This is Definitely Worth Considering AIS-R Cohort!

Announcing a New and Exciting Partnership

It is with great excitement that we write to you today to tell you about a new and exciting partnership to benefit COETAILers past, present and future.

We have worked with the Google for Education Team to bring an exciting new partnership to COETAILers. A partnership that will allow COETAIL graduates priority access to apply to the Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) program and future COETAILers to complete the COETAIL program and at the same time earn their Google for Education Certified Trainer credentials.

We are so excited that Google for Education chose to partner with COETAIL. COETAIL has always strived to be a leader in supporting educators in authentically and purposefully integrating technology into the classroom. The rigor and reflective nature of COETAIL and the GET program have many overlapping objectives and outcomes making this partnership one that will benefit COETAILers past, present, and future.

Aligned Mission

COETAIL and Google for Education Certified Trainer program

Foster a network of globally connected educators

Support members in authentically and purposefully integrating technology into their classroom and the school as a whole

Support members in being seen as technology leader within their school

Help create a culture of ongoing, sustainable, professional development program for all educators

If you are a COETAIL graduate and are interested in becoming a Google for Education Certified Trainer please fill out this form by Thursday, March 9.

If you know someone who might be interested in completing COETAIL and the Google for Education Certified Trainer certification, please feel forward this email and have them fill out this form as well.

In the coming weeks, as we finalize the partnership we will be sending another email with specifics of what will be required for past, present and future COETAILs to earn their Google for Education Certified Trainer credentials. For now, sign up to become a Certified Trainer and forward this opportunity to fellow educators who might be interested in completing COETAIL featuring Google for Education Certified Trainer.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you

Jeff, Kim and the Google for Education Team

Welcome to Course 5!

Flickr photo shared by amypalko under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

You made it to the last and final course of the CoETaIL program! I’m very excited to be on this final leg of your CoETaIL journey with you!

Course 5 Overview

As mentioned a number of times, Course 5 is very different than the rest of the courses. Here’s how:

  • This course runs the entire semester, from February 5th – May 7th.
  • All assignments for this course must be published/uploaded by April 23rd, 2017.
  • You don’t have readings and commenting every week!
  • Between April 23 – May 5th, you’ll be leaving peer feedback on final projects (we’ll share more about this later on in the course)

Course 5 has three main components:

  • Blogging
  • Community Engagement
  • Final Project

Since you’re already familiar with the blogging aspect, the important thing to know is that you’ll only need to write 4 posts for this course, instead of the usual 6. If you’d like to write more, that’s great! (Check out Week 3 for more details.)

The Community Engagement element builds upon the commenting you’ve been doing in the previous four courses, and asks you to extend your reach beyond just commenting on COETAIL (and other) blogs. (Check out Week 4 for more details.)

The final project allows you to apply everything we’ve been discussing in the previous four courses in your classroom. You will take at least one of the project ideas you developed at the end of Course 4 and actually teach it, reflect on it, and get student feedback over the course of this semester. As you’re teaching, reflecting and hearing from students, you’ll be recording samples for your final project presentation (to be shared online by the end of this course). (Check out Week 2, 5 and 6 for more details.)

As you work through each of these components, please make sure to include the links on your grading spreadsheet so I can keep up with your work.
Prior to final grading, I’ll be grading/giving feedback in three rounds (just as I have done in past courses) any work completed by February 22; March 25; & April 22.
Final Grades & Peer Feedback will be released between May 7 – May 12, 2017.

All assignments for this course are due are due on April 23rd. This gives you time to complete everything before the other participants watch your finished final product video.

Some Tips

flickr photo shared by @superamit under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

  • Start by browsing/reading all the units. Or at least the rubrics  It says “Week 1” or “Week 6” because the machine likes it that way, but you can work through them at your own pace. And I think if you take some time, explore all the resources, the rubrics and the requirements now it may save some uneasiness about what is expected of you.
  • Perhaps think about doing some backwards planning, in terms of timing. April 23 sounds far away, but it will come quicker than you think and you don’t want to be writing four blog posts and completing a final 10 minute video all around the week ending April 23rd!
  • Networking: Lurker to Leader: The community engagement requirements asks you to build your online PLN. Think about what tribe you want to be a part of after COETAIL and get in there sooner rather than later.
  • Don’t worry if things don’t go to plan. We know theoretically that it’s okay to fail. But I find teachers in particular hate when we mess up. But if you don’t mess up, you don’t have anything to reflect on.  So celebrates mistakes and be honest in your sharing!
  • Ask for feedback and ask for help. There is the Course 5 Google+ community. The hundreds of COETAILers on Twitter who remember being in your shoes. Use your blog to ask for feedback. But don’t feel like you have to work in isolation.

