Educational Technology Report: Penn State’s Better Kid Care finds innovative uses for ANGEL
The Penn State Cooperative Extensionâ€™s Better Kid Care Program uses ANGEL in some unique ways to provide instruction for Pennsylvaniaâ€™s childcare workers.
Better Kid Care is a state-funded program that has a goal of improving the availability, accessibility, and quality of childcare instruction in Pennsylvania. The program is around ten years old.
TLTâ€™s Yvonne Clark has worked with the program for the last eight years in a variety of roles. At first, when Yvonne worked with Ag Administration, the director asked her to help them with using the Web for distance education. This was prior to ANGELâ€™s arrival at Penn State, so they used a tool called Web CT.
Yvonne then got a three-year assignment working directly with Better Kid Care, and during this time, they began to use ANGEL. The first use of ANGEL involved the quizzing feature.
After her three-year assignment ended, Yvonne started with Educational Technology Services, and Better Kid Care continued to expand its use of ANGEL. â€œThe program grew and grew,â€ she said. â€œThe amount of online lessons in ANGEL increased from 20 to 100.â€
This raised a challenge. With 100 lessons and each with its own group within ANGEL, this meant too many groups, so an ANGEL user from the Better Kid Care program would have a difficult time finding a lesson. However, they came up with a smart solution. â€œTo reduce the number of groups, they used teams in ANGEL in an innovative way,â€ Yvonne said. â€œThey made each lesson a â€˜teamâ€™. And these teams would only show up to those who signed up for that particular lesson.â€
â€œItâ€™s a really cool way to use ANGEL,â€ Jeff Swain, instructional designer with Educational Technology Services, said. â€œThe end user will only see the lessons he or she is interested in and signed up for as opposed to an overwhelming amount to look through.â€
Using ANGEL has many advantages for Pennsylvaniaâ€™s childcare workers. â€œOnline lessons are very convenient for these people,â€ Yvonne said. â€œThey can work at their own pace and when they have time. We also note that when there are snowstorms, the Better Kid Care lessons in ANGEL gets hammered.â€
Yvonne added that by using ANGEL, childcare workers can also get credits for state certification online, and without the need to travel. Each lesson is graded individually, Yvonne said, and Better Kid Care has hired people to review essay questions and give feedback, adding a mentoring feature to the program.
Along with using ANGEL, Better Kid Care is also adding another technology tool familiar to TLT staff, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro. They will use Abode Connect to conduct online seminars.
Jeff commented that he was not surprised at Better Kid Careâ€™s effectiveness with ANGEL. â€œI was blown away when Yvonne showed me what they do there,â€ he said. â€œThey run an operation that is as efficient as any corporation, and with a limited staff.â€