JumpStart Plus

A Technology Course for Thoughtful Educators (with Extra Support!)

All the learning of JumpStart plus the support of a community.

By guiding you through a series of hands-on projects, JumpStart Basic gives you the confidence and skills you need to make smart choices about the tech you use in your teaching.

JumpStart Plus is the exact same course, but it adds the support and accountability of a community: A cohort of other teachers to work with, a schedule of deadlines to keep you on track, and a team of mentors to answer your questions along the way.

Let's start by looking at the course.

A Process-Based Approach

Tools come and go, and features constantly change. So instead of starting by looking for the right tool, it’s more effective to start with processes, specific ways of using technology that can be applied in a variety of classroom situations. Once you understand a process and how it can boost learning, you can explore the tools that put that process into action.

In this course, you will learn 10 key processes that can have an incredible impact on how you teach, how your students learn, how you collaborate and communicate with others, and the time it takes to do it all.

Module 1. Basic Blogging: A blog or website is one of the most flexible and essential tools for learning in the 21st century. First, we’ll look at all the ways you and your students can use a blogging tool to create spectacular websites. Then you’ll use Edublogs to create your own blog that will showcase all of your projects in the course.

Module 2. Online Collaboration: Student learning is turbo-charged when we add collaboration, and educators need regular opportunities to learn from one another, but time and space limit our ability to collaborate as often as we’d like. In this module, you have a choice between Slack and Padlet to create your own online space for powerful professional and student collaboration.

Module 3. Digital Mind Mapping: Research supports the use of visuals for making meaning, and mind mapping is one powerful way to do it. In this module, you will explore how mind maps can be used for instruction, problem solving, even assessment. Then you’ll have a choice between Sketchboard or LucidChart to develop a mind mapping assignment and complete it as if you were the student.

Module 4. Curation: The ability to thoughtfully curate resources has become a crucial skill in the information age. In this module, you will consider how this process can really put students’ higher-order thinking to use, then use Wakelet to create a curation task with a finished student sample.

Module 5. Screencasting: Once you know how to record videos from your computer screen – also known as screencasting – you will find dozens of uses for it in your teaching. In this module, you will use Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify to create your own screencast tutorial.

Module 6. Slideshows: We use slideshows to teach all the time, but many slideshows could use a lot of improvement! In this module you'll learn some principles for clean, clear slideshow design, then you'll create your own Google Slides presentation following these principles.

Module 7. Digital Assessment: Assessing students before, during, and after instruction takes a heck of a lot of time if you’re doing it right. Digital tools can help teachers dramatically increase the amount and quality of their assessments without needing a lot of extra time. In this module, you will use the Quiz feature in Google Forms to create a simple multiple-choice assessment.

Module 8. Blended Learning: If students can get the same direct instruction digitally that they’d typically get in person, then we free up class time to do more hands-on, interactive, engaging things. In this module, you have a choice between using Google Slides to create a single flipped lesson by combining video with other types of resources, or a HyperDoc to create a stand-alone mini-unit.

Module 9. QR Codes: Once you’ve seen how powerful and flexible these little squares can be and how ridiculously easy they are to use, you’ll find all kinds of ways to put them to work in your own teaching. In this module, you’ll create two classroom resources using QR codes to enhance them.

Module 10. Basic Podcasting: Although producing a podcast series can be time-consuming, making a simple audio recording couldn’t be easier. In this module, you’ll explore how to take a simple audio recording and apply it in the classroom in 10 different ways. Then you’ll create your own recording to reflect on your work in the course.

How the Course Works

You’ll start each module with a short reading assignment. This is where we explore the process, consider its instructional value, and look at how it can enhance learning in multiple ways.

Next, you’ll review your project checklist to understand the requirements of your hands-on project. For most projects, an advanced option has been added to offer extra challenge to those who master the process easily.

Then it’s time to dig into your hands-on project. You’ll watch a series of step-by-step video tutorials to learn how to do it.

When your project is complete, you’ll share it in a blog post. A sample blog, with all 10 modules complete, is provided to help you get a clear picture of what your final project should look like.

The JumpStart Community

With JumpStart Plus, you will work through the course alongside a cohort of other students. This will take place in our JumpStart community, a private online forum where you can ask questions, share ideas, and get support.

