Applying the Common Core

by Wyett - Mar 05, 2014


LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards

Editor’s note: This post is the third part of a three-part a series, in which our Director of Content Development shares his quest to understand one question: Is LearnKey aligned with the Common Core State Standards? (Read part one: In Search of the Common Core and part two: Discovering the Common Core)

Challenges are part of any industry. Sometimes those challenges are overcome, sometimes they prove to be too much, and sometimes a challenge is simply ignored in the hope that it will somehow disappear.

Personally, I love a good challenge.

Many of the challenges I face in my work, through sheer repetition, have become routine—finding an expert, scheduling an expert, acquiring exam objectives, appropriately timing a release, etc. It’s not that these are no longer challenges for me; it’s more that experience has taught me effective mechanisms with which to respond to each.

If you’ve read the two previous blog posts regarding LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards you know that, at least initially, I was hoping to sidestep the challenge of aligning LearnKey courseware to the core standards; I wanted it to “somehow disappear,” I didn’t see it as a good challenge. However, you may have also noticed that while I was trying to dodge this particular challenge I was (perhaps unknowingly) figuring out how to process it into manageable bits. The previous posts, as one commenter noted, were a bit of a tease…you could even argue that this post (so far) is continuing that theme…it is. Yet I felt it was important to show that there was thought and purpose behind what we hope to accomplish as we demonstrate our alignment to the Common Core.

I do not consider myself an educator. I am a technology-minded instructional designer who also happens to be a dreamer. I love research and collaboration. I love to find ways to help people succeed. I love making things better.

This is exactly what aligning LearnKey courseware to the core will do; it will make it better.

So here’s the big reveal; new LearnKey course maps will not only show the course index and corresponding location of exam objectives, they will now indicate which sections of the course align to the Common Core State Standards and offer suggestions on how to apply the course material to satisfy the standard. In addition to the detailed mapping, LearnKey Project Manuals will also indicate how the projects are core aligned.

In the coming weeks LearnKey will release the Photoshop CS6 (4/1), Dreamweaver CS6 (4/15), Premiere CS6 (5/6), and InDesign CS6 (5/20) core mapping documents; followed by Word (6/3), Excel (6/17), and PowerPoint (7/8) (2013 versions). Our new Adobe CC course offerings, coming later this year, will include the updated mapping as part of the project release. The upcoming Photoshop CS6 document shows areas of alignment with the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. As more of the maps are generated we will create a “reverse” mapping document—one where the standards are the anchor—that will show all of the courses that can be used to satisfy any particular core standard.

View Common Core State Standards Sample Document

Working to create these mapping documents is a challenge my team and I eagerly accept.

I work with educators on a daily basis. I recognize the frustrations, challenges, and concerns that they face. I know that a map won’t solve every problem, but I do know that it will provide a direction and offer a solution.

 

Helpful links about the Common Core State Standards:


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Discovering The Common Core

by Wyett - Feb 07, 2014


LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards

Editor’s note: This post is the second part of a three-part a series, in which our Director of Content Development shares his quest to understand one question: Is LearnKey aligned with the Common Core State Standards? (Read part one: In Search of the Common Core)

I live and breathe exam objectives; whether they are Adobe, CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, or others it is part of my job to ensure that our experts and our production team are working from the most recent version of the objectives for any given certification. I am a big fan of efficiency as well, so I don’t like reproducing material unless it is necessary; but I also understand that sometimes a Cisco networking objective and a CompTIA networking objective might not line up 100%. So, in general if we decide to repurpose any existing content we try to keep it within the same certification family.

My first exposure to the Common Core State Standards was from this “objective” perspective, and quite honestly it terrified me. Our sales staff was being asked about our alignment with the core and they approached it from the same direction—how does our existing content meet the objectives of the core? I recall our initial strategy calls all ending with the action of “our courses need to map to the core.” This presented me with a personal quandary; I knew (somehow even before I had actually read the standards) that there was no way I could take an existing LearnKey course and remap it to a new set of objectives. That isn’t how it is done! We only move content around within a certification family—Microsoft within Microsoft, Adobe within Adobe; and here I was being asked to add a different standard—the Core—to my neat and tidy organization. Undoubtedly the objectives for the Core would be in a different order than any of our existing objective standards; the language would be different; the goal would be different.

Honestly, as much value as I knew it would bring, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of the Core.

Flash back to my Saturday repairing a roof with my teacher friend. “What have you read?” he asked. I of course launched into the numerous opinions and responses that I had unearthed. He listened for a moment and then said, “You realize you haven’t actually said anything about the core yet, right?” I stopped. He was right. What I had read was more about the Common Core and not the core standards themselves—of course I had breezed through them, but being blinded by my “objective” perspective I only saw them as having a similar format, structure, and organization to the objectives that I was so familiar with.

I spent a furious evening re-reading the actual standards. There was the answer I was looking for—in numerous places I was reading “Common Core State Standards.” That was the discovery that was looming in front of me the entire time. The Common Core Standards aren’t objectives, at least not in the way I was used to working. We build a course and make sure our experts, assessments, and manuals explain the objectives and give practical experience where possible. They’re bite size pieces that when mixed together yield certification.

The Common Core is a different recipe.

The standards aren’t about understanding a piece of information; they’re about demonstrating ability. It was a simple discovery. To align LearnKey’s content to the Common Core would only require taking larger pieces of our existing material and demonstrate how it shows the ability required by the standard. Instead of forcing a retrofit it would actually bring multiple families of LearnKey content together under one umbrella—the educator has the ability to choose whether they want to use Adobe, or Microsoft, or any of our content to satisfy the same standard…all we have to do is show them which pieces fit where, and that’s what we’re going to do.

(Up next: Applying the Common Core)

Source:
http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/download-the-standards


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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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