It's Baaaaack: Summer Session 2017


Keep learning throughout the summer months with FREE professional development sent right to your inbox! Starting June 14th, we'll send you a weekly email with tips and insights focused on specific, highly-relevant PD topics.

Did we mention there are prizes?! Share a takeaway of what you learned and we'll enter you into a weekly drawing for a chance to win your share of $300 in prizes!
 

5 Classroom Approaches to Beat Pre-Summer Daydreams

Looking for a new way to engage students who seem to have already checked out for the summer?

Hoonuit by Atomic Learning is constantly adding new learning resources focused on helping schools tackle common challenges found in education today—including increasing student engagement—and pulled together a five hot topics to help you kick those pre-summer daydreams out of the classroom for good!

  1. Nearpod in the Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/NP_000.jpgNearpod is a powerful presentation, assessment, and collaboration tool for the classroom that allows teachers to interact with students during a lesson and get real-time feedback! In this module, you will learn everything from creating an account with Nearpod to more advanced features like VR field trips. Upon completion, you will be able to begin using this powerful tool with your students right away!
     
  2. Project-Based Learning Lesson Framework: Million Dollar Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/MD_000.jpgIn this module, we will use the project-based lesson format to have students design a Million Dollar Classroom, in which students will plan, design, collaborate, and problem solve to construct their perfect classroom with a one million dollar budget. This module includes both an instructional guide for teachers and step-by-step videos to walk students through the project, and can be adapted to all grade levels.
     
  3. Minecraft in the Classroom
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/mine_000.jpgMinecraft™ is a unique combination of game and creative design tool, and its growing use in classrooms around the world is an exciting phenomenon. If you've never played the game or have never used game-based learning, this module will bring you into the Minecraft Education experience quickly, and give you the skills you need to hit the ground running with game-based learning and Minecraft in the Classroom.
     
  4. Create and Manage an In-Class Flip
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/FLIP_00.jpgFlipped learning has taken the educational technology world by storm! It emphasizes flipping traditional instruction to require students to view instructional material at home and use in-class time for application and creation of content. BUT...What if students don't have reliable home Internet? Or don't watch the videos? This learning module discusses creating and managing in-class flipped learning to benefit all students!
     
  5. KWL Strategy
    https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/kwl_00.jpgIn this module, you’ll learn the benefits of the Know, Want to Learn, Learn, (K-W-L) teaching strategy, and how you might use it in your classroom. Included topics cover the basics of creating a KWL graphic organizerhow to use wikis, concept maps and note-taking apps to implement KWL as a collaborative activity, and much more. This module also offers links to templates and resources to help you dig deeper into the KWL strategy.

Don't have access?
Visit www.AtomicLearning.com/free-trial for 7-day free access hundreds of courses!

Celebrating Read Across America with Reading Focused PD

March 2nd marks Read Across America Day! Sponsored by NEA, this annual event celebrates reading reading and literacy. Hoonuit by Atomic Learning is celebrating by launching another great learning module focused on reading skills:
 

https://cdn.atomiclearning.com/thumbnail/readingcontentarea_000.jpg

Reading in the Content Area - NEW!
Reading a novel and reading a chemistry textbook are two very different experiences, as I’m sure you know.

This new module by Dr. Therese Kiley discusses the different strategies employed when reading different materials—from novels to poetry to menus to textbooks—and how to support your students in their growing literacy skills.


Looking for more resources focused on reading skills?
Be sure to check out these additional professional development modules:

5 Tough Questions to Ask When Implementing 1:1 or BYOD

Has your school gone 1:1? Or are headed that way? Often, with technology comes a great deal of change, a fair amount of resistance, and an abundance of questions. However, when done right, a 1:1 is well worth the effort.

To help ensure your school or district is set up for success from the start, we’ve compiled a few quick tips to set expectations and minimize potential pitfalls.

