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Professional Development Articles

John Spencer - 2 Recorded Webinars

Apr 23, 2020 jjamison

I'm a huge fan of taking creative risks and trying something new. For this reason, I decided to do my first two live webinars this week. It was a truly energizing experience for me! Even though I'm an introvert, I loved the chance to connect and learn together. Below you'll see links to the webinar replays and to the slideshows. I've also included information about a self-paced 2-week professional development course on empowering students in distance learning courses.


Webinar: How to Boost Attendance and Engagement in Virtual Class Meetings

 

Educator Expertise: Beginning to Emerging

Description: It can be downright defeating when you lead a virtual class meeting and nobody shows up. Other times, you ask a question and there's awkward silence. In this webinar, we cover specific strategies for improving attendance in optional class meetings (including "office hours") and how to make all of your virtual meetings more engaging and interactive.

Cost: Free

Watch the Recorded Webinar: You can find the replay here.

Download the Slideshow: You can download the accompanying slideshow here.

Certificate of Completion: If you attended the webinar, you can download the accompanying certificate of completion here.


Webinar: Empowering Students in Distance Learning Environments

 

Educator Expertise: Beginning to Emerging

Description: Student engagement can be a real struggle when there is physical distance. However, the real issue isn't simply a lack of engagement. It's often a lack of self-direction. In other words, students aren't taking the initiative with their own learning. In this webinar, we cover specific strategies for increasing self-direction and student ownership in distance learning classes. I'll walk you through some specific strategies you can use in distance learning courses at the K-12 level. I also cover this topic in-depth in the upcoming professional development course on empowering students in distance learning .

Cost: Free

 

Watch the Recorded Webinar: You can find the replay here.

Download the Slideshow: You can download the accompanying slideshow here.

Certificate of Completion: If you attended the webinar, you can download the accompanying certificate of completion here.


Course: Empowering Students in Distance Learning Environments

Educator Expertise: Beginning to Emerging

Description: What does it mean to empower our students in distance learning environments? How do we help them become self-directed when they are away from their classroom? We tackle these hard questions as we focus on what it means to have students self-select scaffolds, use choice menus, engage in creative projects and self-assess. Each day, you will watch a practical video with specific strategies and then create something meaningful that you will actually use in your distance learning classroom.

How It Works: This course begins on April 20, 2020, with a new 60 minute lesson each day. It will last ten days over two weeks (each weekday). However, the course is on-demand and all deadlines are flexible. Every video and resource will be available even after you have finished this course.

Overview:

  • Day 1 - Overview of Distance Learning: This first lesson explores the changing role of the teacher, the policies you need to consider (COPPA, CIPA, FERPA), how you'll share expectations with students, communicating with families. You'll also begin a plan for what tools you'll be using.
  • Day 2 - Reducing Barriers: You'll design scaffolds for differentiation and explore how to find tutorials for technology. The goal is to empower students to be self-directed when they face challenges. In the end you will create a scaffold for students and a list of tech tutorials they might need to access.
  • Day 3 - Boosting Engagement: In this session, we'll focus on how to boost engagement in virtual spaces (such as video conferencing) and how you can create community even when you are far apart. But engagement doesn't have to end when the video conference is over. We'll also explore ways to get students off-screen and moving throughout the day. In the end, you'll create an outline for a video conference you can use with your students.
  • Day 4 - Choice and Flexibility in Online Assignments: A simple choice menu is often one of the best ways to introduce student voice and choice in a structured way. In this lesson, we go step-by-step into three different variations of online choice menus that you might use with your students. In the end, you'll create and share a choice menu of your own. In the end, you'll design a short choice menu that your students can use.
  • Day 5 - Empowering Student Creativity: At some point, distance learning should include creative work. In this lesson, we explore how to design a structured creative activity that students can do alone, in pairs, or in small groups. In the end, you'll create a design sprint you can use in your classroom.
  • Day 6 - Empowering Student Collaboration: Distance learning doesn't have to mean working alone. In this lesson, we explore ways to use communication tools (synchronous and asynchronous) and co-creation tools to boost student collaboration. We'll also dive into specific protocols you can use to improve interdpendency in student collaboration. In the end, you'll create a single collaborative protocol you can use in an distance classroom.
  • Day 7 - Empowering Students to Own the Assessment Process: In order to improve, students need meaningful feedback. They need to set goals and reflect on their progress. For this reason, it's important that we craft self-assessments and peer assessments that can boost metacognition and help students determine where they are and what they will do next. In the end, you'll create a student self-assessment form that you can use in your class.
  • Day 8 - Tapping into Student Interests: When students own the learning, they get an opportunity to pursue their own interests and passions. In this lesson, we explore what this looks like in various subject areas and grade levels. You'll then create a short video explaining for your students what their passion project might look like.
  • Day 9 - Tapping into Student Curiosity: Student ownership includes the opportunity to ask tons of questions and then find the answers on your own. In this lesson, we look at a structured way to do inquiry-based learning at a distance. You'll then create an exemplar you can share with your classroom.
  • Day 10 - Designing Systems: Now that you have ideas for how to make it work, you will create an overall plan for your distance learning unit. You'll also explore principles of UX design to create a virtual and online experience that will be clear and intuitive for students. Here's where you get to take a few of the things you've created and put them into a cohesive unit plan. You might not use every single idea -- and that's okay. The goal is to incorporate a few big ideas from this course into your own classroom.

 

Cost: This course is discounted from $75 to $37. There is also a bulk discount for schools or districts. This discount will be available until May 1, 2020.

Register: You can register for the course here.

Note: Although we are on Day 4, you can start at Day 1. It's fully self-paced, so you can take it as you have time.

 

 


Other Free Resources

Here are ten free classroom resource activities for your distance learning classroom. You can download any of them for free. I also just finished the rollout of a free audiobook for children. It's called Super Pizza. It's fun and goofy and hopefully something your middle grade students might enjoy. You can download it here. In addition, I have a site with free video writing prompts. You can also download a free distance learning / online teaching eBook and toolkit in the form at the bottom of this blog post.

 

Additional Learning Opportunities

You can find three free prerecorded self-paced webinars on my website. There is also a limited time 40% discount on all of my professional development courses using the coupon code 2020. If you're interested in doing a book study, both Launch and Empower are at a reduced price on Kindle right now. If you'd like to run a book study or book club, you can download the study guides here. Finally, you might want to subscribe to my podcast and my YouTube channel, where I often share free content. Lastly, if you are interested in having me do virtual workshops for PBL, design thinking, or distance learning, please contact me at john@spencerauthor.com or fill out the form here.

Stay safe,

John Spencer

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