Last week I went to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning () conference in Palm Springs with about 2,100 people all committed to transforming education through blended, online, and personalized learning. The community has grown by leaps and bounds since it started. This was my first time at iNACOL and I must admit I found it overwhelming (but in a good way)!
My boss kicked it off with a teacher panel and the four pillars of personalized learning—unique learner profiles, customized learning pathways, competency-based progression and flexible learning environments. I was really impressed with the scaling strategy (start from the bottom up) that Clark County Public Schools put on the table. And it was wonderful to see the progress Aspire Charter Schools has made in “conversions” at the elementary school level (congratulations to Liz Arney on the book). But at the end of the first day, I kept asking myself, “Where are all the teachers hiding?” The conference seems as if it is more heavily attended by central office staff or administrators, education leaders and policy folks, many of who are likely to be former teachers, but there wasn’t much of a teacher buzz. If this many systems are implementing online and blended learning, where do the teachers hang out? And how we might connect those teachers in stronger ways?
Here are a few highlights.
- Favorite Line: “If we are still worrying about seat time, then we are focused on the wrong part of the body.” -Susan Patrick
- Favorite T-Shirt: Believe..Dream..Design..Deliver
- Fastest Talker: Buddy Berry from Eminence Schools, founder of the School on FIRE Model (superintendent, super dad and teacher at heart)
- Most Practical Session: Google Tools for Online Learning by Eric Curtis