Category Archives: Resources

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)

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:

Oklahoma CareerTech expands career guide

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Oklahoma CareerTech’s online career development education system, OK Career Guide, has expanded to include opportunities for businesses and soon will expand to include opportunities for younger students.

CareerTech launched OK Career Guide in 2015 to help students explore careers, pathways and educational opportunities.

OK Career Guide is customized for Oklahoma and is designed to help students of all ages discover interests and skills and the careers to which they can lead. They can also find scholarship and education opportunities.

Schools and technology centers can also use the website to discover what their students’ top interests and skills are. They can use that information to host events promoting areas of interest or to promote specific industries.

In August OK Career Guide added a component for business and industry, Connect 2 Business. The online communication tool fosters community development by connecting businesses to students, job seekers and schools. C2B, which businesses can use for free, can target students with matching career interests and help businesses offer services to schools.

With C2B, businesses can create profiles that secondary and adult students will be able to search. The profiles will include information about the businesses – including their missions and contact information – and services the businesses can provide to teachers and students: speakers, tours, equipment and job and career fairs.

C2B will also match business employment opportunities with students who have the right skills and interests. Businesses can list several kinds of opportunities: internships, externships, job shadowing, apprenticeships, full-time employment and part-time employment.

Oklahoma CareerTech will soon launch a pilot of the elementary platform in OK Career Guide. The pilot will focus on two modules, energy and health careers, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Students can learn about careers through game-based missions in which they explore, learn and solve problems and build their career awareness foundations. This pilot group will help Kuder Career Planning System and OK Career Guide by providing user feedback for a statewide rollout later in 2018.

Oklahoma CareerTech’s vision is to secure Oklahoma’s future by developing a world-class workforce. Its mission is to prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life.

OK Career Guide fits well into both CareerTech’s vision and its mission. It is just one of the ways Oklahoma CareerTech delivers education, training and partnership opportunities to businesses, schools and individuals in our state.