I have written about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) many times before on this blog and there are an ever increasing number of providers. However, I have always been particularly impressed by the quality of the courses offered by Future Learn; a private company wholly owned by the Open University who work in conjunction with many other top universities and specialist organisations such as The British Museum, Health Education England and the European Space Agency to offer a diverse selection of courses.
The courses are free to join and study and are open to all.
The Google for Education Training Center now offer some outstanding professional development opportunities for teachers including two educator certifications, Google Certified Educator Level 1 and Google Certified Educator Level 2. I have recently completed both and highly recommend the courses for their sound pedagogy and practical classroom focus.
The Center provides interactive lessons organised around the themes of engaging in professional growth, saving time and increasing efficiency, and facilitating student learning and creativity. Within each of these three themes are a number of different units, each made up of multiple lessons which can be accessed in any order you prefer.
The lessons are clearly structured and typically contain several different learning resources including video and audio content, transcripts, and discussion forums. Many lessons have a notepad for you to reflect or to jot down ideas and each lesson ends with a brief Lesson Check to help reinforce a few key points. This check is just for you and your answers are not recorded. A Progress page allows you to see how many units you have completed, an estimated time spent on the course and certifications earned.
Once you have completed either the Fundamentals or Advanced course you can then choose to sit the comprehensive exams to become a Google Certified Educator Level 1 or Level 2. The exams last 180 minutes and cost $25 each. The certification is valid for 24 months.
If you want to take your training further you can also apply to become a Google for Education Certified Trainer or Certified Innovator, allowing you to participate in special speaking engagements and deliver training events. There is also in-depth devices training for using Android tablets and Chromebooks and access to the YouTube Digital Citizenship Curriculum.
I highly recommend the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) website. It is packed full of very high quality teaching and learning resources including set practicals, videos (like the one above), journal articles, science club ideas and presentations. It also hosts an extensive image library. Sign up for their free newsletter to be the very first to hear about exclusive opportunities and grants, a round-up of the latest research and even more inspiration for your teaching.
Coursera have partnered with The American Museum of Natural History to offer this fascinating online course Evolution: A Course for Educators. The course is free of charge but you can choose to buy a certificate of participation for $50.
There are an increasing number of CPD courses available online and many of them are free. Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are run in conjunction with top universities in the UK and USA. For example, I have recently completed a six week course on Assessment for Learning in Stem Teaching led by Dylan William and Christine Harrison from the University of Leeds. The course was free but the optional certificate of completion cost £40 and was posted to me here in Thailand.
MOOC providers include: FutureLearn, Coursera, Ed-X and Open2Study. They are well worth a look.