Communication between me and you

As course 5 is different, the way I communicate with you may be a little different. There may be fewer posts on this page. We won’t have the same weekly conversations in your blog comments. But do let me know via the gradesheet if you have posted something new so I know to check your blog. Do check back here to see what I have posted. As always, you can send me an email too!

And finally….always feel free to reach out for help or when you need someone to geekily cheer a win with you. I’m so excited to see what you do next!

And It’s Week 6!

We’ve reached week 6! Remember this is time for you to catch up on any missed work for Course 4 and to wrap up your Course 4 final project.  Course 4 “officially” ends on Thursday, November 3 but you all remember about the secret extension right?

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 5″ in Course 4 under “My Courses”
  • written 5 blog posts and 5 comments
  • recorded the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • Begun your final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

Course 4 Final Project

As you prepare your Course 4 project, you’ll want to think about how you’re moving towards redefinition. The ultimate goal will be for you to actually teach this project next semester, so thinking about practicalities is also important. As you develop ideas and sketch them out in your Course 4 final project blog post, try to include as many details as possible – not only so that you are thinking through each idea, but also so that you can get quality feedback from other COETAILers. The purpose of this final project is to give yourself time to think through several options and get feedback, so it’s certainly worth taking some time to really flesh out a few different ideas.

Don’t forget, there are two options for the Course 4 final project.  Here’s a few key things to remember for your Reflection/ Final Project blog post:

  • Writing about one idea? Your blog post must include a UbD Unit Planner and include the answers to the four (4) questions listed under the Option 1 tab
  • Writing about two to three ideas?  You don’t have to include a UbD Unit Planner BUT your blog post must include the answers to the seven (7) questions listed under the Option 2 tab for each idea

Final Project Collaboration

You are more than welcome to collaborate with another COETAILer on your final project. However, please remember that your actual blog posts (in Course 4 and Course 5) along with your Course 5 final project must be individual.  Please let me know (if you haven’t already) that you are considering a collaborative project and it’s rough outline PLUS who that collaborative project is with.

Preparing for Blogging in Course 5

It’s worth mentioning that there will not be weekly question prompts in Course 5. You’ve had lots of great practice with blogging, and the prompts are there to help you if you’re not sure what to write. Now that you’re almost finished with COETAIL, your topics for your blog posts in Course 5 will be up to you. This will be a great opportunity to take your blogging practice and really make it personal – you can choose to focus on your Course 5 project, or you can share learning that’s happening in your classroom, or you can write about whatever interests you (use your reader for inspiration and include links in your blog post). Hopefully after Course 5 finishes, you’ll stick with the blogging as a way to reflect on your own learning – one of the perks of COETAIL is that you get to keep your blog as an alumni!
There are NO commenting requirements for Course 5.

Looking ahead to Course 5 – Project Examples

One way we love to inspire you is to showcase some of the fabulous Course 5 Final Projects that other cohorts have created.  We may have shared these before, but here they are again, just in case you haven’t had time to check some of them out yet.

The Online5 Cohort is currently in the process of finishing up their Course 5 Final Projects.  This post highlights some of the fantastic projects that have been shared so far.

The Online4 Cohort has finished their Course 5 final projects in April last year. Here is a list of their Course 5 Final projects.

It’s really well worth investing time watching some of these awesome final projects!

You can see lots of others on the COETAIL site, and join the Course 5 Google+ community to see what other COETAILers are talking and thinking about.

Image Attributions:
Calendar Reminder:  Own Image
Lego Cowboy: by Reiterlied shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license


Welcome to Week 4!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 3″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 3 blog posts and 3 comments
  • recorded the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • had a read through the details of the final project for Course 4
    This final project is different from previous courses as it’s designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project. Each of the options has specific requirements that must be included so make sure you understand what they are.

Blog Posts from Round #1

I really enjoyed and appreciated reading the in-depth, honest and personal reflections of the Weeks 1-3 topics.  Especially interesting was were people thought they were in relation to integrating technology – SAMR and why they thought they were there.  Several of you saw the potential of where you are now as focal points for what to aim for in your Course 5 Final Project.  Brilliant! I’m sure that you’ve realised that we keep referring to the Course 5 Final Project A LOT in Course 4!

