#diffimooc Launches next week: Differenting instruction in a MOOC

Gastineau Channel from top of Juneau tramway, ...
Do you know that Juneau has some very cool education technology innovation happening? You can join them without moving to Juneau!! - Gastineau Channel from top of Juneau tramway, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Update: it is #diffimooc with an "i" after the double "f"! I mistyped and apologize for my mistake. Please note this. A note from Vicki Davis: last week, I saw a professor that I follow, Lee Graham @ak_leeg tweet about #diffimooc. I was curious and started digging. A mooc? A different mooc? It certainly looked different. But there were educators in this mooc. It is a mooc on differentiating instruction and last week was sort of a "pre" week. 

As I dug deeper, I found some very progressive exciting professors. People that you could dm on twitter who would talk back. I offered a guest post and it was written in a day. These are the kind of renegades who GET social media who could pull this off. I've found that in this new landscape, sometimes the most progressive people - the innovators - can be from small places like Juneau, Alaska (or Camilla, Georgia, for that matter.)  

These professors are doing something very cool and I hope some of you will find it fits with your schedule and join in. Meanwhile, we all benefit from #diffimooc hashtag and can see what they are doing. Tweet on, professors and ROCK that MOOC!! There are other moocs cropping up as well and if you'll share them in the comments, others can find one that fits. But not only one that fits, you need to realize that MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are still evolving as best practices are being worked out. IT is exciting to be part of that innovation. 

Differentiating instruction is so important and one of the most popular spotlights I give is Technology Driven Differentiated Instruction which inspired Chapter 7 (p 158) called "Choices" in my book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds. Get inspired to differentiate and reach EVERY Child. Every child matters. Every classroom matters. You matter!!!

Here's their guest post:

Next week will be the official start of the Differentiating Instruction through Technology #diffimooc offered by the University of Alaska Southeast. This class is designed to help pre-service, in-service, formal or informal teachers in gaining strategies to differentiate student instruction through the environment, through process and through product. We’ll be exploring ways to collect, aggregate, and manage student information, models for differentiating the classroom process such as the flipped classroom and problem based learning, and giving students a choice of products to demonstrate their content knowledge through technology.

Our dream for the Differentiating Instruction through Technology #diffimooc is pretty simple. Each of us believe, even though we teach three separate disciplines (technology, math and science) that the role of any good teacher is to make him or herself obsolete. We also believe that our greatest success will be to see our students achieve more than we have in terms of knowledge and skills! We have built the #diffimooc intentionally to encourage self-regulated (but supported) learning in authentic social environments, to tap into prior knowledge and intrinsic motivation, and to encourage achievement at all levels. Whether our participants are at novice or expert level, we designed the class so that all might benefit from this open network of learners.

We know how quickly technology is moving, and we know that inservice teachers are not served well by traditional professional development. We want to inspire a sea change in our students – to help participants to seek out and find their own mentors, their own resources, and their own professional development geared to their individual needs. Offering this class as an entirely open experience is new to all of us, but we are really excited about exploring this new frontier in online teaching and learning.

The experience is frightening for some of the participants in our class (and we have to admit we were a bit nervous about it as well)! Working in a fully online community in which we both give and take knowledge can be scary! We are so impressed and inspired by the fearlessness of our group. Regardless of the anxiety they feel about operating in an open environment, they are rising to the challenge! Some sent their first tweets yesterday! They have established their first blogs and shared their first videos! It is great to see them becoming citizens of the digital world!

We hope by the end of the #diffimooc we will have created a framework for ongoing professional development which will outlast the class, and will serve our teachers well in a fast-moving technological world! Our students are both NetGeners and Baby Boomers. But then so are we who are teaching the class! We hope for a seamless interplay of teaching and learning without regard for formal “roles”. We’re off to a great start as we investigate, during this week, the attitudes we will need for success in our MOOC. Next week, we’ll move into the technology we can use to differentiate instruction for students, and we’ll try to practice what we preach as the class goes on!
Phila. Teachers on Capitol Steps, Wash., D.C.,...
We no longer have to get together face to face to assemble en masse. #diffmooc is one example of this. - Phila. Teachers on Capitol Steps, Wash., D.C., 5/13/11 (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

In this class, participants will explore means for managing differentiation in their individual classrooms. Participants are college through kindergarten teachers. We even have some library scientists in the mix! During the first week, participants are setting goals for what they’d like to achieve through the mooc. Assignments include collaborative creation of a wiki to archive and demonstrate managing differentiation in the classroom, collaboration to improve an existing lesson to integrate differentiating the learning process, and creation of rubrics and other tools to assess differentiated products. Of course technology to assist in each of these tasks will be explored throughout the class. It is our hope that teachers will leave the class with “take-aways” that will be immediately applicable in their professional environments.

Thanks to all who have joined us in this adventure, and we hope others will join us as well. You can find us on twitter at #diffimooc on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 6:00PM AKST, or you might sign up for the class (or just peruse our materials and interactions) at http://diffimooc.weebly.com/. We’re pleased to be teachers and learners along with you!

Lee Graham, Associate Professor of Ed Tech and STEM Coordinator
Email: mgraham4@uas.alaska.edu

Virgil Fredenberg, Professor of Math Education
Email: virgil.fredenberg@uas.alaska.edu

Chip McMillan, Professor of Science Education
Email: cmcmillan@uas.alaska.edu

University of Alaska Southeast

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