IETC Merges with LTC

IETC (Illinois Education and Technology Conference) has a long history dating back almost 30 years. Every year, hundreds of teachers, administrators, and IT staff join together in Springfield, Illinois, to share ideas, connect with colleagues, and learn for state and national experts. As the conference chair for several years, it’s been my pleasure to lead and grow the conference in partnership with a dedicated committee that consistently surprises me with their innovative ideas and willingness to take risks.

On behalf of the IETC Committee and myself, I am excited to share that the Learning Technology Center is now the umbrella organization for the conference. Previously a stand-alone conference without a single organizational lead, IETC will join the LTC as part of our diverse professional learning offerings. We facilitate several conferences throughout the year, as well as over 500 workshops, webinars, online courses, and other learning opportunities, and IETC will take a place as one of our most prominent events to positively impact digital-age teaching, learning, and leadership in Illinois.

This change is significant, yet its impact is minor. Much will stay the same — the IETC Committee will continue to create innovative learning opportunities to learn and cultivate community during the conference. With the fullness of the LTC’s support, IETC will have an even greater potential to impact our education and technology leaders, as well as our students.

We know that the conference is more than just a three-day event. It represents connections with life-long colleagues, opportunities to grow professionally and personally, pathways to promote homegrown talent, and meaningful ways to give back to our education community and support our students. I am confident that together, IETC and the LTC will grow the conference and help share its value with many more educators, leaders, and IT staff for years to come.

Here’s the bright future.

Week in Review

It’s been a week and our staff was busy! Here’s a brief recap of where we’ve been spending our time:

EdTech Office Hours
We held 12 EdTech Office Hours where over 1,000 educators, administrators, and IT staff joined our meetings to talk about resources, best practices, and strategies.

Based on the success of this week, we are hosting EdTech Office Hours again. From March 30 to April 3, we will hold 15 hours of online conversations on a variety of topics ranging from remote learning in the content areas, special education, and technology coordinator resources.

Online Learning Resources
The LTC created a searchable database of online learning resources. Our plan is to focus on Illinois-specific and distance learning best practices and strategies. 

Consulting with Districts
We spent hundreds of hours working closely with districts, admins, IT staff, and teachers on a variety of topics related to remote learning: best practices in creating distance learning lessons, privacy concerns, resource identification, home access issues, learning management systems, tools and apps, etc. Districts can contact us via support@ltcillinois.org or contact us directly.

Resource Development
LTC staff have created the following resources:

Documents

Videos

Blogs & Podcasts

LTC Updates – Coronavirus

We’re Open!

The Learning Technology Center is committed to remaining open as we support Illinois school districts, staff, and students. First and foremost, this decision is based on the understanding of what school system leaders and staff are facing in their own community, including preparation for remote learning.

Most of our employees are transitioning to remote work, and the best way to communicate will remain email. You can also contact us at support@ltcillinois.org.

Event Impact

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the Learning Technology Center will begin transforming all face-to-face events to virtual meetings when possible. In the event that this is not possible, we will do our best to reschedule the event for a later date. Please check the event listing on the LTC website for details.

Resources and Support

All resources and support related to remote learning, school closings, and LTC consulting are available on our E-Learning webpage.

The LTC joins Code.org as the newest Regional Partner

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois —  January 13, 2020 — The Learning Technology Center (LTC) is proud to announce a partnership with the non-profit organization Code.org to bring computer science to Illinois educators through professional development events, support, and advocacy. 

Code.org is dedicated to expanding computer science access and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. One of the major components to achieving their mission is through their rich computer science curriculums and programs that will be available to Illinois teachers, including their year-long Code.org Discoveries (6-8) and Principles (9-12) programs and CS Fundamentals (K-12) workshops. 

Applications for this year’s Code.org Discoveries and Principles professional learning programs are open. Participation in the full year-long programs includes teaching materials, workshop supplies, nine days of professional development, and meals during workshops. Professional learning will occur during a week in the summer and four follow-up days throughout the school year. 

“Our partnership with Code.org allows us to substantially grow the effort to bring quality computer science learning experiences to students in the state. In the last year, the LTC provided professional learning to over 4,000 educators, including in the area of computer science, and becoming a Code.org regional partner allows the LTC to more directly address a growing need for K-12 computer science resources and training. By capitalizing on the high quality, free Code.org curriculum and training provided by our organizations, schools have an easy entry point into the realm of computer science,” said Tim McIlvain, LTC Director.

For more information on Code, please visit ltcillinois.org/code and be sure to follow the LTC (@ltcillinois) and Code.org (@teachcode) to stay up to date on all our events and resources.

