“It would take us years to roll out all the PD that we can on Alludo." - Kathy Jackson, Director of Teaching and Learning for K-12, YCJUSD
Q&A with Jurupa USD EdTech professional learning leaders
Meet Josh Lewis, Director of Educational Technology, and Amy Noyes and Daniel Richards, Coordinators of Education Technology for Jurupa Unified School District.
We had so much fun sitting down with Josh, Amy, and Daniel, the educational technology professional learning leaders for Jurupa Unified School District. We could have sat with them all day to soak up all of the cool and meaningful things they are doing with Alludo. Before they ever knew of Alludo, they knew the value of learner choice.
With Alludo, Jurupa USD could fulfill the educators’ and support staffs’ hunger to learn – across their entire district. This has enabled them to connect teachers and support staff to better help students! Alludo also afforded them the cycles to get innovative. The result is that their “whole district has gotten smarter!” and “Alludo multiplied everything they did by a million!”
See how they did it…
At a Glance
- Jurupa USD is made up of 18,464 students and 2,153 classified or certificated staff across 26 sites.
- When the pandemic hit, Jurupa’s training needs spiked and traditional methods couldn’t meet this demand.
- Each learner had specific needs, skill levels, and interests.
- They needed to equip every educator and support staff to be able to teach students online in a very short time frame.
- They wanted something engaging and fun.
- They chose Alludo in July 2020 because we aligned well with what they already knew – learners learn best in small chunks, on their own time, and when it’s their choice! They were practicing this, but needed to scale it.
- They had heard of Alludo from other districts.
- Traditional PD methods couldn’t help them meet the spiking demand caused by the pandemic and everyone going online at once.
- They were interested in microlearning and gamification.
- The Alludo solution features…
- Choice-drive professional learning
- Met educator learners’ different levels of needs, skills, and interests
- Teacher learners could keep advancing at their own pace
- Those who needed extra support could get it when they needed it
- Asynchronous microlearning method
- Convenient for busy educators who could now take small learning bits when and where they wanted
- Gave learning team the ability to scale capacity
- Additional capacity afforded them the cycles to be innovative
- Evidence of learning ensured Jurupa that professional learning would have an impact
- Choice-drive professional learning
Jurupa USD launched “pretty darn fast” (in just three weeks!), and two years later…
- With Alludo, Jurupa has made professional learning part of the fiber of their district, and it’s helping students!
- 2,264 learners completed 53,500+ hours of PD!
- 188,000+ microlearning activities completed!
- 12,000+ missions completed
- 3,700+ levels achieved
- Jurupa USD teachers and support staff crave learning!
- Alludo helps Jurupa USD meet this need
- This is transforming their ability to engage students!
- The cherry on top is with Alludo, Jurupa USD is also transforming classified staff’s ability to help students.
- Jurupa bus drivers are now helping students with Google!
- And an instructional assistant is vying to keep her top spot on the Alludo leaderboard!
And they are still going strong! Here is the full interview...
Q: What are you responsible for now at Jurupa and what led you to that point?
A: (Josh) I'm Director of Education Information Technology here, at Jurupa, which means I'm in charge of the data services, the technical network teams, and the instructional technology teams. And prior to that, I was a science teacher and a principal.
A: (Daniel) So we do all of the teacher – and actually it seems like most of the staff – PD now. We also manage the LMS, and then of course we're doing Alludo, and then all the other EdTech tools – we kind of manage those.
I was a classroom teacher. I was a high school biology teacher and was always interested in technology. I was the site tech coordinator. We have one at each site. And then when a position opened up in this department to be a teacher on special assignment, I took that. That just kind of morphed into this position as well. I just kind of jumped into this, and I love it.
A: (Amy) So, I was a classroom teacher as well. I was in the classroom for 11 years and I was a tech coordinator for, I think probably like eight of those 11 years. And at that time, technology looked a lot different. I mean, we're talking 15, 16, 17 years ago. So it was at a time when the classrooms had a six-seat computer system in it, not 1:1 devices. I think that was not even on anyone's radar back during that time. I enjoyed helping at the school site, and I would do trainings at the school site as a tech coordinator. I felt like at the time I was doing innovative things with my kids. I taught elementary school, and by the end of the school year, all of my kids could type on the computer, on the keyboard, because I felt that was an important skill especially for them to be college-bound and giving them kind of a leg up that they could already type on the computer and navigate Microsoft Word and know how to start a presentation, give a presentation in class. So, then a position – we had a teacher on special assignment, we had one for the entire district – and there was another position being added. I thought that would be a great next step for myself. So, I applied and I thought, worst case scenario is I still have a job I love in the classroom, but I got the position, and here I am!
