Episode # 45
Collaborating in the Classroom with John, Jeremy, & Dave
December 7, 2023
About This Episode
On this episode, Kara & Caryn speak with John Mansel-Playdell, Jeremy Hunter, & Dave Clark the Ohio Learning Community to discuss how they’ve worked to incorporate technology into classroom collaboration over their long careers.
John Mansel-Pleydell is Professional Learning Group Supervisor with the Northern Buckeye Education Council located in Archbold Ohio. He has a career of 25 years in education and holds a M.Ed (Classroom Technology) from Bowling Green State University. In 2021 he was a co-founder of the Ohio Learning Community (Powered by PLCO).
Jeremy Hunter is an accomplished educator and technology integration specialist based in Ohio. With a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology, Jeremy’s career has evolved from teaching Chemistry and Physics to assuming leadership roles in education administration.
Dave Clark has been a Curriculum and Technology Specialist at Butler County ESC since 2014. Prior to working at BCESC he was a middle school social studies teacher for 17 years. At the ESC, he is currently working primarily on the Ohio Learning Community grant, an ISTE Certification grant, and presenting frequently on the topic of AI in Education.
Kara: Joining us today are John, Jeremy, and Dave, and we’re going to find out a little bit about them momentarily. But Hey guys, thanks so much for talking to us today.
John: You’re welcome. Thanks for having
Kara: Yeah. Anytime. So I’m going to start with John and just, why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners?
John: Okay. Well, hello, everyone. My name is John Mansell Pladle. Yes, I have an Australian accent. I work with the Northern Buckeye Education Council up in the northwest corner of Ohio. And we are a council of governments that runs the NAWACA ITC amongst other things. And I am supervisor of the professional learning group.
So we do professional development, professional learning for 40 school districts in the [00:01:00] northwest part of the state. And I have been in this position for 24 years.
Kara: Nice. Still hanging in there.
John: I am. I wasn’t always supervisor. I wasn’t. So I started out as an educational technologist and then moved into a supervisory role about five years ago.
Kara: All right. Dave
Dave: Yeah, my name is Dave Clark. I’ve been in education, I think, 27 years, 17 years as a middle school teacher in Southwest Ohio. I currently work for Butler County Educational Service Center in Hamilton. And I am also an adjunct professor at the university of Cincinnati. So in addition to my presence, I have 16 ed tech students in my one zero zero one class right now, listening and watching technology and education.
Kara: I love it. All right. And Jeremy.
Jeremy: Thank you. Yeah. Jeremy Hunter. I am the director of operations and instructional [00:02:00] programs at Lake Geauga Computer Association, which like John is an ITC. But I am in Northeast Ohio. We support districts in Lake, Geauga, and Cuyahoga County on all things related to technology and education.
So I myself have been in education for, I have to do the mental math 23 years now. I was initially as a science teacher in high school and then a principal. And now I’ve been at this position now for seven years. So. That’s a little bit of background about myself.
Kara: That’s great. And I don’t know if John, did you touch on, were you a classroom in classroom before you ended up?
John: So I yeah, I came, I came to education in a sort of a roundabout way. I was in agriculture in Australia. Oh, interesting. And then at the end of at the end of sort of Several years of, of working in agriculture, I came to the [00:03:00] conclusion that, that this wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I liked agriculture. So I went to an ag college and basically completed a bachelor’s degree and then went and got a a Postgraduate degree that you add on in Australia, it’s called a DIP Ed, Diploma of Education, which, in a roundabout way, means that I have the American equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in Education.
So that then enabled me to get into teaching in Australia, and I had begun to do my student teaching and was ready to be, actually, I would have been appointed as an Ag teacher. In the state of New South Wales and I, that would be where I was licensed. The state controls all of that and also the appointments of where everybody teaches.
But in about halfway through that program, I traveled and came to the United States, met my wife, Rebecca, and we got together. Married, and so it [00:04:00] then became evident that we needed to move back to the States. So I never did actually take up a teaching position. I was I had a part time position and because I knew about computer.
It, and it’s very similar, I think, to a lot of teachers that you talk about here, or tech coordinators, how they got started. Oh, you’re the guy that knows about technology. What have you teached this, this class here? Have you ever run a web server? Oh, yeah. Well, no, I haven’t. But well, it’s not very hard.
