Posts Tagged ‘professional learning’

Alabama Partners with NASA and ASTA to Support New Online Science Resources

Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Richard O. Murphy, Ed.D. is the State Administrator of Alabama’s ALEX Web Portal for the Alabama Department of Education.

ALEXThe Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX), a project of the Alabama Department of Education, is designed to index and share many types of educational materials and information through a time-saving, one-stop resource for educators, parents, and students. ALEX resources are free and open to the public. The majority of these rich resources (lesson plans, Web links, and interactive activities) are located and connected to the Alabama Courses of Study by National Board Certified Teachers. ALEX has partnered with NASA and the Alabama Science Teacher’s Association (ASTA) to create lesson plans for the new Alabama science standards. Although many have already been added to the ALEX database, it is expected that over 200 plans will be approved by August 2016 to support teachers in implementing the new Alabama Science Course of Study, supplemented by the Alabama College- and Career-Ready standards.

nasa_2016During the months of January through March, NASA’s EPD Specialist, John F. Weis hosted the NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project for nearly 100 science teachers from across Alabama at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Four sessions including about 25 teachers each were facilitated according to grade range including K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Teachers were immersed in a plethora of free NASA resources that included engaging, inquiry-based learning activities and materials for classroom use, and are expected to redeliver that training in their own schools. Of the event, Mr. Weis said, “These teachers have done a phenomenal job taking existing NASA resources and embedding them directly into ALEX lesson plans to support the new Alabama standards for science. We have enjoyed working with them and look forward to continuing to support the turn-around trainings that they will conduct in their regions.” In addition to taking the training back to their schools, teachers were expected to submit lessons with NASA-embedded resources to the ALEX website. Over 40 lessons have been submitted, and more than 30 have been approved for viewing. Click here to view approved NASA/ALEX plans.

In addition, the ALEX Team planned events in partnership with ASTA, involving nearly 50 Alabama science teachers from all grade levels. ASTA’s involvement in the success of the lesson plan summits has been crucial. ALEX leaders asked ASTA to select participants based upon science teachers’ application submissions, and they did not disappoint. The lesson plan quality is outstanding, and should be of great benefit to science teachers at all experience levels. The first summit resulted in nearly 70 lesson plan submissions, all of which go through a rigorous review process before being approved for viewing on the ALEX website. The second summit will occur in June, where it is expected that a similar number of plans will be submitted. Click here to view approved ASTA/ALEX plans.

MurphyDr. Richard Murphy started his career as an educator in grades 7-12, teaching language arts and computer applications for fifteen years. He concurrently did contract work for businesses, universities, and the Alabama Department of Education including tasks such as curriculum development, instructional design, database design, web design, graphics design, video production, and training. Dr. Murphy currently works full time for the Alabama Department of Education and serves as the state administrator for the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) web portal.

Open Invitation: Oregon Educator Network (OEN)

OEN-sticker-med(250px)Another in an occasional series of guest posts, we are pleased to feature the work and voices of state leaders. Dr. Sarah Haavind is the Curator for the Oregon Educator Network where she leads the design and implementation of an online professional learning portal.

Founded by the Oregon State Legislature’s HB3233 in the 2011 –  2013 biennium, the Oregon Department of Education’s Network of Quality Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the launch of the Oregon Educator Network (OEN), a collaborative professional learning space for educators in Oregon and beyond. This powerful tool provides resources, online events and the opportunity to personalize professional learning by allowing educators to start and join collaborative groups based on professional interests and projects.

OEN provides a place for educators to:

  • Collaborate and engage in dialogue about professional practice;
  • Share, discover and rate education resources;
  • Create and participate in groups, blogs and events;
  • Find professional development opportunities.

Most educators are interested in learning how to personalize learning for their students, yet a powerful starting point is to personalize their own learning via OEN. Utilizing the OEN collaborative learning space allows an educator to present professional credentials and lend a credible, knowledgeable voice by sharing ideas, resources, events and blogs that are used with success in the classroom, school or district-wide.

OEN’s personalization capabilities allow you, as a part of the online professional learning community,  to design opportunities to follow educators you already know, or to discover new job-alike and/or interest-alike colleagues by visiting or following educators suggested for you by OEN.  The more detailed you choose to make your professional learning profile, the more accurately OEN’s supporting analytics will foster meaningful connections and facilitate the discovery of educators who are working on the same challenges and/or shared interests.

This tool can be valuable to team leaders at the school, district, regional, or state levels, too. For example, a group can be initiated to solicit innovative thoughts and contributions  relevant to any aspect of professional practice. Once established, the group can remain private (for your team) or public, for any members to join and contribute, share resources or links to documents, anytime, anywhere.

OEN supports and encourages collaboration among P-20 educators both in Oregon and in other states by providing a place for thought-partners to discover and connect with interest and job-alike colleagues.

What will you discover, post or share on the OEN today?

Sarah_09_150Dr. Sarah Haavind is a Senior Program Analyst at the Oregon Department of Education where she leads the design and implementation of an online professional learning portal. She was an Associate Professor of Education at Lesley University Graduate School of Education and began her career as a high school teacher. She taught online in the 1990s for The Concord Consortium where she co-authored Facilitating Online Learning (Atwood, 2000), at Lesley University in the early 2000s, and currently adjuncts at Pepperdine University in a blended Doctorate in Learning Technologies program.

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