Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Evaluating OER Quality and Standards Alignment: It May be Free, but is it Any Good?

In April, we blogged about "What are Open Ended Educational Resources (OER) and Why They are Important?". To continue our examination of OER, check out's upcoming webinar, "Evaluating OER Quality and Standards Alignment: It May be Free, But is it Any Good?"

Participants of the webinar will:

  • Understand the importance and benefits of reviewing OER
  • Learn about a review process and instruments for evaluating OER Materials
  • Find out how to access in-depth OER review results providing actionable adaptation suggestions
  • Hear about example district experiences with implementing OER
Click this link to register for the webinar and learn more!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Atomic Learning Summer Session

Do you want to keep your technology skills sharp but want to pick and choose your topics in an informal learning manner.  This personal development learning opportunity will have weekly topics starting in mid-June.  Using fun topics for summer break, Atomic Learning's Summer Session is focused on using Atomic Learning for self-improvement. Sample topics include Making the Most of Your Summer Break, which includes Time Management training, and Planning a Vacation…or Stay-cation, with resources on popular Google™ Calendar, Maps, and Earth applications.

Each time a learner shares a takeaway from the highlighted topic they’ll be entered for a chance to win over $500 in prizes—and qualify your school as well! The more people at your campus participate, the greater your chances of winning!

Ready to get started? Additional details can be found at

Atomic Learning is provided to all educators in the state of Iowa through AEA Online Resources.  To learn more about the different resources offered through AEA Online, you can take AEA PD Online's self-paced course.  This course helps participants understand how to use the free digital resources provided by their AEA in the context of their classroom. This course features 6 instructional modules as well as a summary activity. Participants may register on the Training System ( at any time and complete at any pace.  AEA PD Online's self-paced courses are designed for educators who want to start and complete a course on their own schedule. Self-paced courses are available for one license renewal credit, sub authorization, and para-educator renewal for $60.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sociology eCurriculum Content for the Classroom

Did you know that AEA PD Online K-12 System has online content created by teachers that can be used in their classes (downloaded and added to your Moodle or Canvas course).  Here is a list of new content that was just added.  REMEMBER- these are meant to be teacher facilitated course.
Here are some of the Sociology content currently available for use in the classroom. Check back for more as this will be expanded upon over the summer.

Culture and Socialization

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Upcoming Online Courses (June 1-July 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.

Agriculture to Teach Concepts and Skills in an Engaging Way-Cass Co.
Register at 22028499991601
Dates: June 1-Oct. 1, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Creatively Thinking with MinecraftEdu
Register at 22026399991601
Dates: June 1-July 3, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Methods of PE and Health for Elementary Classroom Teachers
Register at 22027999991601
Dates: June 1-July 10, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Methods of Teaching Elementary Fine Arts
Register at 22027899991601
Dates: June 1-July 20, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Getting to The Core of Agriculture Education In Floyd County Iowa June 9-10
Register at 22027699991601
Dates: June 2-July 15, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Making the Agriculture Connection Teacher's Workshop - Marshall/Jasper
Register at 22028399991601
Dates: June 3-Oct. 1, 2015
Credit(s): 1

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991601
Dates: June 3-June 23, 2015
Credit(s): 1

OLLIE: Online Learning Instructional Design
Register at 22002799991601
Dates: June 3-July 7, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Powerful Project Based Learning
Register at 22024699991601
Dates: June 3-July 10, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Intro to Google Apps: Tools to Integrate
Register at 22014599991601
Dates: June 8-Aug. 2, 2015
Credit(s): 2

