Author Archives: Jeff Utecht

Meet Lissa Layman our new Managing Director

A few months back we posted some new jobs to the COETAIL community as we continue to grow. With our new collaboration with the Google for Education team, we knew we would need more help in supporting COETAILers past, present and future.

Lissa Layman

SMprofileLissa Layman is a chemist turned teacher. In a surprise turn of events, she has actually enjoyed the daily challenge and adventure education brings. After 3 years teaching French in South Carolina, Lissa & her husband’s desire to experience different cultures led them to international teaching. Lissa is an Instructional Coach (Tech Integration) in Kuwait, a Critical Friends Group Coach, a Google for Education Certified Trainer, COETAIL graduate and has an M.Ed. in School Technology Leadership. During her time in education she has discovered a passion for inquiry-based education, global collaboration and teaching teachers. Professionally, she spends her time collaborating with colleagues to develop an instructional coaching culture, planning for and meaningfully implementing learning with technology, and seeking out her next learning opportunity.

Lissa has had a professional crush on COETAIL since her #AISQ8 colleagues shared their Online 12-13 cohort experiences with her. Throughout the 5 courses of Online 13-14, she not only engaged with the required content but also finally found a home in international education through the community of like-minded educators who weren’t afraid to challenge her thinking. Since completing the program, she hasn’t stopped sharing her enthusiasm for COETAIL with anyone willing to listen. After participating in COETAILchats, COETAILcasts, COETAIL meet-ups and being a COETAIL coach, Lissa is excited to take a more formal role in COETAIL’s exciting future.

We know COETAILers past, present and future will benefit from Lissa’s knowledge and connections and we’re excited to have her be more formally involved with COETAIL.

Jeff & Kim


COETAILers Current & Graduates requirements for receiving GET

Now that we’ve shared our exciting new collaboration with the Google for Education Team with you, we’d like to share the specific details about the requirements for the
Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) program if you are a graduate of COETAIL or a current COETAIL participant.


Complete the Training Course Completing our Trainer Course (6-8 hours) will provide instruction on 1) Creating and Delivering Inspiring and Effective Training Plans and 2) Helping Educators Use Transformative Google Technologies. This course will help you bolster the training, leadership, and interpersonal relationship skills that make you an effective trainer.
Trainer Skill Assessment Pass the Trainer Skills Assessment. This exam tests your understanding of the Training Course and familiarity with Google for Education. The exam consists of 25 multiple choice and matching questions. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam
Google Certified Educator Level 1 COETAIL Graduates are exempt from taking the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam
Google Certified Educator Level 2 Take the Google Certified Educator Level 2 exam (2-3 hours) to learn cutting-edge strategies for integrating a wider range of Google for Education tools and technologies in the classroom. For more information regarding the Level 1 and Level 2 exams
Film a Trainer video COETAIL graduates will be able to upload their COETAIL final project video to fulfill this requirement.
Apply to the GET Program Fill out application and upload a copy of your COETAIL Certificate. COETAIL graduates will be given priority into the GET program

The above requirements help you get GET status. You will still be required to fulfill all the requirements to maintain the GET status on a yearly basis.


COETAIL featuring Google for Education Certified Trainer

Can’t tell you how excited I am that our program COETAIL (Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy) has joined forces with the Google for Education team to offer educators the ability to complete both your COETAIL micro-credential and your Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) certificate at the same time. As one COETAILer put it.

It would be like the best of both worlds – COETAIL’s pedagogy and Google App for Education Suite make a formidable force to have in your teaching toolbox! ~ COETAIL Graduate

If you haven’t heard of COETAIL before. You can head over to our about page for more information. For a real look at what COETAIL is all about, make sure to check out the homepage where you will see blog posts from current COETAILers.

We are in the process of gathering data of who might be interested in completing both the COETAIL program and their GET certificate at the same time. If you are interested please fill out this form and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Here is the official announcement:

Announcing a New and Exciting Collaboration


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

We have worked with the Google for Education Team to bring an exciting new collaboration to COETAILers. A collaboration 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 collaboration 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 collaboration 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 (see details here!). 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


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

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!


It’s Complicated: COETAIL Book Chat


At COETAIL we’re constantly looking for new resources and updating resources for the courses. Over the last couple of months the COETAIL Instructors and Coaches have been reading It’s Complicated by danah boyd. Personally I think this is a must read for all educators and parents of teenagers today.  The COETAIL Team got together to do a Book Chat about the book via Google Hangout OnAir to share with the community. This video along with others about It’s Complicated will be added to Course 2 in the future. For now enjoy the Book Chat.

