Category Archives: Course 4

Summer is almost here!

Congratulations!

You have now completed the first four courses! As we wrap up the last bits and pieces of Course 4, I wanted to wish you all a fabulous summer holiday. I’m looking forward to hearing about your travels when we catch up again next semester.

Course 5 Highlights

For those that are really thinking ahead, a few things to remember about Course 5:

  • Course 5 runs the entire fall semester from September 8th to December 7th. This is to allow you enough time to actually complete the project and have time to reflect (and collect student samples and feedback).
  • Your final project will be in the form of a 10-minute video. These videos will be shared publicly on your blog, as well as featured on various COETAIL forums – like our G+ community.
  • Your Course 4 project should have given you a few options to choose from for your Course 5 project. As you settle back into your routine in August, that would be a good time to select which project you plan to actually complete.
  • As you work through your Course 5 project there will be no formal blogging prompts. Writing about your project is a great way to keep up your blogging practice.
  • The other element in Course 5 is to document the growth of your personal learning network and how you are contributing to your personal online community. This is also a great topic for blog posts.

More details about Course 5 will come in September, but hopefully this will get you started thinking.

#waikiki by superkimbo, CC Licensed on Flickr

Week 6: Finishing Course 4!

Woohoo! You’re almost there!

Welcome to Week 6!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 5″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 5 blog posts and 5 comments
  • recorded the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • Begun your final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

Catching up and Wrapping up

Good news! Week 6 is time for you to catch up on any missed work for Course 4 and to wrap up your Course 4 final project. If you haven’t had a chance yet, now is also a great time to catch up with other participants blog posts and leave comments as well.

Course 4 Final Project

As you prepare your Course 4 project, you’ll want to think about how you’re moving towards redefinition. The ultimate goal will be for you to actually teach this project next semester, so thinking about practicalities is also important. As you develop ideas and sketch them out in your Course 4 final project blog post, try to include as many details as possible – not only so that you are thinking through each idea, but also so that you can get quality feedback from other COETAILers. The purpose of this final project is to give yourself time to think through several options and get feedback, so it’s certainly worth taking some time to really flesh out a few different ideas.

Final Project Collaboration

You are more than welcome to collaborate with another COETAILer on your final project. However, please remember that your actual blog posts (in Course 4 and Course 5) along with your Course 5 final project must be individual.

Final Project Inspiration

In the last week or so, I’ve read a few articles and watched a few videos that struck me as interesting inspiration for your Course 5 project, so I thought I’d share them here:

Preparing for Blogging in Course 5

It’s worth mentioning that there will not be weekly question prompts in Course 5. You’ve had lots of great practice with blogging, and the prompts are there to help you if you’re not sure what to write. Now that you’re almost finished with COETAIL, your topics for your blog posts in Course 5 will be up to you. This will be a great opportunity to take your blogging practice and really make it personal – you can choose to focus on your Course 5 project, or you can share learning that’s happening in your classroom, or you can write about whatever interests you. Hopefully after Course 5 finishes, you’ll stick with the blogging as a way to reflect on your own learning – one of the perks of COETAIL is that you get to keep your blog as an alumni!

Course 5 Project Examples

Note: I’m reposting this here from Week 3 just in case you haven’t had a chance to look at them yet since you will probably be focused on your final project ideas this week:

If you’d like to see some examples of Course 5 projects, the YIS cohort has just finished up. You can watch their presentations – part 1 and part 2 – (which were livestreamed on Hangouts on Air), or read the (very thorough) recaps they wrote on their blogs. A few highlights were:

You can see lots of others on the COETAIL site, and join the Course 5 Google+ community to see what other COETAILers are talking and thinking about.

Week 5: The Technology Rich Classroom

Welcome to Week 5!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 4″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 4 blog posts and 4 comments
  • recorded the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • had a read through of the final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

The Technology Rich Classroom

Many of us are working in 1:1 schools (actually, last week, we began our trial of a 2:1 learning environment at YIS – iPad Mini + MacBook Air 11″ for all grade 7 students at YIS- if this goes well, we’ll continue next year). We are (or are becoming) comfortable with students having at least one device in the classroom, and we know we can use those devices to enhance the learning that happens both in the classroom and outside. However, working in these environments does require some different kinds of thinking about the way we manage time, distractions and use of devices.

At YIS, we have a shared set of expectations for all students in our Connected Learning Community (1:1 program), which work really well for us. The key being that we model some specific behaviors related to balance (no laptops at break or lunch, except in designated supervised workrooms), and that we continue to revisit and revise our strategies based on what students and teachers need.

