Virtual School Meanderings

September 19, 2014

CEM T-13: More Contests, Tech & Learning/Google, ISTE/SIIA, Adobe, BrainPop, Triumph, More…

This showed up in m inbox yesterday – and since today is an early rise for a travel day – I’ll post it now.

I should note that the first year this occurred it was pushed heavily by the digital learning folks.  But this year I don’t see them mentioning it much at all…

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Greetings Connected Educator Leaders & Supporters–

There are now just 13 days until the start of this year’s Connected Educator Month (can you feel it coming?) and a lot of great new groups can’t wait and are getting in on the action early…

Adobe Youth Voices: Create Change Course
Sept 21-Nov 30.  CEM sponsor Adobe’s run of CEM events continues with an online course designed to prepare educators to lead youth media making for creative skill development and social change.

Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) is the Adobe Foundation’s signature global initiative to increase creativity in education. To date, AYV programs are active in over 55 countries, impacting 190,000 youth worldwide.  In sync with CEM’s Student Agency, Student Voice theme, for the first time this online course will make available to educators and the general public all of the key elements of this successful program…

PS For who missed Scratch creator Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab’s special event for Adobe yesterday, you can get the archive here.

Get More Involved For 2014
There are so many ways to get involved with Connected Educator Month in 2014. We’ve put together a “best of” list for organizations and individual supporters. Whether you only want to send out a couple tweets or perhaps would like to own a bigger piece of the pie, there’s a way for you to get involved.

This Week’s Crowdfunding Contest–Final Hours
Our efforts to work with you to support connected education year-round continue via our inaugural crowdfunding campaign.  Get two donations of any size to the campaign by midnight tonight (Sept 18) for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a new contest that’s even better–that’s how important we think it is that we master this powerful new tool connected educators are uniquely qualified to wield–and the sooner you join, the more chances you’ll have to win! (for more details about the campaign) (direct link to join or start a team–click the Help Fundraise button to start)

AFT/TES Constitution Contest: Trip To Montpelier
Sept 17-Nov 4.  We told you yesterday about their PD contest, but Share My Lesson, the partnership between the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Times Educational Supplement (TES) actually has another great contest running through CEM in celebration of Constitution Week (Sept 17-23).Create and upload a lesson plan on the Constitution to Share My Lesson and you could win an all-expenses paid trip to Montpelier, the home of James Madison, father of the US Constitution!

Tech & Learning/Google: Empowering Students With Project-Based Learning
1:00 PM ET, Sept 24.  Empowering Students With Project-Based Learning and Google Tablets.  Tech & Learning Magazine and Google For Education join forces for an inspiring webinar on how a New York school is using tablets with their local community to improve their regions trails, reduce water pollution, and more… (registration)

Triumph Learning: Redefining Fair
3:00 PM ET, Sept 22Differentiation, Assessment & Grading: Redefining FairGates grantee Triumph Learning makes its CEM debut in collaboration with edWeb on a discussion led by Plan-Teach-Assess’s Damian Cooper that invites educators to rethink how we need to redefine our understanding of “fairness” and “excellence” in 21st century schools. (registration)

ISTE/SIIA: What Games Do Well In School?
4:00 PM ET, Sept 22 What Games Do Well In School?  The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), ISTE’s Games & Simulations Network (GSN) and Virtual Environments Network (VEN), Filament Games and edWeb come together for a discussion led by Filament Games CEO Lee Wilson focused on answering the two core questions educators face when integrating games into curriculum: WHAT aspects of classroom practice are games especially well-suited for and WHEN should they be used? (registration)

BrainPop/The LAMP: Media Literacy With The LAMP
4:00 PM ET, Sept 22 Media Literacy With The LAMP.  The LAMP (Learning About Media Project) teaches students throughout New York City how to access, analyze, and create media. In conjunction with CEM’s Student Agency, Student Voice theme, BrainPOP’s Andrew Gardner and The LAMPs Alan Berry explore the importance of teaching students to think critically about media, highlighting the free teaching resources The LAMP offers as well as its vast library of student-produced videos…

To get regular updates on all the latest CEM developments subscribe to our blog, sign up for the CEM newsletter, or check in with Connected Educator Radio. For more information on CEM, see our reports on the 2012 and 2013 events, and/or this post by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan…

