Week 6 and the end of Course 1

We’ve made it to the end of Course 1!

Luck of the Irish brought us blue skies.

Luck of the Irish brought us blue skies three days in a row..

I don’t know about you guys, but for me its been a challenge over the summer with family travels and adventures. (This week’s post comes to you from a porch in Lahinch, Ireland). But it has mostly been a fantastic experience. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and comments while seeing this community of learners develop. I hope that you’ve gotten as much out of it as I have. I’ve got a back log of links and articles to explore from all of your posts.

Week 6 is our final week of Course 1! This week is intended to give you time to catch up on any work you have missed, and to complete your final project (the UBD unit planner and reflective blog post).

By the end of this week, you’ll officially be finished with Course 1 (as long as all your work is completed, of course). So, by July 30 you should have:

  • All 5 blog posts completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • All 5 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • Your final project embedded in a 6th blog post with a short reflection about what you chose to do, why, and how you think it will enhance teaching and learning.
  • Approved all comments on your own blog
  • Added yourself to our Twitter list if you haven’t already: https://www.coetail.com/online8/tweeters/

The UBD planner is provided as a resource for you, not a requirement. If you have a format that you prefer or that might be required by your school, please use it. We want this to be something practical and useful for you, not a hoop to jump through. Ideally, this should be a unit that you plan on implementing in the coming school year so that your can share how it goes with us in a later course.

Your final project must be publicly viewable and linked to your reflective blog post. You’ll follow the same format for the final project of each course, so you could have the better part of your year planned if you so choose.

I look forward to seeing what you guys share.

You should have access to go ahead and register for course 2 now. Please make sure you are logged into your COETAIL account before you do so in order to keep from creating a duplicate account.

Finally, as always, don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Getting closer: Week 5

Thoughts on Social Learning

I was at the beach with my teenage nieces and nephew last week. I only get to see them once or twice a year, and I’m never sure what to expect. They’re all fully fledged teenagers now and seeing them glued to their phones was interesting and at times, frustrating. But then they took some time to show us some of what they were doing. They got super excited one night teaching all of the adults how to use SnapChat. It led to an evening of hilarity, and a lot of subsequently ridiculous exchanges, but more importantly I loved seeing these teenagers in teacher mode. They were eager to help, patiently sharing tips and letting us into a little bit of their world. I’m pretty sure none of them sat down and read a tutorial when they first got the app. A friend probably taught them how to use it and they in turn have shared their knowledge with others. It may not be quadratic equations, but they’re learning and sharing skills and supporting each other. Sound familiar?

I’ve since learned more through my own geeking out. As the teens shared Snaps with filters I hadn’t found yet, I spent some time to search and figure them out. It was the social aspect of the learning that got me motivated. I never cared about SnapChat before, but now its a fun way to stay in touch with my family, I’ve got a couple of streaks going, and I wanted to be able to do the cool stuff they were doing. I even got my dad in on it a bit.

Check these posts out

These guys had some great ideas to share this week. I hope you had a chance to check them out.
Dudley – Discusses the importance of engaging students in learning and how his school has created a Leaders of Their Own Learning committee

Alex gives us a look into the future of education and some of the crazy technology that’s coming along. Telepathic texting?

Mike goes out on a limb trying new things this week. He’s even got a first shot at a podcast included.

Important Information

Once again, please make sure you are checking your blogs and approving comments. I’ve got a backlog of comments I can’t assess. Please don’t worry if you aren’t seeing those scores yet. I’ll get to them.

My family is headed to Ireland for the next 10 days on our way back to Accra. I’m 97% sure I’ll have internet access everywhere we stay but I may be a little slower to respond this week to your posts or questions.

Finally, I want it to be clear that your final projects do not have to be completed on the UBD planner that we provided you. If you have something else that you are more comfortable with, that’s fine. Please make sure that you utilize some GSuite tools in your unit design. As you’re working towards your certification it is important that you are working with these tools.

Anything is possible

Anything is possible

As always, if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Heading into Week 4

Welcome to Week 4!


