Welcome to OK2Ask®, a series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer (kick off your shoes!) will share great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's staff. You know our style, so you know these sessions will be useful and teacher-friendly.
What teachers are saying about OK2Ask®
Registration wiki: upcoming offerings and links to archived sessions.
Registration for each session opens about four weeks in advance.
Frequently ASKED Questions below -- since it's OK2Ask®!
You "attend" OK2Ask® sessions on your computer, with live video and audio from our moderators and a text chat area for you to ask questions live. It's OK2Ask® questions so we hope you will.
Invite a friend to attend with you (and bring a snack). All you need is a computer with a high speed connection (DSL, cable modem, or school network). Professional development certificates will be available. We have correlated the OK2Ask® content with ISTE's NETS-T 2008 standards, as well.
It's FREE, and it's OK2Ask®!
Sample OK2Ask® session titles:
Find It, Use It: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons
Envision, Engage: Getting started with project-based learning using TeachersFirst
Whiteboards and the Web: Strategies for Student Centered Learning
Creative Classroom Chaos: How to implement student-centered activities using computers—a sharing session!
A Safe Journey to the Edge: Intro to Web 2.0 Tools
Guided wiki Walk: Step by Step to create your own classroom wiki
OK2Ask® Special Edition: LIVE from ISTE 2012
Join OK2Ask® LIVE from at the Source for Learning/TeachersFirst booth on June 26, 2012, at 3:30 Pacific (6:30 Eastern time). Thinking Teachers and Thinking Leaders share their most thought provoking experiences from the ISTE conference in San Diego. The archived video will be posted about two weeks later so you can watch it at your convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does OK2Ask® cost?
OK2Ask® sessions are absolutely free for teachers.
Who is teaching the sessions?
Staff members of TeachersFirst will be conducting the sessions and helping to moderate questions. All TeachersFirst staff members are experienced classroom teachers like you, many working for us part time as they continue teaching full time. Candy Shively, Director of K-12 Initiatives for The Source for Learning, our non-profit parent company, is a 27 year teaching veteran and Instructional Technology Specialist. Candy is in charge of planning the sessions.
How long are the sessions?
Unless otherwise noted, sessions are 75 minutes long. We don't have bells that ring at the end, but we promise to stop as closely as possible to exactly 75 minutes. Your job is to show up on time and be ready to go! Note: first time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if they have never used Elluminate, our virtual classroom tool.
How often are sessions held?
There are regular OK2Ask® offerings at least once per month. During the summer and other high-interest times of the year, we may offer 2-3 topics per month. An advanced schedule for the school year is available in the fall of each year.
What sessions have been planned?
The current session descriptions and registration pages are always online at the wiki "home base" for OK2Ask®. Check there often, or set up an RSS feed to see changes to the wiki page (if you know how -- see the Notify Me tab), or sign up for the TeachersFirst weekly Update to receive announcements of upcoming sessions.
Will there be other sessions?
OK2Ask® is a regular series, with more popular sessions repeated regularly. See upcoming offerings at the wiki "home base" for OK2Ask®. Check there often, or set up an RSS feed to see changes to the wiki page (if you know how -- see the Notify Me tab), or sign up for the TeachersFirst weekly Update to receive announcements of upcoming sessions.
I've never taken any classes online. Is it hard to figure out what to do?
You will be surprised how easy it is. It will take you less than five minutes to figure out the tools. First time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if they have never used Elluminate, our virtual classroom tool. We have staff members available to assist you, and we welcome your cries for help. That's why we call it "OK2Ask®"!
How will I ask questions?
We wish we could see your face and hear all of you with the online tools we are using, but, alas we cannot. There will be a place where you can type in a question as well as places where you can click to take a quick survey or answer our questions. You can even "applaud" or "raise your hand" by clicking a button! Our staff will be moderating teacher questions so we don't miss them. The entire text "chat" will be available after the session for you to revisit the archived version and catch things you may have missed.
Is there homework?
We will not be collecting "homework" from session participants, but we strongly encourage you to follow up after the sessions by playing with the new resources you have learned about. This is self-directed professional development (the best kind!). If you are motivated enough to take the session, you should be motivated to try what you have learned. The session objectives tell you which activities will require follow-up time on your own to fully master the content. The ideal time to do this follow-up is within 48 hours after attending or reviewing the recorded session from the archive. A few of our sessions actually meet twice with a little "homework" between meetings. This is always explained in the session description.
What if I have technical trouble?
TeachersFirst staff members will be acting as moderators for the sessions. If you can connect to the chat session, you can enter a message about any audio or video problems. We encourage you to try to join the sessions about ten minutes early to familiarize yourself with the tools the first time and to work out any "bugs." If you are attending from school, you should plan to test all tools from links on the OK2Ask® wiki home base a week or so before your first session. Some schools have filtering in place that blocks certain tools. Try the links from school in advance so you have time to request that they be unblocked or find an alternate, unblocked computer to use for the session.
What kind of computer do I need?
Since OK2Ask® uses the web to offer the sessions, any computer with a high-speed connection (cable modem, DSL, or school network) should work just fine. Both Windows and Mac computers will work. Since some sessions will include demonstration and "play" with web-based tools, we cannot guarantee that ALL tools will work on every computer, but you will be able to at least watch the demonstrations. Testing links to tools in advance of the sessions is always a good idea, but it is not required. We will have links to the tools we will be using posted on the OK2Ask® wiki home base no later one week prior to each session.
