A Technology Course for Thoughtful Educators
You know learning.
It comes from your training, your hard-earned experience, and your gut.
You can tell the difference between a student who needs a different explanation and one who just needs to talk.
You know which strategies work and how to tweak them to make them work even better.
You know what it looks like when a lightbulb goes off in a student’s head.
These are things technology can’t replace.
They can only come from you.
You also understand that real learning is messy.
It’s unpredictable, hard to control, in need of constant adjustment.
If we hand it over to students, it’s not going to be perfect. And that’s exactly as it should be.
And if it’s going to stick, really stick, students can’t just be staring at screens. They have to interact. They have to create.
They have to move.
So when you use technology, you want it to support real learning.
You don’t need the coolest, newest tool out there.
You want the one that really works for your students.
You don’t just want to plug your students into devices and forget about them.
You want the tech to help them become even better versions of who they are.
You don’t want to use tech to simply replace the things you already do.
You want it to enable you and your students to do things you could never do before.
Tall order, no?
That’s where we come in.
JumpStart is a self-paced online technology course for the thoughtful educator.
By guiding you through a series of hands-on projects, this course will give you the confidence and skills you need to make smart choices about the tech you use in your teaching.
What tools will you learn?
Actually, we’re not looking at it from a “tool” perspective.
Tools come and go, and features constantly change. So instead of starting by looking for the right tool, it’s more effective to start with processes, specific ways of using technology that can be applied in a variety of classroom situations. Once you understand a process and how it can boost learning, you can explore the tools that put that process into action.
So that’s how we’re going to do it.
In this course, you will learn 10 key processes that can have an incredible impact on how you teach, how your students learn, how you collaborate and communicate with others, and the time it takes to do it all.
After you learn each process and how it can enhance your classroom work, you’ll complete a hands-on project to practice that process with one tool. As you finish each module, you’ll be able to transfer that process to your own classroom, using the same tool or another one of your choosing.
Module 1: Basic Blogging
A blog or website is one of the most flexible and essential tools for learning in the 21st century. First, we’ll look at all the ways you and your students can use a blogging tool to create spectacular websites. Then you’ll use Edublogs to create your own blog that will showcase all of your projects in the course.
Module 2: Online Collaboration
Student learning is turbo-charged when we add collaboration, and educators need regular opportunities to learn from one another, but time and space limit our ability to collaborate as often as we’d like. In this module, you have a choice between Slack and Padlet to create your own online space for powerful professional and student collaboration.
Module 3: Digital Mind Mapping
Research supports the use of visuals for making meaning, and mind mapping is one powerful way to do it. In this module, you will explore how mind maps can be used for instruction, problem solving, even assessment. Then you’ll use Sketchboard or Lucidchart develop a mind mapping assignment and complete it as if you were the student.
Module 4: Curation
The ability to thoughtfully curate resources has become a crucial skill in the information age. In this module, you will consider how this process can really put students’ higher-order thinking to use, then use Wakelet to create a curation task with a finished student sample.
Module 5: Screencasting
Once you know how to record videos from your computer screen–also known as screencasting–you will find dozens of uses for it in your teaching. In this module, you will use Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify to create your own screencast tutorial.
Module 6: Slideshows
We use slideshows to teach all the time, but many slideshows could use a lot of improvement! In this module you’ll learn some principles for clean, clear slideshow design, then you’ll create your own Google Slides presentation following these principles.
Module 7: Digital Assessment
Assessing students before, during, and after instruction takes a heck of a lot of time if you’re doing it right. Digital tools can help teachers dramatically increase the amount and quality of their assessments without needing a lot of extra time. In this module, you will use the Quiz feature in Google Forms to create a simple multiple-choice assessment.
Module 8: Blended Learning
If students can get the same direct instruction digitally that they’d typically get in person, then we free up class time to do more hands-on, engaging things. In this module, you’ll choose between using Google Slides to create a single flipped lesson or a HyperDoc to create a stand-alone mini-unit.
Module 9: QR Codes
Once you’ve seen how powerful and flexible these little squares can be and how ridiculously easy they are to use, you’ll find all kinds of ways to put them to work in your own teaching. In this module, you’ll create two classroom resources using QR codes to enhance them.
Module 10: Basic Podcasting
Although producing a podcast series can be time-consuming, making a simple audio recording couldn’t be easier. In this module, you’ll explore how to take a simple audio recording and apply it in the classroom in 10 different ways. Then you’ll create your own recording to reflect on your work in the course. An intermediate option takes you through the steps of producing a real podcast.
Next, you’ll review your project checklist to understand the requirements of your hands-on project. For most projects, an advanced option has been added to offer extra challenge to those who master the process easily.
Then it’s time to dig into your hands-on project. You’ll watch a series of step-by-step video tutorials to learn how to do it.
When your project is complete, you’ll share it in a blog post. A sample blog, with all ten modules complete, is provided to help you get a clear picture of what your final project should look like.
Who is this course for?
JumpStart is for anyone who is ready to take a serious step toward making better use of technology. Tech novices will grow more confident in their understanding of key technology processes and tools. Those who are tech-intermediate will fill in some of their knowledge and skill gaps, finishing the course with a stronger foundation. And tech experts can use this course to enhance the work they do to support others.
Get all the JumpStart course materials, plus the support and accountability of a community. JumpStart Plus is only open for enrollment five times a year: Please click here to view the enrollment periods and find a cohort that fits your schedule.
With this option, you take the course on your own, at whatever pace works for you.
- Get started as soon as you enroll.
- Work at your own pace.
- Perfect for educators seeking individual growth.
- Add accountability and support by taking the course with friends or colleagues.
- Perfect for departments, grade-level teams, or PLCs.
- Learn how group licenses work.
- Get the best per-user rate AND an accountability boost by working in a large group.
- Schools should choose this option and purchase licenses in batches of 10.
- Learn how group licenses work.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will this course be open for enrollment?
What happens after I enroll?
How long do I have access to the course?
Is this course run by an instructor?
JumpStart Basic is a self-paced online course, which means you don’t get grades, have scheduled class times, or meet directly with the instructor.
JumpStart Plus takes the self-paced course and adds community support: You work through the course on a 6-week schedule with a cohort of other students, and you have lifetime access to the JumpStart community, where a team of experienced mentors are there to answer your questions.
Can I get PD credit for this course?
Because every district has different criteria for awarding professional development credit, I am not able to issue any kind of universally recognized credit for this course. I can, however, issue a certificate of completion for those who can demonstrate that they have done all of the modules. The certificate indicates that 50 hours of work were completed–this refers to 50 regular hours of time, not credit hours. This certificate does NOT guarantee that you will be granted credit by your district; you will need to submit the certificate to your district for approval.
What if I don't meet the deadlines or finish the modules in JumpStart Plus?
If you don’t meet the deadlines we have set for you, you can either just finish up on your own schedule or join another cohort…even if it’s a year later! Just get in touch with us so we know you’ll be joining us.
If I have trouble completing the work in JumpStart Basic, can I join JumpStart Plus later?
Absolutely! Just contact us and we’ll arrange for you to pay the difference, then you’ll be added to the next available JumpStart Plus cohort.
Do I need to purchase the Teacher's Guide to Tech with this course?
I am not currently teaching. Will I still get something out of this course?
I would like to take this course with a group. Do you offer multi-user discounts?
I am a teacher educator. Can I use this course to teach my students?
Do you accept purchase orders?
Yes! We accept purchase orders from U.S. customers for any order of $25 and over; for international customers, the minimum amount for a purchase order is $99. To generate a quote for a purchase order, please fill out this form and someone from our team will contact you with an invoice.