EMC² Blog

Now Streaming: Four All New Video Skill Builder Courses

Want to know the most frequently asked question we get at EMC² Learning?

“The site is awesome! But there is just SO. MUCH. STUFF. on here. I don’t really know where to begin. I’m excited, but worried that I’ll get overwhelmed. Is there some sort of crash course that can help me get started!?”

As lifelong learners who are really no more than big kids at heart, we are just as serious about providing user-friendly PD for teachers as we are about creating inclusive, student centered classrooms. So when folks take the time to send us questions, ideas, or some helpful feedback on ways that we might be able to improve EMC² Learning, we take serious note.

This week, we are proud and tremendously excited to roll out FOUR all new self-paced Skill Builder video courses designed to help you get a handle on how you can make the most of your EMC² Learning site membership. Each of these all-new video Skill Builders is full of tips, tricks, tactics and techniques that can help you start playing with purpose in no time. From the big picture “WHY” behind all things gamified (“Foundations For Play“) through the nuts and bolts of “HOW” to get the job done right (“The Teacher’s Toolbox“) right on through “WHAT” this all looks like when you put these techniques into play (“Instant Gamification” and “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love AI“) — this new lineup of self-paced videos is here to provide all sorts of support and inspiration at every step along the way.

And the best part is: while most other professional development sites charge teachers up to several hundred dollars for every individual course that you take, each Skill Builder in the EMC² Learning platform is automatically included in your annual Engagement Engineer membership at no additional cost whatsoever. It’s our way of saying THANK YOU for the awesome work that you do, and our way of lending a hand in support of your tireless commitment to student-centered instruction!


In a TED Talk that captivated the attention of tens of millions of viewers around the world, author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek famously challenged leaders, teachers, and marketing gurus the world over to “Start With Why.” And this course provides a thorough look into everything that we do here at EMC² Learning — ranging from resource creation, to Social Emotional Learning, to Constructivist philosophy, to player theory, to the Universal Design for Learning. If you’re brand new to the EMC² Learning community, we strongly recommend taking some time to make your way through this self-paced Skill Builder course at your leisure, as it provides tremendous insight at each stage of the big picture “why” that informs the design process of every activity that is housed inside of our ever-expanding resource library. While EMC² Learning focuses closely on gamification, we can’t help but agree with some of the critics of so many “fun and games” type platforms that are available to educators on the market today. In short: they’re games for games’ sake. And in spite of all their shimmer and shine, the overwhelming majority of these “gamified” instructional solutions merely offer shallow, brightly colored button mashing contests that are really no more than 21st century Scantrons. The result? A battery of low-level engagement systems that severely limit student action and expression of their knowledge — and a trend that actually risks leaving more learners on the bench than in the game. But from Parcheesi to Pokemon, the greatest games of all time are designed to create an inclusive environment and give everyone an equal chance to be a winner. In this self-paced Skill Builder course, go behind the scenes with EMC² Learning to learn the surprising science behind what makes a great game, and see how our brains are hardwired for hunger when we start playing with purpose. Get a deep dive on the serious science behind how we build each of the resources inside the EMC² Learning platform, and walk away with practical strategies to cut through the clutter to help you build more engaging, inclusive lesson plans for all students through the power of play.

If you’re already familiar with the Foundations For Play (and the bigger picture “WHY” behind all of this gamified instruction), it might help to think of this course like “The HOW” to start gamifying your classroom so you can start putting all of that playful pedagogy to work in your classroom. In the Teacher’s Toolbox, we’re rolling up our sleeves and diving in deep to show you how to get the job done right! And each module of this self-paced video course will walk you through a blend of practical wisdom and big picture idea generation with some of our favorite “must-have” items that you can add to your proverbial bag of tricks to help unlock the power of playful learning again and again and again. Whether you’re looking to #ClearTheList or simply to spend a few bucks as you complete your back to school shopping, this course is full of dozens of ideas on how you can make near infinite use of all sorts of game-like resources from dice to building blocks and so much more. So what are you waiting for? Pop on your hardhat and put your newly acquired knowledge of all things UDL and Bartle to use as we make our way through the construction zone of student-centered learning!

Have a sound grasp on “The WHY” and “The HOW” of gamifying your classroom? Then this course will be the perfect way to wrap up your three-part introduction to the world of playful pedagogy and the student-centered classroom with “The WHAT” of putting those particular items and design elements into play. In this course, we’ll show you what it looks like when we merge all of the theory that inspires the Foundations For Play into action with some of our favorite items from the Teacher’s Toolbox to roll out a series of practical, playful approaches to classroom instruction. Better yet, we’ll help you see what it looks like when big picture theory meets practical strategy as we make use of some of our favorite off-the-shelf toys that have helped serve as the inspiration behind all sorts of EMC² Learning resources. For veteran classroom teachers who are looking to make the shift to a more student-centered style of instruction, this class is an excellent introduction to a series of low prep, high-energy strategies that you can start plugging and playing into any traditional lesson plan. And if you’re brand new to the world of EMC² Learning and have already mastered the basics of the Foundations For Play course and the tips and tricks inside the Teacher’s Toolbox, we think you’ll find this Skill Builder to be an outstanding way to start playing with purpose in no time.

The age of artificial intelligence is upon us! But what’s a classroom teacher to do in order to design authentically student-centered lesson plans in an era where AI seems to dominate nearly every conversation? And how can we spark genuine interest, curiosity, and engagement when it seems like the unstoppable force of AI is everywhere that we turn? From day one, EMC² Learning has been committed to helping teachers and students engage at the speed of life. And these days, that means helping educators make clearer sense of all things AI. This self-paced teacher workbook is loaded with everything you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve as we try to make sense of this rapidly evolving technology. From ChatGPT to AI created artwork, machine-generated assessments, artificial exam scoring, and more — this interactive workbook will introduce you to all sorts of resources, techniques, and technologies that can help you bring a helpful upgrade of AI into any classroom without finding yourself buried under all that automation!

The activities featured in this blog post are just a handful of the 600+ resources available in the EMC² Learning library. This entire library is available to Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps, and is included with your annual site membership. We hope you’ll consider joining us as an Engagement Engineer to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

"This site is a total game changer for both me and my students! Thanks for all the ways you level up my learning and classroom."
Carol McLaughlin
1-8 Teacher

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