Where oh where does the time go!?
It’s hard to believe it, but this week EMC² Learning is celebrating our second birthday. They say that time flies when you’re having fun. And since we just so happen to specialize in helping teachers learn how to leverage the most motivational elements of gamification in order to unlock the game-changing power of playful pedagogy, it’s no wonder that these past two years have snuck right up on us as we’ve been hard at play — err, work — bringing student-centered instruction to schools and classrooms around the world. Today’s blog post celebrates just a few of our favorite milestones from where we’ve been (and where we’re headed) in these first two years with our playful little professional development platform. So whether you’re a day one Engagement Engineer or a new friend: welcome! Thank you for your continued love and support. We are inspired by your passion and creativity each and every day. And we simply could not do this amazing work without you!
But what’s a proper birthday celebration without a few surprises, right!?
Stick around to the end of this blog post to discover an exclusive promotional code that you can use TODAY to join us for a full year of playing with purpose. We are thrilled to invite you to get in the game with an incredibly discounted rate for annual site membership!
We're Closing In On 600(!!!) Resources
When we launched EMC² Learning in March of 2021, our resource platform boasted just north of 200 different activities (we thought it would be kind of cool to be able to legitimately claim that the site was home to “hundreds” of resources). Flash forward two years later, and the EMC² Learning library has now expanded to include more than 500 fully editable resources as of this writing — somewhere in the neighborhood of 576, to be exact. To celebrate our second birthday, we’re putting the pedal to the metal all month long for the month of March and counting down the days until April 1 with a massive push to cross the 600 resource threshold. That means we’re on track to churn out 30 brand new resources in the next 30 or so days. So whether you’re a longtime site user or a brand new visitor to this massive resource library, there will be dozens of exciting new ways to play in the days ahead!
We've Presented at More Than Two Dozen Local, State, and National Conferences
Chicago. New Orleans. Bentonville. Philadelphia. Waco. Orlando. San Francisco. New Mexico. Washington, D.C…. these past two years have been jam packed with opportunities to speak and present at educational conferences and events around the United States. And perhaps most impressively of all: for the majority of the time since our company’s launch, both Michael and John have managed to make all of these events happen while still having the incredible pleasure of being real, live, working classroom teachers. Far too many fancy education conferences play host to full-time keynote speakers who haven’t set foot in a classroom in years. And while their messages may well be inspiring, they often lack the practical, tactical, implementation steps necessary to help teachers make real, lasting changes in their classrooms. That’s why here at EMC² Learning, we think it’s essential that we spend just as much “walking the walk” as we do “talking the talk” about ways to get our students playing with purpose.
To this day, Michael works full-time as a sixth grade social studies teacher just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And John works as a resource teacher (which is a lot like an instructional coach) in Annapolis, Maryland specializing in gamification, innovation, and artificial intelligence.
We've Built a Community of More Than 6,000 Educators Around The World
We’ll be honest: when we first launched EMC² Learning, we had absolutely no idea just how big this project — and the community it would create — would end up growing to be in such a short timeframe. At launch, we had set internal goals to attract at least 100 teachers to join our site as Engagement Engineers within the first 365 days of the platform’s opening. And since Tinker Teachers enjoy FREE access to a curated collection of site resources, we decided to shoot for the moon and hope to attract at least 1,000 additional teachers to join in the fun at the free membership tier within our first year of operations. Little did we know that teachers everywhere would discover the site and be delighted by the opportunity to join such a dynamic community of educators from around the world — and our internal estimates were way, WAY off!
To date, EMC² Learning now welcomes more than 6,000 educators as Engagement Engineers or members of the Creative Corps, and thousands more enjoy FREE site access as a Tinker Teacher every year.
We've Provided FREE PD to Thousands of Teachers Each Year!!!
In 2018 (years before Zoom classes and on-demand PD became so commonplace), Michael Matera hosted the first ever Hive Summit — a virtual lineup of world-class teachers, authors, educators, and innovators that came together to share their love of this noble profession and help PD-minded folks from around the world have FREE access to some of the brightest minds and most buzz-worthy ideas in all of academia. This first-of-its-kind virtual conference attracted more than 10,000 educators to “buzz in” and check out what these all-star speakers had to share during this limited-time-only online streaming event.
