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:
 

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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:

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.

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.

Looking for Summer PD? Check out #ALsummersession

You're invited to join a special email series that highlights both professional and personal development—and did we mention there are prizes involved?

Focusing on self-improvement, Atomic Learning's Summer Session provides weekly tips to break down critical topics, such as increasing student engagement and shifting instructional practices, into an easy-to-digest format.

And, to encourage learning and reflection, each time you share a takeaway you’ll be entered for a chance to win $300 in prizes!

Ready to get started? Simply visit www2.atomiclearning.com/summer-2016 for details.

Once you've signed up, be sure to share this opportunity with friends and colleagues using this printable flyer, or sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

For more ideas on promoting this free opportunity and better utilizing your institution's Atomic Learning subscription this summer, contact our dedicated team of Account Managers and Integration Specialists at 866.259.6890 or cs@AtomicLearning.com.

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!

How One District Maximizes Tech Integration & Teacher Support

When Daniel Saenz, the Information Technology Director at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD stepped back to reflect on where the district was at for technology Integration and teacher support, he came to the realization that they weren’t doing as much as they could. 

One of the major steps they took to execute change was the creation of the 2015-2016 Instructional Technology Implementation Plan. The plan took their intentions and put it into action, outlining three levels of proficiency needed to accomplish the instructional technology goals for the district:

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:

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!

CEU Professional Development Program Proves Successful in NC District

As many schools do, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in Charlotte, NC provides CEUs (continuing education units, AKA credits) to teachers who participate in professional development. CMS developed a program that awarded their staff for the time they spent in the Atomic Learning solution. We were quite impressed when we heard how much success their program was having and just had to share.

Using Skype in the Classroom #skype #edtech #elearning

A recent headline cross-posted on Tech&Learning caught my attention. It's amazing how technology--when used effectively--can create so much opportunity for collaboration in the classroom. WI educator Pernille Ripp sums up how she is effectively using Skype in her classroom with this statement:

Atomic Learning Admins: Make Learning Fun!

Dulce Gonzalez of Laredo ISD in Texas was the lucky winner of our Atomic-Cache contest recently and she shared that she appreciated the "scavenger hunt" type learning path because she watched courses that she typically wouldn't have gone to within Atomic Learning.

Have you tried the scavenger hunt resource within the "Get the Word Out Ideas" area? Take this a step further and create your own "atomic-cache" contest with your teachers and staff (possibly even strategically, if there's something you really want them to learn about that you know they won't go to on their own!) It can be as simple as having them watch one video or a complete course to find a "nugget" of information. If they tell you the timestamp of where they found this information, they get a prize, or are entered into a random drawing for a prize.

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