Q: Now, what do you love most about what you do?
A: (Josh) I think what I like most about what I do is, it's always different. Prior to this position, it seemed like I was always doing a slightly different position, so like a different subject. And in science I was teaching or I was going from an adult school principal to a middle school principal. But I've been doing this job for ten years, and it's been busy and there's been lots of different things like hotspots and Chromebooks for every kid and take them to and from school and all kinds of fun stuff. So it hasn't been boring, that's for sure.
A: (Amy) For me, I love the impact that I can see across the district. I'm not just affecting one classroom of 30 students or 34 students now. I feel like I'm impacting thousands, because I'm able to train teachers and show them new and innovative and maybe something they were already doing, but tweaking it a little bit to make it more unique, something extra. We talked about things like the SAMR model and tech integration, computer science. I feel like all of that's just kind of evolved and being able to impact across the district instead of one class a year. For me, that's huge.
A: (Daniel) I think on top of what Amy had said, one of the big things for me is being able to introduce teachers and students to things that maybe were never even on the radar before. I mean, Josh gives us a lot of freedom to explore a lot of things that are out there, and we're really not very limited on what we can try to implement in the district. We were given a whole lot of latitude as far as that goes. So I mean, on top of just the normal ed tech stuff we're doing, the Student Tech Crew and getting our students certified and preparing Chromebooks. We're doing eSports. We're doing all these other things that are kind of opening up doors for students that maybe we never even would have explored otherwise.
Q: What would you guys say is the biggest challenge in your role?
A: (Josh) I feel like we've gone through such huge challenges. Right now our biggest challenge is we're switching to a new learning management system, Canvas. And, unfortunately, we had to make this switch very quickly. So we told our teachers that we're making the switch in February, and we also told them that they're going to lose access to their existing LMS at the end of June. And although six months may seem like a long time, to a teacher that's got a lot on their plate already, moving their cheese is not a good thing ever. And in this case, it's kind of a really short time. So, that's a big challenge right now that's on our plate.
A: (Daniel) Buy-in would be a big one, because whenever we want to do something new, we need to get the buy-in of the teachers, which isn't necessarily all that difficult. The students, usually pretty easy, but then the buy-in of everybody else who has to support it–administration, cabinets, as well as the other levels at each site. So, sometimes that can be a little bit of a hiccup and just trying to show that there is good technology integration and then there is technology integration just for the sake of technology. We want to go with the former, and sometimes teaching that to people who are not necessarily classroom teachers can be difficult.
Q: What did you guys do for PD before you had Alludo, and why did you want to make a change?
A: (Josh) Before we had Alludo, we did a lot of in-person professional development. Everybody that came to the professional development training got the same thing. There wasn't a lot of differentiation. I've heard in the past it may not have been as engaging, fun, so to speak, and there just wasn't a lot of choice.
Q: What were the reasons you decided to invest in Alludo?
A: (Josh) I had heard about Alludo for a while, to be quite honest, and it was always something that I wanted to do. I can't remember what district it was, but I just thought it was such a great idea to have these little micro lessons that teachers can choose from, that they would show evidence of what they learned. And I just love the whole asynchronous style of it. I thought it was very convenient for teachers as a way to learn something new. And so I kind of always thought it was a great idea, and it kind of took a pandemic for us to jump on board.
Q: Are all of your Alludo learners certificated, or do you use a combination of certificated and classified?
A: (Josh) It is certificated and classified. And we've said for a while now, since we started using Alludo, the whole district has gotten smarter because there's just been so many activities that have been learned by all staff, classified and certificated.
"...since we started using Alludo, the whole district has gotten smarter..."
Q: What aspects of Alludo help you the most?
