Christiansen Institute blog article written by Thomas Arnett
The Christiansen Institute is a respected research-based leader in Disruptive Innovation at all levels. In addition to a blog subscription, the Christiansen Institute offers free resources, research and other valuable tools for today’s ever-changing world. You can find more at: christenseninstitute.org
When I first read the headline from the Christensen Institute blog in September I was immediately intrigued. I have been considering the headline for a few weeks as I work with CA BOCES districts and teachers in my role as Distance Learning Coordinator. I also admit that I read the article with the lens of a working parent of a student who is learning at a distance 3 days a week this school year. I have had many conversations within my different roles over this article as I digest the contents of this blog.
No doubt distance learning has it challenges for our students, families, teachers and administrators. The list of challenges is great, but some of those challenges have been met or at least lessened since the start of this school year. Many districts have increased the availability of devices and internet access providing some relief for families and students in our most remote/rural areas. Three districts have created opportunities for fully remote elementary level students using a combination of an online content provider and digital resources from our Digital Media CoSer. In all three districts the students were provided school issued devices and have academic support from an assigned New York State certified teacher in the district. Two of the three districts have a similar arrangement for students in grades 6-12. These examples, in addition to the numerous students that are receiving online courses at the middle and secondary levels provide insight into how distance learning may be better for kids. They also show how distance learning is meeting the needs of the students and families that are restricted from face to face attendance at school, but still allow for developmentally appropriate academic content to be provided.
The article goes on to mention some of the benefits of fully remote learning that some, I hope many, students are experiencing. Among those benefits are, having families more involved in student learning. Having the time outside of school to explore more than is possible during a typical school day, like watching the stars at night, following up on assigned learning activities that the families are more aware of and can elaborate on. These examples, and more, coupled with the amazing adjustment teachers made to their face to face environments to make them more accessible and digital for remote learning have made distance learning better for students.
Providing access to learning when face to face isn’t an option is a workable alternative. Is it better for all students? Maybe, maybe not. At CA BOCES Distance Learning we have options for consideration that may make it better for students. I will leave it to you to answer the question, are kids are better off with distance learning?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
For me, blended learning has always been a necessity because it adds another element of creativity, provides otherwise unreachable resources, and promotes collaboration in education. It also allows for multiple kinds of learning environments to help differentiate instruction. Moving from brick-and-mortar classrooms and blended learning to solely online education was not where I thought I was heading when I set out to be a teacher years ago, but it has changed my perception of what learning looks like and also made me a more flexible and mindful curriculum designer. When I started, there were some undeniably frustrating days. How do I reach students? How do I keep them engaged? How do I know they are learning? As I progressed, I reminded myself, these are the questions every teacher must face every year no matter how the curriculum is presented. There are simply different ways of observing what is successful and who needs support. It is up to us as educators to develop a course design that encourages and provides resources to foster the best possible learning experience for every student no matter what way the curriculum is presented.
And then COVID-19 happened. Even though I am an online educator with my curriculum housed in Moodle, I still was not ready for this challenge. Although not a typical to an online teaching experience, I was used to meeting with my students whenever possible to check in, to see facial expressions, and make personal connections. That loss was palpable.
These changes have made it apparent how valuable it is for educators to be able to go seamlessly from an in-person to online to offline experience. Of course, few if any are there yet, but I think this needs to be part of our new-found educational literacy in the teaching world. The set-up is difficult, but the results are undeniably valuable now and even when we are back in classrooms.
Setting up our classrooms to be both online and in person, having that flexibility, is important for students who are at home because they are on medical leave, for parents wanting to check in, for collaboration with colleagues, students, and parents, and for having a supply of back-up resources ready for every situation. It’s valuable for substitute teachers. It’s valuable for teachers in the moment who need to differentiate instruction. Here are some scenarios. Did Johnny fail a test on algebra? I have a tutorial for that. Did Anika struggle with synonyms? I have an interactive video for that. Today, I need to have individual meetings with my students, but I want anyone not meeting with me to work on another assignment. There’s a simple solution because there are projects, readings, and activities ready to go in their online course. As it happens, this online course also hosts audio files, transcripts, and has printable and downloadable materials so that students without internet can take materials home on their school provided device or to their personal computer. Do I need my student to catch up on a lesson, unit, or semester they need to retake? Well, I have a credit recovery options available. Are a few students way ahead? That’s great because I can open a section in my online course that has extra resources, so the student remains engaged. I can do all of this because I already have my collection of tools, resources, curriculum, and my course designed in an online space where students and parents can go to seek guidance, examples, and choose the next step in their educational experience.
Many educators have gradually started this process well before now and have some online space set aside with supplementary materials, lesson plan outlines, and activities. but most of us were not ready to teach everything this way. And for classes like welding and physical education, there may not be experiences that compare with hands-on education until we get advanced virtual reality capabilities, but there are still detailed and complementary online curriculums that can reinforce previous or prepare for future educational experiences. The good thing is that we have a lot of tools to make online education a wonderful addition to our classrooms, even if we don’t yet have the infrastructure.
I work in distance learning at CA BOCES, so I know that through Learning Resources, it’s possible to find content for all types of classes – core, electives, AP, honors, CTE, and credit recovery. This is an invaluable tool chest because educators are juggling so much right now. We don’t have time to transfer all of our content into an online compatible form, try to reach all of our students at home, learn new technologies on the fly, continue to teach regular classes, prepare new material, and learn how to set up a course immediately all while keeping up with our own families. We have all tried and as successful as possible, but if you’re like me there is always more that’s possible and always a way to improve. If your district belongs to the DL COSER, CA BOCES might be able to help provide pre-made curriculum and as educators, we can supplement with our own material until we have time to create our own online classes.
I’ve found that the curriculum is excellent. It was created by education experts and is updated regularly to make sure that it’s current. Further, it includes resources that would take teachers months to gather. When I’ve used it, I’ve kept what I like, and added my own materials based on my expertise. Maybe as a teacher, I know that I have a better assessment or direct instruction, or my co-teacher has personal experiences that are invaluable to the learning experience, so I add those into my course. Maybe it’s clear that you know exactly how to engage your students, so you replace or add to the provider’s content with your own short videos. There are so many options and what I’ve learned using online content is that I don’t have to do everything. I can rely on my strengths, my knowledge of students and their lives, and my ability to tailor the best educational experience for students and I don’t have sacrifice parts when something unexpected happens. And to add to that, I can reach out to specialists at CA BOCES and get wonderful professional development on how to work in Moodle or another online platform, to help me make changes to my courses, to implement new digital resources, and to be ready in this interconnected and blended world. That is truly a blessing during this time of change and unpredictability.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
We are always looking for ways to improve our Moodle instance and this spring has been no different. We have added two features that will provide additional support for our students and out teachers. ReadSpeaker and DocReader are both available for student support. Intelliboard offers data reports that will support teachers as they monitor student engagement with the course content. You will find more information about each in the paragraphs below.
ReadSpeaker is a block that will appear on each page of your course. You may need to change the Appearance of your course if you don’t see any blocks. Clean is a good option if you need to make a change. Contact Karen Insley or Carrie Oliver if you need any help with changing the appearance.
The DocReader icon will appear automatically to the right of any document you have in your course. This will read any document, allow students to highlight text and make notes from the highlighted text and much more.
Here are the links to the playlists and the downloadable package.
Intelliboard will appear as the Instructor Dashboard on the left hand side of the teacher’s screen, near where your courses are listed. When you select the Instructor Dashboard you will see a visual representation of student interaction and engagement. There are also reports that you can select from for each of your courses. The resources below will give you further guidance on what is available and how to access it as a valuable resource for you.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like some training!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
With the pause created by the Covid 19 pandemic, the Learning Resources department is, now more than ever, responsive to our districts needs.
By: Alex Free, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Wow! That’s about all I can say.
Our ISS team has been working around the clock to be “part of the solution” as our districts work to provide home instruction to students. We quickly realized we could help our region prepare for home instruction by doing what we do best, providing online professional development to regional educators.
Over the past eight days, we have convened job-alike educators in online sessions (viz Zoom technology) to share how districts will provide home instruction, to learn new methods and technology tools, and to serve as a "support group" for teachers who are, like their students, trying to make sense of what is happening in our world.