My school has lots of web sites blocked. How do I know if the tools will work if I attend after school from my classroom?
We will have links to the tools we will be using posted on the OK2Ask® wiki home base no later one week prior to each session. Try the links from school so you have time to request that they be unblocked or find an alternate, unblocked computer to use for the session.
I am a little timid with technology. Can I watch the session over again once it has ended?
Yes! The session will be available in archived format so you can see other people's questions and answers or demonstrations you might have missed the first time around.
May I attend the sessions with a friend?
Yes! Many teachers find it works best to have a study buddy. Why not offer to bring the popcorn and sit together at your computer(s) for the session? The best art is that we will ont be able to hear you talking amongst yourselves. You WILL stay on task, right?
Why do I have to pre register?
Pre registration gives TeachersFirst an idea how many will be attending so we can plan to have enough moderators available to help. We will not, however, chase you with reminders. We are all grown-ups. Please mark your calendar. If you do sign up with a friend, you can remind each other! As a courtesy, please be sure to remove your name if you decide NOT to attend. This opens the space for another teacher.
How do I cancel a registration if I find out I cannot attend?
To cancel your registration, simply return to the registration page and EDIT to remove your name from the list the same way you added it. If you are unable to do this, please contact our webmaster to tell us which session you are cancelling so we can allow others in. All registration pages are accessible through our OK2Ask® wiki home base.
Is space limited?
At this time, the sessions are open to all, but our room holds about 20-30 people. We reserve the right to cut off pre registrations (another reason to pre register!). Registrations are first-come, first-served. Note that each "seat" is a computer connected to the classroom. You may have as many people as you wish sharing your computer screen at your end.
Should I arrive early?
First time attendees should plan to arrive 10 minutes early if they have never used Elluminate, our virtual classroom tool. PLEASE be on time so others do not have to wait while we get you up to speed.
May I take the same session twice?
You are welcome to attend the same session twice or to replay the archived session to catch things you may have missed the first time through. The text chat moves quickly, so revisiting the archive often reveals even more good ideas. You can access session archives from the OK2Ask® wiki home base.
May I earn credit?
We will issue Professional Development participation certificates to all who complete the sessions during a LIVE offering. During the session itself we will tell you how to request one. Since every state (and even school district) has different requirements for earning continuing education credit, you will need to take our certificate to your local governing authority to request credit. At this time, we will not be awarding graduate credit for OK2Ask®. The archived recordings are very informative, but we cannot issue professional development certificates for watching the recordings.
Are there professional development certificates for watching session recordings?
Active, live participation is a requirement for a professional devleopment certificate. Without this participation, we cannot verify that teachers have met the objectives as stated in the session descrptions and on certificates. We welcome anyone who wishes to watch the archived sessions, but we are not able to grant certificates for these. You might want to ask your school whether you may earn credit through your school administration for watching the recordings and applying the new ideas in your classroom.
Is this only for U.S. teachers?
Teachers anywhere are welcome to join us for OK2Ask®. The time blocks are U.S. friendly, but content is not specific to the U.S. . Join us if you can!
How can you offer this for free?
TeachersFirst is a free service offered since 1998 by a non-profit, the Source for Learning (formerly known as NITV). The board of directors of The Source for Learning (SFL) feels strongly that teachers should not have to pay for this service. SFL uses grants monies and other investments and service subscriptions to underwrite the cost of providing TeachersFirst to teachers. OK2Ask® is a new offering and may evolve into a customized professional development offering that schools or districts may subscribe to. But these teacher sessions are offered as part of our commitment to individual, dedicated teachers. As a non-profit, SFL welcomes donations at any time, including small gifts from the teachers who find our service helpful. Your support helps us extend our reach and add new content for teachers. You can make a donation via the SFL web site.
What if I get interrupted (I have kids!)?
We know that teachers multi-task. even if you plan to sit at your computer after school or during the evening at home, children will demand attention, the phone will ring, the principal will make announcements over the P.A., and someone will drop a dish in the kitchen. Rejoin us as quickly as you can and revisit the archived session later to fill in things you miss while handling the crisis. You can access session archives from the OK2Ask® wiki home base.
May I share this information with my principal?
We hope you will tell your principal, department chair, superintendent, and teaching colleagues about OK2Ask®. Some administrators may even want to encourage teachers to attend together and may grant "credit" toward contractual professional development time for doing so. And you will get the credit for finding such a valuable service. Be sure to point out our alignment with ISTE's NETS-T standards. We hope you will tell others about TeachersFirst and OK2Ask® as high-quality, teacher-friendly sources for professional growth and instructional rigor.
Where are the sessions coming from?
The sessions are originating from several sites in the eastern U.S., including the offices of The Source for Learning in Reston, Virginia. TeachersFirst staff members (they are teachers, remember!) are located around the U.S. and will be moderating from their home or school locations. All session times are Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight, so plan accordingly.
Have another question? Feel free to contact us via our webmaster account, but be sure to mention OK2Ask® and any specific session you may have questions about.