A: (Josh) I think the aspects that helped us the most… there are so many that come to mind… but I think about when we first started. We were still in that phase where we couldn't have large groups meeting together in one place, but it was the beginning of the school year of 2020-21, and our teachers had Chromebooks for a while, but they still weren't proficient. It's something that was in their classroom, but they weren't necessarily using it every day. So they needed a lot of training. They needed to know how to go on a Google meet or Zoom and all these different things. And we weren't really sure how we were going to accomplish that with our typical trainings. We didn't have a lot of time, like several days that we could just block out. So we needed something that was kind of ongoing. And Alludo checked all the boxes for what we needed for that. Just with it being us not having to have subs saved a lot of money there. Convenience for teachers. And also our teachers have so many different levels of need. Some of them, they just need the technology and for us to get out of the way, and they maybe need some more advanced things. And others really need the one on one support. And a lot of the basics even as much as how to take a screenshot, and Alludo really kind of broke everything down for them.
A: (Amy) I think the teachers’ ability to pick and choose and such a variety of things for them to pick and choose from, I think is huge. And that's the one thing that I keep hearing over and over how great it is because they can pick the topics they want to learn more about. When we were doing the trainings – it was the two of us doing trainings – and so we would do the best that we could to try and cover a variety of topics. It started in the beginning, you know, how to navigate more/building capacity at the time. Then it kind of morphed into a pedagogical approach of like, You know how to create a doc, you know how to do slides, but what does that look like in the classroom? And really pushing their limits as far as what they felt they were capable of doing and going, You can do more and then be okay with failing and not being the expert, because it's a huge shift. Prior to COVID teachers still felt like they had to know more than the students and be one step ahead. I think COVID’s kind of fast forwarded everyone's mindset on that, because – ready or not – it was here. As we've navigated (COVID and are) coming out on the other side, teachers that before were like, Technology is not for me… It's fine. I don't need it, now are championing all these things that we kept telling them, Hey, try this… Just try one thing… If you can do this one thing, then we can build and then by the end of the year we can do all these other things. Now when we get emails or in talking to them, they say, But I have to show you what I did. You'll be so proud of me! So seeing that growth and their growth through Alludo is allowing them to, Hey, look at what I learned on here! And Look at what I had my kids do! It's multiplied everything that we did times a million. So they have access to all of it at their fingertips any time that's convenient for them.
A: (Daniel) Prior to COVID, we would hold full day trainings, full day or half day trainings. We would get subs for teachers. They would come down to the professional development center, and we would work with them all day long. What we saw, though, is the vast majority would be so overwhelmed with information. They liked it, but they'd say, I don't know where to go from here. And we would just encourage them. Okay, pick one thing that you learned, and try that out. And we’d get teachers that came to every one of our trainings, even if it was the same training we repeated multiple times to learn one more thing and implement that and learn one more thing and implement that. But with Alludo, it's these bite sized pieces that they're able to and we're seeing this in real time. They do an activity, they implement it that day or they implement it the next day, and then they go in for more. The speed at which they're able to implement this stuff is greatly increased with Alludo, just because they're able to get just enough information just at the right time.
"...that's the one thing that I keep hearing over and over – how great it is because they can pick the topics they want to learn more about."
"It's (Alludo) multiplied everything we did times a million."
"The speed at which they're able to implement this stuff is greatly increased with Alludo, just because they're able to get just enough information at the right time."
Q: What has been the biggest outcome of using Alludo?
A: (Josh) The biggest outcome has been all the learning. We were pleasantly surprised. We did offer a stipend if they got so many points in the game, and so many earned that stipend and were done. But there were so many that kept learning, and we just heard from teacher after teacher and principal after principal that they kind of are addicted to learning something new. So they got started on it and then they just kept going, so they earned well beyond the points needed for this little stipend that we gave just because they enjoyed the method of learning, the way it was set up.
I think the gamification helps some of them. Some of them are pretty competitive. So we had a couple of users that really wanted that top spot, and some schools got really motivated. They wanted to be the top school. So all those things just contributed to the success.
