Region 13We are thrilled to announce the formation of a Connected Learner Experience cohort in partnership with Educational Service Center Region 13 in Austin, Texas. Region 13 is one of twenty service centers that serve Texas’ educational needs. Their purpose is to aid teachers and administrators in their role as educators of our children. They serve as a liaison between the Texas Education Agency and the local school districts and the schools they serve by disseminating information, conducting training and consultation for both federal and state programs. We’d like to welcome Region 13 to the PLP family!

We sat down with Carol Teitelman, Coordinator of Distance Learning and Leslie Barrett, Education Specialist: Technology & Library Media Services so you could get to know ESC Region 13 a little better. Don’t miss the end of this post, where we tell you how to get involved in this year’s learning cohort!

What does connected learning mean to you?

Connected learning is a process during which the learner interacts with ideas, people and objects. The broader the range of these available, the richer the lesson and the better the opportunity for deeper understanding. Connections made outside the schoolroom deepen the experience.

Why is it important for educators to be connected learners?

I have always thought the idea that it “takes a village to raise a child” compelling. As individuals we have skills and ideas to share but to raise a multifaceted thinking child into an adult we need the input of many. As teachers we need to be learners so that we can continue to guide our students in the rapidly changing world. Now more than ever we need to be constant learners even more than life-long learners because of the speed at which technological advances are changing the interaction of humans across the globe.

Why did Region 13 ESC decide to be a hosting organization for the Connected Learner Experience?

Region 13The distance learning team and the instructional technology integration specialists are always looking for new training that can stretch their own skills and provide invigorating learning experiences for the teachers and tech integration staff in our districts. When reading through the literature on the CLE we decided that this was a perfect match to our ideas of building an ongoing learning experience that provides a team building experience. As stated before…it takes a village to raise a child. The corollary is that it takes a team to create a change. We see this as a way to help districts meet the criteria set by state standards while developing connections that will make them stronger in doing so.

Can you recommend a favorite resource for connected teaching & learning that you’d recommend to other educators?

CILC – between the call for collaboration and the directory of members, you can find educators around the globe with which to build connections.

About our hosts

Carol TeitelmanCarol Teitelman is the Coordinator of Distance Learning for ESC Region XIII in Austin, TX. After working in government, she was drawn back into education when she saw the immense impact that computer technology can have in providing a meaningful and individualized education for each and every student. A classroom teacher of computer applications in middle school and a special education teacher, Carol taught for over 12 years before moving to a position that provided professional development for educators in applying technology to classroom practice. Carol is currently the Coordinator for Distance Learning in Central Texas and is an advocate for using all methods of virtual classrooms, mobile devices and video conferences to tear down the wall of classrooms and make learning a universal experience. She is known for her lively, humorous presentations filled with ideas that are practical and powerful in changing classrooms to connected communities of learners.

Leslie BarrettLeslie Barrett has been a Texas public school educator for over 15 years.  Her classroom teaching experience includes grades 2, 3 and 5, and her school library experience includes primary, elementary and middle school. She currently is creating and delivering professional learning opportunities for teachers and librarians in the 60 district Region 13 service area in central Texas, where she serves as Education Specialist: Technology & Library Media Services. She is passionate about helping teachers and librarians find innovative ways to make learning more meaningful, relevant and engaging for students.

How can I get involved?

The Connected Learner ExperienceWe are now taking applications for this Austin cohort of the year-long Connected Learner Experience. The limited spots for our teams are filling up, so we encourage you to apply now.

Our new Austin, Texas, cohort will host two full day, face-to-face events — a kickoff and a culminating event- as well as five learning cycles paced out over the school year. The face-to-face kickoff will take place at ESC Region 13 on Monday October 10, 2014, and the culminating event will be on Monday, May 18, 2015.

Additionally, ongoing professional learning will take place through webinars, 1-1 coached meetings, and thought-filled discussions in a virtual community. With support and scaffolding, your team will discover a topic of interest and through a coached process, explore possibilities through the development of action research to be applied in your local setting.

We are currently seeking:

  • Schools in the Austin, Texas, area. Join our Region 13 community and take part in this transformational learning journey. Apply for more information.
  • Schools in the Houston, Texas, area. Join our Houston cohort of independent schools. Apply for more information.
  • Hosting organizations. If your school or organization hosts a community this year, you could get a free team for your school. Apply to be a host.
  • Virtual-only teams. Want to participate but can’t host or travel to Houston or Austin? We’ll pair you with other virtual learning partners around the globe. You’ll also participate for a discounted rate.
Apply now
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Powerful Learning Practice

During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.

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