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So far APass Education has created 280 blog entries.
17 10, 2017

Learning by Doing: 5 Strategies to Increase Learner Engagement in Competency-Based Education

By | 2017-10-17T01:11:40+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Competency Based Education, Students|0 Comments

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Most students who enroll in a competency-based education (CBE) program start out excited, motivated, and ready to learn. For too many students, that enthusiasm starts to wane a few weeks into the course. This is bad news for students and the enrolling institution. Lack of engagement is a serious issue. Disengaged, discouraged students are more likely to drop out than their enthusiastic and engaged peers. Students may drop out of a CBE program for several reasons, including the actual learning experience. Students may become discouraged and quit if learning materials are too difficult to understand or poorly presented. Students may become disinterested and quit if learning activities are dull or uninspiring. Students may become frustrated and quit if they believe they’re wasting time on material they already know or view as irrelevant. While students may become disengaged for reasons that are beyond the control of the educational institution, course designers can strive to create engaging courses that discourage student drop out. An engaging CBE learning experience [...]

12 10, 2017

Supporting Students During Weather Disasters

By | 2017-10-12T16:51:53+00:00 October 12th, 2017|Supporting Students|0 Comments

Severe weather events can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially devastating for families. As we’ve seen from recent weather events, storms can cause property damage, food and water scarcity, and, unfortunately, injuries and loss of life. Children may struggle to understand how to cope with the loss and destruction resulting from weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, thunderstorms, floods, and blizzards. To supplement what students are learning at home about severe weather, educators should be ready to teach students about different types of weather disasters, where they occur, and how to prepare for them. 1. Types of Weather Disasters Educators should be prepared to teach students about different types of weather disasters, especially the events that take place most frequently where they live. In teaching the different types, it is important for educators to focus on: What the weather event is and how it is formed What terms are associated with each weather event Where the weather event occurs When the weather event tends to occur The potential damage each particular event could cause 2. [...]

10 10, 2017

4 Critical Questions to Ask Your Instructional Designers

By | 2017-10-12T16:45:12+00:00 October 10th, 2017|course design, Instructional Design|0 Comments

Have you worked with an instructional designer before? An instructional designer (ID) creates learning outcomes and builds activities that help learners master those outcomes in engaging ways. Schools, districts, and organizations can use instructional designers to create contemporary, learner-focused professional development courses for their staff. But, before you choose your instructional designer, find one who fits your needs by asking candidates these four questions: 1. Are you familiar with the standards to which our teachers align? You don’t want an instructional designer navigating your curricular standards for the first time. Ask your candidates to provide you with a sample of a course or unit designed using the

2 10, 2017

Maximizing Relationships with Subject Matter Experts

By | 2017-10-10T22:06:38+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Resource, Standards, subject matter expert|0 Comments

Educators want authentic experiences for professional development. Some of our recent blog posts include best practices for planning training that incorporates real world modeling situations. Are you planning professional development and wondering how to make connections and build relationships with experts and practitioners in the field? Here are three tips for successful partnerships with subject matter experts, also known as SMEs. 1) A Brief Time Commitment When you contact potential experts make sure to offer a brief time commitment of an hour or two working with staff. From this initial commitment many SMEs develop an interest in working with the school and will continue the partnership. 2) Meaningful Work It’s easy to fall into the lecture role when you’re an expert. Instead of scheduling a speaking engagement, gather a small group of educators to meet with a SME to evaluate teaching materials. Some workshop ideas might include: ● Shared analysis of a lesson plan or teaching unit ● Modeling field-based experiences to replicate in the classroom ● Developing real-world scenarios for learning activities 3) Use Technology [...]

