Week 3: See What I Mean

I am beginning to see a theme…after last week where I was waxing lyrical about visible thinking routines now I am hooking you into the importance of creatively visualizing our ideas and data to enhance understanding and communication.

But before we delve into some visual thinkery, I want to celebrate some of the posts that have started to roll in for Course 3.

  • Andrea has added a splash of minty freshness with her contrasting colours in background, font and headings. Here are the awesome results below

  • Cindy has stripped back on the colour and simplified the information that she wants her blog readers to see first. Check out the fantastic streamlined results.
  • Melanie  has thought about how her readers can navigate around her blog site and making it easier to hone in on her message by using bullet points, shorter sentences and images that help to tell a story.
  • Simon has been experimenting with using images that not only help to share his message but also break up content into manageable chunks. He has also “started to use the preview button on WordPress to look at what my post will look like before I post it.” Great idea!
BACK TO IT

Photo by Binit Sharma on Unsplash

BACK TO IT!

As I was saying before, this week we are thinking about:

  • Effectively visualizing complex ideas and data is important in our content-rich world.
  • There are many different ways to communicate ideas, knowledge, and connections.

There is so much data and information that we are able to access with a click of a button (on any subject matter that you care to delve into – Jamie Vardy’s 100 premier league goals is a personal favorite of mine but you may not want to spend 55 minutes of your life watching this!)

So, how do we turn data into something accessible and usable to all of us? How do we share the data that we want to share? How do we tell the story behind the data?

This is a great video that unpacks some of these questions and how we use design principles to create meaningful data visualization. Because information is truly beautiful!

There are many ways in which we can represent the information that we want to share to our audience and Keri-Lee Beasley’s “Design Secrets Revealed” are a wonderful resource to begin thinking about this. As is Kathy Schrock’s infographic resources which give you practical ways of getting students to use ,and create infographics in their learning.

There are a heap of digital tools that can help you and your students create infographics. Canva is one of my go to tools when creating posters, infographics and breaking information into chunks. An alternative is Piktochart, which is really user friendly and allows you to turn heavy content into a visual story.

If creating infographics feels like a push right now, how about visual note taking instead? It is way more fun than creating notes, it enhances memory and improves understanding.

Or how about getting students to create their own memes?

Your turn…

Create an infographic to effectively & creatively communicate an idea or data. What is the purpose of your infographic? Who is the intended audience? 

Write a blog post reflecting on the creation of your infographic. Don’t forget to embed it! Some questions you might consider: How did this creation process differ from others? How did the purpose and intended audience impact the final product? If you used this infographic in a lesson, a presentation, or on your blog, how did others react to it? How did it impact their understanding of the idea/data/concept?

Getting ahead of Ourselves: Thinking about the Course 3 Final Project

You are required to collaborate on this project to deepen the experience of a globally collaborative project. Below are several options, however, the most important aspect of this project is the concept of global collaboration, not the content.

Each member of the group should be part of our COETAIL Cohort, but the more diverse you can make your group, the more realistic your global collaboration experience will be. Ideally, your group will have 3 to 4 participants and be made of participants outside of your school. Part of your challenge will be to communicate with the other members of your cohort to determine who might be interested in collaborating with you. How did creating groups for the Course 2 final project go? What might you need to change in order to better facilitate global collaboration this time around?

Like all COETAIL assignments, the intention of this project is to give you time and purpose to create something you will actually use so that you can continue transforming your learning environment in a way that is right for you and your community.

Although this final project is collaborative, you will each need to write your own individual, original reflective blog post with your unit plan and learning experience slidedeck embedded.

  • Option 1
    • Create a unit planner based on the enduring understandings of this course that support students in becoming Creative Communicators and Global Collaborators (ISTE Standards for Students 6 and 7)
    • Choose one learning experience from your unit plan and develop it to the extent that you could facilitate it
  • Option 2
    • Create a 2-4 hour professional development program based on the enduring understandings from this course that support educators to grow as Collaborators and Facilitators (ISTE Standard for Educators 4 & 6)
    • Choose one learning experience from your PD plan and develop it to the extent that you could facilitate it
  • Option 3
    • Propose a group project to me! The project must have relevance to teaching and learning and the enduring understandings of this course.

Please note: You are NOT required to facilitate the unit plan/Professional development before the end of this course. But if you are able to, we would love to know how it went!

This week:

  • Ensure that you have published week 1 & 2 blog posts
  • Ensure you have added the URL for posts to the gradesheet
  • Ensure you have commented on at least 2 other blog posts (from weeks 1 and 2) and added links to gradesheet)
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Week 2: Facilitating Collaboration

This week we are delving into a real favourite area of mine…the art of facilitating collaboration. I truly believe how we create these opportunities to learn with and from each other is such a crucial part of being an educator. When we make time for these collaborative moments on a regular basis it gives our students and colleagues an idea of what we value. And I really value collaboration.

Creating these structured opportunities for collaborative learning facilitates deeper understanding.

Setting up time in our busy schedules to sit down and learn from each other is a really valuable time as it supports some of the collaboration skills that we need students to develop during our time with us. These moments are ways in which we can embed the IB’s Approaches to Learning or Kath Murdoch’s Learner Assets into the heart of our day. Giving students (and colleagues) the opportunity to refine our collaborative skills and open our minds to other ways of thinking.

“Listening and questioning are the basis for positive classroom interactions that can in turn shape meaningful collaboration, which can then build a culture of thinking. At the heart of these two practices lies a respect for and interest in students’ thinking.” Ron Ritchhart

At the heart of this idea is that effective educators need to be facilitators, collaborators, and co-learners.

