Virtual School Meanderings

November 15, 2018

iNACOL Symposium Save The Date: October 28-31, 2019

And from the neo-liberals.

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Dear Colleagues:

Thank you for attending the iNACOL Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee. We hope you engaged in deep discussions around personalized learning in an effort to foster equity, access and high-quality educational opportunities for all students.

Please save the date for next year’s Symposium, to be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center on October 28-31, 2019. Registration will open in spring 2019.

To reflect on #inacol18 and continue learning, here are some links:

iNACOL would like to thank all of our Symposium sponsors for their support of our event, and our philanthropic Diamond-level supporters, NewSchools Venture FundWalton Family Foundation and XQ Institute, whose support makes our Symposium possible.
About iNACOL 

The mission of iNACOL is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.

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October 22, 2018

Introducing The All-New Innovation Corner At The 2018 iNACOL Symposium

And from the neo-liberals.

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iNACOL Symposium 2018 - Driving the Transformation of Learning - October 21-24, 2018 - Nashville, Tennessee
Dear Colleagues,

This is a friendly reminder to stop by the Innovation Corner while at the iNACOL Symposium.

The Innovation Corner is located in the Davidson Ballroom of the Music City Center. Specific areas of the Innovation Corner include:

School Showcase
Learn firsthand from schools and school district practitioners who are successfully implementing personalized and competency-based learning models.

Tools Showcase
Interact directly with tools that foster personalized, competency-based learning.

Student Showcases
Let the students themselves speak to you through these two student-based exhibitions, a chronicle of their experiences.

TNTP STUDENT GALLERY
What Can 4,000 Students Teach Us about School? An Interactive Look At TNTP’s Next National Report

What would students tell us about how they experience school if we were to ask them? For TNTP’s sixth national report, we asked 4,000 students to invite us into their classrooms. After spending a year in schools around the country, we observed 1,000+ hours of instruction, reviewed 5,500+ assignments and collected 28,000 in-the-moment student surveys. This data provided us with a unique opportunity to understand what goals students were setting for themselves, what kind of lives they wanted to lead, and how school was preparing them to live those lives — or letting them down. Come experience the report in this interactive session that will showcase how students are experiencing school and what we can do to improve their daily learning experiences.

ALP Student Voices Gallery: Assessment for Learning 
Assessment for learning is about helping classrooms, schools and systems become more student-centered. Educators are using assessment as a tool, at least in part, to listen more closely to what students are saying about their learning and about themselves. At the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP), this work inspires and challenges us to do the same. If we are to fuel an assessment for learning movement that is truly transformative, student voice must be at the core of it. We invite you to explore the ALP Student Voices Gallery, using your smartphone and headphones, to listen and learn how 50 students from across the country are experiencing assessment for learning and how those assessment practices are impacting their learning, agency and sense of belonging.

Meeting and Gathering Places
The Innovation Corner abounds with spaces conducive for spontaneous conversations or planned gatherings. Some spaces, like the lounges, are labeled by topic to assist you in finding colleagues with similar interests, while others are a convenient place to settle down to continue an impromptu discussion about what you are learning or ideas the Symposium has sparked for you.

Voices Hub
Let your own voice be heard through the Voices Hub, an interactive center for capturing your Symposium experiences, thoughts, telling your story, sharing ideas and learning from each other.

iNACOL thanks our sponsors for their generous support of the new Innovation Corner. We look forward to seeing you while at the iNACOL Symposium in Nashville.

About the iNACOL Symposium

On October 21-24, 2018, iNACOL’s annual Symposium will bring together 3,000 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based 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 iNACOL is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and  follow us on Twitter.

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October 20, 2018

iNACOL Symposium | A Word From Our Keynote David Istance

And from the neo-liberals.

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iNACOL Symposium 2018 - Driving the Transformation of Learning - October 21-24, 2018 - Nashville, Tennessee
Dear Colleagues,

Innovation in education and learning and the future of schooling have been my professional preoccupations for the past 20 years. It has been my privilege to have been encouraged to engage in “big picture” thinking and, better still, many of these reflections were published and used by others on their innovation journeys. It has been quite a thrilling challenge to work in the international arena at OECD, rubbing shoulders with some of the best brains and creative innovators in the world. Our work lay in the fertile interaction of research, policy and practice, seeking to be the catalysts for these interactions and offering tools and frameworks to get the most from them.

I had originally gone from college to the OECD in the 1970s for what I thought would be a brief assignment. A short contract turned into 15 years, as I acquired an invaluable apprenticeship in such areas as lifelong learning, equity and the international condition of teachers. By then I felt the need to get closer to people and issues on the ground and spent the next six years in teaching, research and consultancies in universities in Wales. But an invitation towards the end of the 1990s to return to lead a new project on educational futures – Schooling for Tomorrow – in OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) proved irresistible and back I went.

