Virtual School Meanderings

October 20, 2017

iNACOL Symposium: 10/24 Networking Event

And from the neo-liberals…

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iNACOL Symposium 2017 - Personalizing Learning: Equity, Access, Quality - October 23-25, 2017 Orlando, Florida
Dear Colleagues,

The iNACOL Symposium Networking Event is on Tuesday, October 24 from 5:30-8:00 p.m.outdoors at the Swan & Dolphin cabana deck, beach and pool area. Refresh and re-energize at this Beach BBQ Party. Don’t forget to pack your casual attire and flip flops.

Join us for a wonderful evening of relaxing and networking over food and drinks with friends and new colleagues on the sandy beaches outside the Swan & Dolphin. In addition to great cuisine and beverages, beach volleyball and live music, this quintessential event allows you to enjoy the fresh air while connecting and exploring ideas with other experts from across the field.

If you haven’t yet registered for the iNACOL Symposium, click here to register now.

We look forward to seeing you in Orlando.

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  • Attending the @nacol Symposium? Join us for the 10/24 Beach BBQ Networking Event at #inacol17. Register now:
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About the iNACOL Symposium


The iNACOL 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 23-25, 2017, iNACOL’s annual conference will bring together more than 3,000 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 hundreds of 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 school and district leaders for new learning models. Visit our websitelike us on Facebookconnect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.


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October 19, 2017


From Wednesday’s inbox…

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Find TLA at iNACOL
We are looking forward to seeing many of you next week in Orlando at the 2017 iNACOL Symposium Personalizing Learning: Equity, Access, Quality. The Learning Accelerator is pleased to be presenting on numerous important topics in blended and personalized learning, in many instances with partner organizations and school leaders. Please join us at the sessions detailed below and follow us on Twitter @LearningAccel where we will be actively sharing.
Effectively Communicating about Personalized Learning
Monday, Oct. 238 – 11 a.m.
Effective communication is a cornerstone of successful innovation in education. School districts that develop thoughtful communications plans build a culture of engagement, transparency and trust that is critical for innovation both to take hold in the classroom and to be scalable across many schools. This hands-on workshop from TLA and Education Elements will review the four phases of developing an effective communications plan, explore real-world examples and provide attendees with an opportunity to learn from peers and test out key messages and ideas.
K-12 Blended and Online Learning Research Community Meeting
MondayOct. 23, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This day-long research community meeting hosted by TLA and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute will foster a space for researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders to come together and discuss newly published research, provide opportunities for networking, find funding opportunities, and drum up collaborative prospects. We’ll provide a chance for everyone to gain and give practical, applicable insights into measuring K-12 blended learning initiatives. In addition, we will hear from practitioners engaged in developing measurement systems for their own personalized learning initiatives in an interactive, no-holds-barred, “Ask Us Anything” format, with in-person and virtual participants and panelists.
Sustaining a Breakthrough Model – Case Studies on How to Support Innovation that Lasts
TuesdayOct. 2410 – 11 a.m.
So often in education, we spend time, money and energy planning, developing and implementing new initiatives, pouring our hearts and souls into a new effort – only to see it dissipate as funding goes away, as barriers are encountered or as priorities change. How can you avoid seeing this happen to your blended and personalized learning initiatives? How can you make your innovation “stick” and create an environment conducive of scale? Join TLA, our friends at Afton, and other education experts and leaders to think about the long term.
Bridge Building: Engaging Regions Locally and in Context to Build a National Strategy to Support Blended and Personalized Learning Educators
TuesdayOct. 24, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Supporting educators in implementing blended and personalized learning is an incredibly local task. Context influences the resources and solutions leaders turn to, as well as the role human capital providers can play. The Learning Accelerator is trying to bridge this gap by convening and deeply understanding learning networks, “ThinkTanks,” in eight regions across the U.S. This session will focus on key themes and lessons learned, as well as overall recommendations for local and national action.
Laboratories for Personalized Learning Innovation: How Top Public Charter Schools are Shaping the Future
TuesdayOct. 244 – 5 p.m.
The 74 Million and Rocketship will host an interactive discussion with top public charter school leaders, looking back, and into the future, of personalized learning. A recent RAND study found that public charter schools excel at implementing and scaling personalized learning programs. Participants will dig in to these findings, and discuss lessons learned and future plans for increasing student achievement and engagement through personalization.
Designing and Iterating Blended Learning Classroom Structures
Wednesday, Oct 25, 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Already on-board to start blended learning, but want some strategies on how to design your classroom? Join TLA and Rocketship in this collaborative workshop to gain key strategies and resources for planning, reflecting and iterating on blended learning classroom designs. We’ll share how we’ve approached blended learning across our schools and break into groups to discuss various strategies with building up quality systems and routines for blended and personalized learning.
There’s an Expert for That: Benefits, Challenges and Best Practices for Education Leaders in Engaging Consultants to Support Personalized Learning Initiatives
Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Transforming schools is no easy task. Given this, education leaders are increasingly turning to external consultants to support their personalized learning (PL) initiatives. But how can leaders identify the right expert for a specific need? How can they set up projects for success? And who is building the PL expertise of consultants? We’ll tackle these questions in a dialogue between a seasoned PL district leader, two professional service providers and an entrepreneur helping connect them.
Beyond Minutes: Leveraging Your Blended Learning Data to Determine Efficacy
Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Blended and personalized learning software programs provide the potential for incredibly granular analyses of how students are progressing through relevant content. However, making good on this opportunity often presents a challenge. With technology-facilitated audience participation, join TLA, Caliber SchoolsAspire Public Schools, and Distinctive Schools to discuss our successes and challenges in analyzing, visualizing and communicating blended learning data in our attempt to determine the efficacy of these software programs.
Other News…

