Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Look Back at 2015

AEA PD Online has had an exciting year. Take a look at how we have partnered with Iowa educators to improve learning for Iowa students.

We look forward to serving you in 2016. Thank you for all that you do.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Teach or Test?

This is a very busy time. For some schools it is the end of the semester and students are taking finals. While testing to see what students know is a good thing, it is also very stressful for all--students, teachers, and parents.

For students who are not "good" test takers, it can be daunting. The students may know the material, but not test well. So relying solely on a summative assessment is not a reliable measuring stick for what a student knows and is able to do. Formative assessment happens during teaching--while students are learning. And it doesn't take huge chunks of time out of the teaching day to perform.

Check out what one teacher, Vicki Davis, The CoolCatTeacher,  reports about her experience with formative assessment here: 5 Fantastic, Fast, Formative Assessment Tools.

She also lists several useful formative assessment tools that you can use with students. You may like some better than others, but each may have a specific purpose that may work for you. Become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each in order to pick the best one(s) to use.

Have you used any of these?
  • Socrative
  • Kahoot
  • Zaption
  • Backchannel Chat Tools: Chatzy, Today's Meet, Ning, Google Docs
  •  Plickers
  • QuickKey
  • Grade Cam
The more tools you have, the better you can create assessments that really help students show what they know and actually learn.

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The online course "Computational Thinking with Scratch" for 2 credits is offered online from Jan. 18-Feb. 15, 2016. This course has been accepted by Drake University and Grand View for the STEM endorsement.  You can register or find out more information at 22025099991602.

Upcoming Courses: Jan. 1-Feb. 15, 2016

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.

Computational Thinking with Scratch
Register at 22025099991602
Course Dates: Jan. 4-Feb. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 2

iEvaluate 1.2
Register at 22017299991607
Course Dates: Jan 4-Feb. 26-2016
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Pinterest in the Classroom
Register at 22019999991608
Course Dates: Jan. 4-Jan. 31, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Incorporating Quality Questioning for Student Engagement and Learning
Register at 22024499991602
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Feb. 10, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

MOLLIE: Blended Learning
Register at 22015099991604
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Feb. 9, 2016
Credit(s): 2

OLLIE: Technology for Online Instruction: MOODLE
Register at 22005399991602
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Feb. 9, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom
Register at 22022299991609
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Feb. 2, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Professional Learning Communities/Data Teams' Role in Assessment/MtSS/RTI I
Register at 22025999991602
Course Dates: Jan. 6-Jan. 27, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

"Write" On Ways to Meet the ICC K-5 Writing Standards
Register at 22020299991602 
Course Dates: Jan 11-Feb. 12, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Advancing Minds-Assessing Written Language in Students
Register at 22029299991601
Course Dates: Jan. 11-March 14, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Doing More with Google Drive Classroom Application
Register at 22029499991602
Course Dates: Jan. 11-March 6, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Introduction to Google Apps
Register at 22007899991605
Course Dates: 

Methods of Teaching Elementary Fine Art
Register at 22027899991604
Course Dates: Jan. 11-Feb. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Reading in the Content Areas
Register at 22022499991603 
Course Dates: Jan. 11-Feb. 12, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Supporting Technology Literacy in Elementary Classrooms with Scratch Programming
Register at 22024299991603
Course Dates: Jan. 11-Feb. 15, 2016
Credit(s): 2

What Great Teachers Do Differently
Register at  22020399991604
Course Dates: Jan. 11-Feb. 19, 2016
Credit(s): 3

OLLIE: Introduction to the Online Learner
Register at 22001399991605
Course Dates: Jan. 13-Feb. 2, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Read and Learn Spanish
Register at 22007199991601 
Course Dates: Jan. 13-Feb. 24, 2016
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Exploring Iowa's Natural Resources
Register at 22007499991602 
Course Dates: Jan. 17-May 1, 2016
Credit(s): 3 (renewal only)

Building ELA Foundational Skills-The Voweletics Method
Register at 22016699991602 
Course Dates: Jan. 18-April 4, 2016
Credit(s): 2

iEvaluate 1.2
Register at 22017299991608 
Course Dates: Jan. 18-Mar. 11, 2016
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Renewable Energy from Agriculture and the Science of Sustainability
Register at 22031099991601
Course Dates: Jan. 18-Mar. 31, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Developing Student-Directed Learning
Register at 22010499991603  
Course Dates: Jan. 20-Feb. 24, 2016
Credit(s): 3 (renewal only)

Cortical Visual Impairment
Register at 22031199991601 
Course Dates: Jan. 1-Mar. 20, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Examining: Engaging Troubling Students: A Constructivist Approach
Register at 22003299991603 
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Fierce Teaching
Register at 22018799991604 
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Examining: How the Special Needs Brain Learns
Register at 22017599991602
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Examining: I Understand! Checks for Understanding in the Classroom
Register at 22030799991601
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Literacy & Learning in the Content Areas
Register at 22012999991601 
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Managing Noncompliance and Defiance in the Classroom
Register at 22002999991601
Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Examining: Overcoming Dyslexia
Register at 22003399991603

Course Dates: Jan. 27-April 8, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Learning China
Register at  22007599991601

Course Dates: Jan. 27-Feb. 24, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Google Sites
Register at 22012899991604

Course Dates: Jan. 31-April 27, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Intro to Google Apps: Tools to Integrate
Register at 22014599991606

Course Dates: Jan. 31-Mar. 27, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Advancing Minds-An Educator's Guide to ADHD
Register at  22029399991602
Course Dates: Feb. 1-May 6, 2016
Credit(s): 3