A few blog posts that particularly resonated with me are:

  • Laurie’s roadtrip analogy struck a chord with a few of you (judging by the comments). Getting lost and/or having breakdowns along the way is so relatable for all of us – worth a read if you haven’t already seen/read it!
  • Mavis shares her new role and reflections/ponderings in her blog post, Walking a New Path. Her post highlights the somewhat cyclic nature of where we may find ourselves on the SAMR model depending on what we are doing and/or who we are doing it with.
  • Tara reflected on herself using the ISTE Student Standards in  Not Quite There Yet – something I’ve not seen anyone do before – also worth checking out if you haven’t seen it/read it already.
  • Reading about project, problem, and challenge based learning had Pamela thinking about her Course 5 project, embracing it yet sharing her honest reservations at the same time.

The Future of Learning?

There is much to explore in this area and many different perspectives. Of course we’ve all heard about the many ways that our current school system is failing our students, and back in Course 1 we looked at some big ideas for re-imagining what school could be, This week we will explore some learning strategies that are becoming more and more popular and may have an impact on the way we think about schools. As an introduction, you might enjoy this RSA Animate: Re-Imagining Work (I think you’ll be able to make the comparison to schools quite easily):


The idea of badges is not new, but the development of digital badges, allowing verification, tracking and recognition across schools and universities has become quite a hot topic (and very polarizing). For an overview of (as they claim) everything you need to know about badges in the classroom, check this article from The Journal.

HASTAC also has a great introduction:

We’ve developed badges for COETAIL recently, so it will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the concept – would you put a COETAIL badge on your website?


Massively Open Online Courses –  What happens when universities start “giving away” their content (taught by their professors)? What happens when students can design the perfect program of instruction from outstanding universities, without paying for anything, and receive a verified digital badge as evidence of completion? Or is this isolated learning environment doomed to failure?

Definitely check out a few of the links in the opening section of this blog post. But be warned, you can get lost for hours/days/weeks in them!

 Global Collaboration

Working in international schools we know the value of understanding different cultures, and how our experience living in different countries may change our own perspectives on the world, but what if you never left your home country? The concept of connecting students to their peers in different countries, to learn, collaborate and create together is one way that teachers are helping students develop those cross-cultural skills that are often quite common in international schools. If you’re interested in starting one of these projects, you might find Kim’s posts on global collaboration helpful.

One of the most well-known examples of these kinds of projects is Flat Connections (formerly Flat Classroom Projects), managed by Julie Lindsay. Here are some student-produced globally collaborative service projects proposed:


Now that you’ve experienced the majority of the COETAIL program, hopefully you’re getting a good feel for connectivism. If you’re ready to start implementing some elements of connectivism in your classroom, here’s a great introduction to what that could look like:

Having Trouble Leaving a Comment?

Linked to our issue with our ‘delightful’ unwanted spammers is this brief but equally frustrating message that I know a few of you are getting as you try to leave comments for your fellow AIS-R colleagues and/or other Coetail bloggers …..


Of course I can’t share with you what the “spammy words” are but I can share with you the following things that could potentially get your comment identified as spam.

  • Acronyms – (I know, they are so prevalent in Education! But avoid using them if you can!)
  • Words in capitals for emphasis – (our anti-spam plugins don’t like it when you “shout”)
  • More than two (2) hyperlinks in your comment – (typical spammer technique)
  • Posting too many comments to Coetail blogs in a short space of time – (don’t leave your commenting to do all at once!)

Tried all these things BUT it still won’t let you post that comment?

Here’s what you can do next:  Copy your comment into an email to the blog author (usually a fellow AIS-R colleague). Make sure you cc me in the email and send it. (If it’s outside AIS-R and you don’t know/can’t find the author’s email, just email me so I see the comment content)

On your GradeSheet add the following:

  • In the Name of Blog space, paste hyperlink the post you wanted to comment on.
  • In the Comment URL space, type “emailed author & Chrissy”
  • Add the date posted (like you usually do)

I’ll be able to grade/give feedback on your comment because I’ve seen the content and will know the post that you are talking about.

