Posts Tagged 'vss11'

Virtual School Symposium: Learning Online in Person

Many people think it is ironic that online educators have to meet face-to-face to learn more about online learning.  However, as online learning educators know, it is all about the relationship with colleagues as well as the relationships between teachers and students that occur online…and in person.  There have been several blog posts about the Virtual School Symposium here, herehere, here , herehere, and here.  It was nice to read the many press releases about the growth of K-12 Online Learning from the Keeping Pace Report as well as the release of the report about International Online Learning.  I wanted to add my voice to the many.

What I most appreciate about interacting with everyone at the Virtual School Symposium are the questions that no one asks and I don’t have to answer. It is nice to NOT have to answer these questions:

  • Why is online learning important?
  • Do students really learn online?
  • How do you know students are really doing their own work online?
  • Won’t online learning reduce the number of teachers?

It is nice to focus on more important questions like:

  • What are the best models for online or blended learning?
  • What does research say about the best ways to interact with students online?
  • What pedagogical strategies work best online?
  • What are some new ways to meet the needs of at-risk students such as students who are incarcerated or have dropped out of school?
  • What are the best strategies to build relationships online with students to facilitate their learning?

See you next year at iNacol’s Virtual School Symposium which is scheduled for October 21-24, 2011 in New Orleans.

3 related reports

I don’t know how it happens that three important reports are all released in the same week, but it has happened this week.  All reports relate to online learning and teens use of social media.

First, the current Keeping Pace Report about K-12 Online Learning (2011) was released as part of the Virtual School Symposium, now taking place in Indianapolis.  In the report (which has been updated every year since 2004) were the following findings:

  • Single district programs are the fastest growing segment of online and blended learning
  • Most district programs are blended, instead of fully online
  • Intermediate units, county offices, and other regional education service agencies are taking on important roles
  • Full time, multi-district online schools continue to grow
  • State virtual schools are more effective when there is an ongoing funding model in place (such as Florida and North Carolina)
  • The Digital Learning Now movement and Common Core Standards are important elements in online and blended learning

Second, the Sloan-C people released the report, “Going the Distance 2011″ which has reported about online learning in higher education.  They have continued to research and issue reports  for the past 8 years.  The current report found that:

  • 66% of higher educational institutions now report that online learning is critical part of their long-term strategy
  • 31% of higher education students now take at least one online courses
  • The number of higher ed students taking online coursesses increased by 10% from the year before
  • 67% of academic leaders believe that learning outcomes in online education are the same or superior to those in face-to-face.  That leaves 37% who believe otherwise.
  • The percentage of faculty members who accept online education as a viable form of learning is less than one-third
  • Most training for online teaching in higher ed takes place internally

The final report that relates to the first two was released by the Pew Internet Project entitled: “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Networking Sites.”  This report, as with the others listed above is an ongoing study.  Their findings were as follows:

  • 95% of teens (ages 12-17) are now online.  Of this number, 80% are involved in social media sites.
  • 69% of teens believe that their peers are mostly kind on social media sites, while 20% believe their peers are mostly unkind on social media sites
  • 88% of teens on social media sites have witnessed other people being mean or cruel online
  • 15% of teens said they have been the target of online meanness
  • 78% of teens report positive outcomes from social media sites, while 41% reported at least one negative outcome.
  • 19% reported bullying in the past year in some form – whether in person, online, by text or by phone
  • 95% of teens report that mean or cruel behavior that is witnessed is often ignored
  • 86% of teens reported that their parents have received advice on using the Internet from parents;  70% from teachers or other adults at school; 45% from classmates or peers.


Virtual School Symposium (vss11): Join f2f or online

The iNacol Virtual School Symposium is happening this week in Indianapolis, Indiana (EST).  You can be part of it in person or from a distance.  This is the only conference that just focuses on K-12 online learning.  The overall K-12 online learning movement is really a bottom up movement.  Only a few states mandate online learning for students.  Increase your knowledge about K-12 online learning by joining in the learning this week.

From iNacol:

We look forward to welcoming you to the iNACOL annual conference on online and blended learning, the Virtual School Symposium (VSS) 2011, in Indianapolis. In addition to the face- to-face conference, there will be several opportunities to participate online to extend this experience online through the VSS 2011 Overlay.

Mobile Applications
A VSS mobile application is available for free download. This interactive application features: conference sessions, maps of the hotel and exhibit hall, and information about the city of Indianapolis. It is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Use your mobile device’s QR reader to scan the QR code on page 2 of the conference program book or at the registration desk in order to download the mobile app. You can also download the mobile app powered by Desire2Learn by visiting .

Conference Wiki
The VSS conference wiki is located at which allows attendees to interact in real-time and engage in discussions about hot topics, trends, issues and programs discussed during the conference. Conference speakers are encouraged to upload copies of their presentations and any hand-outs on the wiki.

Twitter and Facebook
iNACOL is unveiling a new Facebook Page this year, located at inacol. Share conference photos, thoughts, and experiences, and be sure to check in to the VSS 2011 events! If you are using Twitter please use the hashtag #vss11 in each of your entries. In addition, there are session specific hashtags that are listed immediately after each session description in the program book. When you use the session specific hashtag, it will be linked live to the conference wiki!

The VSS keynote addresses and break-out sessions being held in White River Ballroom G/H will be webcast live as well as be available for on-demand playback. In addition, the break-out sessions being held in Rooms 201/202, 203/204, 304/305, and Grand Ballrooms 1-4 will be recorded and be available for on-demand playback. The live webcast and on-demand recordings can be accessed at

See the agenda for the conference to schedule in your learning.  The conference is taking place in Indiana, so all events are in Eastern Standard Time.


Flickr Photos