Teachers in search of engaging and challenging professional development courses can now take a class that centers on “Shake Up Learning,” a book that offers innovative approaches for using technology in the classroom.
"Shake Up Learning" is written by former Texas middle school teacher Kasey Bell. In it, Bell explores how teachers can shift a classroom learning environment from static to dynamic by harnessing the power of technology to improve how students learn. Fresno Pacific University has built a Shake Up Learning course that takes concepts from the book and educates teachers on how to best implement them in the classroom.
The course is among the hundreds of Continuing Education courses Fresno Pacific University offers teachers. Earning classroom credits from these courses helps teachers from across the country meet the requirements for maintaining a teaching license while also expanding their classroom skills.
In the case of Shake Up Learning, the book is at the center of what is known as a book application course.
What Are Book Application Courses?
In book application courses, Fresno Pacific University instructors take ideas from stand-out books and show teachers how to best apply them to their classroom. Fresno Pacific University instructors are experts in the field and often teachers themselves, so they have experience in transferring great teaching ideas into reality in the classroom.
These professional development courses are offered as either one or two units. The courses are self-paced. Teachers can sign up at any time and take up to a year to complete the course from the date of registration. Although asynchronous, teachers have the opportunity to interact with instructors.
The Why, The What and The How
On the website for her book, Bell writes that technology “is not a magic solution for education.” Instead, Bell says that technology provides an opportunity to create new and dynamic learning experiences for students. Rather than static, “one and done” assignments, the book is designed to show teachers how learning can extend beyond the classroom and grow on its own.
Bell divides the book into the three sections: Why, What and How.
In this section, Bell examines why it is time to “shake up learning.” This section explores the modern history of education and how it has evolved. The focus is on the changes and challenges of education in the 21st century and how innovative technology has altered the ways people live and learn. It also explores shifts in the job market and how this will impact the future of students.
Subtitled the “DNA of Dynamic Learning,” this section takes a deep dive into the details of moving from static to dynamic learning environments. Part of that shift involves analyzing risk-taking and breaking down bad habits that need to change. Another critical step is understanding the value of establishing continuous learning mindsets in students. The idea behind this section is to "transform our old ways and preconceived notions.”
In this section, teachers learn how to take what they learned in the first two sections and put it into action. This includes detailed methods for installing dynamic learning into your classroom, as well as tips that can lead to success. The section also explores how to “facilitate with finesse” and make continuous learning a reality in your classroom.
The approach taken by Fresno Pacific University is designed to maximize the benefits of books used in the book application courses. Student outcomes for the Shake Up Learning course include the ability to:
- Reflect on how students learn in the 21st century and consider how learning is changing.
- Consider how the current curriculum supports an entrepreneurial skillset.
- Examine and list classroom technology opportunities, barriers and problems
- Explore and create opportunities for a culture of risk-taking in the classroom.
- Create flexibility with creative opportunities by curating resources and tools for yourself and students.
- Evolve or participate in social media through connecting and sharing.
- Create learning experiences, learning menus or choice boards by offering students options of digital tools that demonstrate learning.
Teachers taking the online course will have the ability to apply what they learn to the classroom as they learn it, a big advantage of online learning.