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September 18, 2014

Plugged In | 09.18.14 | (powered by iNACOL)

A final word from the neo-liberals…

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International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

powered by iNACOL…

Getting Smart
Calling all designers! The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) has launched the My School Info Design Challenge (#SchoolInfo), a competition to reimagine school report cards. The design challenge stems from research published…
Blend My Learning
In 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak of Everest. They were the first to successfully climb the mountain and return. Almost 30 years earlier, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine perished near the top of that same peak, and controversy…
Christensen Institute
In a September 10, 2014 op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, I write about how course access policies offer new horizons to students. In particular, I explore how Michigan implemented course access to expand online learning opportunities for students…
One of the most intimidating aspects of infusing technology into curriculum is that educators often believe that they will have to master and then teach their students to use new technology tools before assigning a project. These concerns are…
One of the keys to the early success of our competency education model at Sanborn Regional High School has been the inclusion of a flexible grouping period that is built into our daily bell schedule. For the past four years, our Freshman Learning…
Korea Herald
With the flow of high-tech gadgets into education, many thought that e-readers are on track to replace paper textbooks completely. This appeared to be the thinking behind the comments of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan when he said, “Over the…
The Hechinger Report
A new generation of educational games is harnessing students’ love of video games and turning them into voracious learners – without them even realizing it. That’s the promise, anyway. Unlike previous educational games that functioned like glorified…
As schools swing back into session, stories of mismanaged 1-to-1 computing initiatives in schools are filling the news – and unsurprisingly so in many cases, as I wrote back in 2011. But there are plenty of good “edtech” stories, too, worth highlighting. In almost…
It’s hard to talk about “Digital Learning Portfolios” without really knowing what they are. At the Dreamyard Project, a collaboration between the Bronx’s Dreamyard Preparatory School and the Parsons New School of Design, this illustration below is what we…
Next Generation Learning Challenges
Technology is already integral to students’ higher education experience, but is it a natural enabler of student success? In this post, I share what I learned from my NGLC-related research about how an innovation enabled by technology fits with best…
One of the hopes with Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is that they give anyone around the world access to great teachers. But high profile experiments with MOOCs at the university level show that students from underprivileged groups tend…
2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium


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New to Online: Workshops for Online Teaching

And another item from Tuesday’s inbox…

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New to Online Workshops


6 Ways to Improve Fundamental Teaching Skills


Back to school time can be “back to you” time. This fall, the OLC institute is offering 6 New to Online workshops with topics that range from the essentials of online learning to presentation tools and effective feedback strategies.

Aristotle said: “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” Invest in yourself and develop fundamental skills to help you more deeply understand the topics you teach your students.

Best Regards,


P.S. Join us onsite or virtually in celebrating 20 years of online learning at the 20th Annual Online Learning Consortium International ConferenceOctober 29-31, 2014 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sandra Coswatte | Director, Institute for Learning

Online Learning Consortium

Empowering Educators Everywhere                                                                                                                    

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Online Learning Consortium | P.O. Box 1238 | Newburyport | MA | 01950

Cultivate Effective Leadership — McREL e-News September 2014

From Tuesday’s inbox…

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September 2014

Research Roundup

Advancing the Success of Boys and Men of Color in Education: Recommendations for Policymakers  

Collective Policy Statement from seven university-based research centers

This report, produced by seven university-based research centers that co-investigated the educational experiences of boys and men of color, makes 15 recommendations for preK-12 and postsecondary solutions to addressing lagging academic performance in minority groups.

Why Flunking Exams Is Actually a Good Thing

The New York Times


This article from The New York Times examines the results of a recent study out of U.C.L.A. that examined how pretesting improves retention of information. Using multiple-choice tests that asked questions both related and unrelated to the material being taught, students took a pretest at the beginning of a course, and were supplied with the correct answers promptly after taking the test. On the cumulative final exam, students averaged a 10% higher score on questions related to the material taught in the class.

Principals Aren’t Tapping Teacher-Effectiveness Data, Says Study

Education Week
This article examines the results of a study out of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, which identified barriers to the use of teacher-effectiveness data in human resources decisions: access to the data; lack of availability of value-added measures during decision-making process; lack of understanding of the statistical models used in evaluation systems; and absence of training in how to use the data.

