Learning Forward Nebraska

Your Professional Learning Connection

AQuESTT Pre-Conference: A Playbook for Professional Learning

Learning Forward Nebraska is pleased to host the AQuESTT Pre- Conference featuring Frederick Brown, Deputy Executive Director of Learning Forward.



A Playbook for Professional Learning: Focus on Implementation

Review the theory of action that underlies the Standards for Professional Learning and the contribution they can make to your change efforts. Dig deeper through case study analysis into the Implementation standard and consider applications to your own setting. Make a plan for strengthening the implementation of your highest priorities.


Learning Forward Nebraska members are given priority registration until all 100 seats are filled. Click here to register.

STEM Connection

The Journal of Staff Development is the publication of Learning Forward. Recently the Journal featured articles for STEM Education, so you will find some STEM opportunities and content within this newsletter.


Nebraska's 3D Science Standards, currently in draft form, are designed to help educators make connections to engineering, problem solving, and Nebraska specific learning experiences.


The 3D's of Nebraska's proposed standards stand for:


  • Dimension 1: Practice
These are the practices that scientists and engineers are engaged in. These are not only skills, but the knowledge and skills that professionals use in their career fields.


  • Dimension 2: Cross-cutting Concepts
These are the concepts of patterns, similarity, and diversity; cause and effect; scale, proportion and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; stability and change.


  • Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas
These core ideas focus on the most important aspects of science, and provide keys to investigating and understanding complex concepts.


Nebraska's new science standards are scheduled for approval in the fall of 2017.

Professional Learning...Maker Style!

Makerspaces, tinkering, hackerspaces...regardless of what you call it, the educational community is abuzz with integrating the maker philosophy in their classroom and libraries. However, those are the only spaces that the maker philosophy can be embedded into education.


What is Maker Education?

Just what is the maker philosophy? Technopedia defines the "maker movement" as a "trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded, or broken electronic, plastic, silicon, or virtually any raw material..." It is all about tinkering, making, and creating! The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) goes further in defining the maker movement as valuing "human passion, capability and the ability to make things happen and solve problems anywhere, anytime."


What Does It Look Like in a Classroom?

Makerspaces look very different in each district, school, and classroom. According a "Worlds of Learning" article by Laura Fleming, "...there is no one-size-fits-all approach to planning a makerspace. Makerspaces should be as unique and meaningful as the communities they are in." Gary Stager, co-author of Invent to Learn - Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, provides additional explanation on how the making philosophy could be applied to a classroom, stating in a 2014 Scholastic article that "it recognizes that knowledge is a consequence of experience, and it seeks to democratize access to a vast range of experience and expertise so that each child can engage in authentic problem solving."


Stager and his co-author, Sylvia Martinez, continue in a 2013 "We Are Teachers" blogpost by clarifying that "making is a position on learning that puts the learner in charge. Giving students time to brainstorm, invent, design, and build--and then time to fix mistakes, improve, test, and improve again is crucial." Makerspaces could include...


  • 3D design and printing tools
  • Circuitry and electronic materials
  • Coding and programming items (such as Makey Makey kits and Arduino)
  • Items that require little to no technology, such as plastic pop bottles, coffee filters, paper towel tubes, and drinking straws


How Can a Maker Philosophy Be Applied to Professional Learning?

Students are not the only audience for the maker movement. Educators can join in the making! "This raises expectations and standards in our classrooms by granting more responsibility to the learner," says Stager. When educators become self-directed learners who research, make, create, test, and improve to solve a problem, the learning becomes an active inquiry process with growth in mind! Possible items to include in a professional learning makerspace could be any of the following items:


  • Professional reading materials that include best practices on a wide variety of topics
  • Tools to create such as sticky notes, colorful markers and pens, poster board, and other paper/pencil materials
  • Visual instructional framework with lesson planning template
  • Curriculum materials
  • Motivational signs and quotations to spark creativity
  • Any materials or items that would be found in a student makerspace to get you creating like your students


Include anything that would inspire curiosity, making, and iteration! What would be a "must have" in your professional learning makerspace?


Additional Maker Resources

MakerEd Resources Page - includes repository of planning resources, tools and materials, project ideas, professional development, and more!

Create a Makerspace Slides - includes how-to's, links, books, Twitter profiles, and other maker resources (created by LFN member Greg Schwanke, ESU #3)

Out of the Box Approach to Planning Makerspaces - blog post by Laura Fleming - includes wide variety of unique makerspaces that could be incorporated into a learning space

SAMR and Bloom's Taxonomy: Assembling the Puzzle - Common Sense Education post from Ruben Puentedura (Creator of SAMR Model) about aligning the SAMR and Bloom's Taxonomy components - includes application example of students moving beyond DOK 1 to get students problem-solving and making at the higher levels of Bloom's


See making in action! Check out the video below to see highlights from the recent ESU #3 Student Maker Fair.

Student Maker Fair

A Message from Learning Forward Nebraska Board President

Board Briefs

The Learning Forward Nebraska (LFN) Board meets consistently to ensure all activities support the organization’s Strategic Plan. We also believe building strong relationships and communicating effectively are critical to the success of the organization.

The LFN Board met on Friday, March 24. Here’s a few highlights from the meeting:

1) The revised constitution was reviewed and will be distributed to the membership at the end of April and voted on at the Annual Meeting on July 25 (NDE Administrator Day luncheon).
2) Planning details were discussed for these upcoming events: AQuESTT, NETA and the NDE Continuous Improvement Fall training series. Learning Forward Nebraska continues to build strong partnerships with various organizations hosting conferences and events.
Learning Forwards’ Fred Brown will facilitate a Pre-Conference and provide the first day’s Keynote during the upcoming AQuESTT conference.
3) The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) will continue to expand during 2017-18. More information will be shared during upcoming conferences and at the Annual Board meeting.
4) The LFN promotional booth will be available during upcoming Conferences and events. Please consider signing up for an opportunity to “man the booth”. More details to come!
5) Remember to check out the LFN website for additional information: http://learningforwardnebraska.org/

As always, if you have any questions regarding Learning Forward Nebraska, please do not hesitate to contact any of the board members. We are proud to serve you!!!

Rhonda Jindra, President

Learning Forward Nebraska

Please contact us at any of the methods here. We partner with NCSA. Contact Amy Pogenklass for answers to any questions. If she can't answer then she will get you to who can.