Learning Tours: Seeing Change In Action

“This sounds great, but what does it look like in action?” This question is often asked at professional learning events by administrators, teachers, or coaches. For many in education, seeing is believing and school visits can be one of the best forms of professional learning for all educators. 

Site visits allow educators, especially those responsible for leading change, with the opportunity to learn from others who have navigated the challenge already. School site visits provide three major benefits to all educators.

  1. Learn from Experience
    The best way to find out how to embark on a new path is to hear from someone who has already walked it. Site visits provide educators the opportunity to hear the lessons learned from those who have led the change. Instead of attending a workshop or a conference and hearing theoretical ideas, visitors learn directly from those who experienced the challenges and successes and how they approached the change from the start.
  2. Learn What Will Work, What Might Not, and What to Consider
    It’s an obvious statement that no two districts are the same, which can also be said about leading change in different districts. Site visits provide educators the ability to see multiple approaches to similar ideas. For this reason, it is important to visit a variety of schools that have embarked upon a similar change. Doing so will provide educators numerous ideas on how to lead the change in their district. Some ideas may be replicable, others may not. Some site visits may provide ideas for possibilities not yet considered.
  3. Connect and Collaborate
    Learning from peers does not, nor should stop after the site visit. As educators begin the change process, they have the opportunity to stay in touch and ask questions from peers along the way. These connections can also lead to future collaboration opportunities and relationships in the future as well.

LTC Learning Tours

The Learning Technology Center’s Learning Tours are an opportunity for educators and district leaders to visit other districts in order to experience innovative, best practices in learning space design, digital learning tools, 1:1 implementation, personalized learning, and more. The districts hosting Learning Tours drive the agenda, showcasing everything from instructional practices, resource adoption, infrastructure, community partnerships, use of space and time, physical security, and culture.

Be a Part of the First Learning Tour

On October 18, 2019, the Learning Technology Center and Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 and present the first Learning Tour, focusing on Redesigning Learning Spaces. Attendees will learn from district and school administrators on the learning space design process. A panel discussion will provide participants the opportunity to hear from teachers and students about the spaces, as well as ask questions. The tour will include Project Lead the Way rooms, Learning Stairs and Library, and student collaboration spaces throughout the high school. An optional tour of the Center for Innovation at the District Office will be available at the conclusion of the high school tour.

Yorkville Learning Tour Information
October 18, 2019
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Focus: Redesigning Learning Spaces
Cost: FREE

For more information about the Yorkville Learning Tour or to register for the event, please visit ltcillinois.org/learningtours.

Host a Learning Tour

We are looking to partner with schools across the state and showcase instructional practices, resource adoption, infrastructure, community partnerships, use of space and time, physical security, and culture.. To find out how your school can host a Learning Tour, visit ltcillinois.org/learningtours for more information or to complete the online application.

Learn Online On Your Own Time

You’re at school all day long, and at the end of the day you just want to go home and relax. However, you know you have to earn all those PD Credits (the credits formerly known as CPDUs) and you can’t find an affordable conference nearby that interests you or fits into your busy schedule.

THE LTC CAN HELP YOU!

The Learning Technology Center (LTC) is happy to announce its Fall 2019 Online Course Catalog! You’ll find lots of great ideas that you can pursue on your own time to help meet all your professional learning needs. They’re more affordable than most college courses, and the best part is: You can finish them all from the comfort of your own home! Courses include: 

  • Save Time with an Organized Google Drive (2 PD Credits) 
  • Maximize the Power of Google Classroom (2 PD Credits) 
  • Understanding the Power of Google Docs (2 PD Credits) 
  • Google Forms Essentials: Creating Digital Assessments (2 PD Credits) 

Looking for more of a challenge? Try… 

  • Transforming Education with Digital Tools (14 PD Credits!) 

Maybe something in-between (and just in time!) How about…

  • Book Study: Classroom Management in the Digital Age (5 PD Credits) 

Need an Administrator Academy this year? 

  • Growing a Culture for Effective Technology Coaching: The Principal-Coach Partnership (AA Course # 1841)

Get all the details and register at ltcillinois.org/online. We’re looking forward to learning with you!

The LTC EdTech Webinar Series Returns for the 2019-2020 School Year

The Learning Technology Center’s EdTech Webinar Series is back for another exciting year of anytime, anywhere learning. Hear from state and national experts on innovative classroom practices, educational apps/tools, networking and infrastructure, data security, accessibility, and more. The 45-minute sessions are free and open to all educators to attend. Each session will be made available on-demand, too. 

Last year, the EdTech Webinar Series had over 500 viewers from all across the State of Illinois. Based on the feedback from last year’s series, we have a few changes this year: 

  • Webinars have been labeled based on target audiences.
  • Sessions for Classroom Teachers, Instructional Tech Coaches, Library/Media Specialists, and Administrators will be held Tuesdays at 3:30 pm.
  • Sessions for Technology Leaders, IT Staff, and Administrators will be held on Thursdays at 1:00 pm.
  • Webinars have been increased from thirty minutes to forty-five.

Currently, sixteen sessions have been scheduled on a variety of topics such as:

  • Digital Wellness, Online Safety, and Digital Citizenship
  • E-Sports
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • E-Rate
  • Design Thinking
  • STEAM Resources

Find more information about all of the sessions and register today by visiting ltcillinois.org/webinars. We are currently scheduling sessions for the Spring semester. If you would like to present on a topic, please contact Brian Bates (bbates@ltcillinois.org).

