The traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been widely quoted. The basic meaning is that the upbringing of a child is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family – blood relatives, neighbors, and the whole community. This does not have to stop once the child is grown. Adults also need a village – a communal effort, an extended family, to continue to grow.
Educators are a close knit family, with support built into the work day. We can reach out to fellow co-workers for advice, feedback, and support. But let me ask you, “Who is part of your extended family?” When it comes to growing and supporting your thirst for building quality digital learning programs who are you allowing to fill your head with advice?
The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, known as iNACOL, has wisdom deeply rooted in digital learning. One might call iNACOL an elder of our community. iNACOL drives the transformation toward student-centered, next generation learning for K-12 education. They support innovators in online, blended, and competency education to share best practices, provide resources, connect practitioners, develop quality standards, and amplify educator voices to transform education. Through research and collaboration with other leaders in the field, iNACOL pens white papers, hosts teacher and leader webinars, and gathers the greatest thinkers in the field annually at the Blended and Online Learning Symposium.
This past week, I attended two webinars from iNACOL: Blended Learning Leaders Discuss their Roadmap for Success and Supporting and Sustaining Blended Learning Throughout the Year. Playbacks are available. In the first leaders shared how they rolled out digital learning initiatives in their district or school. In the second, teachers shared their experiences from a classroom level perspective. They were informative and insightful, providing opportunities to learn and grow together as a community.
In each of the events, the community asked about professional developments, and how to prepare staff for new digital learning environments. It is apparent that this is an area that so many struggle with. This same questions haunted the 2014 annual iNACOL Symposium. It was at that event the idea for i3DigitalPD was born. After years of providing professional development, using iNACOL recourses and other communal leaders in the field, at Nevada’s Clark County School District – the fifth largest in the nation, it was time to expand the village!
Shortly, on November 8-11, iNACOL is hosting the Blended and Online Learning Symposium in Orlando, Florida. Experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers, and researchers will gather, collaborate, and work towards a common goal of transformational education. Attendees will find unprecedented networking opportunities and gain access to expertise, analysis, and trends in online, blended and competency education.
We look forward to this event every year. Look for us at a ‘Meet the Practitioner’ campfire style session, titled: Changing Mindsets, Getting Results. i3DigitalPD will be there sharing expertise and soaking in words of wisdom from the many villagers.
Photo Credit: We Rule the School by Feans on Flickr.com