A lesson in educational support: the K12 YouTube channel

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Marni Landry, K12 Educational Development STEM Outreach Manager, appears in the weekly Wednesday webinar series to assist teachers in their distance education efforts.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
CUU Information Office

It was 10 a.m. Wednesday and the K12 Education Development at Grand Canyon University Corinne Araza, Marni Landry and Carol Lippert weren’t where they usually are – a crowded, bustling classroom enthusiastically speaking to STEM and college students, or guiding teachers on classroom learning techniques or how to avoid it. exhaustion of educators.

About 80 GCU educators and students watched the webinar at the height of the show.

Instead, they were each bordered by separate tiny Brady Bunch-like boxes on a small computer screen talking to educators remotely from their homes.

They asked this icebreaker question via the Kahoot! Educational game platform, which appeared as a pop-up screen on the computer: “Would you rather be a little rhino or a giant hamster?”

Consensus: little rhino.

Then came the big question, at least for the group of educators who tapped into the department’s weekly Wednesday webinar, “Engaging Students in the Online Environment”.

The question: “How would you rank in preparing for virtual training?” “

You could almost hear the virtual silence.

Virtual education has been the popular term for educators across the country who are quickly learning as they prepare to begin teaching students in an online distance learning environment in response to related school closures. to coronaviruses.

Canyon’s professional development team, a branch of K12 Educational Development, was not deterred. Regarding preparation for virtual education, their message to teachers: We are here for you.

The weekly Wednesday webinars (airing Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Phoenix time) are just one of the new initiatives launched by the department over the past week, along with a YouTube channel and more as it continues. to support teachers and their work in the classroom. .

Corinne Araza, Director of Outreach and STEM Program Development, spoke to educators about distance learning tools like Zoom and Kahoot.

When schools closed and e-learning became inevitable, “we took action and said put it on a YouTube channel – we know we can do it,” said Araza, director of raising awareness and developing STEM programs. “The only thing I love about GCU is that everyone is so willing. They have a smile on their face. They say, “Hey, we’re in the same boat and serving each other” so I really appreciate that. “

Educators explained how they are drowning in the resources offered to them by various sources, so Canyon Professional Development began to think about ways to help. He didn’t want to duplicate what big institutions with gigantic resources do. And he didn’t want to overwhelm educators even more with a barrage of information without much direction.

Araza, with Landry, the K12 STEM outreach manager, and Lippert, executive director of K12 Outreach and Education Program Development, immediately started talking about all the resources they were connected to.

They wanted to share these resources.

They wanted to run webinars.

They wanted to make short videos.

“We are small but powerful”, specialist in communications for educational development K12 Amanda Steele said of Canyon Professional Development, which wanted to translate this into how it would help teachers. “We decided we were going to do more of a boutique experience.”

Webinars are archived on the new K12 Educational Development / Canyon Professional Development YouTube channel.

So they created the YouTube channel, which not only hosts archived Wednesday weekly webinars, but also daily tip, on-demand tip, and practical tips for parents looking to find educational activities for their children.

Wednesday’s webinar covered not only Kahoot !, a game-based educational learning platform in which students answer multiple-choice questions, but also Zoom, which is used for video conferencing, web conferencing, and webinars. .

One of the tips of the day: How to make your online searches as effective as possible using hashtags. Another tip of the day: try using Flipgrid, a social learning platform that allows teachers and students to share with each other via short videos.

And here’s a tip on demand, which are specialized “made for you” videos in response to a specific question from an educator. The first Tip on Demand came after Wednesday’s webinar and explains how teachers can conduct assessments in the world of virtual education.

K12 Education Development Communication Specialist Amanda Steele posted a video on handwashing.

Steele herself posted a video of practical tips for parents on hand washing, which she shot at home with her 8-year-old son.

The effort to make these short videos and put them on YouTube seems to fill a gap “because the teachers are a little scared and a little overwhelmed,” Steele said. Diving into emails that lead them to pages and pages of e-learning tools might not be something they have the time for or want to navigate. “We are just trying to accompany them. We let them know that we are walking as close to you as social distancing allows. “

This store approach of short, digestible videos, tips of the day (often highlighting free resources), and longer webinars may simply meet the needs of Christian schools, for example, which might not have the same resources as other schools.

“So many districts and schools, especially Christian schools, don’t have the support of a large public school district, so they might not have Google Suite for Education. They might not have Microsoft tools. Maybe they just need free versions of different tech tools, “Araza said.” So our main focus is on personalizing professional development. What do you need and let us give you a tool that helps you? do what you wanna do rather than here are 95 tools, pick one.

Carol Lippert, Executive Director of K12 Outreach and Education Program Development, also listened.

In addition to the YouTube channel, Canyon’s professional development team posted an inspirational series Sunday to social media, and the team is creating online courses and activities for students on Facebook @ SEA.GCU, Twitter @GCU_SEA and Instagram @ gcuk12ed.

In addition, the group gives GCU education students the opportunity to earn internship hours, which usually involves hands-on teaching.

“We give internship hours to College of Education students if they are, # 1, online with us and therefore learning to teach in an online environment, but, # 2, we offer them the ability to create online content that they can teach, either in a webinar, tip of the day, or tip on demand, ”Araza said. “We’re offering this to College of Education students who are grounded because they can’t go out and be in schools right now.”

Canyon Professional Development also offers its Inspirational Sunday series on social media.

Of course, not all of these resources are limited to K12 educators. When it comes to distance learning, GCU professors can also get personalized help on the team’s YouTube channel.

“It’s just a blessing and a privilege to be able to come to teachers in any way, in any form and just offer a little support,” Araza said. “This is, I think, our biggest message.”

GCU Senior Editor Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.

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