’s tools for tomorrow’s leaders.

Tuesday’s keynote and panel are intended to inform our emerging national network and help us to leverage a national voice to support our work in our provinces, regions, schools and classrooms.

The panelists included:

The session began with a 3-5 minute introduction and background to each of the individuals, their programs, and the challenges they are facing in their own jurisdictions.  I didn’t take notes from each, but you can go and look at each of the programs following the links above.

After the introductions, we had some of questions from the audience.  The first focused on measuring the effectiveness of K-12 online learning – both in terms of success/completion and retention.  I use the term success/completion because most of the panelists that did respond defined success rate the same as completion rate – and a completion was considered a passing grade.

This transitioned to a question/discussion about the under-representation of learning disabled students in K-12 online learning and the fact that many of the non-completers or non-retainers are likely these kinds of students, the question focused more on what programs are doing to address the needs of these students.  This naturally led into some of the specific supports that online programs are providing, with several of the panelists indicating things that they do with their individual populations.  This also occurred at the same time a brief discussion about “best practices” occurred on Twitter – to which I contributed that the idea of best practices were a myth, as education is so individual and contextual (and I think that the variety of approaches each of the panelists described to supporting students speaks to this notion that there aren’t a specific set of “best practices”).




CANeLearn 2014: Ontario Summit – What’s The Future Look Like Now That We Are All Online Learners? How Did We Get Here And Where Are We Going?

Canadian E-Learning Network LogoSo today I am attending the CANeLearn 2014: Ontario Summer Summit here in Toronto, which is thematically entitled “Blended and Online Learning in Canada: State of the Nation.” As this is a K-12 online learning event, I want to blog the session (as is my pattern). So the first session was described as:

Opening Keynote
Dr. Bill Muirhead, Associate Provost UOIT

What’s The Future Look Like Now That We Are All Online Learners? How Did We Get Here And Where Are We Going?

The talk will examine the questions that arise both from the history of online learning to the current practices within the k-12 sector. Bill will draw parallels between online learning within the higher education sector with that of K-12, while providing a vision of the many possible futures for learning in the 21st century.

Bill began his talk by talking about his own background in educational technology, and specifically K-12 online learning.  For those that are interested in his scholarship, check him out on Google Scholar.

He then said that he was going to ask, contextualize, and discuss a series of questions that folks in our positions need to figure out.  The questions that he asked of us was:

  • What is the role of information and communication technology in supporting and/or informing a vision for learning?
  • Has the K-12 schooling system changed profoundly or superficially?
  • The power of language to define our reality – do we talk about students, children, learners, young learner, adolescent learner, delayed adulthood learner, adult learner, dependent learner, independent learner, school socialization, family socialization?  How does this change in online learning?
  • Online schooling vs. face-to-face schooling – Why do we speak of these as opposites vs. a continuum?
  • What is “content” for learning and how has it changed?
  • Is online learning for the rich? BYOD vs. school provided devices; Internet at home – at school – everyone; mobility for all, some of for the few?
  • What is interaction?  What has changed in schools or shall I say learning settings?
  • Returning to a vision for online learning…  what has changed and what has remained the same?
  • What do we do now that everyone is learning online?

I didn’t take comprehensive notes on what Bill said about each of these questions, but it was a fascinating listen…

July 7, 2014

Reminder: CANeLearn Invitation to July 8 Ontario Summit

A reminder of this event occurring tomorrow…

Greetings colleagues.  Apologies for any cross-postings, and please forward this email as appropriate.
I am writing to let you know about upcoming Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) events to be held the week of July 7-9, 2014 in Toronto.  Registration is free onsite, but limited.
The main event is on Tuesday, July 8 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (Eastern) at York University (Toronto Keele campus).  The morning features a keynote presentation from Dr. Bill Muirhead, UOIT, and a cross-Canada panel dialogue with leaders from BC to NS.  More details will follow on the panel soon.  The afternoon will feature a collaborative discussion and action plan for CANeLearn to take based on issues raised at the morning session.  See or the attached PDF for more details.
There will be CANeLearn events and meetings the day before and after to be held at the Sandman Signature Toronto Airport Hotel (near Pearson Airport):
  • Monday, July 7 from 3-6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 9 from 8:30 – 11:30 am
There will also be a “Tweet Up” (hashtag #CANeLearn) from 7-8:00 pm on Monday night before the Tuesday’s event.
Registration information for the July events are available at:
We are launching the first online AGM of the organization on September 16.  Sign up to stay in the loop and learn more about CANeLearn initiatives and membership:
For further information about the Canadian eLearning Network please contact Randy LaBonte, A/Executive Director of CANeLearn ( by cell: 250-701-7485, email: or Twitter: @rlabonte
We hope to see you this summer, or at a future networking event.


