Free Turnkey Resources for E-Learning and Advisory

Leverage your homeroom advisory time or e-learning days to equip students with the critical life skills they need to thrive beyond the classroom. EVERFI’s digital resources focus on these essential skills, including financial literacy, college and career readiness, social skills, mental wellness, bullying, substance abuse prevention, and more. They are pre-prepped, standards-aligned, and student-directed, with assessments built-in – making them perfect for e-learning days, advisory, or any time! The online lessons are aligned to state standards. Best of all? They’re available at absolutely NO COST to schools, thanks to local sponsors.

Technology Networking Meeting

Area technology coordinators and directors will discuss shared experiences, questions, and ideas. These are informal discussions around technology with colleagues from around the state on topics that matter to you.

Get Creative with Google Sites

A workshop on how to create a Google Site for teachers to use with their classrooms. Educators will learn how to create a site with bitmojis and will include tips and tricks to help make Google Site interactive and fun for students and parents.

Technology Networking Meeting

Area technology coordinators and directors will discuss shared experiences, questions, and ideas. These are informal discussions with your colleagues from around the state on topics that matter to you.

ROE 8 Technology Roundtable

Join us for an open discussion on current educational technology topics and trends. This networking meeting is open to all educational technology positions including technology directors, instructional technology coaches, and any other positions interested in discussing the current state of technology in our schools. While a short presentation may lead off our time together, the majority of the meeting will be open for participants to share their experiences and challenges with the group.

10 tips for getting the most out of a virtual PD event

Note: This article was originally published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) on October 20, 2020. It has been republished here with their permission, and the permission of the author.

I miss attending conferences in person. Face-to-face learning, the opportunity to travel and get a change of scenery, meeting old friends and new, the energy and excitement that you see in everyone sharing the same space all make attending conferences an invigorating experience. But times are different, and virtual conferences are the only safe option right now. 

I think it’s safe to assume that virtual conferences won’t go away after the pandemic ends. With this new style of professional development, there is sure to be a learning curve. Here are my top 10 tips to help you make the most of your next virtual conference.

1. Clear your calendar.

Act as if you were out of town attending an in-person conference. Close your email, turn off notifications and move your phone out of reach. If possible, put a vacation responder notification on email and an out-of-office message on your shared calendar. Most folks don’t think to do this for a virtual event but do it instinctively when they are attending in-person. Remember, your email will be there when you return!

2. Attend live sessions if you can.

We all (me included) bookmark and save content telling ourselves we’ll revisit it later, and we almost never do, in part because the next day there’s even more shiny new websites, resources and emails to distract us! If you don’t attend live you might never view the presentation recordings and miss the opportunity to ask questions or potentially gain a new idea to use with your students.

3. Be mindful of your background.

If your video is on — even briefly — make sure your background is free of distracting (or embarrassing) scenes. Turn your video on before you go live to make sure that what’s behind you is appropriate and professional. Is your camera facing the kitchen where someone might get a snack? A bedroom door where someone might be changing? Along those same lines, don’t walk around with your device, either!

4. Connect with others via chat.

If you were face-to-face, you would say hello to those sitting around you and might strike up casual conversations. You can do the same in the chat during a session: Ask a question, share a resource, give the presenter a shout-out when you agree with something. Remember, a large part of what we learn comes from casual conversations with those in our PLNs.

5. Unless you are paying close attention, turn off your video.

As a presenter, it’s distracting to see people eat, interact with spouses or get up to do something else. Just as you would mind your manners if someone were speaking right in front of you, try to extend the same courtesy virtually.

6. Follow the conference hashtag and tweet, retweet, engage!

This is not only a great way to gather additional resources but also to enhance your professional learning network. There is an amazing energy that comes from interacting with other participants this way. Positive energy will help you stay engaged and interested in the event, even if you are attending from your kitchen table.

7. Take notes and save links during sessions.

As much as I love technology, I also sometimes write out notes on a good old-fashioned piece of paper. Often I’ll hear an idea during a presentation and it’ll lead me to my own ideas. If I don’t write them down, I’ll forget the thought as quickly as it came into my head. Do you have colleagues attending the same virtual event? I know several people who will also swap notes with each other after the event. Doing this helps me stay even more engaged in the moment knowing that others may ask about the notes I took.

8. Have a fidget toy handy!

I have a tendency to multitask (not successfully) when watching an online presentation, but I find if I have a fidget toy in my hands I can focus just a bit longer and not use my hands to type or navigate away to my second screen.

9. Offer feedback.

Presenters work hard to prepare and still get nervous to present. If they ask for audience participation and you are able to participate, do so. After all, if you were face to face in a session and the presenter asked everyone to stand would you be the only one to sit?

10. Give presenters grace.

These are bizarre times for all of us, and many people are learning to adapt to situations as they go. Not all folks are comfortable presenting online. If a presenter tries something new and it doesn’t work, it’s OK. Cut them some slack. Remember, we are all in this together for the same reasons — to increase our capacity, improve our practice and learn new ways to enhance the success of our students.

Use Google Forms to Create and Adventure Story

Google Forms is now a full-featured forms tool that comes free with your Google account. In this workshop, participants will learn how to add standard question types, drag-and-drop questions in the desired order, customize the form with simple photo or color themes, and gather responses in Forms or save them to a Google Sheets spreadsheet. Forms allow teachers to do everything from gathering student or parent information simply and conveniently to converting current paper tests into online assessments which can be modified to meet the diverse needs of all learners. Learn how to integrate Google Forms into your Google Classroom. Learn how to use Google Forms to create a ‘Choose your own adventure story” or ‘Pick a path.’ This session will primarily explore the ‘Go to Section based on Answer’ feature in Google Forms. Participants will be guided through how to create a story and will be encouraged to learn how to create their own stories. The ‘Go to Section based on Answer’ feature can be used to create pre/ post assessments, support remote instruction and learning, and encourage creativity.

Technology Networking Meeting

Area technology coordinators and directors will discuss shared experiences, questions, and ideas. These are informal discussions around technology with colleagues from around the state on topics that matter to you.

ROE 11 Tech Networking

Area technology coordinators and directors will discuss shared experiences, questions, and ideas. Their contributions and concerns will drive the conversation.