Virtual School Meanderings

November 15, 2019

Could Minecraft Disrupt Traditional Instruction?

So as I say each week…  From the neo-liberal, educational privatizers masquerading as an academic body – so the term research here is used VERY loosely (as none of this actually represents methodologically sound, reliable, valid, or empirical research in any real way).

Check out this week’s highlights from the Christensen Institute. 
Christensen Institute · 92 Hayden Avenue · Lexington, MA 02421 · USA

Principals And Teachers: Are They On The Same Page? | Education Week Summit

An item about an event next week.


Join us Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, for Education Week’s Personalized Learning: What Works Summit.
Register Now

The use of personalized learning approaches in K-12 schools is expanding, fueled by new teaching approaches and technological advances. But making personalized learning work in the classroom is easier said than done. That reality is in clear view based on the results of a nationally representative survey of teachers on personalized learning, conducted by the Education Week Research Center.

This online summit will help keep Education Week readers ahead of the curve in an edgy, critical, and useful way by staying on top of how technological advances are changing personalized Learning, what school/classroom practices (non-tech as well as tech-oriented ones) are showing the greatest impact on student learning, and what balance needs to be achieved between too much use of technology and not enough.

  • Personalized Learning Is Hard to Do. Teachers Tell Us Why
  • Principals and Teachers: Are They on the Same Page?
  • Getting Personalized Pacing Right

Join Education Week on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at 1-3pm ET for a deep dive on personalized learning.

Find out if your state or district requirements enable you to use our Certificates of Completion for CEUs and professional development or “clock hours.
You can register today for the Personalized Learning: What Works Summit 2019
Click here for more information.

Register Now
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Editorial Projects in Education, Inc., 6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD  20814. Copyright © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education.

What Do Successful K-12 Online Programs Have In Common?

A newsletter from the folks at the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

The Digital Backpack: Your Resource for Online Learning | Powered by Michigan Virtual
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Hi Michael,

The Digital Backpack — powered by Michigan Virtual — is your resource for everything online and blended learning, including  tips, tricks, & the latest research on supporting online K-12 students and, more broadly, using technology to innovate learning.


On occasion, we also dive into other topics relevant to Michigan’s educational community, such as social emotional learning, restorative practices, literacy, student-centered learning, and more!


This week, we’ve got some great stuff packed up for you. Check it out below!

What Do Successful K-12 Online Programs Have In Common?

By Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, Monday, November 11, 2019 3:52 PM

What do successful K-12 online programs have in common? Beyond obvious variables like student support and quality curriculum, there are many systemic supports that effective programs put in place to provide a foundation for student success. In this article, we break down the importance of leadership, multi-level support, and program evaluation.


The Digital Backpack Podcast

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Attend OLC Accelerate 2019 – Virtually!

An item from the Online Learning Consortium.

The virtual attendee options include 100+ sessions both live-streamed and recorded for later viewing. Email not displaying correctly?
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OLC Accelerate 2019 - Online Education Conference
Attend Virtually – November 19-22, 2019
Join us virtually for our 25th anniversary of OLC Accelerate, the premier international conference in online, blended and digital learning.

The OLC Accelerate 2019 virtual package includes: 

  • Live-stream and on-demand recordings of 100+ sessions
  • Keynote, Featured, and Best-in-Track presentations, and much more
  • Ability to participate despite schedule or budget constraints
  • NEW! Registration includes the Online International Summit on Tuesday, November 19
  • NEW! Networking opportunities in the Virtual Speed Networking Lounge
  • Our Virtual Hub helps streamline your access and opportunities
  • On-demand access to recordings for one (1) year post conference

Buy more and save! Buy 2, Get 1 Free options available for individuals, or register with the unlimited group package as low as $1045!

OLC Members get special pricing on OLC conferences! Find your member discount codeNot a member? Join now.

“I really enjoyed attending this OLC event virtually. The moderators went to great lengths to make the virtual audience feel included and ensure their questions were answered.”