26 09, 2017

Benefits of Customizing Professional Development

By | 2017-09-26T17:46:05+00:00 September 26th, 2017|educators, lesson plan, lesson planning, Objectives, outcomes, Professional Development|0 Comments

Teachers aim to make instruction more learner centered, so why aren’t we doing the same for educators when planning professional development? What’s the most valuable quality of PD according to most teachers? Personalization. Personalized professional development lets teachers focus on their individual students and classrooms as new challenges arise and new resources become available. Some notable benefits include: ● Specialized training matches the level of individualization offered in other fields. ● Individualized surveys and needs assessments can provide more specific information on a case-by-case basis and meet immediate needs. ● Teacher can focus on building on their own strengths and weaknesses. The benefits of personalized professional development are clear. But how can you implement a customized program in your district? Examples of Customized PD Individual Learning Plans Montpelier School District lets teachers create Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDPs) that help them meet unique personal and district-wide development goals that follow the SMART model: ● Specific ● Measurable ● Attainable ● Relevant ● Time-bound Gamification Games with levels and goals, like this one at Bettendorf Community School [...]

21 09, 2017

Learning by Doing: Developing High-Quality CBE Course Materials

By | 2017-09-21T19:43:40+00:00 September 21st, 2017|CBE for higher education, CBE materials, CBE quality, defining CBE competencies|0 Comments

  Are you thinking about bringing competency-based education (CBE) to your institution? You are not alone. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges found that approximately two-thirds of community colleges and baccalaureate (liberal arts) colleges are in the planning or start-up phases of CBE. While many institutions support CBE programs, they also have concerns about the quality of the learning experience. A common question for academic leaders is, “How can we ensure that our program delivers a quality learning experience that enables learners to achieve the expected competency?” Learners enroll in a CBE program because they expect the learning experience to provide them with the skills or knowledge they need to succeed. Effective learning materials aligned with well-defined course competencies are critical to their success. Before developing learning materials, the development team should map out program-level and course-specific competencies. Once mapped, it is important to evaluate those competencies against quality expectations. The Competency-Based Education Network (CBEN) recently released a set of principles and standards for developing quality CBE programs. The CBEN concluded [...]

7 09, 2017

Best Practices in Planning Professional Development for Educators

By | 2017-09-08T18:37:27+00:00 September 7th, 2017|continuing education, CPD, education, Educational Content, K12, PD, Professional Development, Teacher Professional Development, TPD|0 Comments

The most effective Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programs treat teachers as lifelong learners who want to integrate new curricular methods, content, and strategies into their classrooms. The Learning Policy Institute culled findings from 35 reports to describe the most effective TPD. Effective TPD is: ● Content focused ● Collaborative ● Sustained ● Coaching based ● Ongoing How can you include these elements into your TPD planning? Use the following steps. 1. Incorporate real-world modeling situations. The classroom shouldn’t be the first place teachers use new strategies. Instead, TPD should offer teacher opportunities to model classroom approaches to other attendees. Some examples might include: ● Interactive lectures ● Field or lab experiences ● Inquiry-oriented activities 2. Build in time to let teachers implement lesson plans and receive feedback. The best TPD gives teachers opportunities to try out their newly constructed lesson plans within weeks. Afterward, scaffold in time for feedback on other teachers’ new lessons and rubrics. This peer-to-peer collaboration can also last long after the TPD if teachers are given opportunity and means to share [...]

15 08, 2017

The Benefits of Micro-Credentialing

By | 2017-08-16T20:02:00+00:00 August 15th, 2017|classroom, Critical thinking|0 Comments

Take Small Bites and Chew Slowly: The Benefits of Micro-Credentialing Have you heard about micro-credentialing? It’s a new approach to professional development in a smaller, focused format. ______________________________________________________________ How does micro-credentialing work? Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering the micro-credentialing opportunity can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion. What might this process look like in practice? Let’s say a K12 school district typically offers face-to-face courses for teachers’ professional development. Teachers sign on and attend a number of hours of training and are then awarded continuing professional development, or CPD, credit for participating in those workshop trainings. If that same K12 school district redesigned the learning using the micro-credentialing approach, several components would change, including: ● The time unit would be smaller. It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules. ● The learning experience is skill based and related to on-the-job tasks. Putting literacy groups into action! ● Teachers participate in a round-robin of 15-minute classroom observations [...]