Our first sessions were packed with teachers working from home. And each day since, attendance has grown. So far, 2,641 participants have signed into sessions!
Working online has been so very rewarding. Our facilitators “passed the mic” to almost every teacher to build community with a large groups of strangers. It has been amazing to see our region at kitchen tables and in living rooms trying to take a step forward…and, as you know, any step forward right now feels so good. We have heard time after time the resolve that teachers have to attempt to connect with their students and to continue their learning. It has been so inspiring.
Our support will continue through this journey with new sessions starting on Tuesday (3/31). Contact your local administrator for our session schedule and connection information.
By: Tim Cox, CA BOCES ISS
Teachers and students in the Cattaraugus and Allegany County region have all-access to many high-quality online resources. Check out our guide. All resources can be accessed at http://resources.caboces.org Contact anyone on our team for username and password assistance.
All Access Content Includes:
It seems so much of our world has gone online and so many of us are using Zoom more than ever before. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share some of Zoom’s security features so that any of your hosted meetings are as secure as you’d like them to be.
There are many settings worth exploring. And, there is a great team of people that can help you navigate these features. Feel free to reach out to anyone on our team for assistance:
By Tim Cox, CA BOCES ISS
Did you know that as a part of the Distance Learning CoSer, you have access to 200+ K-12 virtual field trips already scheduled and most are recorded? These virtual field trips are from top fee-based providers scheduled out in advance for you to register for using your school email address. How amazing is that? All you need is a computer with internet access, smartboard or projector, and speakers. Set up is easy!
FieldTrip Zoom Zone is the live event calendar where you “tune into” live educational broadcast with many other classrooms and interact in real time via the chatbox feature in zoom. How do you access Fieldtrip Zoom? Just follow the simple steps below:
Step 1: Register Your Account
Once logged in, you can navigate to your FieldTrip Zoom Zone calendar of subject areas. Also, you can search for programs by grade range and subject area by clicking from the search menu. Click on any subject area to expand to the program details.
**Make sure you are in the Zone calendar (not class) when booking events.**
Step 3: Book Your Event
Check out the upcoming events for March on FieldTrip Zoom:
For questions or assistance with Fieldtrip zoom zone, please contact Carrie Oliver.
To see a preview of what the FieldTrip zoom events look like, check out this recorded session: https://player.vimeo.com/video/393456875
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Recently we were asked if it was possible to record a CTE Program class for a student that was facing a medical issue that is preventing them from attending the class on a regular basis in the traditional fashion. Our immediate response was, “Sure!”. Then we started asking questions and learning more about the classroom set up and the technology the student had access to at home. Of course, our CA BOCES Distance Learning Tech Support, the CTE Program administration and the course teacher were involved every step of the way. In addition, the students in the class and the effected student also played integral roles. This was a true team effort!
I am proud to announce that we succeeded, albeit after several tried attempts! We have a system in place that is user friendly for the students and teacher, capitalizes on the technology available to our CA BOCES region and the student is able to learn the theory and see the practical skills being taught...however as soon as the student is able to return to the classroom, he/she has to catch up on practicing the practical skills they were able to be exposed too but not able to practice or tested on.
Basic equipment needed for such a venture include: a computer, a speaker, a microphone and at least one camera. We used Zoom software to connect and record the videos and are using Office 365 Sharepoint link to share the recorded sessions. In addition, the recorded video links, teacher created PowerPoints and other documents are available to students via Moodle.
How can we use distance learning to overcome obstacles in student learning?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Districts are gearing up for the holiday season by traveling to the North Pole. You heard that right. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Pioneer, West Valley, Fillmore, and Salamanca will be traveling Around the World with Santa and spending time with Mrs. Claus this season, right in their classrooms! These are just some of the types of trips available from the Distance Learning Department.
Christmas trips not really your thing? Randolph is participating in the classic Gingerbread Boy Virtual Experience from the Center of Puppetry Arts. We also have classroom collaborations like “Brown Bear” for elementary, or Career Connection Conversations for high school students that are all free to attend. December’s Career Conversation is with Meme Yanetsko of the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. These free collaborations are brought to you by the New York State Distance Learning Consortium. The NYSDLC offers out a classroom collaboration for elementary and a Career Conversation session monthly for free for being a part of Distance Learning. Is there a topic you want to see in the offering? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas to benefit our teachers.
We can find a virtual field trip experience for just about any topic that you come up with. We try our best to provide free/low cost opportunities that work with your curriculum. For more information or to schedule a Virtual Field Trip contact Carrie Oliver at email@example.com.
To see upcoming events check out the flyer here: https://www.smore.com/40vj6-upcoming-virtual-field-trips
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Have you ever taken an online course? Do you have any idea what is available in the catalogues of online providers? Well… I sure didn’t have any idea of the range of availability to our students. I entered into a new position this school year with Instructional Support Services Division as a Distance Learning teacher for Learning Resources, and let me share with you that I am very excited and in awe of what I can now help offer to our students through CABOCES. Even amongst all of the overwhelming moments that the new school year brings I am HOOKED ONLINE and sinker!!
As I started being introduced to the inclusions of the position, I began to realize all that was available and waiting for students to utilize. The course catalogues, with content areas across the board, displayed on the website and promising to enhance the educational experience in addition to the core and elective selections offered within their district. I would encourage you to take a moment and browse the listings, share it with your friends, coworkers, even your children at home. The students are supported through the Learning Resources department with any technical difficulties or questions as well as communications with course instructors as needed. It gives the students more choices, individual learning skillbuilding, and support as needed. What more could they want ?? 😊
I look forward to working with all the students in all the districts who are taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. If you have not done so already, take time to check out the long list of opportunities available to our students. Pass the line (HAHA).... and enjoy the atmosphere of being HOOKED ONLINE for learning.
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
It has been a busy summer and start of the school year for the Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES and our districts that purchase the 420 CoSer. We are hosting or receiving ten video conference courses that involve ten of our CA BOCES regional schools, one school from Erie 2 BOCES and two schools from Central New York. Installation of Zoom video conference equipment from the 2017 RUS Grant is complete along with upgrades within buildings as requested.
Two highlights from Distance Learning Makeovers in districts:
Scio has two different, but very similar systems. They made over their Polycom Distance Learning Room with a Zoom Room featuring two 55” screen displays and Zoom video conference equipment. In addition they made over their Polycom portable carts with a Zoom Cart which also has a dual display and the Zoom video conference equipment. Scio is offering and receiving four video conference courses this fall. The pictures below show the Zoom Room equipment in the made over Scio Distance Learning Room.
Belfast has remade their Polycom Distance Learning Room with a Zoom Room and has installed equipment and is utilizing Zoom video conference software in three additional classrooms. These makeovers allow Belfast to host and receive five video conference courses this fall. Pictures below show two Belfast classrooms that had a makeover using Zoom.
Like most home remodels, a Distance Learning makeover it isn’t always on time or without its challenges. Our tech support has been instrumental in helping overcome hurdles and challenges. That said, we are also learning how to best use Zoom to enhance learning and teaching. Kudos to our CA BOCES tech support for doing research and finding solutions and to our distance learning teachers across the region for taking a risk and innovating their classrooms as the technology available to them enhances learning.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
We have been busy with two new improvements in Moodle this summer.
First, we have upgraded our Moodle site to version 3.6. New features in Moodle include:
Second, we have partnered with Intelliboard to provide Moodle instructors with a dashboard that will display course information. Intelliboard offers an abundance of instant data from your course which provides instructors with real time data on student progress, completed assignments, and a big picture view of the course. Reports can be generated that provide detailed and specific information about the course and the participating students.
Both of these improvements are value added to our already free Moodle site.
You can learn more about any of these at our Moodle Users workshop on Wednesday, August 28th or contact Karen Insley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for the workshop, have your district representative register you at: www.register.caboces.org.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Moodle is a learning management system that is free, supported locally and readily available to component districts in the Distance Learning CoSer. Not only can you share documents or artifacts in your course, but you can add journals, discussion boards, videos, quizzes/tests, poll and much more to encourage interaction between you and your students, your students and the content, and student to student. Moodle will even grade assignments for you, after you set up the assignment to do so. To learn more about how to access Moodle or how it could benefit you and your students contact Karen Insley: email@example.com. You can also access Moodle via guest access at moodle.caboces.org/demo and log in as a guest.
