Webinar on Models of Online Professional Development Webinar on Models of Online Professional Development
posted 12/2/13

Looking to learn more about different models of online professional development? Terri Pérez and Joh Ezzell from the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Public School Initiatives recently shared their experience with providing online professional development to educators in Texas in both self-paced and facilitated models.

Visit the ETLO Webinar Series page to view the webinar recording and slideshow.

ETLO Newsletter ETLO Newsletter
posted 11/18/13

Read about what's new with ETLO in our November 2013 Newsletter. To join the ETLO mailing list, please visit:

Visit the links below to view past ETLO newsletters. 

ETLO Newsletter: July 2013 | ETLO Newsletter: March 2013 | ETLO Newsletter: January 2013

Blended Learning Webinar on Blended Learning
posted 11/18/13

Are you challenged with scaling a blended learning program in a large high school or across your district? Educators from Crown Point High School in Indiana recently shared their experience with implementing blended learning. During the webinar, school leaders discuss all aspects of their growing blended learning program including strategic planning, content acquisition, teacher professional development, technology, and evaluation. 

Visit the ETLO Webinar Series page for webinar recording and slideshow.

ETLO 's Work with TEC Featured at Administrator Conference
posted 11/6/13

ETLO's Kirsten Peterson will be presenting Virtual Teaching and Learning: The Future is Here! as part of a panel at the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) and Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) joint conference in Hyannis, MA on Friday, November 8th at 9:00 AM

The panel discussion will focus on the lessons learned from the development of a virtual program offered by The Education Cooperative (TEC) from concept to implementation including building school board support, designing and executing a professional development plan to support online teachers, implementation strategies and what the future holds for additional online and blended learning opportunities.

Conference information available at:

Learn more about ETLO's consulting work with TEC and other organizations by visiting:

What Does it Mean to be a Connected Educator?
posted 10/28/13

Nevin Katz, online learning specialist for EdTech Leaders Online, shares his thoughts in celebration of Connected Educator Month in the following post that was featured on EDC's Learning and Teaching Blog.

Supporting "Connected Educators"

What does it mean to be a connected educator? In this day and age, it brings to mind using social networking platforms like Twitter to share resources with colleagues, or perhaps bringing Skype into the classroom to get students to talk to an expert zoologist. It might involve learning from colleagues across the globe via webinar how to use iPads for fieldwork. Or, it might involve a class contributing to an online data collection project with schools from other parts of the country. For many teachers, picking up these techniques is not a trivial task. There is much to learn about education in the digital era and, for a teacher, sometimes the best way to acquire new techniques and stay connected to other colleagues is through facilitated online courses.

Over the past five years, for EDC’s EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) program, I’ve designed and facilitated online courses for educators from a range of backgrounds. In this role, I have had the opportunity to help teachers, administrators, and support specialists enhance their science and math teaching practices, bring blended learning into the classroom, and design their own online courses. I have seen many benefits to bringing educators together online—particularly in the blended learning cohorts I have recently facilitated, in which high school and middle school teachers learn how to integrate technology and online learning into their classrooms.

Online discussion forums are a central part of the courses I facilitate. These forums usually focus on a weekly discussion prompt—a generative, open-ended discussion question that invites responses from educators who teach a range of subjects at different grade levels. In response to the prompt, a participant responds ("starts a thread"), others contribute their own posts, and the group ultimately builds a conversation to which everyone can contribute. I find that these conversations can become very vibrant and often allow teachers to dig more deeply into a topic than they could in a face-to-face professional development setting, where the constraints of time and space limit how deeply a group can discuss a particular topic.

Checking into the forums on a given afternoon, I find teachers continually sharing ideas—how to make their lessons accessible to students with special needs, how to assess student work in the online environment, how to bring mobile devices into their classrooms. While facilitating online courses on Weather and the Earth-Moon-Sun system with teachers from New Bedford, Mass., I was amazed at how many resources and ideas they shared with each other on topics such as teaching shadows, modeling eclipses, and relating the tilt of the earth to the seasons. Unlike a daylong workshop, I was also able to learn about some of the participants' outcomes—such as a successful wiki that a teacher developed or students wanting to stay in from recess to try out an interactive their teacher introduced them to during the course.

