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ILA Next Pathway Workshops and Office Hours: What to Expect

By Colleen Patrice Clark
 | Oct 02, 2020

Woman at computer
ILA Next—ILA’s professional learning event tailored to the unique needs of educators in today’s digital and hybrid environments—kicks off on Saturday with the first of four weeks of Main Stage Sessions. Your registration gives you front-row access to these 90-minute presentations and keynotes; watch one live each week and access another nine on demand (13 in all).

ILA Next includes access to one Pathway Workshop series and accompanying Office Hours discussion groups, personalized according to the age of your students. When you register for the monthlong event ($99 for members; $249 for nonmembers), you’ll select from four pathway options: Primary (ages 5–8), Intermediate (ages 9–11), Middle (ages 12–14), or Secondary (ages 15+). These are organized by age of learner, ensuring that the PD in each series is relevant to the students with whom you work.

Unlike Main Stage Sessions, Learning Labs, and the Exhibitor Showcase, which are open to all attendees, the workshops and discussion groups are exclusive to those registered in each particular pathway.

These workshops and informal gatherings bring together two of the most valued components of an in-person conference: powerhouse speakers and face-to-face learning opportunities. There’s no need to arrive early, no seat savers to compete with, and no “Session Full” signs. You are guaranteed a front-row seat.

Workshops will focus on what’s critical for literacy educators in our evolving COVID landscape. Because the ILA Next program was designed to be relevant and responsive to teachers’ needs, speakers will address distance and hybrid learning, equity and access, social-emotional development, and/or trauma responsiveness.

Timely topics include exploring identity and the world through reading and writing, cultural and linguistic diversity, and teaching with digital diligence, while more timeless topics include reading fluency and why it matters, optimizing classroom time (in both digital and in-person contexts), and increasing disciplinary literacy.

These 90-minute workshops are held every Tuesday (6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. ET) during the month of  October—and don’t forget that if you can’t access them live, every single event of ILA Next included in your registration will be available to view on demand, as many times as you want, through January 31, 2021. A benefit of joining live, however, is the opportunity to interact with attendees and discuss and share resources through the event platform’s chat feature.

Office Hours are held Thursdays (6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. ET). They give you a chance to get valuable face-to-face time with other ILA Next participants to discuss what you’ve learned that week or throughout the event, ask questions, and network. Each week’s Office Hours will have facilitators, but don’t be surprised to see workshop leaders there as well!

There’s no doubt that face-to-face conferences aren’t the same as virtual events. That’s why ILA opted not to move its annual meeting to an online setting; too much gets lost in translation. Designing ILA Next specifically for a digital platform allowed the organization to marry some of the best of an in-person conference experience with the best of online learning. Pathway Workshops and Office Hours create a more intimate, cohort-like setting that allows you to engage with the same group of participants week to week—and all from the convenience of your home, at your own pace, and on your own time.

Visit ilanext.org for more information about ILA Next and how to register.

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