Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kuemper Teacher Softchalk Lesson of the Week

Congratulations to Christina Tait from Kuemper Catholic Middle School.  Her Softchalk lesson, Opera Stew, was selected by Softchalk as a lesson of the week.

This introduction to opera lesson teaches students what exactly opera is, some of the vocabulary and what goes on behind the scenes for the production.

Each week Softchalk selects a stand out, top notch, lesson from SoftChalk Share and features it across their social media platforms. SoftChalk Share is an Open Education Resource (OER), learning object repository with thousands of free learning materials (used in blended learning environments, online learning environments, flipped classrooms and more...) created by educators just like the ones listed below.
These lessons are interactive, engaging and cover a wide variety of subjects. Through these, you can see the endless possibilities SoftChalk has to offer and learn something new in the process. 

Educators in Iowa are able to obtain Softchalk from AEA Learning Online at no additional cost. If you are interested please contact us Denise Krefting, Evan Abbey or Melissa Wicklund.  You can learn more about best practices of using this tool in our Blending Flipping Cohort course 3.  Learn more.

Success Stories, Insights by African American males: New Content Added

Just added to the Student Personalized Learning System ( and available in AEA Learning Online's Moodle server for download into your LMS:  Success Stories, Insights by African American Males: Workbook.

Hear from the author of the content:

"Success Stories Insights by African American Men" is an inspirational collection of stories by 19 African American Men. Four are current college students from urban America and four are former student athletes and alumni of the NFL, Chris Ward, Steven Holden, Michael Montgomery and Reginald Grant. The collection includes views from a wide range of occupations, actors, writers, law enforcement, business professionals and much more.

With this workbook, students can read interesting stories and improve academic skills, including critical thinking (extraction of facts from each story and pre-writing organization). Students can compare their lives to the stories in the text and develop essays. This is accomplished by reading the text and using the tools after each story and in the back of the text.

“African American males want the same things as everyone else, a family, a job an education, the opportunity to live the American dream. “ J. Everett Pearsall, Executive Director of the National Alliance of African American Athletes. I, nor most African American males don’t want any handouts or hand me downs, just the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.  But, being an African American male in American is a unique experience.  No matter your background the examples of perseverance, determination and focus are a roadmap for success.

Here are a few of our stories, enjoy.

Reginald Grant, MSEd

 You can access this module in the Student Personalized Learning System by searching for it or choosing the category Counseling or At Risk.  Because it is an elective, students can also search for and access the content themselves.  If you have a Learning Management System, you can look at the content in our Moodle Server through this link and download the back-up from the course to be uploaded into your LMS.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Waukee APEX Students Create Content for Peers in the Student Personalized Learning System

A team of students from Waukee High School’s Aspiring Professional Experience Program (APEX) have created a personalized learning module on the career of a Pharmacist.

The students who were a part of this project are (L to R) Tawfeeq Alimami, Chason Yan, Emma Shepard, and group lead, Mikayla Schneider. These students are enrolled in the Exploration of Health Sciences and Medicine class offered at APEX.

Throughout this module, students will learn:
  • What a career in Pharmacy looks like
  • The requirements and steps to become a Pharmacist
  • Why we need Pharmacists?

This module is mainly designed for High School students.

AEA Learning Online is a program where students can use modules to learn more about a specific topic. AEA offers a countless number of topics and information provided for a variety of different learning levels and grades. This program is a great tool to use to help assist your learning.
AEA Learning Online thanks these students and their teacher Cindy Snell for their hard work on these modules.

To learn more about these modules, you can visit click on catalog then Employability and Careers: Pharmacy and the tab Statewide or enter the criteria in the search.

You can also have your students create content in our system. If you are interested in having students create content, teachers creating content or using the system please contact Denise Krefting, Melissa Wicklund or Craig Mohr.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Professional Development: Blending/Flipping Your Classroom Cohort

Blending Flipping Your Classroom cohorts series is  available for teachers this winter at Heartland AEA.  Course 1 "Blending/ Flipping Your Classroom 1: Introduction" the start of the four course series will begin in February offered at Heartland in Johnston and will be offered in June at Grant Wood and beginning in January for Keystone AEA. Sign up coming soon for these sessions.

These cohorts consist of 4 courses that teachers and administrators can take through out a 1 1/2 year period.   Credit is available at a significantly reduced rate.