The fact that educators are able to connect with each other online at their convenience without having to be in a physical location is huge. Teaching is an all-consuming endeavor, and with all of the day-to-day demands of teaching, planning, grading, and organizing, the prospect of venturing out on a regular basis to a physical professional development setting can be daunting. But being able to log on at your convenience—in the evenings, on the weekends, before class—helps educators find the time to develop professionally while meeting the demands of their hectic schedules. I have also found that teachers will log on if they know they can access resources that will be useful to them now. While there is great value in including current research written by experts in the field, it is important to complement it with online tools and pedagogical techniques that teachers can readily pick up and apply to their curriculum—such as wikis, online interactives, and teacher-creation tools such as Geogebra.

To make the on-ramp to classroom use as smooth as possible, it is key to show teachers how to use new techniques and tools and to have them apply what they learn. I have found clear screencasts to be invaluable in showing teachers how to use techniques and tools (here's a screencast I did on Geogebra). We embed a good amount of screencasts in our ETLO courses—always testing to make sure instructions are clear before we launch a course—but I often find myself making ad hoc screencasts to help a teacher use a particular feature in a tool like Google Earth. To enable teachers to practice and apply their learning, we give them a chance to use new tools/techniques in a final project of their own design.

While massive open online courses (MOOCs) are growing in number and help meet the increasing demand for anytime-anywhere education, I have seen tremendous value in a learning community whose numbers are small enough so that people can get to know everyone, learn about what others bring, and share resources and ideas through continual dialogue. As an online course facilitator, I am excited to be a part of these learning communities—clarifying concepts for individual educators, helping educators connect with each other, and supporting all in mastering new tools and techniques. For the motivated connected educator, this learning model can be nothing short of transformative.


Cover of Case Study Newly Released Case Study by Christensen Institute Features ETLO
posted 10/28/13

A newly released case study from the Clayton Christensen Institute on scalable online professional development focuses on ETLO's capacity-building model. The case study found that, "online professional development delivered in what is essentially a train-the-trainer model can have a significant impact on teachers’ knowledge, skills, and practices."

The full case study can be downloaded here.

As shown in the case study, ETLO's programs support the professional learning needs of educators through effective and scalable professional development programs. ETLO is currently enrolling participants in our capacity-building Online Facilitator, Blended Instructor, Online Course Design and/or Common Core online professional development courses. Please contact us if you are interested in enrolling in these courses, licensing our Common Core courses for local facilitation, or want more information about our custom development and/or consulting services.

Download the Christensen Institute Case Study
Enroll Today: Common Core Online Courses
posted 9/27/13

Enroll today or license for your organization the new series of Common Core online professional development courses developed by EdTech Leaders Online. These fully online courses are designed to help educators succeed during times of change and transition your school may be going through with the Common Core.

Each online course includes six sessions with an additional orientation session. Individual or group registration is available and we also offer licensing of these courses for your organization.

Learn more about these courses through these webinars:

To view more details about each course including start dates, course outlines and graduate credit information, please visit our Common Core website or contact us for additional information.

We look forward to learning with you!

Join ETLO for Upcoming Webinars
posted 9/25/13

ETLO is pleased to announce our Fall Webinar Series. Our next webinar in the series is on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 4 PM Eastern Time and focuses on From Concept to Scale: Growing Blended Learning in a Large High School with Jim Hardman, Crown Point (IN) Schools, Chris Rapp, Evergreen Education Group, and Kirsten Peterson, ETLO. To join the webinar, please visit ETLO's Collaborate Webinar Room:

Pre-regsitration is not required for any of our webinars. All webinars will be recorded and posted on the ETLO Webinar Page. Hope you can join us!