What to do with your blog after COETAIL

We often get asked what COETAIL graduates should do with their COETAIL blog. That my COETAIL friends is completely up to you! The blog is yours, the data is yours. You have admin rights to your blog and so with that, you have full control over what you do with the content on it. Here are the options that you have.

Option 1: Keep Blogging

It’s that simple….you’re blog has become part of your digital footprint. Google has found it and if you search for yourself you’ll find your blog. So If you would like to keep blogging…or if you don’t want to blog anymore but you would like the blog to be part of your digital footprint, then just leave it how it is. I do recommend checking on it from time to time as we are constantly making updates to themes, the website, etc and that sometimes messes with the layout and design of your blog. If we ever shut COETAIL down then we will do our best to notify you so you have time to export your data. So please do your best to make sure the email address associated with your account is up to date.

Option 2: Export to your existing blog or to a new blog

Export OptionA good handful of COETAILers have a personal blog or a professional blog already and really don’t want “another blog”. No problem! Simply go to Tools – Export in your dashboard. From there you can download all your posts, pages, comments and then import them into any other blogging program. After that you can have us delete your blog, archive your blog or leave it. Totally up to you. We highly recommend not deleting your blog as other people have linked to your content and blog posts and if you delete your blog those links become broken…but it’s up to you what you do.

Option 3: Delete completely

Simply contact Jeff with your username and the URL to your blog and he’ll delete everything about you on the COETAIL site. It will be like you were never a COETAILer. :( As much as we hope this doesn’t happen there are times when people want/need to disappear and we honor and respect that. It’s your data.

Those are your “after I complete COETAIL” options. Basically you control your data and what you do with it, where you put it, or how you use it, is completely up to you. We’re just here to support you and give you a platform to learn and make connections.



Coetailkk3I recently returned from the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference where we were able to have a #COETAIL meet up. To the right is a pic of everyone who joined us for a few hours of getting to know each other, talking everything COETAIL and just meeting the community.

My favorite part of every meet up is when people who have been reading each other for a year finally meet in person. At some point at every meet up I over hear “Yeah…I know you…I’ve been reading your blog for a year now”. What comes next is usually a funny exchange of looks, then the realization that what we talk about here at COETAIL is real. That these connections are not as strong as face to face connections, but they are connections all the same, they have power, they have meaning.

We had four people join the meet up from Online2….I think all four took pleasure in learning that non of them are close to finishing their Course 5 final project. :)

We had four people from the “Original Cohort” that took place at ISBangkok in 2009. It was great to have them there and to see just how far this program has come.

We had four COETAIL instructors join us. A great way to to see no matter where you take COETAIL or who your instructor is, we’re all part of one big community.

We had people just starting the program in the Online4 cohort, we had people who finished last December in the Online1 cohort. In fact, reflecting back on it…..we pretty much had every cohort represented.

We all know how small the International teaching community is, and then you add #COETAIL on top of that and it gets even smaller. I strongly encourage each and everyone one of you no matter what conference you go to……try to find other COETAILers. Find time to have a COETAIL meet up and enjoy the community and each other. You don’t need an instructor to create a meet up. You just need a hashtag and a place to meet.

A big thanks to @rappino for his help in organizing the COETAIL meet up. If you want to know how this one got organized here’s how it happened.

And that’s how you create a COETAIL meet up.

Flipped About Flipboard

flipboardI’m so excited that COETAIL is getting started. If for no other reason then to try out Flipboard as our “Core Text” moving forward. I wrote a blog post about this awhile ago and since that time we’ve been working on bringing this idea to COETAIL. Flipboard is so visual (course 3) understands the connections (course 1) and allows us to both create and consume. To curate the web in a way to help us make sense of all the information out there, find the good stuff, and change the conversation. That’s our hope…we’ll see how we do. Below is a 22 minute video….it’s long but it goes into my thinking about Flipboard and how you can set it up to use it for your COETAIL journey. This actually might be the best 22 minutes of the entire COETAIL program. :)

New Online Payment System

Pretty excited about this! Hoping this saves both you and us some time in getting payments processed and access to your courses.

Either watch the quick 2 minute video or follow these simple steps.

1. Log into the COETAIL Site

2. Head to your COETAIL Cohort Blog

3. Click on the “Payment” page in the menu

4. Choose your option for payment and follow the checkout system

5. Once your purchase has been processed head to “My Courses” where you’ll now have access to your new course.

That’s it!