  • The first course (Blending/ Flipping Your Classroom 1- Introduction is a three day face-to-face training on "Blending/Flipping your classroom 1" for one license renewal credit.  There is a secondary and an elementary version
  • The second course is a fully online course "Blending/Flipping 2- Blended Instruction" as well as an elementary option for two credits (license renewal and graduate) which is available to those who have completed the first course. 
  • The third in the series is "Blending/Flipping Your Classroom 3: Designing Online Lessons" which will take place as a blended model with two days face-to-face and the rest online for those who have completed the first two courses. This course is also two credits (license renewal and graduate).  
  •  Finally the fourth in this series is "Blending/Flipping 4: Activities and Assessment "which will take place as a blended model with two days face-to-face and the rest online and is also 2 credits (license renewal and graduate) for those who have taken the three other courses.  

The last three courses in the series (six credits) can also be applied to the Drake Online Teacher certification for those that are interested.  Learn more about the cohort here.

If you are interested in signing up or finding out more about the first course in the series offered at Heartland.  This course will also be offered at Keystone AEA and Green Hillis (June). Sign up coming.

Heartland: Blending/Flipping Your Classroom Course 1: Introduction- face to face 1/23/19, 2/6/19 and 2/21/19  1 credit LR online  More information and Signup:*

Monday, December 3, 2018

AEA Online Learning Supports Iowa Digital Learning Plan: OER 

As many of you are aware, Iowa’s Digital Learning Plan is the result of a collaborative effort between the Iowa Department of Education (Department), Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), the American Institute for Research (AIR) and many stakeholders. (See document here).

AEA Learning Online has many opportunities for districts to use in support of this Digital Learning Plan. The first we will discuss is how we support Open Educational Resources.

According to the IDLP,  schools should have available and use High-Quality Digital Learning Content. According to the plan “One effective way to provide high-quality digital learning materials at scale is through the use of openly licensed educational resources. These resources may be used, modified, and shared without paying any licensing fees or requesting permission.”

The IDLP mentions that the use of Open Licensed Educational Resources will help districts.  “There are advantages other than just cost savings. Openly licensed materials can be more accurate than traditional textbooks because they can be updated continually as content changes. Openly licensed materials also allow teachers to exercise their own creativity and expertise so they can tailor learning materials to meet the needs of their students.”  

“In addition to openness, the OER movement emphasizes collaboration and an ongoing process. When the curriculum is “closed”, it becomes static and unchanging. It is not easily adaptable and able to be changed at a moment’s notice. Teachers often used printed textbooks created by a publisher, a process that stifles the creativity and flexibility within the classroom. It also stifles the opportunities that teachers have to think reflectively about the curriculum in general.”

In an effort to bring all of the stakeholders and content for Iowa together, AEA Learning Online has purchased an OER Hub ( where teachers and even students can go.  As written in the IDLP “This hub pulls together national collections of OER content, as well as collections of content created by Iowa educators. The hub also supports a digital space that helps educators select, align, evaluate, adjust, and create educational resources. Districts or schools can create their own hub group space to support work big or small, be it curriculum development or PLC collaboration. AEAs and other statewide entities can support groups of teachers from multiple districts more easily, connecting teachers from across the state.”  “On the hub, AEA Learning Online supports several collections of OER. This includes our OLLIE e-curriculum for online pedagogy, as well collections of Iowa-teacher generated content for participants in our Blending/Flipping cohorts. In the future, additional collections of e-curriculum will be available through the hub platform.”

AEA Learning Online offers an OER self-paced course as professional development in support of this change in practice.  Teachers can take this course for 1 license renewal credit or take the sections for knowledge.  Found in the Teacher Training System ( “OER-Open Educational Resources (One License Renewal credit)” will take teachers through each of these learning modules:
OER Introduction
OER Passport: OER Overview
OER Passport: Creative Commons
OER Passport: Overview of OER Commons
OER Passport: Searching, Tagging and Saving OER Commons
OER Passport: Sharing and Evaluate OER Commons
OER Passport: Creating and Remixing OER Commons
OER Conclusion

If taken for no credit teachers can go through any of the above modules individually.

AEA Learning Online has also produced an OER Passport that can be used as a structure for districts or individuals to learn about OER.  This passport supports scaffolded learning and you can “stamp” your progression on trainings in the use and application of OER:

OER Primer
Join Up
Share Out
Get Published
Next Gen OER

If you have interest in any of the above learning opportunities for yourself or your staff, or would like copies of the OER Passport contact AEA Learning Online at  or Denise Krefting ( or Melissa Wicklund (