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Aurora Institute

Connecting to Powerful Innovators: iNACOL Symposium 2015

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Catherine Wedgwood

Issue(s): Issues in Practice

This was originally posted on Getting Smart on September 28, 2015. 
By Catherine Wedgwood

To many people, this time of year means football, pumpkin-spiced everything and cooler temperatures. But that’s not the only thing to celebrate each autumn. For us (and thousands of annual participants), the fall months mean the countdown to the iNACOL Symposium is on!

The good news is there’s still time to register for the education industry’s leading K-12 online, blended and competency-based event — The iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium, November 8-11 in Orlando, Florida.

And if you can’t attend, don’t worry! Mark the dates off on your calendar right now and be sure to watch #inacol15 and for lots of ways you can join in the fun from your home or school.

This year’s focus is “Connecting Powerful Innovators” – a goal that will no doubt be achieved for participants who will have an opportunity to learn in sessions from keynotes like these:

Sustaining Lasting Change: Mobilizing Thousands Toward Student-Centered Learning

Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder, Free The Children, Me to We and We Day

Mobilizing sustainable and holistic systemic change in education requires strong leadership, a shared vision of the future, and the ability to build capacity to dramatically improve the learning environments of all students. Craig will inspire and challenge our thinking on leading worldwide systemic change in education through the use of social media.

Cultivating Student Ownership through Growth Mindset to Develop World-Class Learners

Eduardo Briceño, Co-Founder and CEO, Mindset Works

Research shows that developing a growth mindset, which is the understanding that you can develop your abilities, drives motivation, growth and performance. Growth mindset can stimulate transformation in education around student-centered learning, raising educational outcomes while equipping students to pursue ongoing growth throughout life.

Student Plenary Panel: The Power of Student Voices

iNACOL is proud to present the broadest panel yet of students experiencing the leading edge of personalized learning. This unfiltered, honest discussion will inspire change, inform educator practices, and invigorate the groundswell of support for transformative new learning models.

The Future of Personalized Learning: Reinventing Education

  • Buddy Berry, Superintendent, Eminence Independent School District
  • Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Tom Stritikus, Deputy Director of College Ready, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

New learning models offer solutions for transforming education around student-centered and highly personalized learning. This presentation will feature three powerful education leaders providing TED-talk style presentations including: Eminence Superintendent Buddy Berry, Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance, and Gates Foundation Deputy Director of College Ready Tom Stritikus.  The session will highlight future directions in personalized learning.  The keynote session will explore how practitioners and educators are redefining how instruction is delivered in the classroom using blended and online learning, creating new instructional designs to build mastery and design of personalized learning experiences. By design and grounded in science, powerful personalized learning models can provide increased equity, excellence, and access to a world-class education for all students

Education Reimagined: A Transformational Vision with Learners at the Center

  • Becky Pringle, Vice President, National Education Association
  • Gisele Huff, Executive Director, Jaquelin Hume Foundation
  • Kelly Young, Executive Director, Education Reimagined

What does extraordinary learning look like when we put aside our current assumptions of what, where, when, and how learning should occur? And what systems would be necessary to support this new type of learning? These are the questions that an unusually diverse group of leaders came together to explore. After an 18-month dialogue, these stakeholders emerged united behind a shared transformational vision for learner-centered education in the U.S. and committed to making it a reality.

These keynotes will help build a common framework to support all the professional learning that takes place in the approximately 150 smaller sessions and workshops. Symposium organizers spend a lot of time building out specific tracks for participants who are then able to really customize their experience to go for depth into a couple key topics or breadth across several.

“Competency Education” tracks definitely draw a lot of interest each year, so do popular tracks on blended learning for charters and districts will be available again. In addition, several new tracks were added this year based on participant feedback: Empowering Educators, English Language Learners, Full-Time Online Schools, Instructional Practices, New Learning Models, Student Support Services, Supplemental Online Learning Programs, and Talent/Human Capital/Career Pathways.

Click the links below for even more information:

A fun feature this year is an updated 2015 Symposium free mobile app. Attendees can use the app to connect with other attendees, plan sessions and retrieve resources both during and after the conference.

So register, download the app and get ready to join us as we explore next-gen learning with the experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers and researchers who gather annually to share ideas and continue working to transform education! As a member of this group, you will have access to:

  • Over 200 sessions
  • Featured breakout sessions
  • iNACOL and Getting Smart’s Voices Hub
  • Networking opportunities with education leaders and innovators

For more on iNACOL’s work, as well our experience at 2014’s Symposium, check out: