IDE Corp
Professional Development for Innovative Schools

IDE Virtual Learning Communities

Push the boundaries of your professional thinking!

  • Online engagement with a consultant and other professional educators
  • Work at times that are best for you
  • 25 hours

Courses (5-weeks/2-weeks accelerated summer; full descriptions below)

  1. Creating Lesson Plans that Build Executive Function
  2. Designing Problem-Based Authentic Learning Units
  3. Cloud Infusion: Making Technology Count in the Quest for Student Achievement
  4. Building Student Responsibility for Learning
  5. Creating a STE(A)M Culture in Your Classroom
  6. Using Formative Assessment to Drive Instruction
  7. Problem Solving through the Design Process


  • $795* / person for 6-week courses (approx. 25 hours of engagement)

*Volume Discounts Available

  • Sign up 5 or more participants for one course for only $695 per participant.
  • Buy 10 or more seats for the year for only $695 per participant per course.



1) Creating Lesson Plans That Build Executive Function

“I learned that there was so much more I could be doing with my students to foster their executive functioning skills. I am so excited to implement many of the strategies and techniques I learned from the course and through chatting with Megan on a weekly basis. I have also decided to look at the relationship between executive functioning skills and reading comprehension for my thesis. Thanks again for everything!” - Leslie Thompson, Resource/In-Class Support Teacher, Hillsborough Township Public Schools, NJ

Executive function is critical to all students’ academic achievement; and we now know it can be developed and accelerated. Enhance your academic lesson plans by fostering the six key aspects of executive function, intentionally building critical achievement prerequisites in students.


  1. Understanding how executive function is inextricably linked to the academic achievement of students at all developmental levels
  2. Understanding how executive function develops and how growth can be accelerated
  3. Understanding the difference between learning and practice activities, and the importance of purposeful “grappling” with content
  4. Developing learning and practice activities aimed at building executive function across the seven key components: working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, reasoning, problem-solving, and self-regulation
  5. Creating a plan to implement structures that build executive function in the learning environment
  6. Learning to facilitate instruction by asking questions that lead to the development of greater executive function

Watch Dr. Nancy Sulla’s YouTube videos “Executive Function: The Missing Link to Student Achievement” and “All Students Can Learn with Executive Function“.

Participants in “Creating Lesson Plans That Build Executive Function” will use Dr. Nancy Sulla’s book, It’s Not What You Teach But How as a resource. The assigned book must be purchased in advance. Access to the IDEportal is included for all participants while enrolled in the VLC.


2) Designing Problem-Based Authentic Learning Units

Explore the power of problem-based learning in the classroom. Design a problem-based task, a rubric to drive instruction, and a scaffold of rich and diverse learning activities to implement with your students.


  1. Understanding how “Raising Academic Rigor,” “Engaging Students in Learning,” and “Building Student Responsibility for Learning” go hand-in-hand
  2. Developing authentic, open-ended, problem-based tasks that create a felt-need to learn (expectations adjusted if the participant has taken the introductory course)
  3. Designing analytic rubrics to offer clearly articulated expectations, a roadmap for all learners, and challenges for gifted learners
  4. Designing a scaffold for learning to develop differentiated learning and practice activities
  5. Developing one or more other structures to support the unit, e.g.:
    • Formative Assessments to drive instructional planning
    • Facilitation Questions to probe students’ thinking at higher cognitive levels
    • Facilitation Grid to manage your ongoing student facilitation

Watch IDE Corp.’s YouTube video “What’s the difference between project-based learning and problem-based learning?“.

Participants in “Designing Problem-Based Authentic Learning Units” will use Dr. Nancy Sulla’s book, Students Taking Charge as a resource. The assigned book must be purchased in advance. Access to the IDEportal is included for all participants while enrolled in the VLC.


3) Cloud Infusion

The advent of cloud-based apps presents unparalleled opportunities for student learning. Explore various themes of transformational technology, including collaboration, differentiation, and assessment. Design specific activities to foster technology infusion in the classroom. (Appropriate for all, from beginners to advanced technology users.)


  1. Using technology in transformational ways
  2. Using technology to build responsibility in students towards becoming digital citizens and digitally literate
  3. Designing instructional materials that allow students to build a collaboration mindset
  4. Infusing transformational technology to enhance formative and summative assessment
  5. Becoming a reflective practitioner related to to technology use in the classroom
  6. Using technology to differentiate learning and practice activities in the classroom


4) Building Student Responsibility for Learning

Explore a variety of classroom structures and strategies you can employ to help students take greater responsibility for their own learning, including self-assessment, goal-setting, self-regulation, learning choices, and reporting. Design a student responsibility plan that will work in your classroom.


  1. Understanding how student responsibility impacts student achievement
  2. Designing structures and strategies to build student responsibility in the classroom
  3. Using a Great Student Rubric
  4. Teaching students to self assess, set goals, and monitor progress
  5. Building executive function skills that promote responsibility
  6. Exploring the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom


5) Creating a STE(A)M Culture in Your Classroom

We’re all familiar with STE(A)M courses and STE(A)M hours; but what about a classroom or school that exudes a culture of STE(A)M thinking? Design lesson plans and classroom/school structures to foster in students the mindsets of the scientist, technologist, engineer, and mathematician.


  1. Exploring the concept of developing in students the mindsets of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians throughout the day
  2. Understanding and infusing the IDE Corp. Design Process into the learning environment
  3. Connecting the NGSS, Standards for Mathematical Practice and design thinking across content areas
  4. Understanding various levels of technology use for empowering students in their STE(A)M thinking
  5. Developing structures and strategies that build a STE(A)M mindsets


6) Using Formative Assessment to Drive Instruction

Explore the structures and strategies you can use to gather formative assessment data you can use to design instruction targeted for increased student achievement. Design formative assessments for use with your students.


  1. Developing formative assessments across four categories: temperature gauges, breakpoint assessments, student-­directed assessments, and comprehensive assessments
  2. Using formative assessment data to differentiate classroom activities
  3. Using formative assessment data to drive facilitation of instruction
  4. Designing formative assessment grids to allow participants to easily collect and track assessment data while moving about the room and facilitating instruction


7) Problem Solving Through the Design Process

The engineering design process is a set of steps for creating that which does not yet exist. Help your students develop thoughtful solutions to open-ended problems, no matter what the subject area. Develop authentic, open-ended problems for your students to solve using IDE Corp.’s Design Process.


  1. Understanding the “place” of design process as creating that which does not exist (referencing the STEM science/engineering juxtaposition but realizing that the IDE Design Process can be used in all subjects)
  2. Exploring the difference between convergent and divergent thinking
  3. Understanding the six steps to the IDE Design Process (formulate, explore, ideate, sift, simulate, advocate)
  4. Understanding the importance of empathy in the IDE Design Process
  5. Engaging students in activities that require them to use the design process
  6. Understanding the importance of efficacy in the classroom
  7. Exploring the importance of consensus in decision-making and the tools students can use to achieve consensus


Call 201.934.5005 or email