Update from our director

Greetings!

We at LEARN NC hope you each are enjoying the springtime weather and that your school year is finishing strong. We have been quite busy ourselves, adding new resources, lesson plans, and courses to our collection — some of which are shared below. We’re also busy adding — people! That’s right; LEARN NC is hiring. So, if you are energetic, innovative, passionate about education, and want to live in one of the coolest towns in America, visit the UNC jobs website and apply today:

Standards: Common Core & North Carolina Essential Standards
LEARN NC offers thousands of lesson plans already aligned to the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts and to the NC Essential Standards in other subject areas — and we are aligning more each day. We are in the process of making these lessons available from the Common Core and NC Essential Standards area of our website. For example, you can go into third grade social studies and click on the “Find aligned resources” link to find lessons plans for each of the strands. Soon, all Common Core and Essential Standards strands will have this link, allowing you to search for resources according to all the new standards
Lesson Plans: Commemorative landscapes
LEARN NC is partnering with the History Department and the University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to encourage critical inquiry into the construction and revision of North Carolina’s history through an examination and study of North Carolina’s monuments, markers, and other commemorative landscapes. The lessons plans being developed facilitate student engagement with primary documents and digital media to promote a broader understanding of North Carolina history, familiarity with historical discourses and practices, and thoughtful approaches to research. For example, did you know that the Edenton Tea Party meeting in North Carolina has been referred to as “the earliest known instance of political activity on the part of women in the American colonies?” Visit LEARN NC in May to experience our digital narrative of the Edenton Tea party using a collection of primary documents from the Commemorative Landscapes database and examine how the event has been commemorated across North Carolina.
Research: The Well
If you haven’t visited The WELL yet, come see how the research being conducted here by our colleagues in higher education is having immediate impact, right now, on education in our classrooms. Recent articles and videos deal with issues such as: engaging parents in urban communities, creating a “commonplace” book to support pedagogical reading, and a longitudinal study on the positive effects of high quality early childhood education.
Courses enrolling now!
As you make your summer plans, consider joining the thousands of teachers across North Carolina who have taken one of our engaging, relevant online continuing education courses. This summer’s offerings are organized according to the following three clusters:

  1. Beginning teachers/Pedagogical development
  2. Teaching diverse populations
  3. Integrating Common Core — including Algebraic Thinking in Elementary Schools, Developing Your Classroom Management Plan, Teaching Writing in Middle Schools, and Embedding Gifted Strategies into AP Instruction.

Each content area course we offer has Common Core-aligned resources embedded within to help you with your transition. And, of course, our Carolina On-Line Teaching (COLT) certification program is preparing the next generation of K-12 teachers to extend their abilities and reach into the world of online teaching themselves. Visit the COLT site to join our next cohort. NOTE: Ask us about how our Invest in Teachers program can help make our courses even more affordable for you!

Staying Connected
Thank you to all of our new Facebook friends and Twitter followers. It has been exciting to engage in conversations with each of you around the great resources we all are finding and sharing. With over 2,300 followers, it is easy to connect and find interesting ideas and tools to bring into your classroom. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page, and join our YouTube channel to see what new and interesting resources we are finding throughout each day and to stay in touch.

Thanks for being a part of the LEARN NC network. Connect with LEARN NC, and let us know how we can continue serving you.

Best,

Steve

Stephen C. Bronack, Ph.D.
Executive Director, LEARN NC
http://www.learnnc.org
bronack@unc.edu

A message from our new director, Steve Bronack

Greetings!
I am honored to be writing to you for the first time as Executive Director of LEARN NC. As a former K-12 teacher and a teacher educator here in North Carolina for many years, myself, the value of LEARN NC is clear to me. For nearly two decades, LEARN NC has provided access to the best learning innovations and thousands of exemplary mediated resources to aid the continual improvement of education in North Carolina, and beyond. I’m proud to be here, serving the teachers and students of North Carolina, and helping advance the pioneering spirit and the good work led by previous Directors. I hope you find the resources and information below useful; please share it with your colleagues, and stay connected with LEARN NC!

