Teachers study tech so students can succeed The Intel Teach Elements courses

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1 Teachers study tech so students can succeed The Intel Teach Elements courses Pre K 12 teachers around the world are enhancing their skills and classroom practices with specialized training courses and it s all in one place thanks to Intel. Based on evaluation reports provided by SRI International and the American Institutes for Research. Gwen is a middle school English teacher with more than 30 years of experience in the classroom. Interested in learning more about applying technology in the classroom and the tools that are available, she jumped at the opportunity when the Intel Teach Elements courses became available through her state department of education. The courses are online and available at no cost a boon to busy professionals and shrinking school professional development budgets. In the last year, Gwen has taken three Intel Teach courses, most recently the course on Thinking Critically with Data. It was this course that helped her access significant new data tools and put the wheels in motion to making valuable improvements in Gwen s school while teaching her students advanced research methods. For more information about Intel education research, please contact or visit:www.intel.com/education/evidenceofimpact. 1

2 Though most teachers surveyed were highly experienced with on average years in the classroom, over 95% of participants reported learning something new. While in the midst of the Data course, Gwen was inspired to try a new activity with her students on the topic of bullying. Her class had read several books involving bullying over the school year, since the topic had become a major focus at her school. Gwen created an activity involving her students in research on being a bully and what it was like to be a victim of a bully. The students created a survey about bullying and went out in teams to collect replies from teachers, administrators and students in the school. Bringing this survey data back to class, students used the tools provided to Gwen in the Data course to critically reflect on and analyze the results. For her students, Gwen felt this activity was powerful. She noted that, we didn t quite know if everybody would tell the truth. But it seems like middle school kids are pretty blunt. Students learned how much it hurts to be a victim, how much more of it must be going on than you think, and all the subtle ways it can take place. A possibility she is excited about is having her students use technology to connect with students in other schools to continue the research. Students could share the survey online and see if bullying is the same somewhere else, which would be fascinating. In this way and others, the Elements courses are helping Gwen and fellow teachers overcome the challenges of limited resources at her school, where field trip funds are scarce. The Intel Teach Elements courses model blended and online learning for teachers interested in developing new skills in key areas such as project-based activities, student-centered instruction, selfdirected learning and collaboration, and using technology to support learning. In addition, the courses provide a variety of assessment tools to evaluate student progress in critical thinking, collaboration and other 21 st century skills. Teachers collaborate online, strengthen their professional networks, provide support to colleagues and sustain the application of new practices. Using online tools and resources, they create lessons and assessments aligned to challenging common core and state standards. The Intel courses are offering a new, 21 st century way of training teachers in every aspect of Pre K 12 education. With such an impact on a technologically savvy teacher like Gwen, one can only imagine how courses might influence and benefit other educators. 2

3 Confidence in the Classroom A 2012 study of teachers who had taken Intel courses proves their effectiveness: About 60 percent said their understanding of the key impact areas had been deepened. Though most teachers surveyed were highly experienced with on average years in the classroom, over 95% of participants reported learning something new. A follow-up study conducted in 2013 also revealed very positive feedback regarding the learning experience provided by the Intel Teach Elements courses. Ninety-six percent reported completing all of the modules and lessons in their course, anticipated using the new strategies in their classrooms, and would recommend the course to others. Understanding a teaching practice or approach can be quite different from feeling ready to use it one s own classroom. However, most teachers also said their confidence in the effectiveness of their teaching had been positively impacted to a large or great extent. One teacher described how changes in her understanding, along with tools provided in the course, provided confidence to change her teaching practice. Since I started teaching so long ago, I come from this traditional background of I m the boss, and we follow a rigorous schedule, and we learn a lot. And I had to practice and try, and find out it really worked as a collaboration aspect in groups, she said. I was always afraid to do that, but Intel gives you the tools to manage it. They re really, really good tools to manage it. You watch them and you have checklists. They (students) have rubrics, and they know what s expected. Collaboration like that was a change for me in my kind of classroom. Keeping up with the kids Many students lives today are filled with technology that gives them mobile access to information and resources 24/7, enables them to create multimedia content and share it with the world, and allows them to participate in online social networks where people from all over the world share ideas, collaborate, and learn new things. Outside school, students are free to pursue their passions in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless, borderless, and instantaneous. The challenge for our education system is to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students daily lives and the reality of their futures. In contrast to traditional classroom instruction, this requires that we put students at the center and empower them to take control of their own learning by providing flexibility on several dimensions.* *National Education Technology Plan 2010, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. /files/netp2010-execsumm.pdf 3

