- How are your workshops different from other online courses?
In a very different model from the typical online course experience, participants in our workshops interact several times a week over a continuous four week period within a research-based professional learning community. Each workshop community is between 20-25 educators. Guided by an experienced workshop facilitator, educators complete bite-sized tasks structured to encourage collaboration. Our workshops are designed to provide a real 2-for-1 punch—hands on experience in 21st teaching and learning AND a focus on the content selected. All of this contributes to our unusually high completion rate of over 85 percent (compared to typical online courses of 20-30%).
- Are there scheduled meeting times?
No, there are no scheduled meeting times. We don't require you be online on any particular day, or time of day. This workshop is asynchronous, which means that participants never have to coordinate being online at the same time. Work from school or from home, whichever is best. But it is essential that you complete the weekly to-do list for each week.
- Do I need to be online at a certain time of day?
Days, nights, weekends—it's up to each participant. We highly recommend you do NOT do everything all at once. Spread the bite-sized tasks throughout your week and you'll have more fun as you communicate and collaborate with your learning community!
- How long does it take to complete a workshop?
Each workshop takes place over period of four consecutive weeks, requiring no more than 2.5 hours per week—for a total of 10 hours. Participants may elect to sustain their learning with year round to the CyberSmart! Expert Knowledgebase.
- After the workshop ends, then what?
Sustain learning with the access to CyberSmart! Knowledgebase year round. Hundreds of easily searched video segments continue CyberSmart learning long after the workshop is over.
- Can kindergarten teachers be in the same group as high school teachers?
CyberSmart Online Workshops use a social constructivist design encouraging participants to synthesize the knowledge, insights, and understandings of the entire group and consider ways to apply this learning to their specific roles as educators. In this way, all K-12 educators at all grade levels, including administrators, classroom teachers, and other staff members, can gain value from these workshops in unique but equally meaningful ways.
- Can individual educators purchase a workshop?
Districts/schools need to purchase a workshop for 25 educators. Consider a purchase for a mixed group of learners, including teachers, administrators, and other staff members. If you are a small district, or part of a large district that wants to start out with a small group of educators, we may be able to group you with others on a space available basis.
- How often are your workshops taught?
Not to worry. We easily work around this by simply extending the workshop to accommodate your school closings.
- What about school holidays? How do we schedule a month-long training around this?
Workshop sections can begin at any time.
- Is there a minimum number of participants per workshop?
Yes, a workshop must have at least 25 participants. Weekly tasks are structured to encourage collaborative problem-solving and reflection around workshop content and fewer participants makes the professional learning community less effective.
- Are there prerequisites for your workshops? Who should take them?
There are no prerequisites for our workshops. Any K-12 professional who works for a school, district, or state can take this workshop and will benefit tremendously. Teachers, administrators, librarians, technology coordinators, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and other personnel are all encouraged to build their own pathway to information fluency.
- How can one workshop serve the needs of all K-12 educators? The work of a principal, for example, is very different from that of a school nurse or classroom teacher.
Just as educators complement one another in school, they do the same thing online. For example, all educators will have an opinion concerning questions like "What makes a good question?" or "How should schools teach cyber ethics?" The background and experience of one learner complements those of another learner. Our workshops are based on social constructivism, and a primary objective is that participants create substantial practical value for themselves, no matter what their current educational or professional background.
- What happens if I have a question? Is the workshop facilitated?
The workshop is facilitated by a CyberSmarty—a workshop graduate and fellow educator who has been specially trained to answer questions, stimulate collaboration, and otherwise enhance your ability to learn online. You may contact your CyberSmarty at any time with questions or concerns.
- Do you like to set up classes by a school district or do you mix up teachers from different districts?
Most districts prefer to set up their workshops with a mix of educational professionals throughout their own district. The reason is that this allows them to create a culture of professional congeniality and support.
Our workshops are designed to provide a real 2-for-1 punch—hands on experience in 21st teaching and learning AND a focus on the content selected. So most districts are looking to create a professional environment to support and sustain their embrace of 21st teaching and learning.
- How are the workshops assessed?
