Skip navigation

Interactive Lessons

  podcast icon
Interactive Lessons? An interactive content delivery system.

ACEF's Interactive Lessons are a simple way for our users to view information on a variety of topics such as sustainability, vulnerability, security, and planning.  You can flip through this lesson much like a web site and has interactive features to show examples and figures.  These lessons are FREE and easy to use and made for a visual learner!

ACEF Block Bullet Effective Technology Integration in School Facilities

Presented By: Dr. Credence Baker, Julie Miller, M.Ed., Dr. Denae Dorris, and Holley Atkinson, M.Ed.

Technology has dramatically changed how people work, learn, purchase, communicate, and spend leisure time. The U.S. Census Bureau (2014) identified the growth of computer and internet trends. The statistics indicated 78.9% of households have a home computer, 74.8% of households have Internet access, and 45.3 % of individuals 25 and older use smart phones. In response to the changes in life due to technology, schools are making substantial investments in technology and technology infrastructure. In fact, educational technology has grown into a $7 billion market (digedu, 2014). The investment in school facilities is expected to allow administrators, teachers, and students seamless access to technology tools during the school day. With access, learning environments are changing dramatically.  School officials are charged with the responsibility of providing comprehensive technology infrastructure promoting effective technology integration to impact learning environments. In order to accomplish this, school officials along with an empowered leadership team can develop a shared vision for technology integration. With a clear vision, empowered leadership teams can develop and implement an effective technology plan for schools. Campus technology plans, when assessed and evaluated regularly, offer administrators, teachers, and students ubiquitous access to technology. This may, in turn, transform learning environments and impact student outcomes. The purpose of this interactive lesson is to define technology, technology infrastructure, and technology integration. Technology integration barriers, resulting from technology infrastructure, will be identified, and facility essential conditions which facilitate seamless access to technology will be recognized.


                                                                                                                            Play Button Icon View Lesson

ACEF Block Bullet Strategic Planning In Practice 

Presented By: Holley Atkinson, Melanie Royal, Julie Miller, Heater Ortiz, and Denae Dorris

This lesson provides an overview of the strategic planning process. Strategic planning is a process school leaders may choose to employ in order to attain goals and objectives. A case study of Irving Independent School District’s net-zero school is highlighted to tell the story of strategic planning. The strategic planning steps identified through the case study are distinguishing leadership, aspirational thinking, building a task force, gathering data, establishing beliefs and commitments, and moving forward with plans. The final results of strategic planning for the Irving Independent School District’s net-zero school are illustrated.


                                                                                                                            Play Button Icon View Lesson

ACEF Block Bullet Multi-Modal School Transportation Planning: Part 1 

Presented By: Todd Litman

This interactive lesson is Part I of the Multi-Modal School Transportation Planning Series. This interactive lesson explores why and how to improve school walking and cycling access, and how to communicate these benefits to school decision-makers. Improved active transportation access to schools may improve the wellbeing of children, parents and communities. Many of these benefits may be overlooked or undervalued in conventional school planning. The lesson describes ways to evaluate active transport conditions, identify barriers to walking and cycling, and practical ways to improve student safety.


                                                                                                                            Play Button Icon View Lesson

ACEF Block Bullet Multi-Modal School Transportation Planning: Part 2 

Presented By: Todd Litman

This interactive lesson is Part II of the Multi-Modal School Transportation Planning series. This information may be used to develop an integrated walking and cycling improvement program that may include facility improvements, parent coordination, safety education, and promotion campaigns. The various benefits from improving walking and cycling conditions are identified. Information is discussed to help school leaders use levels-of-service indicators, field surveys, and user questionnaires to evaluate sidewalks, crosswalks, paths and roadway conditions, plus support facilities such as bicycle parking.

                                                                                                                            Play Button Icon View Lesson

ACEF Block Bullet School Safety Strategies During Challenging Economic Times


Presented By: Paul Timm

Schools are faced with the daunting challenge of protecting students, staff, and visitors under increasingly difficult circumstances. This lesson may help you reduce your risk both collaboratively and comprehensively. Facilities both old and new may benefit from the latest loss prevention methods and timeless security strategies presented in this lesson. Particular focus will be placed on improving communications, even with infrastructure limitations. This lesson presents real solutions, many of which can be implemented at little, or no cost, during these challenging economic times

ACEF Block Bullet School Integrated Pest Management: The Four Laws For Keeping Schools

Presented By: Lynn Braband and Brian Eshenauer, Cornell University

This interactive lesson describes integrated pest management (IPM) in schools, its importance, and the role of the school facilities staff in effectively implementing IPM. The pest management strategies of sanitation, exclusion, maintaining plant health, and communication are explained with examples. The lesson goes through the IPM steps of pest identification, monitoring, taking action, record-keeping, and the appropriate role of pesticide use is explained. Furthermore, public school IPM initiatives, nationally and regionally, are described. Specific management strategies and techniques for major pests of school buildings and grounds are discussed. Overall, IPM implementation is crucial for public schools across the United States to effectively and efficiently maintain their school facilities.

