U-M, Microsoft, edX collaborate to enhance K-12 teaching, learning

October 12, 2016
Written By:
Laurel Thomas

ANN ARBOR—As the University of Michigan continues to lead efforts to drive change in K-12 school systems, the Office of Academic Innovation announces a collaboration with Microsoft and edX on two new massive open online courses for K-12 school leaders and administrators.

The courses, “Leading Change: Go Beyond Gamification with Gameful Learning” and “Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning,” are part of Microsoft’s K-12 Education Leadership Courses, a series of five MOOCs that will guide K-12 school and education system leaders around the world in embracing change in education.

The U-M courses leverage personalized learning to create impact, and transform the structure of the learning experience through research-based methods, foundational knowledge and enabling tools.

“These new courses reflect U-M’s unrivaled breadth and relevance and our ability to engage with society in the information age,” says James DeVaney, associate vice provost for academic innovation. “K-12 school leaders have the unique opportunity to engage with top faculty from the schools of Education, Information and Business in these inclusive and flexible online environments.”

In addition to U-M, courses announced today are from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Queensland.

U-M’s “Leading Change: Go Beyond Gamification with Gameful Learning” course provides K-12 leaders and teachers with tools and strategies to support gameful learning in schools. Developed by Barry Fishman, professor of information and of education, and Rachel Niemer, director of the Gameful Learning Lab within the Office of Academic Innovation, the course presents theories and methods for using good game design to create engaging learning environments that foster personalized learning pathways.

“We want students to be deeply engaged, to work hard, take risks and be resilient in the face of challenge,” Fishman said. “But school in general leads to exactly the opposite behaviors. Why is that?

“Gameful learning offers an approach to designing learning for schools that leverages motivation theory and design principles from successful games. In essence, we are working to make school into a better game. And we can show school leaders and educators how to accomplish this in their own schools.”

“Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning” empowers teachers and education leaders to foster systemic change in classrooms, schools and districts. The course provides them with research-based methods that promote ambitious teaching, maintain academic rigor, and support students’ socio-economic needs and cultural backgrounds.

This course, developed by Elizabeth Moje, dean of the School of Education, and Donald Peurach, associate professor of educational policy, leadership and innovation, in collaboration with a team of world-class faculty, is part of the Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program offered by MichiganX.

“Around the world, ambitious instruction sits at the center of policy-driven educational reform, with schools and systems pressed to engage students in ‘deeper learning’ and the development of ’21st century skills,'” Peurach said. “With ‘Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning,’ our goal is to empower teachers, school leaders and district leaders in working together to imagine and pursue new ambitions for the day-to-day work of students and teachers in classrooms.”

“We are honored to collaborate with Microsoft and University of Michigan to harness the power of technology to improve education and inspire leadership to drive systemic change in schools,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT professor. “U-M knows the challenges and opportunities that education leaders face as they design the classrooms and curricula of tomorrow and, with the support of the global edX platform, they are able to share their educational expertise with learners around the world to help shape educational innovation, drive improvements in teaching and enhance learning.”

The first course begins in January but registration for both is open now.


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