Embedding Your UbD Planner Into Your Blog

Thanks to Jeff for creating this awesome tutorial!

UbD for Final Project from Jeff Utecht on Vimeo.

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The Future of Learning

I think this is the quote I was thinking of on Saturday (just in case we want to talk about this again):

John Dewey Quote on Teaching and Learning

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Information Meeting Highlights

For those that were unable to attend the information meeting this week, here are the highlights:

1. COETAIL is a cohort program. That means that you need to be committed to taking all 5 courses. The last course will finish around March 2014. If you are planning to leave Japan at the end of this academic year (June 2013), it may be difficult to complete the program. Please note: you may not take COETAIL while living in the US. SUNY has a special grant for international school teachers, so this program is not available in the US.

2. At this point, we have 26 people signed up. We need a minimum of 25 to commit to the cohort to be able to run COETAIL. If you would like to advertise the program at your school, please feel free to print and display this flyer. I will be sending around a survey to confirm the number of participants soon. If you (or a friend) are interested in joining us, please fill in this very short survey.

3. To join COETAIL, you must apply to SUNY (State University of New York). The application form is here. Along with the application form, you must pay a US$50 application fee (which must be on a US check). The Fee form is here. If you have already taken courses through SUNY, you do not have to pay the fee again. There is a handy checklist to make sure you’ve completed everything here, and just in case you need it, a transcript request form here.

4. To apply to SUNY you must provide official transcripts from your university (a transcript request form is here). If you have not graduated from a North American university, this may be challenging, as transcripts are not common practice outside of North America. We have a  number of non-North American graduates participating in this cohort and they can tell you more about the process, as needed. If your degree is not from the United States, you will have to have your transcripts translated and “validated” before they are sent to SUNY. You can find more about that here.

5. Once you apply to SUNY, it may take a while – up to 4 months – to be accepted. Therefore it’s best to apply as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please e-mail SUNY: intlearning@buffalostate.edu They are very helpful and responsive.

6. Our cohort will start in January. You can see the schedule here. It is expected that you will attend all face-to-face sessions. If you foresee a scheduling problem now, please let me know and we can work around it. Please note: We are planning for two Saturday meetings and two weekday meetings during each 6-week course, but can be flexible as needed. Once we have the full cohort of participants, I will send around a survey to see what the group as a whole prefers.

7. Tuition for each course will be determined by the number of people enrolled. If we have 25, it should be around US$518 . Tuition for the first course will be due Dec 15th. I will share payment details soon.

8. Work load is relatively light. You will create a blog in the first course (unless you already have one and prefer to use that one) and be expected to write a total of 7 blog posts over the 6 weeks, as well as complete readings and comment on other blogs. You will also complete one Understanding by Design unit planner for each course, which can be a group project. All you need to join our cohort is a laptop with internet access and a gmail address. We’ll help you get set up with everything else!

9. The credits that you earn through SUNY can be applied towards a Masters degree or towards your licensure renewal program. This certificate also qualifies you for an endorsement on an existing teacher’s license in the area of educational technology (very useful for future recruitment purposes).

10. All course meetings will include snacks and/or a meal (depending on the timing). Here’s a preview:

We are very excited to have a number of teachers from several different schools in Tokyo participating (YIS, Seisen, ASIJ, ISSH, TIS, Nishimashi, MIS, CAJ, and more). Please know that we will be as flexible as possible considering transportation and schedules. We will do our best to make the program work for everyone.We had a great group here on Tuesday and I can tell this is going to be a fantastic learning experience for all of us. We are committed to making it work for everyone who is interested, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

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Our Second YIS COETAIL Cohort Starts in Jan 2013!

Update: Please feel free to display this A4-size poster in your school!

It’s hard to believe we’re almost finished with our first YIS COETAIL cohort already! It has been a fantastic year with our amazing 32 cohort members from YIS, ASIJ, ISSH, CAJ, CIS, St. Maur, and Seisen. With just one more course to go for our first cohort we’re already thinking about our next group of fantastic teachers to start cohort 2!

COETAIL@YISCOETAIL is a 5-course (15-credit) certificate program designed by, and for, international school teachers interested in developing their technology skills in an authentic, project-based environment. All courses include specific skills and concepts essential for the 1:1 classroom – including blogging, understanding copyright and Creative Commons, digital storytelling, and building a personal learning network. Each class includes time to develop technology-rich projects to implement in your classroom.

Cohort 2 will run from Jan 2013 – Mar 2013. Each course will run approximately 6 weeks and include:

2 weekday afternoon sessions (4:30pm – 6:30pm)


2 Saturday sessions (9am – 4pm) or 1 EARCOS weekend workshop.

We need 25 teachers from this region to get started.  If you’re interested, please fill out this (very short) form for more details!

There will be an information session at YIS on September 18th in Room M102 starting at 4:30pm. All welcome!