CyberSmart! Online Workshop's Integrated Assessment provides instant accountability through
- participant tracking
- survey and evaluation data
- a portfolio of all written work
- comprehensive usage summaries
- aggregate data reports.
Ask us to see a sample report.
In addition, all participants have easy access throughout the workshop to rubrics that guide them in their collaborative assignments.
- Do the workshops require books or other printed readings?
There are no required books. All printed readings are available through the CyberSmart! online learning environment.
- What skills are important for success in your workshops?
All participants must be willing to actively participate in the workshop. Basic computer use—including Web access, e-mail, and word processing—is required.
- Do I have to be a highly motivated learner to enjoy one of your workshops?
If you are easily bored by traditional professional development, then CyberSmart! Online Workshops will be especially appealing to you. The workshops include great videos and require all participants to collaborate in fun and interesting ways. They are personally facilitated by a CyberSmarty, a trained online coach and a fellow educator who stimulates learners and helps you stay on track. Plus you will have ample opportunity to explore information and create a final assignment that has personal meaning and practical value to you.
- What will I get from your workshops that can't be learned from reading a book or two on these subjects?
While books are wonderful, there are now even more tools with which to express our literacy, as well as to teach and learn, and CyberSmart! Online Workshops is one example. This type of online professional development is itself an experience in 21st century learning. We teach the skills associated with the new literacies, which move literacy beyond books. And the workshop requires every participant to learn in a collaborative, online context.
- Do the workshops require a lot of writing, such as essays or papers?
The workshop requires learners to prepare a concise written culminating project that is of practical value to the participant. Other writing occurs in the form of thoughtful comments. Most written content is shared among all course participants.
- What is it like to take a workshop without high-speed Internet access?
Learners can participate in CyberSmart! Online Workshops even if they must access the Internet via a dial-up modem. There may be a noticeable delay while content is accessed via the Internet and then displayed on your screen. Video and audio quality is acceptable, but image quality is somewhat grainy, and audio quality is noticeably diminished.
- What operating system and browser is needed to access the workshop Web site?
For optimal performance, CyberSmart! recommends EITHER Microsoft Windows 2000 and above with Internet Explorer version 5.0 and above OR the Mac OSX operating systems and browsers including Firefox and Netscape Navigator. The use of other browsers may result in minor, although tolerable, malfunctions, including text and graphic formatting issues, but these should not impede your ability to participate in the workshop.
- Must I always use the same computer for a workshop?
No, you don't have to use the same computer. All of your work will be stored online, and you will be able to access the workshop from any computer with an Internet connection of 56K or higher. If you choose, you may compose written tasks using your own word processor and later go online to post your writing on the workshop site.
- How is my privacy protected so that I won't be contacted by anyone I don't know or expect?
You should expect to be contacted by other workshop participants, the workshop faciltator, and the workshop management system itself (e.g., to convey announcements or forum postings). The CyberSmart! Education Company will not reveal your identity to anyone without your permission. Your workshop administrator may require you to reveal your true identity to other workshop participants, or you may have the choice to be identified on a first-name-only basis.
- Do you follow a particular model of problem solving, such as the Big 6, to build information-seeking and analytical skills?
All CyberSmart! Online Workshops utilize an information-seeking and evaluation process that generally models the well-known exemplars, including the Big 6. The workshops also provide substantial content in addition to teaching the core information-seeking skills.
- Do you use the Eleven Principles, or any other character education programs, as a framework for discussing cyber ethics?
Our Manners, Cyberbullying, and Ethics workshop, in particular, and our other workshops, in general, have integrated core elements of all major character education programs, including the Character Education Partnership's Eleven Principles and the Character Counts! Six Pillars of Character. We align appropriate behavior in cyberspace directly to the core ethical values (fairness, honesty, respecting oneself and others) that form what is considered "good character."
- Do you offer on-site workshops? Is it possible to host one?
Typically, we do not offer a stand-alone face-to-face workshops because we want educators to experience our professional development in the context of using 21st century tools. However, for a whole district implementing a train-the-trainer model, we can arrange for a face-to-face launch session at our travel cost. We also provide optional face-to-face activity guides that a school/district may use before, during, and after its online workshop.