* Microcredentials

If you’re a teacher and earning CEUs to renew your license, there are a lot of terrific inservice opportunities.  Many districts offer their own packages and provide in-school workshops.  As a longtime National Board Certified educator, I am really pumped about microcredentials.  These are additional credit options which allow you to extend and personalize your online learning experience.

My experiences are based on the Friday Institute through the North Carolina State University’s College of Education.  Their MOOC courses are FREE premium offerings for folks worldwide.  I am still in the process of completing some microcredentials for a fantastic course called Problem Solving in the Digital Age.PSDA

How do microcredentials work?  They provide the option of going beyond the basic course requirements, while earning more CEUs, of course.  In my case, I am taking the skills I learned and applying them to a real world teaching problem.  I took this course to solve a particularly perplexing problem and I emerged inspired and equipped.  Now I am demonstrating my learning while continuing to address my complex problem.

Earning microcredentials is a lot like the National Board process, with an emphasis on best practices, applying research, and lots of reflection and processing.  It’s a data-driven process, but meaningful- not just plugging numbers into boxes.  What’s better than the pure application of learning to your current practice?

Some of my past experiences with staff development were awesome.  But other “opportunities” left me wishing I could have gone swimming instead.  As I glanced around the room, I could see teachers struggling to stay awake, doing lesson plans, passing notes, and keeping a neutral expression while desperately wishing they could use their time productively.  Online learning (at the Friday Institute level), in conjunction with microcredentials, provides authentic learning experiences which can be tailored to suit my individual situation.  Isn’t that what we want for our students?  Lauren Acree has written a comprehensive evaluation of microcredentials, in case I haven’t convinced you!

* Sharing my world

Cee’s weekly Share Your World challenge comes courtesy of Ribbonr.com this week.  So glad I don’t have to think of these every week!  Here are the fun questions.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?  Stay married and faithful.  I don’t take any credit for this.  When my dearest teaching widower met me, I was a total basket case.  I suffered from severe depression and anxiety, not to mention serious character flaws.  Instead of social skills, I had social anxiety and the mouth of a sailor. Without my husband’s tender love and the grace of God, we would not be together.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?  I have been reading lawyer and criminal thrillers for the past year.  I have a bunch to review!  I also love science fiction, but that genre seems more difficult to write; I often ditch a book after a few chapters.

How often do you people watch?  Not so much.  I guess it goes back to my social weaknesses.  I bird watch, tree watch, flower watch. cloud watch, and deer watch (grrrr).

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?  Algebra!  I’m sharpening my skills as I prepare to teach middle school next year.  I’m much better than I thought, which is a relief (and which isn’t saying toooo much).  However, knowing a subject is not the same as teaching it.  I really need more tools in my math repertoire.  I’m taking an excellent online course to help in that arena:  Teaching Mathematics With Technology.  It’s not too late to join!

Friday Institute

* Ten Things of Thankful

I haven’t tackled the challenge to write Ten Things of Thankful in months, so I reread Lizzi’s Christmas list of 50 things, which amazes me (but not enough to copy).  Let’s see how far I can get….

  1.  I am feeling a bit better today!  Still shaky but this round of steroid withdrawal is losing its power to flatten me.
  2. My dearest steroid withdrawal widower has been tending to me so carefully, encouraging me that this will pass.  What would I do without his love?
  3. Rationally, I know that the flattening and disgusting side effects of withdrawal are far better than something like chemo.  I do not have cancer; I’m not facing that dreadful siege.  My heart aches for those who are in that battle.
  4.  My broken foot, still encased in a boot, no longer objects to an occasional free step.  In 2 weeks, I’ll know whether it can fly out of its cocoon.
  5. The local (pricey) swimming pool is sending out teasers suggesting that we may be able to swim there again, after months of locked doors.  Aquatics.JPG
  6. Vance, the Venus fly trap, continues to sprout new traps, ever hopeful that the spring will bring a random gnat into the house.  Of course, I am just boarding Vance for his student-owner, whose house must be kept like a refrigerator.                                                 Vance 2.JPG
  7. I’ve just started a MOOC course on Mathematics and Technology through The Friday Institute.  After reading through the profiles of all the participants, I can see that I am on the lowest percentile regarding middle school math skills.  I do love a challenge.  It’s not too late for you to sign up, either, no matter where you live!  Cool!TMT
  8. We are hosting a Korean zombie movie night this evening.  Train to Busan, with Korean food and sweet guests.  I HOPE I can rouse myself out of bed!                                    Train to Busan 2.jpg
  9.  A dear friend (who now lives far away) has a birthday today.  I owe her more than I could ever express.
  10.  I have read about 20 books in the past few days.  It’s been a wonderful way to escape from bleh and blah and worse.  iphone books.PNG
  11.  My faith rests in the confidence that I am being held, not that I can hold on.
  12. I’ve been able to eat chocolate throughout this temporary ordeal.  I assume that is related to #11.

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience as I’ve fallen away from my regular posting once again.  Who knew??  Oh yes, the One who loves me knew.  I’m in good hands and

* Reflections on Week 1: MOOC-ED #all_learn

keyboard-70506_640I have signed on as a facilitator for a MOOC-Ed course offered by The Friday Institute and North Carolina State University.  I took this course myself in the spring and was very impressed with its quality, so I was honored when invited to help support class participants this summer.

Here are some quick facts about the MOOC (which stands for Massive Open Online Course).  First of all, it’s free!  The topic is Learning Differences, so most of the participants are teachers.  Many are National Board certified, which is how I first heard about the course myself.  The team of experts who put this course together know what they are about.  If anything, this course is even better than it was in the spring.

My impressions after a week:

1.  Teachers are a passionate group.  The love they have for their students and profession is remarkable.

2.  Participants take this course seriously.  They are already planning ways to implement changes and improvements to their instruction.

3.  North Carolina teachers are struggling with a serious mismatch between quality teaching and testing requirements.  Some have expressed concerns about morale.

4.  I am spoiled.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve taught in resource-rich environments.  It’s not that way for all teachers.  Participants come from all over the globe and have many obstacles which I’ve never faced.

5.  This is a fun adventure!  I am still learning how to be a facilitator.  I have invited folks to the course, often spelling it “curse” until I edit my post.  I hope I did not overlook any invites to the curse.

If you want to follow this MOOC adventure on Twitter, look for #all_learn.