Friday, November 04, 2011

Next week at the Virtual School Symposium!

Next week I am headed to Indianapolis for iNACOL's Virtual School Symposium (VSS) 2011. iNACOL you ask? What is that? It is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and if you work in or have any interest in online learning the letters iNACOL should role off your tongue.
iNACOL has been around since 2003 and has been a leading organization in enhancing the field of online education. They have done tremendous research in the area and have published critical papers. One example, the National Primer on K-12 Online Learning, can be found in our files section. Click here to check it out. They also have a great section of their site on "How to start an online program" that is comprehensive and extremely helpful. In addition they are highly regarded advocates for the field, provide extensive professional development and networking. If this in an area that interests you chekc out their site at However, besides all these great things they do, they also put together the VSS which I attending next week.

This past summer I attended the ISTE conference which was focused on educational technology. It was amazing and I learned a lot. However, I had a hard time finding many sessions on online learning and the ones I did were not highly supportive of it. So, when I discovered that iNACOL put on an entire conference on online learning I knew I had to attend. Plus, for the work we are doing at the YU School Partnership in online learning, I and Dr. Scott Goldberg, were recently invited by the Avi Chai Foundation to attend the conference as part of a group of talented educators and organizations who are working in advancing online education in Jewish schools. So, what I was looking forward to being a great experience just got stepped up a few notches.

Even if you are not attending, it is worthwhile to take a look at the VSS agenda (click here) to see what sessions are being offered and where the field is holding. You will quickly see that while fully online learning is a focus, so is blended learning. As for me, I have chosen these sessions below and look forward to sharing what I learn with all of you here as well as on the YUeLearning Community.

Wed. Nov 9th.
Blended and Hybrid Learning 101 - From Inception to Implementation - AM

Organizer: Michael Horne

Blended learning in K-12 education is growing fast. Experts have noted that the majority of K-12 online learning in the United States is likely to happen in blended learning environments--and districts and charters are already responding and creating a variety of different models. This session will explore what blended learning looks like in the trenches. What is it? What are the different models operators are implementing? How did they get their start? How does one evaluate what tools--software and resources--to use when creating the model? Expert panels will include the providers who are running blended learning programs of different stripes and the people helping to set them up.

Best Practices for Online Teachers - PM

Organizer: Kristen Kipp

Award-winning National Online Teacher of the Year, Kristen Kipp, will lead this session designed for online teachers to share best practices from their online classrooms. In this session, online teachers will share best practices from their online classrooms. Expert panels will include information on building community in the online learning environment and working with at-risk students online. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in round table discussions on current issues in online teaching including motivating students, differentiation, academic integrity, and assessment. All ideas will be grounded in the very best online teaching practices and research. Participants will leave with new ideas of how to improve and enrich the teaching in their program.

Session 1 Thurs. Nov. 10 Growing a Quality Online Program (Matt Waymack, Gwinnett County Online Campus)

Gwinnett Online Campus has delivered supplemental online courses successfully since 1999, and is implementing a full time 4-12 charter school in three phases. GOC will share keys to our success and lessons learned over 12 years regarding best practices in student support, our structured comprehensive counseling and academic coaching programs, effective communication, quality instructional strategies, and charter school implementation. Student perspectives will be included.

Session 2 Thurs. Nov. 10 Marketing Your Virtual School: An Action Plan for Success (Linda Frederickson, Michigan Virtual University)
Come explore creative ways to apply marketing principles & practices to compete successfully in today's business climate. This interactive session will analyze the segments of a solid plan, engage the audience through participation in developing strategies and look at real applications in the marketplace. The correlation between marketing & sales is emphasized to maximize customer relations and achieve goals. You'll take away a template marketing plan & timeline and new ideas for immediate use!

Session 3 Thurs. Nov. 10 Multimedia tour of six K-12 blended-learning Models (Katherine Mackey, Innosight Institute)

In true disruptive fashion, online learning is expanding beyond its roots in distance learning with entrepreneurs now creating blended-learning environments. Researchers from Innosight Institute (Disrupting Class), Charter School Growth Fund, and the Foundation for Florida's Future present new findings about six blended-learning models that are emerging in K-12 education. Tour these models up close through a photo and video presentation featuring 40 blended-learning programs across the country.

Session 4 Thurs. Nov. 10 Digital Content Strategies for Online and Blended Learning (Mark Luetzelschwab, Agilix Labs, Inc.)

Digital content is instrumental for online and blended programs but can be confusing, difficult and expensive. This session reviews strategies for blending "build" and "buy" with 1) Licensed, 2) Open; 3) Organization-Created, and 4) Teacher-Created resources. It includes pros and cons of OER strategies, a review of the USDOE's Learning Registry project (by one of its advisors), new "meta-indices", and real-life examples of digital content deployments in virtual and blended environments.

Eliezer A. Jones, PhD
Educational Technology Specialist

Institute for University-School Partnership

Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration

Yeshiva University

Phone: 917-836-2257


skype: eliezerjones

Twitter: DrEliezerJones

CoP: &

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