MOLLIE: Blended Learning
Register at 22015099991601
Dates: June 10-July 14, 2015
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Online Assessment, Feedback, and Evaluation
Register at 22009899991601
Dates: June 10-July 14, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Presentation Zen: Improving Your Approach to Presentations
Register at 22012399991601
Dates: June 10-June 30, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Building ELA Foundational Skills - The Voweletics Method
Register at 22016699991601
Dates: June 15-Aug. 9, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Computational Thinking with Scratch
Register at 22025099991601
Dates: June 15-July 13, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Using Formative Assessments to Drive Instruction and Design Interventions
Register at 22025499991601
Dates: June 15-July 16, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Understanding and Developing Multi-tiered System of Supports (MtSS/RtI)
Register at 22024599991601
Dates: June 18-July 19, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Google Sites
Register at 22012899991601
Dates: June 22-Aug. 16, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Standards-Based Teaching I: Instructional Strategies
Register at 22024399991601
Dates: June 22-July 23, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Developing Student-Directed Learning
Register at 22010499991601
Dates: June 23-July 28, 2015
Credit(s): 3 (renewal only)

Examining: Engaging Troubling Students: A Constructivist Approach
Register at 22003299991601
Dates: June 24-Aug. 19, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Overcoming Dyslexia
Register at 22003399991601
Dates: June 24-Aug. 19, 2015
Credit(s): 3

World Languages on the Go
Register at 22015399991601
Dates: June 24-July 22, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Creating your Comprehensive Musicianship Plan
Register at 22009599991601
Dates: June 29-July 20, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Using the Chromebook in the Language Arts Classroom
Register at 22022799991601
Dates: June 29-July 27, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Spanish for Educators Online
Register at 22000799991601
Dates: July 2-Aug. 13, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Combining Character Education and Curriculum Content
Register at 22028299991601
Dates: July 6-Aug. 5, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (Drake only)

Elements: Moving to Mobile Learning
Register at 22023099991601
Dates: July 6-Aug. 11, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Standards-Based Teaching II: Assessment and Grading
Register at 22025899991602
Dates: July 6-July 30, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Total Participation Techniques
Register at 22020199991601
Dates: July 6-Aug. 7, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Using Agriculture to Teach Concepts & Skills in an Engaging Way - Siouxland
Register at 22026799991601
Dates: July 6-Oct. 1, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Using Blended Learning to Teach Comprehensive Musicianship
Register at 22026599991601
Dates: July 6-Aug. 10, 2015
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991602
Dates: July 8-July 28, 2015
Credit(s): 1

Personalized Learning: Helping Your Students Take Charge of their Learning
Register at 22027099991601
Dates: July 8-Aug. 4, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Introducing Asian Literature
Register at 22011099991601
Dates: July 9-Aug. 13, 2015
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Professional Learning Communities/Data Teams' Role in Assessment/MtSS/RtI I
Register at 22025999991601
Dates: July 9-Aug. 10 , 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Data Collection for Critical Thinking
Register at 22025399991601
Dates: July 13-Aug. 24, 2015
Credit(s): 3

Learning Central Asia: Beyond the Headlines
Register at 22010199991601
Dates: July 14-Aug. 12, 2015
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Agriculture to Teach Concepts & Skills in an Engaging Way – Jefferson Co.
Register at 22026899991601
Dates: July 15-Oct. 15, 2015
Credit(s): 1

MOLLIE: Blended Learning
Register at 22015099991602
Dates: July 15-Aug. 18, 2015
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Online Facilitation
Register at 22009699991601
Dates: July 15-Aug. 18, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Powerful Project Based Learning
Register at 22024699991602
Dates: July 15-Aug. 21, 2015
Credit(s): 2

Monday, May 11, 2015

Preparations for the August 2015 Online Trainings

Here are some tips and tricks for districts to consider when planning their online trainings for their employees in 2015-2016.

1. Encourage employees to take trainings earlier. If your district sends out a welcome-back to school letter in July to employees, encourage them then to take the trainings. July is a down time for usage of the server.

2. If you are having staff complete the training in August, avoid the heavy usage dates. To the right, you can see our projected usage chart for August, the darker the color, the heavier the usage.

3. Avoid having your entire staff take the training at once. While this practice might be very convenient for the planning of pre-service days, it also greatly enhances your chances of hitting the cap, meaning some will be logged into the site and some will not. Plus, all the individuals from your school accessing the same training could impact your own district bandwidth, slowing down the experience as well.

