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ILA Expands Digital Opportunities in May

By Wesley Ford
 | Apr 29, 2020
Young girl smilingSchools across the globe have closed their buildings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Educators are shifting their practices to work remotely with students, and many institutions are transitioning to virtual learning environments.

Such rapid change is daunting work. Educators need resources to help learn new technology and hone teaching techniques. They need materials and strategies they can use remotely with students or share with families and caregivers.

But more than that, educators need a sense of connection and community. With tried-and-true formats for professional development no longer available, the education field must turn to new platforms.

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is adapting to these new conditions by offering a variety of digital events.

Starting in April, ILA offered free registration to our ILA 2019 Digital Replay, a compilation of select sessions that were livestreamed during our ILA 2019 Conference in New Orleans last October. These open-access videos allow educators to learn from Renée Watson and Pedro Noguera, two of our General Sessions speakers, our research panel discussion featuring P. David Pearson, Sonia Cabell, Gwendolyn McMillon, and Nell K. Duke, and several featured speakers: Tricia Ebarvia, David Kirkland, Donalyn Miller, and Dave Stuart Jr. Given the popularity—thousands of educators have registered to watch these videos—ILA has extended the availability of the Digital Replay until the end of May. Register now and watch at your leisure.

ILA is also providing two professional learning webinars in May.

Our first webinar, Instructional Level or Challenging Text: Too Hard or Not Hard Enough?, will take place on May 3 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET. Timothy Shanahan, literacy researcher and a former past president of International Reading Association (now ILA), will lead this virtual learning experience, delving into the research on instructional level and teaching with complex text. The session will end with a live Q&A with Shanahan.

Educator and author Donalyn Miller will lead our second webinar on Sunday, May 31, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET. We are still developing this learning opportunity with Miller, but we expect she will continue her focus on the importance of access to books and how to overcome the new challenges presented in a time of school closures and remote learning.

In light of the enthusiasm we heard from educators following our first ILA Edcamp Online in April, we knew it would not be our last. We have yet to officially announce or post the next Edcamp event, but I’m willing to spill the beans and give you the heads up: We’re looking at doing the next one on May 19. Save the date! (EDIT: I have just been informed that this opportunity has been moved to June. So much for my doling out info on the sly! When I know more, I'll leak it to you.)

The last one filled up within hours of being announced, so if you want to participate, I recommend signing up as soon as you hear about the registration opening. The best ways to catch the news are following ILA on Twitter or Facebook or by signing up on our homepage to receive updates.

We also want to hear from you: How are you doing during these unprecedented times? What new skills are you developing? What existing skills are you adapting or modifying? How are connecting with your students? Feel free to reach out to us through those social media channels so that we can cheer your success and offer support through the challenges to come.

Stay safe. Stay connected. Stay inspired. We’re in this together.

This post was edited on May 5, 2020, to reflect the new information that the next ILA Edcamp Online will not occur May 19 as I originally thought.

Wesley Ford is the social media strategist for the International Literacy Association. He has no qualms about offering occasional glimpses of upcoming events even if they aren’t official just so long as you realize anything he shares is subject to change by the time it becomes official.

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