My friend Bob passed away at the age of 92. Bob and I used to talk about how fast life goes as we grow older. In our conversations, we spoke of a life well-lived, his children, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren. Paradoxically, my colleague, and brand-new mom, Katie and I talk about the future, life’s possibilities and the seemingly endless sleepless nights that come with parenthood. No matter where we are in our lives, whether looking back or looking ahead, taking time to purposefully reflect is sometimes powerful, and always meaningful. Here is our Learners Edge year in review.
Our Top Three Educational Influencers, circa 2018:
Emma Gonzalez. After the school shootings at Parkland High School in Parkland, Florida, Gonzalez led her classmates in standing up and speaking out against gun violence. Regardless of one’s political perspective, Gonzalez demonstrated how students can use their voices to instigate and demand change.
Brene Brown. When you think of Austin, Texas, what comes to mind? If it’s “cowgirls, music and Matthew McConaughey,” think again. The South by Southwest Education Conference (aka: SXSWED) in Austin draws a crowd, and last year University of Texas researcher Brene Brown made the Lone Star State proud. Listen as “Dr. B” shares her insights and knowledge regarding Daring Classrooms.
Stuart Brown. Play is making a comeback and we are on board! The loss of play in our students’ (and our own) lives has been identified as contributing to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Although older, take a listen to what Brown has to say about play in this TEDTalk called Play Is More Than Just Fun.
Our Top Three Educational Trends
At Learners Edge, we saw some trends that remained constant throughout 2018. The top three trends we explored, learned about, and designed content around were:
Mindfulness-It may seem obvious that we humans would know to STOP (S=Stop T=Take a breath O=Observe P=Proceed) as we make our way through our days. Yet, with the popularity and proliferation of mindfulness, what is obvious is that we need reminders to slow down, be in the moment, and to breathe. Highlighting, learning, and implementing mindfulness is transformative. For teachers, practicing mindfulness can be the difference between surviving and thriving. The article When Teachers Get Mindfulness Training, Students Win from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley provides research and evidence supporting the benefits of mindfulness.
In 2018, we offered The Mindful Approach. This Blended Learning course was popular as educators from across the United States gathered virtually to share their ideas and ask questions about mindfulness during the live webinar sessions. We will offer additional Blended Learning courses in 2019!
If you would like to learn more about the power of mindfulness, check out Course 898: Mindful Leadership in Schools, our Chalkblog, and this Learners Edge webinar.
Social-emotional learning-(SEL)-Because we are educators, we know teaching involves more than academics. We understand that some students come to school hungry, tired, and depleted. We also know many students arrive at school lacking the social-emotional skills they need to understand themselves and others as evidenced in this excerpt from the Greater Good Science Center:
As we grow in awareness of our own emotions, we are better able to recognize and understand others’ emotions, which will also help us to express more compassion—one of the more compelling positive emotions and a key outcome of SEL.
In the 1990’s, the book Emotional Intelligence created a paradigm shift and generated debate as a different kind of identifiable measure beyond one’s intelligence (IQ). We now know that our ability to understand ourselves, to be empathetic, and to have strong social-emotional skills can be just as, if not more, important than intelligence to success in school and in life.
Teachers, you told us you wanted to learn about SEL and, because we have good social-emotional skills, 😉 we listened. To see the list of our SEL courses, click here.
Personalized Continuing Education-(PCE)-The nation is catching on to what teachers (and we at Learners Edge) have known for a while: personalized learning is the future! A bit like differentiation and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), teachers want to personalize their professional development. In this article from EdSurge.comthe author talks about the importance of choice—which is music to our teacher ears–because we’ve designed FIVE personalized continuing education courses with choice as the focus:
Imagine choosing and using documentaries, films, podcasts, or other non-traditional materials to ignite your students’ enthusiasm for learning! Include your ideas on the iLearn application and get started earning graduate credit! Not sure what kind of resources to use? Check out our list of multi-media resource ideas for iLearn here.
iExplore (Course 986) 3 credits
At Learners Edge, we know exploration is an education. The iExplore course is your chance to take what you’ve learned and apply it to the classroom. Complete the iExplore application and the pre-exploration, exploration, and post-exploration requirements as you earn graduate credit for seeing the world! Please click here to see a list of iExplore ideas.
iCourse (Course 996) 3 Credits
We are proud of the courses we offer at Learners Edge but, we know we don’t have a course on everything…not to worry, because we do have the iCourse! No matter what you teach, if you want to learn, this is the course for you! You choose your textbook, complete the iCourse application, then start learning! Click here to read our list of books teachers have used for the iCourse.
Choose Your Own EdTech Adventure (Course 997) 3 Credits
This course is not like other independent study opportunities. There will be choice, adventure, and fun ahead! In this Choose Your Own Adventure-style learning experience, you’ll engage in guided exploration of a specific edtech tool of your choice. Whether you’re a beginner looking to integrate a tool to support student learning, or an advanced user ready to take your tech implementation to the next level, we’ve got you covered! We’ll share best practices for evaluating and learning to use edtech tools, and strategies for sharing your knowledge with colleagues. You’ll review ways other educators use the edtech tool and ultimately make a plan for implementation in your setting. Along the way, we’ve incorporated choice in how you share your learning, as well as gamified elements to ensure your edtech adventure is action-packed. Blend learning and fun as you master a new tool, level up your tech integration, and support innovation at the same time!
Book Study (Course 991) 3 Credits
Choose a book then find some friends! The Learners Edge Book Study is similar to the iCourse but is to be taken by two or more people…or a whole district! Complete the Book Study application, gain approval, then gather your group to discuss your chosen text!
Credit for the Book Study comes from Augustana University or Pacific Lutheran University and can be taken one time per year and three times in a lifetime. Click here to see a list of previously approved Book Study books!
Our Top Three Wishes for the Future
- More teachers practicing mindfulness, understanding SEL, and enrolling in our PCE courses! 🙂
- More teachers learning with Learners Edge! 🙂
- More yoga to go with all those yoga pants. 🙂
Enjoy what lies ahead in 2019!
Interested in starting the New Year with a Learners Edge Course?