Friday, February 27, 2015

Moodle Moment - Different Forum Types

Our latest Moodle Moment examines four unique forum types.  Typically when instructors choose a forum in Moodle, they stick with the default "General Forum for Student Use", which allows students to create their own discussion thread in the forum, and then reply to other people's posts.

This Moodle Moment takes a look at putting your posts in a single thread, putting them in multiple threads but not allowing students to create their own, requiring students to post before they see replies, and prohibiting students from seeing other groups.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

OLLIE Book Club Begins March 2, 2015

Book clubs are a great way for educators to expand their thinking. Participating in a book club pushes the reader

  • hold onto their thinking
  • read with intentionality
  • make observations in the text
  • connect the text with things beyond the book
  • develop new and shared understandings with book club members

Because of all of these benefits the OLLIE community will be hosting several online book clubs throughout the year (Note: Since, it is online you can participate in your pajamas while enjoying all the wine, cheese, and chocolate you can get your hands on).

Our first book club will extend from March 2, 2015-March 22,2015. The book we will be reading is The Relevant Educator, by Thomas D. Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. To participate you will need to order a paper or kindle version of the book. Books can be purchased through Amazon here.

The reading schedule is:
March 2-8, 2015: Chapters 1, 2, and 3
March 9-15, 2015: Chapters 4, 5, and 6
March 16-22, 2015: Chapters 7, 8, and 9

Each week links to the discussion prompt will be sent out via the community announcements and twitter. You can also located the weeks discussion threads here. Look for the thread labeled, "Book Club: MO/DD/YEAR". For example, Book Club: 03/02/2015 will be the first week of the upcoming discussion.

Participants in the OLLIE Book Club can earn badges.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gamebased Learning: What is it?

When I was a kid ( a loooong time ago) there was no such thing as video games--because there were no in-home computers yet. I know, showing my "age". Our games were those we made up, learned at recess, or the board games we received as birthday and Christmas presents.

Even when I was a new teacher, computer technology had not yet become a classroom tool. Today, many students in our classrooms have more powerful technology in their hands/pockets/backpacks, than ever. They are hardly ever disconnected from the Internet. It is hard to compete with this ever-evolving mass of multimedia. So, how do we compete with that as classroom teachers? One answer to that is game-based learning. When you really think about it, video games are essentially learning engines.

You start out not knowing anything about how to play the game and gradually you learn the rules and through repeated practice, trial and error, repeat the process over and over until you have mastered the first level. The program waits for you to master it before it will let you move on--unlike in our classrooms, where the teacher moves the students forward whether the student is ready or not--there is a curriculum to be covered and we only have 180 days to get it done.

You are allowed to fail in a video game and learn from your mistakes. Failure is rarely seen as an insurmountable block that cannot be overcome. It is a challenge to get to the next level. As a gamer, you aren't going to start at the highest level--you would quit the game before you had ever finished.

Of course if you do a search on "game-based learning" you will find a slew of resources that may spark some ideas for you to try in your classroom. In a post, A Guide to Game-Based Learning by Vicki Davis@coolcatteacher, she shares tools to analyze game-base learning along with the characteristics of various types of games. The Gamifi-ed wiki, compiled by her ninth graders and Master's program students from the Univeristy of Alaska Southeast, lists some recommended games for classroom use that are great for learning. Other sites like Common Sense Media and Free Technology for Teachers also frequently feature new games and simulations that are great for classroom use.

Are you a gamer? What games do you play on your smart phone--Candy Crush? Trivia Crack? Minecraft? Words with Friends? If you play any of these types of games, then you are a gamer. How can you take gaming experiences and make them classroom worthy? Think about that and we will talk about it in the next Friday Feature.

Shall we play a game?

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

AEA PD Online Instructional Designer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Digital Citizenship for 3-5 students

While the Student Personalized Learning System is still in pilot phase we are working to add content that supports the curriculum.  In this system are Digital Citizenship modules that can be assigned to 3-5 grade level students. The content in these Digital Citizenship modules was taken from Common Sense Media.  Teachers, administrators and counselors of school districts could assign any or all of them to their students.   Here is the current listing:

Digital Citizenship 3-5: Searching

Digital Citizenship 3-5: Copyright

Digital Citizenship 3-5: CyberBullying

Digital Citizenship 3-5: Safety

Digital Citizenship 3-5: Final Module





Friday, February 13, 2015

Moodle Moment - Advanced Moodle Layout

We are almost halfway through our 28 Days of OLLIE, and have been very excited with the number of Iowa teachers participating so far.  However, the community has raised quite a few questions in my inbox.  Specifically about...

How did you build that in Moodle?

Good question.  The OLLIE Community doesn't look very Moodle-esque.  We've actually integrated many other tools into it, and used a little-known feature called "orphaning" to design the course space.

Our Moodle Moment today gives an overview of those strategies.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The importance of Social Presence in Online Courses

Studies about Social Presence might help us understand about an important aspect in online courses. Includes a neat infographic you might want to check out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Upcoming Course: March 1-April 15, 2015

See below for a list of upcoming online professional learning opportunities. To register, click on
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.

