Archive Page 2

Keeping Pace K-12 2013 Report at #inacol13

One of the yearly reports I always look forward to reading each year and is always released at the iNACOL Symposium is the report: “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice.” The Keeping Pace Report is a survey of all states and how K-12 online learning and blended learning are being used in each state. One of the first things I always do is check the snapshot of the state I live in (California) to see what is happening in my state.

John Watson and Amy Murin shared the overview of the new report with the State Virtual School Leaders PreConference at the symposium.  John and Amy shared some interesting findings of the current report that stood out for me.

The process of counting online students in supplemental programs is: One student taking one semester of one online course.

In 2009 there were 27 states with state virtual schools and in 2013 there are still 27 states with state virtual schools but some have been added and some states are no longer funding state virtual schools.

 A course choice program in Keeping Pace is defined as:

  1. Students to choose to take a course from one or more providers
  2. A district cannot deny a student’s request to enroll in an out-of-district course
  3. Funding follows the student at the course level

The State of Florida is the lead in many of these areas for three reasons:

  1. Florida Virtual School was established in 1986 and is consistently the largest statewide virtual school
  2. Florida is a school choice state by law (and has been for many years)
  3. There is a law that requires all schools to offer some type of online program options for students

Blended Learning is included in the Keeping Pace 2013 report. See p. 19 for the chart. The authors have done a good job of beginning to count the number of states that have blended learning schools. 

The Keeping Pace Report defines fully blended learning schools as: 

  • A stand-alone school with a school code
  • Much of the curriculum is delivered online
  • Attendance is required at a physical site during the school year for more than just state assessments

The ongoing challenge is how to define what “much of the curriculum is delivered online” really looks like. Until districts and states really start to count blended learning students, this will be a challenge. But, maybe it is not important to count students. After all, the more important questions are:

  • Are students learning?
  • Are students engaged in learning?
  • What strategies or educational structures most engage student learning?
  • Are students prepared for college and the world of work? 

iNACOL Symposium from a distance #inacol13

sign3.titleThere are over 2200 people that are registered to attend the iNACOL Symposium in person so far and they are now beginning to arrive at the Dolphin Hotel and conference center in Orlando.

There are many ways others can attend from a distance. First, our Twitter stream is #inacol13. During the main keynote addresses, anyone can ask questions of the panelists / speakers via Twitter. Please put the word “Question” at the beginning of the tweet so we know you have a question to be answered.

The keynotes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that will be live streamed or recorded can be found here. Ongoing conference information can be found via our online community. In addition, on Sunday, perhaps you would like to be part of our Global Networking PreConference which will include people from around the world? If so, register here and we’ll send out the link to join us on Sunday morning at 8:00 Eastern.

In addition, follow our Facebook page to see pictures uploaded by participants or tag your Instagram pictures with #inacol13.

We look forward to everyone participating in the symposium in a variety of ways to improve education across the world!

What to do at the iNACOL Symposium: Demo Days! #iNACOL13

One of the new features at the symposium is Demo Days. Demo Days will take place on Monday and Tuesday in America’s Seminar Lounge in the Convention Center. The purpose of Demo Days is for Edtech start-ups that are developing next generation tools and programs to have an opportunity to showcase these products. At the same time, conference attendees will have an opportunity to talk with these entrepreneurs about their product and identify how these products may fit in with their school program. The interaction between the entrepreneurs and conference attendees will provide multiple opportunities. First, attendees will be able to understand what these next generation tools are and how they may fit into their respective online or blended program. Second, the presenters will be able to hear from attendees about how the product may or may not fit with their respective school systems and what may need to be modified to make a product more useable. Third, attendees will also be able to suggest tools that are needed for the field. Together, the interaction between the entrepreneurs and educators will hopefully produce products that are truly useable in schools and ultimately, will provide the needed next generation tools for the education field.

We know that online and blended learning has the ability to personalize learning for all students. The challenge is how to best use the technologies to inform the teacher so instruction can be personalized. The technologies used in blended and online programs include communication tools, content, course management, and assessment. The recent publication, “Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning may help to provide some context about the types of next generation tools needed for blended learning environments. The Demo Days lounge will demonstrate some of these next generation tools to help teachers to better personalize learning will be evident.

Competency education or the ability to measure student progress based on proficiency is a concept being implemented in school districts throughout the U.S. In order for competency education to move forward, the technology tools to track and measure proficiency need to be in place. The publication “Re-Engineering Information Technology, Design Considerations for Competency Education” identifies four elements that need to be in place for student-centered education to occur. These four elements include:

  • IT systems are designed with student profiles and standards-based, personalized learning plans.
  • Rich data on student learning enables robust continuous improvement.
  • Student-centered systems require student-centered accountability systems focused on progress in learning.
  • IT enterprise architecture requires interoperability, accessibility, and interfaces.

How do the Demo Days products meet these requirements?

Check out Demo Days to learn about next generation tools and products, but more importantly, ask questions about how the tools can be used by yourself, your students, and your schools.

Use the symposium online community area or the program book addendum to identify when different products will be shared at Demo Days in the America’s Seminars Lounge or just drop in most any time on Monday or Tuesday! 