Unwelcome Messages

Several of you have emailed me recently regarding “unwelcome messages” you’ve received.  I get them too so no need to forward them to me, just delete them from your email and from your coetail inbox too.

If you’re not sure where your Coetail Inbox messages are, run your mouse over your name in the top right hand corner of your blog when you are logged in and the following menu(s) will pop open …

We have some pretty tough anti-spam plugins activated on our coetail sites – you’d be amazed at how many we stop but occasionally the odd ones slip through! (Like the “delightful” Samara who is in fact a real person taking the time to do this annoying stuff!) 

Jeff wrote a great post called Spammer Dilemma on the main Coetail Blog.  In case you missed it, I’ve pasted it below for you.

Spammer Dilemma

Many of you….if not all of you…..received a message from a spammer last week here within our COETAIL system. You probably also received spam messages in your own email box as well….however those systems are getting really good at keeping them out of your eye sight…but they are still there.

flickr photo by pandemia shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

flickr photo by pandemia shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Spammers are a constant problem with websites. On one hand we should be honored I guess that COETAIL gets enough traffic to be recognized as a spamming opportunity. On the other hand it becomes extremely frustrating playing the cat and mouse game with them.

I have already have had to give in to spammers on COETAIL in the following ways.

  • You’re blog must be approved by Kim or I as we have spammers trying to create blogs daily. So now we have extra work of trying to monitor which blogs being created are real COETAILers and which are spammers.
  • COETAILers are no longer free to create groups within COETAIL freely as spammers were creating all sorts of spam groups within the system.
  • We have two different spamming plugins running on the site to try and keep spammers out. This in turn slows the overall speed of the site down.

There there are spammers like the one that got through last week. That spammer was a real human who took the time to fill out all the information needed to create a real account. That type of spammer nobody can stop making it even more frustrating.

In the end I’m sure this is not the last spammer we’ll see here on the site. In the future if you would please just delete the spam message from your email and COETAIL inbox it would be appreciated.

Back to fighting the good fight!



Welcome to Week 3: The Present

I think what is important when thinking about course 4 is to choose pedagogies or teaching philosophies that speak to you and your own interests. Maybe you’ve been wondering about flipped learning for a while.  Or you’re thinking about challenging yourself to try something new … maybe gamification is a new idea for you.If you look at the Horizon Report and see something that’s not on our list, feel free to explore that. We have given you options, so you don’t need to read every article or reference every idea. The big things for this week is that you don’t have to talk (or read) about ALL of it … just the stuff that matters to you.

Flipped Learning: 

Watch this video for as long as you’re interested and not a second more.

Did you last more than 30 seconds? Did the bad lighting, the corny jokes, and poor sound quality annoy you? Was the subject matter of unclogging sinks not interesting? Did you wonder why I was making you watch it?

Now imagine, your sink was clogged. This is BIG and REAL problem that need to be solved IMMEDIATELY. And what if you lived in a country where you didn’t speak the language of the plumber? And perhaps the plumber doesn’t work on the day that you desperately need him?  How attentively would you watch the above video? How grateful would you be to these guys for taking the time to create the videos?  How many times would you pause, rewind and rematch that video?

For me, this sets up the challenges and the opportunities of Flipped Classroom.  We have the ability to make videos and to change how content is delivered. But do our students understand why they are watching the videos? Are they engaged in the videos? Are they grateful for the work you put into creating the videos? Are our students using videos to solve BIG and REAL problems?

Flipped Classroom: Not for the Passive Learner

Good teaching, regardless of discipline, should always limit passive transfer of knowledge in class, and promote learning environments built on the tenants of inquiry, collaboration and critical thinking. We, as educators, must strive to guide students through perplexing situations, and more importantly, work with one another to develop the pedagogical skills to do so. Keeping this in mind, good teaching comes in many forms, and the flipped classroom mentality can be one of many solutions for educators. – Should You Flip Your Classroom? Edutopia

To be honest, I’ve struggled a little with the idea of Flipped Classroom. (I think it’s my Elementary background) and I am a little wary of the hype around Flipped Classroom. Many articles (often written by non-educators) celebrate Khan Academy, Neo K-12Teacher Tube (just to list a few) for freeing up more time to get through content. Getting through content is the least inspiring reason to make changes to pedagogy. And they forget that just because something is on YouTube, it doesn’t mean our kids want to watch it. And just because a video is on their iPad, it doesn’t mean that our kids will rewind and rewatch. I’ve watched kids fall asleep watching boring videos in-class. What I find interesting is the best lectures are interactive and actually feed off of an audience.  And, as Jeff says, lecture as a content delivery is dead. So I know that showing a video is not enough. I’ve tried flipping my own classroom of 3rd graders.  Albeit on a much smaller scale and only for one topic in Social Studies. It was a struggle for some because it was a different way of doing things than we’d done in the past, but what isn’t when you do it for the first time?