ETLO Newsletter Archive
posted 9/16/13

ETLO's quarterly newsletter is filled with information and resources for educators interested in online and blended learning. To join the ETLO mailing list, please visit: Visit the links below to view past ETLO newsletters. 

ETLO Newsletter: July 2013 | ETLO Newsletter: March 2013 | ETLO Newsletter: January 2013
Common Core Banner ETLO's New Common Core Courses Help Teachers Adapt Practices
posted 9/16/13

Though the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) began rolling out a few years ago, many teachers are still asking, “How do they change what I teach in my classroom?”

Now, a new series of online professional development courses is available to help teachers understand the standards, build on what they already know and practice, and plan for classroom changes. EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) at EDC developed the e-learning courses in response to state education leaders’ requests for more in-depth professional development materials for teachers.

“We’re providing teachers with the time and space to dig deeply into the Common Core,” says ETLO Director Barbara Treacy. “Teachers can study the standards, explore resources, try things out in their classrooms, get feedback from the facilitator, and engage in discussion with other educators.”

The courses are helping teachers answer some of the tough questions they have about the CCSS. “Teachers want to know how to teach to these higher standards, which demand critical thinking and technology and media skills. How do they change how they assess students’ reading and writing assignments?” explains Treacy. “These courses aren’t a one-shot deal. They are deeper learning opportunities that unfold over 30 or more hours, over six or seven weeks.”

Getting up to speed

The first two courses were launched this spring: Exploring the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice and Implementing the English Language Arts (ELA) – Literacy Standards with a Focus on Reading. They are made up of individual sessions that divide the CCSS into manageable chunks, covering such topics as identifying which standards to teach, thinking differently about assessments, selecting various kinds of texts, and incorporating the standards into the classroom.

The courses address the changing role of technology in teaching and learning and how to find the best tools and resources. They also invite teachers to embed technology and media in the their teaching practices.

Enabling teachers to engage in online professional development around the CCSS saves time and money, as teachers don’t need to travel to onsite workshops. Participants work through a series of weekly course sessions with an experienced online facilitator and engage in online discussions. Courses may be offered in a blended model, beginning with a face-to-face kick off and concluding with a face-to-face meeting. Learning about the standards together online, over time, helps educators make a smoother transition to the Common Core classroom.

“We want to give teachers time to delve into understanding what’s different together, as well as how it affects their classroom practice and how they will assess student performance,” Treacy says.

Sharing a common goal

Toby Maguire directs the ACCCESS adult education program at Cape Cod Community College in Hyannis, Massachusetts, which offers General Education Development (GED) preparation courses. Change is in the air for him and his colleagues: Not only must they adapt their current curricula to meet CCSS requirements, but Massachusetts plans to replace its existing GED test with a new high school equivalency credential grounded in the CCSS.

To prepare for these upcoming changes, Maguire and a group of ACCCESS teachers took the new ETLO ELA course this past spring.

“My colleagues and I were trying to figure out how we could do professional development around the Common Core,” says Maguire. “We’re now more aware of how we will bring close reading, including reading more nonfiction, into the classroom, and how we will incorporate not just more writing—but writing that will prepare students for careers and postsecondary education.”

The ETLO online community enables teachers to share ideas, try out new things, report on what they’ve learned, and offer feedback. For Maguire and his colleagues, taking the ETLO courses with another group of adult education instructors from the Boston area offered the additional benefit of collaborating with educators who also teach learners for whom English is not a first language.

“We gained a much better sense of the ELA requirements under the Common Core working together,” he says.

For participating teachers, transitioning together eases the process of incorporating the CCSS into their daily teaching routines.

“It’s not enough to ask teachers to read the standards on their own and then teach to them,” says Treacy. “That is not sufficient to change practice. Our e-learning courses help them understand what’s different overall, and how it affects their day-to-day practice.”


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