Course 2 – Final Project

My COETAIL journey. 2 courses down, 3 to go. So where am I with my new learnings and discoveries? I enjoy the art of blogging and reading and responding to the insightful ideas and perspectives of people in our cohort and my new and increasing PLN. Over the past 4 months, I have learned about the daily growing intricacies of the digital age and created my own understanding of what it means to be a good digital citizen. I have felt excited, proud, overwhelmed and even bamboozled at times. And I love it!

http://thebookfairygoddess.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/digital-citizenship.html

I have begun applying my new understanding of how to model and integrate positive digital citizenship within my own teaching practice and help students understand the value and importance of digital citizenship and safety. Something I have really struggled with in the past couple of years is teaching my students how (and more importantly why) they should use images that are meant for sharing, and give credit where credit is due. I felt that I had entered a bit of a plagiarism black hole when my school adopted Google Apps for Education. My students were so excited to insert images into their e-books and other digital projects, and in the interest of time, I let it slide. Now, I feel confident that I can both model and explicitly teach my students why it is necessary to cite images, videos and other sources they are using, as well as how to do it in an easy, user-friendly way.

One of my biggest (and most exciting) takeaways from my COETAIL experience so far, is how easy, and valuable global interconnectedness can be. I’ve blogged about the service learning unit, Agents of Change, that we do in Grade 4 at ASH. The students choose a passion project and work together to make a difference through direct or indirect action, or advocacy. I have been really keen to get students working with other students in other schools, or contacting experts in the field to help that reach their goal. One of the things I really liked about this course project was that we had to reach out to others and work collaboratively. We got to experience first hand the ease and challenges of global, digital collaboration.

I was grateful when my friend and former colleagues Sarah Browne contacted me to find out if I’d like to work with her on the final project. Then Stéphane Vermeulin got in touch to see if anyone was looking for people to collaborate with… and VOILA! We had our team. It took us some time to get our communication platform in order, but once we did, we were away.

We used a Google Doc to collaborate on a unit that Sarah presented to us. Stéphane brought some amazing ideas to the table that helped us formulate a focus for the unit, and from there we worked on the individual lesson breakdown to form a student friendly, age-appropriate unit where students will learn:

  • Understand what a Digital footprint is and what impact it could have
  • Identify ways and strategies to develop a safe and positive online presence
  • Share their thinking with an audience through blogging/podcasting in a respectful way.
  • Cite their sources
  • Be safe and secure contributors to the digital world

Using an online collaboration tool such as Google Docs enabled us to work together at our own time and give each other feedback and respond to on another as and when we could. There was not a spoken word between us as we came together to work on this project, and yet we were able to understand each other’s ideas and create a unit that addresses real-world issues in the 21-century classroom.

A huge thanks to Sarah and Stéphane for being great partners to work with!

Profile photo of Jennifer Byrnes

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *