In Search of the Common Core

by Wyett - Jan 27, 2014


LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards

Editor’s note: This post is introducing a series written by our Director of Content Development, Wyett Ihler. As the Director of Content development, his main responsibilities are to select which course titles LearnKey will be producing during the year, find authors for each course, and assure that we have the most current test objectives from certification vendors. Over the next three weeks Wyett will be writing a three-part series of blogs, sharing what he has learned in his quest to understand one question: Is LearnKey aligned with the Common Core State Standards?

There’s always a bit of adrenaline that accompanies a call from your company’s CEO—that, “Will I be up for whatever will be asked” jolt that comes from seeing his name pop up on the caller ID. He asked what seemed like a perfectly innocuous question, and in retrospect it was, but the simple, “Are we aligned with the Common Core State Standards?” truly lead me down the road less traveled.

I am a parent of two school-aged daughters and I knew some about the Common Core State Standards; I freely admit I didn’t know everything (not even close!), but I had read the literature provided by their school regarding their adoption methods and was satisfied with the information I had. However, when I was asked to assess LearnKey’s level of alignment I found myself telling my CEO that I needed to understand the Core better before making an assessment.

The first step of my search was to find my way through the vast amount of information available regarding the Core. A simple “Common Core” search in Google yields far more results than anyone would have time to sift through. There are a lot of opinions about the Core, and some very passionate responses both for and against, but none of this information was helping me to answer my CEO’s question. Further complicating my search was the fact that in addition to the National Standards, many (I haven’t read enough yet to determine if all) states have state-level implementation standards. On top of the National and State Standards for K-12 there are the technical core standards adopted in many areas and by many LearnKey clients; everywhere I looked there were more standards, more cores and seemingly none of it had anything in common. My search was piling up around me and ultimately leading nowhere.

The second step (yes, I had yet to go beyond step one) was the step that actually set me in the right direction. A chance Saturday meeting with a teacher friend of mine while re-roofing a garage helped me see pass the mountains of data I had so quickly accumulated. We were hauling materials from the truck to the ladder when he asked me how work was going. I grunted, not really wanting to talk about it, and then said that I was working on understanding the Common Core. “Good luck,” he laughed, but then asked more questions about what I was trying to do—and with the practiced patience of a teacher he guided me to the answer that was right in front of me just waiting to be discovered. I was making it too hard; the Core is relatively straightforward and is, in LearnKey’s case, just waiting to be applied.

I sent an email to my CEO the following Monday—it was short and sweet: “The short answer to your question, yes, LearnKey is aligned to the Common Core. However, it might take me a little longer to show you how.”

(Next is Discovering the Common Core)


New Releases for the week of 11/4/2013

by Colin - Nov 08, 2013


We at LearnKey have been busy preparing new courses and learning materials for you. In the past week, we released two items:

Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013, Part 1

In the first of our Routing and Switching courses, LearnKey expert Tom Carpenter teaches learners how to plan, configure, and operate simple WAN and switched LAN networks using Cisco products. Users will gain skills such as implementing Cisco 2800 and 3800 routers, routing techniques, and tips and tricks for keeping routers in top running condition.

  • Learn fundamentals to successfully build a simple network
  • Understand and optimized best routing techniques
  • Tips and tricks to keep your routers functioning at top performance

Visit our website for more information on this course and purchasing information.

Dreamweaver CS6 Workbook

This companion workbook to our Dreamweaver CS6 course includes over 90 pages of activities, questions, and projects to aid in bringing LearnKey courseware to the classroom environment. The workbook is included with all education license purchases of our Dreamweaver CS6 course.

View the Dreamweaver CS6 Workbook sample

Stay tuned for more releases coming soon!


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Justin time LearnKey training

by Jeff - Sep 19, 2013


It was a great experience watching Justin Walker one of our LearnKey Courseware experts talk to a group of students from Fountain Hills High School in Fountain Hills Arizona.

These students are wanting to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and earn their certifications. We had a simple message for them – Certifications can and will have a positive impact on your career and college ready preparation. Industry experts now state 89% of IT hiring managers use “Certifications” as a filter for prioritizing resumes. Once in, career professionals who keep their certification track up-to-date earn on average 26% more than their peers.