R. LaBonte
A/Executive Director
Canadian eLearning Network

June 16, 2014

[Lists] New Features Page

Also from Friday’s inbox…  For my British Columbia readers…

To reflect the updated courses we have created.
Check out our new Features Page for the Communications 11 and Communications 12 courses we offer.

Michael Cochrane
Educational Services Support Manager
Open School BC<>
Education Resources and Services
Ministry of Education

Lists mailing list

June 11, 2014

LearnNowBC Educator eBulletin – June 2014

Also from yesterday’s inbox…

Having trouble reading this email? View the Web version here. 

LearnNowBC Educator eBulletin - June 2014
June 2014

Dear Educator:

Thanks again for subscribing to our Educator eBulletin.

Here’s the latest for June 2014:


New! Graduation Checklist
  We’re excited to announce the release of the new LearnNowBC Graduation Checklist (Student Account Required).The Grad Checklist was designed in collaboration with BC teachers and academic advisors as a simple way for students to record what credit courses they’ve taken, and to see how many credits they still need to achieve their BC Dogwood Diploma.

Students will full-access LearnNowBC Student Accounts can quickly record their Grade 10, 11 and 12 Required and Elective Courses and get an instant calculation of their earned credits.

Students can print or download a PDF version of their checklist to share with their parents and academic or career counsellors.
Students can login and check out the LearnNowBC Graduation Checklist here.

Canada Day Tutoring Schedule

Tuesday, July 1
st is Canada Day and the LearnNowBC Live tutors will be offline. They will be back on Wednesday, July 2nd at 6pm.

Annual Collaborate Recording Cleanup

With thousands of Collaborate sessions and recordings each year, we need to keep things tidy.

On July 31st 2014 we’ll be removing all Collaborate recordings made before August 30th, 2013.
Any recordings made during the 2013/2014 school year (September 1st 2013 onward) will not be affected.

If there are recordings that you don’t want to lose, there is a great way to save them for later use: Blackboard Publish.

To find your recordings on LearnNowBC:

  • Log in with your username and password
  • Navigate to the My Calendar page
  • Click on the My Recordings tab
    When you’re on the Recordings tab, you can choose to view the type of Meeting (Single or Long-Term), and so on.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we’re here to help.
The LearnNowBC Support Desk is available Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30 by phone or email (

DPA End-of-Year Prep
The end is nigh: only a couple weeks remain in the 2013/2014 school year. There are a few students who have left tracking their DPA to the last minute and we’ve compiled a couple tips for educators to help students get on track:

  • Forgotten login information
    Requests for usernames and password resets are the number one topic from students on the LearnNowBC Support Desk.

    • Students can retrieve their username by clicking on the “Forgot Username” button on the Login screen.
      (students must enter the email address they used when creating the account)
    • Students can reset their password by clicking the “Forgot Password” button on the Login screen.
    • If their of those options fail, students can get assistance by contacting the Support Desk with their full legal name and birth date.
  • Student DPA tutorials
    We’ve put together seven DPA tutorial videos for students covering creating their first DPA log, to tracking repeating activities. They can all be found on the LearnNowBC YouTube channel.


Exam Stress Relief: LearnNowBC Tutoring

LearnNowBC offers free online tutoring to ALL students in BC.
As exam season looms, you are encouraged to remind your students that LearnNowBC’s free online tutoring is a great way to prepare for exams.

Live Tutor provides students with an opportunity to work with a tutor online, and it’s a great way for students to get extra one-on-one help with difficult concepts.

  • 20 minute, one-on-one sessions with a live tutor
  • Available Sun-Thurs, 6-10pm

Success Checker contains a host of online quizzes that can show a student where they’re strongest and which parts of a course they still need to work on.

  • Online assessments with personalized results and study guides
  • Available 24/7, 365 days/year

ChargedUP for Math, Science & English contains a wide selection of complete courses delivered via streaming video.

  • Streaming video lessons, delivered by BC teachers
  • Available 24/7, 365 days/year

ELL Live Tutoring gives students an opportunity to work with an English coach to help non-native speakers improve their comprehension and conversation skills.

  • One-on-one English language tutoring
  • Available Sun-Thurs, 6-10pm


Text2Reader: Back Issues

The next issue of Text2Reader is due out in September.
If your school or district subscribes to Text2Reader, don’t forget that you have complete access to all current and past issues as well.
If you’re not a subscriber, click here for more information on Text2Reader and to check out a complete free sample.



The LearnNowBC Team

© 2012 SD73BC.  | Support
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