Unless you’ve been hiding under a rug for the past couple years and not reading the Fractus Learning blog like your mother told you to, you know that MOOCs are a pretty big deal. And you also know that Coursera is one of the biggest MOOC organizations out there.
While Coursera offers some great classes, they were mostly centered on things like physics, statistics, computer science, and so on. Recently though, Coursera unleashed a bucket of awesome on the edtech crowd when they debuted a new “Teacher Professional Development” section.
Here are some of the great new classes I spotted!
1. For Newer Teachers
There are a couple courses in the section devoted especially to younger teachers that are just starting out. Who knows though, they may have some tips for experienced teachers too!
First Year Teaching – Success from the Start shows newly-minted teachers how they can foster a vibrant learning environment in their classroom right from Day 1. By setting high expectations for students and building positive relationships, they say, you’ll be able to create a stellar classroom from the get-go.
Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching is more about the teacher than the students being taught. Inevitably, there comes a time (let’s face it, probably multiple times) for every new teacher where they face frustration, anger, and tears. Some say it’s just a rite of passage for new teachers, but the teachers of this class don’t believe so; they want to show you how to overcome the tough times.
2. For Common Core Classes
As we all know by now, the Common Core is coming up fast. Sadly, a lot of people are still unprepared or confused about what Common Core is and how it works in their subject. These classes can help.
Math Formative Assessment helps our more mathematically-inclined teachers get a feel for teaching the new standards. It has you select a 2-day “classroom challenge”, do a pre-assessment, teach the challenge to your students, do a post-assessment, and then compare and analyze the results.
Literacy Across Content Areas explains how to apply some tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative in your ELA classroom. It follows much the same pattern as the Math Formative Assessment class listed above, with a pre-assessment, less plan, and post-assessment.
3. For Tech-Savvy Teachers
The edtech world is becoming more and more complex. Many new companies are entering the marketplace, and a lot of new ideas are being tested. These classes can help you navigate the waters of education technology safely.
Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom is a foundational course that gives you a broad overview of exciting new developments in the edtech world. They cover things like social learning, gamification, and e-books. If you’re reading this blog, you may not necessarily need this course, but it can’t hurt! Also check out the similar course: Foundations of Virtual Instruction.
The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st Century Schools teaches you how you can put into practice some of the latest scientific research on how the brain learns new subjects. You’ll learn how to create the right “emotional climate” for student learning and how to teach students to solve problems creatively by applying their knowledge.
4. For Self-Improvement Junkies
Even the most experienced teachers need a little professional development now and then. After all, nobody out there knows everything. These classes show you how to improve your teaching capabilities and the capabilities of others around you.
Self-Directed Teacher Improvement lets you take the reins of your professional development plan and shows you how to actively and aggressively seek out feedback on how you’re doing in the classroom. Beware, the instructors say, this class isn’t for the faint of heart!
Coaching Teachers: Promoting Changes that Stick gives you to opportunity to learn how best to teach other teachers new things. Too often, they say, teachers are told to just “Do X, Y, and Z” without being told how or why. This class shows you how to get around those obstacles and get new processes to stick in the minds of your pupils.
5. For STEM Nerds
The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subject areas have been getting a lot of publicity lately. Most people tend to think the U.S. is falling behind on these subjects, but even if you’re an expert, it couldn’t hurt to brush up on your skills with these classes.
Integrating Engineering Into Your Science Classroom is for middle and high school teachers that normally teach science subjects but want to include some engineering lessons as well. Students will learn how engineers are both similar to and different from regular scientists, as well as how to apply engineering principles and processes to their normal school projects.
Integrating Making Activities into Your STEM Classroom is for the tinkerer in all of us. In this class, you’re shown how to use tinkering to increase student engagement with the subject matter. Each week, you’ll see three or four different videos on how taking things apart and rebuilding them is uniquely instructive and educational.
Do you see any other courses in the Teacher PD section you like? Let us know in the comments!