Teachers Talking Tech Recap

On January 25th, thirty teachers from around Northern Illinois gathered at Highland Community College in Freeport, IL to attend the first Teachers Talking Tech Mini-Conference. Attendees braved the -30 wind chill temperatures in order to learn successful technology integration practices. The LTC partnered with Carroll, JoDaviess, and Stephenson Regional Office of Education 8 to host the event.

To kick off the mini-conference, Ben Sondgeroth (RETC, Learning Technology Center North), presented a session on Moving Past the Digital Worksheet, Evaluating Technology’s Impact on the Lesson. Ben discussed tools and strategies for teachers to think through how and why they are utilizing technology in the classroom. He presented on three of the most commonly used evaluation models: SAMR, TPACK, and The 4 Shifts Protocol. Each of these models offer teachers an opportunity to reflect on their lesson’s technology integration and evaluate how they might enhance their student’s learning. Ben then encouraged teachers to think about the new tools and strategies using the Monday to Someday mindset. This mindset asks teachers to categorize new ideas and tools in two ways: am I able to take this back and implement it with my students on Monday, or is this an idea or strategy I would like to learn more about and apply someday?

Nicole Zumpano (RETC, Learning Technology Center Chicagoland) followed, sharing Google workflow tips and tricks. Presenting from a hyperdoc, Nicole provided the attendees with 19 of her most useful Google strategies. Some highlights include:

  • Using multiple Chrome profiles to separate Google accounts
  • Leveraging the power of search in Google Drive
  • Leveraging public calendar view to share events with parents
  • Adding emojis to your Google Drive file names
  • Using the G Suite Training Extension

Nicole’s helpful strategies gave many in the audience new ideas on how to better streamline their digital workflow.

Elizabeth Byam (4th Grade Teacher, Riverbend Schools) then presented several tools and strategies she is using with her students. Elizabeth immediately got the attention of the audience by doing a demonstration of Quizlet Live. Acting as the “teacher,” Elizabeth randomly placed the attendees in groups and pushed a quiz on state capitals out to them all. The room was buzzing as teams raced to finish the quiz first. Elizabeth then moved on to discuss how she is leveraging Loom for screencasting in the classroom, Estimation 180, and Green Screen by DoInk. Her creative and interactive approach had all the teachers engaged and excited to bring new tools to their classrooms!

After lunch, Jody Pauly and Scott Woodly (Pear City School District) partnered to showcase strategies they are using in their school district. Scott, an IT Director, shared his favorite Google Hacks, before turning the podium over to Jody to discuss Flipgrid. Jody demonstrated how she leveraged Flipgrid to engage her 3rd graders in online discussion. She then created a demo grid and asked participants to respond and think about how they might leverage the tool with their students. To wrap the session Scott challenged teachers to not be afraid of failing with technology. He emphasized that technology integration isn’t easy but sticking to the old methods does not help prepare our students for the future. His motivational message was a perfect ending to an amazing day of learning.

To end the day, all attendees entered a raffle for iPad cases that were generously donated by Rug-Ed Cases. Three lucky teachers left with brand new iPad cases. We appreciate Rug-Ed’s contribution to the event!

It was inspiring to see so many teachers attend a professional learning event, even when many of their schools canceled for the day. The desire to learn and grow was evident in the room, and the LTC looks forward to hosting more events like this in the future!

Filed Under

Data and Security Summit

Doug Levin, the CEO and Founder of EdTech Strategies, kicked off the event by sharing his work tracking publicly school cybersecurity incidents as part of the K-12 Cyber Incident Map, driving home the point that schools across the county, including Illinois, are dealing with cybersecurity incidents.

Breakout sessions and whole group conversations throughout the day were facilitated by Ross Lemke, the Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy and Technical Assistance Center; Chris Hill, the Chief Information Security Officer for the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology; and Chris Wherley, the Learning Technology Center’s Network and Technology Services Coordinator.

As the day progressed, common themes surfaced in many sessions: school districts are vulnerable, communication and planning is essential, and security is a shared responsibility between all district leaders and not just the technology staff.

In case you missed the events, here are the presentations and resources:

Among our favorite tools referenced are:

Recapping the Redesigning Learning Spaces Summits

On January 17th and 18th, the Learning Technology Center partnered with two amazing schools, Buffalo Grove High School, Buffalo Grove, and Middletown Prairie Elementary School, Mahomet for the inaugural Redesigning Learning Spaces Summit. Educators from across the state attended both sites to better understand the design process and learn from each school’s unique experience.

David Jakes

David Jakes started both mornings off with an engaging keynote presentation that focused on why schools were deciding to redesign their spaces. David paid special attention to the details that education teams need to consider when undertaking a project of this scale. Discussion ranged from paint colors in rooms (#beyondbeige) to the specific types of furniture available for purchase. After the keynote, attendees were able to ask David about his experience in consulting schools through the redesign process.

In the afternoon, educators went on school tours by building administrators and teachers. During the tours, attendees were given detailed information on many different aspects of the redesign process including budgeting, professional development provided, and lessons learned throughout their experiences.

At the end of the day, attendees interacted with a panel of host school personnel. Each panel discussed the decision-making process and the fundamental reasons for changing their learning spaces. Attendees came away extremely impressed with both schools, and conversations sparked at how to build off the knowledge gained at the summit.

The LTC would like to thank both Buffalo Grove High School and Middleton Prairie opening their doors and being exceptional host schools. We would also like to thank David Jakes for keynoting the event and bringing his expertise to the day. If you would like the resources David shared during his presentation, please email him at david@davidjakesdesigns.com.