But the busy bees that helped make the Hive such a resounding success inspired us to take the next steps to continue serving teachers everywhere with all sorts of “sweet” PD opportunities. That’s why each summer since, Michael has welcomed nine additional speakers to the Hive to share their wisdom and insight on how we can continue to grow, improve, and discover even better ways to teach and learn together no matter what challenges our daily work might throw our way. With the launch of EMC² Learning, we’ve taken the next step and made all of these virtual sessions available on-demand, 24/7 to Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps.
We've Created More Than A Dozen Self-Paced Skill Builder Courses
The Hive Summit helped us discover the proof of concept that there is a real demand for quality professional development in the world today. Research has overwhelmingly shown that the traditional “one shot workshop” model of teacher training is virtually useless — and so we designed EMC² Learning to serve, among other things, as a digital drop-in university where teachers can get a better hang on everything from going gradeless to gamification, and alternative assessments to artificial intelligence. Each of our self-paced Skill Builder Courses offer open enrollment included with your annual site membership, and are designed to help teachers master all sorts of creative, innovative teaching techniques and classroom strategies at whatever speed works best for them.
Each Skill Builder likewise comes complete with a robust collection of plug-and-play resources available inside of the EMC² Learning library that can help you hit the ground running and turn all of this theoretical stuff into practical, purposeful shifts for your classroom. The video archives are available for streaming 24/7 — and so there’s always the opportunity to come back and re-watch your favorite lessons again and again.
We Published Our Third Book
August 2021 was a huge milestone for EMC² Learning, as it helped us expand our growing family of gamified teaching resources with the publication of Fully Engaged: Playful Pedagogy for Real Results. Here’s the skinny on what the book has to offer:
“In classrooms around the globe, teachers hunger for strategies that can inspire authentic engagement, while young minds yearn for a new world of learning where they can become the hero. We crave choice. Mastery. And a clear sense of purpose. Fully Engaged is a fresh and fast-paced study of how teachers can inject curiosity, wonder, and excitement into any classroom. It’s packed with student-centered strategies precision engineered for young minds. Discover how your pedagogy can leverage the science of serious engagement to inspire students of any age to achieve the impossible, and learn how you can transform your teaching through intentional, student-centered course design to create classrooms that are truly the stuff of legend!”
We Relaunched Our Entire Website for Even Easier Use
In everything that we do in life, there are two types of problems: “good problems,” and “bad problems.” Bad problems are the type of things that require immediate attention, and usually come at an incredible (and typically inconvenient) cost. You get sick and have to cancel travel plans. The water heater breaks down or the furnace gives out in the middle of the winter. You get a flat tire. While these sorts of things are inevitable, fixing them is likewise merely a matter of necessity — and they usually don’t tend to inspire much else in the way of any lasting sense of joy or enthusiasm.
But “Good” problems on the other hand? Now those are the kind of things that we can get excited about! A friend invites you to an out-of-town wedding that just so happens to be at a sun-soaked resort. You finally lose all that stubborn belly fat after months of working out and have no choice but to head to the store and shop for a sleek new wardrobe to match your fit new figure. You and your spouse have a baby on the way and realize it’s time to sell your condo and move into a “forever home.” Problems? Sure. But each of these instances likewise provide opportunities for all sorts of excitement to follow.
To meet the ever-growing demands of the EMC² Learning community, we’ve made repeated upgrades to our platform to help it run smoother, faster, and more user-friendly at every turn. In addition to multiple upgrades to our servers (which significantly increases the speed of on-site video streaming while decreasing page load times), we’ve added lightning-fast filter functionality, members-only discussion forums, robust site search capabilities, and bite-sized description blurbs for every single resource in our library to make finding the perfect activity for your classroom even easier than ever before.
We've Hosted More Than 50 Virtual Coaching Events
To celebrate our first birthday last March (it’s wild to think that this was only just one year ago this week!), we made the announcement to launch our ultimate tier of member support with an all-new virtual coaching cohort. The Creative Corps combines everything you love about being an Engagement Engineer with premier access to dozens of live-streamed, members-only coaching events throughout the year. It’s like having access to your very own Instructional Coach on demand!
