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)


Filming on Location

by Liz - Jan 15, 2014


Ditching the studio and taking the cameras, talent, and crew out on location is a good change of pace. There is just something to be said for being outside and filming and being surrounded by people, fast moving passenger trains, and loud cars. Filming on the green gives you the flexibility to create any environment you need. However, there are times when the green screen can’t give you everything you want and that’s when you step outside and shoot on location.

LearnKey took the crew on location to film headshots for our upcoming Project Management Professional course featuring the work of Michael Solomon. After a few different site surveys the crew settled on filming on an empty building lot just above the Salt Lake City Capitol as well as filming on Main Street. Both of these locations placed our author in the perfect environment for this business professional course.

How well you have prepared and packed your equipment can make or break your shoot, and Mother Nature can put a stop to any and all filming you have planned as well. Luckily for us, we were packed, prepared, and the weather unfolded perfectly on our day out of the studio. We set up both of our cameras, pinned on the wireless mic, while pointing two reflectors perfectly on the talent. Michael Solomon was well prepared and as soon as the cameras were rolling so was he. We were able to shoot all of the headshots in one day at two different locations.

Life is good, when you can take the crew out on location and get the shots you need in the time that you have and that’s what the crew was able to do this time around. Honestly, we are now looking for more ways to get out and shoot on location.


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Newest Employee of the Month: Outstanding, Amazing, Invaluable and more!

by Jeff - Jan 02, 2014


“Outstanding”, “Amazing”, “Invaluable” – Those were the words used to describe Rikki McKim, our newest LearnKey employee of the month.

Rikki is a customer service champion known for a keen sense of how to “connect” with students, teachers and learners so she can help them use our LearnKey education courseware and OnlineExpert Learning Management System for the best experience. Anyone who has ever spent time with Rikki quickly understands why we feel so fortunate to have her as part of our team. She truly cares about our customers and values their commitment to us as a learning provider.

Here’s what her leader had to say:

“I value her knowledge and her ability to dig in and understand our systems better. Her customer service skills are outstanding. Rikki is extremely easy to work with and truly cares about her coworkers and our customers”.

There is a saying “happy employees create happy customers” and this is living proof that it works!

Learn some fun facts about Rikki:

Read more »


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