Thursday, August 11, 2011

Networking with iNacol: Midwest Virtual School Symposium

Virtual School Symposium

I find it ironic that a virtual school symposium has no online attendance options.  However, if you're in the Midwest and involved in K-12 Online Education, this is the conference to attend. (To be fair iNacol does sponsor a number of Webinars every year.)

The conference is organized by iNACOL ( The International Association for K-12 Online Learning).  I've been a member of iNacol since 2005.  It has become the foremost professional organization for Virtual Schooling in the world.

I always recommend joining iNacol to the K-12 educators in our E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate Program. To build a career in E-Learning you need to create a professional network.  Getting involved with iNacol is an important part of building your connections.

K-12 Virtual School?

These YouTube videos provide an overview of what is happening now in virtual schools across the country.  They were created by Edutopia, another networking center that will reward any virtual teacher who pays attention with resources and connections worth having!

Virtual School Symposium (Details)

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning's annual conference, the Virtual School Symposium (VSS 2011), is November 9 - 11, 2011 at the JW Marriott in Downtown Indianapolis. The theme of this year's Virtual School Symposium (VSS) is "Empowered to Perform: Online and Blended Learning Models."

Online and blended learning are important innovations in K-12 education. The VSS conference provides professional development for K-12 online and blended learning for more than 2,000 K-12 administrators, policy leaders and practitioners; important networking opportunities; access to expertise and analysis, trends and research; and thought-provoking sessions for leaders looking to help shape the future of education. Attendees will find solutions for college-readiness, credit recovery, core and advanced courses, as well as target personalized learning solutions and competency-based pathways for students across the K-12 grade-levels.

New Preconference Sessions Announced!
iNACOL is pleased to announce 15 preconference workshops on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. Participants can choose from a variety of half and full day sessions on important topics in the field of K-12 online and blended learning. Learn from experts, participate in engaging discussions, and gain a deeper understanding of these important topics.

iNACOL is pleased to announce two new VSS pre-conference sessions:

Blended/Hybrid Learning 101 - From Inception to Implementation lead by Michael Horn and Heather Staker from Innosight Institute.

Experts have noted that the majority of K-12 online learning in the United States is likely to happen in blended learning environments--and districts and charters are already responding and creating a variety of different models to personalize learning for students. This session will involve deep participant discussion to explore what blended learning looks like in the trenches. What is it? What are the different models of implementation? How do schools get started? How does one evaluate what tools--software and resources--to use when creating the model? Thought-provoking panels will include the experts, consultants and school personnel who are starting up and running blended learning programs.

Best Practices for Online Teachers with iNACOL/SREB’s National Online Teacher of the Year, Kristen Kipp

Award-winning National Online Teacher of the Year, Kristen Kipp, will lead this session designed for online teachers to share best practices from their online classrooms. Expert panels will include information on building community in the online learning environment and working with at-risk students online. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in round table discussions on current issues in online teaching including motivating students, differentiation, academic integrity, and assessment. All ideas will be grounded in the very best online teaching practices and research. Participants will leave with new ideas of how to improve and enrich the teaching in their program.

Many more! VSS half-day workshops and full-day preconference workshops on November 9 include:

• Administration and Management of Online Programs
• Colloquium on Researching and Evaluating Blended Learning
• Evaluation in K-12 Online Learning
• Google Workshop for Educators (Online Teacher Edition) (Full day)
• How to Start an Online Program Preconference Session (Full day)
• Issues of Diversity in Online Learning
• Learn Moodle! An Open Source Learning Management System
• New Learning Models – Mobile Learning, Game-Based Learning, and School Turnarounds
• Online Christian Education Association (OCEA) Symposium
• Online STEM Initiatives: A Hands-On Training Workshop (Full day)
• Open Educational Resources Workshop (Full day)
• Professional Development for Online and Blended Teachers: Identifying Successful Practices and Addressing Challenges
• Web 2.0 and Emerging Technologies for Online Learning

Full descriptions and registration for all of the preconference sessions are now available on our website at Seating is limited for all sessions, so sign up soon!

Registration for the VSS conference is now open with an "early bird" discount until September 15. Register online at:
About VSS

Online and blended learning offers new delivery systems to maximize capacity -- doing more for students - even in times of economic distress. To learn more about online and blended models in K-12 education, the iNACOL annual conference provides access to experts and networking opportunities to learn more about new learning models, digital content innovations and technology tools for next generation learning.

For more information, visit

About iNACOL

iNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership association based in the Washington, DC area with more than 3,800 members. iNACOL is unique in that its members represent a diverse cross-section of K-12 education from school districts, charter schools, state education agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities and research institutions, corporate entities and other content and technology providers (

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