The Massive Online Open Course ware (MOOC) movement is pretty amazing. (Google it!) My 9 year old experienced an introductory Spanish course at the college level- for free! When I decide it’s time to expand my acrylic painting skills, there’s a college course I”ll likely enroll in- for free! The only catch is that neither my 9 year old nor I will receive any college credit for our work- just a certificate of completion and the reward of new knowledge- but that’s enough for me, and it reinforces a message I want my son to learn… School is not about grades, it’s about learning. Any grade someone ‘gives you’ is never as valuable as what is actually learned. And as with anything else, what you he gets out of the opportunity will be determined by what he puts into it.
Speaking of the littlest member of my household, our Superintendent recently talked about the pervasive achievement gap between males and females in our district. Having heard this information before, some skilled educators have taken it upon themselves to explore ways to better reach and engage our male students. A few strategies that research suggests are likely to be helpful in closing this achievement gap include: Offering opportunities for competition, offering choice in more projects, providing a genuine audience or purpose for a project, using more engaging graphics and pictures during lessons, and integrating movement that is both teacher initiated and student initiated.
Tying these ideas together, consider looking at https://www.canvas.net/courses/minecraft-for-educators
This is one of many cool MOOC opportunities for new learning that could help a teacher tap into the interests of many 7-12 year olds, and boys in particular!