We at itslearning love going out and meeting our users, because we learn so much about building a better LMS from you as well as new education methodologies, like hybrid learning. So, we were really hoping this year to retrieve those passports gathering dust in drawers and see you face-to-face at our annual user conference and events – but unfortunately, we can’t just yet.
And that’s why itsConvention 2021 is going to be online, just like itsConvention 2020 – our very first online global event. And you know what, there are some perks to taking the event online because instead of sticking to our usual cozy 300 participants limit, we can open our virtual doors to many more people, plus you get a free hybrid learning handbook.
#1: Meet educators from all over
An opportunity to meet more educators than at a conventional event. But that is not the only reason you should join itsConvention 2021.
#2 and #3: Cost and time saving
Two more good reasons – no lost travelling time or expenses, plus being able to follow the talks and presentations directly from your home or workplace. No stressing over flights and trains. No need to arrange childcare. And no having to forego the comfort of your own bed.
And, this time, we have packed it with some big hitters.
#4: Keynote speaker Sugata Mitra talks hybrid learning
Five years ago, we hosted Professor Sugata Mitra at our user conference in Norway to talk about the future of learning. He is the education researcher who put a computer in a hole in the wall in a Delhi slum. The computer attracted a number of children from the area who, by the end of the first day had taught themselves to surf the internet, despite not knowing what a computer or the internet were, nor being able to read. They then began teaching one another how to use this newfound instrument. The 1999 experiment, aptly called, ‘Hole in the Wall’, coincidentally happened the same year that itslearning was founded and schools began using learning management systems (LMS) to create, curate and manage education delivery. The ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment has since been replicated around the world to show that curious children, in the absence of supervision and formal teaching, can quite easily learn through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge, with the teacher to help them along as a mentor, guide and most importantly, a friend.
Covid-19 catapulted schools around the world into remote learning, and Professor Mitra, in a recent article, says we now have a rare opportunity to reform and reimagine learning. He argues that our global economy requires innovative, collaborative, problem-solving workers who can benefit from hybrid learning. Admittedly, not all teachers agree with his assessment of what learning should look like. But why not make up your own mind, and have a listen to him on May 25? There will be a question and answer session at the end of his live talk, so come with questions. Do note that his keynote address will only be available live.
#5: Guest speaker Natasha Devon with a focus on mental health
Another thing that Covid-19 seems to have done is to get people talking about mental health. There have been a lot of discussions in the media about youngsters being the most vulnerable group for anxiety and depression, having had to endure long periods of self-isolation and separation from friends.
Earlier this year, research organization Brookings Institution published an article titled ‘Educators are key in protecting student mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic’, but it has been quite tough too, on teachers. So, we have asked Natasha Devon, former UK schools mental health champion, to share some tips and ideas on detecting warning signs of distress, dealing with the loss of social connections during the pandemic and how educators can take better care of their own mental health while providing guidance to the young people in their care. Natasha’s talk will be live on May 26 and you can sign-up on the itsConvention 2021 page.
#6: Practical solutions from the itslearning community
In the post-event survey after itsConvention 2020, many teachers asked for more user stories and experiences from the itslearning community, fondly known as itsCommunity.
This time round we have split the event to focus on schools (K-12) on Day 2 and further and higher education on Day 3. Hear directly from teachers and education leaders on how they have addressed the challenges of remote learning, and their hybrid learning plans for the coming months. Connect, and share notes and ideas for the classrooms and lecture halls of tomorrow.
#7: Sneak peek of new tools and features in itslearning
Get a front-row seat to all the latest developments to the itslearning platform. Hear from our Product Team about the new features and updates that they are building for release for back to school after the summer holidays. You can also join the 15- minute live web demos to see why itslearning is the LMS designed for teaching. We put teachers first because we know that when teachers succeed, students will, too.
#8: Partners showcase
No event would be complete without getting our partners in on the game.
- Identifying and preventing plagiarism in online learning
How can you ensure fairness, integrity and improve the quality of learning? That is one of the questions that the team from Turnitin will tackle in their presentation. The US company provides a plagiarism detection service that promotes academic integrity and helps streamline grading and feedback. The presentation includes a live demo of the plagiarism detection tool.
- School in the cloud
As we mentioned earlier, the pandemic has accelerated the digital adoption of educational technology (EdTech) and prompted educators to innovate and offer flexible learning. Tony Lteif from Amazon Web Services will share the trends in education that they are seeing at AWS and demonstrate how cloud computing can improve student engagement and success.
#9: Free Hybrid Learning Handbook and checklist
The first 200 educators to register will get a free hybrid learning handbook, along with a survey sample to help you implement a hybrid learning protocol at your school. The handbook also includes a handy pullout-and-print checklist. This will be sent one week before itsConvention 2021 to the email address that you used to register for the event.
This is just a start. We are adding more speakers every day and you can always check for updates on the itsConvention sign-up page. And, if you are new to itslearning, welcome! Let me tell you a little bit more about us. Headquartered in Norway, we are the largest European provider of learning management systems. Our LMS is cloud-based and built for all levels of education, helps students stay across their schoolwork, and supports teachers in achieving better learning outcomes. We also help parents of younger learners stay up to date with their child’s progress at school. Our homepage has more information, and while you are there, why not take our product tour?
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