A word or two on innovation. We took it as a point of departure that the rapidity of change and the persistent evidence of widespread disengagement from schooling, among other factors, mean that schools and systems must be open to innovation. Our understanding of educational innovation was simple and wide-ranging: fresh approaches to longstanding challenges in a spirit of disciplined experimentation. The effects of such approaches are not universal but importantly shaped by context and expert implementation. Not everything labelled as “new” should be thought of as innovative, nor could innovation be reduced to particular practices (for example, those associated with digital technology).

What began in 1997 and only now drawing to a close was a major strand of OECD work at the heart of the CERI mission. It comprised three sequential projects that I had the privilege to lead: Schooling for Tomorrow, Innovative Learning Environments and Innovative Pedagogies for Powerful Learning. Based on this work, we published another book in the series every two years or so with titles such as What Schools for the Future? (2001), Personalising Education(2006), The Nature of Learning (2010), Innovative Learning Environments(2013), Schooling Redesigned (2015) and Teachers as Designers of Learning Environments: the Importance of Innovative Pedagogies (2018).

Around 2000, I constructed a scenario set intended to stimulate education leaders at all levels, including lead teachers, to clarify both their preferred schooling futures and their best-guess likely futures. But it became clear that we needed to focus intensively on learning, not just the institutions and systems of schools, and hence the follow-up projects after Schooling for Tomorrow. We needed to understand learning holistically in its different environments and ecosystems, and how these might best be promoted. And, we needed to privilege the role of teachers and address the key role of pedagogy in the dynamic interactions between educators, learners, content and resources, no matter what the setting.

A key value of these different projects, in my view, lay in creating frameworks to inform the design by others of powerful practice and policy, rather than proposing international “solutions” ourselves. A good example is the concluding chapter in The Nature of Learning volume, in which complex research summaries by leading international experts were honed down to seven guiding design principles for classrooms, schools, even whole systems:

  • Make learning and engagement central.
  • Understand that learning is social and often best done collaboratively.
  • Be highly attuned to learner emotions.
  • Be acutely sensitive to individual differences.
  • Be demanding for each learner but without excessive overload.
  • Promote horizontal connectedness across learning activities and subjects, in- and out-of-school.
  • Use assessments that support these principles, with strong emphasis on formative feedback.

They were extended in 2013 in the “7+3 framework” for powerful, innovative learning environments:

  • Apply the 7 ILE learning design principles, while:
    • Innovating the elements and dynamics of the “pedagogical core”
    • Engaging in learning leadership as a “design/redesign” formative cycle,
    • Extending capacity through partnerships.

Other framework formulations include the “4 Ds” of learning leadership: Drive, Direction, Design, Dialogue. There is the typology of pedagogies in the most recent 2018 report featuring Blended Learning, Gamification, Computational Thinking, Experiential Learning, Embodied Learning, and Teaching Multiliteracies through Discussion. I will be elaborating some of these in Nashville during my keynote.


David Istance headed the Schooling for Tomorrow project at the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) for a decade, before leading another of its long-running programs – Innovative Learning Environments – and its follow-up Innovative Pedagogies for Powerful Learning. This work has spanned systems change and future thinking, through local strategies and innovations, to research and practice on teaching and learning. 

Please join us at this year’s iNACOL Symposium where David will keynote on An International Perspective on Innovation and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Reflections on a Decade of OECD Insights and Research.

About the iNACOL Symposium

On October 21-24, 2018, iNACOL’s annual Symposium will bring together 3,000 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based 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 iNACOL is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on Linkedin and follow us on Twitter.

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October 19, 2018

iNACOL Symposium | A Word From Our Keynote Phyllis Lockett

And from the neo-liberals.

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iNACOL Symposium 2018 - Driving the Transformation of Learning - October 21-24, 2018 - Nashville, Tennessee
Dear Colleagues,

It is such an honor to open the 2018 iNACOL Symposium. Susan Patrick and iNACOL have consistently supplied remarkable leadership in the push to innovate our outdated education model. I’m also thrilled to share the stage with Carlos Moreno and Tony Monfiletto, two leaders who lean into innovation and outside-the-box thinking while never losing sight of the fight for equity that drives our work. This year’s topic — Leading the Transformation of Education Systems; Dedicated to High-Quality Learning for All — is a critical one, and I can only imagine the new ideas, connections and inspirations that will come about as our different perspectives converge.

The opportunity to deliver this keynote, especially alongside these dynamic innovators, is an exciting indication of how far personalized learning has come —and how far we as LEAP Innovations have come along with it. I founded LEAP in April of 2014; in less than five years, we have brought personalized learning to nearly 120 schools across Chicagoland, empowering over 30,000 students as well as 2,400 teachers and pre-service educators. At our Summit last month, we brought together more than 800 educators, innovators and business leaders. Across the sessions, panels and hallway conversations, the same word kept coming up: “movement.”

That’s what this vision of personalized learning has become — a movement that is building from the ground, spreading very fast and stopping at nothing but full-scale transformation of the way kids learn.

