Edtech MOOC, January 2013?

During my sabbatical year (July 1/12 to June 30/13), I plan to focus on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as one of my key areas of research. To do so, I’m considering planning, organizing and facilitating a semester-long MOOC focused on educational technology starting January 2013. I am envisioning the course to be somewhat similar to my EC&I 831 course, but with the focus more explicitly on the integration of technology in teaching, learning & professional development (hands-on sessions exploring major categories of tools with a focus on pedagogy & literacy).

I’m thinking that this course would be relevant to teachers, administrators, preservice teachers, teacher educators, librarians, parents and likely many others hoping to sharpen their understanding of emerging skills and literacies. Also, it would be great to have newbies involved (people that are fairly new to educational technology and/or those we wouldn’t normally find on Twitter). However, before I get too far along in this, I want to make sure there is interest from both those that would enroll, and those that would help develop & facilitate the experience.

So, is there a need for this sort of thing? Is there anyone willing to help plan the experience? Anyone interested in participating in a course like this? Any thoughts on what we could do to make this successful? I’d love to hear from you.

Edit #1: There seems to be some interest already, so to make sure that I don’t lose any potential collaborators due to the chaos that is Twitter, please fill out this very short form if you are interested in participating. I will contact you very soon to get things started.

Edit #2: I wanted to capture the responses of potential collaborators/participants, so I put together this Storify. I’m really excited about this, and will get back to everyone by early September at the latest.

Value of Twitter as Professional Development for Educators

During my sabbatical, I’m hoping to dive into research around the value of social networking tools like Twitter in the professional development of educators (including administrators). Today, I began with a some reconnaissance around the topic.

At this point, I’m still developing developing questions that need to be answered. Please take a look at the conversation captured in this Storify, and I’d love if you could either add to this discussion or provide advice as to what questions on this topic are worth exploring. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Thanks!


Student Work – Winter 2012

As I’ve done previously (see 20092010 and 2011), I wanted to share some of the best examples of student work from my ECMP 355 (Technology in Education) undergraduate course. These students are all preservice teachers and they range from being in the first to the fourth (final) year of our program. If you have any questions about the work featured here, please comment below or email me. I hope that you will find these projects valuable.

Final Projects: The goal of these projects varied – essentially, they were either of the ‘build a learning resource’ or ‘learn something of significance using the Internet’ variety.

Blogfolios: Students were tasked to create blogfolios in the class as a means to strengthen their digital identities, and experience an important form of alternative assessment.
Summaries of Learning: These summaries of learning are typically a 3-5 minutes reflection/presentation/celebration of what students learned throughout the course.

Role of Teacher Education – We Need Your Help

Dean Shareski and I are presenting at Educon 2.2 in Philadelphia, and our topic is “(Re)Imagining Social Media & Technology in Teacher Education”. We are hoping to find individuals that will help us introduce the topic. More specifically, we are looking for insight in answering the following questions regarding the role of teacher education in developing new teachers. Roughly, these questions are:

  1. What are your general views on the status of teacher education in preparing teachers, especially in regards to innovative teaching? What positives, negatives, or general views can you share? Please do pull in your own experiences if applicable.
  2. What is the ideal role of teacher education in developing teachers who are media literate and technologically savvy?

Using the Alan Levine Approach™, we are looking for short videos or audio bites (1-2 minutes each) that we hope to remix into our introduction to the topic. We realize that this does not give much time to answer, so feel free to focus on one or two important points.

If you are a teacher, a teacher educator, an administrator, or work with new teachers, you will likely have important ideas to share. If you are interested, please submit your video via Youtube, or through a file drop service like drop.io. You can add the link to the video in the comments here, or feel free to email me at couros@gmail.com.

The presentation is on January 31/10, but we hope to have submissions by January 22/10 at the latest.

Thanks for any help you can give.

What I Want For My Children

Cindy Seibel just linked to an excellent video at her blog “Technology for Learning“. Cindy says, “Every parent and teacher will be moved by what this parent asks of teachers and challenges other parents to do.” For me, this video is particularly important to me as my own little girl started preschool this year.

We bring our kids to school with so much hope, so much love, and so much fear. We ask and expect so much from our teachers, and this is why I feel so lucky to work directly in teacher education. I get to help shape the futures of our teachers with the hopes that they will benefit all of our children.

There was at least one piece of the video that was not agreeable to me. At 5:42, the video encourages us to “always believe that teachers want what’s best for our children.” At the more generalized level, perhaps. At an individual level, I do not feel that such blind faith would always be wise. For instance, I have had some teachers that have (seriously) scarred me for life. And I am not the only one. As parents, I think we need to use the other good points (like asking questions) to validate our hopes and beliefs for our chlldren.

The creator of the video is Heidi Hass Gable, do check out her blog. She’s done a great job here.

The Write Stuff – K12 Online Conference Teaser

My very talented colleague, Dr. Patrick Lewis, and the amazing Kathy Cassidy have put together a trailer for their upcoming K12 Online Conference presentation. Here it is:

Cathy and Patrick have done some amazing stuff to bring stronger connections between students in our teacher education program and young children in the field. I am really looking forward to their presentation.

Rules for Teachers

Here are some rules for teachers from the beginning of the 20th century.

Rules for Teachers 1

It’s interesting to see how clearly the social expectations for women were laid out in the form of explicit rules. Thankfully, times have changed, although we always have more work to do. It would be interesting to pose rules like this with that of our contemporary schools, rules that are not always made so apparent.

See also.

Teachers Caught Cheating

I remember reading about this problem in the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt. Teachers have been accused of rigging the results of standardized tests so that schools are not penalized for low performance, as legislated by the No Child Left Behind Act

Cheating among teachers has become epidemic in America’s schools, with cases from New York to California, Florida to South Dakota, Tennessee to Maryland. “It’s more prevalent than anyone wants to admit,” says UNC-Chapel Hill professor Gregory Cizek, an expert on cheating in schools. “Teachers are paid to be role models. It sends a really destructive message to kids.”

Many experts say this disgraceful behavior has surged due to the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, which annually tests academic performance and can punish struggling schools that don’t show improvement. Feeling this heat, some teachers resort to showing students test questions in advance or—if you can believe it—changing their answers after the fact.


Source
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Networks vs. Tools

I’ve been wanting to talk about the importance of helping teacher embrace and participate in rich, learning networks vs. bombarding them with the tools. However, Kelly Christopherson has done this for me.

Showing other teachers all the tools isn’t what is needed. Helping them develop relationships and make connections is. We can show and demonstrate, rave and mandate; it will not bring others to question, grow and adopt. We have many examples of educators who are beginning to delve into using these tools. Overwhelming them with the possibilities just pushes them away. Helping them to build their own networks, seeking out teachers who, like themselves, are testing the water and encouraging them to continue in their own lifelong learning will empower them to develop even more. Not all of them will see the benefits of all the tools they encounter but the relationships they develop during this process will go further, I believe, to bringing about powerful change than any tech person can hope to do by themselves.

This is one of the important ideas that I am trying to extend in my Grad course. Read the rest of this excellent post here.