Course 5 Final Project: My COETAIL Learning Journey

The final version of my Course 5 Final Project is here! I have titled it My COETAIL Learning Journey because most of what I have learned through the course of this program is demonstrated in my final project video. My project itself is explained in quite a bit of detail within my video, so I will spare you those details for now. First, I’d like to highlight some important points.

Use of Technology

My final project video shows obvious evidence of technology use in my classroom. I have chosen to show examples of technology use at each level of the SAMR model – technology that both enhances AND transforms my teaching practice. Within this particular unit, as you will see in my video, the technology used by my students (and myself) allowed for the creation of new learning experiences, made possible by current technology not previously possible. Such examples include using the various capabilities of Google Docs and the creation of a video documentary.

Active Learning

Student-centered activities were at the heart of this unit plan (see below). Using a Google Doc as their notebook (including much of the functionality that comes along with such an app), actively engaging in a Socrative quiz, participating in an online game, and creating a video documentary allowed my students to become independently and actively engaged in their learning process nearly all of the time. Especially with the documentary, students were asked to make most of the decisions for this project on their own, and I was surprisingly pleased with the results!

Classroom Management

The classroom management piece may be the least obvious component as you watch my final project video; however I can honestly say that I have had very little classroom management issues during this unit. I attribute this to the fact that I was actively aware of what all of my students were doing. I was able to freely interact with my students and personally challenge them as they worked. I was also able to connect with them through their Google Doc notebook and the Google Doc that they were using for their documentary project. This unit plan was very well thought out and organized, thank you to the fact that I was able to work on the planning of this project during course 4! During the course of this unit, my students worked in the classroom area, the lab area, and the learning commons (library), which gave them a variety of spaces in which to work creatively. We also invited the librarian into our classroom, as well as visiting her in the library to help us with finding relevant resources, properly citing our sources (especially for the documentary project), and using a resource called Noodle Tools.

School Technology Standards

The ISTE Standards for students have been authentically embedded into their learning experiences during this unit as you will see in my final project video, as well as in the embedded unit planner above. Students were informed of these standards in the beginning of and throughout the unit. The chosen standards are appropriate for this content and age group, and they have been assessed during the unit.

Authentic Assessment

Their were two major products within this unit among many smaller formative assessments along the way. These two products were: The Energy of Evaporation Lab Report and the Documentary Video Project both of which effectively match to our learning outcomes. Both of these assessment tasks reflect real-world application of learning. The lab report allowed the students to communicate like real scientists communicate, and the documentary project allowed the students to create a meaningful video that could inspire others to change how they treat our planet earth. Students were inspired by a documentary that we watched earlier in the school year, titled Before the Flood. Here are some of the documentaries created by my students :)

Copyright

As you will see in my final project video below, I have included citations for all images and sources that were used to create my video. I also required the same of my students for their video documentary project as evidenced in their rubric for the project. I didn’t feel completely confident imparting this information to my students alone, so I asked our librarian (as previously mentioned) to help me with this task before my students began their project. Our librarian did an absolutely amazing job explaining copyright and fair use guidelines in a way that our students could easily understand.

Visual Literacy

I am hoping that this visual literacy piece is evident in my final project video. My classroom lessons, as well as this video have been enhanced by effective use of visual literacy strategies that I have learned about in my COETAIL courses. The video documentary project is the second video project that our students have completed in grade 9 science this year, and we went over some of these important strategies after the first video project when we realized that we really needed to! We also went over the importance of specific visual literacy strategies for creating a video documentary and how that might differ from any other videos that the students create. A documentary has a specific purpose, and our students were challenged with creating a video that effectively communicated their message.

Now, presenting my Course 5 Final Project Video…

Final Reflection

In conclusion, I can honestly say that I am very happy to be done with this project! The COETAIL courses and the final project itself have proved to be quite challenging for me in many ways. I have learned a lot through the duration of these courses, and I believe that I am a more equipped teacher as a result of having taken these courses. It, for sure, was time well spent. My hope, as always, is to continue being a lifelong learner, especially in regards to technology! I warmly welcome your comments below :)

@PamelaRampley

To be completely honest, even the thought of creating AND keeping up with a Professional Learning Network (PLN) gives me cause for anxiety. I use my laptop mostly for work and COETAIL and not much else. When I am not at work or not working, I prefer to keep my laptop lid closed. Even when I am working, my 2-year old daughter reminds me of this by closing my laptop for me 😉  Sometimes, it’s even difficult for others to get a hold of me because I usually don’t have my phone with me. I am definitely NOT one of those people who just can’t seem to put down their device. And I do take a bit of pride in being this way, so needless to say, building an online PLN has been quite the challenge for me, to say the least.

Like all other COETAILers, I am involved in the COETAIL community through blog posts, comments, and discussions, but aside from that, I have also ventured out into the world of Twitter. As is evidenced in one of my previous blog posts from Course 1, before COETAIL, I tweeted all of two times. This is a true story, but now, I am starting to get it. Before COETAIL, I really had no idea what Twitter was and what you were supposed to do with it. Now, all of that has changed, or it is at least starting to!

Communication

Since that fourth COETAIL blog post where I tried “tweeting” again, I have tweeted many times for a variety of reasons – personal, COETAIL, AIS-R professional learning, etc. This NEVER would have happened if it wasn’t for COETAIL. I was inspired to give it a go once again as I was starting to realize how important online PLNs can be, especially for teachers.