By now you should have:

  • read and completed all units up to Week 4 in the “My Courses” tab
  • begun thinking about your Course 1 Final Project
  • written 3 blog posts & 3 comments
  • recorded the URLs of each of the posts & comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet

Just as a reminder, if you are behind for some reason, that’s fine, but please make an effort to catch up. If you get too far behind it may become overwhelming and you may feel left out of the conversation. The program policy for late work can be found here.

Progress and ideas

I thought I’d use a bit of video again to mix things up. Sorry for the Max Headroom start, there seems to be an issue with my headphone jack, and apparently that creates an issue with QuickTime. It was the day of issues for me. I also got locked out of my COETAIL Google account today. Seems I hadn’t set up my recovery account yet. There’s a quick GSuite tip for you. Make sure you have a recovery email set up to avoid the awkward message to your boss that you’ve been locked out of your account.

A few final thoughts

This week you’ll be looking at how this all fits into the classroom. It strikes me that the video from Mimi Ito is 7 years old, yet many of the questions she poses are still very relevant. Why have we as educators not figured out how to incorporate students’ interests in technology use, (or really just interests in general) into the classroom in more productive ways? And why do so many of us continue to grumble over how kids use technology?

As you develop your skills as a trainer and grow as a leader in your schools, it will be important to think about how you can encourage adults to learn in these same ways. How can you encourage learning through shared experiences and collaboration? How can you offer opportunities for them to “mess around” and “geek out” in order to develop an understanding of this style of learning? Can you help them identify ways they already do this on their own?

Keep sharing ideas. Keep the conversations going and keep asking questions!

Week 3 = Halfway!

👍🏻 👍🏻  You’ve finished the first two frantic weeks of your COETAIL journey. You’re crafting some fantastic, thought provoking blog posts and asking some great questions. I appreciate the activity from you guys and the constant flow of email questions. I constantly remind students and even teachers I work with that the best way for me to know you need help is through your questions.

Blogging Tips

Embedding videos in your posts can be a great way to direct readers to something interesting. I know I’m more likely to watch an embedded video than to click on a link. You can use the embed buttons in the toolbar, but it was pointed out to me this week that they don’t always work. I played around with it a bit, the best way to learn, and found the same issues. My next step was to ask my good buddy Google and I came up with this: https://www.wpmadesimple.org/supplementary-guides/youtube-video/ Apparently by just inserting the url into your editor it will automatically embed your YouTube Video.

You’ll notice that in blog posts and comments you can “tag” people in your post by using the @ sign. When you do this it sends that user an email telling them they have been tagged in a post or comment. A great way to give people credit or point them to something that you think might interest them. Give it a try in the comments: Type @ and then the start of someone’s username and you’ll see a list of usernames start to appear. Pretty cool! In a blog post you need to know the person’s username but that can be found by visiting their blog. (Case in point, I stole this paragraph from an earlier post by @jutecht Thanks Jeff!)

Hyperlinking in a comment is a great way to keep a conversation going too. I’ll be honest, I can never remember the code to do it, so I have this site bookmarked on my toolbar. Then its just a quick copy and paste.

Speaking of Google

Me and Pops

Me and Pops

As you are working toward your GET certification Find ways to incorporate GSuite tools into your work. You may not be in the classroom currently due to summer, but how can you use GSuite to make your course work easier or to prepare for the coming year. For example, I made one spreadsheet that pulls from all of your gradesheets so that I can see when you post and comment in one location. Just keep an eye out for what’s new and changing in the tools you use or try one new thing each week. I actually spent an afternoon training my parents on Google Photos this week and I’m totally going to see if it counts toward my required trainings as a GET 😉


Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom

In my opinion, the best way to learn these tools, or actually most tech tools, is to use them. Think of something you want to be able to do, search how to do it, and just play around. I had this poster in the window of my office this year and it is totally how I learn. When teachers came to me for help with something I didn’t know how to do, I’d just say, “Let’s try it.” and get to clicking. I’ve usually got a blank post open on this blog to try out the different features and to see if I can help answer your questions.