What to do at the iNACOL Symposium #inacol13

Every year at this time of year, I am excited to get to attend the iNACOL Symposium. In past years, I was a participant and now, I am honored to get to attend as a member of the iNACOL staff.  Each year, I most enjoy catching up with those I have met in the past to hear how their blended and online programs have grown and meeting new people to hear about developing programs or research across the world. This year is no different as there are more people attending than ever before!

In addition, there are several new features of the iNACOL Symposium that have been added that take place during each of the regular conference days.

Today, I wanted to share about the “Meet the Experts Campfire Sessions” feature at the symposium.  Since we are in Florida and the weather will be wonderful, these will take place out side on the Crescent Terrace. This will be an opportunity to have an informal conversation with experts in the blended or online learning space. Feel free to just drop by and chat with the experts at their scheduled times.  Look for the schedule in the program and on the conference website later this week. Some of the experts at the campfire sessions will be:  Susan Patrick, Chris Sturgis, Michael Horn, Tom Vander Ark, Rick Hess, Bror Saxberg, Anthony Kim, Julie Young and Andy Calkins.

See you at the Symposium! #inacol13


Dad and Daughter Road Trip Planning #dadanddaughterroadtrip

As the summer began, I had hoped there would be time for my daughter and I to take a little vacation before she began her MA studies at New York University in Museum Studies. The opportunity presented itself in the form of a Prezi she sent me suggesting that after a friend’s wedding in Oregon, we could continue north for a week to explore Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. 

Over the next month or so, we would identify how many nights we would stay in each place. She had the things she wanted to do and I had the things I wanted to do. Most of the figuring out was done via Google Docs where we had a list of “Brittany wants to do” and “Rob wants to do” to see what things we had in common. 

We both commented at one point that if we had planned this vacation 10 years ago, it would have been by looking at printed maps and possibly a trip to AAA to create a “Trip Tic” that we would carry with us to guide our navigation. With the map apps on our respective phones, no paper map is being carried. When we decide we want something to eat, there is an App for that. When we want to see where the next museum or theater might be, there is a map for that.

  • The initial trip was mapped out via Prezi.
  • The trip planning was done via Google docs and by phone.
  • All reservations were made online and stored in Google docs and via email for access.
  • The ongoing navigation would be via an App.

 It has been fun planning this vacation with my digital daughter.

#280EdTech Doctoral Students Blogging

I finished my doctorate at California State University, Fresno in 2010. It was three years of engaging in a variety of academic intercourse with professors and colleagues on a wide range of topics from school finance to school reform. It was three years of great learning and transformation. At the end of each year, our cohort would be pulled together to ask our opinion about how the program was going. Every year I would suggest that there were many components of this face-to-face degree that could be offered online – I was frustrated because none of the program was offered online.

As a result of my nudging, the university hired me back to coach doctoral professors in how to teach in a blended learning environment and assist in designing assignments that could be offered from a distance via different online technologies. For two years, I worked one-on-one with professors discussing which online tools they would like to use.  Recently, I was invited to teach the Doctoral Course elective focused on Educational Technology – I am now having to take my own advice on how to design and teach a blended learning course. In the design of the course, I wanted to make sure students had the experience of blogging and using Twitter. The syllabus reflected this as one of the ongoing assignments is to write a weekly blog reflecting on their learning in the course. I set up a wiki where we could keep track of what we were doing in the course.

Our class met face-to-face one time and the rest of our interaction has been via Google Hangout offered twice a week so that students could choose which night would work best for them.

This week I challenged students to start Tweeting out their blogposts as another way to connect with the world. I said I would start the process.  And Tweet out this blogpost with our hashtag #280EdTech.

In addition to Tweeting this out, I’m sending out a “Trackback” for the student blogposts listed below. I invite you to comment as well. Some excellent wisdom here!

You never know where a blogpost will lead

I follow a lot of different blogposts but do not have time to read all of them. However, today I did have some time to read some of the blogs that I follow and I first read Carrie Schneider’s Post on the Getting Smart blog entitled “EdTech 10: Top 15 Announcements“. I was aware of the ASU / GSV Summit but was not sure of the content nor the attendees. It was great to get caught up with the Top 15 announcements which lead me to the “Fun in the Sun” blogpost about the overall conference, which caused me to read the Ed Week blogpost about one of the panels at the gathering.

Stacey Childress of the Gates Foundation, was a panel member.  She and others compared the medical field to the education field and in particular about the importance of the right tools in the hands of the right practitioners.  This lead me to read Stacey’s post entitled “Closing keynote a step in the wrong direction.”  It was interesting to read how how the final keynote speaker, Andy Kessler, missed the mark.  I have been at other conferences where you gather for the final keynote expecting inspiration and reflection about the overall direction of education and end up disappointed.  Stacey’s blogpost lead me to look at the Twitter stream with the hashtag #eisummit, which provided even more information that I did not have time to read.

Overall, I learned about the passionate education thinkers and innovators who attended this gathering and a glimpse into the future of education.




Rob’s Tweets

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