Virtual School Meanderings

August 6, 2013

Article Notice – MOOCifying K-12: Relationships, Collaboration, Risk-Taking

A couple of weeks ago I posted a couple of entries about massive open online courses and the K-12 environment (see K-12 Online Learning And MOOCs and More K-12 Online Learning And MOOCs).  Last week, this article came across my electronic desk and I thought it might be of interest…

MOOCifying K-12: Relationships, Collaboration, Risk-Taking

July 31, 2013 | Filed in: Open Education

This is the second article in a series focused on creating a dialogue among K-12 and post-secondary pedagogies and pedagogues. We will be accepting submissions for the related CFP throughout Summer 2013. Click here to find out more.

by Verena Roberts

Just over a year ago, my “learning” exploded. I was developing a hybrid Canadian online delivery program for Chinese high school students. I was encouraged to push the boundaries of K-12 online and blended learning by investigating the most cutting edge online opportunities anywhere. After reviewing my options, I discovered MOOCs and realized they had the potential to push K-12 learning “out of the box.”

My learning transformation occurred when I participated in Alec Couros’ week for the change11 MOOC facilitated by George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier. I was fascinated by the ease with which I could register, interact, and connect with leading figures in educational technology. As soon as Alec Couros’s webinar was over, I said to myself: I want to figure out how to design and create MOOCs for K-12 learning environments. The concept that learners of all ages could learn together based on individual passions rather than through set institutional norms appealed to me. It seemed obvious that using social media and building networks was the way to engage learners. Networked learning ignited a fire inside of me to try to change a system.

As a parent, I was frustrated by the lack of digital literacy integration in my children’s classrooms, so I decided to create my own open online course for parents, educators and students. I designed my first K-12 MOOC around adults and students under 18 working together in learning teams to track their digital footprints. With Steve Hargadon’s help, I created #DigiFoot12. I called the course a “miniMOOC” based on connectivism and cMOOCS (as opposed to xMOOCs), because MOOCs were in the process of being “defined”. It was a huge risk, as I did not know how to learn in the open, nor did I actually know about current and emerging rhetoric, like PLNs(Personal Learning Networks). I wanted to learn about open learning, and the way to do that was to create a project and do it myself. The primary reason #Digifoot12 did not fail was due to the support of a number of behind-the-scenes educators/collaborators who also wanted to make a difference, and who I believe are truly making systemic educational changes through their work.

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