We wanted to surpass that. So I found myself doing all of that stuff. And then right in the middle of it we immigrated to the United States in 97. So I was sort of back to square one. I went back to agriculture. And happened to be, I was visiting around I was actually working for a a co op in Defiance County.
And I was scouting fields and selling fertilizer to farmers. And I met the tech coordinator from Ayersville Schools, Gary Wise. And we struck up a friendship because I liked Macs and he [00:05:00] had Mac computers in the, in, in that in that school. So we were just chatting away. And then one day he emailed me and said, Hey, there’s a job going at Nowaka.
And so the rest is sort of history as it were. I applied for that position and I’ve been here ever since. So that was in 1999. I joined Northern Buckeye Nowaka and that was kind of how I got into education. There was. Some more learning along the way, because of course, to get licensed in the state of Ohio, you have to have certain requirements.
And so I had to go back to college. so I, they made me take the science of light and color at University of Toledo to get me enough points to be able to get my to get my teaching certificate. So that was interesting. Yeah.
Caryn: Yeah. Sounds about right. Yeah, I was just gonna say that that tracks.
Kara: Yeah. So well, and before we move on Dave and Jeremy, I feel like maybe we should delve a little bit deeper into your [00:06:00] educational journeys as well to what landed you in your. Current role.
Jeremy: It may not be as interesting as John’s. I didn’t like leave the country and come back and do all that.
But I, I really have been in technology even as a science teacher. Obviously I had an interest in technology. I expanded, I got my master’s degree in instructional technology and my master’s degree in administration. Got both of them. I’m not sure why I did that, but I did. And so therefore I, you know, I’ve delved in all sorts of, I was a tech coach in buildings and support and did websites and did all that for a very long time.
And then obviously had a role as a building principal. When the job opened up here, um, it was a new position. It was originally the curriculum and technology integration coordinator. So the ITC was looking to, to bring in people with educational [00:07:00] experience. They’ve never had that at my organization.
Everybody was a true tech person or a programmer. Somebody that dealt with web pages and then just did like tier one and tier two support. For the softwares that we provide nobody to actually kind of connect the dots between that software and then the curriculum that was being delivered in the school.
So that’s what I was hired to do here. Originally 7 years ago. Now, my job is expanded from there. So it’s been a great opportunity. I, I will say You know, leaving the buildings as a building principal has its pluses and minuses. Like, I love interacting with the kids and doing stuff with them. But at the same time, it’s there aren’t the hour requirements that for a building principal, you know, you were there from seven to nine every night and now I have a little more regular hours and I can spend some time with my kids as well as do the tech components that I really enjoy doing.
So [00:08:00] it’s been really good. Yeah.
Kara: ITCs available. What do you do for teachers or is it more for districts in
Jeremy: general? So, yeah, we do it. We do it all here. Like I said, we do a lot of curriculum integration. So we do even now we’re rolling out a ELA platform and training for teachers to show them how they can use digital text and implement that in the classroom because, you know, kids It, it really sprung out of CO from not being in the building and having textbooks.
And they sh saw the opportunity to be able to have them on the devices. They’re all one-to-one now. So now they can travel with them wherever they go. They don’t have to have that book. They can get it on the phone and do whatever. So that’s an example of kind of that integration between the tech support and the curriculum that, that we’re doing here.
Kara: Alright. Dave, could you expand a little bit or is there anything you wanna share about your journey? , [00:09:00]
Dave: I, I cannot, I cannot compare to John’s story. I, I, I can say that I’ve been to Australia, but that’s that’s not nearly as interesting as what John shared. So my career path was I did not go to school to be a teacher that came.
About in my late twenties how did I get to technology? You know, I was as a social studies teacher in a middle school for 17 years. I was kind of the person that you came to when you heard about a new app and have Dave test it out, see how it goes. When I came to the ESC in 2014, right at that time, I think my biggest turn towards tech was we took a chance and we became a certified authorized provider of ISTE training.
So I shortly after my arrival at Butler County, we became 1 of the 15 places in the world that provided certification. So I still, I believe currently, I may be the only [00:10:00] trainer left in Ohio that provides that services. And to be honest, that’s how I ended up in this college classroom because. One of my ISTE students was a professor here.
So people in the ed tech space I think if you hang out here long enough, you start to become familiar with names and different places that are doing, doing good work. And then, you know, to be honest, technology is how I met these two. So during COVID, we became part of the, the Tyler group and met each other by trying to put together some resources for teachers to help them through COVID and that’s just evolved ever since.
So that’s my journey.
Kara: Okay, well, and that was, I was going to ask you guys how you all got connected because you’re obviously in different parts of the state of Ohio. So,
Dave: I just
John: wanted just to circle back to the question you had about the ITCs, only because it is interesting that [00:11:00] every school district in the state probably is getting some kind of educational technology services from some agency or another.
Now it might be An edtech such as you work for it might be an ESC or it might be an ITC and it just seems to be that we fill the void with whichever seems to be needed in our, in our neck of the woods. The department that I head up, we provide as much as you can training and PD as the member school districts want at no additional cost as part of the membership.
But that is, we’re fairly unique in that respect. Most other ITCs. don’t necessarily have a PD division. They may have support for teachers in more indirect ways. And so, for example, the software that writes their checks is supported by the Fiscal Services Department, and that is indirectly supported by the ITCs.
All of the grading and student attendance and EMIS. And all of those other acronyms that we deal with[00:12:00] are also supported by student services departments and they do a lot of that, but I spend a lot more time directly actually even in the classroom. We’ve developed. A program because P.
D. Really has changed. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. It used to be we had a lab here and people would come and take classes after school and you know, we’d have a lot of people and they’d be learning about webmail and Google and all kinds of things like that. But it’s changed. And even before covered, we were having less and less people able to attend the current generations of teachers.
I think You know, the, the older generation was more used to the idea of giving up their own personal time and going and getting some, getting them improving themselves. And the, you know, the younger generations tend to be more focused on if I can do it online or I can do it somewhere else. And then most recently sub they can’t get substitute teachers.
So a lot of people to go out of school and do professional development is is somewhat of a [00:13:00] rarity. So we developed. Programs where we go to them and so I was talking about a colleague of yours, Katie. She and I were at a school early last week, starting up a program that we have called Google for Littles, which is where we actually go in and teach the teachers and the kids at the same time.
So while I didn’t get much of a chance to be in the classroom when I was in Australia I have spent more time in the classroom specifically with second graders then then I can probably I would care to admit, and I think my hat goes off to those teachers for being able to do that. I have my own personal second grader at home and her name is Lucy, one of my daughters.
And but dealing with 22 of them at the same time, that’s a whole different story. But, you know, specifically that’s a service that My organization is providing in response to our district’s needs to be able to try and address the lack of technology skills for teachers in the lower elementary.
So, you know, [00:14:00] it’s interesting because Dave works with pre service teachers through the University of Cincinnati, and I think that our exposure through. He was mentioning Tilo and I can kind of wrap it all back together. Our collaboration with Tilo includes colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, from Bowling Green State University and we have had discussions with them about how all of this stuff fits together.
And really when the opportunity came along, so back to your question that we started this whole soliloquy with, was how did the Ohio learning community come into existence? And it was. We all knew each other through Tilo and we trusted each other and we heard about a grant opportunity. And so, you know, in education, when grant opportunities come up, it’s like you’ve got to sort of jump in and, and do something.
And so we applied for this grant, having really no idea if we were going to get anything because we didn’t have a track record of of having gotten grants like this before. But. Then again, we [00:15:00] hadn’t had a pandemic before and the ESSA funds are a little bit of a different animal. So yeah, we, we got together.
I, I, I might let David or Jeremy pick up the thread a little bit. But once we went to apply for this grant, it was a series of lots and lots of meetings in environments like this. We meet Zoom, lots of Zoom meetings. You know, that was covered, I guess, in a, in a nutshell was lots and lots of zoom meetings.
Dave: Yep. Lots
Kara: and lots of zooms.
Jeremy: Yeah. Dave probably tells the story of the best. So we came together and then we’ve, what has it been now? It’s been two years, right? Dave? Two years. I think
Dave: we’re coming up on three.
Jeremy: Yeah. It’s been three years and really for the first year and two months, we didn’t even meet in person.
We literally met probably five times, six times a month at a minimum met virtually our first time meeting in person was in 21, right? [00:16:00] 22, 22 at Oh, and Alaska conference. Yeah, yeah, we
Dave: actually, I mean, if, if 2 or 3 days go by that we don’t talk, uh, then we’ll have to text or do something because we’ve, you know, so many zoom meetings and planning meetings and it’s.
