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Aurora Institute

2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium Highlights Preview

Education Domain Blog

Authors: Verena Roberts

Issues: Issues in Practice


I wanted to share some highlights of the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium this November 8-11 in Orlando. This blog post provides highlights of the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium sessions, iNACOL Innovator Awards, and pre-conference workshops.

The iNACOL Symposium is a unique event offering an unparalleled opportunities to learn about new personalized instructional models, the latest trends in online learning, what’s new in blended school designs, competency education, and innovations in K-12 educational policy, practice and research in one place.

2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Sessions

Below are a few examples of breakout sessions offered at the iNACOL Symposium:

Ramping Up Innovation: Strategies for Personalized Learning Leaders
In this session, participants will learn how to tackle big questions about designing personalized learning environments, student agency, competency-based progressions, evaluation, communication, team building and sustainability.

More than Messaging: The Role of Public Engagement in Educational Innovation
Participants will learn the essential elements of authentic engagement for innovation and how they can be deployed to drive change in education.

First-Hand Accounts: Students and Teachers Share Their Experiences in New, Competency-Based High Schools
Participants will hear students’ perspectives on being part of new competency-based high schools and will engage with teachers as they share how their teaching practice has shifted in a competency-based, tech-enabled model.

Recruiting, Training, Supporting, and Evaluating Online Teachers: A Cross-Case Analysis of Teaching Infrastructure Across Virtual Schools

The research presented will focus on similarities and differences across K-12 virtual schools by examining teacher recruitment, hiring, training, support, evaluation, and retention.

Build Bridges Across the EdTech Ecosystem: Partnerships, Pilots and Rapid-Cycle Evaluations for Innovative Tools and Practices

This two part session will offer a stakeholder design workshop to identify goals, challenges, and barriers for each of the different stakeholder groups invested in developing edtech tools and a realistic group simulation to uncover and create best practices for designing, implementing, and measuring innovative tools and practices.

Can Privacy Concerns Derail Online Learning?
This discussion will examine FERPA, COPPA and new state laws as well as ways to find products that support privacy compliance, and strategies for communicating about privacy and online learning with parents and other stakeholders.

Highlights of Successful Blended Learning Programs in District Schools
This panel, composed of educators from schools that have demonstrated successful student achievement outcomes, will discuss integrating blended learning programs in their districts.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the RAND Corporation Present Interim Research Findings on Schools that are Pursuing Personalized Learning
This session will describe the study structure and study findings behind the schools that are pursuing a range of approaches to ‘Personalized Learning.’

iNACOL Innovator Award Nominations

Each year, iNACOL honors and celebrates four education pioneers for their work in blended and online learning. As a reminder, nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 iNACOL Innovator Awards, which will be announced at the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium.

Nominations are now open for the following iNACOL Innovator Awards:

  1. Blended and Online Teacher of the Year
  2. Innovative Blended and Online Learning Practice Award
  3. Research Award
  4. Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Blended and Online Learning Award

Additional information, including eligibility requirements and nomination forms, is available on the iNACOL Innovator Awards page of our website.

Please submit a notice of your intent to nominate by 8:00pm ET on August 31, 2015. Final nomination packages are due by September 14, 2015. Please send any questions to [email protected].

Pre-Conference Workshops

We are pleased to announce the lineup of pre-conference workshops scheduled to kick off the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. We offer pre-conference sessions, held on Sunday, November 8, 2015, which are focused full- and half-day interactive workshops for administrators, educators and policymakers in competency-based, blended, and online learning environments. These highly individualized workshops are not included in the conference package and require separate registration.

Preconference Workshops include:

  • Going Blended: A Step-By-Step Workshop on Creating and Implementing Effective Blended Learning
  • Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Superintendents Share Battle Scars and Victories from Designing and Implementing a Personalized Learning Strategy Across their District (Capacity: 75)
  • Designing the Future of Learning
  • Administration and Management of Online Programs
  • An Update on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities: Practitioner Perspectives, Research Results, and the Legal Landscape (Capacity: 60)
  • A Step-By-Step Guide to Communications Planning for Blended Learning: Key Messages, Tips, and Tactics for Knowing What to Say and When to Say It
  • Expert Seminar on Standards (Data, Content Metadata, Technology) for Competency Education
  • How to Start an Online Learning Program
  • Implementing Competency Education: Insights from Local Leaders
  • K-12 Research Community Meeting (Free to attend)
  • Policy Advocacy Skills Workshop
  • Supporting Teachers in Blended and Personalized Schools: New Competencies and New Resources
  • Teaching and Deeper Learning in Digital Settings (Capacity: 30)
  • 20 Tech Tool Treasures – Teacher Tested, Student Approved

Registration for pre-conference workshops is limited to ensure small group interactions and discussions, so please register as soon as possible.

To receive continued updates regarding the 2015 Symposium and other news in competency-based, blended and online learning, follow us on twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletters.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium.