New Online Courses Available

Our online courses have become extremely popular for educators interested in learning professional development hours from home. We are expanding our course catalog to include new interactive self-paced, video-based lessons that you can complete on your own schedule. These courses are available now, and they are completely free. Our newest courses include:

Getting Started with Google Hangouts (1 hour)

This course gives participants an overview of the basic features of Google Hangouts. Hangouts is the consumer version of Google Hangouts Meet and Google Hangouts Chat, and has become very popular during remote learning. Having a basic working knowledge of Google Hangouts’ video and chat features will support teachers using these platforms to interact with students through video and text. 

Pages for Mac and iPad (1 hour)

Apple’s very popular and powerful Pages application for word processing is free for any Mac or iPad user. This one-hour video-based course will provide the basic knowledge needed to use Pages in your classroom with students. The course covers the basic functions of pages for Mac and shows how these skills can be transferred to an iPad. The course closes with several ideas to help you integrate Pages into your elementary or secondary classroom. Note: the use of a Mac is highly recommended for this course.

Keynote for Mac (2 hours)

Keynote offers an extremely flexible and powerful presentation platform for Mac users. Keynote can also be used on an iPad or even on a PC. This course will help educators learn the basics of Keynote as well as some helpful tips to make your Keynote presentations more engaging for your students. Note: This course does not address the use of Keynote on an iPad. The use of a Mac is required to complete this course. 

These courses are offered in addition to our existing free courses: 

  • Save Time with an Organized Google Drive (2 hours) 
  • Understanding the Power of Google Docs(2 hours) 
  • Maximize the Power of Google Classroom (2 hours) 
  • Google Forms Essentials: Creating Digital Assessments (2 hours) 
  • Google Slides: More Than Presenting Content (2 hours) 

Visit our Online Learning Courses page to register.

Podcast: Remote Learning with Adam & Alex Valencic

Adam Valencic and Alex Valencic offer some insights into their experiences in remote learning and online learning. Adam Valencic is an instructional designer at Lindenwood University in Missouri. Alex Valencic is the Coordinator for 21st Century Teaching and Learning for the Freeport (IL) School District #145. Together, these brothers discuss their ideas to support learners and educators as they navigate remote learning online. 

In this episode: 

Contact Information
Alex Valencic – Twitter
Adam Valencic – GMail

Podcast: Jodi Scott Discusses Remote Learning

Regional Superintendent Jodi Scott was part of the team that created the Illinois Remote Learning Recommendations. In this special episode, Jodi returns to our show to discuss the differences between Illinois’ current Remote Learning Recommendations and the earlier legislation. Listen as Jodi provides critical clarifications and insights. /p>

Connect with Jodi Scott:
Twitter: @ROE33_HKMW

Podcast: Luxblox with Mike Acerra

Heather and Mike Acerra are the educational entrepreneurs behind Luxblox, allowing students to explore science, engineering, and design in almost any setting. Luxblox are non-digital high-tech learning tools that enable teachers to approach a multitude of subjects with a hands-on and creative approach. Lux Blox are used in schools, STEAM labs and maker spaces around the globe. Lux Blox are especially popular in Finland and HungaryLux Blox are the featured exhibit at museums around the nation and are part of the permanent exhibit on structures and math at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City.

In this episode, Mike tells us about how Luxblox can be used in classrooms to support science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics in almost any learning activity.

Learn about Luxblox by visiting:
Luxblox Website
Luxblox on Instagram

Podcast: Innovation & Self-Care with Jen Leban

Jen Leban is an educator and Google Innovator from Sandburg Middle School, Elmhurst, Illinois. Jen was also a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year in 2019.

In this episode, Jen talks with us about her Google Innovator Project and the importance of self-care and checking in on our friends during these unprecedented times.

Follow Jen and Her Work:
Twitter Handle: @MrsLeban or @ResetEDU
Instagram: @theMrsLeban or @ResetEDUorg – please subscribe and share!

Learning Online with Ben Sondgeroth

Ben Sondgeroth, a Regional Educational Technology Coordinator for the LTC, joins the Learning through Leading hosts at a critical time in Illinois’ history to speak about leveraging video in online learning. He shares tips for teachers and administrators on how to find your tool, find your content, have fun, be visible. Ben also discusses the importance of educator self-care during these times of change.

Some of the tools Ben mentions:

You may also want to check out the webinar that Ben recently conducted for Nick’s teachers on these and other topics to help them prepare for e-learning. View the webinar on demand.

Podcast: Janelle McLaughlin on Student-Driven Learning and Coaching

Janelle McLaughlin discusses the importance of student-driven learning on this week’s episode. Janelle is a consultant and instructional coach who works with schools supporting student choice and voice. Janelle also shares her views on professional learning, technology integration, and the role of the coach in schools.

Mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Jenelle:
Twitter Handle: Ms_Mac4
Other: Janelle McLaughlin – LinkedIn

E-Learning in Illinois

Public Act 101-0012 opened the door for E-Learning in Illinois, allowing instruction to be delivered electronically when students cannot be physically in attendance at school. Illinois School Code requires that certain elements must be in place, however, to ensure the quality of e-learning plans and activities. E-Learning Plans must include ways to: 

  • Ensure and verify at least 5 clock hours of  instruction or school work for each student participating in an e-learning day; 
  • Ensure access from home or another appropriate remote facility for all students participating, including computers, the Internet, and other forms of electronic communication that must be utilized in the proposed program;
  • Ensure appropriate learning opportunities for students with special needs;
  • monitor and verify each student’s electronic participation;
  • Address the extent to which student participation is within the student’s control as to the time, pace, and means of learning; 
  • Provide effective notice to students and their parents or guardians of the use of particular days for e-learning;
  • Provide staff and students with adequate training for e-learning days’ participation; 
  • Ensure an opportunity for any collective bargaining negotiations with representatives of the school district’s employees that would be legally required; and 
  • Review and revise the program as implemented to address difficulties confronted.

Additionally, a local school board must hold a public hearing before approving the E-Learning Plan, and the items noted above must then be verified by Regional Offices of Education before an E-Learning Day is implemented. Schools may only use as many E-Learning Days as they have built into their approved calendar for “emergency days.” 

Illinois is one of a dozen states having specific policies in place to support quality E-Learning activities. The Indiana Department of Education’s Office of E-Learning provides a number of useful resources, especially their E-Learning Day Program page.    

Following the lessons learned from Illinois’ three pilot school districts, Leyden #212, West Chicago #94, and Gurnee #56, several Illinois schools have successfully implemented E-Learning Day plans and activities. Oak Lawn #229, Evanston #202, Minooka #201, and Gower #62 are among many districts that are implementing E-Learning activities in various ways.

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois is happy to provide guidance and training through Regional Offices of Education on E-Learning Day Plans and Designing E-Learning Day Activities for classrooms. Please contact Matt Jacobson, Online Learning Specialist, at (309) 575-3240 or for more information.  

Podcast: Rae Hughart Revisited

In this look back at Episode 5 of the Learning Through Leading Podcast, Rae talks with us about her journey from brand new teacher to classroom innovator, as well as some of the new projects she was working on back then. If you follow Rae on social media, you also know that she has another new project in the works, too. Rae has written a book, called Teachers Deserve It!, with Adam Welcome. While we eagerly await the release of that book’s release, we hope you enjoy this look back with our first interview with Rae Hughart!

Connect with Rae:
Twitter: @RaeHughart
Instagram: @RaeHughart
Hashtag(s): #TeachBetter

Podcast: Brett Elliott on PHEARCE PLCs

The Learning through Leading hosts speaks with Brett Elliott, the Principal of Richwoods High School in Peoria, Illinois. Brett M. Elliott has spent 25 years in the urban public education system as a teacher, coach and administrator. His passion and energy set him apart from the pack with a resume of excellence. He has taken over a failing urban high school and transformed the entire culture for learning through positive student and staff relationships, high energy and growth mindset for learning. Whether transforming and failing urban high school into “The Pride of the City” or redefining the school culture of an International Bachelorette High school into “The Standard of Excellence”, his knowledge of teaching, learning and culture provide a wealth of knowledge to any organization. His enthusiasm for change and creating the “ultimate learning environment” make him a valuable asset to any organization seeking to their school and district to the next level.

Brett shares his PHEARCE philosophy with us that focuses on these core concepts:

  • Process
  • Humility
  • Energy
  • Adversity
  • Relationships
  • Culture
  • Excellence

Brett also discusses his work with Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and how he leverages technology tools for teaching, learning, and professional learning #GlobalPLC

Connect with Brett:
Twitter Handle: @brettmelliott1