For teachers looking for top-level access to some seriously innovative teaching, the Creative Corps provides dozens of opportunities for real-time feedback, advice on actual lessons from your classroom, and an ever-expanding archive with new events all year long. We’re talking not one, not two, but 30+ live-streamed virtual events each year!
We Were Named a Finalist for 2023 Edtech Product of the Year
In November of 2022, EMC² Learning was selected as a FINALIST for the 2023 District Administration Top Ed Tech Products Awards. District Administration Magazine is widely regarded as one of the most influential publications in the education professional development landscape. And each year, District Administration recognizes the very best in emerging education softwares and solutions. We are truly honored to be included for consideration in the list of this year’s finalists alongside such industry heavy hitters as McGraw Hill AR, Teams by Swivl, and Naviance by PowerSchool!
We Won the 2023 Future of Education Technology Conference Pitchfest
Each year, the Future of Education Technology® Conference Pitchfest competition showcases innovative new education technology to a panel of district administrators, teachers, parents, investors, and industry experts. Finalists are selected from a diverse pool of hundreds of applications from around the world, and this year’s event showcased finalists in each of the following eight categories:
- Immersive Tech
- Coding, Robotics & STEM
- Learning Management System
- Social-emotional Learning
- Language Learning
- Early Childhood Learning
- Online Learning
- Wild Card
After presenting to the distinguished panel of judges and competing alongside some 40 other finalists live at FETC, EMC² Learning is honored to announce that our playful approach to student-centered instruction was officially recognized as the 2023 winner in the category of Online Learning and Classes. In the weeks ahead, EMC² Learning will be profiled in an exclusive article that will be published in District Administration Magazine — widely regarded as the leading monthly trade publication in the education field, and featuring K-12 education news for school district leaders, including the latest developments in edtech, staffing, leadership, analysis and thought leadership.
We Now Offer Scalable Solutions for Departments, Buildings, and School Districts
When asked to take a moment to reflect on his success, Walt Disney once famously said: ““Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” As educators and innovators (and, of course, since John is a sucker for the boundless creativity that eminates from the Disney theme parks) — we really like that sentiment. We think it describes the type of work we do around here pretty nicely, as a matter of fact.
One of the things that we are most proud of here at EMC² Learning is that while we continue to expand our resource library and broaden our PD offerings each week throughout the year, we make a clear and concerted commitment as part of our company’s DNA to spend just as much time working with our fellow actual working teachers in schools and classrooms around the world. Where other PD solutions might settle for a “hang and hope” approach where schools simply purchase an expensive software package and then never have the chance to meet with their corporate counterparts ever again, we think it’s essential to engage “at the speed of life.” And that means offering virtual consulting, in-person training sessions, follow-up phone calls, custom-designed classroom activities, and taking the time that’s required to really sit down and listen to the challenges and opportunities that present to our academic partners as they continue to do their daily work to change the game in education. Even though we specialize in playful pedagogy, we’re serious about helping educators achieve real results in their classrooms. So customized PD solutions is kind of our thing!
We've Still Got Hundreds of Ideas in Store
Two years down and countless more ahead. Because creativity isn’t a skillset — it’s a mindset. And when we give over to a spirit of playful, student-centered pedagogy in our classrooms, there is truly an infinite runway of resources to develop and creative avenues to explore. In the weeks to come, we’ll be hard at work adding all sorts of new gamified (and fully editable!) resources to the EMC² Learning platform. And in the years ahead, we are excited to offer hundreds and hundreds of exciting new ways to teachers and students to discover the power of play in classrooms of every age. Once again to quote the timeless wisdom of Uncle Walt himself: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Here at EMC² Learning, we are more than happy to co-sign our names to that sentiment. And so to all who come to this happy place… welcome!
(We’ve even created a special birthday gift just for you!!!)
EMC² Learning is home to more than 500 fully editable resources for any course or content area. Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps enjoy a full year of access to each of these resources on demand. We hope you’ll consider joining us to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.