Combining Character Education and Curriculum Content
Register at  22028299991602

Course Dates: Feb. 1-Feb. 29, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Creatively Thinking with MinecraftEdu

Register at 22026399991603
Course Dates: Feb. 1-May 8, 2016
Credit(s): 2

iEvaluate 1.2

Register at 22017299991609
Course Dates: Feb. 1-Mar. 25, 2016
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Introduction to Google Apps in the Classroom

Register at 22029199991602
Course Dates: Feb. 1-Feb. 29, 2016 
Credit(s): 2

Online Effective Programming for Integrated Students on the Autism Spectrum
Register at 22031299991601
Course Dates: Feb. 1-June 2, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Pinterest in the Classroom
Register at 22019999991609
Course Dates: Feb. 1-Feb. 28, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Personalized Learning: Helping Your Students Take Charge of Their Learning
Register at 22027099991603
Course Dates: Feb. 3-Mar. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Pinterest: Using Pins, Boards, and More in Your Classroom

Register at 22022299991610  
Course Dates: Feb. 3-Mar. 1, 2016
Credit(s): 2

Assess Student Learning Using Technology

Register at 22026499991603
Course Dates: Feb. 9-Mar. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 2

French Essentials for Educators

Register at 22019499991601 
Course Dates: Feb. 2-Mar. 8, 2016
Credit(s): 1 (renewal only)

Sharpen Your Critical Thinking Skills

Register at 22008999991601
Course Dates: Feb. 11-Mar. 17, 2016
Credit(s): 2 (renewal only)

Methods of Teaching Elementary Fine Arts

Register at 22027899991605
Course Dates: Feb. 15-Mar. 7, 2016
Credit(s): 1

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Online Instructor Training

Do you like taking classes online? Have you considered becoming an online instructor for AEA PD Online? We are always looking for Master educators who want to develop their own courses and teach them online for AEA PD Online.

One of the requirements for becoming an AEA PD Online instructor includes taking 3 courses from our OLLIE series (Online Learning for Iowa Educators). You can get a jumpstart on this requirement in the new year by enrolling in one, or more, of the OLLIE courses.

One of the required courses, OLLIE: Technology for Online Instruction: Moodle, begins January 6, 2016.  It is a 5-week course designed to help you feel comfortable using Moodle for a host of different purposes, including online courses, hybrid courses, web portals, and online communities. You will develop content in the Moodle platform, including activities, forums, lessons, and assessments. Skills and concepts will be analyzed in context of the Iowa Online Teaching Standards and Online Course Standards. The course is delivered online, in an asynchronous delivery (participants work at their own time and place).

A second course, OLLIE: Online Learning Instructional Design, begins February 17 and ends March 22, 2016.  This course introduces you to the core principles of online instructional design. You will experience and discuss how to create student outcomes, assessments, and lessons for an online asynchronous format. You also will have exposure to existing online technologies, including web 2.0 tools, as well as online resources and repositories. You will create 2 instructional units, with lessons and assessments, and will practice your understanding of working in small groups. All content and activities created by participants will be able to be used after class is completed in your own online course.

To sign up for either course, go to the AEA PD Online course catalog, and type OLLIE in the Title or Description (optional) field. Then click Search.

For more information about becoming an AEA PD Online instructor, check out this webpage,, or contact Peggy Steinbronn at

Monday, December 7, 2015

Choosing an Learning Management System (LMS) that fits your needs.

Are you considering using a Learning Management System to do some blended or flipped learning in your classroom?  The choices are staggering of different options.  AEA PD Online now has a playlist that highlights more commonly used Learning Management Systems (LMS).  Check out this playlist and learn more about both the advantages and disadvantages to different systems to determine what can best meet your current and future needs.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lights, Camera, Action!


We have reached the last month of 2015. The year has gone by quickly and this time of year gets crazy busy. As we scramble around to get ready for the holidays and keep our students occupied, we tend to look for things that can make our teaching lived easier but not be just “busy work” for our students. The learning doesn’t stop and I found it so much easier for us all, my students, and myself, if I kept to the learning routines already established and provide highly engaging learning activities. But how do you do that in an online course?

One way is the use of videos, but not just any video. Students respond best to videos that the teacher has created and they (the students) like to see their teacher in the video. I know, who would have thought. But it is true.  Do you hear yourself saying the following: Wait—I am not going to start creating videos that I have to appear in—I don’t like seeing myself on-camera. I don’t even know how to create a video.

Ok, it does sound a little bit intimidating. But start small. Start with someone else’s video that you have repurposed. YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube, and WatchKnowLearn are good places to find videos. Try searching the YouTube Educational channel for academic subjects. Each of these sites has educational content—some that is downloadable, some that is not. So please follow copyright laws regarding the use of any videos that you don’t create yourself. Any materials that were first published after 1978 are copyright protected. You can find the Fair Use guidelines here: U.S. Copyright Office's educational-use guidelines (PDF).

You can also find a Fair Use Checklist (with guidelines/links) from the University System of Georgia. And, you can always email the video’s maker for permission.

Now I that I have made my disclaimers about copyright—what about having students create the videos?  Book trailers, scene reenactments, public service announcements and advertisements are a few of the types of projects your students can take on to enhance the learning both in the classroom and in the online classroom.

Check out some of these sites for more ideas and suggestions for using video with your students:
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Math Equation Editor Added to the K-12 Learning Management System

AEA PD Online has added a math equation editor to the K-12 Learning Management system to make it easier for you and students to add equations and formulas to forums discussions, quiz questions, journals and anywhere you have access to the text editor.  If you want to add equations and math functions, click the expand tools button (far left one) and see the square root icon and = icon at the bottom. Use these to add the formulas and functions that you need.