Current uses of Moodle across our region:
Future uses of Moodle across our region:
How will you use Moodle to benefit your students and yourself?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Would you like to connect you students to an expert in your field, have your students experience something specific to your content area, or extend a topic? What about a really cool review activity that you don't have to create or manage? Then look no further! For districts that participate in the Distance and Online Learning CoSer 420, you have the world at your fingertips. We offer virtual field trips for all grade levels and content areas. We will even take care of the tech connections for you! Here are some examples of what is available:
The Constitution at Work
Flagler's Flippers Fins and Fun Facts
Science of Seeking Snacks: Learn About Your Senses Through Mantis Research
Homestead Act of 1862
Ship to Shore- EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas Virtual Field Trip
America's Signs & Symbols
For more information and other suggestions for virtual field trips, contact:
Have you thought about connecting your class to an expert in the field, but don't know where to start? There are plenty of FREE and bee-based trips for you to choose from. Simply follow the easy steps below to open the doors for your class.
What are you waiting for? Imagine your class interacting with a zoologist, a park ranger, or a musician…all from the comfort of your school!
It’s a new year and CA BOCES’ is releasing its new online course catalog for electives and core courses for the Spring 2019 semester, bringing updated information and an easy guide to signing your students up for online courses.
The online department has been growing and perfecting its offerings for over a decade. Through that process, the distance learning team has searched for the best possible classes to offer students residing throughout Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. The team is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to make sure that students in this region can compete with college-ready students across the nation, including having the technological skills and online interactions necessary to compete in today’s world.
Literacy is an invaluable tool, and digital literacies are a vital part of that. Educators are responsible for teaching this aspect of education as much as any other both ethically and as emphasized through the ESSA guidelines and funding opportunities for school districts. According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, “Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning” and “can help […] reinvent our approaches to learning and collaboration, shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps, and adapt learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.” Accordingly, students who have opportunities in online education learn how to participate in discussion forums, online collaboration, and digital assignment submission. Further, students receive feedback in a digital format (video responses, interactive comments, and email to name a few), develop self-advocacy skills, and experience giving online presentations and conducting online research. Through all these experiences, they become adept and fluent contributors and collaborators in a digital learning environment.
Looking into our students’ futures, online courses are part of most college and university programs. As educators, we have an obligation to make sure that students are ready to navigate all types of course content and structures, learn to communicate in a fully digital realm, and have a firm grasp of online etiquette in order to be prepared for their future college classes in an ever-expanding digital world. Offering online classes to our students in high school, means that they will have a guided experience with a mentor, have the flexibility to develop their own online learning style, and have the safety of someone to assist if the need arises, unlike in many college environments where students are on their own to figure out the details AND to succeed in an online environment with often costly outcomes if they are unsuccessful.
Knowledge gained in online classes is essential both from the experience of learning in an online environment and from the strategies acquired to learn in a different. These skillsets are broad and range from practicing collaboration needed work with a team in most occupational environments to knowing online platforms enough to attend Harvard’s next online business course. Students will be ready to compete for college acceptance letters and job markets because they have had a chance to experience online learning in a high school setting.
For more information about online learning, video conference courses, or credit recovery options, please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Imagine, if you can, a world where teachers are given choice in their professional development, where they lead their own research and collaborate with others to hone their craft. You wouldn’t have to imagine too much if you are familiar with the Collaborative Research and Development Professional Development instituted by the administrative team at the Wellsville Secondary School of Mary Ellen O’Connell (Secondary Principal), Jason Mank (Assistant Principal) and Rick Bull (Assistant Principal).
After some initial planning and collaboration by the administrative team, Mary Ellen contacted me with the idea and from there we created a Moodle course on Poverty around Poor Students, Rich Teaching by Eric Jensen, a FlipGrid component (thanks to Mark Beckwith for this idea and support) for reflection and as an instructional classroom tool. The team’s vision was to create opportunities for teachers to select to collaborate with others in their building around their four main initiatives for the year poverty, assessment, PBL and positive relationships with students and families.