Of course, I have engaged in one-sided interactions or have attempted to start conversations that didn’t really go anywhere with Twitter and other social media platforms. COETAIL blogs and commenting have been such a great way for me to start practicing HOW to actually include myself in such conversations. On the lookout to find a meaningful, more conversation-oriented online group, I found #nesachat. NESA stands for the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools. This Twitter chat runs every other week on Tuesdays. I recently became involved and started participating in these chats, and I have found them to be fun, practical, and useful in my everyday teaching :)

Participating in these NESA chats has allowed me to have a conversation about a specified topic, connect with other educators in our region, and it’s become an excellent way for us to share ideas and resources on a regular basis. Although the educators that participate in these chats are not always the same people, many are from the same schools, and we are all from the same area of the world. Through this medium, I have been able to ask questions,

answer questions,

— Pamela Rampley (@PamelaRampley) March 7, 2017

connect,

and reflect about my practice, all of which was inspired by concepts and ideas shared within the COETAIL community.

As evidenced in the Storify slideshows that follow, I have been able to engage in back-and-forth conversations via Twitter. #nesachat has allowed me to actively build a PLN in an appropriate digital space beyond just commenting on COETAIL blogs.

Consistency

I have participated in the last three NESA chats. The first one I participated in was on February 7, 2017, and I have been engaging in these discussions each time they have occurred, which is every two weeks. The next NESA chat is scheduled for this Tuesday, April 4, and I plan to continue engaging in these discussions even after my COETAIL courses have finished.

February 7, 2017 #nesachat – Professional Development That Works

 March 7, 2017 #nesachat – Visualizing the “Ideal” High School Graduate
March 21, 2017 #nesachat – Crisscrossing Curriculums

Reflection

Like I said in the beginning of this blog post, I am not that person who is constantly tweeting or posting on Facebook and Instagram, but since the start of COETAIL, I have definitely upped my technological use for educational and professional purposes. Although I don’t consider myself a true techie (yet), I do see the benefits and importance of immersing myself (to some extent) into technology. I have found a new, exciting, and meaningful way to engage in continuous and sustainable conversations with colleagues from near and far thanks to COETAIL and Twitter! I warmly welcome your comments below :)

In the Midst…

Yes! We have started our new NGSS unit, Systems and System Models with our grade 9 students, and so far, so good! I want to use this next blog post to organize my thoughts and get some feedback from you before I get too deep in this unit and project.

My Ideas

https://www.pexels.com/photo/idea-bulb-paper-sketch-8704/

My idea for the organization of my video is to highlight each part of the SAMR Model and demonstrate, through a variety of means, how I am achieving each part of the model with my students and how it is impacting their learning. So, the idea is to spend about two minutes on areas of my unit plan that involve 1) no tech, (and the following parts of the SAMR model) 2) substitution, 3) augmentation, 4) modification, and 5) redefinition. Below you will find some of my examples for each area.

No Tech

There will be certain aspects of this unit that involve absolutely no technology. One example of this that I may showcase is the “carbon cycle discussion and poster.” This activity will represent the “before” picture of what our students understand about the carbon cycle before doing any research or getting any kind of instruction on the concept. I am choosing to include this in my final project video, even though it doesn’t represent how I am incorporating technology into my lessons, because I wanted to get student feedback on the use of technology vs. no technology for certain classroom activities. Now on to some tech talk…

By Lefflerd (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Substitution

This part of the SAMR model is when “technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change.” There are some aspects of this unit that definitely exemplify this part of the model. One example is posting a case study and lab handout that we used in class to Moodle (our online learning forum). Instead of printing out the case study and lab handout for each student, we, essentially, posted it online so that all students had access to those documents. Another example would be using a Google Doc as their “notebook” for this unit. Instead of doing their classwork in a notebook, my students are using a single Google Doc to house all of their information and resources (data collection, images, links, etc.) pertaining to this unit. And the best part is they can’t exactly “lose” it!

Augmentation

This part of the SAMR model is when “technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.” One example of augmentation from this unit is a Socrative “Space Race” quiz. We used this activity as a diagnostic quiz at the beginning of this unit. Instead of printing a quiz and handing it out to each student individually, we allowed them to work in small groups on their computer to answer the questions. On the screen in the front of the room, students could visualize how many questions each group had answered and how many questions each group had gotten correct. It created a bit of competition among the groups, and our students were WAY more engaged :)

Modification

This part of the SAMR model is when “technology allows for significant task redesign.” Now that I know about the SAMR model, I am constantly thinking about how I can improve my classroom practice so that I am striving to use technology in a manner more indicative of the modification (and redefinition) stage of the SAMR model. For this unit, we have included the use of The Carbon Cycle Game. It is an online “game,” where you travel through the carbon cycle as a carbon atom based on your answers to each question. This is definitely not something that the students would be able to do without their computers. We haven’t used it yet, but it is planned for this unit. And I am very excited to see how it works out!

Redefinition

And last but not least, this part of the SAMR model is when “technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.” I believe that we have two clear examples of redefinition in this unit. The first example is not only using Google Docs as their “notebook” for this unit, but the fact that it is shared with me so that I have access to all of the students’ “notes.” I have the ability to comment, chat, and edit their work in real time, as well as the ability to check their revision history. Such functions were unheard of not so long ago. The second example is a product that we are having the students complete toward the end of the unit, which is to create a documentary. They will be creating a documentary on the relationships among the Earth’s systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity. Without their computers and certain software, there is no way that my students would be able to take on a task such as this one!

Now What?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gumuz/7340411

Well…now that I am in the midst of it, that’s what I have so far! I believe that we have a pretty solid plan for this unit that successfully incorporates a variety of technology in a meaningful way for our students. But I want to know what you think! What do you think of my categorizing of the planned activities? Is any of my categorizing mislabeled? What could I add/delete/modify to make this unit plan better? Luckily the unit has just started, and I have a bit of wiggle room if needed! I warmly welcome your comments below :)