  1. What’s the Goal of the Initiative?
    We’re big fans of educational technology, but the addition of technology as a standalone isn’t enough. It’s important to set a goal for your devices that is focused on learning. In the words of Andrew Marcinek, a school CIO and former Director of Technology, in a recent Edutopia article:

    “A 1:1 environment should be the goal of every learning institution; however, this is not about devices, it's about access. I imagine every school superintendent, principal, and teacher would agree that it is in their best interest to provide their students with the best access to the most current, scholarly information available.”

    Without a focus on learning, a 1:1 initiative has the potential to be underutilized as well as fail to ultimately impact student success. If you haven’t already set such a goal, take a hard look at the technology in your district, 1:1 initiative or not, and see where changes can be made.

  2. How Will You Ensure Devices are Used?
    As with any initiative or project, there is a learning curve. Keep this in mind, and support your teachers’ success with professional development opportunities and time to integrate new tools into their lessons. It’s also important to not demand that the devices be used at all times, while still encouraging use when appropriate.

    Setting up expectations, supporting teachers with needed training, and checking in with them on how it’s going and any further professional development needs can make all the difference.

    Related Resource: How Do We Plan with Purpose? A Look at Effective PD
     
  3. What is the Devices’ Role in the Classroom?
    A device is no replacement for a quality teacher, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. A device is a tool, just like an old chalkboard, not-quite-as-old whiteboard, or a calculator. Work with teachers to make them feel comfortable with the device, understand the benefits the available technology provides, and provide practical ideas that show how the device can be successfully used in the classroom.

    Related resource: Evaluating Technology Resources

4 Hesitations Teachers Have About Tech Integration

Change is hard. And for many, it can also be scary, whether it involves technology or not. People, as a rule, tend to be creatures of habit, and even those that consider themselves to be forward-thinkers may be among those most hesitant to adopt change.

When it comes to teachers, they’ve invested considerable time in their lessons and projects, have established rubrics, and gathered concrete evidence that lessons have successfully communicated a topic to students. Because of this, they may be more resistant to change than other individuals.

To help overcome this resistance, it’s important to take the time to understand their hesitations. To help, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most common phrases heard from teachers who are questioning if technology integration is right for their classroom:

  1. Why should I?
    While this question may be delivered in a variety of ways, it’s often fueled out of fear. Sharing the logic behind the need for technology integration, as well as supporting teachers with any necessary professional development, can provide hesitant teachers the nudge they need to take the first steps.

    An easy way to start the conversation on the need for technology integration is by focusing on the importance of ensuring students are college- and career-ready, of which technology plays a critical role. Digital technologies have become commonplace in both college and in the workplace.

3 Simple Ways to Personalize Professional Development

While schools and districts offer formal professional development, all too often such opportunities are focused on a topic that doesn’t quite fit individual teachers’ needs, or is too basic or advanced to be effective.

And, while teachers themselves also have the opportunity to learn on their own, some struggle to find the time in their busy schedules to participate in self-driven learning.

One option that you hear more about every day is personalized professional development, a term for taking charge of your own professional growth by seeking out anytime, anywhere learning experiences that meet YOUR individual professional needs.

For those looking for a place to start, we’ve gathered together three quick tips to get you started personalizing your personal development right away:

  1. Watch and/or Participate in a Twitter Chat
    Twitter chats can be great learning opportunities that provide up-to-date (even up-to-the-minute) information from fellow educators experiencing the same things you are. There’s a chat for nearly every education topic you can think of, you can participate from your couch, a soccer game or anywhere you have internet access, AND IT’S FREE.

    You can check out this education twitter chat calendar, and we’d also like to suggest @JaimeDonally’s chat on Wednesdays at 8pm CST focused on augmented and virtual reality—check it out at #ARVRinEDU.
     
  2. Join or Start a PLC (Professional Learning Community)
    PLC’s are an excellent opportunity for creating your own professional development, hone skills, and improve student outcomes through action research. There’s a ton of great information in this PLC-focused course on Atomic Learning to find out more.

