Friday, December 26, 2014

Moodle Moment: Atomic Learning Plug-in

We have a new plugin on our Moodle system, and it is excellent.  This makes it a snap to create and integrate an Atomic Learning playlist of tutorials within your Moodle course.  It takes only seconds to create, and students instantly have access to rich content.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blended Learning Practitioners' Circle

Grant Wood AEA, the Alvo Institute, and AEA PD Online are excited to announce the launch of The Blended Learning Practitioners’ Circle. Join us for an eight-week exploration of blended learning with a focus on moving from theory to action. Whether you are new to blended or refining your current blended model, this exciting collaborative will help you deepen your practice, expertise and vision.  Special thanks to Illuminate Education for being a Gold Sponsor for this PD opportunity.

Alvo’s first Practitioners’ Circle brings together researchers and educators from across the country to form a virtual innovators’ roundtable using the newly released book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, as a centerpiece. We are for tunate to be joined by the authors, Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker, who will each facilitate a live, interactive two-hour webinar.

Required readings and scheduled webinars are planned.This course is asynchronous with live webinars as follows. All webinars will be recorded if participants cannot attend the live event. Most dates have two options for attending webinars as indicated below:
  • Jan. 15 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Jan. 22 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST* (Michael Horn will facilitate) 
  • Jan. 29 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Feb. 5 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Feb. 12 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Feb. 19 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Feb. 26 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. CST 
  • Mar. 5 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST* (Heather Staker will facilitate)
Webinar times and dates are subject to change.
*Two hour webinar

Registration Fee: $200

AEA PD Online is offering 3 license renewal or graduate credits (Drake,Viterbo, Morningside) for the course, if participants are interested. These costs are in addition to the $200 registration fee:
  • $25 - License renewal
  • $135 - Morningside credit
  • $225 - Drake credit
  • $225 - Viterbo credit
Download the brochure here.

Keeping Up with Online Terminology and Jargon

Keeping Up!

The end is near--of this calendar year, that is--and we are winding some things down and ramping some things up for the coming new year. There is never a lot of down time in online education--it is a continuing circle that keeps rolling along.

As I take time to explore various resources that could be utilized for online teaching and learning, I am still amazed at all the terminology that seems to be used interchangeably, whether it should or shouldn't. Terms like, flipped learning, personalized learning, blended learning, mobile learning, life-long learning, e-learning, and so on and on it goes. How do teachers figure it all out? When does flipped learning become blended or personalized learning? What are the differences?

This artilce, 10 Trendy Concepts in Educational Technology Every Teacher Should Know About, tries to help make sense of all the jargon. I hope you will take time out of your busy schedule to look it over. Perhaps some of it will be review for you, but there may be some new ideas as well. The "You might also like" links at the bottom of the page will also link you to some other interesting concepts/ideas in educational technology.

Have fun exploring!

In the Spotlight

 Book Creator

Read about an art teacher "who took on the challenge to find a way to help students who work at different paces and abilities. A semi-flipped classroom was the result."

Her solution was Book Creator, a simple way to create e-books in the classroom. The blog for Book Creator has some great ideas/lesson plans for various ways to use the program. Check it out here.

Maybe you can try this program out on that new iPad you are getting for Christmas--wink, wink.


Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.
AEA PD Online Instructional Designer

NOTE:  Friday Feature will return next year on January 16, 2015.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AEA PD Online's eCurriculum content for Counseling

Did you know that AEA PD Online K-12 System has online content created by teachers that can be used by Counselors and in Guidance classes (downloaded and added to your Moodle or Canvas course).  Check out these (additional content is added all the time so come back often) :

Monday, December 15, 2014

Creating Interactive Lessons Online

Have you ever wanted to move some of your lessons into an online format and make them interactive?  

SoftChalk is a free resource provided for all Iowa educators through AEA PD Online.  Iowa educators can download the software free through the AEA PD Online site (you will need an account in our learning system to access the link). With SoftChalk you can create lessons that can be embedded into your learning management system (moodle, canvas, blackboard, etc).  To learn about the features you can complete this self-paced lesson on SoftChalk.