I launched LEAP to fuel and scale this movement — to unite its different players, drive its thinking and transform schools one by one — knowing full well that the need for sweeping change has never been greater. Today we face a world that is changing more rapidly and drastically than it ever has before – it is estimated that nearly 65 percent of today’s elementary students will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist. We already struggle in the current education model to prepare our students for today’s opportunities. But what about tomorrow’s? Our job is to ensure we fuel our children’s passion for learning — and foster their confidence and self-knowledge to adapt to new skills.

How do we do this? There is no one answer, just as there is no “average” student — which is the basis of our work to transform learning. Every learner has unique needs, strengths and aspirations, and a one-size-fits-all education model that fails to recognize or adapt to them leaves far too many students — especially students of color, students with disabilities and students who don’t always speak English at home — behind. All children are alike in having distinct dreams —  and the willingness to work hard to realize them. It’s our job to make sure they all receive learning experiences that challenge and support them in the right ways.

It’s time for a model that recognizes and adapts to each learner as an individual — that tailors education to meet learners where they are. At LEAP, our work to bring the personalized learning experience to life begins on the ground, with school leaders, teachers, families, communities and students. But ultimately, it will take all of us. Collaboration and connection are at the heart of this movement to transform learning, and I’m confident we will all leave the Symposium feeling this more firmly than ever. Together, we can help all learners discover and ignite their unlimited potential — because even if we can’t know exactly what the future will bring, we know what we can do to make it better.

I can’t wait to see you all in Nashville.


Phyllis Lockett has been dedicated to transforming education in the U.S. for more than a decade. She is currently the founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, an organization headquartered in Chicago that connects innovation and education to transform how students learn. LEAP works directly with educators and innovators across the country to pilot, research and scale personalized learning technologies and innovative practices across classrooms and outside learning environments. 

Please join us at this year’s iNACOL Symposium where Phyllis will keynote along with Carlos Moreno and Tony Monfiletto on Leading the Transformation of Education Systems; Dedicated to High-Quality Learning for All. 

About the iNACOL Symposium

On October 21-24, 2018, iNACOL’s annual Symposium will bring together 3,000 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based 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 iNACOL is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on Linkedin and follow us on Twitter.

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1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040 United States

October 17, 2018

iNACOL Symposium | A Word From Our Keynote Pamela Cantor, M.D.

And from the neo-liberals.

To view this email as a web page, go here.
iNACOL Symposium 2018 - Driving the Transformation of Learning - October 21-24, 2018 - Nashville, Tennessee
Dear Colleagues,

Every day, children arrive at school carrying backpacks filled with personal experiences. Many of these experiences are positive, but others are stressful, even traumatizing. I have spent much of my professional life, first as a child psychiatrist in private practice, and then as the founder of Turnaround for Children, unpacking how the relationships and experiences in children’s lives shape how they show up in school – whether they are ready to engage fully in learning, have a hard time paying attention in class, are often triggered or make friends easily. Most of all, I want to know what each of us can do to help allchildren thrive, no matter their start in life.

When I was a medical student, I was taught about how the human brain and body develop, what happens when development goes right and produces health, and what happens when something goes awry. One of the most amazing things I learned was that humans are born with 25,000 genes but over the course of our lifetimes, only 10 percent of those genes ever get expressed! That’s because genes are what we call “chemical followers.” This means that the environments and relationships children experience – the context of their lives – largely shape who they become.

Think about that for a moment – environments and relationships shape human development. Couple this with the neuroscientific fact that the human brain is malleable. It is made up of tissue that is the most susceptible to change from experience of any tissue in the human body, and it is malleable all the way into adulthood. Now you can begin to see why I – and a growing number of educators, scientists, policymakers and more – are so optimistic about what schools can do – actually, what 21st century schools must do – to help children develop to their very fullest potential as human beings.

Many of the insights that I speak about are drawn from diverse scientific fields and have been captured in two papers I co-authored which were published earlier this year in the journal Applied Developmental Science. What makes me most excited is connecting this science to strategies and practices educators can use today to help more children fully engage as learners and thrive. I am really looking forward to sharing some of the science, along with Turnaround for Children’s experience working in schools, with you in Nashville on October 24. Together, we can change the odds for many more children.


Pamela Cantor, M.D., practiced child psychiatry for nearly two decades, specializing in trauma. After leading Turnaround for sixteen years as President and CEO, in 2018, Dr. Cantor transitioned to a new role as Founder and Senior Science Advisor. She now focuses on the scientific underpinnings of Turnaround’s work, on targeted applied science initiatives and on thought leadership opportunities. She is a leader of the Science of Learning and Development Initiative, a collaborative effort focused on elevating and translating a diverse but increasingly convergent body of scientific literature to support the transformation of the systems that educate children from birth to adulthood.

Please join us at this year’s iNACOL Symposium where Dr. Cantor will keynote on The Power of Whole Child Personalization: Connecting Science, Learning and Human Potential. 

About the iNACOL Symposium

On October 21-24, 2018, iNACOL’s annual Symposium will bring together 3,000 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based 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 iNACOL is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on Linkedin and follow us on Twitter.

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Twitter Twitter
Linkedin Linkedin
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This email was sent by: iNACOL
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040 United States
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