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What is BloomBoard and How it Can Energize Professional Development

06 Aug

bloomboardBloomBoard is a professional development website for teachers and administrators. On the teacher side, educators learn, share, and discuss teaching ideas, and manage upcoming professional reviews and observations. The resources–including over 10,000 articles, videos, lesson plans, and more–are clear, easy-to-navigate, and user-friendly, with opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. What truly makes this educator-oriented site unique is that teachers can earn topical micro-credentials that can be used by their school district or state credentialing agencies (depending upon the circumstance). To earn these, teachers view the required materials and then answer a set of questions.

On the administrator side, BloomBoard offers the ability to schedule and manage observations, track individual teacher progress, look at reports and analysis (broken down by teacher or indicator), monitor and analyze teacher activities, and explore and recommend resources for professional development.Analytics provide insight into which teachers are most active and which professional development resources and topics are most popular. Additionally, administrators can schedule observations and analyze teacher performance right from the dashboard, as well as keep track of all the elements of the observation–upload evidence (like lesson plans or reflections), add ratings and indicators based on built-in rubrics and indicators (which can be edited), and write a final review.

Alongside BloomBoard’s free content are premium pieces such as tools to collaborate with colleagues, private spaces for virtual discussions and document sharing, a dashboard to monitor the most widely-used district-wide collections and micro-credentials, the ability to create unique micro-credentials, and dedicated support from BloomBoard instructional practitioners.

bloomboard topicsHere’s what you do:

  • sign up for a free account
  • fill out a profile with your interests and goals
  • start reviewing recommended materials or browse the resources

Pros

  • I love that professional observations and reviews can be uploaded and tagged.
  • I like that the dashboard includes reminders about upcoming events and whether the teacher is ontrack for meeting their goals (and what to do about that).
  • The problem often with professional development isn’t a lack of resources; it’s identifying the ones that fit specific needs. BloomBoard does this for educators.
  • Resources are recommended that fit teacher grade level, subject area, and teaching interests.
  • BloomBoard tracks the progress of each teacher’s professional development, chronicling how they hone their skills and apply their learning to their teaching through reviews and observations.

BloomboardCons

  • One piece I always seek out on educator websites is an active forum where I can ask questions of colleagues and work through problems. While BloomBoard does offer this (a great plus), it’s too new to be robust. I look forward to what it will grow into over time.
  • Another feature that really isn’t a con, simply on a wishlist: Teachers and administrators can curate collections, but not load their own material. On the plus side: The reason is that BloomBoard wants to review the material and ensure its quality before making it available.

Educational Uses

Here are six ways to integrate BloomBoard into your professional development:

  • provide a curation of quality, tested resources organized by topic so teachers have a one-stop shop for informing themselves on topics of interest.
  • track teacher professional learning for credentialing or recertification (or salary schedules).
  • quickly find out who’s knowledgeable on a particular education subject (through the admin dashboard).
  • engage in group study of a topic to promote grade-level or school goals.
  • extend learning using the BloomBoard recommendations, based on teacher profiles.
  • stay up-to-date on education pedagogy with easy-to-access and reliable resources.

Insider Tips

Resources can be viewed on the website as well as iOS and Android devices and/or embedded to share out with others. This is done through Embed.ly which provides embedded cards for free like the one below:

Show What You Know: Project Based Learning in the Mathematics Classroom

They can also be shared via email and/or social media platforms.

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In an era where education has morphed from sage on the stage to teacher-as-guide, it’s a challenge for educators to stay on top of all they need to know. BloomBoard makes that easy by curating goals, providing required resources, and tracking progress. I don’t know how it could be simpler.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.


 

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