That said, if introducing flipped instruction allows a teacher to differentiate instruction and create a more learner-centered classroom, I’m all for it. And if the videos can be used to quickly assess understanding and student learning, then we’re moving in the right direction. And if a teacher has found a way to have students want to watch the videos (or learn independently in general), then that’s amazing.

Redefining Flipped Classrooms

In actuality, reverse instruction is more than videos. And it’s more than just technology.

At it’s best, reversed instruction is about empowering learners. 
Upside DownPerhaps, you engage your students in a passion projectgenius hour20% time or a DIY project. Your students go home and learn what they want to learn. They Skype family, watch experts explain how to do something on YouTube, or poll friends on Googleforms or Survey Monkey. Perhaps they join Code Academy or a MOOC to learn more about something they are passionate about. They want to do work at home, because they’re geeked.Reversed instruction allows the walls of the classroom come down. And it can extend the school day, so that learning doesn’t stop at the bell. So if we are changing the very nature of school, we better make sure we are doing great things with our students.

Perhaps, you flip who is learning from who. Have students read each others blog posts in preparation for a fishbowl discussion (link with a great description of what this looks like in a DP English Class). This can also mean teachers look to learn from their students.

Perhaps, you create problems that kids want to solve. Math Teacher Dan Meyers is a great example of someone who creates real problems where kids need/want to learn how to answer the problem. They watch videos about derivatives and functions, because they are desperate to know the answer.

Perhaps, students recognise their own problems worth solving. Design Thinking talks a lot about how students can recognise problems and find ways to solve them. Moonshot Thinking is about choosing to bothered by something, being inspired, and hard work.  A flipped classroom can help our students solve problems that we as teachers don’t even recognise as problems.

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Game play has traversed the realm of recreation and has infiltrated
the worlds of commerce, productivity, and education,  proving to be a useful training and motivation tool. While a growing number of educational institutions
and programs are experimenting with game-play, there has also been increased attention surrounding

gamification — the integration of game elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios – New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2013

When we are talking about game based learning and gamification, there are a few things we should keep in mind.

  • Gamification and Game Based Learning is not about entertaining students. It’s about engaging students in their learning.
  • Including games and simulations into our classroom can create authentic learning experiences that tie to curriculum. Check out this incredible Games in Education Wiki for a comprehensive list of games, for all subjects and all ages. Minecraft has proved to be an excellent way to combine student interest with necessary content and skills. The Google Ninja Program is another great example of how Game Based Learning can encourage our kids to learn skills. This is fun stuff and our kid want to learn. 
  • The best games should be “hard fun” for our students. As we apply game mechanics and include Game Based Learning in our classroom, we should be thinking about how we can allow for creativity and inquiry. We should be creating games where our students want to engage and ask questions. Moreover, the best games allow students to fail, go the wrong way, and try new things. Because that’s the best way to learn.
  • All games have a goal. As you gamify your curriculum, knowing where you want your students to go is essential. And as you gamifiy your units, Understanding by Design can be an excellent model to use as you mix in game mechanics.  Remember, gamification is not just playing games.
  • Gamification and Game Based Learning can help build empathy and grit in our students. But watching them playing games, I am less concerned with their ability to deal with failure. When they are engaged in the game (and their learning) they just try again when they fail. That’s amazing. Don’t believe me…watch this must-view Ted Talk
    Image Attribution:
    The Mobius: Lauren PM under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license( BY-NC ) license
    Upside Down: cc licensed Some Rights Reserved Johnny Jet: 

Welcome to Week 2: The Past

Welcome to Week 2!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 1″ in Course 4 under “My Courses”
  • written 1 blog post and 1 comment
  • started using the “Course 4″ tab of your grading spreadsheet to record the work you’re doing
  • recording the URL of the post you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • recording the URL of the comment you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • had a read through of the final project for Course 4 – again, some slightly different options from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

Blast From the Past: PBL & CBL

This week focuses on established learning strategies project-based learning and challenge-based learning. So they’re not really that far in the past, in fact these learning strategies are still relevant today and can be combined with many of the current and future ideas we’ll be looking at in the following weeks (which is why we’re starting here).