Teachers may be researching and collaborating around something they saw at a BOCES workshop, or a conference or that they read about and want to dig into deeper. Mary Ellen created the opportunity for that research to happen for them by replacing three faculty meetings with three hours of collaborative research and development with a requirement to use FlipGrid to share their learning and reflect on their practice. Teachers have four checkpoints (30-60 second videos) along the way where they get to share their learning and how they apply new knowledge their classroom practice.
To date, the administrative team has seen an increase in general collaboration among colleagues, an increase in FlipGrid use as an instructional tool by teachers in their classrooms and a deeper dive by teachers into areas of interest based on instruction or content. Mary Ellen stated “The engagement and interaction on FlipGrid has been unbelievable! We have only completed two of the four “checkpoints” and already my faculty has accumulated 3,500 views and over 21 hours of time online learning from each other’s research. It is clear they enjoy learning from each other’s experiences and research. I’m also very sure they love not attending traditional faculty meetings and they are having fun with the flipGrid format.”
If you had a chance to read the ASCD Educational Leadership journal When Teachers Lead their Own Learning in November 2018 you can note some of the same elements (choice, flexibility, personalization) from those articles in the work that the administrative team from the Wellsville Secondary School has created for their building. Change can be good!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
The distance learning team at CA BOCES, including Christina McGee, Justine Lombardi, and Karen Insley, have been busy traveling all over the region getting students enrolled in credit accrual and credit recovery courses. Students have a chance to increase the breadth of their transcripts, develop interests, try out vocational fields, and develop skillsets that can’t be offered within their districts. Further, if students are on medical leave or injured, they can keep up with their curriculum, and even with gym classes, in an online setting. Students also have opportunities to recover lessons, units, quarters, and semesters through the CA BOCES credit recovery program, meaning that students can catch up before they need further interventions. The CA BOCES team offers courses through seven different providers, including courses taught by our own teachers, Christina McGee and Justine Lombardi.
The most popular courses this year are Sociology, Health, Forensic Science, Marine Science, Physical Education, Spanish, Careers in Criminal Justice, English 10, Introduction to Military Careers, Physics, and Psychology. Students are also learning about astronomy, sports marketing, digital art, 3D Modeling and animation, world religions, mythology and folklore, social problems facing the world, and many other notable studies.
For more information please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
A truly successful schooling experience for students starts with a healthy and supportive school climate. Above all else, when students know they are cared for, they can truly focus on their educational experience and learning all that they can. Two staff developers and over thirty teachers and administrators from around the region took it upon themselves to collaborate and discuss ways to make positive changes to their school climates to better the learning experience of our students!
In late spring, Tessa Levitt and I had an idea to do a professional book study around a book we were both highly interested in ourselves, Lead with Culture, from author and Principal Jay Billy. This book is one of the Dave Burgess Publishing Company’s titles, made famous from the Like A Pirate series of books. We discussed different methods for how we wanted to approach this book study, and we both knew we wanted to try something “unconventional” in the sense of our current professional development opportunities.
We eventually decided that with it being summer and all, we wanted any participation to be completely voluntary from those interested in the book study. We also wanted to harness the power of the summer, and conduct the book study from an online platform, where participants wouldn’t need to physically be all in the same place to share ideas, discuss topics, and raise their questions to one another. In the end, we created a Facebook group, #BOCESLeads Summer Book Study, and anyone that expressed interest in participating in the book study was invited to join the group.
We met in person once, at the beginning of the book study, to distribute copies of the book to the participants, and to outline the dates and the layout of the Facebook page itself: We would meet online, from 8:00-9:00 on the Facebook page, Tessa and I would post questions from a few chapters at a time, and they could respond and share ideas and questions with one another, with Tessa and I there to help moderate and facilitate discussions.
The support and discussion from the participants were highly overwhelming! The amount of ideas shared and questions posited to one another were powerful, and really made this an interesting and unique experience for professional growth. The response from the participants was also noteworthy, as they liked being able to chime in from wherever they were at the time, and if they missed the discussion window, they could still go to the Facebook page and comment or discuss between the arranged question-posting days. The flexibility and freedom were lauded from those who took part!