It was a fun day speaking with four classes as they were good listeners and truly wanted to learn. Another benefit we shared with them is they get a chance to learn “distance learning” by using LearnKey courseware. Also, lets not forget that the teachers we met were fantastic. Thanks again to Bonnie Perkins, Jennifer Ray (CTE Leader) and Karla Primosch for allowing us to come in and speak.

Its great to see BLS/LearnKey team members out talking with students and teachers getting their input so we can make better courses! Thanks again for the great work Justin!


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LearnKey provides Know Your Talents course to Middle School students and staff

by Beau - Feb 07, 2013


You know those times when you are a part of something good and it makes you feel proud to be a part of it? Today is one of those days. LearnKey announced that we will be offering our Know Your Talents course ($50 value) free to Middle School students, teachers, and counselors. How awesome is that? This course will help students understand their talents and behaviors, while teachers and counselors will learn how to maximize a students learning and enjoyment by understanding behavior.

You are probably wondering why we are doing this.

Did you know that more than 500,000 children drop out of high school each year? When I see this number I think about all of the opportunities, experience, and growth these children will miss out on as a result of their choice. Recent studies show that proactive measures can be taken during middle school years that can dramatically decrease the likelihood of a student dropping out during high school. We see it as our responsibility to do something about the problem.

Read more »


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ACTE 2012 Recap

by Jared - Dec 10, 2012


The ACTE conference in Atlanta was a huge hit For LearnKey. Jeff, Lori, Kim, Scott and I were able to re-solidify the fact that we are on the right track. The track of preparing teachers first for certifications and then taking that knowledge gained and marrying it with our award winning full motion video, hands on projects created by teachers that align directly to Adobe and Microsoft objectives, mobile technology alerts and the constant mentoring of teachers so that they are up on technology as well as behavioral assessments to best pinpoint career pathways for students. All these lessons learned over the past 27 years are now a road map for teachers to make sure that each student is successful in their life quest.

It was so good to see school district administrators and teachers embracing the fact that businesses and community partnerships are valuable in many different ways. The more involvement that you have with people from a broad spectrum of knowledge, the better the result is for the students. New and innovative ideas are what is going to drive success in the classroom and ultimately engage and empower the student to go on and do great things.

It was great to see how “Team LearnKey” interacted with partners and clients as well as with one another to bring digital literacy into the classroom.

Oh yeah, we ate a lot of great food and also went to an Atlanta hawks basketball game and had a good time. We were able to sit behind Danny ferry, the Duke “hall of famer” who won the Naismith College Player of the Year and Oscar Robinson Trophy award winner in 1989 and his #35 jersey was retired after his senior season in 1989.


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Home Sweet Home

by Beau - Oct 26, 2012


Atlanta, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and…St. George, Utah? You may be wondering what St. George could possibly have in common to be included in a list with these large cities. Well, before the end of the year LearnKey will be in each of these cities attending trade shows and sharing our training with local teachers and administrators.

Today and tomorrow we are in our hometown  St. George, UT! We don’t often attend shows in Utah, let alone in St. George, and we have a new booth design and will be doing presentations today and tomorrow – so stop by Desert Hills High School and check us out.

Presentation Times

Saturday

9:00 am      Mobi Mentoring in the Classroom
11:00 am    Leveraging Classroom Behavior
1:00 pm      Industry Certified or Career Ready? LearnKey Can Do Both
3:00 pm      Mobi Mentoring in the Classroom


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Career Readiness Bundle now available

by Colin - Sep 21, 2012


We recently put together a new bundle which is perfect for high school students or people just starting out in the job market – the Career Readiness Bundle. This collection of courses teaches life and career skills important to succeeding in the business world. 12 new courses produced in partnership with Human Relations Media were released to be included in this bundle, and we added our previously released Know Your Talents™ course to the mix as well.