A solid understanding of these strategies and why they’re so powerful will be really helpful as you begin to explore with some of the newer approaches. Fostering student independence, working toward student-centered learning, and building up to longer term projects will all provide support for differentiation and creativity both with and without technology.

One of my all-time favorite books on this topic is Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe (there’s one chapter available for preview on the ASCD site, or you can purchase on Amazon). If you haven’t already explored this one, I highly recommend it!

Because these pedagogical approaches are quite well established, there are tons of great resources available (some of our favorites are in the readings for this week). One “non-traditional” example is Caine’s Arcade:

One of the things I enjoy about teaching in a project-based classroom, is the opportunity to fail, to learn from mistakes and to try again. When we have that overarching goal or purpose, particularly one that is individual to each student, there are so many chances to be independent in our learning and take risks and explore. This short mini-documentary from Honda explains the power of failure really well:

And, this TEDxTalk from Diana Laufenberg, currently at SLA, highlights the value project-based learning, and failure, as well:

And one more for the mathematically inclined, Dan Meyer’s TEDxTalk, Math Class Needs a Makeover:

Hopefully these examples can help you start thinking about your own Course 5 project opportunities too!

Image credits:

Welcome to Course 4

And we’re back!

With courses 1 – 3 behind us, we’re really going to get practical with courses 4 and 5, bringing all of your COETAIL learning together with a strong focus on pedagogy in course 4, and the practical implementation of all of these ideas in course 5.

Course 4 Overview

The focus for course 4 is exploring some of the different pedagogical approaches to using technology in the classroom. The course is structured so that we start by looking at the big ideas and concepts behind technology integration, including the SAMR and TPACK models (in week 1), then we move into the most widely known pedagogical approaches organized into “past” (week 2), “present” (week 3) and “future” (week 4) to give us an idea of where we came from and where we might be going, and then wrap up with a look at the technology rich classroom (in week 5).

It’s great to discuss some of the concepts we’ve talked about in passing in more depth, things like flipped classroom, game based learning, badges, and of course connectivism comes back around again! As usual, we’ll have our standard week 6 + 4 days “catch up” time so you can wrap up course 4 and get moving on your course 5 project!

Just like last course, you will need to complete:

  • 1 blog post per week for each of the 5 weeks of the course
  • A final project (see more details about the final project after the Week 1 readings)
  • 1 additional blog post reflection on your final project  – for a total of 6 posts
  • 1 comment per week for each of the 5 weeks of the course – for a total of 5 comments

All of these items should be documented on your grading spreadsheet – please use the Course 4 tab of your spreadsheet.

Some thoughts from Course 3

What do you think? As you write your blog posts, remember that it’s your thoughts, your ideas, and your application of the weekly readings that will be interesting to other participants (and readers beyond our immediate community). Because all of the articles are available online, just linking to them is enough of a summary, then share your ideas so we can get your unique perspective. As we’re now moving into the final courses of the program, please remember, you don’t have to respond directly to the weekly prompts – they’re just there for those that prefer them. Please use your blog to write about whatever inspires you about this week’s topic and readings.

Get practical! One of the most common highlights for our participants is the chance to actually implement so many of these ideas directly into their classroom, particularly during course 4. So, as you write your posts, please share with us how you’re trying out these new ideas, how your students are reacting, and how it’s enhancing (or not) the learning in your classroom. Although you may currently be writing these posts as “homework”, you may be surprised at how many people are reading them, and will come back to them time after time. The practical posts that describe what’s happening in your classroom are usually the most relevant and useful for others (and for you, too).

Building Your Community: As we start looking ahead to course 5, one of the key elements of this program (as you already know) is to help you build your own professional learning network. Finding the people that help push your thinking, contributing to the conversation, and reflecting on your learning can be the most effective, relevant and powerful professional learning that you have. In course 4, you’ll still have the standard weekly blog prompts (that you can use only if you need them), and as we move into course 5, you’ll be selecting the themes for your posts, as well as reflecting on your community involvement. If you can start thinking about these ideas in course 4, you’ll be well prepared for our next step!