Once the book was completed, we were excited to commence upon the final aspect of the book study: a live chat hosted on Zoom with author Jay Billy! Participants were able to take part in an online discussion forum with Jay himself, who answered their questions, shared advice, and helped spur more creative ideas for those who were able to join in. The session was also recorded and posted on the Facebook group page for those who were unable to make the meeting, so they could view it at a later time.
Overall, this experience was a phenomenal new approach to combating some logistical issues that we all experience: wanting to take part in something, but time and location not cooperating to allow it to happen. The discussion was rich and powerful, and multiple great ideas were shared and collaborated upon throughout the course of studying this excellent book. One of the most impactful results from this book study? The request to keep the discussion going over the course of this school year through the online group page and with regularly scheduled meet-ups for those that can attend, bringing that flexibility and freedom even further into the process. We look forward to continue documenting the journey of the region in regards to building and supporting the students of our schools through a positive and caring school climate and culture. When all else fails, lead with culture!
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
On August 14th, ELA teachers from the region connected to the Globe Theatre in London to learn and explore the play Macbeth with the guidance of a Shakespearean actor. The teachers spent approximately three hours with the actor as they explored ideas to help bring Macbeth to students in their classrooms in new or different ways. Plans are in the works for another connection with the Globe Theatre. Stay tuned for more details!
Constitution Day is September 17th. Check out these resources for grade level appropriate content.
International Dot Day will happen near September 15th. The day is based on the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. You can find more information about the international events here: www.thedotclub.com and follow email blasts from our Distance Learning Team.
How can we connect your students to the world around them?
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Coordinator for Distance Learning
Take your students on a trip...without leaving the classroom. Virtual field trips are a great way to connect your students with experts from around the world. Download our May Virtual Field Trip guide.
Schedule a trip:
Carrie Oliver, 716-376-8270, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Insley, 716-376-8281, email@example.com
All Schools Day brings component districts together to share Video Conference courses from within and outside the region. CABOCES Distance Learning hosted a successful All Schools Day February 9th. Lead by the Distance Learning Coordinator Karen Insley counselors and administrators from nine districts met in person and over Zoom to offer and seek video conferring courses. Video Conferencing courses are live courses where students and teachers meet from different locations utilizing a video and audio connection. Exciting offerings for next school year include College Biology from Belfast, College Sports Management from Boliver-Richburg, College Calculus from GV, and a suite of Agricultural Business courses from our partners in the Erie 2 BOCES region.
You can learn which video conference courses are available for the next school year on the Distance Learning Database located on the CABOCES Distance Learning webpage. The guest username and password are distance.
By: Justine Lombardi, CABOCES Learning Resources
BOCES and eleven regional school districts have been awarded the USDA RUS Distance Learning Grant, totaling $466,686.
Last week District Superintendent Lynda Quick, Esq. learned that Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has been awarded a grant for $466,686 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant, known as the Rural Utility Service (RUS) Distance Learning grant, will be implemented by Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES and eleven area school districts to upgrade video conferencing equipment and other technologies.
The equipment upgrades will provide all three Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers, as well as Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Olean, Salamanca, Scio, and Wellsville Central School Districts, with new portable, high definition video conference capabilities that schools will use to provide students and teachers with a variety of distance learning opportunities including videoconference courses, virtual field trip experiences, and expanded access to nanotechnology capabilities.
This is not the first USDA RUS Distance Learning grant received by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and component school districts. The Distance Learning Team at CA BOCES has been applying for and receiving RUS grants since 1997, resulting in eight previous awards and millions of dollars in equipment for our schools.
“Over the years, USDA funding has built a virtual school in our region," stated Lynda Quick. Over forty virtual classes connect via video conference every single day, allowing schools to share the instructional expertise of their outstanding faculty members. Additionally, hundreds of students to take other online courses because of this funding. These virtual courses are critical in expanding offerings in small rural schools that, over time, have been stripped of the ability to offer many (or any) AP, college credit, or elective courses to their students.
Lynda Quick also shared, "This award helps put a dent in leveling the playing field. It helps our students build a transcript that can be competitive in the post-secondary arena." Grant implementation will begin immediately.