You know, yes, this, I mean, this is a great example of how you can be connected virtually and still accomplish a lot because we now maybe see each other face to face, maybe a half a dozen times a year, but we, we we, we’ve developed a pretty solid working relationship to create what we think is a pretty valuable resource for teachers in Ohio.
John: Well, we, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll just say COVID. And so this. Collaboration was an opportunity for us to be able to. Get access to what we hope was a platform and some free courses that we could entice teachers to take self paced [00:17:00] online and that we could take what we learned during COVID about what was good and what was bad PD and try and give a good, positive experience to teachers that wanted to improve themselves with their technology knowledge.
And so. We embarked upon it started out being that we were going to be creating the courses. So the idea was professional development or professional learning courses that were on topics that were really Important for teachers to improve themselves, not just with technology, but also with pedagogy and, and teaching practice.
And so we started to look at what, where was the need, what, because prior to us putting this together, there really wasn’t a good place that you could go. You could take, you know, some online courses through some of the online universities that are there, but they, those come at a cost. And so we were looking at, what we have been offering was Google certified [00:18:00] educator prep courses that we’re offering to our Northern Buckeye teachers in cohorts, and we were doing that Google Classroom and Google Classroom is fine if you have 25 or 30 students in it, but when you have 500 in there, it just it’s very slow and very clunky and things just don’t work well.
So, it became apparent to us after starting to look at developing these courses, well, it’s nice to have this, but we also need to have somewhere good to put it. We can’t put it in Google Classroom. And so, we embarked upon this journey of discovery to try and find the best LMS out there. And Very much to our surprise, the LMS that we settled on was one that I don’t think anybody in the beginning of the process thought was going to be the one that we chose.
Jeremy, you want to?
Jeremy: No, not at all. I mean, we, we really we went through and realized that for us to deliver those courses, part of the problem as adult learners in interacting and getting that [00:19:00] information is the interface where those courses live. We’ve all taken courses on different places and different things, Dave specifically with it’s the, and have found like the information is good, but the, the, the experience wasn’t that good.
So we did a ton of research. It took a lot of time. We actually ended up with Moodle which is, it’s actually called Moodle workplace, which is a professional. Version way different than when we talk about getting started in education, we got started, I got started on Moodle, you know, 20 some years ago, and I will tell you where we landed is not the Moodle that I started with, right?
Originally, and now we’re on Moodle workplace. It’s a 4. 0 version. And we’ll, we’ll be moving to that one shortly. And it has a ton of great features and interactions that weren’t there before. And it adds to that, that learning experience. It’s the same thing with kids. Adult learners are no different than kids.
If they’re engaged in what’s going on, [00:20:00] they’re going to be more apt to learn. And if that engagement is hindered by the platform you’re on, it’s, it’s, it’s going to slow the learning process. So yeah, we settled with Moodle and we haven’t looked back and it’s been really great to us. To allow us to build our courses and, and expand from there and a ton of flexibility.
So the other thing that spun from our grant was what we realized that, look, John, Dave, and I specifically, we’re in three of the four corners of Ohio, and we knew that organizations really at times were specific to their region and, and, and maybe not wanting to see stuff as a, as a global unit. So one of the things we wanted to make sure we had the capacity to do was what’s called teneting, which is be able to take one entity and kind of divide it up and offer it however many ways you want.
So that was the other component that Moodle allowed us to do is we can deliver a tenant to any ITC, any [00:21:00] ESC, any even district if they want as part of this. to deliver their PD for their region, for half the state, the whole state or, or, or further. So that was another very big key component that this tool gave us that, that others didn’t.
John: I’m going to talk a little bit, a little bit about the courses because our experience with Google Certified Educator, and again, this goes back to what we learned from COVID. So, a lot of, let me give you this scenario. You log into a website, and there’s a YouTube video that you have to watch, and then you have to answer some questions and you get sent a certificate.
That was considered to be best practice during COVID and everybody did that. Now, the problem is that. Who has time to sit there and watch a 45 minute video. And so people are like fast forwarding to the end of it or just answering the questions or, you know, trying to find the workaround. And again I think what we’ve [00:22:00] learned or what we learned before COVID was that in order for professional development to be effective and I did when I was in 2014, I, I started my Masters of Classroom Technology at BGSU.
