We’re thrilled to announce that Anna Seguin is the first educator to complete the Hāpara Champion certification program for graduate credit. Anna is a teacher at St. Pius X Catholic High School in Ottawa Catholic School Board. In her third year of teaching, she teaches Drama, Photography, World of Fashion and Integrated Arts.
Hāpara recently partnered with Ashland University to offer graduate credit for the Hāpara Champion certification program. Educators progress through three self-paced Hāpara Champion levels, as well as 10 hours of classroom reflection activities. Those who previously finished the Hāpara Champion Educator, Scholar and Trainer levels are still able to apply.
Why Anna chose the program
Ottawa Catholic School Board uses Hāpara tools across classrooms. Anna wanted to have a deeper understanding of these tools, so she enrolled in the Hāpara Champion certification program.
Anna also decided to embark on a master’s degree to have the option of moving into an administrator or leadership role later. So once she completed the first three Hāpara Champion levels, she was excited to see an email about earning graduate credit through Ashland University. It was perfect timing then for her to apply. In her case, the next step was to complete the additional classroom reflection activities to receive graduate credit.
Embraces flexible pacing
There are several reasons Anna recommends the Hāpara Champion program through Ashland University, but she especially loved the program’s flexibility.
“I could do it in as little or as much time within the year, which was also a really good bonus because as teachers we sometimes get busy. So having that flexibility, honestly, is amazing.”
Educators can work on the modules as slowly or as quickly as needed and fit in the coursework while teaching full time.
“I can work on it for 10 minutes during my prep each day and get [a module] done over the six weeks. Or I can dedicate three days to get it done,” Anna said.
She also appreciated the flexibility from her facilitators. She had a family issue occur during the third module and was worried she wouldn’t be able to finish it by the deadline.
“Everyone was just so kind. I had an extension on the final project. They were so willing to say, ‘You’re doing all the learning. Take a little bit of extra time.’”
Personalized for every educator
Anna also enjoyed the personalization each step of the way throughout the program. “You could gear it to what you were doing and what you were already learning.”
She was able to create a Hāpara Workspace for her drama course, for example, and actually use it with her learners.
“Whereas a lot of times, I find if I take a PD, it’s geared to science or math or English and not the arts. So as an art teacher, I always appreciate when I can actually do something that’s useful to me and not just related to another subject,” she explained.
As long as she hit the criteria, Anna noted, she could tailor the program to what she taught and how it would be most beneficial to her learners.
“Everything had so much choice and options,” she emphasized.
Helps educators of all experience levels
Anna appreciated that the program gives educators time to digest information along the way, versus cramming content into a one-day or one-week training. Additionally, she feels that because of the program’s personalization, it can help an educator with any level of experience.
“Because it’s able to be geared to our own subjects, everyone, no matter where they are in their teaching career, no matter where they are in their tech understanding, they’re able to find some value in what they’re learning in the course.”
Each step of the way, she also felt supported by the Ashland University facilitator Katherine Crawford.
Benefits classroom instruction
The skills Anna learned in the Hāpara Champion program are helping her be a more engaged teacher. Before the program, she knew what students needed to learn, but she now feels that she has the tools to help them succeed.
For instance, she learned how to assign group activities in Workspace with tags “so that each card can match the next, and students are able to follow along.”
The program also helped her feel confident using Hāpara. “That has been astronomical.”
Her learners see that she knows what she’s doing, and they trust her. “If you don’t feel confident, the kids pick up on that.” With the confidence in using Hāpara tools for instruction, she now has buy-in from her students when they use Hāpara.
Boosts students’ learning
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of Hāpara tools has also improved learning in Anna’s classes.
Collaboration has been key for students. “For them to be able to collaborate using a Google Doc or a Slide on the same assignment, get the same real-time feedback and be able to share with one another that way is super amazing.”
Anna continued, “It also gives them an ownership of their own learning. So again, we’re able to give them extra resources or fewer resources, certain links to move ahead or stay behind on different projects, depending on where they are at.”
She learned how to use the tools to build learners’ confidence, too. “I find that they feel more respected by teachers.” For example, she uses the Hāpara Highlights messaging feature to type a reminder to learners without needing to single them out in front of the class.
Creates seamless experiences across the school
Because Anna feels so comfortable using Hāpara tools after going through the Hāpara Champion program, she’s able to help her colleagues.
“Because I’ve taken these courses and a lot of the teachers know that I have done this, I’m able to help other teachers.”
She continued, “It’s easy for me to help and show other teachers how to do these things so that students across the school are able to have similar experiences in each course.”
Brings together educators across the world
Another benefit of the Hāpara Champion program according to Anna is “being able to meet teachers from all across the world who are using the same program and have different ideas.”
The Hāpara Community groups that are part of the program allow you to ask educators across the world questions about instruction. Educators can also share Workspaces and see how other teachers and schools approach concepts.
What Anna recommends to other educators
Anna maintains that the program is an easy way to work toward your master’s degree and have a stronger grasp of tools you’re already using.
“I feel like the biggest thing I would tell all teachers is to at least take the certified Hāpara Educator course. At least take the first one.”
When you take the time to learn about the tools, she pointed out, you can use elements such as the messaging feature, focused browsing and guided browsing to make learning in your classroom personalized.
It’s also a great way to be able to explain to parents why the tools help learning. “Having those actual facts to give parents who might not have the buy-in for technology, that we as teachers do, is so amazing.”
Anna also mentioned Hāpara’s micro-credential courses for educators who want to learn more about one tool, such as Highlights, Teacher Dashboard or Workspace. “You can take a smaller course on just that specific [tool], which I think is a fantastic idea.”
Overall, Anna believes in the potential of any of the Hāpara certification opportunities to help educators who use Hāpara. The certifications “teach you so much that’s going to be beneficial.”
Interview quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.