K20alt allows educators from around the country the opportunity to collaborate, dialogue, engage in lesson study and creation, and acquire content-specific PD all at the touch of a button through Virtual Communities of Practice. These groups are meant to engage and empower educators by providing a means by which they can share expertise, create content, and improve pedagogy. The free services that are provided within these Virtual Communities of Practice are outlined below.
Authentic Lessons and Lesson Groups
K20alt offers model authentic lessons intended to inform pedagogy and impact students. Both K20alt Content Specialists and members of the K20alt Community design these lessons utilizing the research-based components of authentic instruction.
K20alt provides content-specific Professional Development, in-depth lesson study, and opportunities for educators to connect in order to dialogue about best practices. Through Virtual Communities of Practice, K20alt Content Specialists can facilitate meaningful conversations centered on impacting the classroom.
K20alt provides mentoring support for a wide range of teachers through Virtual Communities of Practice. Residency year teachers, teachers on a Plan of Improvement, and many other teachers can benefit from K20alt’s free mentoring program.
From the Creative Commons Blog and I think it is about time someone actually addressed key issues in Education and this is indeed one of them.
There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.
HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.
The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”
The opening section of the bill reads:
- “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”
While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”
This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology was a pioneer in offering online college courses and they still have the most diverse and in-depth collection of classes available anywhere. Their online offering is an archived version of real courses that have been taught at MIT, and you may need to purchase the textbook to follow along with the class. These courses come highly recommended.
Carnegie Mellon, based in Pittsburgh, PA, has a variety of courses available for anyone online. While the selection is not as great as MIT’s, many core courses are presented in an easy to follow online format. Their courses are similar to what a paying student would receive minus the course credit or access to an instructor.
Salman Khan began putting videos on YouTube to help with tutoring a cousin. When he started receiving feedback that they were helping a lot more people than just his cousin, he realized he was on to something good.
Today, there are over 1000 videos on KhanAcademy, which is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Most videos are about math. However, there are also many other topics that he explores. Even Bill Gates has said that he uses Khan to teach his kids about math. These are not college courses per-se, but the math he introduces in them are at college level and many people praise them for being clearer and easier to comprehend than actual college courses!
Stanford has made many of their courses and lectures available via iTunes in iTunesU. This collection is great if you are on the go or want to listen to courses while commuting. They have an impressive collection of content available, all for free. The downside is that you need to use iTunes to view their content.
LearningSpace offers content from the Open University, based in the UK. This university pledges to be open and accepts many different kinds of students in its real world classrooms. It also opened up its content to anyone online. The online college courses are laid out extremely well and offer many different topics with skill levels going from beginner up to expert.
Technology and Learning
Find out why technology is such a draw for educators and how we learn from non-human tools.
- Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning: This course will show you how blogs and other new media are optimal teaching tools. [Utah State]
- Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education: This class will teach you how we learn from computer games and interactive technologies. [MIT]
- Instructional Gaming: Learn how to use instructional gaming to reach out to students. [Utah State]
- Creativity, community and ICT: Discover how online learning and technology fuel creativity and collaboration. [The Open University]
- Intro to Instructional Design: If you’re curious about how humans interact with and learn from non-human tools, take this course. [Utah State]
- Videogame Theory and Analysis: Find out how videogames are legitimate teaching tools. [MIT]
- The Impact of Open Source Software on Education: Learn how different countries are using open source for college education and beyond. [Connexions]
- The review of the development of eLearning: Get a 10-year history of eLearning here. [Connexions]
- Principles and Practices of Technology: Designed for teachers, this course will teach you about the application of technology for learning and principles of instructional technology. [Utah State]
- Cultural History of Technology: Consider how technology has shaped our culture and is now a tool for learning, communication and more. [MIT]
- Artificial Intelligence: Discover how tools can actively teach us, even non-human ones. [MIT]
- Technological Tools for School Reform: Consider how innovation and modern technology contribute to the school reform debate. [MIT]
Online Education and Distance Learning
If you want to create online learning environments and manage a distance ed course, look here.
