Virtual School Meanderings

December 9, 2019

OLC Accelerate Conference: Recorded Sessions Now Available

Another item from the Online Learning Consortium.

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Hello Michael,

The 25th annual OLC Accelerate conference, held November 19-22, 2019 in Orlando, FL, generated a great deal of energy, enthusiasm, and new connections. More than 1,623 onsite and approximately 1000+ virtual attendees participated, representing 49 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico, and 13 countries.

If you missed the conference, you can still benefit from over 100 recorded presentations – including the Keynotes, featured sessions, select information sessions, and key vendor showcase sessions to view at your convenience – and have access to them for one full year! Learn more.


Matt Norsworthy, MFA, Ed.D.
Director of Strategic Partnerships

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November 20, 2019

K-12 Online Learning and OLC Accelerate 2019

So I saw one of my colleagues post a note asking where all of the K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning sessions at the OLC Accelerate 2019 conference were, so I figured I’d take a look at the program and pass them along.

Wednesday November 20, 2019

Shutting Down The Factory Model: Personalized Learning As A Paradigm Shift

Date: Wednesday, November 20th
Time: 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM
Conference Session: Concurrent Session 1
Lead Presenter: Anissa Lokey-Vega (Kennesaw State University)
Co-presenter: Stephanee Stephens (Kennesaw State University) (Virtual Presenter)
Track: Leadership and Institutional Strategies
Location: Oceanic 3
Session Duration: 45min
Brief Abstract:This presentation will begin with a description of the state of personalized learning, definitions of personalized learning, and conceptual frameworks of schooling. Then tthe presenters will offer a collaborative activity for analyzing and sorting models of personalized learning including models that employ online learning in K-12 and higher education. Participants will develop a holistic perspective of personalized learning as a paradigm shift away from the factory model of schooling and be able to align models of personalized learning to their institutional missions.

Thursday November 21, 2019

Patterns, Concerns, And Opportunities In K-12 Teacher Professional Development For Online And Blended Learning – A Research Panel And Conversation

Date: Thursday, November 21st
Time: 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM
Conference Session: Concurrent Session 7
Lead Presenter: Amy Garrett Dikkers (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Co-presenters: Jered Borup (George Mason University), Brianne Jackson (Virginia Commonwealth University), Aimee Whiteside (University of Tampa)
Track: Professional Development and Support
Location: Northern Hemisphere E1-E2
Session Duration: 45min
Brief Abstract:This panel brings together researchers exploring different aspects of K12 teacher preparation to teach in blended or online environments. The session engages the audience in essential questions around the past, present and future of teacher professional development. Participants leave the sessions with tools, strategies, and approaches to guide their work.


Look Out! Here They Come!

Date: Thursday, November 21st
Time: 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM
Conference Session: Concurrent Session 7
Lead Presenter: Debbie Lugar (Open Campus PA (Hempfield and Penn Manor School Districts Lancaster County PA))
Co-presenter: Joan Johnson (Hempfield School District)
Track: Teaching and Learning Effectiveness
Location: Oceanic 2
Session Duration: 45min
Brief Abstract:What’s happening with online learning at the high school level? We offer a glimpse into an innovative, comprehensive online education program developed in partnership between two Pennsylvania high schools. We’ll share the experiences of our online teachers and students and gather your input on better preparing future college-level online learners.


Using Technology In Meeting Standards For Online Foreign Language Teaching: Considerations Of Content And Institutional Support

Date: Thursday, November 21st
Time: 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM
Conference Session: Concurrent Session 7
Lead Presenter: Harriette L. Spiegel (The University of Tennessee – Martin)
Track: Tools and Technologies
Location: Northern Hemisphere Foyer
Position: 14
Session Duration: 45min
Brief Abstract:This presentation of an online course in Elementary Spanish encourages open discussion among the presenter and the audience members. A discussion of the pros and cons of teaching a foreign language online will include a description of the kinds of technological support from the institution to ensure a successful course.

So by the look of it, there are four sessions that focus on K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning…  And three of them are happening at the same time in different rooms.

And people say the OLC cares about building its K-12 constituency…

July 15, 2019

EDTECH537 – Links Entry: My Five Most Viewed Presentations On Slideshare

Earlier this morning, in my Week 3 entry, I indicated that today I would post a links entry to model for my EDTECH537 students. So…

Last year the Links Entry I wrote for EDTECH537 was entitled My Five Most Downloaded Articles On  So this year I figured I would focus on my presentation slides that I post to my Slideshare account.  Unlike the, which will give me statistics since an item was first uploaded, Slideshare will only give me the views per year in the Analytics.  I can organize the presentations by “most popular,” but that also factors in the length of time on the platform (i.e., a presentation uploaded a year ago with 100 views is more popular than a presentation uploaded three years ago with 200 views).  So I decided to provide both groups (and there is some overlap).

