We’re pleased to announce that in partnership with Human Relations Media, we’ve released the following new character building soft skills courses:
- Digital Smarts: Behaving Ethically Online
- Digital Smarts: Protecting Your Online Reputation and Safety
- Your Reputation: Enhancing It, Repairing It
- I Was Cyberbullied
Digital Smarts: Behaving Ethically Online
Cyber ethics and respect for others online are critical skills to acquire for today’s connected teens. The message of this teen-centered video is that all students have a responsibility to behave ethically online and to know how to react when others behave in inappropriate ways. Teen hosts discuss the ethics of issues such as distributing unflattering pictures or posts aimed at harming someone’s reputation and the importance of respecting the privacy of others. They emphasize the importance of respecting the safety of others and becoming an upstander rather than a bystander when witnessing abusive behavior online.
Digital Smarts: Protecting Your Online Reputation and Safety
Cyber reputation, security and safety have become important topics for students to understand and master. This engaging video program encourages students to think critically about the opportunities and risks provided by their many digital devices. Real-life dangers from predators, spammers and identity thieves are revealed through teen interviews and accounts from experts in cyber security and safety. Students learn why it is important to choose passwords that are hard to guess and why they should not share their passwords with others.
Students are challenged to think about ways that digital technology can be used to enhance or damage their reputations. Teens talk about how compromising photos and other postings online became part of their permanent digital footprint. The video provides specific advice about how to protect students’ privacy, security and online reputations.
Your Reputation: Enhancing It, Repairing It
For middle schoolers, fitting in, being popular, having friends, and getting along with teachers is all important. Whether they are aware of it or not, the opinions and perceptions of peers, parents and teachers all contribute to a young teen’s reputation—or the way others see them. Through the use of acted out vignettes, young viewers will understand the power of having a good reputation versus the pain of having a bad one. Program also gives pointers on how to repair a bad reputation which often takes a long time to achieve. Program includes a special section on one’s online reputation and some of the pitfalls of social networking.
I Was Cyberbullied
This program presents three real-life stories from kids who were targets of cyberbullying attacks and offers viewers practical suggestions for how to avoid being victimized by this new, rapidly-spreading type of bullying. Each story highlights important tips such as: only post the type of information online that you would be comfortable with others seeing; remember that once an email or photo is posted online, you can’t take it back; avoid responding to vicious texts or emails that might escalate a situation further; and know when to turn to a trusted adult for help. Renowned “bully coach” Joel Haber leads a discussion on how serious and damaging cyberbullying can be, and touches upon recent cases of children committing suicide after being cyberbullied. This timely program will strike a chord with all viewers—those who may have been victimized as well as those who may have thought that cyberbullying was “no big deal.”
Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.
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.
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:
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)
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)
At LearnKey, we support K-12 learning in several ways, but many teachers aren’t sure integrating technology into the classroom actually pays off. That’s why we’ve come up with this handy infographic!
Do any of you have success stories about how blended learning helped your students? Or maybe a unique way you’re integrating online learning into your curriculum? Let us know in the comments!