4. Target district inservice days throughout the school year. Waiting until your first early-out can save a lot of frustration for your teachers.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Prairie Lakes AEA - Innovation Showcase

We are presenting at the Prairie Lakes AEA Innovation Showcase tomorrow.  Featured will be our work with the TLC Agora, the new Self-Paced Courses available for Iowa educators, work with local districts to deliver their own online professional development, as well as our new student learning system.

Handouts for our session:

How It All Fits
Self-Paced Courses
Training System
Summer Cohort Registration for Student Personalized Learning
Excellence & Ethics Curriculum handout
Facilitated v. Personalized
System Functions & Features

28 Days of OLLIE Webinar overviewing the system

Language Arts eCurriculum Content

Did you know that AEA PD Online K-12 System has online content created by teachers that can be used in their classes (downloaded and added to your Moodle or Canvas course).  Here is a list of new content that was just added.  REMEMBER- these are meant to be teacher facilitated courses :
 Here are a few of the 64 items available in Language Arts. Check back for more.

Advanced Composition for the Digital Age
Book Blogs - Journals for Book Club Discussions (Grades 3-8)
Civilization, Society, and Lord of the Flies
Contemporary Literature
Copyright in the Digital Age
Create Your List Life
Creative Writing Online
Critical Evaluation of Non-Fiction
ELA Poetry
English 1
English 10 A
English 10 B
English 10 Q1
English 10 Q2
English 10 Q4
English 11 Q1
English 11 Q2
English 11 Q3
English 11 Q4
English 12 Q1
English 12 Q2
English 12 Q3
English 12 Q4
English 9 A
English 9 B
English 9 Q1

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day!

May 5 is National Teacher Appreciation Day and AEA PD Online would like to extend a special thank you to all of our dedicated instructors who provide quality, online professional development to educators.

Top 10 Reasons AEA PD Online Says "Hats Off" to its Online Instructors

AEA PD Online Instructors are...
  1. passionate about each and every learner.
  2. creators of community.
  3. builders of trust.
  4. excited about their content.
  5. creative in how they engage their participants.
  6. responsive to student needs and questions.
  7. technologically advanced.
  8. dedicated to making learning relevant and meaningful.
  9. learners as well as instructors.
  10. committed to providing rigorous learning opportunities that push their participants thinking.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Engaging Online Students

Teaching online can be challenging for both instructors and students. How do you design a course that is flexible enough to meet the needs of adult online students, and still maintain high expectations and adherence to keeping on schedule with assignment due dates, etc.? How do you engage an adult student who may, or may not be, as motivated to fully engage in an online course for one reason or another?

Looking for some ideas (not answers), here are some suggestions:

From: Top 5 Online Student Engagement Strategies, by Patrick Patterson
  1. Microcast (short podcast of no more than 5 minutes)
  2. Gamify
  3. Respond
  4. Give Feedback
  5. Admit Mistakes
Read full article here.

From: Faculty Focus Special Report: Online Student Engagement Tools and Strategies, found here:
  1. Change graphics on the course site
  2. Offer choices, i.e., two choices for each discussion and students choose which one they want to participate in--of course, they can participate in both if they choose.
  3. Establish and populate an "extra resources" section in your course.
  4. Utilize social networking activities: Facebook, Twitter, Skype,, YouTube
  5. Free technologies can be incorporated into an online course: Concept maps, podcasts, voice over PowerPoint, video clips, etc.
  6. Establish a calendar of course assignment milestones
  7. Team debates
A key point suggests that student interaction is largely influenced by the organization
of the (virtual) classroom and that instructor interaction, both inside and outside of the classroom, is equally critical in promoting student engagement. When interaction is done correctly, students can reflect on the class experience. Self reflection is a strategy that helps to cement the learning--students can see how it all comes together and make sense of it all.

What strategies do you use as an online instructor to engage your students? Go!

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.