New Developments

I’m excited to see that the New ISTE Standards for Educators have been released. I hope you’ll take some time to look them over. I’ve only had a chance to glance at them, but I think they look like a great step forward from the old version. I think you’ll also see a lot of correlation between those standards and what you are working on here in COETAIL. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or in your blogs this week on the update.

If you are not familiar with ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), it is good organisation with a lot of resources. I sometimes question the true internationalness of it, it has an overwhelmingly US based membership and focus, but I think it is something they are working to improve. The annual conference is pretty amazing too. I went a few years ago and it was by far the largest conference I’ve ever attended. I believe the number of participants was somewhere around 20000!


So keep up the good work. I might have said it before, but this course is probably the most hectic of them all. There’s a lot to figure out and get organized. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and make sure you click on something new this week!



Week 2


Working from George Mason University

This week’s topic is networking. I have to admit, I was never a fan of this idea before I discovered I could do it digitally. Small talk just isn’t my thing. But when I discovered I could network via social media… Game on. I think it has helped me in the face to face world a bit as well. Now at conferences and workshops, I often meet people whom I’ve connected with via social media. The ice is already broken and less small talk for me to endure. It’s already happened a few times here at JOSTI this week.

My digital network has proved to be incredibly valuable to me. I hope that through this week and throughout these courses, you will continue to develop your own network and discover its value.

Your Blogs

Several of you mentioned waiting to the last minute to get your work done this week. That’s totally fine and expected. Just please remember to put your links on your grade sheets so that I know to assess them. You have the option of writing more than one post each week, but I will only assess those that you link on your spreadsheet. If you missed it this week, that’s fine, just add it in and we’ll get you caught up.

Here are a couple of highlights for you to check out from our first week.

Alex shared a couple of great graphics visualising the influence of computers on his life’s journey.

Jessie’s post pondering what makes a blog.

Your Comments

Make sure you check to see if there are comments that need approval on your blogs. There are a few of you who have told me your comments aren’t appearing and I’ve run across at least one grade sheet that had a comment that I couldn’t find live on a blog. You should only have to approve each other once before they will be automatically accepted.

Case in point, a great conversation was started in the comments of Mike’s blog with an exchange of links and ideas. Make sure you check your blog for comments and reply to them when appropriate. You never know when this will lead to some new learning.




Getting it all together

Good jobYou’ve made it through your first week! Good job everyone.

I just want to share a few things with you tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the coming week and some highlights from your blogs.

Cohort Blogs

Several of you have been asking for links to all the blogs for the cohort. I finally have them all myself and I’m ready to share with you. I’ve put them together for you a couple of different ways just for fun and to share a little bit of what you can do with Google. But first, if you just want to get it done quick, download this OPML file and you can upload it to your choice of readers. It will allow you to import everyone’s blog feed in a few less clicks. (I tested it out and it worked, but if you have issues let me know).

If you’re using Feedly Click on your profile icon -> organize feeds -> import OPML It’s hidden in really light font at the bottom of the screen. Then just select the file and upload and you should be good to go.

If you’re using Digg Click on the gear icon -> settings -> scroll all the way to the bottom and select import OPML

If you chose another reader Click around until you find something similar to the above options. Its the best way to learn how things work anyway. 😉

If you just really want to do it the old fashioned way and copy and paste all of the links in yourself I’ve included this spreadsheet with everyone’s information on it.

And for fun, I’ve included this map created with Google’s My Maps to show where we all are and your blogs are also linked here as well. I personally love this tool and used it for several projects in my humanities classroom as well as just for fun at home.

Updating your Spreadsheets

Please make sure that as you are posting your blogs and commenting, you are also updating your spreadsheets. That’s how I know that you want your post to be assessed by me. I’ve set your spreadsheets to notify me when you make edits and my goal is to stay on top of them and have your scores to you within a day or two.