Here’s what the current participants have to say about their experiences:

About the program in general:

  • This is the BEST professional development experience that I have had since graduate school.
  • This course has made me think more about what I teach and how I teach it. My assessment tasks now have a more creative and digital focus and more of my class time is spent discussing how best to communicate ideas.
  • The course surpassed all of my original expectations.  COETAIL has helped propel me into in a new level of teaching.
  • My focus is now less on the tech and how to use tech to collaborate, and give students a greater audience.
  • I feel more confident, not only because I learned tools, but also because I know why I want to use then with students.
  • The COETAIL community is a great resource of teachers who are all willing to share, learn, and question technology use in the classroom.

About the face-to-face sessions:

  • Face-to-face meetings help solidify the learning through discussion and group projects.  The combination of face-to-face and online learning help keep the conversations fresh and engaging.
  • I loved having the opportunity to discuss ideas and work on projects with other people. I feel like this cohort is like a family.
  • The face-to-face component of this course enables immediate feedback and workable solutions to concepts and tools that teachers are struggling with throughout the span of the course. We learn so much from what other teachers are succeeding at (and failing at) in their own classrooms.
  • The environment allowed allowed teachers to have the casual conversations that may not occur when everyone on the web can read what is being talked about.
  • The discussions made the classes more real. I’m glad it wasn’t all online, but rather a blended environment of online and direct face to face interactions. I often found myself thinking differently from the beginning of the class to the end after we had fully discussed the topics for that week.
  • This is the key way that this course becomes student-centred and surpasses other online learning formats. If this course had just been an online structure I would have benefited to a much lesser degree. Without face to face interaction I could have ended up in a little silo of personal learning.
  • I travelled 124 km on a train for many of the Tuesday nights. Tokyo to Chiba to work. Chiba to Yokohama for COETAIL. Yokohama to Tokyo to get home. I did not enjoy this commute. I would do it again for this course in a heartbeat.

About their preconceptions:

  • I had thought that the course readings would be completely tech focused and there would be a general rejection of core learning that I value: close reading, analysis, public speaking, writing, reflection, quiet time and exploratory learning. Instead, I have found that tech can provide new ways of focusing on some of these skills and provide clear reasons why tech should also be set aside for other tasks. Secondly, many course readings have been more about good practices and how to modify teaching to fit one-to-one classrooms.
  • I read the course descriptions and I got the false impression that the first couple of course were not so practical, just theoretical. Boy, was I wrong. From the first day many of us were spinning with new things to learn. There are very valuable discussions and experiences to learn from.
  • I thought it would be far more intensive.  I’ve learned a lot, but I thought this would be closer to a university post-graduate level course.
  • I was concerned that the course would not be of a high enough level, that it would be too basic, but the way it’s structured makes it perfect for someone with an advanced understanding of education technology and also for a complete new comers. Every educator should have the knowledge and understanding of everything covered in the COETAIL course, it’s relevant for all educators.
  • I have made some friends and real network connections that I hope will last. I now truly understand what it means to be connected.
  • More flexible than I had originally anticipated. Greater practical application than I supposed.

About the key benefits of the program:

  • Revising your own teaching methods and approaches.
  • Keeping up to date with rapidly changing pedagogy and technological trends in education.
  • Interacting with a range of fellow educators
  • Sharing ideas and learning new skills from colleagues
  • Practical benefits and direct impact on students’ learning – everyone benefits.
  • Becoming a part of the professional learning community focused on leveraging the new technologies now available to improve student learning.
  • The greatest benefit for me was learning so much about current technology and its application to my teaching.  The cohort had so much to offer and we all learned tons from each other.  It seemed that everything I read or discussed in the cohort meetings was immediately applicable in my classroom.
  • There are so many benefits- too many to number. First, is the exchange of ideas and the comradery. Next, the program opens your eyes to the possibilities of what you can do with technology in education. Be prepared to blow your mind as your personal paradigm shifts big time!

About the cost:

  • This course was a real value both in terms of knowledge acquired and in terms of credits earned. Thank you.
  • I thought this course is definitely worth the money. It is far better having this blended learning environment than doing all of this work only online like I have done in the past.
  • If a weekend workshop is approximately the same amount, then I think I received far more information & practical ideas from these courses.  If I had applied to SUNY as an international student, each course would cost 6 times more.  This course is definitely good value!
  • It was worth the money. I expected that I would pay for all five courses myself. Now funding has been provided for about half, and that has just been a bonus.

Even more about COETAIL:

If you’re interested in hearing more, please feel free to ask any of the current participants. A few have already written posts about their experiences here, here and here. You can see all of their blogs here. Of course, you can always ask Kim too!

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Our Collaborative Handbook to the 1:1 Classroom

Our cohort created this handbook to the 1:1 classroom as part of our Course 4 learning. Please feel free to add your thoughts, advice and tips!

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