IMovie: Digital Video in the Classroom
Register at 22000399991503
Course Dates: Mar. 2-Mar. 22, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Iowa Core Fraction Domain for Grades 3-5
Register at 22023299991501
Course Dates: Mar. 2-Apr 13, 2015
Credit(s): 2

MovieMaker: Digital Video in the Classroom
Register at 22000699991503
Course Dates: Mar. 2-Mar.22, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Plan-Read-View: Using GP Digital Online Databases and eBooks in Units
Register at 22018399991501
Course Dates: Mar. 3-Apr. 9, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991508
Course Dates: Mar. 4-Mar. 31, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Intro to Google Apps: Tools to Integrate
Register at 22014599991506
Course Dates: Mar. 8-May 3, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Anxious Kids Searching for Calm
Register at 22020699991503
Course Dates: Mar. 9-May 11, 2015
Credit(s): 3

iPods & iPads for the Classroom
Register at 22008599991503
Course Dates: Mar. 9-May 11, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Reading in the Content Areas
Register at 22022499991502
Course Dates: Mar. 9-May 1, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Incorporating Bloom's Revised Taxonomy to Increase Learning
Register at 22025699991501
Course Dates: Mar. 10-Mar. 31, 2015
Credit(s): 1

French Essentials for Educators
Register at 22019499991501
Course Dates: Mar. 11-Apr. 21, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Learning Japan
Register at 22013999991501
Course Dates: Mar. 12-Apr. 22 , 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

The Mexican-American Experience: Introduction to Chicano Studies
Register at 22010099991501
Course Dates: Mar. 12-22, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Register at 22017299991513
Course Dates: Mar. 16-May 13, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Examining Dyslexia: Remediation that Works!
Register at 22022899991502
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Bullying From Both Sides
Register at 22002099991503
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Fierce Teaching
Register at 22018799991503
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Examining: How the Special Needs Brain Learns
Register at 22017599991503
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classes
Register at 22003499991502
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Managing Noncompliance and Defiance in the Classroom
Register at 22002999991503 
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Secrets of the Teenage Brain
Register at 22019199991504
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Teaching Math to 21st Century Student
Register at 22024999991501
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction
Register at 22004899991503
Course Dates: Mar. 18-May 27, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Google Sites for the Classroom
Register at 22025199991501
Course Dates: Mar. 23-Apr. 16, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Using Iowa AEA Online Databases in the Language Arts Classroom
Register at 22006599991502
Course Dates: Mar. 23-May 4, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Spanish for Educators Online
Register at 22000799991503 
Course Dates: Mar. 26-May 7, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Multi-tiered Systems of Support II: Implementation and Monitoring
Register at 22025599991501
Course Dates: Mar. 28-Apr. 25, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Register at 22017299991514
Course Dates: Mar. 30-May 22, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

MOLLIE: Online Teaching Best Practices
Register at 22019699991503
Course Dates: Apr. 1-May 5, 2015
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991506
Course Dates: Apr. 1-Apr. 21, 2015
Credit(s): 1

OLLIE: Online Facilitation
Register at 22009699991503
Course Dates: Apr. 1-May 5, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991506
Course Dates: Apr. 1-Apr. 28, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Building ELA Foundational Skills - The Voweletics Method
Register at 22016699991505
Course Dates: Apr. 6-May 31, 2015
Credit(s): 2

How Do You Teach Reading-Speaking the Language of The Book Whisperer
Register at 22019399991504
Course Dates: Apr. 6-May 1, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Incorporating Quality Questioning for Student Engagement and Learning
Register at 22024499991501
Course Dates: Apr. 7-Apr. 28, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Presentation Zen: Improving Your Approach to Presentations
Register at 22012399991507
Course Dates: Apr. 8-Apr. 28, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Register at 22017299991515
Course Dates: Apr. 13-June 5, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Register at 22017299991516
Course Dates: Apr. 13-June 5, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

28 Days of OLLIE: Day 10, Student Personalized Learning System

We are almost to the half way point of the 28 days of OLLIE.  It has been great to see so many people participating and sharing ideas about teaching online.  Today is featuring a video of Evan Abbey and Marv Howard talking about personalized learning and how AEA PD Online's newest resource (Student Personalized Learning System) can help schools.  Check out the video to learn more.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

STEM and Scale Up Introduction

Interested in finding out more about the State of Iowa STEM Scale up? Want to see what each Scale Up is about?  Ready to apply for the scale-up program but want more information?  You can find this and more in the training module " STEM and Scale Up Introduction” found at AEA PD Online’s Professional Development system.  Go to  log in with your username and password (same on that you use to take trainings such as Mandatory Reporting and Blood Borne Pathogens), click on Courses at the top, then Catalog and scroll down to STEM and Scale Up Introduction.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

eCurriculum for Social Studies

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

The American Revolutionary War (9th-12th Grades) - Individual Unit
Ancient Rome (6th Grade) - Individual Unit
AP Government and Politics (9th-12th Grades) - Individual Unit
Big History, by Gail Wortmann - Individual Unit
Civics-Political Parties and Politics - Shell
Civil War (4th-6th Grades) - Individual Unit
Class and Conflict in World Cinema - Individual Unit
Classical South and East Asian Civilizations - Individual Unit
The Constitution, by J. Wills - Unit that is Part of a Full Course
Current Issues - Individual Unit
Geography - Individual Unit
Global Citizenship 2. by Gail Wortmann - Full Course
Hidden Children and the Holocaust: A Lesson and Pledge for Action - Individual Unit
Holocaust Art and Rememberance - Individual Unit
Human Geography Unit - Individual Unit
Immigration to the United States-1840-1920 - Individual Unit
The Korean War: Causes, Controversies & Consequences - Individual Unit
The Middle East in Conflict: Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Holy Land - Individual Unit
PBL Civics: Creating your own law - Unit
PBL: Government Who Needs It - Unit
Primary Mapping Skills (3rd Grade) - Full Course
US Government and Citizenship Q1 - Course
US History Q1 - Course
and many more....

This is a small showcase of the 47 items of content. Enter the system to see the remainder.
If you are not a teacher in the system, watch this video on how to become a teacher in the K-12 Moodle Server.