I joined the district eLearning team in 2009. I have provided adult learning opportunities for teachers and staff throughout the entirety of this role via training and professional learning. Since 2018, I have been the lead professional learning coordinator on behalf of eLearning in Hall County Schools. That role includes negotiating, purchasing, and customizing professional learning opportunities with educational technology vendors. I initiated the style guide for district-created content. I have worked with a substitute budget and coordinated that budget and process. Most importantly, I worked with school leadership and district departments to ensure the training and professional learning were in alignment with school and department goals.
I have been blogging since 2010. My demonstrated expertise has evolved to specifically:
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I was working on developing microcredentials. Attaching measurable achievements to microcredentials, or badges, for professional learning and then placing them within a learning pathway. This had the benefit of introducing adult learners to other extensions of learning they may be interested in, providing a way to prove an acquired competency or develop themselves professionally. Prior to the pandemic, much of the work was in-person and during the pandemic, the lift became conversion of the work to an online format.
During the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, my role shifted to leadership and support of virtual teaching and virtual courses. The following timeline details the highlights of my contribution and evidence of my expertise. I added these items to my existing role as a district administrator role in the 30+ educational technology applications we administer through ClassLink via Clever and OneRoster. I am considered the leading expert in online teaching and K-12 course design in the Canvas learning management system (LMS) in my district; the following is an overview of my specialization in online teaching and learning.
Pandemic Digital Leadership
March - May 2020
To stabilize our workforce district-wide, I volunteered to build and facilitate an online professional learning course for district paraprofessionals. When considering the range of K-12, the special education focus of our paraprofessionals, and the possible interest in career mobility I settled on using our existing Microsoft account to build and offer more information on what could be used in the classroom. I developed the Paraprofessionals Microsoft course in April and met the need for documented hours of professional learning while providing usable instruction to fellow educators. This content is where I discovered my preference for using GIFs as visual directions during this course. I helped approximately 300 paraprofessionals receive professional learning credit with this instruction on how to submit credit to their Principal. An alternative to delivering meals to students via the bus route was to participate in my learning opportunities. I met so many people who keep our schools running through this course!
Teacher professional learning opportunities I also offered included an asynchronous course created by Canvas LMS and facilitated by me within the district. I held on-request support sessions for this course, such as this May session. This was a way to reach those educators who never considered they would be required to learn an LMS and had not yet considered how to teach effectively in an LMS. I train on platforms from the ground up in this session.
June - July 2020
Everyone was busy on a triage level when the pandemic closed schools in mid-March 2020. Once we conclude the 2020-2021 school year, I pivoted to being ready for the following August. Once the district conferred with Florida Virtual Learning (FLVS) and decided to purchase an enterprise license, I worked with the curriculum and instruction department to identify the required courses for the next school year. I requested EdGate correlations for our state standards to the identified courses. Then I recruited, trained, and supervised subject matter experts (SMEs) to identify gaps in the standards. Those gaps were then related to other educators I recruited, trained, and supervised to add content to cover standards not addressed for our learners in the existing FLVS courses. I partnered with those in my workgroup to plan to distribute these courses.
We contacted many of the identified virtual teachers at the end of the summer for extended preplanning. I created and led a distributed training in Canvas LMS over the extended three weeks of preplanning our district scheduled to launch the school year 2020-2021. I introduced my online teaching Pre-planning course for new online teachers at the pinnacle of their anxiety about their online prowess. Initial estimates grew exponentially from 200 to 500, and the average for the first semester was approximately 400 K-12 teachers. The expectations and support had to align to move these instructors confidently into place.
I maintained the documentation for each of the (75+) K-12 courses. The retention of the SME and course author contact for my reference and district payment was under my supervision. I maintained the master list of master courses and requested new blueprints for new teachers as they were assigned. And I provided timely answers to building and district leaders on the status of these courses.
