Indiana’s Summer of eLearning
May 21, 2014 by Guest
“I have attended three Summer of eLearning conferences and have expanded my knowledge and my professional learning network each and every time. I am rejuvenated ~ bring on the next school year!”
-2013 Summer of eLearning Participant
“We have used precious professional development money to cover the registration for teachers that want to attend. The quality of the conferences have been excellent and not once have we been disappointed or felt like it was not worth it.”
-Indiana school district superintendent commenting on Summer of eLearning 2013
First in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of SETDA members. Today’s post comes from Candice Dodson, Director of eLearning at the Indiana Department of Education.
During the past few years, Indiana school districts have started to transform learning from traditional environments to digital environments through 1:1 implementations. This move to digital covers every area of the state, impacting learning from small rural districts to large urban ones as seen in this self-reporting 1:1 map from the Indiana DOE Office of eLearning. Of course, it is not the devices, the shift to digital content or the lack of traditional textbooks alone making the difference, it is a shift in the mindset of our educators, students, parents and community members as to learning in the digital age. Making that shift isn’t easy. Finding the resources, skills, examples, and time needed for change is something each district struggles to provide.
Hoping to connect districts and help meet these needs, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) launched the Summer of eLearning grant program in 2012. This competitive grant program is open to any Indiana school district willing to host a professional development conference focused on teaching and learning with technology for their own educators and for educators from across the state. The $15,000 grants fund amazing conferences to showcase the expertise of local educators and to bring in world-renowned, educational technology thought leaders from across the globe. Educational partners representing hardware, software, applications and service companies join the conferences to showcase new technologies through information booths and workshops at the conferences. To extend the learning beyond the physical conferences, IDOE provides virtual, on-going professional development opportunities including webinars, hosting a website and The eLearning Pulse blog and by participating on Twitter via the hashtag #INeLearn.
In 2013, nearly 6,000 educators representing more than 240 Indiana school districts, including 75 higher education participants from 17 colleges and universities participated in 17 summer conferences. Some of the most powerful and valued moments came not only in the formal sessions but also in the relationships built between educators from neighboring communities and across the state who share the same passions and classroom challenges.
This summer, the grant program has expanded to fund 19 conference sites that will open their doors between June 2nd and August 6th with the possibility of connecting over 9,000 educators face-to-face with new ideas, applications and tools for learning in the digital age.
If you find yourself in Indiana this summer, join us!
Candice Dodson serves as the Director of eLearning for the Indiana Department of Education where she is focusing on advancing and expanding Indiana’s efforts to take advantage of technology to improve student outcomes. She and her eLearning team are working to boost the state’s efforts to connect Indiana to great ideas in educational technology, virtual and online learning, new learning models and instructional practices.