Monthly Archives: May 2018

Developing a Personalized Learning Network for CareerTech Educators

PLN Word Cloud

Lifelong learning is important for any career, but sometimes opportunities for professional development are limited. Because of this limitation, it is important for every individual to develop a personalized learning network.

What is a PLN?

According to Tom Whitby in Edutopia, a PLN is “a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources.” Just remember that your PLN is not limited to online interactions, but it is the online, global interaction that makes it unique.

How do you create a PLN?

The basic premise of a PLN is to learn and share with others. Networking, or the ability to share, is a wonderful way to learn, but it should not be limited to formal meetings or to random encounters with other professionals. Technology allows for a global learning experience that will occur 24/7.

Begin by connecting with people who have an interest in career and technology education. This group may primarily include family, friends, educators and experts, but it should also include people you meet at conferences and meetings or any other place where face-to-face meetings have occurred.

How do you add peers into your PLN?

  1. Twitter: Create a Twitter account that focuses on CareerTech educators and leaders. For many, Twitter is the foundation for establishing a PLN. Use popular CTE hashtags, g., #careerteched, #CTE or #Vision18, to locate and connect to others. Consider using a Twitter aggregator like Hootsuite to provide organization and simplify your Twitter life.
  2. RSS feeds: Use RSS feeds to stay connected to your favorite education and CTE websites, blogs and publications. Instead of visiting websites on a daily basis, you can use the RSS feeds to gather headlines from those sites and feed them directly to your computer.
    • Get started by downloading an RSS reader. There are several free and commercial readers, extensions and apps available online.
    • Visit your favorite websites and look for the RSS link.
    • Click on the RSS icon RSS Feed or copy the URL to the RSS feed for the site.
    • Paste the RSS URL into your RSS reader.
    • Repeat these steps with all your favorite sites.
  3. Social bookmarking sites: Diigo, Delicious, Pinterest, Reddit and Google Reader are just a few sites that allow you to tag a webpage so it can be easily accessed at a later time. The advantage to a social bookmarking site is that you are saving these sites to a web-based tool so you can log into your account on any device and review your saved articles/web pages from remote locations.
  4. Facebook: Create a Facebook account, add your interests and like Facebook pages in which you have a professional interest. Then comment on and share pages.
  5. Google+: This is an online social networking site that allows the user to organize peers into groups called “Circles” and then filter the information you share by group. You can also search for existing educational communities and simply join them and begin to learn and share your own knowledge and experiences.

Create a goal for your PLN

Spend 20 minutes a day sharing and learning. It’s a great way to start your day or a welcome alternative to watching commercials during your favorite TV show. A PLN will take effort — to add peers and sites to your technology devices, but also to add to the conversation. It’s a wonderful feeling when people begin to follow you and ask you to share your knowledge and experiences.

Resource: How do you know which educational hashtags to search by?Hashtags (002)

CTE 101

Learn how CareerTech prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country.

Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult CareerTech Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Business and Industry Services Programs Guide

bis map cover

Business and Industry Services are Oklahoma’s tools for economic and workforce development.

This division, of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, works with technology center districts to provide resources to guide you through the maze of government contracting to help your company grow. Assistance for small business is available to train and retool workers or train a new workforce to guarantee production from day one.

The CareerTech system also provides training and resources for volunteer firefighters and short-term professional development for adults.

Click HERE to download a copy of the new BIS Programs Guide and discover which programs are available across Oklahoma’s 29 technology center districts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAREERTECH: Changing the conversation

Dr. Marcie MackWhat is one of the most critical economic needs Oklahoma faces? The answer is clear: A sustainable, qualified workforce.

Oklahoma’s relatively low unemployment rate means every Oklahoman is needed to drive the state’s economy.

So how do we work to build a sustainable, qualified workforce?

First, we must change the conversation. We must educate students about the jobs available in our state. We must talk about career options and the education needed to obtain careers.