Back in the Saddle: Summer Updates

As a new school year gets started for most of you here in the COETAIL community, I wanted to wish you all a wonderful school year. I’m already looking forward to your reflections as you take on another year being an educator.

Some of you have already started blogging again, talking about moving schools, moving positions or in some cases both. Others are talking about changes they are making to their classes and some of the things they hope to try this school year. Wherever you are, whatever you are teaching, know you have a community here to support you in all your new adventures this coming year.

My Summer: 

My wife and I watching the Sunset in Nafplio, Greece. Love G+ Auto awesome filters!

My summer was full on packed with friends, family, consulting, and traveling. My wife and I did make it to both Croatia and Greece this summer. We went to Greece to watch one of our former students get married. One thing I enjoy about being an International Educator is the connections you make that take you to places like Greece for a wedding. :)

Other than that, I spent time at the American School in London as well as many places around the U.S. From Florida to Iowa and even here in the State of Washington, where I was excited to get to teach a course at a local university to pre-service teachers. Two days to try and prepare them for the connected classrooms that await them wasn’t enough…but it’s a start.

COETAIL’s Summer:

Summertime is always a time of reflection for educators. The COETAIL team spent the first part of the summer reflecting on how this year went and the second half on where we want it to go. We did make some updates based on your feedback……your feedback about the site and the program are incredibly valuable. Please know that we do take it all in and make changes based on what our participants tell us from year to year. Here are some of the updates that you’ll find this coming year in COETAIL.

New Course Layout:

We took your feedback about the actual course layout and this year are going to try a tabbed approach. Once you’re in a course, you will now see on each unit page tabbed content. We know people don’t like to scroll and so this way we were able to get the content we needed on the page without you having to scroll. Clicking on the tab allows you to quickly “jump” to the section you need/want. We hope this new look helps.

New Course Content:

We do this every summer but the COETAIL Instructors started working on updates at the end of June and are still in the process of meeting and updating all 5 of the courses. We know that information changes quickly in the technology world, so we have gone through every course, every unit, every link and updated them all to the best, most recent and what we feel is the most pertinent information that will help you moving through the program. Personally, I’m liking the updates and excited to get the new content in front of you all.

Comment Links to Blog:

This was a suggestion brought to us by our COETAIL Coaches. When people left a comment on a blog post your name was linked to your profile. This was OK except in many cases you’re not worried about their profile…you want to go see their blog maybe even return the favor. So we had our developers change the link on your name in a comment. So now if someone leaves a comment on your blog you can click on their name and go directly to their blog.

Easier/Faster Course Registration:

Up until this year, getting your payment for each course and getting you access was a lot of clicks. Our cohort manager (a.k.a. my wife) spent hours clicking back and forth making sure payments were made and that access was given. It was a lot of clicks! We’re trying to reduce that. This year when a course is ready to start, you’ll click on the course and pay right there…as soon as your payment is processed you’ll be given access to the course content (this only works if you pay via PayPal, checks and wire transfers will work differently). Less clicking on our end! YEAH! At the same time this means instant access for you. No longer will you have to wait a day or two for your payment to come through the system and be given access to the course. Now it will all just happen. If we run into glitches (as so often happens with new systems) please be patient with us as we sort it out!

Profile Widget:

The last update is a new profile widget…it is still in development but hopefully will be ready for the start of the courses in September. It will be a widget you can put on your sidebar/widget area that will link to your Google+ account, your Twitter, and any other information you might want to have show right on your blog. I for one would read a blog post and want to tweet it out and tag the author but couldn’t always find the twitter handle easily. My hope is now it will be just a click away.

Google Hangouts and iTunes Podcast:

We’re doubling down on our Google Hangouts this year. Hoping to bring the community in more and holding them more often. Many of you have said you would like to have more synchronous gatherings and so we’ll put them on the calendar and continue to run them as long as people keep showing up. We’re also going to try and get our iTunes Podcast site back up and going. Many of you have said you would be interested in an audio version of our COETAILcast and that’s what we’re hoping this is for. If you are an Android user (like me) you can use the DoggCatcher App to listen to the audio version as well.

That’s it for this summer and some of our goals for the upcoming COETAIL year. We’ll be talking about other changes like using Flipboard (which I’m really excited about) as a way to get the latest information for each course in front of you. More on that in another post!

Ready or not… comes another year of COETAIL!