ACEF Block Bullet Modernization of Educational Facilities: Deciding to Renovate or Build New

Presented By: Renee Kuhlman, Policy Consultant

Discussions about school renovations may be triggered by program changes, failing building systems such as roofs or HVAC, or by health and safety deficiencies. This lesson will help Local Education Authorities (LEAs), planners, and community members decide if renovating an existing school building will enhance the productivity of the building and positively impact the school community.

ACEF Block Bullet Educational Facilities: Universal Design

Content Provided By: Holley Atkinson M.Ed., Denae Dorris Ed.D., Julie Miller M.Ed., Heather Ortiz M.Ed., Melanie Royal M.Ed.

Incorporating universal design elements within an educational facility is important due to the multi-purpose nature of the facility, as well as, the range of functions and diverse populations accommodated.   This interactive lesson seeks to identify universal design concepts to be considered by school officials, planners, and facility designers and encourages critical thinking about providing access to all users. Universal design exceeds facility design concepts for persons with disabilities, and is conscious of user abilities (left handedness, height, etc.). The interactive lesson discusses universal design concepts for the external environment, entrances and interior movement, internal environment, vertical circulation, and restroom facilities. 

ACEF Block Bullet Strategic Planning for School Facilities

Content Provided By: Blake Godkin

For years, school officials have fit programs into spaces, rather than designing spaces to fit desired programs. When planning new or renovated spaces, the first step in the planning process should be structured conversation that revolves around desired programs and learning results.  During this presentation, Mr. Godkin will introduce a model to generate discussions and develop beliefs that will ensure learning drives construction. Participants will begin to develop an understanding of how to build a strategic planning task force (task force), identify information to challenge the task force and identify current vital signs. Additionally, they will understand the need for open-ended questions that will guide the task force development of beliefs and commitments surround facilities and learning. Facilities and instructional leaders are encouraged to participate in this session together to learn how to engage with local task force to identify learning beliefs and decide how facilities will help accomplish them.

ACEF Block Bullet Smart School Siting - How School Locations Can Make Students Healthier and Communities Stronger

Content Provided By: ChangeLab Solutions

Forty years ago, almost half of all students walked or biked to school. Now, only 14 percent of children do. Why this change? The biggest reason is because today’s schools are located too far from children’s homes for walking or biking to be practical which is a shame because school locations can help make students healthier. When schools are located near where children live, kids can walk and bicycle to school, as well as use school playgrounds and facilities for physical activity outside of school hours. Some school districts are reconsidering their school siting policies because they want to ensure that their school siting decisions support the educational success, physical health, and overall well-being of students and their community. This lesson will focus on school and early childhood facilities. Specific topics covered will include: an overview of the social science research that supports school siting as a tool to improve community health; a snapshot of policy approaches at the local and state level that facilitate smart school siting; and an overview of both policy and legal issues that arise when considering school siting. Lesson participants will learn about healthy school siting and they will be able to download model policies and accompanying resources.

ACEF Block Bullet Smart Use of Community Resources: An Interactive Lesson for Public Schools on Joint Use Agreements

Content Provided By: ChangeLab Solutions

Many communities lack safe, engaging places for children and their families to exercise and play. Schools have recreational facilities ranging from play structures to gyms, but are often reluctant to allow use by the community outside of school hours due to concerns about costs, security, maintenance, and liability. Joint use agreements (JUAs) allow local governments and community-based organizations to partner with school districts to provide for shared-use of school facilities. In the course of setting up joint use agreements, many communities that have successfully drafted agreements have had setbacks in implementing them, resulting in facilities still inaccessible to community members. This interactive lesson will aid participants through main topic issues to successfully implement joint use agreements. Specific topics covered will include: an overview of the social science research that supports JUAs as a tool to increase physical activity opportunities; a snapshot of policy approaches at the local and state level that facilitate JUAs; financing for the joint use of school facilities; an overview of legal issues that arise in JUA implementation; and a summary of day-to-day implementation issues that may arise.

ACEF Block Bullet How to Create an Interactive Floor Plan (IFP)

Content Provided By: Chad Bauer and Jim Barrentine

The lesson will demonstrate the usefulness of an Interactive Floor Plan (IFP) to public schools and educational institutions.  Through the lesson school officials will become aware of local information that can be used to create an IFP.  Step by step instructions will instruct participants to use common office operating systems, such as Microsoft Office and PowerPoint, to design locally created IFPs.  By completing the lesson, school officials will develop a new locally created resource to manage school facility safety and security. 

