A variety of individuals – all who care deeply about education – recently attended or participated in iNACOL’s Virtual School Symposium 2012 that took place in October in New Orleans. More than 2000 people attended the conference and about 45% of the people who attended were new to attending the conference. Everyone else had attended at least one time in the past. There were more than 1500 tweets that occurred with the #Vss12 hashtag and a number of blogposts were written.
First, it seems like the “Toms” were some of the key bloggers who wrote their ideas about their take aways from VSS. First, Tom Vander Ark wrote about the six trends he observed including creative tools, competency based learning, educational choice, personalized learning, bring your own device and rethinking systems. Tom Whitby, in a post entitled “The Missing Link“, shared that he believed that the VSS12 attracted some of the best of the best in online and blended learning. He found that many of the sessions he attended were presented by vendors and education reformers, and emphasized the importance of having “real classroom educators” presenting the sessions in the future.
Other trends shared included how the virtual school symposium is shifting to learning more about blended learning and teaching as shared by Education Week blogger Ian Quillen while Andrew Miller wrote about how games in virtual education is another trend. Another Education Week blogger, Katie Ash wrote about how blended learning models have developed that foreshadowed what would occur at VSS12. In addition, Tory Gattis from the Houston Chronicle wrote about his take aways including the keynote speech by John White, Superintendent of Education in Louisiana how Louisiana and other states are empowering schools to utilize blended and online learning, and how 46 states have adopted the new Common Core standards. Bekci Kelly wrote about how VSS is a call to action by all who attended to share and collaborate about online and blended learning, while Joy Nehr wrote about what many considered was a highlight of VSS – the student panel. A recording of that student panel can be found here. Finally, Roxy Mourant shared her notes from the VSS sessions she attended here.
Other reflections include:
- Jeffrey Hunt - Summarizes several VSS sessions.
- Michael Horn – iNACOL’s virtual schools and beyond
- Drew Perkins – Summarizes several VSS sessions
Many of the VSS sessions were recorded which can be found here.