OK2Ask® from TeachersFirst

Welcome to OK2Ask®, a series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer (kick off your shoes!) share great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's staff. You know our style, so you know these sessions are useful and teacher-friendly.

What teachers are saying about OK2Ask®

FULL summer, 2014 printable OK2Ask session schedule

Upcoming sessions: Click here to read the full catalog and pre-register.
Registration schedule:
Summer sessions open in June
Fall sessions open early September.
Winter sessions open in December.
Spring sessions open in February.

Read about technology comfort levels for teachers attending OK2Ask.

OK2Ask Archives (since early 2013)

Frequently ASKED Questions below -- since it's OK2Ask®!

You "attend" OK2Ask® sessions on your computer, with live video and audio from our moderators and a text chat area for you to ask questions live. It's OK2Ask® questions so we hope you will.
Invite a friend to attend with you (and bring a snack). All you need is a computer with a high speed connection (DSL, cable modem, or school network). Professional development certificates are available for those who participate fully and meet requirements. We have correlated the OK2Ask® content with ISTE's NETS-T 2008 standards, as well.

It's FREE, and it's OK2Ask®!


Sample OK2Ask® session titles:

One to One: Ideas and Tips for Teaching in a 1:1 Classroom

Hands Off, Vanna! : Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning

Google Goodies! Hidden Treasures and Teacher Favorites

QR Codes: What, How, and Why?

Blooms 2.0: Promoting ALL levels of Blooms’s Taxonomy through Technology

Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment…even if you don’t think visually

Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more.


OK2Ask® Special Edition: LIVE from ISTE 2013

Join OK2Ask® LIVE from at the Source for Learning/TeachersFirst booth on June 25, 2013, at 3:30pm Central (4:30 Eastern time). Thinking Teachers and Thinking Leaders share their most thought provoking experiences from the ISTE conference in San Antonio. The archived video will be posted about two weeks later so you can watch it at your convenience.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does OK2Ask® cost?
OK2Ask® sessions are absolutely free for teachers.

Who is teaching the sessions?
 Staff members of TeachersFirst conduct the sessions and help to moderate questions. All TeachersFirst staff members are experienced classroom teachers like you, many working for us part time as they continue teaching full time.

How long are the sessions?
 Unless otherwise noted, sessions are 75 minutes long. Summer sessions are a bit longer. We don't have bells that ring at the end, but we promise to stop as closely as possible to our end time. Your job is to show up on time and be ready to go! Note: First time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if they have never used Adobe Connect, our virtual classroom tool.

How often are sessions held?
 Regular OK2Ask® offerings are typically held at least once per month. During the summer and other high-interest times of the year, we offer as many as 8 topics per month. An advanced schedule for the school year is available in the fall of the year. An advanced schedule for the summer is available in May of each year.

What sessions have been planned?
 The current session descriptions and registration pages are in our online OK2Ask Catalog. Check back often or sign up for the TeachersFirst weekly Update to receive announcements of upcoming sessions.

Will there be other sessions?
 OK2Ask® is a regular series, with more popular sessions repeated regularly. See upcoming offerings in our online OK2Ask Catalog. Check back often or sign up for the TeachersFirst weekly Update to receive announcements of upcoming sessions.

I've never taken any classes online. Is it hard to figure out what to do? You will be surprised how easy it is. It takes less than five minutes to figure out the tools. First time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if they have never used Adobe Connect, our virtual classroom tool. You can pretest your computer here. We have staff members available to assist you, in every session and we welcome your cries for help. That's why we call it "OK2Ask®"!

How will I ask questions? We wish we could see your face and hear all of you with the online tools we are using, but, alas we cannot. There is a chat space where you type in questions or simply "talk." There are also buttons where you click to take a quick survey or answer our questions. You can even "applaud" or "raise your hand" by clicking a button! Our staff moderates teacher questions so we don't miss them. The entire recording of the session is available afterward for you to revisit and catch things you may have missed.

Is there homework?
 We do not collect "homework" from session participants, but we strongly encourage you to follow up after the sessions by playing with the new resources you have learned about. This is self-directed professional development (the best kind!). If you are motivated enough to take the session, you should be motivated to try what you have learned. The session objectives tell you which activities will require follow-up time on your own to fully master the content. The ideal time to do this follow-up is within 48 hours after attending or reviewing the recorded session. A few of our sessions actually meet twice with a little "homework" between meetings. This is always explained in the session description.

What if I have technical trouble?
 TeachersFirst staff members act as moderators for the sessions. If you can type in the chat space, you can enter a message about any audio or video problems. You can pretest your computer here. We encourage you to join your first session about ten minutes early to familiarize yourself with the tools and to work out any "bugs." If you are attending from school, you should plan to pretest the tools a week or so before your first session. Some schools have filtering in place that blocks certain tools. If there is something required for the session, we say so in the description. For example, some sessions require Google Earth (free) software installed on the computer you use for the session. Check prerequisites in advance so you have time to install or request that they be unblocked or find an alternate, unblocked computer to use for the session.

