Online Events: Teaching Across Screens in Times of Social Distancing

Workshops for educators by educators

One-hour, interactive workshops showcasing the encouraging work of veteran educators who are active in the current struggle to make remote instruction meaningful and effective during COVID-19. Facilitators focus on common challenges, emphasize specific instructional strategies and encourage workshop participation.

Zooming In or Zoning Out?

Strategies to Listen, Engage and Empathize Remotely

Effective teaching requires active listening, clear communication, opportunities to gauge student mood and space for improvisation. Remote video-facing platforms such as Zoom make each of these practices exponentially more difficult. Veteran educator and author Jen Oleniczak Brown leads this interactive workshop, demonstrating specific strategies for teachers struggling to connect, inspire and give voice to students who are learning in relative isolation.

Photo of Jen Brown sitting on a couch in front of a book shelf

About the Speaker

Educator and author Jen Oleniczak Brown has worked with dozens of schools, colleges, museums and companies across 40 states, including Columbia University, the Guggenheim Museum and Food Network. She is the founder of The Engaging Educator (EE), a company dedicated to improving communication, presentation and social skills through improv-based education. Jen is the author of Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job (McGraw Hill Education, November 2019) and is working on a new book that explores classroom participation and improv in K-12 schools.

Creating a Culture of Inclusion in Remote Classrooms

Principled Practices to Engage Students

Despite considerable obstacles, remote online learning still offers some unique opportunities to create accessible and equitable classroom experiences for a wide variety of nontraditional learners. Applying principles of Universal Design for Learning, educators and researcher Laura Gale demonstrates specific strategies tp promote equity that can engage, teach, evaluate and show care for students with diverse learning needs.

Laura Gale on left with photo of your empty classroom on right

About the Speaker

Dr. Laura Gale is a senior lecturer at Suzanne Dvorak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. Prior to working in higher education, she held a variety of leadership and clinical positions as a social worker, providing mental health services to children and families in economically disadvantaged communities. Her research has focused on how faculty knowledge, skills and motivation influence the ability to create classroom cultures of equity and inclusion for diverse student populations.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Zoom

When Stephen Torres was forced to cancel ongoing classes in March 2020 and transition overnight to instruction over Zoom, he initially sulked. The platform slowed and complicated the type of rich, flowing and nuanced classroom dialog that characterizes his teaching and had earned him awards as a professor. But after a pivotal conversation with students, he began to draw different conclusions. In this workshop, Torres shares the rituals and routines he developed to bring students back into community and conversation—despite the inevitable challenges remote learning presents.

Stephen Torres in front of a white background

About the Speaker

Stephen Torres is a teacher, trainer, coach, international speaker, entrepreneur, Industry Faculty at UC Berkeley and host of Berkeley Innovation podcast. He holds degrees from Cornell University and UC Berkeley, where he teaches courses on leadership, entrepreneurship and human performance.

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Do You Hear Me?

Reaching Students Online in an Age of Disconnection

Veteran journalist John Bowe, author of I Have Something To Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection, explores specific, easily learned and timeless communication techniques to help educators better connect with students through a medium that limits context cues and poses new challenges for interpersonal connection. Combining the wisdom of ancient Greek and Roman speech training techniques with interviews of individuals who overcame speech anxiety through cultivated practice, Bowe shows how attending to the ways we listen through Zoom can empower teachers and students alike, reduce social isolation and reinvigorate the simple art of talking to one another.

About the Speaker

Headshot of John Bowe

John Bowe has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The American Prospect, National Public Radio’s "This American Life," McSweeney’s and others. He is the author of I Have Something to Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection, and co-editor of Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs, one of Harvard Business Review’s best books of 2000, and co-screenwriter of the film Basquiat. In 2004, he received the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award; the Sydney Hillman Award for journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good; and the Richard J. Margolis Award, dedicated to journalism that combines social concern and humor.

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Reaching the Special Education Student Remotely: Tools for Teachers

The unexpected rise of live, online, interactive instruction and the continued significance of these modalities during extended periods of social distancing places unique and often intense demands on teachers of students with identified learning needs. In this hands-on workshop, educator Brittany Conrad demonstrates online accessibility tools and leads discussion on specific strategies for both general education teachers and education specialists striving to ensure that students with IEPs receive adequate services and instructional support.

