Idaho Digital Learning Professional Development Virtual Support

Our Idaho Digital Learning Professional Development team has launched a new Idaho Digital Learning monthly virtual support, called #OffroadPD, with strategies, videos, and resources for blended and online learning that support instructional technology integration. These support documents have been inspired by common questions and needs that our team has collected from our work with schools and districts around the state.  

Each month you will find an #OffroadPD Youtube video that will introduce the topic. Within the description of the video, you will find a link to a support document with a variety of resources for you to explore.

We would like to invite you and your team to join us in our Google+ Community, where we have an area dedicated to #OffroadPD virtual monthly supports, a place to connect with others around the state, and a place to ask questions to a community of educators who are incorporating blended and/or mastery learning into their classroom. Please feel free to share with any educator, who might benefit from this collaboration. Check it out here!

Starting February 1st, we will have a technology integration tip of the day posted in our Idaho Digital Learning Professional Development G+ Community.

Join us on Youtube and Twitter!

We are excited to share these resources with you all!

Feature Presentation


Archived Virtual Support ​

January #OffroadPD Video –
January Virtual Support – Blended/Mastery

December #OffroadPD Video –
December Virtual Support – Blended/Mastery

November #OffroadPD Video –
November Virtual Support – Blended/Mastery

Rethinking Failure: Let Go of Fear, Embrace Opportunity

By Theresa Carter

BLOG: Embrace Opportunity

I know volumes have been written on this topic, but each time I work with teachers in this organization–whether it’s blended teachers or cohort teachers,  this idea moves to the forefront, so it must need saying again.

How can we shift our thinking so as to embrace the barriers in education, and search for opportunities to further our goals?

Experiencing change can cause us discomfort; it’s human nature to avoid things that make us uncomfortable, but if we can see our way past the barriers, there is a whole world of experiences just waiting for us.

While I completely understand the purpose fear serves biologically (i.e. Danger, Will Robinson!), I watch in fascination as teachers move ahead by leaps and bounds because they just aren’t afraid of failing.

Case in point: I had the privilege of spending yesterday with a teacher from the Potlatch school district (Go, Loggers) and in that conversation, I was humbled by this man’s willingness to let nothing stand in the way of  his professional growth or better serving his students. He told stories of his time in a 1:1 class, where he embraced his students’ knowledge, and felt supported by his administrators. In his current position, he’s encouraged to try new tools, and is supported as he pursues professional learning opportunities.

He was willing to make mistakes;  when he made one, he didn’t apologize, or feel embarrassed. He used it as a way to correct course, and move forward. He didn’t  express concern over whether this new approach would work; he had a clear vision of how education could look, and he embraced it. The whole experience was an inspiring reminder of how I should  face all my  challenges.

We spent conversation time on how fun it was to let students teach us. He gave examples of asking his kids to help him learn a tech tool; he willingly admitted to them he didn’t know everything. Gasp. Whoever put that notion in our pedagogy for the last 100 years should be flogged, by the way.

He modeled so perfectly the process that’s necessary for learning;  fear and ego will never get in the way of this man’s teaching.

I also watched in fascination as he literally tackled a whole new learning management system without the slightest amount of fear or hesitation. I honestly can’t remember hearing him say the words  can’t, won’t, or don’t.

He could see the bigger picture: he gave himself permission to not get everything right the first time; he willingly engages with his students and his peers to “dig in”; he apparently refuses to be deterred by fear and  uncertainty.

I happened to see his principal on my way home; on the side of the road, with gesturing and widened eyes and smiles, I gushed that not only did I wish I could clone him, but I wanted to be just like him.

How would education look if everyone felt like that?

Attending iNACOL Symposium 2015

By Jeff Simmons

Idaho Digital Learning's presentation at iNACOL Symposium 2015
Idaho Digital Learning’s presentation at iNACOL Symposium 2015

I recently had a chance to attend the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. This event is an annual gathering of educators from around the world working in the field of online learning. “Online learning” includes those working in blended learning environments, fully online environments, and everything in between.

It’s impressive to see the size of this conference each year. It is inspiring to see the number of committed, innovative educators working each day to provide high quality learning experiences that our students deserve. There is innovation happening all over the globe at the classroom level, school level, district level, and even state level.
I’m proud of Idaho Digital Learning’s leadership in the field of online learning. Idaho Digital Learning has provided capacity as Idaho’s state virtual school since 2002. During that time, our small virtual school has grown and has continued to provide greater choice, flexibility, and services for Idaho public schools. Idaho Digital Learning has continued to stay on the leading edge of technology and learning.
Dr. Sherawn Reberry, Director of Education Programs, and Niki Walker, Professional Development Manager, co-presented a blended learning session at this year’s iNACOL event with blended learning educators from two other states. Over 200 participants turned out for the session! This is a great complement to the quality provided by Idaho Digital Learning’s Professional Development Team through our Blended Learning Program.
It has been an honor to serve the state and grow along with this organization for the past 13 years. I am excited to see the growth of online learning and other innovative educational opportunities for students around our great state. We look forward to continuing to partner with our public schools to provide Idaho students with a first class, 21st Century education.

Reflecting on Reflecting

mindsetgraphiciNACOL’S Blended Teacher Competency Framework has four domains: Mindset, Qualities, Adaptive Skills and Technical Skills. In the Adaptive Skills domain, the first competency is Reflection. So, let’s reflect on reflecting.

According to the CSU Writing Studio, “reflection transforms experience into genuine learning about individual values and goals and about larger social issues” and the same holds true for reflecting on one’s teaching. What happens when we put pen to paper, or font to page, as with the use of digital tools? What flows from us might very well be the barrier that’s keeping us from moving forward in our teaching practice.

The thought of change can be a barrier in itself, but writing about what went well, what went poorly, what contributed to those experiences–can break down that barrier. Writing about anything can be cathartic, and let’s face it: at the end of a long teaching day, when we’ve given everything of ourselves and then some, catharsis can be a wonderful thing.

Some digital tools for journaling include Google docs, Padlet, DayOne app or just plain paper and pencil. The handy thing about a digital tool is that it’s on your phone or your device, and there’s no need to pack extra items. Regardless of how you do it, I encourage you to make a commitment, set aside some time, and write about your teaching. A world of growth awaits.