Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual initiative that aims to inspire K-12 students to take interest in computer science. During this annual program, schools around the world host their own Hour of Code™. Organized by Code.org, Hour of Code™ is a one-hour basic introduction designed to celebrate and expand participation in computer science. This year, CSEdWeek took place from December 5th to 11th, and two of edWeb.net’s professional learning communities (PLC) presented webinars that highlighted the importance of coding and computer science in education.
Librarians are at the forefront of helping schools become “future ready.” The Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) launched its Future Ready Schools (FRS) initiative in October 2014 with the aim of leveraging technology and connectivity to personalize and transform learning. In June 2016, the Alliance, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, expanded FRS to position school librarians as leaders in this effort.
In 2016 edWeb.net hosted over 250 webinars that have been viewed by 170,000 educators. Topics spanned from early childhood education to building a positive school and classroom culture. From integrating technology into school libraries, to special education, to coding and robotics, there was something for everyone this year. We would like to thank our partners and sponsors who help us bring such valuable professional learning to educators, our presenters for sharing their wonderful ideas and practices, and the educators that joined us all year long!
Todd Nesloney, Principal of Webb Elementary in Navasota, TX, dreams of an environment where children are excited to come to school everyday, rather than excited to leave. In a school with a population that is 85% minority and almost 90% free-and-reduced lunch, how does the staff at Webb Elementary approach their students and what are some of the innovative programs behind the school’s success? In this edWeb.net webinar, Todd gave examples of how he works with his students and staff based on his own experiences.
As the first on her father’s side to finish high school, and after ten years becoming the first on her mother’s side to graduate college, a sense of initiative served as the foundation to Secretary McCulloch’s career. After graduating, she began teaching and at the same time became involved in campaign work. “Have you ever wanted something but thought if you said it out loud it would sound foolish?” said Secretary McCulloch, describing her initial thoughts about becoming an elected official. She now admits she was embarrassed to ever have thought that. “As women, we constantly underestimate our abilities. We are our own worst critic when we should be our number one cheerleader,” she said.
To provide the best possible teaching and learning environment, school leaders need to provide their teachers with professional learning opportunities that are personalized and engaging. This is not an easy task when there are so many areas to cover, very little time, and limited funds. edWeb.net is free and can help school leaders provide teachers with personalized PD that meets teachers’ needs and interests, and promotes collaborative learning with peers. Shannon Holden, Assistant Principal at Republic Middle School, MO, provides a guide for school leaders to demonstrate how edWeb.net can be used in any school or district.
Dr. Douglas Fisher, Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, presented in the webinar, “Rigorous Reading: Building Strength and Stamina,” sponsored by Achieve3000. The webinar explored building strength and stamina in students to improve reading at increased difficulty and complexity. Dr. Fisher began by defining the difference between difficulty and complexity, explaining that difficulty is the amount of effort a student must put into a given task, whereas complexity is the kind of thinking students must do for that task. It is fundamental that teachers maintain the balance between difficulty and complexity to foster an effective literacy program. They can do this by assigning their students many tasks that provide varied levels of each.
Learning Ally sponsors the free Professional Learning Community (PLC) on edWeb, Empowering Struggling Readers. This PLC provides webinars and resources that help support students with dyslexia and specific learning disabilities. Here, educators, administrators, special educators, curriculum leaders, and librarians can collaborate on how to make thriving students out of struggling readers. Empowering Struggling Readers also provides insight on assistive technology, accommodations, and overall solutions to foster academic success and a love of reading in students.
Since he began teaching in 1997, Holbrook has been interested in the use of technology to facilitate learning in the classroom. Unimpressed with the online platforms provided by the university, Holbrook found out about edWeb through a colleague and was immediately pleased with the wealth of opportunity for collaboration and discussion. edWeb makes collaboration outside the classroom simple for Holbrook’s busy doctoral students, many of whom also balance families and full time jobs.
Rachel Langenhorst, K-12 Technology Integrationist and Instructional Coach in Rock Valley, Iowa, presented an edWeb.net webinar on “Implementing a Personalized PD Program in Your District” where she provided a guide for how educators can use edWeb in school districts as a tool to implement relevant and collaborative PD.