Updated Blended & Personalized Learning At Work Website
We’ve refreshed our website and invite you to visit! Discover free, action-oriented strategies to implement blended and personalized learning, including how to:
  • Adopt specific teaching practices at the student level.
  • Create the conditions for success and scale at the school system level.
  • Build human capacity and support the people who are doing the work.
  • Measure progress to inform implementation and continuously improve.
Takeaways from the 2017 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference
Earlier this year, we co-hosted the 6th Annual Blended and Personalized Learning Conference with The Highlander Institute and the Christensen Institute. We brought together more than a thousand educators from around the country to share, discuss, and define educational practices. e are excited to share a new white paper, “From Maverick to Mainstream: Takeaways from the 2017 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference,” containing seven key tips that emerged from these discussions among leading innovators.

Thank you for your support!
Beth Rabbitt, CEO
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The Learning Accelerator, 10605 Farallone Drive, Cupertino,, CA 95014

[AECT] 2017 Convention Hotel

From Wednesday’s inbox…

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October 18, 2017

USDLA 2018 Conference: Call For Proposals Now Open – Due 11/13/17

From Monday’s inbox…

USDLA 2018
Call for Proposals Now Open!
Submission Deadline:  Monday, November 13, 2017
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is pleased to announce the 2018 Annual Conference Call for Proposals. Proposals are now being accepted based on the conference theme, “Going The Distance.”
We welcome proposals from all corporate, education (higher and K-12), telehealth, government, and military. In keeping with our theme and our Indianapolis location, the following tracks are intended to guide the general areas of presentations:
Setting The Pace – This is for current state of the field presentations (“look what we did”) focused on sharing success stories, new program development, program enhancements demonstrating historical shifts.
Taking The Lead – Near term future vision (CBE, Alt credentials, etc.).  These sessions will discuss the future direction distance education is heading, should head, success metrics that are currently in place or should be developed to show value.
Down The Road – Longer future vision (AR/VR environments, DIYU).  This track specifically focuses on extending learning spaces using modern technologies and techniques.  Promises of AR/VR/MR, 3-d printing, immersive learning and simulations.
Fast Lane – Operational presentations that can focus on the how-to’s, operational planning, faculty and institutional engagement, operational shifts.
Keeping On Track – Presentations on policies, regulations, etc.  This track will cover policy development, issues with developing robust policies, balancing needs for quality vs. faculty shared governance, federal policies (NC-SARA, ADA).
Proposal Options Available
Concurrent information sessions provide an opportunity for you to give an interactive presentation in one or more of the conference topic areas. Conference attendees expect sessions to provide practical advice and the sharing of experiences. The committee seeks high quality, thought-provoking and interactive sessions, not lecture format. Co-presenters are encouraged. Also, the USDLA Program Committee may select your proposal to be featured in a panel along with other like presenters. (60 minutes)
Poster sessions allow presenters to prepare a standing tabletop poster that describes a project, process, research or other activity. Presenting a poster session will give you an opportunity to meet and network with a majority of conference attendees and USDLA Award Winners as these posters are displayed during the Awards Dinner Reception. (60 minutes)
Pre-conference workshops are offered as a vehicle to get the conference started, set the stage for the conference theme, and discuss relevant issues in the field of distance learning (3-hour sessions on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 2-5pm (time subject to change.)
There will also be the potential to present your session in our virtual classroom setting, which means you will be viewed by face-to-face as well as remote attendees. You will be able to note your interest in doing this in the online proposal form and be advised if selected.
Preparing Your Proposal
