Friday, October 31, 2014

Moodle Moment: Zoom

Our Moodle Moment focuses on a synchronous tool this time, as we take a look at Zoom.  Zoom is a lightweight videoconferencing and screensharing tool supported by the AEAs.  Similar to Skype, it allows multiple users and easy recording.

While there is a paid version that allows you to have longer meetings (> 1 hour), the free version also the same basic features.  It integrates with phone conferencing, and participants do not need an account to join a meeting (not even a free account).

Below is the complete overview of the video and all its features back when we first  started using the tool in March.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AEA PD Online is Seeking an Online Community Facilitator

AEA PD Online, on behalf of the statewide AEA system and the Iowa Department of Education, seeks a part-time online community facilitator (25 hours per week) for the 2014-15 school year. The position will being immediately and will be working with the Iowa Department of Education and the statewide planning committee to support the development of the Teacher Leadership Compensation online community, in addition to other technical assistance activities.

This position will help maintain and support the Teacher Leadership Compensation (TLC) online community, which includes aggregating community content and events, supporting the user experience and maintaining the technical design of the community. Skills in website development, online community facilitation and management, social media, online technologies, marketing and promotion are necessary.

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in communications, English, marketing, web development or a related field. This person should be motivated to work in a team environment as well as to work with K-12 educators from across Iowa. Previous experience in K-12 education is a plus.

Apply online at the Heartland AEA website.  For questions about the position, contact Evan Abbey, Program Director.

TED Ed Lessons Worth Sharing

Have you ever used video in an online or blended class and wondered what students were getting from the video? Have you wanted to emphasize a specific part of a video or connect additional resources to the video? If you have, TEDEd Lessons Worth Sharing is for you. 

TEDEd Lessons allows you to wrap introductory text, short answer or multiple choice questions, additional resources and discussions around your videos. To find out how view the video below or click on the link here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Graphical Representation of the Syllabus

Interesting idea--making a graphical representation of your syllabus. I came across this idea by clicking on a link within a Tweet from someone I follow on Twitter. It led me to this site:

The article is worth the read and isn't very long. It includes examples of what it actually could look like. It provides a clear reference to outcomes and connections of specific assignments to those course outcomes. The author of this article goes on to say that using a graphic display is a way to "keep student learning in focus". There are benefits for the students as well. "Graphical displays are clearer to visual learners, they show how a course is organized, and they function as a map to a course."

Note: Click on the link to the article to view examples of the graphical display.

How can this apply to your online course? Sometimes online students don't seem to "get it". They 
appear to just wander through the course without making the connections, in spite of our best efforts, to the course objectives/outcomes/essential learnings. Providing a visual representation of those connections to specific assignments may be enough to get the learner to focus their learning and they will see that "none of the course assignments are random or arbitrary."

Challenge: If you are thinking about revising your online course, think about adding a graphical image of your course objectives and assignments. It could be just what you and your online students need to move their learning, and yours, forward.

Talk to me. What do you think? Worth trying?

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Digital Citizenship Week: October 19-25, 2014

October 19-25 is Digital Citizenship Week. The purpose of the week is to engage students, teachers, and
families in a conversation about what it means to behave responsibly and respectfully online.

AEA PD Online can help educators start these important conversations with students and parents. It offers 6 self-paced modules, which can be completed anytime and anywhere, that will prepare educators to assist students into becoming good digital citizens.
The modules are:
  • Digital Citizenship Introduction
  • Digital Citizenship: Cyberbullying & Online Safety
  • Digital Citizenship: Digital Literacy
  • Digital Citizenship: Netiquette
  • Copyright & Fair Use
  • Digital Citizenship: Digital Security

To access these modules go to and login/register.

Note: The modules are accessible to all Iowa educators. Individuals who are interested in renewal credit must complete all 6 of the modules and submit the summary activity.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Moodle Moment: PoodLL Audio Recordings (and more)

Our Moodle Moment today looks at a plugin within our Moodle systems.  This plugin is available free from the website.  It is called PoodLL, and it actually is a suite of plugins that allow you to do many different things, including audio recording and video recording.