A: (Daniel) I would definitely say the speed at which teachers especially are implementing new technology. I mean, we are rolling out Canvas as our new LMS, and we have yet to do any real in-person training. We've done a couple of sessions on Zoom for 30 minutes or 45 minutes, but they haven't been greatly attended. But the members in Canvas showing us how many teachers have set up accounts and are starting to use it with students is way more than what we've seen at our own training. So back in the past, we never would have seen adoption this quickly. The number of (Alludo) activities that teachers are completing is just way more than we've seen in the past.
"...we just hear from teacher after teacher and principal after principal that they kind of are addicted to learning something new."
"...they earned well beyond the points needed for this little stipend that we gave just because they enjoyed the method of learning."
Q: On a gamification note, what advice would you give administrators who think gamification is too playful for the seriousness of what educators are trying to accomplish?
A: (Josh) My advice would be, it's kind of the nature of the younger generation that has been growing up with gamification their whole lives. They come in and really enjoy that aspect in that engagement to see not only overall where they stand amongst everybody else in the organization, but also within those little activities you can kind of see, Oh yeah, all my colleagues have also done that activity. So they all kind of share something, or I'm right up there with them, so to speak.
Q: Can you describe Jurupa professional learning before and after Alludo in a tangible way?
A: (Josh) I just think there was such a huge time saving and our level of investment to prepare for training. We got so much more bang for our buck so to speak. So with Alludo, we had to prepare some short videos and maybe create some short activities with some engaging questions just to make sure that they learn something. And with Alludo we can be sure they really got it because they’re submitting evidence or answering the question. Versus before, we would spend a lot of time doing several trainings and then we would finish, you know, maybe a whole semester with like 20 sessions of training, and then somebody else would come along and say, “You know, I'm just trying out this new product. Can you come by and give me some training?” And so we'd have to do the same thing over again. Now we can kind of just point to Alludo and say, “Hey, why don't you try this lesson? If you still have questions, let me know.” And nine times out of ten, that's all they needed.
"With Alludo we can be sure they really got it because they're submitting evidence or answering the question."
Q: Do you two have any Alludo-specific memories that stand out?
A: (Josh) One that always comes to mind, maybe two. There's a high school principal, and they're going through COVID and all of these things. And she repeatedly, I think even still to this day, just kept mentioning how this was the greatest professional development that the district has ever taken on. She was just so amazed at how effective it was and how engaging it was. So many of her teachers… they'd have staff meetings and they would be talking and Alludo would come up, just about how much everybody's learning. They really became much more proficient as an entire school. To a point where they didn't need to come to as many other trainings, because they had already become more proficient. Their capacity has been built up so much.
The other story that I think about is – it's a cool one – we have an instructional aide, again, a classified individual at one of our elementary schools who was the top; she earned more points than anybody. She was the number one. She learned so many different activities on such a variety of topics. It was truly phenomenal, and she wanted to be number one, but she just took the time to do all those activities and learn all those platforms to keep that top spot. And it's a pretty amazing story.
"They really became much more proficient as an entire school."
Q: Did that have any kind of chain effect on some of the other educator learners?
A: (Josh) I think so. I think when they saw and recognized that she was the top spot, it kind of inspired others to go on. Also I'd add during interviews that I'm on now, Alludo is often a topic. So they're interviewing for a program analyst position, and we would ask them, What experiences do you have? And they mentioned, Well, I did these activities on Alludo, so I became more familiar with QRSIS than I ever had before, so, it's really encouraged them to learn more.
A: (Amy) I mean, aside from the teachers that have emailed, praising how wonderful it is that they can pick what they want to receive training on, because so many times it's You teach fourth grade, you're going to this training day. You teach science, you're going to this training day. And there's not really much choice in the types of PD that teachers are allowed to pick and choose what they participate in. Our trainings in technology from the very beginning when I started here, gosh, like nine years ago now, have always been optional. Nothing was required except for the new teacher grade book training that we do at the beginning of the school year. All of our training has been teacher choice, and so Alludo aligns with that, and the fact that the teachers can pick and choose. So the emails that I've gotten from teachers, what I've spoken to them out at the school sites is how incredible it is because they can pick. It's their own choice, and if they want to do an activity and maybe they didn't get to catch everything that the little activity offered, they could do it again to where it felt more concrete and then they felt comfortable doing it. I think that's a huge success, because that's not just, You come for an hour, you're going to sit down, I'm going to teach you everything I know, and then you're off on your own. And that's like, Okay, well, I remember five minutes of what you said here. They can watch it again. If it's a video, they can slow the video down, pause it, try it, watch a little more, pause it, try it. Those are the things that the teachers really, really love about Alludo. For me that's exciting, because when they're excited to try something new, that resonates down with their kids. Then their kids are excited about whatever it is because they go back and say, You guys, I learned this new technology thing. We're going to try it today. So their excitement makes the kids become excited. It might be the same lesson they taught the last 10 years, but now, because there's a new element in it. It's a completely different outcome than what they have had for the last nine years.