Preparing for Course 5

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Rick van der Wal

It seems kind of crazy to be thinking of course 5, when we’ve only just started this course, but it’s good to keep in the back of your mind which of our course themes and ideas you really want to delve into for your final project. It’s also really important for you to have a strong understanding of SAMR model, which you will be exploring this week. Your final COETAIL project will have to demonstrate how you have used technology to redefine your classroom –  to create tasks that would be inconceivable without the computer/tablet/etc.  We will be helping you get ready for the final project throughout course 4 and sharing a lot more information as we go, so stay tuned for more updates.

Understanding Technology Integration

Many, if not all of us, are working in schools where technology is integrated into the core curriculum(meaning students don’t take technology as a separate class, or even if they do, it’s expected that key technology skills will be taught within the core content, “just in time” as a natural part of learning in today’s world). Often the system has been set up before we’ve arrived, or maybe we haven’t had much input into why students are learning this way. This week is all about why schools are integrating technology and how they’re doing it. For one of my favorite examples, check out this introduction to High Tech High in California:

Image credits

A Visual Symphony!

The final projects coming out of Course 3 are phenomenal!

It is clearly evident that Course 3 has had a positive impact on your ability to rethink the nature of design in our lives and the effect it has on our communications. There is evidence of your care and consideration in colour schemes, font choices, alignment, storytelling, presentation re-designs, and the ability to redefine storytelling for students. I heard many of you state that this course was the most enjoyable thus far and has allowed you to directly implement the learning in practice.

That’s what this is all about – it’s not about getting through course work – it’s about the shift that inevitably happens when you start to rethink how you present yourself to the world, how you convey your knowledge to others, how you can capture the attention of an audience and captivate them with strong imagery. It’s about helping you to see the world differently and empowering you to offer this chance to your students and peers.

Here’s a glimpse of some of your well-honed projects:

Visual Resumé/CV

In terms of visual CVs, noted was the struggle many of you had to simplify your information in not only a graphical manner, but also having to be much more concise than in a traditional resume. The end results were very good and demonstrate a new way of representing ourselves and our experience.

Mavis shares with us a before version of her resumé and reflects openly on how she applied new learning from the weekly readings into her updated version (below) using Piktochart and one of it’s free templates.

Lindsay also tried out Piktochart and using her new knowledge of visual literacy and infographics, she created this New and Improved Me infographic resumé. Linsday is also asking for any feedback you may have for her!

Digital Storytelling

This option was challenging to many people, but again there were some excellent examples of how it could be used in the classroom.

Laurie was very open and honest as to how her Building a Learning Commons project unfolded for her. Despite considering “giving up” on this option, I’m so glad that she didn’t.  I think Laurie shares an important point in her reflection too:

I’m insecure about sharing it, but if I want my students to take risks in creating and sharing content, I need to do the same.

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Here’s a snippet of a very detailed reflection that James shared about Making a Video (worthwhile read)

One of the driving forces in making a video for my final project the teachable moment where I was able to share ideas for videos my students had made. I wanted to do this because there were so many mistakes with some video projects that I thought it would be a good idea to show students how to improve them, instead of talking about how I wanted to show them how.

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Presentation Zen

More people in this cohort opted for this option than I have seen in previous cohorts. It was fantastic to see the principles of Presentation Zen applied – especially noticeable when comparing a newer version of a presentation to an older version!  You definitely need to click on the post URLs to see the differences between the versions.  Some “must sees” include:

Tara’s incredibly reflective post and her before and after Henri Mattisse Google Slide Presentation 

Andrew also shares an indepth reflection of his process called Moving My Zen in the Right Direction.

You are going to be blown away (like me) by the differences in Rob’s “In with the New” – he has really taken on board the Zen principles and applied to his newer version!

In her post, From Bland to GrandMiriam decided she needed to apply the skills she’d been learning this course to the presentation she was scheduled to present at NESA in Bangkok.  (I’m sure she nailed it too!)


There is real value in the process of describing a process, system or information in a visual manner. These can be authentically used and embedded in your classroom. Whilst it can be a lot of work to create them, the end result breaks down details into more manageable chunks for an audience. However, during the topic on Infographics, many of you saw (and mentioned in your reflection) the value of having students create infographics as a means of sharing their work/knowledge visually. Goosebump material! If you do this with students, PLEASE remember to share with us all how it goes! Educational Blog readers LOVE seeing examples of actual student work!

Anyone not on visual overload (in a good way) right now?