By: Alisa Hug
As I settle back into life in Atlanta, I look back on my week at the International Association of Online Learning (iNACOL) Symposium with much better feelings than I had after my trip to Palm Springs last year. I thought the breakouts were better, thoroughly enjoyed the general sessions, and loved their focus on students.
As I had hoped, the pre-conference workshop, which was led by the iNACOL government affairs staff and focused on policy advocacy skills, was a very good use of time. The organizers shared tips for how to effectively communicate with legislators and we were even able to put our skills to the test by participating in a mock hearing. I was proud that Sandy and I were able to add our own personal experiences to the conversation, noting PSO’s own parent advocacy bootcamp and work throughout the states.
The Symposium was mainly geared towards teachers and administrators, with a few outliers like us. Most of the breakout sessions and workshops highlighted the latest technology innovations and tips for engaging students in an online classroom. I was able to network with new folks during breaks and evening receptions and I look forward to connecting them with our organization.
As iNACOL debriefs this year’s event and begins planning for 2016, I hope they will consider adding more parent-focused conversations. It was great to hear about the blended model, but I’d also like to add more full-time virtual students and their stories to the mix.