Sunday, April 11, 2010

21st Century Community Learning Centers!

New Resources Coming! Many schools and communities throughout the United States have been awarded 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants for afterschool, Saturday, and summer programs. The latest round of funding has a strong emphasis for aligning state content standards and assessments with rigorous and student-centered learning activities that occur in the centers.

LearningFront is partnering with the Steelton-Highspire School District in PA to start-up the District’s new 21st Century Community Learning Center. This will include new instructional resources in the LearningFront PD tools: TaskBuilderOnline and eLearningTeacher. This means the center instructional facilitators will help to design and field-test new teaching templates in TaskBuilderOnline and new professional development programs in eLearningTeacher. Moreover, they will be able to use LearningFront social media tools to communicate and share resources with the center director, their peers, District classroom teachers, and other facilitators in learning centers throughout the nation. And, any LearningFront member can access these resources and may collaborate with the Center Director and facilitators as a colleague or team member.

This is an exciting opportunity to apply the LearningFront global community to shape the Center’s vision, share ideas, solve problems, and collaborate outside the typical K-12 environment.

We invite you to collaborate with us through LearningFront.

Nick Hobar
President, LearningFront

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Data-Driven Lesson Planning!

Professional Development Workshop! Yesterday my colleague, Melanie Hood-Wilson, and I worked with a group of middle school teachers from Union Avenue Middle School in Irvington, NJ on data-driven lesson planning. 

First, the teachers joined the LearningFront online community and learned its social media tools for collaborating within their school and around the world. Second, all participating teachers used the professional development tool, TaskBuilderOnline, to plan and develop a data-driven lesson plan based on NJ content standards, data about their students’ performances, and proven practices and data analysis templates available in TaskBuilderOnline. As part of this process, the teachers accessed WikiTasks of other data-driven lessons developed by LearningFront members from other schools. Since the social media tools are integrated with TaskBuilderOnline, the teachers used them to share their draft lessons with workshop peers and provide feedback to each other about their lessons during the workshop.

When I started this workshop, I asked the teachers: “How many of you have a Facebook account? A Twitter account?” Not one teacher raised a hand! At the end of this workshop, they had learned all of the skills needed for any social media application and for developing a data-driven lesson plan for their classrooms that could be shared and updated through social media and online professional tools -- now that’s the power of combining people, teaching, and technology to improve learning!

Nick Hobar
President, LearningFront