Standards: Common Core & North Carolina Essential Standards

We at LEARN NC are committed to supporting teachers’ understanding of and adaptation to the Common Core and North Carolina Essential standards. I am pleased to announce that our work aligning each of our 1,600 lesson plans to the Common Core and NC Essential Standards is complete, and ready to use. Stay tuned as we continue to align the thousands of external lesson plans linked on our website, as well. Come take a look! Additionally, we are taking a leadership role in collaboration with our eLearning for Educators partners to design, develop, and deliver innovative online professional development opportunities and resources to help guide teachers through the transition to the new standards.

Lesson Plans: Commemorative Landscapes

LEARN NC is developing resources using the Commemorative Landscapes Database, a collaborative project of the History Department and the University Library of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to encourage critical inquiry into the construction and revision of North Carolina’s history through an examination and study of North Carolina’s monuments, markers, and other commemorative landscapes. The lessons and projects being developed for grades 3-12 facilitate student engagement with a variety of primary documents and digital media to promote a broader understanding of North Carolina history, familiarity with historical discourses and practices, and thoughtful approaches to research. Check in with us soon for lessons that give your students the opportunity to create their own monuments, become North Carolina tour guides, and solve the mystery of the missing Hippo statue!

Research: The Well

It is exciting to be here on-campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and to have the opportunity to share with teachers and students some of the amazing work in which so many of our bright and dedicated colleagues here are engaging. If you haven’t visited The Well yet, come see how we are helping our colleagues turn their latest research into practical advice for you. Right now. Recent articles and videos deal with issues such as: working with immigrant students, “outside-in” school reform, community journalism as a novel pedagogical strategy, and finding multicultural texts to encourage struggling young readers.

Curriculum: NC Heritage

Did you know there was a military base in Greensboro during World War II? Or that our state dog, the Plott Hound, is one of only a few known breeds to have originated in America? LEARN NC has partnered with the North Carolina Digital History Center to create online curriculum, lesson plans, and podcasts using the Center’s incredible collection of digitized historic materials. Stay connected with us over the next few weeks, as we integrate these materials into our website and announce them on our Twitter feed (@learnnc).

Courses enrolling now!

Each day, hundreds of teachers participate together in one of the many informative, engaging, and relevant online continuing education courses offered via LEARN NC. Courses currently enrolling include: American Indians in North Carolina, Using Blogs and Other Collaborative Tools to Improve Student Writing, Using Models to Understand Fractions, and Planning Instruction with the National STEM Digital Library. And, of course, our Carolina On-Line Teaching (COLT) certification program is preparing the next generation of K-12 teachers to extend their abilities and reach into the world of online teaching, themselves. Visit the COLT site to join our next cohort.

Staying Connected

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Like our Facebook page, and join our YouTube channel to see what new and interesting resources we are finding throughout each day and to stay in touch with us — and with each other!

EVENTS: 2012 North Carolina Science Festival

Celebrate science statewide April 13-29, 2012 at the annual North Carolina Science Festival. The Festival is a multi-day celebration showcasing science and technology. It highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state. Through hands-on activities, science talks, lab tours, nature experiences, exhibits and performances, the Festival engages a wide range of public audiences while inspiring the next generation of students. As supporters of tomorrow’s scientists, K-12 educators are critical to our mission. The North Carolina Science Festival encourages both educators and students to be involved in the Festival. To find one of more than 300 events near you, visit www.ncsciencefestival.org.
The UNC Science Expo, a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival, will be held on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday, April 14. This annual Expo features hands-on activities and demonstrations for the science enthusiast. Exhibitors include UNC-Chapel Hill scholars, University laboratories, local entertainment and a kids’ make-and-take area. Celebrate science with more than 50 Expo exhibitors!
. . . . .
Thanks for being a part of the LEARN NC network. Connect with LEARN NC and let us know how we can continue serving you.
Best,
Steve

Stephen C. Bronack, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Executive Director, LEARN NC

Welcome back!

We hope you and your students are off to a great start of the new school year. As always, we’re hard at work on a number of projects designed to support your teaching, including:

  • Standards alignment. Throughout the school year, we’ll be aligning our collection of hundreds of lesson plans to the new state standards.
  • Digital NC history for fourth grade. We’re developing an educator’s guide to facilitate fourth-grade teachers’ use of our North Carolina digital history textbook.
  • Online courses. Check out the full slate of over fifty new online courses for the fall.

