Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer #EdTechBridge Professional Development Opportunities

During our PD #edtechbridge chat I had mentioned that I was planning on offering some of my school district Professional Development courses to the #edtechbridge community.  Following are a number of courses that I would like to invite members of our community to take advantage of.  I teach and offer PD for Bernards Township Public Schools and our administration welcomes guests to learn with our staff.  My hope is that we can ultimately develop a consortium of school districts that share this vision.

Participation in all courses is limited and Bernards Township Public Employees will receive priority in terms of registration.  Also, if courses do not meet minimum enrollment they may be cancelled.  If you would like to sign up for a course, please, visit  In the lower right hand corner is a link to 'Request a Guest ID'.  Please complete that so that you will have access to the site and the ability to register for classes.

All courses listed below are free and will be conducted entirely online.  Generally speaking, the courses are presented in an asynchronous manner with discussions throughout the course.  This provides you with the opportunity to review most of the content and formulate your discussion posts at a convenient time for you.  However, you will want to log in throughout the week to engage in discussion. Some of the courses will have optional synchronous sessions to bring participants together.

Following is a list of courses I will be teaching and they are offered online:

Game Based Learning: Minecraft in Education
July 7 - 12

In this course we will go beyond theory and into practice as you will find yourself stranded in the open sandbox world of MineCraft.  Minecraft is a fascinating game for so many reasons.  Interestingly, the game really does not come much instruction or direction yet our students have managed to learn how to play and what they have done in the environment is nothing short of amazing.   You will learn like our students do…as you go! You will learn how to build, dig, and gather resources by utilizing the many online resources available.  You may find yourself watching youtube videos to learn how to survive your first night or searching for crafting recipes on one of the many minecraft wikis.  By walking in your students shoes you will experience learning in a unique manner.  After immersing ourselves in the game you will contemplate ways that minecraft could be used in your area to enhance student learning and engagement.  

There will be several synchronous (real-time) sessions where we will explore the multiplayer aspect of the game.  All participants will receive a minecraft account that they can use for the duration of the course.

Game Design with Gamestar Mechanic
July 29 - August 2

Game design is a wonderful way to introduce students to a variety of skills including storytelling, design thinking, and logical reasoning.  Gamestar Mechanic takes learners through a story driven game to teach design principles and problem solving as players must fix elements and ultimately create their own game.  The approach is simple and gamestar mechanic is appropriate for students in grades three through eight.  In this course, you will play the role of a student as you work through the missions to learn how to create your own games.  By the end of the session you will create your own simple game that includes all the key elements including story, appropriate level of challenge, and functional game mechanics.  After taking the course you may choose to create a game for your students or guide your students through the process of creating their own content related game.

Tweet Chats: Grow Your PLN on Twitter
July 29 - August 2

Are you on Twitter?  Have you ever participated in an educational ‘tweet chat’?  Tweet chats are typically hour long real time chats conducted using a twitter hashtag.  The conversations tend to be high spirited and invigorating and they are made up of some of the most passionate educators you’ll ever meet.  During this session, participants will engage in tweet chats based on professional areas of interest.  In addition to participating in the global tweet chats, we will participate in our own online discussions sharing our reflections on the experiences.  By the end, you just may be hooked and find yourself participating weekly in addition to growing your PLN and interacting with your ‘tweeps’ on a regular basis.  

Introduction to Coding with Scratch
August 18 - 22

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations or re-mix those created by others.  Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is a project of the MIT Media Lab and is provided free of charge.
Scratch is designed with learning and education in mind.  Educators have been supporting Scratch creators in formal and informal learning environments since 2007.  Scratch has been used across all curricular areas in grades K-12.
Now is the perfect time to learn and teach coding as there has been a large push to teach coding literacy as an important skill for all students.  In this course you will explore, play, and create in the Scratch environment and consider ways to incorporate Scratch in your teaching. 

Hour of Code: Introducing all students to Computer Science
August 25 - 29

This past December, Computer Science Education Week encouraged students across the world to participate in the Hour of Code , an initiative geared at exposing all students to computer science in order to teach coding literacy, an important skill for all students. The initiative was promoted by, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities to teach and learn coding in grades K-12.  A wide variety of activities were offered utilizing different products.  Tutorials and activities are offered on tablets, computers, smart phones, and offline through a variety of non-digital activities. 
In this course, you will choose several hour of code activities to participate in and reflect upon.  In addition, we will discuss ways that you could incorporate coding or the Hour of Code with your grade level or content area. 


  1. Is there a fee for enrolling in these courses? Also is this being offered online or in-person?