The Getting Smart team enjoyed every minute of the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium this week, the biggest and best blended learning conference on the calendar.  Check out both #iNACOL13 Day 1: Get Blended and #iNACOL13: The Happiest Place on Earth to get a good feel for what this conference really has to offer. This year’s attendance grew by more than 500 participants to be the biggest iNACOL event yet. We are already looking forward to the 2014 Symposium November 4-7 in Palm Springs, CA.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. And the award goes to. To kick off this year’s symposium, iNACOL announced the 2013 Innovator Awards including: Chris Haskell, Boise State University and Verena Roberts, The Open Classroom for Innovative Blended and Online Learning Practice, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute for Research Award and Scott Benson, Next Generation Learning Models and Gates Foundation for Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Blended and Online Learning.

2. No more wasted #ProfDev. We appreciate the contributions to the PD field in the newest report released this week, authored by Katherine Mackey of the Christensen Institute: EdTech Leaders Online, A case study of scalable online professional development programs. We have been searching for good models and know our friends at Christensen Institute have provided a great resource.

Digital Development

3. Smart people write good books. AEI Director of Education Policy Rick Hess and Kaplan Chief Learning Officer Bror Saxberg released their new book Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age, which points out that technology itself will not improve schooling; it’s how educators use it. They write: “While education technology always seems to be ripe with promise, experiences using new technologies in the classrooms over the course of the past  century or so have left educators exacerbated and wary… if technology is used as a tool for smart redesigns, we are firmly convinced that it can have a profound impact” (Watch for an OpEd by Rick & Tom soon).

4. Two reports for better blending. The theme at this year’s #iNACOL13 was clearly time to get blended and track results. Two iNACOL reports released this week provide useful implementation information for education leaders. First, Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education makes sense and defines the connection between key terms like personalized learning, blended learning, competency education and standards. Also, Partnering for Success, A 21st Century Model for Teacher Preparation uses 7 higher ed case studies to not only analyze how teachers learn their practice online but how that experience translates in online school for students, offering insight on where to go from here in the preparation of teachers for blended and online instruction.

5. We love numbers. If you love data like we do, you’ll be glad to know Keeping Pace 2013 is now available! The 10th edition includes updated enrollment numbers, graphics, and policy information. Check out the website to download the full report, for individual graphics, or browse individual state profiles.

6. Innovator’s dilemma. Good read on Huffington Post this week from Ben Wallerstein and Michael Moe, expanding on this phrase first coined by Clayton Christensen, describing the risk of putting too much emphasis on today’s needs and losing focus on the new technology that will define the future.

Teachers and Tech

7. #CE13 wraps. One of our favorite months of the year is over but we won’t forget the importance of being a Connected Educator all year long. Here’s all 20 of the #CE13 posts we ran on Getting Smart hopefully to help expand and extend the power of PLCs across the globe.

8. Experts agree. It’s time to update job descriptions for education leaders and learning professionals. In Seven Trends Impacting Edu-Jobs, Tom explains the trends and the new needed competencies that are reshaping what the jobs of education leaders look like. One new requirement is being literate in social media, which we thoroughly enjoyed talking about with forward leaning educators at #iNACOL13. Check out 25 Smart #SocialMedia Tips for #Edleaders and 50 Hashtags for Connected Educators.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Brick and mortar MOOCs. Coursera and US Department of State Launch Global Learning Hubs, a partnership that aims to give students physical spaces where they can access the Internet to take Coursera courses online as well as work with others in a group setting, for free.

10. HigherEd blend. Three higher education faculty members who have shaken up the idea of online learning with their unique approaches to educating students share their perspective in 3 quick videos. From an online EMT course, to a flipped Entrepreneurship classroom — these stories are just a few of many that fuel the new video series from Pearson,  “Voices of Online Learning.”

Bonus. Still glowing from the 3 sunny days we spent at #iNACOL13 and we had to storify it!

Pearson is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Coursera is portfolio company of Learn Capital where Tom Vander Ark is a partner. Tom is a director for iNACOL.

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