What kind of computer do I need?
 Since OK2Ask® uses the web to offer the sessions, any computer with a high-speed connection (cable modem, DSL, or school network) will work just fine. Both Windows and Mac computers will work. Since some sessions will include demonstration and "play" with web-based tools, we cannot guarantee that ALL tools will work on every computer, but you will be able to at least watch the demonstrations. If there is something required for the session, we say so in the description. For example, some sessions require Google Earth (free) software installed on the computer you use for the session. Check prerequisites in advance so you have time to install or request that they be unblocked or to find an alternate, unblocked computer to use for the session.

I am a little timid with technology. Can I watch the session over again once it has ended?
 Yes! The session recording will be available in archived format so you can recap other people's questions and answers or demonstrations you might have missed the first time around.

May I attend the sessions with a friend? Yes! Many teachers find it works best to have a study buddy. Why not offer to bring the popcorn and sit together at your computer(s) for the session? The best part is that we are not be able to hear you talking amongst yourselves. You WILL stay on task, right? If you both need certificates, be sure to tell us that DURNG the session.

Why do I have to pre register?
 Pre-registration gives TeachersFirst an idea how many will be attending so we can have enough moderators available to help. We do not, however, chase you with reminders. You receive one email reminder about 36 hours before the session. We are all grown-ups. Please mark your calendar. If you do sign up with a friend, you can remind each other!

How do I cancel a registration if I find out I cannot attend?
 If you are unable to do this, please contact our webmaster to tell us which session you are cancelling so we can allow others in.

Is space limited?
 At this time, the sessions are open to all, but our room holds about 50 people. We reserve the right to limit pre-registrations (another reason to pre register!). Registrations are first-come, first-served.
Should I arrive early?
First time attendees should plan to arrive 10 minutes early if they have never used Adobe Connect, our virtual classroom tool. PLEASE be on time so others do not have to wait while we get you up to speed.

May I take the same session twice?
 You are welcome to attend the same session twice or to replay the archived session to catch things you may have missed the first time through. The text chat moves quickly, so revisiting the recording often reveals even more good ideas. You can access session archives here (sessions since early 2013).

May I earn credit?
 We issue Professional Development Certificates to all who request them and meet the requirements during a LIVE session. During the session itself we will tell you how to request one. Since every state (and even school district) has different requirements for earning continuing education credit, you will need to take our certificate to your local governing authority to request credit. At this time, we do not be award graduate credit for OK2Ask®. The archived recordings are very informative, but we cannot issue professional development certificates for watching the recordings.

Are there professional development certificates for watching session recordings?
 Active, live participation is a requirement for a professional development certificate. Without this participation, we cannot verify that teachers have met the objectives as stated in the session description and on certificates. We welcome anyone who wishes to watch the archived sessions, but we are not able to grant certificates for these. You might want to ask your school whether you may earn credit through your school administration for watching the recordings and applying the new ideas in your classroom.

Is this only for U.S. teachers?
 Teachers anywhere are welcome to join us for OK2Ask®. The time blocks are U.S. friendly, but content is not specific to the U.S. Join us if you can!

How can you offer this for free?
 TeachersFirst is a free service offered since 1998 by a non-profit, the Source for Learning. The Board of Directors of The Source for Learning (SFL) feels strongly that teachers should not have to pay for this service. Read more about our funding sources here. OK2Ask® is a recent offering and may evolve into a customized professional development offering that schools or districts may subscribe to. But these teacher sessions are offered as part of our commitment to individual, dedicated teachers.

How can I say thank you? As a non-profit, SFL welcomes donations at any time, including small gifts from the teachers who find our service helpful. Your support helps us extend our reach and add new content for teachers. You can make a donation via the SFL web site.

What if I get interrupted (I have kids!)?
 We know that teachers multi-task. Even when you plan to sit at your computer after school or during the evening at home, children demand attention, phones ring, the principal makes announcements over the P.A., or someone drops a dish in the kitchen. Rejoin us as quickly as you can and revisit the archived session later to fill in things you missed while handling the crisis. You can access session archives any time.

May I share this information with my principal? We hope you will tell your principal, department chair, superintendent, and teaching colleagues about OK2Ask®. Some administrators may even encourage teachers to attend together and may grant "credit" toward contractual professional development time for doing so. And you will get the "credit" for finding such a valuable service. Be sure to point out our alignment with ISTE's NETS-T standards. We hope you will tell others about TeachersFirst and OK2Ask® as a high-quality, teacher-friendly source for professional growth and instructional rigor.

Where are the sessions coming from?
 The sessions originate from several sites in the eastern U.S., including the offices of The Source for Learning in Reston, Virginia. TeachersFirst staff members (they are teachers, remember!) are located around the U.S. and will be moderating from their home or school locations. All session times are Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight, so plan accordingly.

Have another question? Feel free to contact us via our webmaster account, but be sure to mention OK2Ask® and any specific session you may have questions about.

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