A course calendar will set deadlines for each module, so you stay on track and are more likely to finish the course. As you complete the modules, you'll have the opportunity to share finished projects with other members of your cohort. Seeing what educators in other content areas and grade levels are doing with the tools really helps expand your expertise with each process you learn.

The community forum provides a place for you to ask questions, find answers, and share the work you're doing. You and your cohort will have your own discussion board, and you'll have access to module-specific boards as well, so you can find the help you need quickly.

A team of JumpStart mentors will have an active presence in the community to make sure your questions get answered. These are fellow educators who have already completed the course and are excited to help you succeed.

There are no required meetings or additional tasks associated with JumpStart Plus: It simply adds a level of accountability and support to help you get the most out of the course.

JumpStart and Distance Learning

Although this course was not designed with distance learning at the forefront, it will absolutely help with many aspects of teaching online. All of the projects and tools in this course can be used in distance learning environments, and teachers who have taken the course have said that when they suddenly found themselves teaching remotely, their work in JumpStart made them feel much more confident and prepared to give high-quality lessons.

How Cohorts Work

When you enroll in this course, you will be placed into a cohort. During your cohort's 8-week session, you will work through the modules on a schedule and will share your own discussion group within the JumpStart community.

The course will only be open during the enrollment periods listed below. Between the enrollment periods, the course will be closed to new students.

2022 Cohorts

January Cohort

January 3 - February 28
Enrollment: December 15-30

March Cohort

March 7 - May 2
Enrollment: February 20 - March 3

June Cohort

June 6 - August 1
Enrollment: May 22 - June 3

July Cohort

July 5 - August 30
Enrollment: June 19 - July 1

October Cohort

October 3 - November 28
Enrollment: September 18-30

I would like to express my appreciation to you and that you made up such great course. I like how well structured and organized it is and how clear instructions you provide us with. There was no one place where I got lost or didn't know what I am supposed to do. I like the format of pdf document reading first with all the options how this particular mean of technology can be used in the classroom. The format of short videos following one another keeps my attention and motivates me to continue. Everything is clearly said and showed on the screen. It is also encouraging to see you talking at the very beginning of every new lesson.

So far, I have learned how to start a blog, use Padlet platform, make a hyperdoc document and do screencasting. I have been using all of these with my students since I mastered them. Yesterday I made my very first hyperdoc and I am very excited about it.

The course has definitely upgraded my teaching skills and my students and I benefit from its advantage. The best thing, in my opinion, is that not only now when practising distance learning, but also when we are back in the classroom I will have more ways to individualize and deliver the content to my kiddos. Finally, I found an option of classroom instruction that may untie my hands for students who need one-on-one help.

Jana Zajícová
6th Grade English, Czech, History and Geography Teacher
Prague, Czech Republic

Really mind blowing! Jenn is expert at calmly and professionally sharing knowledge but in a fun and friendly, approachable way. The lessons are well planned and thought out. We are given feedback, but nothing is made easy. I learned so much from having to redo courses and resubmit. The mentors really keep us on our toes and guide us into finding our own mistakes.

It is somewhat surreal that one course could have such a mind blowing effect on me, but you gave me my confidence back. I had been a caregiver for two years (my dad has Alzheimer's). I was still using PPT and Prezi. Which at the time were IT. Now I feel like I am ready to take on the world! You are really making magic here!

Kenneth Kozel
Media Specialist
North Augusta, SC

I haven't stopped talking about this course since I began! I'm so proud of my new website and so pleased with what I have accomplished that my family keeps teasing me for bragging about all the new skills I have learned.

Nancy Dunlap
High School English Teacher
Lake Elsinore, CA

I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much again for letting me take this course! I have learned a ton of new information from you all and can't wait to continue to use it in my classroom. I've developed more patience with working with technology before implementing it for sure. I really enjoyed this process!

Daniel Hoilett
4th Grade Teacher
Taylors, SC

I feel more confident implementing technology after taking this course. I was pretty savvy in some apps and programs, but this course gave me different skills that I wanted to obtain but never sought out on my own.

