Are you a teacher or administrator who is:

-Looking for strategies to implement technology into your classroom or school?
-Wondering when and how to connect your students to the digital world?
-Wanting to share your best practices for balancing curriculum requirements and personalized learning plans, or gain ideas and resources that will support your work?

If so, check out Chalk Talks!

What is Chalk Talks?

We’re excited to partner with educators Andrew Bieronski and Mark Carbone to present this new webinar series. During twice-monthly webinars, our hosts and a variety of guest speakers will engage on topics ranging from creating personal learning plans to developing students’ digital citizenship. We aim to make this series responsive to your questions and knowledge, so if you would like to learn more about a specific topic, please connect with us to suggest it for a future webinar. Equally, if you have best practices to share, contact us to talk about becoming a guest speaker.

Looking for a place to start? In our launch episode, Andrew and Mark dive into some of the topics that intrigue them as educators, and outline where Chalk Talks will be going in its first year. One of the ideas that resonated with them and with early listeners was that, as Mark noted, “connected learners need connected leaders.” Connected learning goes well beyond the innate digital savviness today’s students display, and central to its success is input from educators and parents. As outlined in the report Connected Learning: an agenda for research and design:

Connected learning is realized when a young person pursues a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career possibilities, or civic engagement. Digital and networked media offer new ways of expanding the reach and accessibility of connected learning so it is not just privileged youth who have these opportunities. (Ito et al., 6)

Today’s students have nearly limitless potential to access resources, peers, and mentors from around the world. As such, it is vital that teachers and other educators guide the students’ learning in a constructive way that is also conscious of the risks that come with developing an online presence.

Part of our ability to help our students will come with becoming more connected, ourselves. It can feel like a lot to take in, but there are lots of ways to take small steps forward. Andrew found that talking with other teachers on Twitter helped to build his confidence, and his online connections suggested new ways to integrate technology use into his high school English classes. Mark is enthused by the diversity of blog and podcast content created by teachers, and personally hosts the Virtual Coffee Shop podcast, where he leads interviews that range from discussing changes in music education to language-learning strategies. Keep an eye on this page for more resources that our hosts recommend! We’ll post some with future webinars and write-ups.

What’s next for Chalk Talks webinars?

Speaking of future webinars, where are we headed? Oh, the places we’ll go!

All Chalk Talks will engage with current opportunities and challenges in the field of education. Some of the subjects that our hosts will talk about include:

  • different approaches to assessment, and how to balance the skills required for graduation and/or acceptance into post-secondary schools with lesson plans that are responsive to students’ individual strengths and skills;
  • strategies for collaboration between schools and districts on a national/global scale;
  • how to refine personal learning plans for students through the use of technology; and
  • a gradual approach to developing your students’ digital citizenship.

Our hosts will also dive into more speculative topics, like what a school should look like (both physically, as a building and semi-public space, and structurally – class size and structure, curriculum requirements, and assessment styles.) Considering the growth of technology’s impact on our day-to-day lives, Andrew raised the question of whether it was possible to lose his teaching job to technology. Mark responded optimistically, noting that while technology builds students’ connection to the outside world, and provides tools that enhance teachers’ ability to personalize their lesson plans or share lesson ideas with other teachers, the interpersonal connections made at school are invaluable. (This, too, is likely a topic we haven’t heard the last of.)

Excited for the next webinar? We are!

In the meanwhile, stay connected! Send us a Tweet with your ideas or feedback at @chalkdotcom, or connect with us on the Chalk Talks page.

If this struck a chord with you, consider checking out our free guide on introducing tech to teachers if you want more of your colleagues to get on board with webinars and the digital education-sphere!

Help your teachers engage in new & innovative ways with this FREE guide