About Learning Technology Center
The Learning Technology Center is an Illinois State Board of Education program that supports all public K-12 districts, schools, and educators through technology initiatives, services, and professional learning opportunities. To learn more, visit http://ltcillinois.org or follow us on twitter @ltcillinois. 

Girls Who Code

Happy CS Ed week! In need of more computer science resources for your students? Start a FREE Girls Who Code Club Today! 

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois has partnered with Girls Who Code (GWC) to bring free computer science learning opportunities to our community. Girls Who Code Clubs are FREE after-school programs for 6th-12th grade girls to join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models and use computer science to change the world. Participants not only learn hard coding skills and computational thinking, but they’ll also learn project management skills, collaboration, bravery, resilience, how to positively impact their community, and so much more.

When you start a GWC Club, you’ll gain access to free resources, flexible plug and play curriculum, funding opportunities, ongoing support, alumni opportunities for your young learners, and more! There’s no computer science experience needed to get started since GWC is there for you every step of the way. 

Apply now with the quick 15 min Clubs Application. As a Girls Who Code Community Partner, any Clubs in our network are eligible to receive additional partnership benefits by indicating the Learning Technology Center of Illinois on the Clubs Application! Learn more about how to get started by joining the next live 30 min webinar or email clubs@girlswhocode.com!

Illinois Student Privacy Alliance

link to access Illinois Student Privacy Alliance pageLink to request a district account for Illinois Student Privacy Alliance

The Learning Technology Center (LTC) formed the Illinois Student Privacy Alliance (ISPA) in partnership with the Access 4 Learning Community’s Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC). SDPC is a national collaborative of schools, districts, and state agencies that are working together to address growing student data privacy concerns by developing real-world, adaptable, and implementable solutions. The goal of the ISPA is to set standards of both practice and expectations around student privacy such that all parties involved have a common understanding of expectations. The LTC’s creation of ISPA also means that all PK-12 districts in Illinois are now able to use the resources provided by the SPDC without additional cost to the district.

The free membership to ISPA includes:

  • A statewide agreement that districts can use to ensure that the vendor is aware of and complies with Illinois’ student data privacy laws;
  • A searchable database of applications and vendors who have signed the statewide agreement with at least one school or district;
  • Full access to a clearinghouse of research and privacy effective practices; use cases and technical assistance guides; audit processes, checklists, and tools support;
  • Data governance and management modeling, and communities of practice between and among consortium members; and
  • Access to a community of schools, districts, states and marketplace providers dealing with the same issues you are.

More information on ISPA and SDPC is available at https://sdpc.a4l.org/view_alliance.php?state=IL. To join, visit https://sdpc.a4l.org/add_district_account.php?state=IL. Questions can be directed to Chris Wherley at cwherley@ltcillinois.org.

State Board to host Q&A events on new flexibility for school districts to define instructional days

The following press release originally appeared on the Illinois State Board of Education website on November 20, 2018.

SPRINGFIELD – School districts in Illinois now have maximum flexibility to define instructional days based on what will improve outcomes for students. The Illinois State Board of Education will host a series of public Q&A events for educators, parents, families, and school and district leaders to ask questions and share successes and challenges in using this flexibility afforded in state law.

Public Act 100-0465, also known as the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, made sweeping changes to education funding in Illinois when it became law on Aug. 31, 2017. The law changed the basis of state funding to student enrollment, rather than attendance. The act resulted in the sunsetting of Section 18-8.05 of the School Code, which had defined a day of attendance as a minimum of five instructional hours. Funding schools based on enrollment provides school districts the resources and flexibility to support all students, especially those most in need of support to access educational opportunities.

Students learn in a variety of ways and settings. ISBE encourages districts, school boards, and collective bargaining units to work together to innovate new ways of teaching and learning that center on competencies and mastery of subject matter – anywhere and anytime.

ISBE released guidance, available at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Instructional-Day-Memorandum.pdf, on Nov. 9 to assist school districts in using this flexibility.

WHAT: Opportunity for educators, parents, families, and school and district leaders to ask questions of ISBE and share successes and challenges in locally defining an instructional day, based on what will improve student outcomes
WHO: Hosted by ISBE Acting Chief Education Officer Ralph Grimm, other ISBE executive staff, and local regional superintendents
 

WHEN/
WHERE:

All events 4-6 p.m.

  • Dec. 3 at Rooney Elementary School, 4900 Columbus Road, Quincy
  • Dec. 4 at Carbondale High School, 1301 E. Walnut Street, Carbondale
  • Dec. 5 at Silas Willard Elementary School, 460 Fifer Street, Galesburg
  • Dec. 6 at DuPage County Regional Office of Education, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton
  • Dec. 10 at Williams Elementary, 1901 S. Ninth Street, Mattoon