Written By: melsreeves, Denver Post
Published: February 20th, 2017
Golden, Colo. — Colorado educators are being asked to change the way they personalize and deliver instruction to today’s students — the future of classrooms integrates innovative technologies that prepare students for a 21st century workforce and career world.
The 2017 Colorado Blended and Online Learning (CBOL) Conference, from February 23-24, at the Denver West Marriott in Golden, is hosted by iLearn Collaborative (iLC). The CBOL 2017 conference will play host to the first workshop with 11 districts around the state involved in Colorado Empowered Learning (CEL) — a new state initiative with funding from House Bill 16-2222 to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality professional development to school districts and staff.
Education leaders from around the world are invited to learn from the experts in personalized and blended learning, explore hot topics and trends and choose from over 35 unique sessions to gain valuable skills, techniques and tips to improve and enhance their instruction with adaptive education technology.
“iLC was chosen to partner with CEL as the only state-subsidized provider of blended and online professional development for teachers,” said iLC CEO Judy Perez. “We’re so excited to support and invest in the one thing that makes the biggest difference to every students’ success — a teacher.”
Perez added that blended learning is one of the most promising tools available to ensure that every student in Colorado — from the metro area to the Western Slope — has access to the tools, resources and coursework they need to succeed. “We support districts to advance the practice of personalized learning to create equity in K-12 education. Our partnership with Colorado allows us to expand low-cost training from an expert K12 education and technology staff,” she said.
CEL runs through June to shape and inform Colorado’s approach to blended learning. The resulting statewide roadmap will be focused on seizing the opportunities and addressing the barriers to using online and blended learning to enhance equity and access in K-12 education.
Colorado Empowered Learning or CEL districts include:
- Academy District 20
- Estes Park SD
- Garfield 16
- Jeffco Public Schools
- Lewis Palmer School District
- Peyton School District
- Poudre Valley School District
- Vrain Valley School District
- Weld RE-1 School District
- Weldon Valley School District
CBOL 2017 proudly welcomes keynote speaker and author Tom Vander Ark. He is the CEO of Getting Smart, a learning design firm and a partner at Learn Capital an education venture fund. Vander Ark advocates for innovations that customize and motivate learning and extend access.
Sessions include education experts like Ben Wilkoff, Director of Blended and Personalized Learning for Aurora Public Schools (APS) and Denver Online High School art teacher Elisa Narizhnaya in Denver Public Schools (DPS).
Wilkoff presents Kids Can’t Learn in Airplane Mode: Promising Blended Learning Practices, a session that highlights promising blended learning practices in APS and advocates for allowing students to stay connected while in the classroom.
“When we ask kids to power down and turn on “airplane mode” we’re asking them to disconnect from any app that might help them to write or other online resources that could further their understanding of academic language,” said Wilkoff. “We’re asking them to disconnect from one another and from us, as educators. Rather than empowering them to send messages and conduct research. Without equitable access, we are telling students they have to power down in order to learn.”
Narizhnaya built the art courses for her online school’s arts program. “It was an opportunity for me to be really creative and build on my experience to create an effective and successful online art program,” she said. Her session, Teaching Art Online, proves why she won an innovation award from the 2016 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture program.
“A lot of people think of art as something that you have to do in a studio with an instructor in front of you,” explained Narizhnaya. “I think online is the best way to take art, because of that individual attention I can give to my students.”
About iLearn Collaborative
iLC creates equity in K-12 education by advancing the practice of personalized, student-centered learning with high-quality online content, one-on-one coaching, teacher-led discussions, and peer support. iLC’s professional development and consulting services support educators to integrate technology into instructional practice and address the unique and diverse needs of every community — led by an experienced team of educators with over 100 years of personalized learning experience. By sourcing innovative methods from educators around the world, we build the capacity of teams to lead change to improve student success. iLC is a Future Ready regional partner and has received international interest and currently piloting programs in Latin America.