Try to start working out a routine that works for you. You may set aside one day to do your reading and another to do your writing, or decided to do it little by little throughout the week. Whatever works for you is great. Just make sure you include the following in your routine:

  • Check your RSS Reader (it should be all nice and set up now right?)
  • Check in with the My Courses tab to see if something is new.
    • Especially the GET tab as we’re constantly updating that portion of the course
  • Complete the weekly readings.
  • Write a weekly blog post.
  • Write a weekly comment.
    • At least one that you’ll record on the spreadsheet, but the more you engage with each other the stronger the experience becomes
  • Documenting your work on your Grading Spreadsheet.

Finally, never hesitate to send me an email or post a question in the comments.

Week 1

Summer COETAILHere we go! This week is mostly about getting you set up and running for the course. It actually gets a bit easier, or at least less hectic, as the courses progress. Getting organized just takes a bit of time. As I mentioned in my introductory post, COETAIL is all about community and learning together. So it is important to get yourself organized with a way to keep up with your colleagues posts. Kim’s video walks you through how to set up a feed via Digg Reader, but you are welcome to use any tool you like. Once you have all shared your grade sheets and blogs with me, I’ll share them with you as a list to make it easier for you to follow your colleagues’ posts.

If you haven’t already, make sure you work your way through the orientation course. It is a valuable resource as you get started.

Google for Education Trainer Certification

I’m super excited that you have all decided to pursue your Google for Education Trainer certification. I’ve found it to be another valuable community of active and resourceful educators. As you know this is a new option for COETAIL so we’ll be blazing the trail together. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or offer suggestions as we go along.

Some of these requirements are still being ironed out, so please be patient with us as we update the GET tabs for each course. In general, you’ll want to start thinking like a trainer as you work on assignments. Instead of focusing primarily on your classroom and students, think about how your learning will apply to leading and training adults. There are a lot of similarities, but also some subtle differences. 

Keeping Up

Since the course is starting over many of our summer breaks, I would guess that a lot of you will be traveling throughout the next few months. Try to stay on schedule as best you can with your course work and community involvement. Let me know if you are going to be unavailable for any length of time. I’ll do the same as my family bounces around as well.

We realise that you are all busy with families and work as well as COETAIL and it can be a lot to balance. Whether it is this summer, or once school starts back, we realise that things will come up that throw you off a bit. Please make sure you communicate with me if that happens, and we’ll work with you. I want you to be successful here with COETAIL.

Final thoughts

You’ll submit your first post this week based on your readings and the process of getting set up for the course. If you’re new to blogging don’t worry. It will get easier. Try to find your own voice and style as you write. Remember, in most cases, the writing prompts are suggested topics for getting you started. You don’t have to respond exactly to the prompt. If you have an idea or connection that came to you based on the week’s readings, go for it. This is about you and your learning experience!

I’ll post here at least once a week with highlights from your posts, thoughts on the coming week and any tips or instructions you might need. I’m looking forward to reading your posts, hearing your perspectives and getting to know you. This is going to be a fantastic learning adventure for us all!

Welcome to Online 8!

Welcome to COETAIL! My name is Ryan Harwood and I’m excited to spend the next 12 months on this learning journey with you. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little bit about me. I’ve just completed my fourth year living and working in Accra, Ghana at Lincoln Community School. Although I started there as a middle school humanities teacher, in the past year I completed the transition to a full time technology integration coach. Before my family’s adventure began in Ghana I spent ten years teaching social studies in the public schools of North Carolina. I couldn’t be happier that my kids are now getting the opportunity to grow up as global citizens.

I’m excited to get to know more about all of you over the course of the next year. One of the things that I loved about completing the COETAIL program myself (I was part of online 4) was getting to know other members of the COETAIL community. We have a truly global community of participants. You’ll work closely with the other members of your cohort, but you’ve got access to the blogs from all cohorts on the main page. Checking in there from time to time is a great way to see what is going on in different courses.

A good deal of your learning from this course will come from your interactions with other participants in your cohort. I encourage you to be as active in your participation as you can and engage with one another as learners as well as on a personal level. We all know relationships are key to students’ learning in a classroom. The same ideas apply here. And, you never know what the connections you make through COETAIL will lead too. Mine lead me to this role!

