Virtual School Meanderings

July 29, 2016

News from the NEPC: Renowned Scholars Examine Effective, Equitable School Reforms in New NEPC Book

From yesterday’s inbox…

Reforms grounded in research can move the nation forward under ESSA.
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Renowned Scholars Examine Effective, Equitable School Reforms in New NEPC Book

Key Takeaway: Reforms grounded in research can move the nation forward under ESSA.
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Press Release:


BOULDER, CO (July 28, 2016) – With chapters written by a who’s who of the educational research world—a collection of authors that Larry Cuban describes as “a cast of all-star scholars” and Gloria Ladson-Billings calls “some of the nation’s best minds”—the National Education Policy Center released its latest book:“Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA.” Editors William Mathis and Tina Trujillo brought these researchers together to create a critique of recent reforms followed by a series of proven, research-based reform strategies.

With states now finalizing their improvement plans for the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA), the book provides a timely guide for policymakers and practitioners.

Front coverPointing to the need to move beyond the discredited test-based, discipline-and-punish mentality, David Kirp says the volume makes a clear and convincing case for a genuine reform agenda. “It’s a must-read for anyone concerned about the quality of American education.”

Pedro Noguera adds, “This book points to what we must do differently if we are to succeed in providing all children an education that will prepare them for life in the 21st Century.”

Throughout the book, scholars such as David Berliner, Gary Orfield, Mike Rose, Janelle Scott, Richard Rothstein, and Angela Valenzuela remind us that reform requires us to address the root causes of inequities within schools and beyond the school walls, closing opportunity gaps wherever they arise. We must address deprivation, poverty, racism and the inadequate and unequal distribution of resources.

Among the federally promoted reforms examined in the book are school choice, testing, teacher evaluation and school reconstitution. Other chapters look at the research around class size, early education, adequate and equitable funding, community involvement, and detracking.

back cover
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In its foreword, Jeannie Oakes praises the book as a tool for closing the gap between research knowledge and education policy decisions: “We must marry the best empirical evidence with efforts to shift cultural norms and increase the political power of those who are seen as the beneficiaries of research-based reforms.  We must convince our communities, large and small, of the relationship between having better facts and being better people.  . . . [W]e have this book to help.”

The book is available from Information Age Publishing here and from major booksellers.

EARLY ORDER SAVINGS – You can purchase the book on the IAP website at a substantially reduced price of $30 per paperback or $70 per hardcover plus s/h. The code to use at checkout is LFMBR30350.

The book will also be available as an eBook within the next 90 days from Google, Apple, and over 25 other online outlets.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Copyright © 2016 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

LRN – MB Daily: Headlines and Analysts’ Updates for 7/28/2016

The MarketBeat update for K12, Inc. from yesterday… Daily Update: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades & New Coverage Facebook  Twitter  StockTwits
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FLANZ Newsletter July

One for my Kiwi readers…

FLANZ Newsletter July 2016
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July 2016

FLANZ Newsletter

DEANZ 2016 Conference Proceedings

The Proceedings from this year’s conference are available online. With around 250 pages of accumulated wisdom from NZ and international presenters you are guaranteed to find something of interest and something of immediate practical use. Go to:

Be the next to host a FLANZ Conference

The biennial FLANZ conference showcases best practice and theory in the broad field of open, distance, flexible and mobile learning across all aspects of the education sector including the compulsory, tertiary, and professional development settings.

If you host the conference ….
…as well as supporting OFDL in New Zealand, your organisation will benefit from the prestige attached to organising and hosting New Zealand’s premier OFLD conference.

Expressions of interest should be sent to the FLANZ Administrator and must be received by Monday 26 September

Contact Elaine Khoo for informal discussion or advice in advance of submission

Conversation with Dianne Forbes

In another conference follow-up, a FLANZ Conversation with Dianne Forbes was held on June 15.
Dianne talked about challenges and highlights for students in Waikato’s MMP teacher education programme, and shared reflections on how teaching online has enabled her to work flexibly around family, research, administration and service responsibilities.

The Conversation evolved from there with interesting contributions from participants.

The Conversation was recorded for members not able to attend. Find the recording at:

VLN Primary School in Awards Final

The VLN Primary School (headed by FLANZ Exec member Rachel Whalley) is a finalist in the “Diversity and Digital Skills section of the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards hosted by auDA and InternetNZ.

Best wishes from FLANZ!

ODLAA Conference 2017

Running with the themes of Openness, Community and Innovation, the 2017 ODLAA conference will be held in Melbourne from 5 – 7 February. The call for papers and timeline for submissions can be seen on the ODLAA conference website. The deadline for abstracts is August 15. Get one in today.

A report worth reading

NZ has more than 3 million people aged 25 and over, but an education system strongly focussed on traditional students aged up to 25 years.