My Five Most Viewed Presentations On Slideshare for the Past Year

1. Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario

In the Summer of 2012 I made the decision to withdraw my application for promotion and tenure, and go on the job market.  We had a new Dean in the College of Education at Wayne State University who believed that faculty should wait until their seventh year to go up for P&T, and run the risk of not having a job in their eighth year if they were unsuccessful (for those not in academia, typically a faculty member would up up in their sixth year and, if they were unsuccessful, the university could offer them a one year contract as they sought another position).  As the Dean was against my sixth year application, I made the decision to withdraw the application and seek to leave Wayne State.  One of the first on campus interviews I had – and the first one I had ever had for an educational leadership position – was at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.  This was the research-focused job talk I gave.  As a side note that Dean stepped down in the third year of a five year contract, after the faculty in the College had voted over 90% no confidence in her leadership.

2. Brigham Young University – The State of K-12 Online Learning Research: Looking Forward

In February 2013 my wife and I were in Utah visiting with a friend of our’s, and since I had a lot of colleagues and friends at Brigham Young University, Charles Graham asked that I come down and speak to the doctoral and Master’s students there.  So this session was a focus on where I saw the field of K-12 online learning at the time from a research perspective, as well as avenues of future inquiry that the students in the room who might have an interest in the topic might pursue.

3. Job Talk: Research (2013) – Kennesaw State University

Similar to the first item, this was the job talk that I gave during an on campus interview at Kennesaw State University.  Generally speaking, these are short sessions that tell the audience a little about you and your background and then focus on your research.  Some institutions that have more of a teaching focus will ask for some content about one’s teaching style or philosophy.  It is interesting to look at these different sets of job talk slides, as it will often times reveal the specific items that the institution has asked you to focus on.

4. MVLRI 2015 Webinar – Eight Trends in K-12 Online and Blended Learning and Their Implications for Research

This was a webinar that Tom Clark and I provided for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute on the eight trends that we had identified as flowing throughout the book that he and I edited entitled Online, Blended, and Distance Education in Schools: Building Successful Programs.

5. ON MoE 2019: Overview of e-Learning in Canada

This session was a presentation that I gave to one of the research units in the Ontario Ministry of Education.  Interestingly, they had reached out to me because the American Education Research Association was holding their annual meeting in Toronto and I was attending.  So my presentation and the focus were actually set sometime in late January or early February.  But then on 15 March the province, in somewhat reckless fashion, made their Education that Works for You – Modernizing Classrooms…  So my presentation took on a whole different focus.

My Five Most Popular Presentations On Slideshare

1. Job Talk (2012): University of Western Ontario

See above description.

2. Sabbatical (Massey University-Wellington) – Blogging in Higher Education: Examining How the Tools Can be Used for Personal Development and with Students

One of the nice things about Wayne State University was they had a procedure for a one semester sabbatical after three years of service.  I took my sabbatical in the Winter 2011, and spent most of that time touring around New Zealand collecting data for a research project, doing talks at different universities, and visiting innovative schools (one of which will come up later in this blogging course).  One of my stops was at the Wellington campus of Massey University, where I spoke about the potential for using blogging in the university environment.

3. iNACOL Southeast Cmte (2014) – Changing Role of the Teacher in K-12 Online and Blended Learning

Back when iNACOL was actually still focused on K-12 online and blended learning I used to be quite active (e.g., chairing the research committee, establishing the VSS overlay, writing reports and books, etc.).  Even when it became the mouthpiece for the corporate interests in the field, I tried to stay involved to be a contrarian voice.  While I can’t recall for sure, I suspect this presentation occurred as I was transitioning out of direct involvement in the organization.  Regardless most of the geographic regions in the US had a committee that would meet regularly to discuss issues of importance for programs in their region.  In some cases this would just be a collaborative session, but in other cases they would invite guest to come and speak on a topic to help set the discussion.  In this instance I was speaking to the southeastern committee on the work of Niki Davis and others that were examining the diffusion of the teacher into multiple roles and multiple people in the K-12 online and blended learning environment.

4. WSU Humanities Fall Symposia 2013 – Privatizing Public Education Through Cyber Schooling: Examining Truth And Myth In The Dominant Narrative of K-12 Online Learning

While I was at Wayne State University the Center for Humanities would host a fall symposium each year.  During the 2013 one, which would have been the Fall after I had actually left WSU for Sacred Heart University, I returned to speak on the lack of research to support the neo-liberal rationale full-time K-12 online learning, and how that was leading to a privatization of public education.

5. Sabbatical (Massey University) – An Introduction to a New Research Paradigm: Design-Based Research

Another one of my sabbatical talks was at Massey University’s main campus in Palmerston North.  Having been mentored into academic by Dr. Tom Reeves, design-based research was a frequent topic I spoke on during my sabbatical travels.

Note for the EDTECH537 students…  See how I have provided a short annotation for each item.  In many cases, people just provide a link to an item with no rationale for why it is included or what the reader is expected to do when they get there.  A short description of the link or instructions on what to focus on or where to go is always useful when writing links entries.

May 2, 2019

AERA Highlights: 2020 Annual Meeting Theme Released, Shaun Harper Voted AERA President-Elect, And More!