In the Field

McREL’s new teacher evaluation system approved for use in New York


McREL International is pleased to announce that the New York State Education Department recently approved McREL’s CUES Teacher Evaluation system for use by schools and districts in New York. The CUES system and McREL’s Principal Evaluation system, which was previously approved for use, now appear on the state’s Teacher and Principal Practice Rubrics approved list, which can be found here.

NAESP and McREL join forces to augment principal mentoring and development


To help elementary and middle school principals be successful 21st century leaders, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and McREL International are introducing elements of McREL’s Balanced Leadership® program to NAESP’s nationally certified principal mentors to create an advanced principal mentor training program.


In the Advanced Mentor Training in Balanced Leadership, NAESP’s nationally certified principal mentors will deepen their understanding of McREL’s Balanced Leadership research applied to practice. They will use this training to provide targeted support for the development and growth of leadership skills to their protégés.
Advanced Mentor Training in Balanced Leadership will coincide with NAESP’s national Leadership Immersion Institute, January 22-24, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Click here for more information and registration for this event.


Read our press release here.

McREL blog: Student success is influenced by district leadership


In a recent blog post, CEO and President Tim Waters weighs in on a recent report from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy, which looked at whether superintendents affect student achievement within their districts. Their findings run counter to our own research on the same subject, but there were fundamental differences in methodology between the two studies, as Dr. Waters explains. “We discovered positive relationships between key, specific practices of superintendents-and, perhaps more importantly, their leadership teams-and higher average measures of district-level achievement,” he writes. Read the blog post here.

McREL blog: Some schools say no to homework: Is that a good idea?


In our latest blog post, Chief Program Officer Howard Pitler offers four tips for teachers that align with research on homework when developing homework policies. He also discusses how heavily homework should weigh on a student’s cumulative grade, asking, “Considering that teachers really can’t know who actually completes homework assignments, is it good practice to allow homework to potentially account for up to half of a student’s grade?” Read the blog post here.

Events & Opportunities

Webinar: The Essentials of a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS)


Join us on October 15 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Mountain, for the first in a series of four free 30-minute webinars outlining the essential steps for implementing an MTSS to engage all students toward college- and career-readiness. Future webinars in the series: MTSS Team Structures on December 16; MTSS Data Processes on February 4; and MTSS Standard-driven and Evidence-based Instruction and Intervention on February 25. Register here for the first session.

Denver: District-level Leadership Institute


Take your leadership to the next level and make a greater impact on the success of the students and staff in your district. McREL’s District-level Leadership Institute, being held October 20-22 in Denver, offers the latest research and most effective strategies for successfully initiating and managing short- and long-term improvement and innovation in your system:

  • Day 1: Connecting School and District Leadership through the Balanced Leadership® Framework
  • Day 2: Evaluation Systems for Superintendent and Central Office Instructional Staff
  • Day 3: Leadership Coaching and Mentoring
This is a free event for superintendents and other district-level leaders. Attendees will be responsible for their own travel and lodging. Space is limited to 40 participants; RSVP required. Register here.

McREL in the News

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) Public School System wishes McREL CEO a happy retirement 


An article in Marianas Variety describes a surprise greeting from CNMI Education Commissioner Rita Sablan and her staff, who thanked Tim Waters, McREL’s CEO who will retire at the end of September, for all the help that McREL has given to the school system. “McREL International has helped the islands’ public schools by making sure teachers and education leaders have access to professional development training,” she said.

Penns Valley School District (Pennsylvania) uses 12 Touchstones as study guide for teachers


On September 1, the Centre Daily Times in State College, Penn., ran a back-to-school story about local districts, in which superintendent Brian Griffith of Penns Valley School District in Spring Mills mentioned that his district has been using The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching (Goodwin, Hubbell) as a teacher study guide to prepare for the school year, in order to be “demanding, supportive, and intentional.”
In This Issue

Featured Content

Bryan Goodwin explores curiosity in ASCD’s latest Educational Leadership Research Says column


Bryan Goodwin observes, “We probably owe most conveniences of modern life to someone’s curiosity,” in his latest column, “Curiosity Is Fleeting, but Teachable,” in ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine, in which he explores the role of curiosity in learning. Read the article here.
Blogger Michael Ebeling posted a thoughtful response to Goodwin’s article on his blog. Read his response here.