The committee recommends that proposals be specific about what will make the presentation valuable to attendees. Any proposal that is perceived to be a “sales pitch” will not be considered. Your proposal should be focused on issues, innovative working solutions, and should address the conference theme. All presenters and co-presenters (regardless of session type) will be expected to register for the full conference.
All conference proposals should be submitted using the Online Proposal Form.
For your information, the automated proposal system will ask you for the following, so please gather this information prior to the time of submission:
1)     Contact Information: the name and full contact information for the lead presenter and any co-presenters
2)     Session Title: a succinct, but descriptive title of no more than ten words
3)     Format: concurrent, poster, or pre-conference workshop
4)     Abstract: 50-words (or less) – Please note: the session abstract will be used in the printed program. Make sure it accurately reflects your session, as it will be what draws people to your presentation.
5)     Content: a clear summary of learning objectives and session content in no less than 300 words, not to exceed 500 words
6)     Conference Tracks(s): session can cover more than one track
7)     Audience Focus by Constituency: K-12, higher education, corporate, government, military, and telehealth – USDLA serves multiple constituencies, from the local, state, national, and global perspectives. Please tell us who will benefit from your session (may be more than one group; strongly encouraged.)
8)     Internet: standard setup of projector and screen provided – If Internet access is needed, you must include that information in your proposal. We cannot accommodate a request made during the conference. If you need sound please bring your own speakers.
9)     Virtual Session/Live Feed: indicate desire to be considered or not considered as a virtual presenter for virtual conference attendees
Review Criteria
Conference participants will expect well-delivered presentations containing quality information that is of practical value to their day-to-day professional lives. Members of the USDLA 2018 Conference Program Committee will look for clear descriptions. Considerable weight will be given to proposals that specify session learning objectives and clearly describe why the content will be valuable to attendees.
Specifically, reviewers will look for the following:
  • Topic relevance to distance learning and the conference theme, Going The Distance
  • Quality of the presentation: substance, clarity and consistency between the title, abstract, and content within the proposal; proposal organization
  • Measurable outcomes of the presentation
  • Evidence of innovation and effective practice
  • Audience breadth, engagement, and likelihood of future application
The conference will provide a standard set up (LCD data/video projector and screen). You will need to provide your own laptop computer. If you require Internet access for your session, please indicate so in your proposal. Please note that we are unable to provide audio resources (house sound or speakers) for concurrent and/or poster sessions.
Status of Proposal and Notification
The 2018 Program Committee will review proposals and you will be contacted about the status of yours by January 31, 2018. Presenters are eligible for the Early Bird registration rate even after the close of Early Bird registration.
We look forward to seeing you at USDLA 2018!
About United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a non-profit association formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The association reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets. The USDLA trademarked logo is the recognized worldwide symbol of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry. 

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United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), 76 Canal Street,Suite 301, Boston, MA 02114

October 17, 2017

ECOO Virtual Ed Camp

Notice of another Canadian conference.

ECOO Logo (450)

ECOO is hosting a Virtual Ed Camp on morning of Saturday October 21st.  The format will be as follows:

8:30 – 9:00  Welcome & networking

9:00 – 9:30  Panel discussion hosted by Stephen Hurley

Note:  this discussion will be broadcast on VoicEd Radio

9:30 – 10:30  Breakout session 1

10:30 – 11:30  Breakout session 2

11:30 – 12:30  Breakout session 3

12:30 Wrap up.


Note:  Some of the sessions will be recorded and/or live broadcast on VoicEd Radio.


Please register for participation and provide your input to the discussion topics at Registrants will receive additional information regarding the day closer to the 21st.

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