11 Tips for Creating Space – Learning from Home with PLTW

Dr. Kathryn Kennedy has over 15 years of experience in online, blended, and digital learning in PreK-12, higher education, and beyond. Her work is focused at the intersection of research, practice, and policy. She owns and operates her own consulting firm that is currently helping inform PLTW’s current and future teaching and learning experiences. 

The global pandemic and its associated quarantine have caused most of us to live our lives at home for the past two or three months. Not knowing what the future might bring for additional quarantines around the world, many organizations like PLTW transitioned to remote working.

PLTW has also spent the last six weeks transitioning their professional learning opportunities online to serve the many educators who want to be PLTW-certified in PLTW’s network of schools and districts across the United States. This summer, PLTW and its dedicated Master Teachers will be teaching thousands of PreK-12 educators online in 26 training sessions.

If you’re one of those educators, PLTW is so excited to welcome you to training soon! The PLTW Core Training experiences are designed to be dynamic and engaging, so before you start your training, we encourage you to create a space for yourself to learn using some of the following 11 tips: 

  1. Whether you stand or sit at your desk or a combination of both, make sure your workspace is comfortable and as ergonomically sound as possible.
  2. If possible, change your location to help keep you motivated. 
  3. In PLTW Core Training, you’ll join your Master Teachers and cohort (24-30 other educators) in live sessions (called “Cohort Connection”) using the web conferencing tool Zoom. In addition to the live sessions, there will be time for you to work individually, with a partner, or with a small group. This is called “It’s Your Turn.” In both of these types of learning sessions, you’ll want to find a place that is quiet so you can hear and speak with your cohort and Master Teachers without competing noise. 
  4. As much as possible, create boundaries with others in your learning space to establish a space free from distraction. Knowing that it’s summertime and potentially during continued quarantine, this might be more difficult than usual, but try your best to establish a dedicated space for yourself that is conducive to learning without too much distraction. 
  5. Make sure to take breaks. Even if it’s to grab a snack, refill a water bottle, or practicing deep breathing, taking a break provides reflective time to boost motivation and creativity. 
  6. Incorporate movement during and in between learning sessions. Studies show vital links between movement and learning, including how important it is for our memory and attention
  7. Create a schedule that helps you keep up with the work you need to complete for certification requirements.  
  8. Create a mindful routine ahead of each learning session to get into a learning mindset. Perhaps settle into your workspace 15 minutes early to get settled and not feel rushed, enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee, and listen to some music. 
  9. Complete any pre-requisite training and prep work so that you’re prepared for your PLTW Core Training. 
  10. Check that you have all necessary software and hardware and that they’re working properly to minimize disruptions in the learning process. 
  11. Note any contact information that you need for your Master Teachers, technical support , etc.

PLTW Core Training is an intense, highly rewarding learning experience. Take time to prepare yourself with these simple tips. We look forward to seeing you soon!

PLTW’s blog intends to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.