Friday, February 1, 2013

200+ MOOCs and Free Online Certificate Programs

It seems like every day a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) comes online. Some of these courses offer "certificates of satisfactory completion" or similar recognition while others do not.  To help you find a MOOC that interests you and or your students Open Culture has created a list of more than 200 MOOCs and free certificate programs.

Stephen Downes also has a nice MOOC listing going on his MOOC.ca page. 

Applications for Education
Some MOOCs, like this biology course through Harvard and MIT's EDX program, can provide a good challenge to high school students who have the interest and initiative to complete it. I'm not aware of any high schools that are doing this yet, but it seems like it's only a matter of time before some high schools start awarding some type of recognition or credit to students who earn a certificate of completion from a course through EDX and similar programs.

Inspire Students Through a Google+ Hangout With an X-Men Editor

In three weeks the Purple Feet Foundation, a non-profit whose purpose is to spark students' interests in career options, is hosting a Google+ Hangout with Nick Lowe. Nick Lowe is the Senior Editor of the X-Men titles at Marvel Comics. The Hangout will happen at 1pm ET on February 22. You can register for the event here. Learn more about the hangout and Nick Lowe in the flyer embedded below.





Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Crash Course in U.S. History

At about this time last year John Green launched Crash Course World History. That video series now contains 42 short video lessons on World History.

Today, John Green launched a new Crash Course series. This one is all about U.S. History. The first video in the Crash Course U.S. History series is now up on YouTube. I've embedded it below. The series starts before Europeans arrived in North America.



Applications for Education
The fast pace of the Crash Course videos makes them better suited to being reviews or introductions to topics rather than a replacement for lectures and documentary videos. Green definitely puts a bit of his own bias into some of the videos. You may want to discuss that with your students. Green also occasionally makes some remarks that border on PG-13 so keep that in mind before playing the videos in front of a classroom of middle school students.

A Simple Tool for Cleaning Up Your YouTube Viewing Experience

Today, I spent the day running workshops in Springfield, Massachusetts. In a few of my workshops the question of how to go about safely showing YouTube videos in the classroom came up. The tool that I shared today and have shared since I discovered it is A Cleaner Internet. A Cleaner Internet is an extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. The extension allows you to search YouTube and view YouTube videos without viewing the "related" content, advertisements, and comments that appear on YouTube. I included a short demonstration if it in the video below.


Virtually Hike the Grand Canyon in Google Maps

Last fall Google announced that it had a team setting out to capture "street view" imagery of trails through the Grand Canyon. Today, the first batch of that imagery was released. You can now explore more than 75 miles of trails in the Grand Canyon in Street View (I think they should call it Trail View). Get a taste of the imagery in the video below then start exploring the new Grand Canyon imagery.


Applications for Education
One of my former colleagues used to teach an entire unit on geology by walking students through the Grand Canyon with pictures she had taken. The new Grand Canyon Street View imagery will enable more teachers to use the same model for teaching geology.