I’ll post again soon with the official start to the course and some more information about getting things started. For now, work your way through the orientation modules and enjoy your first bit of summer!

The doors to Online 8 are open!


THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our first Blog Tour and Challenge. We hope that you feel more connected to the growing COETAIL Community!

Didn’t have a chance to participate?

Don’t worry, we’ve got plans for more tours & challenges in the future and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Want to see what other people shared during the last month?

Blog Tour  Challenge


After a month of engaging our community, it’s time to expand this community and formally welcome more educators into COETAIL…

Online 8 starts on June 19 and is open for registration!


COETAIL is for any educator who is interested in learning & growing through a community approach. All educators are welcome – young & ‘old,’ tech savvy & apprehensive, experienced & new-to-education, classroom teachers & leadership.

Does that sound like you? See below for more details!


Pedagogical Foundations

The design of this program is based on sound pedagogical foundations that aim to help students learn the material quickly and effectively within a community setting. This course is inspired by the connectivism learning theory, learning communities, mastery learning, and peer assessment and our own understanding of pedagogical techniques that contribute to student learning and engagement in online communities.


5 courses, 1 year

Course 1: Information Literacy and Ourselves as Learners

Course 2: 21st Century Literacy Ideas, Questions, and Issues

Course 3: Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators

Course 4: Technology: A Catalyst for Learning

Course 5: Alive in the Classroom: Applied Web 2.0 Technology for Learning

Click here to see the full class schedule with dates.


Become a Google Certified Trainer

This will be our first cohort in our collaboration with Google for Education. Not only will you receive a COETAIL certificate in 1 year, you also have the opportunity to become a Google Certified Trainer!


2 Credit Options

Need continuing education credits? Heritage Institute has you covered.
Prefer a non-credit option? We have that too!
See our Program Policies for more details.



Ryan (Online 8 Instructor) will be with you every step of the way. We’ve got an entire team (and even more behind the scenes) ready to support you during your COETAIL journey. And don’t forget about the amazing COETAIL community!


Have a question? Comment below or contact us via any of our social media accounts or using #COETAIL.


Register today to join Online 8 & start the Orientation Course!


The beginning of new cohorts is our favorite time of the year and we’re ready to welcome new educators into our amazing community…will you join us?

New Cohort Begins June 19th!

First COETAIL with GET Cohort

Starting in June, we will begin our first COETAIL cohort incorporating our new collaboration with Google for Education. Participants can choose to take COETAIL and fulfill the requirements to become a Google Education Certified Trainer at the same time!


Graduate in one school year!

Over the years of running COETAIL one of the biggest feedbacks we have received is trying to fit the entire COETAIL program into one calendar year. Our second biggest feedback is to run courses over the summer. So we have combined these two requests into Online8. This Cohort will begin June 19th, 2017 and be completed on May 6, 2018. Please note that because of the shortened timeline of completion, courses 1 through 4 will each be 6 weeks with no break between courses 2 and 3.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Make sure you read the Program Policies page. It is vital that you understand the COETAIL philosophy and are aware of the cost of the program.
  2. If you are going to take this program for credit read through all the Heritage related materials found on the Program Details page.
  3. Check the Class Schedule page to start putting your own calendar together. You can also subscribe to the Google Calendar to the right.
  4. Payment for each course will need to be made before getting access to the materials for that course. Make sure you understand how payments work and the late payment or withdrawal fees.
  5. Once you’re ready, fill in this registration form (also embedded below) and we’ll get you started!

Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Past students have told us that the courses take approximately 10 hours a week.
  2. You will be required to write 1 blog post per week, 5 comments on other blogs, and 1 final project each course.
  3. You can expect the learning curve in the first course to be very steep as we set up systems that will be used throughout the program.
  4. You can expect, like other COETAILers have stated, for this to be the best Professional Learning Journey you have ever embarked upon.

Register today to hold your spot for the coming cohort