Included in the bundle:

  • Ten Easy Ways to KEEP Your Job
  • What’s Your Attitude? Getting in the Mood to Work
  • Communication Skills in the Workplace
  • Business Ethics on the Job
  • Making a Good Impression: Resumes, Interviews, and Appearance
  • Matching Your Skills, Talents, and Ambitions to a Dream Career
  • Think Before You Click: Playing it Safe Online
  • Workplace Etiquette: Why Being Polite Counts on the Job
  • The Seven Competency Skills for the Workplace
  • B Careful When U TXT: The Dangers of Texting and Sexting
  • Me and My 500 “Friends”: Staying Safe on Social Networks
  • The Dangers of Sexting: What Teens Need to Know
  • Know Your Talents™

Visit learnkey.com/careerreadiness for more information about the bundle and the courses included. As always, if you’re a current LearnKey customer, just give your favorite sales or customer service rep a call and they’ll make sure to get it added to your library!


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Mobile Mentoring for Teachers

by Colin - Sep 07, 2012


When it comes to using LearnKey courseware, most of our offerings have been student-focused, with tools for teachers typically being on the delivery side built into the LMS. In our goal to make our courseware easier to implement in the classroom, LearnKey has been working with our sister company LearnCast to provide more tools for teachers, and recently launched Mobile Mentoring – a tool that utilizes online and mobile technology to help facilitate learning.

Here are some of the features of LearnKey’s Mobile Mentoring:

  • Powered by LearnCast, a world-class mobile learning platform
  • Course-specific mobile instructional mentoring
    • Tips from author on key objectives and coverage of topics
    • Course-specific projects for students
    • Mobi Alerts ensure your lesson stays on track
    • Social engagement – interactive chat within each course
    • Quizzes and exams
    • Best practices for online learning
  • Teacher and student sessions delivered to any mobile device
  • Monthly polling and rapid feedback

If you’re interested in adding Mobile Mentoring to your teaching arsenal, give your LearnKey representative a call at 1-800-865-0165, or read more about it at learnkey.com/mobilementoring


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Case study: Houston ISD

by Colin - Aug 24, 2012


Not only do we love hearing success stories from teachers who found ways to implement LearnKey courseware into their curriculum, but we know that information also helps others by showing real-world examples of how the program works.

Margaret Williams from Barbara Jordan Career High School was kind enough to tell us her story about how implementing LearnKey courseware helped her students pass their certification exams in this case study. Here is an excerpt from that document:

All of my students, (100%) passed the Word and PowerPoint certification exams first try without books during the fall semester. The e-Learning online instruction helped me to individualize instruction. It is based on the students’ learning styles. It provides virtual, interactive learning with video (which includes certification objectives in an outline format), guided practice, and independent practice activities. It helps students to develop a thorough understanding of the Microsoft certification objectives.

Do you have a success story for us? Share it in the comments or post it on our Facebook Timeline!


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New Products for a New School Year

by Beau - Aug 10, 2012


Remember how I promised all you teachers out there that LearnKey would be releasing some really awesome new tools to use in your classrooms? Well consider that promised fulfilled, because we will be releasing brand new course projects and the A+ workbook, both made specifically for you and ready to use for the 2012/2013 school year!

As many of you know, our new A+ 2012 course was released at the end of July. We were excited to introduce Tom Carpenter as the new face and author of A+ 2012. Tom is a great fit for teaching this course because he has hands on experience teaching A+ to high school students, preparing them for the A+ exam. Tom also has 15 years of training, 20 years of work experience in IT and has also written 14 IT related books through McGraw-Hill and Sybex.

Included with the course is a new course workbook, and one exciting thing about the A+ workbook is that it was written by Tom Carpenter specifically for LearnKey. Teachers should be excited about this because Tom personally made sure that the workbook is mapped to our A+ course. Included in the workbook are application projects that provide learning opportunities that will prepare students for the A+ exam. The workbook also includes some bonus information not included in the course that expands upon concepts that are presented, and lesson plans which can be used as a guide to teach the course. We are really happy with the work that Tom put into the workbook and know that it will be a great asset to the A+ teaching experience.

Our next big end of summer release is the teacher projects, made by teachers for teachers. Much of the feedback that we were getting from teachers was that they wished we had more projects that were more hands on and really reinforce skills that their students need to receive their certification. We heard this feedback and are happy to say that since June we have had teachers who use our courses in their classrooms create projects that will be available to all LK teachers to use.

The team here at LearnKey has been working really hard all summer to make sure that these awesome new features would be ready to go by the time you go back to school. I am really proud of all of the work that has gone into these projects and I am positive that they will be a great benefit to your classroom.


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