“A New Outlook” – Takeaways from the Remote Learning Conference

27 Jan 2021 7 min read
Tim McIlvain
Tim McIlvain
Executive Director, Learning Technology Center

Back on Friday, January 15, the Learning Technology Center wrapped up a first-of-its-kind conference centered on education’s most recent evolution. The Remote Learning Conference marked a major leap forward for collaboration in Illinois’ edtech community, with educators from around the Prairie State gathering to share their hard-earned knowledge from the past year of distance learning.

In fitting with the conference’s theme, all sessions and workshops during the Remote Learning Conference were held virtually. That didn’t slow down the pace of conversation at all, though.

In fact, hundreds of educators poured into virtual classrooms to learn about the best practices, pedagogy, apps, and tools for remote and hybrid instruction. The conference even reached an international audience, with attendees from Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia joining the conversation.

“I appreciated the diverse range of offerings,” praised one conference attendee, “As a teacher and an instructional coach, it was refreshing to see sessions that I could both use for myself and use for building improvement.”

Numerous topics of interest were covered over the course of this two-day event. Digital citizenship, blended learning, videoconferencing, and more were just a few of the most popular subjects. Attendees also had a chance to learn about new innovations in professional development delivery, including through micro-credentials and other digital learning environments.

Meanwhile, some of the best discussions and knowledge were shared on the digital main stage. There, the Remote Learning Conference welcomed three speakers from the national education community – Dr. Monica Burns (classtechtips.com), Dr. Catlin Tucker (catlintucker.com), and Shelly Sanchez Terrell (shellyterrell.com). All three featured speakers offered outstanding insights, including on how to optimize workflow, build teaching capacity, and care for students in a virtual environment.

Throughout these workshops and feature presentations, conference attendees were buzzing with conversation about their aspirations and concerns for remote learning. In fact, over the two-day event, conference attendees exchanged nearly 20,000 messages in total! Plenty of these messages were exchanged with presenters as well, many of whom were praised by attendees for their thoughtful, responsive attitudes.

The LTC’s Brian Bates felt that these interactions were one of the conference’s highlights. “The interactions among attendees and presenters were inspirational,” Bates affirmed, “they prove that educators will do anything to help not just their students, but their peers as well.”

In many ways, the Remote Learning Conference offered more unique and engaging sessions than most attendees could fit into their schedule. Thankfully, all attendees now have the opportunity to rewatch every conference session through the Remote Learning Conference’s digital resource library. To learn more about how to access this video collection, check your email for a conference communication dated “January 26”.

Although the Remote Learning Conference has now come and passed, the astute conversations held throughout this virtual event need not end. The LTC’s online community is a great place to connect with new friends and peers from the conference, as well as the best place to share remote learning and edtech insights year-round.

Without a doubt, the Remote Learning Conference was a success. That wouldn’t be possible without the nearly 2,000 attendees and speakers that supported this ground-breaking venture. To everyone who participated in the Remote Learning Conference – thank you for sharing your time and wisdom. We look forward to hearing from you more as you continue to design, engage, and enhance remote learning for all Illinois students!

Looking for more opportunities to expand your remote teaching capacity? The LTC routinely offers workshops and virtual sessions on a variety of remote learning-related topics. Our online courses and upcoming micro-credential program can also help support your mastery of classroom-ready skills. Districts can even obtain customized professional learning through the LTC’s highly-skilled team of edtech experts.

Tim McIlvain
Tim McIlvain
Executive Director, Learning Technology Center

Tim directs the Learning Technology Center, providing strategic leadership, expertise, and operational management for statewide technology and digital learning initiatives.