In order to help our families develop those skills as well, we facilitate a monthly Parent Technology Coffee Morning for those parents. One of the most commonly requested sessions is one on managing distractions and maintaining balance. We often recommend that parents mirror our classroom at home – one of my favorites is the idea of a tech break. This session has become so popular that I’ve created a whole resource wiki for parents at YIS and other schools.

This list of strategies and practices that works for YIS, might not work at your school – every community is different. What kinds of strategies are working well in your classroom? Does your school have expectations as a whole? What’s working well?

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Week 4: The Future of Learning

Welcome to Week 4!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 3″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 3 blog posts and 3 comments
  • recorded the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • had a read through of the final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

The Future of Learning?

Such a fun topic! So much to explore and so many different perspectives. Of course we’ve all heard about the many ways that our current school system is failing our students, and back in Course 1 we looked at some big ideas for re-imagining what school could be, so this week we’ll explore some learning strategies that are becoming more and more popular and may have an impact on the way we think about schools.

Badges

The idea of badges is not new, but the development of digital badges, allowing verification, tracking and recognition across schools and universities has become quite a hot topic (and very polarizing). For an overview of (as they claim) everything you need to know about badges in the classroom, check this article from The Journal.

One of my favorite organizations (and a great source innovative thinking) HASTAC also has a great introduction:

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We’re developing badges for COETAIL right now, so it will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the concept – would you put a COETAIL badge on your website?

MOOCs

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Massively Open Online Courses – I know a number of our cohort participants have been involved in several MOOCS (Bart has blogged about his experiences quite a bit) so this should be a very interesting discussion. What happens when universities start “giving away” their content (taught by their professors)? What happens when students can design the perfect program of instruction from outstanding universities, without paying for anything, and receive a verified digital badge as evidence of completion? Or is this isolated learning environment doomed to failure?

Global Collaboration

Working in international schools we know the value of understanding different cultures, and how our experience living in different countries may change our own perspectives on the world, but what if you never left your home country? The concept of connecting students to their peers in different countries, to learn, collaborate and create together is one way that teachers are helping students develop those cross-cultural skills that are often quite common in international schools. If you’re interested in starting one of these projects, you might find this post helpful: A Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaboration. I have lots of other resources here on my Connecting Classrooms Across Continents workshop wiki too.

One of the most well-known examples of these kinds of projects is Flat Connections (formerly Flat Classroom Projects), managed by Julie Lindsay. YIS was lucky to host the Flat Classroom Conference last year and we had some amazing student-produced globally collaborative service projects proposed:

Connectivism

Now that you’ve experienced the majority of the COETAIL program, hopefully you’re getting a good feel for connectivism. If you’re ready to start implementing some elements of connectivism in your classroom, here’s a great introduction to what that could look like:

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And a great example from a TOK class in Hawaii (side note: I visited this school when I was in Hawaii for Christmas – looks like a lovely place to work if anyone is interested in moving back to the US!).

Looking Ahead to Course 5

Hopefully these different learning styles that we’ve been exploring the last few weeks have inspired you! This is a great time to really start thinking about your Course 5 project to see how you might implement one (or some) of them in your final project. If you’d like to see some examples of Course 5 projects, the YIS cohort has just finished up. You can watch their presentations – part 1 and part 2 – (which were livestreamed on Hangouts on Air), or read the (very thorough) recaps they wrote on their blogs. A few highlights were:

You can see lots of others on the COETAIL site, and join the Course 5 Google+ community to see what other COETAILers are talking and thinking about.

Week 3: Current Learning Strategies

Welcome to Week 3!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 2″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 2 blog posts and 2 comments
  • recording the URL of the post and comments you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 4 tab
  • had a read through of the final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

Exploring Current Trends in Learning

I’m sure that in many of your schools, at least someone you know is testing out a flipped classroom model, using Minecraft, or finding ways to embrace play in the classroom. These three are perhaps the most common learning strategies that have become quite popular in recent years. COETAILers from every cohort have developed projects using these current trends, some so successfully that they have transformed their entire classroom.

Reverse Instruction or Flipped Classroom

For a short overview of the Flipped Classroom, check out this introduction (and this network of educators, full of great resources)

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We just had our YIS Course 5 Final presentations this past weekend (watch them here, and here), and quite a few of the presentations featured a flipped classroom model that, for those teachers, really revolutionized their classroom. Have a look at Philip Arneil (who created his own definition of flipped classroom and it’s amazing), Jana Tanagawa (who used the flipped classroom model to ensure that her students kept learning while she was on an extended sick leave), or one of the many other COETAILers sharing their interpretation of the model.

