This is it.
This is the moment in COETAIL where you are set free to show what you’ve learned, show your classroom, show your learning, and show your students’ learning. This blog post is going to be pretty nitty gritty, but hopefully by getting the details out of the way, you’ll feel comfortable about going out there and doing incredible things.
Choose a unit that interests you and redesign it in a way that excites you. You are going to be working on the Course 5 project for weeks. Make sure you are geeked out by what you’re doing. Make sure your students are geeked about what they are doing. If you’re a little scared, that’s probably a good sign.
Take what you have learned in all the prior courses and put it into action. Maybe you will mash-up gamification and digital citizenship. Maybe you’ll make a digital story with people around the world, tapping into your PLN. Perhaps you will have kids from around the world building in Minecraft or have a kindergarten inquiry sparked by Twitter. Perhaps you try Problem-Based Learning in an higher level math class, allowing for open books and open computers. It could be that you find a way for your kids to design something for that 3D printer your school bought. Maybe you move from the sage on the stage to the meddler in the middle. And hopefully this will give you the push to try something that you haven’t done before but you’ve always wanted to try. Or even better, try something that you didn’t even know was possible a year ago.
Make sure you are really thinking about SAMR model as you plan your unit. A lot of people discussed in their blogs at how they don’t feel like they are at the Redefinition level in their classroom. If there is ever a time to get there, this is it. We are asking you to redefine your classroom for one unit in one class. Think about how you are using technology to support learning in ways that we inconceivable without technology.
As much as this assignment is about you, it has to be about your students too. Tell your kids what you are doing. My kids thought it was awesome that I was stressing out about an assignment. Make sure you are showing them that you are a learner too. And then, hopefully, they’ll be kind if you make a mistake along the way.
Make sure you are documenting EVERYTHING in the unit. Take pictures of your students working. Scan copies of their work. Take video asking your students what they learned. One reason is that you have to show student learning, interest and authenticity of the unit. Having too much evidence is a good problem to have. Also, you will be creating a digital story documenting the unit and you want lots of media to draw on.
Read the criteria. And read them again. There are 9 criteria that you will be marked on and in a 10 minute video you will need to show your thinking in regards to all nine. I’m not going to overwhelm you here with them (find them in the Week 8 page), but trust me when I tell you that as soon as you get back to school in January you will want to know this stuff backward and forward. And the two questions that would make me really think would have to be: “Is student work authentic and reflective of that done by real people outside of school? ” and “Is student work reflective of their interests or passions?”. But that might be just me. There is a lot to think about there.
You will need to do a unit planner and best practice is that you do that before the unit is started. So perhaps that is the first thing you do in January (after reading the criteria one more time). You are encouraged to use Understanding by Design planner as it will address many of the criteria. But the planner should also be useful to you. Perhaps a PYP or MYP planner is best for you. Or your school has its own style. Do whatever you can to make this a sustainable project that you could do again next year.
Plan your time wisely. You all know how long the technical bits of putting together a digital story took during course 3. You will be creating a 10 minute video and you need to make sure you plan for that amount of time. Check out previous course 5 project here, which had different criteria but do show what is expected in terms of the video.
Keep blogging. There are no minimum blogging requirements for Course 5, though there is a Community Engagement requirement. But I would suggest that you keep blogging. I found the process of blogging my ideas for Course 5 really helpful. And then you can get feedback and more ideas from COETAILers and others who read your blog. Hopefully you have the intrinsic motivation to share and reflect on your blog, even when it’s no longer a specific requirement.
Take risks. Ask for help when you need it. Take control of your learning and let go of control in your classroom. And have fun!!
This will be my last blog post for you. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs and getting a chance to blog on a regular basis again. Thanks for letting me jump in. Please let me know if I can help with project in any way. I can’t wait to see them!
And most importantly have a safe, relaxing, rejuvenating break!