Category Archives: K-12 Education

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.

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

 

This is CareerTech

A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.

 

 

Farm-to-fork, with a twist

From farm to fork, Vinita FFA members serve up fresh, healthy options from their food truck and catering business.

 

They catered more than 4,500 dinners last year, including about 20 weddings. They have a successful farm-to-fork food truck. They even have their own farmers market, where they sell fresh produce, meat, dairy products, eggs, baked goods and their own homemade salsa.

A company like this would be no big deal in a metropolitan area, but this company is a pretty big deal. It’s based in a town of just over 5,000 people, and its employees are high school students. If the company had a CEO, it would be Carolyn Piguet, who also happens to be the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Vinita High School.

Vinita’s FFA chapter purchased the food truck in 2017, and from March to September Piguet and her students set up each week at the student-run farmers market. They offered made-from-scratch breakfasts, including their now-famous homemade fritters. Once customers tasted the peach, blueberry, apple and pumpkin pastries, they were hooked.

Piguet hasn’t always taught agriculture. Before coming to Vinita’s ag ed program she taught science and was a school counselor, testing coordinator and even a school principal. This latest chapter in her career unites all of her passions.

“I love agriculture,” she said, “and there’s not a better scenario in which to build leadership, independence and project gratification than in agriculture.”

More than corn and crops

The food truck and farmers market are built around her chapter members’ individual projects. They bring their products to the market and receive payment for their efforts. In addition to agricultural concepts, they learn planning, production, catering, marketing and communication.

Piguet also has students involved in vinyl sign-making, welding, wood projects, wildlife and more. She says she tries to help students find projects that match their interests.

“We’re breaking the stereotype that everybody has to have an animal or everybody has to be growing a crop, because there are so many more things in agriculture than just the production end of it,” she said.

There is quite a bit of growing going on, however. The FFA chapter uses land provided by a community member to grow a chapter garden each year. Last year the farmers market sold close to 500 pounds of tomatoes, 11,000 ears of corn, nearly 200 dozen eggs, three beef carcasses and more than four pork carcasses, sold by the cut.

Through the farmers market and the catering business, students learn money management, record keeping, licensing and customer service. They take health department food-safety classes as well as chapter instruction to learn how to prepare, present and market their food products, all the while tying it back to agricultural education.

The FFA members aren’t the only ones learning through the farm-to-fork program. The Vinita community also benefits, according to Piguet, through increased availability of clean products and awareness of healthy foods. The farmers market also provides a community event the whole town can enjoy.

The farmers market is closed for the winter, but the Vinita FFA catering team offers several year-round menu options for special events. You can order the traditional pulled pork and barbecue brisket dinner, of course, but they can also take it up a notch. One sit-down dinner option includes smoked tri-tip, rosemary chicken breast, baby bakers, bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and wedge salad with blue cheese and balsamic reduction. And of course they’re prepared to satisfy a diner’s sweet tooth, with offerings such as butter cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate molten cake.

Oklahoma FFA is one of seven co-curricular student organizations associated with the Oklahoma CareerTech System. These organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing. The other organizations are BPA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA.

The Agricultural Education Division, of the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech, administers agricultural education offerings in 360 high schools. These programs prepare students for careers in production agriculture, agribusiness and other emerging agricultural-related occupations.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 395 comprehensive school districts,15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 Adult Basic Education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Websites, Apps, and More

TA9214 2016 Web Book Cover.inddThe 9th edition of CIMC‘s web book (previously called Best of the Web) includes apps for both instructors and students that enhance the classroom experience, offer avenues for professional development, and assist instructors with student engagement and enhancement activities. This edition includes resources for CareerTech Student Organizations; Teaching, Advising & Career Information; Creativity; and Digital Tools, as well as websites for each career cluster.

Websites, Apps, and More can be downloaded for FREE, or purchased in packages of 10.

Download a free copy of Websites, Apps, and More
Purchase Websites, Apps, and More from our online catalog

Why are industry credentials important?

Oklahoma has 1,670,046 jobs by industry, and the number is projected to grow 7.8 percent to 1,946,040 by 2025. This aggressive growth projection reinforces the need for all Oklahomans to have the skills and knowledge necessary to be productively engaged in the workplace. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides programs and services that support Oklahoma’s job growth for each of the key business ecosystems identified by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

The specific needs of the current workforce and the workforce projected to exist in 2025 indicate a majority of workers will need certificates, credentials or associate degrees to maintain the growth of Oklahoma’s economy. Business and industry require and will continue to require a qualified workforce.

What is a credential?

An education- and work-related credential, which could include a license or certificate, can be defined as a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence issued by a third party with the relevant authority to issue such credentials (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010).

To ensure an educated and skilled workforce, many industries and educational entities have successfully developed and implemented industry-recognized credentials to connect individuals to the skills they need to enter into and advance in jobs. Many credentials are stackable, meaning they can build on previous competencies and skills through an individual’s lifetime.

Credential Types:

Certificate

  • Awarded upon the successful completion of a brief course of study, usually one year or less but at times longer.
  • Upon completion of a course of study, a certificate does not require any further action to retain.

Certification

  • Awarded by a professional organization or other nongovernmental body.
  • Is not legally required to work in an occupation.
  • Requires demonstrating competency to do a specific job, often through an examination process.

License

  • Awarded by a governmental licensing agency.
  • Gives legal authority to work in an occupation.
  • Requires meeting predetermined criteria, such as having a degree or passing a state-administered exam.

Degree

  • An award or title conferred upon an individual for the completion of a program or courses of study over multiple years at postsecondary education institutions.

Through ODCTE leadership, agency operations, dissemination of best practices and multiple delivery arms, Oklahoma CareerTech strives to increase student educational attainment of industry credentials. (In FY16, Oklahoma students earned 15,152 industry credentials.)

The value of credentials

It is imperative that the educational process focus on successful outcomes that provide individuals with the skills and abilities to enter the workforce and/ or enter postsecondary education. For example, completion of industry-recognized certifications and credentials enables individuals to work in highwage, high-demand occupations. The certifications/ credentials that students receive are an essential component to decreasing the educational gap that blocks a more vibrant Oklahoma economy. Oklahoma’s future hinges on business and industry’s ability to successfully compete in a global economy. A highly skilled workforce is essential for success in today’s challenging business environment.

Socioeconomic mobility

To further demonstrate the importance of credentials, the 2016 national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed employed people were more likely to hold an active certification or license (25.0 percent) than unemployed people (12.5 percent) or those who were not in the labor force (6.0 percent). People who held certifications or licenses also had a lower unemployment rate than those who did not (2.5 percent versus 5.6 percent, respectively). Workers with certifications or licenses also earned 35.0 percent more than those who did not hold such credentials ($1,032 versus $765 respectively).

Resources:

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