#ETLC11: Blue Ridge Virtual Learning

Cool evenings and muted colors signal November in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I’m in Roanoke Virginia for the 17th annual Educational Technology Leadership Conference hosted by Virginia Tech.
I met a teacher from southwest Virginia who’s family works in the mines—imagine a career crawling around inside narrow tunnels in a 30 inch seam of coal).  I told him that I started my career in the mines of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and eastern Kentucky.  We agreed that a bad at school is better than a good day in a punch mine.
Building on ETLC’s virtual learning theme, I talked about Getting Smart bringing online learning into the classroom.  We discussed a couple potential pilot projects:

  • Blended middle grade math
  • Online upper division: AP & dual enrollment
  • Elementary extra learning time: lab or tab
  • Special needs: speech therapy
  • Alternative education: dropout prevention academies

My friends from Virginia Virtual Academy (VAVA, powered by K12) were there but lamented enrollment caps that limit the number of students they can serve.  (Check out this interview with VAVA teachers on the rewards and challenge of teaching in an online elementary school.)
Other exhibitors included a couple interactive white board vendors, networking vendors, and e2020, which powers Carpe Diem.  A couple Cisco partners were there featuring products for collaboration in a post-PC world—imagine an Android tablet that is your phone, computer, and mobile WebEx station.
See you at #VSS11 in Indy!

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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