There is lots of debate about this model, and for me, the jury is still out. I love using mini tutorials for my students especially when I know they will want to refer back to the material over and over again, but I’m not a fan of lecture in any format (in person or via video), or the idea of taking a content heavy class and just delivering it at home instead of during the school day. One of the things that makes me feel more comfortable with the idea of a flipped classroom is the feedback that students have given including (this list is from the IBO):

  • videos should be no longer than 10 minutes
  • videos should be natural and include the normal mistakes that teachers would make when speaking in front of a class (ie: no excessive editing, just record and upload)
  • videos should reflect the teacher’s personality – jokes and side comments are appreciated (ie: just asking students to watch Khan Academy videos is not the same as a flipped classroom model)

Game Based Learning

Another one of my favorite TED Talks (and a great book) is Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal:

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Although Jane is talking about gaming on a much grander scale in her TED talk, this is a great place to start thinking about the power of games in the classroom – and not just playing games, but transforming the way we teach and learn with game-based-learning strategies. Adrian Camm (a Learning2Leader for the last two Learning 2.0 Conferences) has a fantastic compilation of resources for those interested in learning more. Here’s his Learning2 Talk from last year to get your started:

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Here at YIS, our Humanities teachers, Rebekah Madrid (one of our awesome COETAIL instructors) and (my husband, and COETAIL graduate) Alex Guenther, have been using Minecraft with middle school students in lots of interesting ways. Here’s Rebekah’s Learning 2 Talk from last year:

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And one final video about Minecraft in education from PBS Idea Channel (one of my favorite YouTube channels – tons of great stuff there!)

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And Alex’s final project for COETAIL:

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I know both Rebekah and Alex (and Adrian) love to talk about these projects – so feel free to connect with them on Twitter if you have questions!

Play

It’s usually easy to see how play can be an integral part of the classroom in early elementary, but thinking about play in middle or high school can be challenging for some. There has been lots of discussion lately about the value of play all throughout school in order to build problem solving skills and develop innovation. Here’s Tony Wagner at TEDxNY talking about that very topic:

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For some research about play (from Henry Jenkis at USC) as well as a framework for thinking about play in learning, check out Project New Media Literacies. If you’d like to read more, this whitepaper out of the same group is really interesting. For a practical look, Rebekah has been experimenting a lot with play in her classroom as well.

More Great Learning Opportunities

The last few weeks have been extra busy at YIS. We just hosted our fourth annual #beyondlaptops conference (where it was great to see one of our Online1 colleagues, Robert), and it was once again an outstanding learning experience. Lots of conversations were started, particularly about creativity and design, that might be interesting to you. We’ll be hosting it again next year (and participants will once again be limited to 40 people attending in teams of 2 – 4) so if you’re interested in joining, please check out the website and add your info to the survey.

Prior to #beyondlaptops, we hosted the first #edcamp in Tokyo (although technically it was here in Yokohama), where it was great to meet up with Bart and Dwayne. Another day of interesting conversations in an informal learning environment. If you haven’t had a chance to attend an unconference event (like an #edcamp), it’s definitely worth checking out!

And for one that hasn’t happened yet (probably more helpful, right?), registration for Learning 2.0 will be opening this week. By far the most innovative and engaging learning conference in Asia, if you haven’t been to #learning2 before, I highly recommend you give it a try! This year it will be at NIST in Bangkok in October, and we’ll be hosting our first event in Africa in Ethiopia at the end of September. Both events will be outstanding!

Week 2: Going Old School with “Past” Learning Strategies

Welcome to Week 2!

By now you should have:

  • read and completed all readings in “Week 1″ in Course 4 under “My Courses
  • written 1 blog post and 1 comment
  • started using the “Course 4″ tab of your grading spreadsheet to record the work you’re doing
  • recording the URL of the post you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 3 tab
  • recording the URL of the comment you would like assessed as part of COETAIL on your grading spreadsheet in the Course 3 tab
  • had a read through of the final project for Course 4 – again, different from previous courses, this one is designed to help you start thinking about your Course 5 project (coming up soon!)

Blast From the Past: PBL & CBL

This week focuses on established learning strategies project-based learning and challenge-based learning. So they’re not really that far in the past, in fact these learning strategies are still relevant today and can be combined with many of the current and future ideas we’ll be looking at in the following weeks (which is why we’re starting here).

A solid understanding of these strategies and why they’re so powerful will be really helpful as you begin to explore with some of the newer approaches. Fostering student independence, working toward student-centered learning, and building up to longer term projects will all provide support for differentiation and creativity both with and without technology.

One of my all-time favorite books on this topic is Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe (there’s one chapter available for preview on the ASCD site, or you can purchase on Amazon). If you haven’t already explored this one, I highly recommend it!

