Summer – Time to Relax or Time for Learning?

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Professional Learning
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What do you do when summer break arrives? Is it time for a well-deserved break, or do you use this time for professional growth and rejuvenation? Perhaps a bit of both? If you’d like to try some rejuvenation that you can do at home in a relaxed setting, but still with a group of peers with common interests, TeachersFirst’s OK2Ask sessions may be just the ticket.

TeachersFirst’s OK2Ask sessions offer free, professional development in a relaxed and supportive environment. Our virtual workshops (typically 90 minutes long) don’t take too much time out of your busy schedule, but their structure lets you learn and practice new information for use in your classroom while earning professional development credits.

OK2Ask online learning opportunities are correlated to ISTE Standards for Teachers. All of the moderators and presenters have extensive classroom experience and arrive ready and willing to share ideas and suggestions for adapting materials in a variety of classroom settings. Sessions become interactive through the chat box feature of the learning portal, making it easy for all participants to connect, discuss, and ask questions throughout the entire webinar. Also, hands-on practice is an integral portion of each session; these are not “sit and get” learning opportunities!

A typical session begins with an introduction to the pedagogy behind the course topic providing participants the understanding need to start learning about the website(s) or information shared. After a preview of how to use the materials, participants receive two or three opportunities to work with the tool and begin creating items for their personal use. Comprehension Checkpoints throughout each session provide participants an opportunity to think about and use resources shared during the session and address any questions that arise. TeachersFirst also uses these checkpoints to verify participation throughout the webinar when issuing professional development certificates. Online resource pages prepared for each webinar include links to all materials mentioned, tutorials, and additional teaching ideas.

This summer our learning schedule kicks off with our Summer Book Study. Throughout the summer participants will discuss Boni Hamilton’s book, “Integrating Technology into the Classroom”. This book study is open to anyone who has participated in an OK2Ask session during the previous year. If you would love to attend, but have not participated in one of our classes, we will offer another book study this fall. Sign up and participate in any summer session to become eligible to join the fall book study cohort.

You can view the entire schedule on the TeachersFirst website to find titles and descriptions of workshops offered this summer. Webinars begin on July 12 and run through August 15. There is a mix of brand new content along with “refreshed” versions of workshops previously offered. New titles include “Engaging Tools to Spice Up Writing Practice,” “Technology Integration Made Easy with Blendspace,” and “Classroom Activities to Promote Computational Thinking.” Brand new this year is the MIE Teacher Academy: a full day is devoted to learning about Microsoft’s newest tools. This session is perfect for teachers at all technology levels. If you are a Google person, we also offer a full day of Google MANIA!

Don’t worry if you would love to attend a session but the timing isn’t right for you. Archived OK2Ask webinars are typically available 2-3 weeks after the end of a session. You’ll find a list of all presentations since 2013 here.

So, what are you waiting for? Sessions start soon, sign up now, and bring a friend! Summer is the perfect time to learn about new resources and web tools through participation in our relaxed, professional webinars.

Do you have an idea for a future session? Let us know in the comments below; we will be planning fall sessions very soon.

About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.

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