    Looking for ideas on what others are doing? The educators at one of Oklahoma City Public Schools collaborated as a group to take their recent 1:1 initiative even further. They utilized the school's existing PLC page on Facebook to openly collaborate and easily share tips and resources they found interesting—including Atomic Learning’s courses on Classroom Management in 1:1 Classrooms, Supporting Gifted and Talented Learners, and others.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Go Above & Beyond with 1:1 Devices & PD

Oklahoma City Public Schools has partnered with Apple Inc. and their ConnectEd iPad Program to provide every Arthur Elementary School’s 600+ students with a new iPad. Access to such devices not only builds students' critical technology skills, but ensures they have the opportunity to learn in the ways that work best for them.

Rhonda Schroeder, Principal at Arthur Elementary, is taking her district above and beyond standards with the help of the incredible teachers and staff that she works with.  Before moving forward with the 1:1 iPad initiative, Schroeder asked her staff if this was something they wanted to do, knowing that it would take a lot of hard work, and nearly every single one of them responded “YES”!

Coming Soon: A NEW Way to Experience Professional Development

The entire Atomic Learning team has been hard at work researching and developing not just a better way to support teachers, staff, and students, but to transform teacher professional development and learning.

THE RESULT :

 

To align with this powerful outcome-based learning model, Atomic Learning's online professional learning resources will soon be delivered in a 'learning module' format—click the video below for a sneak peek:

Why is this change SUCH a big deal? With this shift, Atomic Learning now enables schools and districts to:

  • Reach teachers and students where they are at, in their moment of need
  • Leverage outcome-based learning to ensure teachers and students learn what they need
  • Provide activities to allow users to apply learning to their life/classroom
  • Encourage learners to connect, get feedback, and learn from others
  • Offer a way for teachers, staff, and students to document learning

Ready to learn more?
Contact Atomic Learning directly at atomic@AtomicLearning.com.

Already an Atomic Learning subscriber?
You will automatically have access to new learning module course format in the coming weeks! Contact your school's Account Manager for additional details.

FREE Online Course on #DigitalStorytelling & #Creativity

For a limited-time, Atomic Learning has unlocked the popular online module: Digital Storytelling & Creativity.

Digital Storytelling is a powerful tool to teach literacy, communication, and media creation skills. However, there are a number of options for organizing a project, conducting research, identifying digital media resources, and creating a story—all of which make it difficult to know where to start.

Learn the in’s and out’s for FREE at www2.atomiclearning.com/digital-story through June 30, 2016.

Intrigued? Be sure to contact Atomic Learning for information on unlocking hundreds of additional online learning modules, including:

•    Instructional Video Best Practices
•    Being an Effective Online Student
•    Creating Engaging Lessons
•    Growing a Personal Learning Network (PLN)
•    Successful Time Management
•    Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 365
•    Learning Management Systems (LMS) Training

If you've been meaning to give Atomic Learning a look, now's your chance!

Break the Cycle: Teachers are Key

At Atomic Learning, we work with schools and districts across the country and around the globe on a daily basis, and, even though the populations of these schools are very unique and the initiatives and programs vary, we hear many of the same challenges on everything from student engagement and instructional practices to utilizing technology and ensuring safe learning environments.

Ultimately, these challenges all center around ensuring student success, and on a national level there are some sobering realities:

  • Half of students are disengaged1. This is one of the factors that leads to an average of 5,000 students dropping out of school each day2.  While the number has declined in recent years, it's still a staggering and unacceptable rate.
  • When a school loses a student, there is a financial impact. On average, schools lose over $12,000 of funding per lost student3.  
  • Recognizing that teachers are key to reducing this cycle, consider this: Typical professional development has a real cost of $6,000-12,000 per year, per teacher4.  However, most teacher PD only has a 10% transfer rate into instructional practice5.  That means that not only is PD costly and time-intensive, but isn’t doing what it needs to in order to impact students.