Connect with Us on Social Media


For the latest in professional development opportunities, education news, research, and McREL employment opportunities, follow us on our social media channels.


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[CNIE-L] Ateliers du REFAD – Automne 2014

One for my Francophone readers from Tuesday’s inbox…

Ateliers de perfectionnement du REFAD de novembre et décembre 2014

Pour la fin de l’année 2014, le Réseau d’enseignement francophone à distance du Canada (REFAD; offre trois ateliers de perfectionnement en éducation à distance. Ces ateliers sont destinés aux enseignants du secondaire et du postsecondaire, aux administrateurs et aux personnes-ressources (tuteurs, conseillers, techniciens, etc). LE NOMBRE DE SITES ET DE PARTICIPANT(E)S ÉTANT LIMITÉ, NOUS ACCEPTONS UNIQUEMENT LES INSCRIPTIONS DE GROUPE. LA PRIORITÉ SERA DONNÉE AUX MEMBRES DU REFAD.

Les tarifs sont de 150 $ par site pour les membres du REFAD et de 195 $ par site pour les non-membres. Pour obtenir de plus amples informations ou pour vous inscrire: REFAD, Téléphone: (514) 284-9109, Courriel:


Si le nombre d’inscriptions s’avère insuffisant pour un atelier en particulier, cet atelier sera annulé. Ces ateliers sont rendus possibles grâce à un financement du ministère du Patrimoine canadien et du Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes du Québec (SAIC).

Offert par audioconférence appuyée par Internet par François Dallaire (Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition féminine / CDÉACF)


Dans cet atelier, nous vous présenterons quelques gratuiciels et logiciels de montage et de conversion vidéo, utilisés ou testés par le CDÉACF, pour la création, le montage et la diffusion de vidéos pédagogiques. Nous donnerons des exemples précis et concrets de possibilités d’utilisation de la vidéo comme outil pédagogique  pour différents niveaux d’enseignement (secondaire, collégial et universitaire). Nous verrons aussi les caractéristiques des principales plateformes de diffusion des vidéos pédagogiques sur le Web.

Offert par audioconférence appuyée par Internet par Carl Rocray (Université du Québec à Rimouski)

Cet atelier vise à informer et à outiller les participants quant au potentiel à la fois distractif et pertinent des technologies utilisées en classe et à distance par les étudiants. Si l’utilisation pertinente des technologies est déjà difficile en classe, elle l’est encore davantage dans un contexte de formation à distance où l’apprenant doit faire preuve de discipline personnelle pour résister à la tentation de jeter un «dernier» coup d’œil à son profil Facebook avant de commencer à travailler… Il en va de même dans le cadre de cours hybrides où les étudiants reviennent en classe avec leur portable, tablette et téléphone intelligent.



Offert par audioconférence appuyée par Internet par Christine Vaufrey (Thot Cursus)


Cet atelier d’échange et de formation aura pour objectif  de présenter différentes techniques et activités de renforcement de la mémorisation et de la compréhension utilisables en ligne, dans le cadre de cours autoportés ; d’identifier les avantages et limites de ces techniques et activités ; de présenter quelques outils permettant de concevoir les supports et activités de renforcement des apprentissages (les outils graphiques et visuels seront privilégiés); et d’échanger avec les participants sur leurs propres stratégies de renforcement des apprentissages dans les cours autoportés. Pour réaliser cette intervention, la formatrice s’appuiera sur son expérience significative de conception de MOOCs et autres produits de formation en ligne utilisables de manière autonome, ainsi que sur les enseignements d’une veille systématique sur le sujet.


C.P. 47542
Comptoir postal Plateau Mont-Royal
Montréal (Québec) H2H 2S8
Téléphone : (514) 284-9109
Télécopieur : (514) 284-9363
Courriel :
Site Web :
– Étude sur le droit d’auteur en formation à distance
– Webographie de la FAD
– Guide sur la socialisation en formation à distance


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