SoftChalk also provides free webinars and short courses for teachers to learn more about the features of the software.  Here is the link to upcoming SoftChalk short courses.

New Self-Paced Course - Para-educator: Roles & Responsibilities

New Self-Paced Course - Para-educator: Roles & Responsibilities

We have a new self-paced course on our teacher training system ( 

Course Description:
This course will take you through the roles and responsibilities that Para-Educators have in regards to the IEP, behavior, confidentiality and supervision. For credit you will be expected to turn in a reflection sharing your roles and responsibilities as a Para- Educator in your district.

Intended Audience:
Para-educators and teachers wanting to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of para-educators in their classroom. AEA PD Online's self-paced courses are designed for teachers and para-educators who want to start and complete a course on their own schedule. Self-paced courses are available for one license renewal credit and para-educator renewal for $60.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

28 Days of OLLIE

Mark your calendars!  28 Days of OLLIE is coming.

Starting February 1 and lasting throughout February, AEA PD Online kicks off its brand new OLLIE online community for teachers.  Part of their Online Learning for Iowa Educators (OLLIE) series, the community provides educators resources, live events, discussions, sharing and networking with other educators.  It is the perfect learning place for teachers looking to add blended or flipped learning to their classroom.

During 28 Days of OLLIE, we will have daily events, activities and even contests with prizes, where you can get acclimated to the community.  Be sure to check here in the upcoming weeks for more details.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Moodle Moment: Sharing Cart

In our Moodle Moment for today, we take a look at copying single items from one course (such as in our e-curriculum catalog) to another.  This requires a plugin called the Sharing Cart, which we have installed on our Moodle servers.  As we demonstrate, it is very easy to use the Sharing Cart.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Upcoming Courses (Jan. 1-Feb. 15, 2015)

See below for a list of upcoming online professional learning opportunities. To register, click on the
activity number listed with each course. To conduct your own search for professional development classes, download the AEA PD Online app at or click here to go to the AEA PD Online catalog.

Intro to Google Apps: Tools to Integrate
Register at 22014599991505
Course Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 1, 2015
Credit(s): 2


Register at 22017299991509
Course Dates: Jan. 5-Feb.27, 2015

Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Iowa Core Fraction Domain for Grades 3-5

Register at 22023299991501
Course Dates: Jan. 5-Feb. 16, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Reverse Instruction - Flip Your Classroom
Register at 22014699991502
Course Dates: Jan. 5-Feb. 2, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Using Iowa AEA Online Databases in the Social Studies Classroom
Register at 22006799991501
Course Dates:Jan. 5-Feb. 16, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Using the Chromebook in the Language Arts Classroom
Register at 22022799991501
Course Dates:Jan. 5-Feb. 9, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Understanding and Developing Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MtSS/RtI)
Register at 22024599991501
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Jan.27 , 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

MOLLIE: Blended Learning
Register at 22015099991504
Course Dates: Jan. 7-Feb. 10, 2015
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Technology for Online Instruction: Moodle
Register at 22005399991502
Course Dates: Jan. 7-Feb. 10 , 2015
Credit(s): 2

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991504
Course Dates: Jan. 7-Feb. 3 , 2015
Credit(s): 2

Building ELA Foundational Skills - The Voweletics Method
Register at 22016699991504
Course Dates:Jan. 12-Mar. 8, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Register at 22017299991510
Course Dates: Jan. 12-Mar.6, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

 Introduction to Google Apps
Register at 22007899991505
Course Dates: Jan. 12-Feb. 15, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Total Participation Techniques
Register at 22020199991503
Course Dates: Jan. 12-Feb. 13 , 2015
Credit(s): 2

What Great Teachers Do Differently
Register at 22020399991505
Course Dates: Jan. 12-Feb. 20, 2015
Credit(s): 3

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991505
Course Dates: Jan. 14-Feb. 3, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Read and Learn Spanish
Register at 22007199991501
Course Dates: Jan. 5-Feb. 26 , 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Exploring Iowa's Natural Resources
Register at 22007499991502
Course Dates: Jan. 19-May 3 , 2015
Credit(s): 3 (renewal only)

