A Technology Course for Thoughtful Educators

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JumpStart is a self-paced, online technology course for the thoughtful educator.

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

A Learning-Driven Approach

Tools come and go, and features constantly change. So instead of looking for the right tool, it’s more effective to start by 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 ScreenPal (formerly 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 to design a lesson 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. Completing these reading assignments is essential for understanding the pedagogy and successfully completing the projects.

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.

After that, it’s time to dig into your hands-on project. You’ll use the pedagogy from the reading to design instructional materials and watch a series of video tutorials to learn the tech.

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.

In order to receive a certificate of completion for the course, you'll need to submit the complete blog for approval. We have high standards for issuing these certificates and look for solid pedagogy just as much as — if not more than — skilled use of the technology.

Does that sound like a lot? If so, consider enrolling in JumpStart Plus. It's the same course with added support from our team of mentors.


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

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

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 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

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

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

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

What's Inside

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course is completely self-paced and everything you need will be available in your Teachable account as soon as you enroll. You decide when you start and when you finish.
What happens after I enroll?
You will get immediate access to all course materials as soon as you enroll, and your access has no expiration date. You can get started right away on those! Just log in to your personal Teachable account using the email address and password you used when you set up your account, then click "My Courses" in the top menu.
Is this course run by an instructor?
This is a self-paced online course, which means you don't get grades, have scheduled class times, or meet directly with the instructor. This course is ideal for self-directed learners who prefer to work at their own pace, or people who plan to complete the course with a group of colleagues. If you'd like more support, consider taking JumpStart Plus instead, where you will get support from a team of mentors within a private online community.
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 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 and pay close attention to the pedagogy of your lesson design. 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 teach at a university and would like to use JumpStart as part of my course. Can you give my students a discounted rate?
Yes, your students can qualify for a student rate as long as you are using JumpStart as part of your coursework, where you assign the modules and assess the projects yourself. Students who enroll with the discounted rate are not eligible to submit their work to our staff for final approval; the assumption is that the responsibility for assessing the work has transferred to you as the course instructor. Use our contact form to get in touch with us about using JumpStart as part of your curriculum and to learn more about arranging a student discount.
Do you accept purchase orders?
Yes! We accept purchase orders from U.S. customers for $25 or more, and from international customers for a minimum purchase of $99. 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.
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 14 days of your purchase and we will give you a full refund.
If I have trouble completing the work in JumpStart, can I join JumpStart Plus later?
Absolutely! Just contact us during one of the JumpStart Plus enrollment periods and we'll arrange for you to pay the difference, then you'll be added to the online JumpStart community, where you'll have access to our mentors.

Your Instructor

Jennifer Gonzalez
Jennifer Gonzalez

Here are the official credentials: B.S. in Secondary Education from Penn State University, 1993. M.A. in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College, 2002. National Board Certification in Early Adolescence/English Language Arts, 2004. Seven years of teaching middle school language arts. Four years of teaching pre-service teachers at the college level.

At the end of that run, I thought I knew a lot about teaching. Then in 2013 I created my website, Cult of Pedagogy, to be a place where teachers could fully geek out on our craft. Since then, I've learned so much more about this profession than I ever did when I was doing it. For over a decade, I have 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. I learn new things every day from the teachers, researchers, and experts who share their knowledge with me on my site, and my goal is to shape that knowledge into digestible packages I can deliver to classroom teachers everywhere so you can get better every day.

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 well on my own and prefer to take the course without extra support. (If not, JumpStart Plus would be a better option.)

Get started now!

Purchase Orders

We accept purchase orders from U.S. customers for any order of $25 and over; for international customers, the minimum amount for a purchase order is $99. To generate a quote for a purchase order, 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.

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.