Great Opportunities for Professional Development

Stanford just came out with their new online course offerings (http://online.stanford.edu)….two of which really peaked my interest.  Let me know if anyone is interested in forming a cohort for either of these.  Remember great professional development doesn’t always mean that you have to travel to a conference…sometimes you can find opportunities right at your fingertips!  Enjoy!

 

Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Tasks for the Common Core
Date: Monday, September 8, 2014
Given their emphasis on complex and sophisticated disciplinary skills and understandings, the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards require ways of assessing that go beyond routine multiple-choice tests. Whether students are learning to select, use, and explain evidence to support a claim or to analyze data to evaluate a hypothesis, tests that require that students only bubble in a scantron are inadequate to measure (or support) students’ learning and growth. Performance assessments are more suited to this task. Performance-based tasks require that students create and produce rather than recall and regurgitate. While performance assessments vary along multiple dimensions, including duration and focus, they all demand that students use and apply critical skills and knowledge to demonstrate understanding.

This nine-week course will focus on building educators’ capacity to use, develop, and implement curriculum-embedded performance assessments that fit local contexts. Course activities include evaluating sample performance tasks and developing and implementing a performance task that is aligned with a specific curricular unit and performance outcomes. We will use a learning-centered approach where assessments are not only about measuring learning, but are also events for learning.

This MOOC is designed for grade 6-12 teachers working in the core disciplines of mathematics, language arts, history/social studies, and science. It is recommended that participants currently teach or have access to a classroom for which they can design a performance assessment and then implement that assessment. Participants will work collaboratively with other educators in their discipline to accomplish course learning goals and assignments.

The four main objectives of this course are for participants to:

  • Understand and identify features of high quality performance assessments;
  • Develop a grade-level, course-specific, practical, performance task that is aligned with (and embedded within) a curricular unit of study;
  • Begin to use data from performance tasks to tailor and improve instruction and curriculum;
  • Contribute to building an online community of educators focused on using performance-based assessments to identify and develop students’ abilities.

This nine-week course will include video presentations, required readings, and homework activities. For each of the eight core sessions, students can expect to spend a total of 2-4 hours weekly watching videos, reading, completing assignments, and collaborating with peers.  The ninth week will allow students to complete and submit their final project.

We encourage, and will support collaborative teams of educators in the course. Students can join the class with an existing team, or will create and join teams once the class has started.

 

Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 to Sunday, November 23, 2014
Social networks pervade our social and economic lives.   They play a central role in the transmission of information about job opportunities and are critical to the trade of many goods and services. They are important in determining which products we buy, which languages we speak, how we vote, as well as whether or not we decide to become criminals, how much education we obtain, and our likelihood of succeeding professionally.   The countless ways in which network structures affect our well-being make it critical to understand how social network structures impact behavior, which network structures are likely to emerge in a society, and why we organize ourselves as we do.  This course provides an overview and synthesis of research on social and economic networks, drawing on studies by sociologists, economists, computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians.
 
The course begins with some empirical background on social and economic networks, and an overview of concepts used to describe and measure networks.   Next, we will cover a set of models of how networks form, including random network models as well as strategic formation models, and some hybrids.   We will then discuss a series of models of how networks impact behavior, including contagion, diffusion, learning, and peer influences.
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