I provided Course Walks by grade band and content. Here is an example of a high school science course walk. These live sessions were held during the pre-planning for the school year 2020-2021, and I presented live and then offered an asynchronous course for those teachers experiencing this shift in teaching modalities. While that number constantly fluctuated, the first semester averaged 400 teacher-learners.
School Year 2020-2021
I coordinated this with my elearning workgroup colleagues who concentrated on the blueprint delivery of the courses via Canvas LMS along with ongoing contact with the curriculum and instruction presence in our district. As the primary support contact for many of these teachers, I worked to coordinate on-site support as needed for the neediest individuals. I introduced Microsoft Teams as a means of both a crowdsourcing opportunity for group wisdom and immediate support for myself; I supported via phone, email, Teams, and in-person meetings for the school year 2020-2021.
As the school year was concluding it was obvious this type of learning would not contract to pre-pandemic levels. The district invested in the idea of a virtual program of choice. I consulted on selecting future virtual teachers as a primary contact, knowledgeable of their skills and aptitude for the positions.
As an advisor, I crafted a road map overviewing the path from proprietary FLVS content to content based on Georgia Virtual Learning (GVL) “Skinny Courses” as I termed them. This process would retain user-friendliness for learners and their families, continuity of teaching and learning throughout the grade bands across teachers and contents.
I created Revision Cycle Documentation to transition away from the FLVS content we utilized during the height of the pandemic.
Based on the feedback from the instructors who constructed courses over the summer and those who taught the courses, I created a brief guidance document for future course creators of my proposed “skinny courses.” I used the Core Course Writers document for reference when onboarding potential course authors. Here is a sample of me providing Core Course Creation Fall 2021 onboarding to those electing to participate in creating courses.
Inside my District
With the knowledge that learning would not entirely contract to pre-pandemic levels. The district’s virtual program of choice needed to be built. I consulted on selecting teachers based on my experience as their primary contact, knowledge of their skills, and aptitude for the positions.
I created and facilitated an onboarding professional learning course on virtual teaching best practices. In the 2021 summer course for the incoming virtual teacher to the program of choice, I crafted one week/five days’ worth of investigation into online teaching and learning practices to facilitate discussion and drive philosophical agreement within the new workgroup. The organizing principle was the Community of Inquiry Model (Sanders & Lokey-Vega, 2020) and Hattie’s study of Effect Size (Visible Learning, n.d.). I included Fisher, Fry, and Hattie’s (2020) The Distance Learning Playbook as a practical desktop reference throughout the year. I started the professional learning with the Future Protocol from the School Reform Initiative with great “forecasting” outcomes for the new workgroup.
Outside my District
I worked with Georgia Virtual Learning to download a state-created virtual course native to our LMS (created while we were using FLVS content). Another service I offered, was to walk district and virtual program of choice teachers through how to adapt these courses to their needs. I have outlined the most efficient course creations based on (1) state-provided courses, (2) district content, and (3) course creation from scratch.
Advanced Learning Partnerships have recently hired me as an online teaching and learning expert consultant.
For the wider educational technology audience, I routinely contribute to industry events; this one was for the Learning Counsel. Listen to my shift in how I am thinking about reaching in-service teachers – in micro-audiences as well as with micro-content on a Learning Counsel Panel discussion:
I was invited to participate in an Educator Panel on Models, Workflow, and Change Management in Spring 2023. I was honored to be included alongside a Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Georgia and the Georgia State Department of Education Technology Director.
Backup of Hattie’s Ranking list of 256 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement. VISIBLE LEARNING. (n.d.). https://visible-learning.org/backup-hattie-ranking-256-effects-2017/ (Links to an external site.).
Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Hattie, J. (2020). The distance learning playbook, grades K-12: Teaching for engagement and impact in any setting. SAGE Publications.
Sanders, K., & Lokey-Vega, A. (2020). K-12 Community of Inquiry: A Case Study of the Applicability of the Community of Inquiry Framework in the K-12 Online Learning Environment. Journal of Online Learning Research, 6(1), 35–56.