And we’ve got more in the works! We’ll be providing updates here as these projects progress, so please stay tuned. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

New state standards published on LEARN NC

North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study is in the midst of a complete overhaul. In the 2012-2013 academic year, North Carolina will begin using new standards in teaching and assessment. LEARN NC is working to make sure that our collection of instructional resources aligns with the new standards and that teachers can easily find the materials they need on our website.

During the 2011-2012 school year, we’ll be aligning our collection of lesson plans to the new standards, and we’ll make those alignments available as we go. Teachers will be able to use the new Common Core and Essential Standards to navigate to lesson plans and other instructional materials, just as they can with the current Standard Course of Study.

For now, you can view the text of the new Common Core and Essential Standards on our curriculum standards page. The current Standard Course of Study is still available on that page as well, and can still be used to find resources for teaching.

We look forward to supporting teachers through this momentous change, and, as always, we welcome your feedback!

Moodle server downtime scheduled Dec. 4

LEARN NC has rescheduled the Moodle upgrade to Saturday, December 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, Moodle will be unavailable between 11:30PM and Midnight on Tuesday, November 30 and Thursday, December 2.

In addition to a number of security updates and visual enhancements, the LEARN NC Moodle 1.9 upgrade will bring added functionality to the following:

  1. Course Email system — The course email system will functions very closely to the current version, with a much more intuitive and streamlined interface.
  2. Course Wiki plug-in — We have changed our old Wiki plug-in to a superior one. While the functionality closely resembles the wiki you’re used to, the new wiki has much better up-front instructions, addressing a major complaint of our current wiki.
  3. Course Gradebook — The new gradebook has better functionality than the old version, and presents information in a more logical way.

Videos

Videos reviewing both the new gradebook and wiki are available here:

Helpdesk support

The Helpdesk will be available for further questions:
Email: helpdesk@learnnc.org
Phone: 919-962-HELP (4357)
AOL Instant Messenger: LEARN NC Help

We’re upgrading our Moodle server; downtime scheduled Nov. 13-14

On Monday, November 15, LEARN NC and North Carolina e-Learning for Educators will begin using Moodle version 1.9. To facilitate the transition, the Moodle server will be down on November 13 and 14. Students and instructors should plan accordingly.

In addition to a number of security updates and visual enhancements, the Moodle 1.9 upgrade will bring added functionality to the course email system, the course Wiki plug-in, and the grade book. These new enhancements have better up-front instructions, information display, and a much more intuitive and streamlined interface.

If you experience any problems with the new version of Moodle, please contact the Help Desk by email, or call 919-962-HELP (4357).

LEARN NC server outage canceled

We previously reported on server maintenance scheduled for Saturday and Sunday March 13-14. We’re happy to say that this outage has been canceled, as the necessary maintenance was accomplished without necessitating any server down time. As such, users should experience no outages on the LEARN NC website, Instructify, or online courses offered on our Moodle servers.

From the director: Online courses aligned to NC Professional Teaching Standards

January 2010 director’s message:

As promised, we’ve added the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards search to the LEARN NC website. You can find it on the left-hand menu of the LEARN NC website under the “Standards” heading.

I’ve picked up on a lot of anxiety from teachers about how their performance will be evaluated from now on as a result of these standards. With this addition to the website, they can find professional development and classroom resources that will help them address each of these new criteria.

Right now, searching according to the standards returns only our online professional development courses. We’re working on making our Best Practices and instructional models searchable too, and we expect this work to be completed by the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

We tried to make this new feature as simple as possible, borrowing the format of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study search tool you’re already used to. If you want to find a resource aligned to, say, Standard 4: Teachers facilitate learning for their students, just click on the Standard 4 link. The standard is now broken down by each sub-point. When you find the area you’re looking for, click the “Find related resources” link. You’ll see a list of everything we have that addresses that standard. It’s easy enough that it will probably take you longer to read this paragraph than to learn how to use it.

Teachers are busy, overworked and stressed-out. We made our courses searchable according to the Professional Teacher Standards as a way to make teachers’ lives a little easier. Of course, we rely on you to tell us whether we’re succeeding. If you know of a way we can make this feature even more useful to you, please say so in the comments, or feel free to contact me personally.

Sincerely,
Melissa Thibault
Executive Director