Professional development offerings for the new school year

The 13 new courses include 21st Century Skills, to be co-taught by Ken Kay, a business leader who is former president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills; Assessment and the Common Core State Standards; Differentiation and the Brain; Elementary Reading Intervention Strategies; Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading; Motivating and Engaging Students; and Using Web 2.0 in Teaching & Instruction.

Six additional courses will be completed by the end of 2011, with 12 more scheduled to launch in spring 2012, KDS says.

Another provider of online staff development is Sublime Learning, which provides what it calls eTeachables: a series of three- to five-minute narrated video tutorials that model effective teaching and learning strategies. Each eTeachable module includes customizable templates for putting these strategies to use with hundreds of K-8 lessons. The idea is to offer timely, simple professional development tools that focus on integrating technology into instruction and reaching all learning styles, the company says—including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Sublime Learning recently announced its newest eTeachables library, called Inquiry-Based Learning for Interactive Whiteboards. The state of Virginia will be the first to implement this new product in a statewide pilot for the 2011-12 school year.

“We believe that teachers want to use technology to support higher‐level thinking and problem‐ and project‐based learning in their classrooms. Our Inquiry­Based Learning for Interactive Whiteboards eTeachables library allows districts to better use the interactive whiteboard technology they already own before making additional purchases,” said Kendra Grant, co‐founder of Sublime Learning, in a press release.

The Alabama-based data management company STI has launched a new face-to-face professional development offering. Called i21 Zone, the service is highly customized and focuses on the effective use of technology in instruction.

STI consultants will spend a few days within a school or district, observing classes and assessing needs based on the school’s or district’s current ed-tech inventory and usage. Then, they work with instructors to pass along strategies for improvement. This cycle of assess, teach, and observe typically takes about five to seven days in all, STI says, and is priced per day. The first i21 Zone customer is Alabama’s Tuscaloosa County.

eSchool News Staff

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