- Creating Open Educational Resource: Learn how to write learning units that enhance self-directed learning. [The Open University]
- Producing Distance Education Resources: You’ll use Dreamweaver and FTP in this course as you learn how to develop open and online learning spaces and resources. [Utah State]
- Collaborative Learning and the Open Educational Resource Movement: Get an overview of the popularity of open education resources. [Connexions]
- Introduction to Open Education: Here you will review some of the main topics in open education like sustainability, licensing, creativity and more. [Utah State]
- Accessibility of eLearning: Learn more about eLearning solutions for disabled students. [The Open University]
- Facilitating online: This course will walk you through all the course models and lesson planning strategies you’ll need as an online teacher. [Centre for Educational Technology]
- Master Online Teacher Certification: Teachers interested in creating their own online courses get a lesson in interactivity and other key issues here. [Weber State University]
- Online Instructor Training: This course features 10 areas of study to help you become an effective online teacher. [UC Irvine]
- An Overview of Open Educational Resources: Find out how open educational resources can be beneficial to all class levels. [Connexions]
- Understanding Online Interaction: Design better learning tools and environments after taking this class on online interaction. [Utah State]
- Best practices in online teaching: Learn how to prepare for and manage an online course. [Connexions]
- Managing your Distance Course: Discover ways to manage students learning from home. [Connexions]
- Managing and Maintaining the Discussion Board for Distance Courses: Facilitate online discussions through discussion boards. [Connexions]
- The “How Tos” of OER Commons: Practice creating open educational materials to add to the OER commons here. [Connexions]
- Connecting People with Online Resources: This course will train you to become a better researcher and collector of quality online resources you can share with students. [Utah State]
- Establishing Tone in the Distance Course: Get your point across so that your students really understand what you’re teaching when you take this course. [Connexions]
- Promising Practices in Online Teaching and Learning: This class can help distance ed teachers become capable designers of online courses. [Connexions]
- Introduction to Copyright Law: Make sure you’re correctly sourcing and citing any materials you reference when creating online courses. [MIT]
- eCommunities: Study how we interact with each other via online communities, which can help you design better courses or get the most out of networking with other students and classrooms. [University of Michigan]
These open courses will help you work with technology in elementary classrooms.
- Technologies for Creative Learning: Study games like the LEGO Programmable Brick and Computer Clubhouse center to get a lesson in innovation design and how children learn. [MIT]
- Play, learning and the brain: This course explains how playtime and experimentation is important in young childhood education, and that sensory deprivation can really hurt brain development. Consider this when planning interactive lessons with computers and other technology. [The Open University]
These courses will introduce you to the technology systems you will need to create blogs, websites and other media that can bring learning to a new level to your students, as well as safety and legal tips.
- Living with the Internet: keeping it safe: Find out how to avoid viruses and hackers. [The Open University]
- Information on the web: Become a master at using search engines so that you can quickly direct your students to quality materials. [The Open University]
- Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier: Learn about privacy laws, the U.S. PATRIOT ACT, and more. [MIT]
- Interactive Multimedia Production: Practice using Macromedia Flash so that you can create animations and graphics. [Utah State]
- Computer Applications for Instruction and Training: If you use a Mac, then take this course to review some of the best apps like PowerPoint, iMovie and Photoshop that aid in lesson planning. [Utah State]
- Video in Distance Education: This mini-course will teach you how to use video for an online course. [Connexions]
- Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound: Here you’ll learn how to design a user-friendly learning environment that includes great design and interactive media. [The Open University]
- Open Web Mapping: Create maps for history or science lessons after taking this class. [Penn State]
- Creating Interactive Multimedia: If you want to design interactive learning environments for your students, take this course. [USQ]
- Learn and Apply HTML: Learn the basics of HTML to create websites. [Utah State]
- User Interface Design and Implementation: Continue your education of creating good user-friendly websites and educational platforms. [MIT]
- HTML Basics: This is another course designed to teach you about HTML tags and coding.
Secondary and Higher Education
College and high school teachers can take these courses to design innovative learning systems and resources for their savvy students.
- Introduction to Open Educational Resources: Take this course if you’re a college teacher wanting alternatives to textbooks. [Connexions]
- Teaching using digital video in secondary schools: Take this course to discover new ways to use digital media and video in the classroom. [The Open University]
- An Open Source Vision for Caribbean Higher Education: Find out how the higher education system in the Caribbean is opening up to open source. [Connexions]
- Teaching College-Level Science: This course includes a lesson in using educational technology in your curriculum. [MIT]
- OpeningScholarship: Here you’ll learn about different ways technology can be used in higher education. [UCT]