Andrea Cohn,
Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Services,
University of Saint Francis,
OLC Accelerate 2018 Virtual Attendee

Have you seen these recent blog posts on OLC Accelerate 2019 sessions? Learn more about featured Effective Practice and Best-in-Track sessions and read #WeAreOLC stories that were recently shared!

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Copyright © 2019, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

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November 2019 Newsletter

A newsletter from a Canadian-based e-learning organization.

Canadian eLearning Network

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Hello Michael, welcome to November CANeLearn News.

Good morning and welcome to winter’s early start.  Gone are the summer BBQs and days on the water; oh, and what is that jingling we are hearing again?

Now that we are through the rush of October conferences and now counting down the weeks to the holidays, there are still a few professional learning events to consider in case you still have some PD money left.  CANeLearn will be moderating a panel at the December 5-6 EdTech Summit in Vancouver/Coquitlam and will be at the 2nd annual DLAC in Austin (Feb.24-26)  presenting and networking.  The DL Symposium 2020 in Vancouver/Burnaby (Apr. 19-21) will feature a number of #CANeLearn members, board leaders, along with researchers and leading practitioners – program announcements coming soon.

Michael Barbour, the principal researcher for CANeLearn, has written a series of blog posts published on the K-12 State of the Nation research website about Ontario’s e-learning policy announcement and mandated four e-learning courses requirement. Some of the latest include:

Stay tuned for more on the role that e-learning is playing in policy and funding reforms going on in all provinces.  Check out in News below highlights of BC’s review.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter #CANeLearn, Facebook, or YouTube.

Please forward this on your own networks using the tools at the bottom.

Photos, unless otherwise noted, by @rlabonte or Unsplash

In the News

Welcome, Singular “They”

  • APA endorses the use of “they” as a singular third-person pronoun in the seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Writers should use the singular “they” in two main cases: (a) when referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context and (b) when referring to a specific, known person who uses “they” as their pronoun.
  • When referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context, use the singular “they” as the pronoun. For example, if you use nouns like “person,” “individual,” or “everyone” or phrases like “every teacher” or “each nurse” in a sentence, use the appropriate form of the pronoun “they” as needed.
  • See more here

OTESSA Launches

  • The Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association (OTESSA) is a new group of post-sec and K-12 researchers including @_valeriei and @veranez (Valerie Irvine and Verena Roberts), long-term supporters of @CANeLearn
  • The inaugural conference will be held at the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and the Social Sciences between May 31-June 2, 2020, in London, Ontario, Canada.
  • Please see more

Call for Research Assistance

  • Cecil R. Short, Instructor and Doctoral Candidate at Brigham Young University is looking for teachers to sign up for a 45-60 minute online interview starting in January.
  • The research is to help in the construction of an OER book that looks at blended practices within various content domains, and then also for research that explores how blended teachers practice online integration, online interaction, data practices, or personalization across domains.
  • Contact or

BC Funding Review 

  • In February 2018 an Independent Review Panel launched consultations with all 60 school districts and independent schools and presented a report to the province in December 2018.
  • Four Working Groups from all education representatives and advocacy groups were formed and invited to respond to the recommendations.
  • Working Group final reports were presented to the Minister of Education October 2019 which are posted here.
  • Final decisions are expected in the new calendar year.

9th Annual Global Education Conference – Online

Future of Learning Forum

  • An archive of session presentations, video recordings, and discussion outcomes of the October 7th event
  • Sponsored and compiled by the Blockchain Learning Group
  • Read it here 

iNACOL is now Aurora Institute

  • The organization “has grown to examine systems change and education innovation… serving more as a thought leader… to equip and inform practitioners and policymakers who are interested in education transformation”. Details
  • In its place, practitioners previously associated with the now defunct iNACOL e-learning mandate have formed their own group, Digital Learning Collaborative, “dedicated to exploring, producing, and disseminating data, information, news, and best practices in digital learning”-  CANeLearn’s membership moved from iNACOL here.
  • DLAC hosts an annual conference and CANeLearn is on its advisory board and attends/presents.