A newsletter from this US-based academic organization.

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April 2019

2019 Annual Meeting News
Research Policy and Funding News
AERA Calls
AERA Publications Calls
Beyond AERA
AERA in the News



2020 Annual Meeting Theme Released; Call for Submissions Coming May 10

The 2020 Annual Meeting theme—“The Power and Possibilities for the Public Good When Researchers and Organizational Stakeholders Collaborate”—is a call to “to address educational challenges through policy and community engagement and to work with diverse institutional and organizational stakeholders.”

Shaun Harper Voted AERA President-Elect; Key Members Elected to AERA Council

Shaun Harper, a Provost Professor in the Rossier School of Education and Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, has been voted president-elect of AERA. Read more

2019 Annual Meeting News

More than 14,000 Education Researchers Drawn to Toronto for AERA Annual Meeting​

The 2019 AERA Annual Meeting brought more than 14,000 scholars, policy leaders, students, and practitioners to Toronto, Canada, for the largest education research conference in the world, offering five days of stimulating discussion, exchange, and professional development. Read more

Opening Plenary Examines the Power of Educational Institutions to Inflict and Heal Racial Injustices

The 2019 Annual Meeting’s Opening Plenary session, “Truth and Reconciliation in Education: History, Narratives, and Pedagogy,” addressed the meaning of truth and reconciliation in the field of education and the power of educational institutions to both inflict and heal racial injustices. Read more

AERA 2019 President Wells Scrutinizes School Testing Policies

In this year’s Presidential Address, “An Inconvenient Truth About the New Jim Crow of Education,” 2019 AERA President Amy Stuart Wells (Teachers College, Columbia University) scrutinized testing policies in education, suggesting that standardized testing, with its perpetuation of an unequal education system for students of color, is the new “Jim Crow” of education. Read more

Town Hall Participants Assess Progress in, and Next Steps for, Addressing Sexual Harassment in Academe

The AERA Annual Meeting featured a Town Hall session titled “Sexual Harassment and Climate Change in Scholarly Associations and the Academy.” Read more

Gun Violence Town Hall Takes Stock of School Safety Research and Practices

With gun violence and school safety still among the top concerns of educators and policy leaders, AERA held an Annual Meeting Town Hall on April 8 to examine the dynamics and patterns of gun violence in schools and communities in the United States, take stock of promising policy and societal developments, and scrutinize emerging research addressing the consequences of gun violence. Read more

Major Annual Meeting Lecture Speakers Discuss Issues of Race in Education

The AERA Distinguished Lecture and the AERA Wallace Foundation Lecture featured prominent scholars engaging meeting attendees in important conversations about race, racism, microaggressions, and education at this year’s Annual Meeting in Toronto. Read more

Research and Science Policy Forum Engages Attendees in Major Issues in Education Research

The 2019 AERA Annual Meeting included 24 invited sessions as part of its Research and Science Policy Forum, featuring new reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; updates from federal agency representatives; and discussion on open knowledge. Read more

Research Policy and Funding News

AERA Continues Action on FY 2020 Appropriations

In April, AERA submitted written testimony to the House subcommittees that support key federal agencies that advance education research and statistical infrastructure. Read more

Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 Introduced in Senate; AERA Among Endorsers

On April 4, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced the introduction of the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019. AERA is a supporter of the legislation. Read more

AERA Calls
AERA Publications Calls
Beyond AERA
AERA in the News

Recent media coverage of AERA and AERA-published research


More AERA in the News


AERA Highlights is published by the American Educational Research Association monthly to inform members and others interested in education research about the latest news and developments in AERA and in the field.

Editor: Felice J. Levine

Managing Editors: Tony Pals and John Neikirk

Contributors: Collin Boylin, Jessica Sibold, Christy Talbot, and Martha Yager


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April 9, 2019

AERA 2019 – Unpacking The Discourse Of Isolated Educators After They Become Networked

The fifteenth and final K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning session from the 2019 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association that I am blogging about is:

Unpacking the Discourse of Isolated Educators After They Become Networked

  • In Event: 75.043 – MTCC Poster Session 17
    In Poster Session: 75.043-10 – Section 8 Poster Session 3

Tue, April 9, 8:00 to 9:30am, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 300 Level, Hall C


This study explored the discourse of a group of educators, all of whose roles inhibited their participation in professional communities at either the school or district level after they joined virtual professional communities (VPCs). The two VPCs in question included one for mentors who supported online learners, and one for early literacy coaches who worked with teachers to improve literacy instruction. Focusing primarily on textual data that was created by the participants as a result of interactions, the researcher used text-mining techniques to discern their most frequently uttered words and their correlated words. The findings reveal that members exchanged high quality practical knowledge and ideas about professional identity. Areas in which the VPCs could be improved are also discussed.


  • Jemma Bae Kwon, Michigan Virtual

I am presenting during this time slot.  So I am hoping that someone who is in the room might be able to post their notes in the comments area below.

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