Because these pedagogical approaches are quite well established, there are tons of great resources available (some of our favorites are in the readings for this week). One “non-traditional” example is Caine’s Arcade:

One of the things I enjoy about teaching in a project-based classroom, which my MYP Technology class always is, is the opportunity to fail, to learn from mistakes and to try again. When we have that overarching goal or purpose, particularly one that is individual to each student, there are so many chances to be independent in our learning and take risks and explore. This short mini-documentary from Honda explains the power of failure really well:

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And, this TEDxTalk from Diana Laufenberg, currently at SLA, highlights the value project-based learning, and failure, as well:

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And one more for the mathematically inclined, Dan Meyer’s TEDxTalk, Math Class Needs a Makeover:

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Hopefully these examples can help you start thinking about your own Course 5 project opportunities too!

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Welcome to Course 4!

We’re in the home stretch! With courses 1 – 3 behind us, we’re really going to get practical with courses 4 and 5, bringing all of your COETAIL learning together with a strong focus on pedagogy in course 4, and the practical implementation of all of these ideas in course 5.

Course 4 Overview

The focus for course 4 is exploring some of the different pedagogical approaches to using technology in the classroom. The course is structured so that we start by looking at the big ideas and concepts behind technology integration, including the SAMR and TPACK models (in week 1), then we move into the most widely known pedagogical approaches organized into “past” (week 2), “present” (week 3) and “future” (week 4) to give us an idea of where we came from and where we might be going, and then wrap up with a look at the technology rich classroom (in week 5).

It’s great to discuss some of the concepts we’ve talked about in passing in more depth, things like flipped classroom, game based learning, badges, and of course connectivism comes back around again! You’ll be happy to know that we’re back to our standard week 6 “catch up” time so you can wrap up course 4 and get moving on your course 5 project!

Just like last course, you will need to complete:

  • 1 blog post per week for each of the 5 weeks of the course
  • A final project (see more details about the final project after the Week 1 readings)
  • 1 additional blog post reflection on your final project  – for a total of 6 posts
  • 1 comment per week for each of the 5 weeks of the course – for a total of 5 comments

All of these items should be documented on your grading spreadsheet – please use the Course 4 tab of your spreadsheet.

Some thoughts from Course 3

What do you think? As you write your blog posts, remember that it’s your thoughts, your ideas, and your application of the weekly readings that will be interesting to other participants (and readers beyond our immediate community). Because all of the articles are available online, just linking to them is enough of a summary, then share your ideas so we can get your unique perspective.

Get practical! One of the most common highlights for our participants is the chance to actually implement so many of these ideas directly into their classroom, particularly during course 4. So, as you write your posts, please share with us how you’re trying out these new ideas, how your students are reacting, and how it’s enhancing (or not) the learning in your classroom. Although you may currently be writing these posts as “homework”, you may be surprised at how many people are reading them, and will come back to them time after time. The practical posts that describe what’s happening in your classroom are usually the most relevant and useful for others (and for you, too).

Building Your Community: As we start looking ahead to course 5, one of the key elements of this program (as you already know) is to help you build your own professional learning network. Finding the people that help push your thinking, contributing to the conversation, and reflecting on your learning can be the most effective, relevant and powerful professional learning that you have. In course 4, you’ll still have the standard weekly blog prompts (that you can use only if you need them), and as we move into course 5, you’ll be selecting the themes for your posts, as well as reflecting on your community involvement. If you can start thinking about these ideas in course 4, you’ll be well prepared for our next step!

Preparing for Course 5

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Rick van der Wal

It seems kind of crazy to be thinking of course 5, when we’ve only just started this course, but it’s good to keep in the back of your mind which of our course themes and ideas you really want to delve into for your final project. It’s also really important for you to have a strong understanding of SAMR model, which you will be exploring this week. Your final COETAIL project will have to demonstrate how you have used technology to redefine your classroom –  to create tasks that would be inconceivable without the computer/tablet/etc.  I will be helping you get ready for the final project throughout course 4 and sharing a lot more information as we go, so stay tuned for more updates.

Understanding Technology Integration

Many, if not all of us, are working in schools where technology is integrated into the core curriculum (meaning students don’t take technology as a separate class, or even if they do, it’s expected that key technology skills will be taught within the core content, “just in time” as a natural part of learning in today’s world). Often the system has been set up before we’ve arrived, or maybe we haven’t had much input into why students are learning this way. This week is all about why schools are integrating technology and how they’re doing it. For one of my favorite examples, check out this introduction to High Tech High in California:

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