Emily Bourque
Business and Journalism Teacher
Lafayette, LA

The first thing that I took away from this course is that I’m capable. I was able to do this. The door to tech capability is not closed to me. I can now work effectively with 6 tabs open without a mental breakdown! There’s much that I’m capable of doing with my students because of this course. I can do these things in a competent, timely and thoughtful manner. I am truly grateful.

Weslica Johnson
ESOL Teacher
Greenville, SC

I have always been intrigued by the novelty for students; however, I didn't want them lost in the tools disregarding the content or intent. This course keeps the perspective that we first focus on what we want students to do and then think about the most effective engaging way to do that without losing sight of original intent.

Tiffany Trevenen
4th Grade Teacher
Craig, CO

One of my key takeaways from this course is how much we can involve technology in the classroom and how little of it we're actually doing now. The ten modules from this class helped me venture many different technology resources that bust my preconceived notion about the difficulty of involving technology in the math classroom.

Colby Tharpe
High School Math Teacher
Greenville, SC

When we found JumpStart, we were looking for a way for teachers to earn their technology proficiency requirement not simply by completing a checklist or listening to a one-size-fits-all lecture on technology integration but for an opportunity that teachers would find engaging and relevant in every content area at every grade level. In short, we wanted something that really had the potential to change classrooms and equip teachers to use technology and to use it well. We began our first JumpStart pilot with 40 teachers, administrators, and specialists who volunteered to join us in the fall of 2017 and their feedback was tremendous. Our volunteers found the online, self-paced format perfect for their busy lifestyles because they could learn while in their pajamas, after school, or early in the mornings before kids arrived at the classroom door – whenever they felt most prepared and able to commit to the weekly activities. More than just convenience though, we’ve also seen our teachers embrace the tools and the pedagogy behind the tools in daily classroom instruction in ways that we did not imagine. Jump Start is not a technology course – it is a course in solid, effective teaching practices that also happens to incorporate technology. For us, that is the distinction that makes us most grateful for our participation in this project. Six months later, we have now opened the course up for an additional 80 educators to participate and we couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities this course has given to impact 120 classrooms and thousands of students.

Michelle King
Instructional Technology Facilitator
Greenville County Schools
Greenville, SC

See what more past JumpStart educators say here.

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What's Inside

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course itself is completely self-paced and all course materials will be available as soon as you enroll. In JumpStart Plus, you'll have the option to work through the modules on a schedule of deadlines that is set over an 8-week session. You'll also share this journey with a cohort inside our online community. Enrollment for each session is open for about eight days before the session starts.
What happens after I enroll?
You will get immediate access to all course materials as soon as you enroll. You can get started right away on those! In JumpStart Plus, you will also be assigned to an 8-week session that starts soon after you enroll. The day before that session's start date, you'll be sent information about how to access the JumpStart Community. This is where you'll find the course calendar for your cohort, meet your fellow cohort members, and start working on the course side by side.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like, across any and all devices you own. Your course session--the calendar of deadlines you'll follow with your cohort--is set for eight weeks, but you will have access to the JumpStart community even after this session is over.
Is this course run by an instructor?
Although JumpStart is a self-paced online course, which means you don't get grades, have scheduled class times, or meet directly with an instructor, JumpStart Plus offers the JumpStart Community, where you will work through the modules alongside a cohort of other students, and where you can get questions answered by a team of JumpStart mentors.
Can I get PD credit for this course?
Because every district has different criteria for awarding professional development credit, we are not able to issue any kind of universally recognized credit for this course. We do, however, issue a certificate of completion for those who can demonstrate that they have completed all required work for all 10 modules; we check your completed blog carefully before issuing this certificate. The certificate indicates that 50 hours of work were completed--this refers to 50 regular hours of time, not credit hours. This certificate does NOT guarantee that you will be granted credit by your district; you will need to submit the certificate to your district for approval.
Do I need to purchase the Teacher's Guide to Tech with this course?
No. An earlier version of this course used the Teacher's Guide to Tech as its textbook, but that is no longer the case. All the information and reading materials you need to complete the course modules are already included in the course. If you want a copy of the Teacher's Guide to Tech, you will need to purchase it separately.
I am not currently teaching. Will I still get something out of this course?
Absolutely!! All of the projects are created for teachers to do with their students in mind, but anyone without an actual class can easily do the projects for a "theoretical" class. Teacher educators, administrators, retired teachers, pre-service teachers and those who are on a break from the classroom will get just as much from this course as a current classroom teacher.
I would like to take this course with a group. Do you offer multi-user discounts?
Yes! Course licenses can be purchased in batches of 5 or 10 at discounted rates. A single person would make the purchase for the group, then we will issue you a coupon code for the remaining licenses; your classmates can then use that code to enroll for free.
I am a teacher educator. Can I use this course to teach my students?
JumpStart would be an outstanding way to teach pre-service teachers how to effectively integrate technology into their instruction. To use this as part of your curriculum, have each student enroll separately in the course, then assign the modules however you like. University students enrolled in a teacher preparation course are eligible for a discounted rate; contact us at [email protected] and we will arrange a course-specific coupon code just for your students.
Do you accept purchase orders?
Yes! Please scroll down a bit further on this page -- you'll see a link to a form you can fill out to request a purchase order. For JumpStart Plus, purchase orders must be received AT LEAST 5 DAYS BEFORE THE COHORT START DATE in order to give us time to process the request and enroll all participants in the course. If a purchase order is received after that time, we may not be able to enroll your group in its desired cohort.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We want you to feel good about making this investment in your professional growth. If the course does not meet your expectations, contact us at [email protected] within 30 days of your purchase and we will give you a full refund.
How is JumpStart Plus different from JumpStart Basic?
The content of both courses is exactly the same. The only difference is that in JumpStart Plus, you will work through the course on a calendar with a cohort, and you'll have access to our online community and our JumpStart Mentors.
What if I don't meet the deadlines or finish the modules in JumpStart Plus?
If you don't meet the deadlines we have set for you, you can either just finish up on your own schedule or join another cohort...even if it's a year later! Just get in touch with us so we know you'll be joining us.
If I have trouble completing the work in JumpStart Basic, can I join JumpStart Plus later?
Absolutely! Just contact us and we'll arrange for you to pay the difference, then you'll be added to the next available JumpStart Plus cohort.