Fortunately, there are proven ways to help break this cycle.

Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Atomic Learning?

If you are only using Atomic Learning for how-to technology training, you're missing out. While this used to be the core of our product, this content is now the bonus on top of a larger range of highly relevant topics in education.

Watch this brief video to discover what’s new at Atomic Learning—and feel free to reach out if you are interested in learning more about these resources for your school or district.

To help move learners beyond just knowing how-to use technology, check out a few of the available resources on the highlighted topics below:

Interested in learning more? Contact Atomic Learning at www.AtomicLearning.com/k12/request-information!

Bottling the Energy from #EdTech Conferences

With education convention season ramping up across the country, the team at Atomic Learning has been hearing a lot of excitement and discussion around growing trends, concerns, and areas of focus in the education industry.

For many, conferences are inarguably a great place to gather ideas and learn best practices...But what happens after the conference? How do you keep the learning going year-round?

To help make the most of the great information being shared at conferences—and bottle up a bit of the excitement of these shows—we’ve pulled together some of our favorite resources on the hottest topics, including not only technology related topics such as 1:1 initiatives, but also focused resources for professional development, leadership, college-readiness, and much more.

Simply click on any of the links below that are of interest to you to preview the available resource, and contact Atomic Learning for details on how to unlock full access for your entire school or district!

1:1 Initiatives
A Brief Overview of 1:1 Classroom Training
Enhancing Communication & Collaboration with Tech
Differentiating Instruction with Technology
Device Training (including iPads, Chromebooks)
  Leadership
Overcoming Resistance to Change
Building an Effective Leadership Team
Safety Awareness
Mattering is the Agenda (School Culture)
     
Professional Development
Planning with Purpose: A Look at Effective PD
Classroom Management Strategies
Integrating the 4 Cs into Your Classroom
An Overview of Learning Methodologies
Critical Thinking & Bloom's Taxonomy
  Technology Integration
SAMR
Getting Technology R.I.G.H.T.
Snapchat in Education
Minecraft and Project-Based Learning
Coding in the Classroom
     
College-Readiness
Preparing for a College Workload
Choosing a Major
Time Management
Strategies for Working in a Group
Safety Awareness
  Career & Technical Education
Career Skills Training
Effective Listening
Goal Setting
Effective Presentation Design
Preparing for an Interview

Still undecided on your 2016 New Year’s resolution? Make a resolution to learn!

We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This, however, is a myth, according to an article in Forbes Magazine. When it comes down to it, it takes sacrifice and commitment to reach success with forming habits, which cannot happen in a matter of days.

This theory can also apply to your New Year’s resolution. Have you thought about what your New Year’s resolution might be? It doesn’t need to be driven by numbers or statistics (i.e. Lose 15 pounds, or Save $2,000). Why not make it your resolution to learn something new every day?

Whether it takes 21 days or not, make it a habit to build up your personal and professional development on a daily basis. Lifelong learning is a critical skill that we should all try to not only foster in students, but also in our own lives.

And, since 2016 has officially arrived, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite resources together in the Atomic Learning 12 Days of Learning to get you started. Need more ideas? Simply log into your Atomic Learning account using your institution’s method of access and utilize the ‘Discover’ tab to see some of the latest and greatest learning resources now available.

Happy New Year from Atomic Learning!

12 Days Until the end of the Year – Make them Count!

With the holidays fast approaching and the year coming to a close, it can be hard to find time for professional development. We’ve made it easy for you to get the most out of the last 12 days of 2015!

Take a look at these twelve, quick and helpful articles on critical topics facing education.  Whether you read one-a-day or take them in all at once is entirely up-to-you.

7 Tips to Take Ownership of Your Professional Development

While schools and districts offer formal professional development, teachers themselves also have the opportunity to learn on their own. Yet with such busy schedules, some teachers struggle to find the time or drive to participate in self-driven learning.

