OK2Ask - Frequently Asked Questions
How much does OK2Ask cost?
OK2Ask® sessions are a free service provided by TeachersFirst and The Source for Learning, Inc.
Who teaches the sessions?
TeachersFirst staff members conduct the sessions and help to moderate questions. All TeachersFirst staff are experienced classroom teachers like you, many working for us part time as they continue teaching full-time.
How long are the sessions?
Unless otherwise noted, sessions are 90 minutes long. Summer sessions are a bit longer. We promise to stop as closely as possible to our end time. Your job is to show up on time and be ready to go! Note: First time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if you have never used Adobe Connect, our virtual classroom tool.
How often are sessions held?
OK2Ask sessions are typically offered weekly. During the summer and other high-interest times of the year, we offer as many as eight topics per month. Advance schedules for the current season are available here.
What sessions have been planned?
Current session descriptions and registration pages are in our online OK2Ask Catalog. Check back often or sign up for the weekly TeachersFirst Update to receive announcements of upcoming sessions.
I've never taken any classes online. Is it hard to figure out what to do?
It takes less than five minutes to figure out the tools. First time attendees should plan to arrive a few minutes early if they have never used Adobe Connect, our virtual classroom tool. You can pretest your computer here. We have staff members available to assist you in every session, and we welcome cries for help. That's why we call it "OK2Ask"!
How will I ask questions?
There is a question box where you can type questions for the workshop team. There is also a chat area where you can answer questions and interact with workshop participants. You can even "applaud" or "raise your hand" by clicking a button! Our staff moderates teacher questions so we don't miss them. The recordings of most sessions are available afterward for you to revisit and catch things you may have missed.
Is there homework?
Each session will include a hands-on assignment for participants to do during the session. The session objectives tell you which activities will require follow-up time on your own to fully master the content. The ideal time to do this follow-up is within 48 hours after attending or reviewing the recorded session. A few of our sessions actually meet twice with a little "homework" between meetings. This is always explained in the session description..
What if I have technical trouble?
TeachersFirst staff members act as moderators for the sessions. If you can type in the chat space, you can enter a message about any audio or video problems. You can pretest your computer here. We encourage you to join your first session about ten minutes early to familiarize yourself with the tools and to work out any "bugs." If you are attending from school, you should plan to pretest the tools a week or so before your first session. Some schools have filtering in place that blocks certain tools. Check prerequisites in advance so you have time to install or request that they be unblocked or find an alternate, unblocked computer to use for the session.
What kind of device do I need?
Since OK2Ask uses the web to offer the sessions, any computer with a high-speed connection (cable modem, DSL, or school network) will work just fine. Both Windows and Mac computers will work. Since some sessions will include demonstration and "play" with web-based tools, we cannot guarantee that ALL tools will work on every computer, but you will be able to at least watch the demonstrations. If you are using a tablet, you will need to download the Adobe Connect app. We have a video with tips for tablet users here: https://youtu.be/-FfisQmh5Uo .
I am a little timid with technology. Can I watch the session over again once it has ended?
Most of our sessions are recorded and will be available in archived format so you can recap other people's questions and answers or demonstrations you might have missed the first time around.
May I attend the sessions with a friend?
Yes! Many teachers find it works best to have a study buddy, but you must each log in separately, with each person using their own computer. The best part is that we will not be able to hear you talking amongst yourselves. Remember to stay on task.
Why do I have to pre-register?
Pre-registration gives TeachersFirst an idea how many will be attending so we can have enough moderators available to help. You will receive email reminders starting 36 hours before the session; please mark your calendar. If you do sign up with a friend, you can remind one another!
How do I cancel a registration if I find out I cannot attend?
If you are unable to do this, please contact our webmaster to tell us which session you are cancelling so we can allow others in.
Is space limited?
At this time, the sessions are open to all, however we reserve the right to limit pre-registrations. Registrations are first-come, first-served. PLEASE arrive on time so others do not have to wait while we get you up to speed.
May I take the same session twice?
You are welcome to attend the same session twice or to replay the archived session to catch things you may have missed the first time through. The text chat moves quickly, so revisiting the recording often reveals even more good ideas. You can access session archives here (sessions since early 2013).
May I earn credit?
We issue Professional Development Certificates to all who request them and meet the requirements during a LIVE session. During the session itself we will tell you how to request one. Since every state (and even school district) has different requirements for earning continuing education credit, you will need to take our certificate to your local governing authority to request credit. At this time, we do not award graduate credit for OK2Ask®.
Are there professional development certificates for watching session recordings?
Active, live participation is a requirement for a professional development certificate. Without this participation, we cannot verify that teachers have met the objectives as stated in the session description and on certificates. We welcome anyone who wishes to watch the archived sessions, but we are not able to grant certificates for these. You might want to ask your school whether you may earn credit through your school administration for watching the recordings and applying the new ideas in your classroom.
Is this only for U.S. teachers?
Teachers anywhere are welcome to join us for OK2Ask®. The time blocks are U.S. friendly, but content is not specific to the U.S. Join us if you can!
How can you offer this for free?
TeachersFirst is a free service offered since 1998 by a non-profit, The Source for Learning. The Board of Directors of The Source for Learning (SFL) feels strongly that teachers should not have to pay for this service. Read more about our funding sources here. OK2Ask sessions are available free to individual teachers.
How can I say thank you?
As a non-profit, SFL welcomes donations at any time, including small gifts from the teachers who find our service helpful. Your support helps us extend our reach and add new content for teachers. You can make a donation via the SFL web site.
What if I get interrupted (I have kids!)?
We know that teachers multi-task. Even when you plan to sit at your computer after school or during the evening at home, children demand attention, phones ring, the principal makes announcements over the P.A., or someone drops a dish in the kitchen. Rejoin us as quickly as you can and revisit the archived session later to fill in things you missed while handling the crisis. You can access session archives any time.
May I share this information with my principal?
We hope you will tell your principal, department chair, superintendent, and teaching colleagues about OK2Ask®. Some administrators may even encourage teachers to attend together and may grant "credit" toward contractual professional development time for doing so. Be sure to point out our alignment with ISTE's NETS-T standards. We hope you will tell others about TeachersFirst and OK2Ask as high-quality, teacher-friendly sources for professional growth.
Where are the sessions coming from?
The sessions originate from several sites in the eastern U.S., including the offices of The Source for Learning in Reston, Virginia. TeachersFirst staff members (they are teachers, remember!) are located around the U.S. and will be moderating from their home or school locations. All session times are Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight, so plan accordingly.
Have another question?
Feel free to contact us via our webmaster account, but be sure to mention OK2Ask® and any specific session you may have questions about.