What kind of “system” do we have for adult learners (the over 25yrs group) – approximately one-third of whom learn in open, flexible and distance education settings?
This report is about the UK, but the points it makes and the lessons it describes are just too relevant to ignore. Find the summary at:

Research Briefs

Blended Learning

A useful background read about blended learning comes from Sir John Daniel courtesy of Contact North. He asks whether the consensus about the value of blended learning aims “to safeguard the tradition of face-to-face teaching against an invasion of fully online learning – or can blended learning raise higher education to new levels of effectiveness and quality?”

A new issue of IRRODL is available, featuring articles about the use of Facebook in secondary schools, instructor presence in online learning and guidelines for transferring residential courses to the web … amongst others…

There is a special issue of Distance Education (vol. 37 no.2) now available. It grapples with the question “How can we sustainably reach out to the isolated, marginalised, challenged and minority groups?” in our society in a sustainable way.

10 years ago in JOFDL …

Providing effective learning support for students outside the on-campus setting is always a key challenge for those involved in OFDL. Ten years ago JOFDL published an article that resonates today, “Supporting learners: The tension between institutional provision and learners’ expectations”. Worth (re)reading!

Question Time

Remember what we said about adult learning above? About 3 million out of 4.5 million NZers are over 25 years. Here’s a graph showing how the proportion of adults involved in tertiary education has changed since 2002. Why is it continuing to fall? Is the idea of lifelong learning fading?

Contact  FLANZ at or visit the FLANZ website 

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July 28, 2016

iNACOL Symposium Announces 2016 Pre-Conference Workshops

And from the neo-liberals…

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Dear Colleagues,

iNACOL is pleased to announce the lineup of Pre-Conference Workshops scheduled to kick off the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium held in San Antonio, Texas on October 25-28, 2016.

iNACOL offers Pre-Conference Workshops on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 to provide focused full- and half-day interactive workshops for deeper learning and knowledge building in competency-based, blended and online learning. These workshops provide intensive professional development opportunities in small groups and require a separate registration from the Symposium.

Space is limited, so please register for the Pre-Conference Workshops as soon as possible:

  • If you’ve already registered to attend the iNACOL Symposium, pleaseclick here to add a pre-conference workshop to your existing registration.
    1. Click ‘View or Change Your Existing Registration’ and enter your email and password and click ‘continue.’
    2. Once logged in, click ‘continue’ and then click ‘make changes’ in the upper right hand corner. From here, you can modify various aspects of your registration, including adding a pre-conference workshop.
  • If you’ve already registered to attend the iNACOL Symposium with a group, you will need to email your pre-conference workshop choice(s) to Gigi Andrew:
  • If you haven’t yet registered to attend the iNACOL Symposium, register here today and be sure to add a pre-conference workshop to your registration.

Below is the list of Pre-Conference Workshops offered at the iNACOL Symposium:

  • Administration and Management of Online Programs
  • All Teachers Can Teach Coding
  • An Update on Online Learning and Students With Disabilities: Practitioner Perspectives, Research Results and the Legal Landscape
  • Are You Ready for Personalized Learning? How to Diagnose Your School or District’s Readiness to Launch Personalized Learning
  • Blended Learning Live!
  • Building a Blended School from the Ground Up
  • Competency Education Leadership Forum
  • Future City: An Immersive Project Based Learning Experience
  • How to Launch a Successful and High-Quality Online Learning Program
  • K-12 Online and Blended Learning Research Community Meeting
  • Policy Advocacy Skills Workshop
  • Putting It All Together: How to Create a Personalized System of Education

Complete descriptions and presenter information for all Pre-Conference Workshops can be found on the Pre-Conference Workshop Schedule section of our website.

If you have questions regarding registering for a Pre-Conference Workshop, please contact Gigi Andrew at We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio, Texas on October 25-28, 2016.

About the iNACOL Symposium

The iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium is the premier learning conference for those advancing powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences and shaping the future of K-12 competency-based, blended and online learning. On October 25-28, iNACOL’s annual conference will bring together more than 3,400 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of powerful, personalized learning in K-12 education from across the United States and around the world, including leading practitioners and educators, policymakers, researchers and innovators from throughout the field. Attendees will find invaluable networking opportunities; access to expertise, analysis, the latest trends and research; and thought-provoking interactive sessions for leaders shaping the future of education. The Symposium includes more than 200 engaging interactive sessions, with tags to guide attendees toward highly relevant professional learning opportunities. Learn more on the iNACOL Symposium website.

About iNACOL

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focusing on research, developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using competency-based, blended and online education, and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school, and district leaders for new learning models. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter .

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Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning: Latest Articles On Taylor & Francis Online

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