Your Instructor

Jennifer Gonzalez
Jennifer Gonzalez

After spending over 11 years in the classroom, both at the K-12 level and the college level, I created my website, Cult of Pedagogy, to be a place where teachers could fully geek out on teaching. Since 2013, I've been researching and sharing effective teaching practices, exploring the social and emotional stuff that impacts our work, sampling the tech tools that help us along the way, and looking inside real classrooms to learn from teachers who are thinking outside the box.

Now I've created the Cult of Pedagogy Classroom as a place where teachers can focus on improving specific skills in a self-paced environment.

Is this course right for you?

Before you enroll, start by watching this video, then read the self-assessment below.

Self-Assessment: Before You Enroll

The following statements describe someone who is well-suited to JumpStart. The more “true” answers you have, the more likely JumpStart is a great PD option for you!

1. I enjoy reading about pedagogy and strategies that can deepen student learning.

2. I want to integrate technology in purposeful ways, not just learn how to use a new tool.

3. I'm currently a classroom teacher OR I’m not currently in the classroom, but I can create lessons based on my own teaching experience or by thinking of the teachers I support.

4. I am able to put in an average of 4 to 6 hours of work per module; this includes the required reading.

5. I am detail oriented and I read instructions carefully.

6. I understand that in order to receive a certificate of completion, I need to submit a final portfolio. If my final portfolio doesn’t qualify for a certificate of completion, I can go back to fix it, and then resubmit.

7. I work best when I have deadlines and support from mentors. (If you prefer to work at your own pace, without extra support, JumpStart Basic might be a better option.)

For Administrators

If you are an administrator interested in learning more about this course, or you are a teacher who would like to have your administrator consider purchasing this course for staff members, download our course overview.

Purchase Orders

Purchase orders are accepted for JumpStart Plus, but they must be received AT LEAST 5 DAYS BEFORE THE COHORT START DATE in order to give us time to process the request and enroll all participants in the course. If a purchase order is received after that time, we may not be able to enroll your group in its desired cohort.

To generate a quote for a purchase order when the course opens for enrollment, please fill out this form and someone from our team will contact you with an invoice.

Other Questions

If you have another question that hasn't been answered here, please get in touch with our contact form.

This course is not open for enrollment. Please check the cohort dates for the next enrollment period.