4 Intel gave you so many good ideas Implementing new practices After a training course, teachers might understand a new practice and feel confident about doing it, but they may or may not put it to use in their daily work. Among the teachers who reported on classroom practices, one-third to one-half of those who participate in an Elements course report their classroom practices to be different the subsequent year. Almost all teachers (92 percent) said the courses positively impacted their teaching strategies and practices to a moderate to great extent. One teacher said the practices from her Elements course have become part of my curriculum. In fact I keep a strategy list in my lesson plan book. Just because you need that constant reminder of, OK, oh wait a minute, I m not really pushing their thinking right now. How can I ratchet up this lesson? she said. A high school business teacher said they had their class create digital portfolios for the first time. And I probably should have done it before now. It was a group task that I changed based on the course I took, they said. In addition to changes in learning activities, teachers save and return to the resources they received in their Elements course(s), which made a difference in their teaching practice. One teacher said her Elements course provided checklists and rubrics and things that yes, if I had all the time in the world, could I create those? I probably could, I probably could come up with them. But having them there, that I could look at and go, oh wait, I could change this and this and that would be perfect for my class. The collaboration rubric, the critical thinking rubric, the problem-solving one, there s several different checklists that I use with my kids... I love the fact that they re worded in a very student-friendly way. My kids use the checklists all the time. Some practices teachers learn in an Elements course are easy to implement without administrative or technical support. However, not all schools are able to meet the same standards for technology in the classroom. Elements courses still lead to changes in the classroom, even when technology limitations exist. One teacher said, Intel 4

5 gave you so many good ideas, about how to integrate technology when there is only one computer available to in the classroom. Some teachers said they struggled with implementation and maintaining new practices and tools regularly. Finding the time to incorporate new changes was difficult, one teacher said. The biggest thing is time. That s the biggest challenge. Assessing Students All children are different, and many learn in vastly different styles, speeds and tempos. Some students sit in class wracked with boredom because the lesson is moving too slow, or their relearning information they already know. Others are left behind quickly and some feel unable to ask for help. Across the board, the most significant impact of the Elements courses was that teachers could now better assess student thinking and skills. Almost 70 percent agreed their understanding in this realm had been deepened to a large or great extent. By understanding their students better, teachers can teach more effectively. The way that the Intel class works is that the peer assessment and the instruction on how to do that actually helps me, as a teacher, know that the child that s assessing understands the concepts, they said. The teacher used the course material to design surveys that helped show whether students were following the lesson. I did that in several classes where I changed that so that the assessments were designed where the kids had to know the concepts or they wouldn t be able to assess their peers. The right fit Many teachers have plenty of options when it comes to professional training courses, seminars, workshops, and everything in between. Teachers who participated in Intel Elements courses said it was the right fit because of the focus, style, quality, convenience and low cost. Teachers said they liked the flexibility of an all-online course. One said, I really do like that I can get up at 3:00 a.m. and work on it on my own time, and if I travel I can take a laptop with me and keep up. The way that the Intel class works is that the peer assessment and the instruction on how to do that actually helps me, as a teacher, know that the child that s assessing understands the concepts, 5

6 Other teachers said it was important that the courses were not generic or just theory, but an active learning experience. One teacher said she was looking for training that specifically addressed assessment, and after two Master s programs she still hadn t experienced coursework that addressed this topic. She said the Elements course had provided the specifics she was seeking. Other teachers said it was important that the courses were not generic or just theory, but an active learning experience. A lot of the things that I had gone to previously were very theory-based. That s great, but I ve been in education a long time, I know the theory. I want the hands-on; let me make the unit, let me do it. Like the teachers quoted above, good educators are passionate about being the best teacher they can be for their students. No matter how great a teacher or school system s intentions and commitment to excellence, the reality is many schools just do not have the funds for extras like training courses. There are so many opportunities, and with budgets shrinking, when you can do an online course as opposed to traveling to a conference where you miss a day of instruction in the classroom, said a school leader. I m paying for mileage. I m paying for meals. I m paying for a hotel. I m paying for registration. So by the ability to do online training and online classes, it really brings those costs down as well as a better use of staff hours. Both of the school leaders interviewed were considering asking some of their teachers to participate in Elements courses, and while the quality of the experience with the Elements courses was critical, the expense was another important factor that made this plan possible. 6

7 Almost Missed Opportunity Like Mari, many educators might be facing a gap or missed opportunities to better support student learning and not even realize it. Teachers who participated in Elements courses reported they were not seeking out trainings. Instead, news of relevant Intel trainings reached them. Some teachers benefited from the courses by filling a gap they did not even know they needed to fill. Intel s courses help to prevent kids (and teachers) from falling behind. I think when I saw the opportunity and I saw the list of classes to take, then I was like. Wow, you know, I could really probably use something like that, a teacher said. Every parent wants the best education possible for their children. To many teachers around the world, Elements courses offer a chance to improve their effectiveness as teachers and help prepare students for the new demands of working in the highly networked, technology-based 21 st Century. Intel Education Initiative The Intel Education Initiative is Intel s sustained commitment to prepare all students, everywhere, with the skills required to thrive in the knowledge economy by improving teaching and learning through the effective use of technology, and advancing math, science and engineering education and research. Through a sustained public-private partnership with educators and governments in more than 50 countries, Intel works with international organizations and governments at an international, national, and local level and invests approximately USD 100 million per year in education programs adapted to address the needs of each country to advocate for 21st century educational excellence through policy work and awareness efforts. For more information visit: For more information on the Intel Teach Elements, visit: Copyright 2014 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved. Intel and the Intel Education logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Individual projects of Intel Education are funded by Intel Foundation and Intel Corporation. *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. Printed in USA Please Recycle 7

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