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Notes from iNACOL’s Midwestern Regional Professional Development Symposium


Random Notes from the meeting, April 4, 2011.  Symposium wiki.

Susan Patrick’s Keynote. 

Challenges for states:

  1. Declining state fiscal revenues
  2. Mounting teacher shortages
  3. Demand for skilled workers.

Digital Learning Now

CCSSO — Next Generation Learners

  1. Personalized learning
  2. Systems of Support
  3. World Class Knowledge
  4. Performance based learning
  5. Anytime, Everywhere
  6. Authentic Student Voice

Next Generation (Gates Foundation) — Current conditions (low graduation rates in some schools, college readiness) in education necessitate breakthrough change. (

Rose Fernandez, The National Parent Network for Online Learning

Home schooled children and moved them into cyber charter school.  Advocate for online education to personalize learning for her children.  Allows her  family to focus on outcomes with challenging learning activities.  She sees her school as a different way of public schooling.  School was closed by a lawsuit.  Parents worked to save the school.  Her view is that adults need to serve the students not the system.  She urges that schools seek parent involvement when developing the school.  Parents are the messengers of urgency and options to serve the families.

Interventions to Increase Online Learner Involvement (Phonekeo Siharath & Jan Mitchell)

Instructor works in a blended classroom.  Although students are scheduled to see him each day, about 40% of learning is online.  Uses action research to guide his instruction.  How does instruction impact learning?  He states that this provides immediate feedback.  Research study:  Does requiring students to respond to other students in online discussion post affect the quality of the original posting?  (He states that it does, when a student must respond to all students.)  What happens to responses when students are grouped?  This may not result in positive student engagement.

Introduction to online  learning environment  (All things in moderation —

  1. Welcoming environment — be helpful
  2. Socialization — create community for newcomers, tap the excitement, and build bridges.
  3. Information exchange  — provide for interaction with content and others.
  4. Knowledge construction — probe for depth, summarize new understanding.
  5. Development

Best Practices in Online AP Instruction (Dawn Nordine, Dennis Kostac, Karen Kitze,  Jim Kinsella, Eric Lehman)

Help with AP courses:  AP workshops,  Reading AP exams, Experience teaching AP; AP central web site; local training sessions.

Professional development to teach online AP courses:  teaching online, certification for online instruction,  taking an online course.

Challenges:  Discussions, Labs

Recruiting students:  take another course first, meeting prerequisites

Successful AP students: communication, local (technical) help for student, having time during school day.

Student Panel

Why learn online?


How do you handle multiple inputs (multitasking) and helping you with future?



Adult Question:  Would you like more structure? 

What about socialization? 

Has the relationship changed with your parents? 

What incentives are needed to encourage students to stay on pace charts to complete courses? 

Ensuring Quality Online Teachers (Sue Steiner, Rick Nettesheim, Kris Keckler, Kelly Pochop)

Blended Learning Opportunities (Dawn Nordine, Paula Hagerman, Annette Walaszek, Kaye Lietz)

In summary, the day’s symposium provided means to reaffirm understandings of online learning constructs and implementations.

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