So why should teachers find the time? One article stated it best:

“What makes a professional stand apart from others in his or her field? Of course, she has the educational chops and the hands-on experience that makes her well-rounded and widely respected in her field. But true professionals don’t stop there. In fact, they never stop – especially when it comes to learning.”

For those looking for a place to start, we’ve gathered together seven tips to begin implementing right away:

Coding in the Classroom: Prepare for the #HourofCode

What are the skills your learners need to have for their future? Reading, writing, and math to name a few, right? All educators want their learners to grow and be successful, which is why every learner should be able to understand and write basic code. Coding is a new literacy that every learner will need for future success.

Research Study: Less than 1 in 3 Teachers are Satisfied with PD

Teachers Know Best, a recent study contracted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that less than 1 in 3 teachers are highly satisfied with current professional development offerings. Here’s an excerpt:

All told, $18 billion is spent annually on professional development, and a typical teacher spends 68 hours each year—more than a week—on professional learning activities typically directed by districts… Yet by many measures, including the views of teachers themselves, much of this effort and investment is simply not working. In interviews, teachers say that too many current professional development offerings are not relevant, not effective, and most important of all, not connected to their core work of helping students learn.

The level of dissatisfaction shared in the study is an area for potential concern for districts.

Varying Approaches to Teacher Professional Development

An article published last year by the folks over at the Stanford d.school walked through the various types of teacher professional development currently available, including a brief overview of each. The author Melissa Pelochino, an experienced educator, goes on to share her thoughts on why these types of professional development aren't working for today's educators, here's an excerpt:
Most teachers participate in all of these types of professional development concurrently. The result is confused, overwhelmed teachers who find it difficult to know what to focus on first and who have a hard time remembering what they are working on and for whom. I have seen many teachers develop “cheat sheets” to help them keep track of all of the professional development they are participating in. Often, the PD calendar is set at the beginning of the year and is not responsive to the immediate and changing needs of the students and staff.
 
PD is still being delivered in a 20th-century lecture style, and most of it looks the same: teachers sitting in rows, staring at computers or cellphones while a person at the front of the room talks at them and refers to a computer screen from time to time...

How are teachers staying up-to-date on changing instructional practices?

When launching a mobile initiative of over 27,000 devices, McAllen ISD needed to prepare teachers for the influx of iPads in their classroom. They turned to Atomic Learning for on-demand professional development and tech integration training to get everyone up-to-speed.

Atomic Learning helps educators to ensure their instructional practices are relevant to today's learning environment, while helping them gain confidence with technology with resources like:

SAMR Training
An Overview of Learning Methodologies
Differentiating Instruction with Technology

Prepping for Back to School with #ALsummersession

Ready or not, the school year is ramping up to get started.

Want to change up your lessons before students converge on you? Now’s your chance!

Below are a few ideas to reawaken your inner teacher—to get started, simply login using your school's method of access.

Coding in the Classroom
Reading, writing...coding? Considered to be a new 'literacy' to prep students for the future, coding is more than a great way to engage students! This online resource will introduce coding concepts and tools to help you get started in the classroom.
Learn about Coding in the Classroom!

An Overview of Learning Methodologies
Want to help your students be lifelong-learners? Of course you do! Check out this online resource on new approaches to teaching that focus on creativity, re-examine Bloom's Taxonomy, and foster higher-level thinking skills in learners at all levels.
Learn about Learning Methodologies!

Minecraft & Project-Based Learning
Ready to explore the world of game-based learning? Check out Minecraft! This online resource will walk you through not only getting set-up, but includes project ideas and templates from the experts at the popular Craft-Academy!
Learn about Minecraft & Project-Based Learning!

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.
 



This article is a part of an Atomic Learning special blog series dedicated to keeping the learning going all summer long by helping you learn something new with quick personal development tips!

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