And I did a, a research assignment that was on the effectiveness and of professional development around the world and what people’s perceptions were of it. And it, what came back was that less than 30 percent of teachers felt that the PD that they were being supplied with was engaging or useful.
And there was a whole lot of reasons behind that. But mostly And a lot of those are out of the teacher’s control. It is the top down, okay, we are going to be implementing this state mandated thing coming up and so you’re going to have to go to this PD. But I mean, even if we’re talking about that the idea that we’re going to give you one session and you’re going to get all the information that you need about it and good luck, off you go, and so we call it one and done.
And our [00:23:00] philosophy is that, that professional learning should be continuous. And so, how do we create opportunities for that? So, a course needs to be something that you it’s not like the video that you watch and the and the quiz that you complete to get your certificate, because that kind of knowledge never really stays with the learner.
It’s, it, you need to spend time engaging with your learning different modalities. And so, what we came up with was with a Google Certified Educator, actually based on what Google used to do for their for their prep courses, they would have scenarios where you would actually go through and you would complete a scenario.
So you actually had to make a Google site and you had to put stuff on the Google site. And that was, that was your task. But by golly, if you, if you learn by doing a lot of people will learn really well that way. So the scenarios we thought were really important. I think it is a little bit more difficult to apply that modality to say a course about a multi tiered systems of [00:24:00] support or English language learners or some of the other courses that we’ve now started to develop.
So we’ve found different ways to make that learning continuous, but having modules that you work through and having the course take a period of day or days or weeks to complete with plenty of opportunities to interact with the content. And then I actually, we, we’ve been developing the, the learning module part of it is probably where we spent most of our time really trying to get things going.
And in fact, we have a, a new tool that we’re going to be using. I didn’t know. And Dave was the one that founded, actually, I’ll give him credit. So he can talk about that new tool that we’re going to be using.
Dave: Sure. So, you know, the, the, the constant effort is ease of use. Meaning fewest number of clicks activities that are actually engaging like John mentioned, multiple modalities, but then ultimately, especially as we look for teachers that are looking for things [00:25:00] like continuing ed, graduate credit and other aspects of it, we did come across a tool that we’ve started to just use and be trained in over this summer called course arc.
And 1 of the advantages of to this tool is the, if the ability to track information the ease of updating and still being able to deliver high quality learner centric or learner friendly activities. Throughout the modules that we create in these, in these courses and even though, like we said, we’re, we’re just now kind of getting towards the end of year two we, we really think we’ve hit a home run as Jeremy mentioned with the LMS, it does so many things that we wished that maybe other, other opportunities that we’ve been involved with in e learning had, so we’re constantly trying to deliver material that’s relevant.
And John just mentioned, you know, courses on things like that are pedagogy based, whether it’s the English language learner or the MTSS courses that are coming out to [00:26:00] things that districts really know that their staff need. But just there are only so many hours of the day. So if they can come to our platform, you know, and take a course on blended learning or classroom management or specific tools that the district has endorsed for teacher use we just think this is a great opportunity to provide those services to a district.
Or if an educational service center or an ITC wants to take some of these courses and package them and then do a deeper dive with face to face learning. There’s just a lot of really, really powerful usage scenarios that we think a high level interactive course can provide to benefit the state of Ohio.
Jeremy: And to go, the one thing we haven’t even talked about yet, that was the other key component in our selection of the tool and our creation of the courses is that learning collaborative. We wanted to make sure that on the platform where you could have professional learning groups and teams[00:27:00] that could continue conversation and interaction after the courses were over so that as an example, we have a I community.
So we’re going to talk about AI and education and to be an ongoing thing, that dynamic is constantly changing by the day. So to have a course that you say that can cover all that material isn’t going to happen as, as frequently or as best as a community of people sharing that information as it’s going through the same thing with blended learning or MTSS.
The community of practice, the community of learners is the key component as well in kind of furthering that knowledge as adult
John: learners. And the first community that we bought to the Ohio learning community was actually the Tilo group. So we had an existing, so a lot of those kinds of communities, people are using things like Google groups.
And so it’s essentially it’s a mailing, it’s a glorified mailing list. And so you post a [00:28:00] message and then everybody gets a copy of that message, which is great, but the main problem with that, unfortunately, is, and I think anybody that has spent any time in educational technology, especially in the last 18 months to two years knows that email has just become a flaming dumpster fire for most people.