How Do You Teach Reading-Speaking the Language of The Book Whisperer
Register at 22019399991503
Course Dates: Jan. 19-Feb. 13, 2015
Credit(s): 1

EL Bridge Online Workshop
Register at 22017699991502
Course Dates: Feb. 2-May 17, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Register at 22017299991511
Course Dates: Feb. 2-Mar. 27, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Leading Authentic Place-based Student Investigations: Water
Register at 22012699991502
Course Dates: Feb. 2-Apr. 26, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Pinterest in the Classroom
Register at 22019999991512
Course Dates: Feb. 2-Mar. 1, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Presentation Zen: Improving Your Approach to Presentations
Register at 22012399991506
Course Dates: Feb. 4-Feb. 24, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Supporting Technology Literacy in Elementary Classrooms with Scratch Programming
Register at 22024299991501
Course Dates: Feb. 9-Mar. 16, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Using Iowa AEA Online Databases in the Science Classroom
Register at 22009299991501
Course Dates: Feb. 9-Mar. 23, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991505
Course Dates: Feb. 11-Mar. 10, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Google Sites
Register at 22012899991507
Course Dates: Feb. 15-Apr. 12, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Friday, December 5, 2014


I spent some time with a group of science teachers in a local district this week. We were exploring various ways to make the online environment a natural part of their teaching. There were questions posed that may not have straightforward answers—at least not “one right way to do it” type answers.

There are so many ways to connect in an online setting, but how do you, as the teacher, make it fun and engaging while moving student learning forward? Is it “required”? Does it only get assigned as “homework”? How does the teacher get students to “want to do it”? What if the student(s) don’t do it? And, since there is so much out there on the web, how do teachers sort through it all in an efficient manner?

I don’t have any specific, “one-right answer” to these questions, but discussion among the teachers, along with district administrators may move them closer to finding some answers. I know that when teaching adults in an online environment, they, as students, have certain expectations from the course content as well as from the online instructor. Meeting those expectations can make or break an online course. So what do they expect? (Remember, this is from my personal experiences—you may have a different view based on your own experiences.)

They expect:
  • Frequent communication from the instructor (known as instructor presence)
  • Clear directions about assignments, grading criteria, course expectations, etc.
  • Flexibility—with due dates, late assignment policies, etc.—life happens
  • An instructor who shows their “human” side by letting their personality show through (which means students feel they know the instructor personally)
  • Guidance: on how much time weekly readings, activities, and assignments take, the objectives of course, how and when to submit assignments, etc.
  • Some technological skills—able to troubleshoot technological issues a student may have in navigating the course, submitting assignments, seeing grades, and viewing feedback from the instructor
I am sure there are other things that could go on this list. Sometimes it seems like a tall order for an online instructor. But it is what good instructors do—both in the face-to-face and the online classroom environment.

How do you, or online instructors you have had in an online course, set the tone for the course? How can you live up to the expectations of online students? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

In the Spotlight: eduCanon

eduCanon is an online learning environment to build and share interactive video lessons. Teachers begin with any YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube video content (screencasts, Khan Academy, Minute Physics, TED, NOVA, etc.) and transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students. By time-linking activities that students engage with as the video progresses the content is segmented into digestible components - increasing student engagement and, through our real-time monitoring, informing the next day’s lesson planning” (from the EduCanon website). 

And it is free. It can be embedded into an LMS, like Moodle, or in a lesson builder application like Softchalk . An eduCanon lesson can also be shared with colleagues and they don’t even have to log in to view it. It can also be made public without being attached to a course—a new feature of the software.

Watch the following video to see and hear what it is all about:

Video doesn’t have to be a “sit and get” activity. Add some interactivity to how your students watch videos. It is easy and free—try it.

Let me know how it works for you and your students.

 Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.
AEA PD Online Instructional Designer

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

AESA: Partnership Presentation

Below is the presentation from our booth display at the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) convention.

AEA PD Online's eCurriculum content for Counseling

Did you know that AEA PD Online K-12 System has online content created by teachers that can be used by Counselors and in Guidance classes (downloaded and added to your Moodle or Canvas course).  Check out these (additional content is added all the time so come back often) :