Category : Professional Development

Blended Learning, Guest Post, Personalized Learning, Professional Development, Teaching
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6 Principles that Define Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a concept that has varied and sometimes controversial meanings, depending on how it referenced. The term personalized learning has been used by online schools and companies selling online learning programs to K-12 public schools that are designing and implementing new school designs. In some educational circles, blended learning (the practice of using both online and in-person learning) is used interchangeably with personalized learning.  The difference between personalized learning and other concepts such as next generation learning and blended learning has not always been clear.  The definition of personalized learning continues to evolve as funding provided by foundations such as the Gates, Dell, and Broad Foundations focuses on furthering personalized learning models through efforts such as the Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC).

The NGLC was created to accelerate educational innovation through applied technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States. NGLC defined personalized learning as the approaches that individualize learning for each student based on specific strengths and needs, student interests, and/or individualized goals. It funded regional partners and proposed that next gen learning  incorporate personalized learning, and that seamless integration with technology was necessary to implement it effectively, affordably, and at significant scale. Technology advocacy groups, with contributions from educators, developed a working definition of the attributes of personalized learning that included competency-based progression, flexible learning environments, personal learning paths, and learner profiles.

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Blended Learning, Guest Post, Personalized Learning, Professional Development, Teaching
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Why Personalized Learning?

In high schools in which students’ courses have a flipped classroom model, students use school-issued Chromebooks to read and research primary and secondary texts online outside of school. This frees up school-based learning time for greater concentration on meaningful project-based and experiential learning. Students are empowered to progress in their learning as they demonstrate proficiency over broad competencies through projects, research papers, social media, and multimedia presentations that reflect ways in which they will have to demonstrate mastery in real life, often before panels of teachers, students, parents, and community members. Advances in technology provide us with an opportunity to reimagine school and personalize learning in ways that will benefit our students now and in the future.

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Devices, Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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Bringing Coding to Life with Ozobots

What Is an Ozobot?

Ozobots are small robots that students can use to complete challenges while being introduced to basic coding through the process. These simple $59 devices can do some pretty amazing things. Draw a color-coded path on a piece of paper and see the robot follow the line as drawn, or use your iPad or computer to create commands for your Ozobot to perform. The beauty of these rugged little devices is their flexibility and the way they introduce basic concepts of coding through play. Students from kindergarten through high school can learn big ideas using these little devices.

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Guest Post, Online Learning, Professional Development, Teaching
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On-Demand Professional Development Collaboration

We’ve all been there: it’s that moment when you realize (gulp) you don’t know what to do. The grade of this hill is just a little too steep. For me one of those moments was in my first year of teaching. It was a specials class of kindergartners who came through my door excited and energetic, but also a little nervous about a new room and teacher. As we started into the lesson I had planned, their nerves eased and their excitement and curiosity spilled over…all over. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. When their awe-inspiring classroom teacher walked back through the door (had she sprouted wings and a halo in the past 30 minutes?) I was so relieved – I felt as if the cavalry had arrived. I waved and smiled as they filed out the door – and then sat down and cried. Yes, I cried. In that moment I realized I needed help. I needed a whole new set of classroom management skills – and I needed them before next Tuesday when those sweet kindergartners would return!

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Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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PLN – The Most Important Tool for Educators

Education has dramatically changed since I was a student in the eighties and nineties. My teachers could not have even imagined doing things that are quite commonplace in classrooms today. In my content area of Spanish, my students are able to Skype and easily collaborate with students in Spanish-speaking countries around the world. I can show news clips of Mexico’s Independence celebration from the night before. I can use YouTube videos of the latest Spanish pop song (after vigorously previewing for appropriateness, of course) to really pique student interest in the language. These days, there is no excuse for world language teachers not providing authentic content in their classrooms.

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Blended Learning, Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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Common Sense Media: Helping Parents and Teachers Navigate a Digital World

Our students and kids are growing up in an increasingly digital world. As soon as parents and teachers catch up in one area, new technologies have already emerged, bringing with them new opportunities and challenges. Staying on top of what’s best for kids can feel like an insurmountable task. How can we as parents and teachers prepare children for their digital futures while also setting appropriate boundaries to keep them safe? Enter Common Sense Media.

Started in 2003, this independent, non-profit organization proves to be an invaluable resource to both parents and teachers. As their website states, their mission is to “…empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”

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Professional Development, Social Media, Webinars
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Social Media: Dynamic for Professional Development & Building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) – Webinar Re-Cap

If you missed the live webinar, “Social Media: Building a PLN,” be sure to check out the event recording below.  Tyler Amidon, Denver Christian School Middle School Principal and Director of Student Life, presented an hour full of great ideas, advice, and resources for building your personal learning network utilizing social media.

Slides: Copies of the CSI Webinar – Social Media for Building a PLN slides cane be viewed/downloaded as a PDF with active links to resources that Tyler mentioned during the live event. Just click the link above.

Link to the webinar recording: http://bit.ly/PLNWebinarRec

Helpful contact info:  If you have questions for Tyler Amidon following his webinar, you can reach him on Twitter @tyleramidon or email tamidon@denverchristian.org.

Action Step: To further benefit from building our networks, we ask that you leave a message on this blog post and share your Twitter handle, Voxer handle, and/or the URL to an educational blog you write so others can connect with you.

Stay connected & build your PLN with:

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Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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Skype in the Classroom: Where Can You Take Your Students?

skype_logo“So, where do you get your fish from?” asked one student.

“Can I buy your fish in the store?” asked another.

These were just two of the many questions asked by our 7th grade social studies class last year when they took a virtual field trip to a fish farm. While talking to the owner, they learned about the process of raising fish for commercial purposes in connection with their studies of the impact of fishing on the economy of southeast Asia. The farm, located near Ames, Iowa, is approximately a three-hour drive from our school in the northwest corner of the state.

When we first heard about opportunities to connect our students with farmers through Siouxland Ag in the Classroom, a number of teachers jumped at the opportunity to link the work in their classrooms with relevant and meaningful experiences outside the classroom. However, as great as it all sounded, we didn’t have time in the school day or money in the budget to bus students around to learn about the ins and outs of a variety of farming styles.

Welcome to 21st century learning, courtesy of…Skype!

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Blended Learning, Devices, Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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Increasing Student Responsibility with Google Classroom

google_classroom_logoI teach middle school. That means that I teach students a lot of content, but I also teach students about what it means to be human. Part of teaching students to be human is about teaching them to be responsible.

At San Jose Christian, we have a 1:1 laptop program in our middle school, where students all have their own MacBooks.  We use Google Classroom to offer students tools, resources, and a management hub for classroom work.

However, Google Classroom is not just for middle school. It’s great for students to use to turn in work at almost any level. They have a great app for iOS and Android as well, which makes it easy for students to use on any device or even across the multiple devices they have.

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Professional Development, Sevenstar, Webinars
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10 Actions Christian Schools Are Taking Now to Be Flourishing in 2025 – Webinar Re-Cap

chart-your-progressSchool leaders and boards must be looking over the horizon to lead their schools into the future. Ten actions were shared that schools today need to be doing so that their schools will be flourishing in 2025. Dr. Mark Beadle, CEO of Sevenstar, discussed new financial models as well as case studies from schools like yours that are marching ahead. He also invited representatives from Beaver County Christian School and Rehoboth Christian School to share advancements they are making to succeed in the years to come.

 

 

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