In the spring of 2014, a team from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation launched the first rendition of a Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed), titled Coaching Digital Learning | Cultivating a Culture of Change (CDL). The course transpired over 6 weeks, beginning on March 10, 2014. One of the development team’s priority goals in developing the MOOC-Ed was to connect and engage instructional coaches and teachers in learning experiences directly relevant to their role within their school and/or district.
To make content succinct and continuous, we implemented four Twitter Chats directly related to the content of the week in which they occurred. Through the experience, participants synchronously responded to a series of open-ended opinion questions, shared resources, and celebrated their learning through the hashtag: #CDL_MOOCEd.
The Twitter Chats were lead by the facilitator of the week, who organized and directed the discussion. MOOC-ed participants, alongside those outside the course, collaborated, connected, and engaged in the hour-long discussion across the world. Through these Chats, we modeled the potential of Twitter in developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) that supports continuous professional learning in which the individual can choose what to explore and when to engage.
73% of the MOOC-Ed participants indicated the Twitter Chats as Valuable or higher.
The following quotes are captured from the MOOC-Ed survey provided at the end of the course, in response to the question: What specific aspect(s) of this course have been most valuable to your professional learning?
“Twitter chats were awesome. Also being able to add people to my PLN has been great. I have been able to glean even more information from them these past few weeks.”
“I liked that it was the traditional here is [to] follow this chat, […] I was able to extend my network within 2 days.”
“Connections with other educators and the power of Twitter”
“I found the twitter chat exhausting or exhilarating I am not sure which!! Definitely a learning experience. In fact it is the one I want to be able to ring into our schools in some way or another. Either as a coaching tool or for principal/teacher parent contact etc. in some way – still thinking….”
“As a beginner I liked that I could get on Twitter and read about others and find information.”
“I enjoyed the Twitter chats and missed them the last two weeks!”
With the high engagement levels, and positive feedback from participants, the CDL MOOC-Ed development team will continue to push participants to engage in Twitter Chats, as well as provide additional opportunities to connect during and following MOOC-Ed course. In doing so, we are adding an additional chat to run at the end of the course, as well as continued follow-up chats to provide past participants the opportunity to gain new ideas, ask questions, and continue to drive innovation in their school/district.
At this point in history, educators have instant access to curated and vetted resources at their fingertips through any web-enabled device. Twitter is fast becoming an engine for change in the educational field, allowing educators across the world to share ideas, opinions, and support. In fact, “out of the 1/2 billion tweets that post every day, 4.2 million are related to education, according to Brett Baker, an account executive at Twitter.com”(Stevens). By encouraging the MOOC-Ed participants to enter into the Twitter stream, we hope to drive their learning and engagement far beyond the time constraints of the MOOC in order to develop life-long connected educators continuing to push themselves and the educational field to support student learning and success.
Stevens, Katrina. “Twitter Exec Reports That Educators Dominate the Twitter-sphere.” Web log post. EdSurge. EdSurge Inc., 30 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 July 2014.
More About the Coaching Digital Learning MOOC-Ed
This free, six week MOOC-Ed course allows participants to learn along with their colleagues on a global scale to enhance digital learning content knowledge and further develop coaching strategies. CEUs are offered along with a Certificate of Completion. For more information go to www.mooc-ed.org #CDL_MOOCEd