Featured Events

Featured Events


Technology and Education Seminar & Showcase

​Theme: Level Up Online Learning for Ontario: Experimentation and Impact

November 18-19th, Toronto ON – brought to you by eCampusOntario


10th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit

The Future Of Education And Skills 2030

Dec 5-6 Centennial Secondary School, Coquitlam BC


Digital Learning Collaborative Annual Conference

February 24-26, 2020 – Austin TX


2020 BOLTT (Bringing Online Teachers Together)

April 2-3, 2020 in Toronto

Download a flyer to share here (PDF)


2020 Digital Learning Symposium

April 19-21 in Vancouver BC

Early bird group/member rates – $395/person!

​One day registration for Sunday only…

Call for proposals closes soon!


OTESSA ~ Inaugural Conference!

Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association

May 31-June 2 in London ON


Clayton R. Wright List of EdTech Conferences via @Downes

Resources for the Digital Classroom


Quality Matters Presentation Series

Video presentation series from Quality Matters on topics including:

  • Quality and Online Learning
  • The Alignment Triangle – Quality and Coursetune
  • Quality Standards with SoftChalk
  • Tips for Course Design
  • Building Engagement
  • Standards for Online Courses – What you need to know
  • See QM channel and more here

Integrating Indigenous Epistemologies and Pedagogies into Curriculum Design and Development

  • Guiding Questions From BCcampus

Interweaving Indigenous approaches should involve considering all of the following aspects of your course design:

  • Goals: Does the course goal include holistic development of the learner? If applicable, does the course benefit Indigenous people or communities?
  • Learning outcomes: Do the learning outcomes emphasize cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual development? Is there room for personalization, group and individual learning goals, and self-development?
  • Learning activities: Have you included learning activities that are land-based, narrative, intergenerational, relational, experiential, and/or multimodal (rely on auditory, visual, physical, or tactile modes of learning)?
  • Assessment: Is the assessment holistic in nature? Are there opportunities for self-assessment that allow students to reflect on their own development?
  • Relationships: Are there opportunities for learning in community, intergenerational learning, and learning in relationship to the land?
  • Format: Does the course include learning beyond the classroom “walls”?

See the document for examples of activities posted here.

Accessibility Tips for Online Courses

The University of Washington has published a number of resources to support increasing access to online courses for learners.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Online Course Accessibility Checklist – a basic list to start here
  • From a presentation by Sheryl E. Burgstahler Founder and Director, DO-IT Center and UW Access Technology Center University of Washington “Designing Accessible Cyberlearning: Recommendations & Lessons Learned” (Slidedeck here)

Websites, documents, images, videos:

  1. Clear, consistent layouts & organization schemes
  2. Structured headings
  3. Descriptive wording for hyperlinks
  4. PDFs avoided; no scanned image PDFs
  5. Text descriptions of content in images
  6. Large, bold fonts, uncluttered pages, plain backgrounds
  7. High contrast color combinations; problematic ones for those who are colorblind avoided
  8. Content & navigation accessible using keyboard alone

Instructional methods:

  1. Wide range of tech skills accommodated
  2. Content presented in multiple ways
  3. Acronyms/jargon spelled out/defined
  4. Instructions & expectations clear
  5. Examples, assignments relevant to a diverse audience
  6. Outlines, other scaffolding tools provided
  7. Adequate opportunities for practice
  8. Adequate time provided for activities, projects, tests
  9. Feedback on parts & corrective opportunities provided


Adventures in Archives

Joe Sisco’s Keynote from blendED Alberta

See all CANeLearn archives here   (members only)

Stay Connected!

  • Use #CANeLearn to stream specific items of interest to members. Join the conversation!
  • Follow @CANeLearn, “like” us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel
  • Check out our Members’ Site
  • Join CANeLearn – only $50 for associate membership!

The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) is a Canadian registered not-for-profit society with a vision to be the leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning.  CANeLearn provides members with networking, collaboration, and research opportunities..

CANeLearn promotes effective practice in online and blended learning; fosters community and facilitates interaction among online and blended learning educators; and connects educators to online and blended learning organizations.

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