"The emails that I've gotten from teachers, what I've spoken to them out at the school sites is how incredible it is because they can pick."
"Their excitement makes the kids become excited."
Q: Is there anything else on your mind that we didn’t get to?
A: (Josh) We've done two or three games in Alludo, and I think this third game I'm most excited about. We're doing two different tracks. One of them is for certificated, all of our teachers, to learn Canvas. I mentioned we're having to do this, this great shift and it's at the worst time of year to do it. But I'm confident that we're going to be okay, because we have all of these Alludo activities for Canvas or learning the LMS, and it's at their own pace. Whenever they have time. There's a little stipend attached to it, and a lot of teachers are really motivated, and they feel acknowledged that they're having to learn something new, but at least there's a little bit of stipend. And it's gamified, and it's bite-sized chunks, so that's really helping.
And also, we use Q for our SIS, and they have some new activities – they call it the “Skipper Game,” and that has been wonderful. We've had Q for, I want to say over 20 years in our district, but there's so many features in Q that so many are not aware of. So we're hearing this over and over again. They're doing those little activities in Alludo to learn about Q and they say, I never knew it could do that. We've been trying to teach that for several years, but it took an Alludo game for them to kind of hear it on their own, that little bite size chunk for it to kind of sink in. So, we're probably more excited about this session or this game than the other games previously because we think that the learning is going to be, I think, really powerful and just really needed. Because before we had our LMS and Google, and some people kind of knew those things. So they may have gotten some easy points, but the points now is really everything is new for a lot of people. So, they are kind of really earning that this time around.
"We've been trying to teach that for several years, but it took an Alludo game for them to kind of hear it on their own, that little bite-size chunk for it to kind of sink in."
Q: If you could give advice to somebody that's out there seeking how to do professional learning better, what would it be?
A: (Josh): I've always thought choice is incredibly important because I think everybody has different needs. As much as possible, choice needs to be featured in the professional development. And I think nowadays what we've learned in a sense from the pandemic is more and more people are comfortable learning online, and in particular asynchronous, than ever before. We're all so busy. Some people can find time during the day to do things, but for others on a Saturday or in the evenings is the best time that they can learn – in their own quiet place. If we could figure out a way to do professional development that way, I think it's going to be a real win.
The other part is just the time savings and honestly, the cost savings of substitute teachers to do professional development the traditional way was not really effective, and it was just a lot of work for the teacher having to create all those lesson plans for the substitute and then go to a PD, and then think about all the work they have to do when they get back. And in addition to that, we've had quite a labor shortage. So finding those substitutes was not always possible. So sometimes we had to call the teachers back to the classroom because we couldn't find subs, and then they miss out on the professional development. Alludo resolves all those issues that we've had in the past.
"I've always thought choice is incredibly important because I think everybody has different needs."
"When speaking on traditional PD methods requiring substitutes, teachers creating lesson plans and missing classroom time, all during a labor shortage: 'Alludo resolves all those issues that we had in the past.'"
Q: What do you think the impact of choice, asynchronous professional learning is to your students?
A: (Josh) Yes, I think it's powerful. I think as an organization, we're smarter, which means we're more efficient. The technology tools that we have now, when used properly and effectively, are real time savers. And if we can save time using those tools properly, we have more time to do other things like interact with kids or get parents more involved in the school or whatever it is. From the teacher standpoint, they could use these instructional tools more effectively, try them out more frequently, and just be more engaging for the students so that they can have better academic outcomes and things of that nature.
"I think as an organization, we're smarter, which means we're more efficient... we have more time to do other things like interact with kids."
Q: Do you think Alludo has any impact on educator job satisfaction or retention?