Headshot of Brittany Conrad

About the Speaker

Brittany Conrad is an EdTech and innovation coach for Corona Norco Unified School District in Southern California. With extensive experience teaching K-12 students in both general and special-education settings and consulting in public and private sectors, Brittany brings her passion of integrating technology in student-centered lesson design and implementation to teachers and students. She is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and Microsoft Innovative Educator.


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Making Black Lives Matter In and Out of the Classroom

Teachers returning to work this Fall face ongoing public health concerns, new instructional challenges and a heightened awareness of the way institutionalized racism continues to infect American institutions. Controversial social distance policies, energized protest and a presidential election are sure to factor into this historical moment and shape how students approach both their physical and virtual classrooms. This workshop, facilitated by veteran activist and public education advocate Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, examines the emerging context for teachers and addresses how educators can and must support Black students and families urgently demanding safety, justice, dignity and educational opportunity.

Photo of Zakiya Sankara-Jabar in front of an orange background

About the Speaker

Zakiya Sankara-Jabar is the co-founder of Racial Justice NOW and National Director of Activism at brightbeam. She speaks to audiences across the country on issues of race and equal opportunity in schools while promoting strategic frameworks for change. In addition to other awards and appearances, Zakiya was named to the inaugural #Power50 Leadership Fellowship for women of color with Community Change and was recently featured in the HBO series Problem Area.


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The Challenge of Project-Based Learning in Times of Social Distancing

With classroom closures and a broader uncertainty shaping education in 2020, teachers must increasingly draw on strategies that inspire students to engage in interdisciplinary inquiry. Veteran educator Shiren Rattigan demonstrates how teachers can utilize online live platforms, flipped classroom instruction, essential questions, breakout rooms and innovative assessment rubrics to construct actionable and inclusive project-based learning modules.

Photo of Shiren Rattigan in front of plants

About the Speaker

Shiren Rattigan, M.A. is a middle school teacher and co-founder of Colossal Academy, which helps teachers integrate cultural responsiveness, social-emotional learning, cyber citizenship, problem-solving, analytical and creative critical thinking to inspire greater community involvement and activism. Her most recent work explores the use of “hybrid pandemic pods” to meet student learning needs.




What the Digital Divide Means for the Classroom Teacher

Inequities tied to race, gender, immigration status and social class permeated American public education long before the arrival of COVID-19. As such, the unanticipated shift from physical classrooms to online education has presented policy makers and teachers with new opportunities to examine and address educational practices that have historically limited students’ growth, particularly those from poor, low-income and disproportionately minority communities. Gissela Moya and Kim Vinh examine the possibilities, limitations and challenges of this unprecedented moment in education. Explore ways to advocate for policies that address resource inequality and practice pedagogies designed to better support students and their families.

About the Speakers

Gissela Moya

Gissela Moya is the Tech Equity Policy Fellow at The Greenlining Institute where she focuses on digital-divide issues and algorithmic equity. Growing up in a mixed-status family exposed her to the many inequities that underserved communities face, including Internet exclusion. She holds a B.A. in political science from UC Berkeley and is a vocal advocate for Internet access for all.

Kim Vinh

Kim Vinh has been a high school teacher and teacher educator for more than 15 years. She is the program director for BUILD Bay Area, which uses the power of entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth. She has been a lecturer in the Stanford Teacher Education Program and serves on The Education Trust–West’s Educator Advisory Council. She holds a B.A. in English and Urban Studies and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University.


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Reimagining Student Engagement When the Classroom is Closed

With COVID-19 shuttering schools and requiring new online instructional alternatives, K-12 teachers face a profound challenge in recreating the learning environment that they once cultivated daily in a physical classroom space. Veteran educator James White argues that the use of online, synchronous instructional tools such as Zoom requires a fresh examination of how teachers might interpret student engagement. Gain practical teaching tools to understand the communities and norms that shape where student learning takes place in times of social distancing.

Photo of James White

About the Speaker

James White is staff development specialist and learning manager at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and earned a master's degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. James was previously program director at the Philips Brooks House Association, business operations manager at Rocketship Brilliant Minds Elementary, and manager of learning and partnerships at Summit Public Schools.


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