To Be Continued…

Just how many educators start their teaching career with tech training? How many would happily describe themselves as “geek” or “techie” from the outset?

These are my thoughts at the end of a packed first COETAIL course. Perhaps more accurately, they were my reactions after I shared my blogs with my family and a relative emailed me with, “I didn’t know you were a techie!”

Ah-ha, yes, the inner “techie” in me must be now emerging… and well, if even I’m allowed this label, clearly this is no longer an exclusive club. No longer is this term awarded to the archetypal inventors, technicians and scientists (sorry, Beaker)!

Joe Penniston on Flickr. CC Licence

A discovery that both amused and delighted me from the course was that it’s somewhat fashionable to be a geek now (or at least, to be geeking out). What’s more, I knew this all along, but somewhere along the way had forgotten the fun of learning new skills, connecting with fellow educators (okay, fellow geeks) and actually being a risk-taker, rather than just encouraging this attitude in my students.

Along with the enjoyment of experimenting and exploring came the hard work. I found myself immersed in a range of technologies, often feeling unprepared and overwhelmed. I looked at the blogs of colleagues and wondered if I’d ever get close to their level of expertise and confidence.* However, I also realised that these feelings go some way towards understanding the daily struggles of any learner.

At the end of these seven weeks, I can’t quite believe how far the COETAIL course has taken me. I’ve particularly appreciated its practical impact: both my students and my own professional development have benefited. After writing my previous blog post, I continued to develop my final project: a podcast series for Grade 6. The purpose of this year-long project is to not only mark the progression of students’ reading, but also develop their abilities to share their responses to a wider audience than just that of their peers.

One of the most powerful concepts from Reinventing Project Based Learning by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss is “Students develop a fuller understanding of how the world works and that it does not just revolve around them.” I think this is just as applicable to adults: if more of us start to think and act this way, we will also be better role models to the students. It goes back to the IBO profile of the ‘risk-taker': how can I expect a student to try out and risk new ideas, if I’m not also prepared to be intrepid?

I hope to blog about the Grade 6 ‘Book Broadcasting’ project once its underway in late Autumn. It would be fantastic to see development of the students’ English, technological and social skills. Of course, I probably should have used ‘podcasting’ to name the project, but I just couldn’t resist the alliterative title…

*Shortly before sitting down to write this, I also read Richard Byrne’s  reassuring post, Writing a Blog Isn’t About Numbers.

 

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9 Responses to To Be Continued…

  1. Jean Hino says:

    Madeleine,
    As I read your blog your thoughts on being a risk-taker resinated with me. So often I want to see my students step out of their comfort zone, but how often do they see me step out of mine. Maybe it is time to share more directly what I have been learning with my students and let them know it isn’t always easy for me either. I know as I looked back on some of my earlier posts in this course, not that there have been that many, I realized how much I’ve learned and want to share with my colleagues. I’m so glad to be sharing this journey with so many others who want to improve their craft.

  2. Avatar of Viviane Viviane says:

    Hi Madeleine,

    I loved your post…guess I’m a fellow Techie Geek now too! I had to smile when you mentioned that it’s not something we would readily admit to being!

    I too, get lost down the multitude of rabbit holes when investigating new applications and technologies. I am quite wide-eyed as Alice in Wonderland, but it is quite an adventure, isn’t it? I’m just trying to remember to come above ground every once in awhile!!

    I love your unit of Book Broadcasting! I espeically like that it is designed to be a year long project to track your students’ skill development- brilliant! I love the lost art of the radio play which seems to be part of the construction of your unit! Great ideas!

    See you next term!!

  3. Dear Madeleine,
    What a great idea to get students to plan, vocalize and publish their responses to literature. I especially like the idea that they will share their “Book Broadcast” with students in another country. It helps to emphasize to the students how globally connected we have become with all of our technological advances. As students become more connected globally, I wonder how this will eventually affect international relations? With so many personal global connections, will we be increasingly less likely to go to war, especially over issues that can be discussed and evaluated using the plethora of tools now available to us? I think it is a very positive step when teachers encourage their own students to connect with students from other countries.
    And thank you for a good example of how a final project should look. Very helpful.
    Best Regards,
    Ruth

  4. Hello Madeleine,

    this is a nice project you are going to share with your grade 6 students! Please share your experience with us! I can’t wait to hear how your students are going to respond and what they are going to struggle with: speaking? technology? I am also curious to know how they are going to “get through” the year. How they are going to stay motivated and get better. I will advertise your broadcast at Seisen!
    Good luck!
    Anne-Marie

  5. Avatar of coxm coxm says:

    Thanks very much to everyone for the motivating comments – they mean a lot to me. I will certainly keep you posted :)

  6. Avatar of cmizukoshi cmizukoshi says:

    Hello Madeleine,
    Again I very much enjoyed reading your blog! In particular I agree with you describing that something to be a part of digital world is ‘no longer exclusive club’ thing. Certainly prior to this COETAIL program, I am in owe of all digital people, yet once you start being a part of, this is something nothing so peculiar to or privileged to certain people although I need to figure out the risk management, which is the tricky area. In addition, your project ‘Book Broadcasting’ attracts my attention! This could also help our whole community to inspire their reading curiosities and invite them to get interested in their unfamiliar books. If parents and faculties are also included, this could be something collaborative book media all together. This reminds me of a program called ‘Smith’s book shelves’ hosted by World Business Satellite run by Tokyo Television, in which a guest speaker recommends his/her favorite book to TV audiences, and the guest speaker introduces another guest speaker next week to recommend a book. This is a relay book broadcasting program. I thought this is really good method to introduce readers already published books on/off line base.

  7. Avatar of coxm coxm says:

    I like your idea of widening the project to invite staff and parents to get involved. I thought of parents as being ‘involved’ by posting comments and encouraging their child but with active participation that’s a positive step closer! Great points, Chie – thanks for sharing.

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