ACEF Block Bullet Seven Steps to 21st Century Building Performance: "Green in a Box"

Content Provided By: Karen Benson

Twenty percent of our population spends their day in school.  Indoor air quality is 2 to five times worse than outdoor air.  Many school environments suffer from Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) problems.  How in the 21st century do we address these problems, which many studies show decreases the ability of students to learn?  We can take steps to increase IEQ while we decrease the cost of utilities.

One way to improve IEQ in schools while improving educational and health outcomes is to utilize the North Texas Chapter of the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools “Green in a Box.” Green in a Box is a lending library of Indoor Air Quality testing equipment available for checkout to school districts - in order to test Indoor Environmental Quality.  The program assists public k-12 schools and will be expanded to early childhood learning centers and institutions of higher education.  
Green in a Box will include handheld Indoor Air Quality testing equipment, instructions on the use and background on what the data means, spreadsheets for logging in data, LEED background materials with a LEED scoresheet, and an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency CD “Tools for Schools”.  Links to websites for further information will be provided.

The IAQ testing equipment will go hand-in-hand with a floor plan/site plan of a school.  Teams will divide the school into areas, with each team walking their segment to note issues such as water infiltration into the building envelope, air intake and exhaust vent problems, water stains, plumbing leaks, hazardous chemicals, and potential mold problems.  Testing for CO2, temperature, particulate size (greater than 10 microns is indicative of mold), and % Relative Humidity.  Other testing equipment will test air flow and pressure drop of HVAC equipment. 

ACEF Block Bullet Designing Green Schools that Advance Public Health

Content Provided By: Adele Houghton

Schools are not simply containers for learning. They can enhance or hinder a child's development and ability to learn. A school's siting influences children's access to physical activity. It's architectural design can expose students and teachers to positive stimuli such as daylighting, views, and "teachable moments". In addition, the school's design can expose children to learning barriers, such as high levels of background noise, poor ventilation, and exposure to respiratory irritants like mold and volatile organic compounds.

These presentations propose that every green school has the opportunity to enhance the health and academic achievement of its occupants if public health is identified as a design priority.

Part 1 explores the links between school design and human health. The key elements of school location and campus design that can enhance occupant health are identified. And, green building strategies for reducing exposure to toxic chemicals are considered.
Part 2 explores health-based green school design strategies that have been shown to improve academic achievement. Review the links between school design and academic achievement. Isolate design options that promote academic achievement by minimizing barriers to learning.

ACEF Block Bullet School Site Assessment: Resources and Guidelines

Content Provided By: Dr. Ronald Stephens

In an ideal world, one would like to prevent all school crime and ensure the safety of each staff member and student.  Educational facilities, and the will of the communities in which they reside, play a vital role in safe school planning.  Safe school planning is not limited to special restraints or a set of guidelines.  Each school community has the opportunity to shape the school climate it wishes to create.  A safe school plan, more than anything else, is a function of community will, priorities and interests.  It requires partnerships and cooperation.  The components and the players are limited only by the creativity, energy, and commitment of the local community.  Crucial players include students, educators, parents, law enforcement, judges, recreation program directors, prosecutors, probation directors, mental health leaders, and other youth-serving professionals.  This interactive lesson will provide participants with protocols to ensure community perspective regarding educational facilities is reflected in the safe school plan.

ACEF Block Bullet Environments for Children Three to Eight: FirstSchool Principles, Evidence Base, and Design Elements

Content Provided By: Sharon Ritchie and Gisele Crawford

Designing a learning environment appropriate for learning is a challenge.  Designing learning environments for the youngest learners, pre-school and early childhood students, is a unique task.  However, models do exist to guide school officials when designing learning environments for the youngest learners.  Utilizing a series of widely used instruments for evaluating learning environments for children can assist school officials in evaluating current learning environments or designing new learning environments.  This interactive lesson will provide a brief introduction to the instruments while highlighting the crucial design elements which need to be considered in order to encourage development of the youngest learners.

ACEF Block Bullet Earthquake Preparedness for Educational Facilities

Content Provided By: Mark Benthien

In light of the recent tragedy in Japan, earthquake preparedness for educational facilities has gained great attention.  In this course, educational leaders will learn about how they can prepare and protect their most valuable resources in the event of an earthquake.  Participants will learn a basic set of actions to take before, during, and after earthquakes, according to the Seven Steps to School Seismic Safety, adapted from the Seven Step to Earthquake Safety as included in many earthquake publications for the general public and for businesses across the country.

Interactive Lesson Evaluation Button

Webinar IconView All Webinars

podcast iconView All Podcasts

Training IconView All Trainings