I mean, it’s just, it is so difficult and you get, there’s so many threat vectors that are coming in now and you just don’t know. So a lot of people will really miss, there’s so much noise in email now that you just miss the important ones. And so we feel like having a place where you go to engage. In those conversations that’s not relying on email and maybe you get notified by email that something is there, but the major way that you engage in it is, is, is via email.
We were really, we were really hoping that we would be able to maybe take our platform and do more with mobile on it and that’s been one of the areas that we’ve been. [00:29:00] We’ve had to kind of scale that back for the time we just have too many moving pieces right now. The thing. So Corsak. We implemented Coursark this or we started looking at moving towards Coursark.
And I think the important thing about Coursark is going to be the, our ability to keep things updated and fresh. So especially with the Google and the technology based courses Google changes the interface it seems like every couple of weeks. Yeah. And, and so how do you keep up with that? So.
Christy Hughes is has been working very hard on getting a lot of our Google Certified Educator courses updated, and the switch to Coursark is going to allow us to use a new technology, and we throw out these These acronyms left and right, but this is something that is basically a live technology integration or an LTI, which means that Corsark is hosting the learning content in the back end, and it is embedded inside of Moodle, but we can [00:30:00] make live updates to the content without affecting the learners.
It also allows us to incorporate and blur the lines between assessment and instruction or, content so formative assessment is really easy to do with course arc the tool that we were using before required that we essentially zip up everything and then it gets embedded in modal is what’s called a scorn package, which was a convenient way to do it and made it very portable, but we didn’t get much data about the learners from that.
And it was difficult to kind of manage their their pathway through our learning system without having. To put a whole lot of restrictions on their learning within the course, so it’s going to give us a whole lot of flexibility to update things. And then the second big thing about it is we’re very mindful of accommodating people with disabilities in being able to engage in our learning.
And so, and that’s one of the things everybody can make a video, [00:31:00] but then if you’ve actually looked at the At the subtitles that get generated by YouTube automatically, some of them are hilarious. But that doesn’t really help you know, our friends who, who need to use those technologies. So Corsak is nice.
So if we have an interactive, for example, it will automatically create a screen reader accessible quiz in the background that they can click as an alternative. So, and, and the, the author doesn’t have to do anything other than just, enable that feature. And it’s there. So we’re really looking forward to being able to use that feature.
Kara: Nice. This sounds like great support for teachers. Yeah. And I guess we shouldn’t just narrow it to teachers because it includes more than just educators. [00:32:00] So my next question, who would you say that this is targeted to or who should check it out?
Jeremy: We’ve really said it’s all it’s all educational stakeholders.
There’s opportunities for it. There is at least one course currently on our system available for any person that deals in education. We’ve even created a Google for Administrative Assistance course. So if you’re new to a district as an Secretary or Administrative Assistant, you can sit down and take this course and get an understanding of Google Calendar and Gmail and docs and sharing and permissions within drive that you probably didn’t have or interact with in your previous job.[00:33:00]
So just as an example we even on one of our tenants have pre service bus driver trainings or refresher trainings, so really. It is for all educational stakeholders. Very nice. And the one key component that another, I guess, when we were talking about finding a platform and building it and doing all that, we really wanted it to be for all of those people because there are other.
avenues around the state that restrict the access to only be a person with a license or only a person with a specific account. And we didn’t want that to hinder anybody because even pre service teachers can’t get access to those courses because they don’t have an Ohio license. So now the courses that we even have are available for pre service learning for, for anybody in Ohio.
Dave: Yeah, and just to add, there are also in some of the just to kind of [00:34:00] expand on the level of usage of the courses. There are several current educational preparatory courses at the University of Cincinnati that are allowing students to access our courses. For some of the tech certifications for some of their courses, what a great thing for a teacher to sit down in a potential interview and to say that their Google level 1 or 2 certified already, or that they’ve had some exposure to, the concept of MTSS or social, you know, our social emotional learning course courses that we have that are coming out, whether it’s dyslexia and the science of reading. We’ve really, we’ve really tried to communicate with people and ask. What are the types of courses that you would love to be well versed in and sometimes it’s not necessarily that you’re going to become the expert in that topic, but even if I’m teaching [00:35:00] a special area course or something else, I still think there’s value in exposure to different types of things that are offered through these courses with the opportunity once again to allow an I.