The most common use of it is as an assignment type.  On our systems, when you add an assignment, you can make it accept PoodLL submissions, which means students can records themselves for their assignment instead of typing it out.  You can also do the same thing in forum posts and anywhere else in the site where students would normally have to type.

You can see more Moodle Moments here, on the AEA PD Online YouTube site.

Monday, October 13, 2014

ITEC - Session 1 (Blended Learning)

Below is our presentation from our first session on Blended Learning.

Mentioned in the session is the K-12 Moodle server for Iowa (complete with the E-Curriculum Catalog) as well as the Zero-Entry Pool diagram for Blended Learning.

Online Course Catalog

Looking for license renewal or graduate credit?  We offer many online courses in a variety of areas.

Now, you can check out our downloadable course catalog (pdf), which lists our titles, as well as their descriptions and instructors.  When you find a course that interests you, be sure to visit our registration site and search for the next available section of that course.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is Anyone There?

Hello and welcome to the AEA PD Online’s first  Friday Feature”.

AEA PD Online will be hosting a series called Friday Feature twice a month. The goal of the Friday Feature is to highlight things AEA PD Online does, as well as provide information about online teaching and learning.

So, let’s talk about instructor presence in an online course. If you have ever been a student in an online course, you may have experienced differing levels of instructor presence—depending on the course, the topic, the instructor, etc. Maybe the only interaction you experienced with the instructor was getting your grade. Or, maybe the instructor was engaged in conversations with you as an individual, and/or with the class as a whole through discussion forums, chats, emails, announcements, etc. Which instructor do you prefer? How do you know if the instructor is present?

Instructor presence is one of the factors that many online students comment on most often in course evaluations. What is instructor presence? Since students don’t physically “see” the instructor, a sense of instructor presence is created through the way the course is designed and delivered. Video chats for virtual office hours, photos, narratives, a welcoming video introduction—all easy things to create—can provide students with an “image” of who the instructor is in their online course. Instructors need to spend a little bit of time, before the course begins, setting up the classroom online environment.

Once the course is in session, online instructors can add announcements, post to discussion boards, provide feedback on assignments, upload photos or videos, email students—both individually and to the class as a whole—all of which will provide “evidence of engagement” to online students.

Online instructors can also directly ask students for feedback throughout the course. Feedback can be anonymous. For example, at the end of a unit you might ask, “Was this information clear, or were there any points you didn’t understand?” Face-to-face teachers do this all the time—so can online instructors. Online instructors can also ask questions specifically about their role as an instructor, such as:

·      Is the timeliness of my response helpful?
·      Are the types of responses you are getting helpful?
·      Is there anything else I could be doing to help you?

If you, as in online instructor, ask for student feedback, then you also had better be ready to respond to it, and you may even want to implement some of their suggestions in the current online course.

So—what tools can you use to help create this sense of instructor presence? The use of audio and video can be easily incorporated into an online course. Moodle has some built-in tools that can be used by both students and instructors—it is called “PoodLL”.
Using PoodLL, online instructors  and their students can:

·      Record Audio: Record your voice or other audio input and save it directly into an MP3 file.
·      Record Video: Record video into assignments, questions…anywhere!
·      Draw Pictures & Diagrams: Draw or snap pictures and save them using PoodLL's online whiteboard application.
·      Use Cool Widgets: PoodLL includes Stopwatches, flashcards, dice, timers and more to help your students master certain types of information.
·      Use most of the features with mobile devices: HTML5 compatibility means PoodLL activities will work well with many mobile phones & tablets.

Want to see what it is all about?

2.    Log into Moodle.
3.    In the Go To Course panel, (left side of window), type in the course number, 5.
4.    Click on the Audio and Video tab in order to view the tutorials and get student directions for submitting audio/video assignments

In the Spotlight

A new, self-paced course, Social Media for the Classroom, is now available.

This course explores various social media tools—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Teachers/educators can get 1 license renewal credit for only $60.00!

And, because it is self-paced, you can take it on your own schedule—no worries about start and end dates—begin when it is convenient for you, finish as your schedule allows.

Check it out at
Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.
AEA PD Instructional Designer