Sunday, March 22, 2015

Are MOOCs the Future of Education?

You might be asking yourself, what in the world is a MOOC?  You are not alone, until recently I had never heard of them!  A MOOC is a "Massive Open Online Course" and while they are still very new, they seem promising.  There is not a lot of research on these courses yet so time will tell.

Put simply, MOOCs are online classes open to hundreds or thousands of people who work together to create learning goals based on common interests, skills and prior knowledge.  They are free and the only requirement is the desire to learn and an internet connection.  I am not sure if this style of learning is for everyone but it's worth investigating further.

Here are my thoughts...

Pros to MOOCs:

  • Cost to join is pretty much free (with the exception of internet and a computer)
  • MOOCs are open to anyone and everyone who has interest
  • Allows continuing education with out the limits of time demands, geographical, financial restraints
Cons/Questions to MOOCs:
  • Are they sustainable?
  • Are they well known enough to gain strong support?
  • What are the logistics of organizing up to thousands of people and creating a platform to support them?
  • Accreditation...will these courses be recognized as legitimate?
Here is a list of the current and upcoming MOOCs:

Here is a recent article from PR Newswire on MOOCs if you want to know the current conversations.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's Up Part 2- Serious Version

It's the first day of Spring, officially!  While this can be a very fun time of year, it can also be a difficult time for kids.  I don't know about you, but the kids at my school caught wind of Spring fever weeks ago.  We are at the time in the year when the 5th graders think they are already in middle school, the 4th graders think they are the new head of the school, and my sweet little 3rd graders are no longer little third graders.  With all this change, comes difficult behavior.

I came across this story on the news and thought it was such an amazing one, that I wanted to make sure I shared it.  Bullying is something I take very seriously in my classroom and the school.  Way to go boys!!

Capture from Facebook
*Click here for the video and full article.

Bullying doesn't just effect kids, it can effect everyone!  I recently read that Ashley Judd is pressing chargers against her cyber bullies for attacks against her on Twitter.  

One of my favorite organizations helping kids, teachers, administrators and schools all over the country deal with bullying is Rachel's Challenge.  Rachel Scott was a victim in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.  Shortly before she died she wrote: 

 "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."

This non-profit organization is truly unique and one worth looking into!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What's Up Part 1

There is a lot of talk right now about standardized testing.  My students just finished round one and I am relieved, it is a stressful time for all of us!  Instead of complaining on social media (like I have seen endlessly in the past few weeks), I decided I would keep it more upbeat.  No one likes a complainer!  One of my favorite bloggers (from right here in Colorado- Teaching with a Mountain View) recently shared a standardized testing "bloopers" post where people could write their funny/horror stories from testing.  
It was a great way to laugh about the dreaded tests and stay positive.  Click here to see the full post on Facebook and read the funny stories people wrote.  I am still new to the teaching world (2nd year) so I have yet to have a funny thing happen during testing...and with all the paperwork that comes with "funny stories" I think I am OK not yet being able to contribute!

If you are interested in reading more about standardized tests in the news, here are a few links to recent articles from all parts of the country:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dr. Seuss Day!

Don't forget tomorrow (March 2nd) is Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day! This is a great way to get your kids excited about reading in the classroom or at home, no matter the age. If you want to know more about this exciting day, the National Education Association has more information.  

Take the Read Across Pledge here!

Is Quora the New Google??

Day 2, post 2...doing well so far!  This week I explored a new website that I had never heard of before and wanted to share my thoughts on it.  Quora ( is an open source website (like Wikipedia) where users can ask questions on certain topics and get a variety of answers from people all over the world. Their mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge.

I have a few thoughts on this website. I am not one for celebrity gossip or silly YouTube sensations so I was looking for something I could actually find use in and that had some depth to it.  I found Quora and after a bit of exploring, I decided I wanted to sign up explore more.  

Pros- I really like how you can choose categories and those are the subjects that pop up on your feed.  I also like how you get a variety of responses to questions from people all over. Getting a variety of responses create a wider range of knowledge on the topic. When you watch the news, you get one view, when you read the newspaper, you get one opinion. When you read posts on topics on Quora you’re interested in you get a wealth of different views.  This is especially important if you are interested in politics or a particular research claim in education.

Home Page on My Account

Cons- The only issue I see with this is how do you know how credible these people posting are. Some users have a quick profile next to their names which states their credibility or credentials.  I guess it is up to the individual to take things with a grain of salt, as it is on most websites.  

Applying this tool to the classroom: as an elementary school teacher, I am still trying to find ways to use this tool in the classroom...I'll get back to you on this one. However, for older students, this is a great research tool to get more information on a topic of their choice from different views. While it will not be a credible source (in terms of a research paper to cite in a bibliography), the discussions give students a broader range of information. Students could join and ask their own questions or find a topic someone has already posted. Quora provides a unique, new way to research.

Current news articles on Quora:


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