A: (Josh) I do, and there was something that I was thinking about, so I'm glad you asked that question. I think that's one of the things that Alludo does in the sense of the feedback. When you think about the power of feedback, and with it being timely and specific, I think Alludo kind of does all of those things. They submit some evidence that they’ve learned something, and typically very quickly they get some feedback, Hey, great job. You know, Thank you for sharing! things like that that they're kind of not used to, because it's been a while since teachers have been in school. And so I think that's very satisfying.
I think also, the badging process. So if you can earn a badge that shows that you know about Q or you're proficient in Google or Canvas or whatever it is, it means something. I've seen the teachers put their badges on their email signatures as a sense of pride. I think they in general have more pride in their professional development. Before, at best, I think we gave out a certificate and gave them a high five or something. That was, you know, just, Hey, here's your certificate for attending this training. But now they're getting that specific feedback throughout the way, and then they get a badge if they complete a certain mission. So I think it is powerful and that makes it more satisfying.
"So if you can earn a badge that shows that you know about Q or you're proficient in Google or Canvas or whatever it is, it means something. I've seen the teachers put their badges on their email signatures as a sense of pride."
Q: All of you educators have been through so much (in the last couple of years, especially). Are there one or two or three things that they're really craving right now?
A: (Josh) Professional development. We have just completed a year long LCAP Development where we go and meet with different educational partners and do surveys. And one of the things that has really come out in all of those meetings is our staff and teachers really want more professional development. And so we as a district are trying to figure out ways to equip them more with different things like Alludo and some other things that we're thinking about for our district.
"...our staff and teachers really want more professional development."
Q: Anything else that comes to mind I didn't ask?
A: (Josh) One thing that I want to make sure I mention is how easy the onboarding was, thanks to Julia and all the staff at Alludo. Because literally the Assistant Super of Ed Services came by and said, Hey, we've got to train these teachers, and can we get it up in like a couple of weeks? I reached out to Julia, and I felt like it was within a week or two we were playing the game. I mean, it was truly remarkable. You know, from the design to picking the activities and all that, it was just truly remarkable. I think that's one of the things that makes Alludo great is there is a community of folks that use Alludo and have already built activities. So when we started, obviously we were not the first district and we said, Well, we use Google, we use Microsoft. We have all these different software that we're purchasing for our district, do you have any activities for those? Every single time the answer has been, Yes, we do. There's another district that is using EdPuzzle or Seesaw and all those things. And so we didn't have to recreate the wheel. We were just able to subscribe to those lessons and use them through the subscriptions that are constantly being updated throughout the time. So that part is wonderful.
I enjoy the ease of looking at evidence and approving. Sometimes I've done it from my phone while you're waiting for food to come in or whatever it is. It's just really easy and convenient that way. For this latest game, I've actually enjoyed tagging the different activities and giving other people approval just to approve those specific activities. So we're doing Canvas and some team activities and Q primarily right now. For Q in particular, I don't use it enough, and I didn't really feel comfortable approving those activities, so I was able to tag all those activities and then give them to our Q data team for them to really have eyes on that and improve it. And that's all they see when they go in there to approve. That part's been really nice. We're doing a lot of the Canvas things, but the Kenan things were pretty easy, so I have quite a few people that are just focused on improving that. So that's been a really nice feature.
All the reports have been really nice. Whenever we need to look at an activity or see what the top activity is or how many people have done that activity, I think it has been really helpful.
"I reached out to Julia, and I felt like it was within a week or two we were playing the game. I mean it was truly remarkable."
"I think that's one of the things that makes Alludo great is there is a community of folks that use Alludo and have already built activities."
Q: Sure, our platform is great, but it really is the support of the program that has made it successful with all of your work. So, how have you made that work?