T. C. or an E. S. C. to then take that learning to the next level with the support of. Okay. The
John: courses that we have. So the interesting thing about our courses is that because they are developed with state money. So the money actually comes from the SF funds that were in response to or as a result of a post pandemic trying to increase the capacity in Ohio.
And, so any of those courses that we’ve generated as, as Dave mentioned we can export them out and put them into your own tenant. And then you can then use those with your own people and and as much as you would like. The other courses that live in what we call the free part of the, of the site are all free basically for anybody to take.
And then we have, some of them are very [00:36:00] long, 12 hours. The Google Certified Educator course is 12, a lot of hours. That for graduate credit, you need to have that magic 12, 12 and a half hours to get your Ashland credit. And we do have graduate credit available for nine of the courses. And we have the new courses that are going to be released at the end of this month.
Have also been already approved for Ashland credit. I think it’s 180 a credit hour, which is a reasonable. Way for teachers to meet that requirement that they have to, for re licensure every five years. We have some short courses that are just an, an hour or, or less. On topics like edulastic choice boards, see saw.
Ed Puzzle, Nearpod, Pear Deck we put those in, in, into, into a there’s a group of courses that we call the e learning toolbox. And so it was and again, those courses are going to require to be updated, but we see those as being able to be implemented maybe in coaching cycles. So if you have an instructional or a tech coach that’s working with teachers and say, [00:37:00] you, you start talking about doing formative assessment and what tools are out there and the coach says, well, you’ve ever heard of have you ever heard of Socrative or have you ever heard of edge elastic?
No, what’s that? Well, why don’t you go and take this one hour course and you can learn about that. And when I’m back here next week, then we can set you up with an account. So this allows. Agencies and other you know, PD providers in the state. To provide what we call wraparound services to these free courses that we have.
So you know, they exist there as the body of learning and then you can provide the in person experiences to go along with it. That’s great.
Kara: And you guys have done a great job of explaining it and I didn’t really need to ask anything.
Dave: Well, really, the only, I mean, the thing I was going to say is probably the, I hesitate to say barrier. I don’t think it’s a barrier. It’s just spreading the word. So, you know, we’ve looked with, you know, we’ve, we’ve do, we’ve done lots and lots of conference [00:38:00] presentations. We, we try to spread the word about the availability.
The best we can, and fortunately, like Jeremy mentioned, we’re in 3 different parts of the state, which is helpful. But 1 of the things that we’re always willing to do is. Whether it’s a building, or a district, or an committee, that’s kind of where we seem to be able to get the most traction is when we’re actually physically with people face to face.
That’s just not always easy to do for only 3 of us. So, 1 of the things that we just like to put out there is if. If you ever need somebody to hop on a a zoom call to kind of expand and explain what these courses are, how they can be beneficial to your district, how they can be a wonderful tool for teachers to, to work on their practice and to, you know, get the CEUs and potentially graduate credits to renew certification.
We are always well, well, willing and able to hop on a [00:39:00] call, whether it’s zoom and. Within reason come to your district because that’s probably one of our biggest challenges user use usage is definitely going up and we’re very passionate about looking at feedback and what we need to improve and what we need to change.
But I would say 1 of our struggles is just getting the word out about what we’ve done. Sometimes people, I don’t think people believe us that it’s free. It is so that that’s one of the things that just to kind of share, we, we would love to be able to to share with districts and ITCs and ESCs about the work that we’re doing.
Kara: no, I think that’s great to mention because everybody’s kind of ends up in their silos and honestly. When I was in the classroom, I didn’t know about a lot of these organizations that I know about now in this role. I didn’t even know they existed. So yeah, I understand that. Or if you
Jeremy: want a tenant on the [00:40:00] system, you can have your own tenant and create your own courses, if you have material.
Yep. So any, any of those things are, are, are potentially there for you. I think
John: the last thing that I’ll mention is because we chose the platform that we chose, we’ve managed to keep the cost of this actually down to be very manageable. And we believe and we’ve been working with the, with OSCA, the Educational Service Center Association on a sustainability model that has us.
Living beyond the scope of the grant, which the grant funding goes until August of next year. But we are looking at self funding after that, and we plan for this to be around for a long time. So we hope that more and more teachers will go to OhioLearningCommunity. org and check out our free courses.
Kara: Oh, that’s great.
Thank you guys so much for talking to us. Thank you.
Dave: Of course.
Jeremy: welcome. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. [00:41:00]