10 Cool Ideas at iNACOL’s Virtual School Symposium

The Getting Smart team enjoyed the iNACOL Virtual School Symposium (VSS) this last week in Indianapolis. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ideas that caught our attention.
1. Evidence of Blended Models – The new iNACOL report and sessions at VSS showed increased evidence of blended models.
2. Parent and Student Involvement – Lori Gully at Florida Virtual School told us that the online learning provider is getting smart by involving parents and students in the state’s legislation process to support online and blended learning.
3. David Teeter – David is iNACOL’s new Director of Policy. With so many states planning their shift to digital learning, we need David’s help to develop policies that support online and blended learning!
4. More Scaled Providers – We saw more scaled providers like Primavera, the biggest high school in AZ, at VSS.
5. NROC Algebra 1 Course – We just thought this was cool! Math is a tough topic for educators to teach and students to grasp. We’re always interested in innovative ways that can improve math learning.
6. Brant Redd’s Discussion of Personalized Learning – This was a great session and we’re glad Brant is at the Gates Foundation!
7. Online Fitness – Carone Fitness, an online fitness program, gets kids moving and uses heart rate monitors to make sure they are moving.
8. Kristen Kipp’s Presentation – “Day in the Life of an Online Teacher” was a great presentation by Kristen, the national online teacher of the year!
9. Recycled Content Providers – Sell your company, come back and build next generation content.
10. Online Speech Therapy – Clay Whitehead at PresenceLearning told us that schools are getting smart by providing innovative, online speech therapy courses for students.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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Susan Patrick

I would also add the following:
Next Gen Learning Challenges grants – Andy and Elina from Educause explaining the $6M in grades 6-12 Wave III Gates Foundation funding and grants for new, innovative online/blended school models.
Donnell Kay Foundation’s Tony Lewis concept of statewide Innovation districts so schools can have space to innovate for competency-based, blended learning models with waivers from restrictive state policies (Tony – is this the best way to describe it)?
Anthony Kim’s session on building blended schools
Student panel with 2 students training for the Olympics (in diving and ice skating), 2 Native American students from a blended school in Wyoming, and four other students sharing their experiences in online and blended learning programs.
National Online Teacher of the Year Kristin Kipp hosts VSS preconference workshop on online and blended teaching
Julie Young receiving the iNACOL innovator’s award for her leadership in the field

Heather Staker

Great idea Tom! I'll give you a real one and then one shameless plug:
* Steve Midgley from the U.S. Department of Education keynote address when he talked about how the Internet is changing society. Case in point: 800 million Facebook users today, and half of them log in every day.
* Multimedia Tour of Blended Learning, by Katherine Mackey, Alex Hernandez, and Heather Staker, had not only great photos but Frank Sinantra

Caroline Vander Ark

Thanks for additions Susan and Heather!

Tom Vander Ark

Michael Horn, Mickey Revenaugh and others loved the student panel (see this great Lisa Nielsen post: http://www.gettingsmart.com/gettingsmart-staging/blog/2011/11/five-things-students-want-their-teachers-to-know-about-online-learning/)
Michael and I though Robyn Bagley's presentation with detailed advise on how to get a bill passed was amazing.
Michael also noted the sheer number of district people in attendance really shows how much this movement is growing up and becoming relevant for everyone in the education business.

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