A: (Amy) Now that we are post-COVID, everyone's jobs look a little bit different. We're still teachers. We’re still coordinators, but things look a little bit different now. And so for us professional development moving forward looks a little different. You know, the need that we are learning accidentally on purpose, is that the days of sitting eight hours in PD to come learn technology things maybe are a thing of the past. Moving forward, chunking it into smaller pieces, doing a 45-minute session is a much better use of people's time. They get more out of it. It's more direct. And so for us, I think that maybe was an outcome of COVID. So looking at Alludo being sustainable is people like the ability to get those small chunks when it's convenient for them. You don't realize how busy your life was until now. You're like, How did I manage all of this stuff before? You know, there are things that we used to do that now it's like I get home from work, and I'm exhausted. One of the questions we used to ask at our trainings was, Was today worth the sub plans? Because that is a huge use of teachers’ time. For us that was a gauge to know did it meet their expectations. Now we can offer PD, teachers can get professional development without having to make a single sub plan. And Alludo has afforded them that opportunity. Moving forward is one way to look at it is, You don't have to make a single sub plan to learn something new to implement into your classroom.
A: (Daniel) I'll piggyback on that. We rolled out Alludo during COVID. That was a perfect time to roll something like this out. Also, of course, the Cabinet deciding to put a stipend on it as well, really pushed a lot of users into trying it out. And now they're hooked. I really strongly believe that they would continue along learning through Alludo very happily, even without a stipend. But that little push, I think, was definitely a big player in the amount of engagement that we got.
A: (Josh) I think the last thing I'll add is in terms of sustainability. I think had not so many people–classified staff, teachers and principals – spoke so highly of Alludo, I don't know how sustainable it would have been. It may have just been one of the things, Well, we just try to like you said, Julia, we got through the pandemic and it was great for that. But so many people spoke so highly of the method of learning and the enjoyment that they had. I was surprised when our Assistant Super of Ed Services came back to us and said, You know, we're rolling out this new LMS. I think we should put it on Alludo. I thought, Oh, wow, that's… we weren't in a pandemic, but they still recognize the value of the platform as a way of learning. So it's kind of becoming the way we do things when we're rolling out something new.
And I was thinking, too, one nice thing about it is as things change, which every platform changes with technology, the nice thing about Alludo is you can just just add or change the activity versus before you roll out a new professional development, whether it's an instructional strategy, wherever it is, and you kind of only get one shot, and it better be pretty amazing. Then people walk away and go back to what they were doing before versus this. It's ongoing, and it's easy to make an update or even add an activity. We've done that throughout the process of adding a new activity and then pushing it out and saying, Here's a new feature available on Canvas. Check it out, and you can earn a couple of points in Alludo. So it's just, I don't know, I could go on. It's an amazing platform.
A: (Amy) I just add to that, it's one way that we can offer PD to everyone. Our PD traditionally focused on teachers, but now we have classified staff in every department in our district getting professional development. And some of them, it's leading to them applying for a job that they might not have thought they were capable of doing in the district because they did some professional development. We're like, Hey, I kind of like this, and so then they might apply and move into a position here in the district that they never would have thought of. You know, we have bus drivers that are doing things that it's like, Well, sometimes kids get on the bus and they ask for help with Google, and I didn't know anything. Now I can offer them support. So it's allowing people to help kids that in the past, maybe would have said, I'm sorry, I can't help you, which I think at the end of the day is a huge win.
Julia (Alludo): We were talking about teacher and employee retention, and right now one the biggest objectives of districts and organizations all across the country should be how do we make sure that our people feel that they are valued, that they have a place to be? It's exciting to hear that your bus drivers and counselors, nutritional services and what have you, they just feel like they're part of that. That's one way in which you can show that they're valued.
A: (Josh) It's one of the few things that all of us in the district participate in, throughout the district, throughout the year, when it's good for us. Now those bus drivers–when they weren't driving the buses, obviously–they would go into one of our professional development rooms and they had their Chromebooks and they were working. Their whole posture and confidence, it was just kind of beaming from them, like, I've earned this badge and now I know Google, and I know how to share docs and collaborate online together and or to do Google Meet and that you could just see in their evidence that they post. They were having a great time, especially when they had to show how they use Google Meet or whatever, so they post pictures of them and their friends. They're just having a great time. Really grew their confidence that they can do a lot of things.
"You don't have to make a single sub plan to learn something new to implement into your classroom."
"...so many people-classified staff, teachers and principals - spoke so highly of Alludo.
"...I could go on. It's (Alludo) an amazing platform."
In the pursuit of fostering educational equity, school districts increasingly recognize the importance of tailored professional development to...