The conversation about college or career must change. There are multiple paths; education is vital to obtaining any career, but the level of education needed for individual careers varies. So the conversation needs to be focused on, “What skills, training and education do you need to be successful?” not, “What skills, training or education do you need to be successful?”

Today’s qualified workforce does not have an option of either skills or academics. The workforce requires individuals to have both skills and academics along with critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills. The conversation cannot be college or career. Our workforce requires both.

The state-by-state analysis in “Good Jobs That Pay without a BA,” a report from The Good Jobs Project, shows that between 1991 and 2015, Oklahoma lost 3,000 good blue collar jobs that did not require bachelor’s degrees, but gained 97,000 good skilled services jobs for workers without bachelor’s degrees. Median earnings of non-degreed workers with good jobs in 2015 was $55,000.

Skills training provides for careers in a variety of areas that lead to wealth-generating, sustainable wages, but students may not be encouraged to look at skilled jobs and technical training. That conversation must change, as more than 50 percent of Oklahoma jobs require a certificate, credential or associate degree.

It’s not just Oklahoma facing the problem. A recent NPR story heard on “All Things Considered” looked at the state of trade employment in Washington and across the country. Reporters found that one-third of new jobs through 2022 will be in construction, health care and personal care, and new plumbers and electricians will be in demand. In the next five years, infrastructure fields will have 68 percent more job openings.

And parents, the story says, often mistakenly believe that career and technology education won’t lead to good, professional jobs. But career and technology education prepares students to meet the demands of skilled jobs, as well as prepares them to continue into postsecondary education.

CareerTech affords students the opportunity to earn certificates, industry-recognized credentials and credit toward associate degrees. Oklahoma CareerTech empowers middle school, high school and adult students to add workforce value to their education. Career and technology education is accessible throughout Oklahoma.

To meet the needs of Oklahoma’s economy, the conversation must change. The conversation around college or career will not get Oklahoma’s economy where it needs to be. We must have a sustainable, qualified workforce, and Oklahoma CareerTech is key.

Marcie Mack is State Director at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Career Programs Guide

CareerTech Delivers Training and Education for Individuals, Companies

Oklahoma CareerTech delivers education and training in more than 130 career areas through technology centers, K-12 school districts, Skills Centers (programs for offenders), Business and Industry Services and Adult Basic Education.  For more information, please contact the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education or local technology centers and schools.

Use the following link to discover the programs available at each technology center campus: Career Programs Guide

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools – DECA and TSA

From TSA to Ph.D., Harvard scientist urges girls to pursue STEM careers.

THEN: At Emerson Junior High School in Enid, Cammi Valdez followed her sister’s lead

CammiValdez

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools (TSA and DECA)

and got involved in CareerTech student organizations. She eventually served as a state officer in both Technology Student Association and DECA, and by the time she graduated from Enid High School she had competed in everything from building balsa wood gliders to public speaking. That technology education and TSA involvement – as well as an influential instructor and mentor – were the first steps on her way to a career in science, technology, engineering and math. Cammi earned both a B.S. Professional degree in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics in just four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and she received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.

She says she still draws from her experiences in TSA and DECA, including:

  • Leadership qualities she learned as a state officer. (At SWOSU she became president of the math honor society and her chemistry club, and at Harvard she held a number of leadership roles on her graduate student council, including two years as president.)
  • Public speaking and networking.
  • A love of all things STEM.

NOW: Assistant director for undergraduate research and fellowships at Harvard, she runs a fellowship program primarily for humanities and social sciences students – from underrepresented backgrounds – who are interested in careers in academia. She also runs a summer research program that prepares undergrads for STEM-related graduate programs.

Cammi says a STEM background can lead to job security, intellectual stimulation and more career opportunities than ever.

“The biomedical sciences field is exploding,” she said. “And the world is also becoming more reliant on computer science.”

The Harvard scientist has become a role model for young women considering a career in STEM.

 

“I remember having teachers who told me you don’t need to be good at math or science because you’re a girl…I hope students today have access to people who say, ‘You CAN do it.’”

Cammi Valdez, biomedical scientist at Harvard University