There are a variety of tools and strategies that can help and support these collaborations, whether it be in person or virtually. I love to use Visible Thinking Routines as a way of structuring these collaborative learning moments. They can be used in person in class (here is a peak into some documentation I did as Kindergarten Teacher around our inquiry into celebrations) and also virtually too. Using these routines virtually there are a whole heap of options; from Bookcreator, Pear Deck and my personal favorite Padlet.

Carol Geneix, and Jaime Chao-Mignano at Washington International School have put together a resource page in which thinking routines are matched to appropriate online tools. Check it out here.

Of course there are other ways in which we can structure collaboration. The Harkness protocol is a great way to empower students too. Parlay ideas is tool which you could use to help document the conversation. Flipgrid is also a wonderful tool that allows us to learn from each other asynchronously, around a prompt, question or protocol.

However we structure the collaboration or the tool that we use, it is important to remember that we want students to be talking, sharing and learning from each other. Technology can allow us to connect with diverse ideas and people. Some of the themes that you will see in your readings are global connection, collaborating asynchronously, and the representation of social identities. But use technology wisely because we know that it can limit student discussion—or encourage it.

This Week:

Facilitate a structured learning activity/discussion in your classroom or school (either virtually or in person.) Which structure/protocol/routine will you choose? How will you communicate your expectations and the process? How will this experience challenge students to use a design process and practice computational thinking? How will you incorporate technology in order to enhance/deepen the experience? How will you demonstrate cultural competency?

Write a blog post reflecting on the experience of facilitating a learning activity/discussion. Some questions you might consider: Which structure did you choose? What topic was explored? Which ISTE Standards for Students were the focus of this experience? How did technology enhance the experience? Did you have any complications with technology? How did you co-learn with students? How did this experience support collaboration, design and computational thinking?

If you have not yet, please take a few minutes to complete the Mid-Program Survey. Your feedback matters!

Don’t forget to read the posts from your cohort peers and leave meaningful comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 1: We Are All Designers

Welcome to Course 3! I hope you are well and have managed to enjoy some kind of break during the summer months. It has been a strange time to be a teacher as many of our usual Summer activities may not have been possible. Personally we have remained in Panama and are still in lock-down, nearly 6 months after the pandemic started. Whatever you did I hope that managed to get some down time away from a screen.

This is the course where we take a deep dive into all things visual. Over the next 6 weeks of this course we will aim to build understanding in the following key areas:

  • How to use the design and layout of information to influence effective communication
  • How different information mediums require different strategies when organizing information and communicating effectively
  • Using infographics and data visualizations to tell complex stories
  • How the audience and purpose behind your communication affect how and what you communicate

After all, we are all designers.

But how do we define visual literacy? According to Merriam-Webster, visual literacy is the “ability to recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visible actions or images.” visualliteracytoday.org explains that it is the “ability to read, write and create visual images. It is a concept that relates to art and design but it also has much wider applications. Visual literacy is about language, communication, and interaction. Visual media is a linguistic tool with which we communicate, exchange ideas and navigate our highly visual digital world.”

I really value this short video from Toledo Museum of Art who asked the attendees at the 47th International Visual Literacy Association were asked to define “visual literacy” in their own terms. It shares some different perspectives on what visual literacy is to them. What is it to you?

In week one our focal point will be ISTE Standard for Educators 6.d: Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

You will explore questions related to how you see visual media and your own design habits. You will also dig into some great resources explaining how design principles affect the way we perceive media.

There are lots of wonderful resources that can help to deepen our understanding about many of these principles. This article called “6 principles of visual hierarchy for designers” from 99designs does a really good job of explaining this both visually and with written word. Alternatively this infographic explains some of the numbers behind “How People Read Online”

One of my favorite concepts to consider when looking into design elements is the set of principles designers use called CARP. Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity (not to be confused with CRAP). One of my favorite resources for learning more about CARP is the ebook created by Keri-Lee Beasley called “Design Secrest Revealed.”It’s a clear and visual explanation of each principle and a great way to develop an understanding of basic design concepts.

This weeks tasks:

  • Plan a redesign of your COETAIL blog to make it more aesthetically appealing and easier to navigate (assuming you have no limitations). Choose 1 change to make.
  • Write a reflective blog post explaining your choices and design considerations. Include images and before/after screenshots.
  • Comment on at least one COETAIL-ers post and add the URL to the grade sheet.
  • Don’t forget to check out the GET tab if you’re going for the dual certificate!
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Welcome to Week 6!

We made it! The past few months have been an interesting time to be an educator! Schools around the world have closed their doors and been operating in virtual environments, because of emergency closure. We are beginning to see schools reopen and come out the other side into our “new normal.”

At the same time of grappling with all this, you have been delving into the world of COETAIL and have swept through Course 1 and 2. We hope that the concepts and skills that we have been reflected upon have helped you throughout this process. Wow, that is impressive!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I have absolutely loved this course and the opportunities that you have all shared about what you are doing in your virtual classrooms, or in some cases, what you hope to do next time in either your digital or real classroom. The readings and resources sparked some really interesting discussions and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how your thinking has evolved.

Our efforts to lead by example with respect to our digital lives is so important and your students and colleagues are so lucky to have you guiding them through this ever-changing landscape.

A couple of things that have caught my eye in the past week or two, have been:

Shalene shared the importance of getting out of the way of students and let them be amazing… ” We can empower students to use technology to positively impact the world by allowing them the creative liberties to express themselves within the mandated curriculum. Giving students choices and options to demonstrate their learning is one way that can empower students.

Simon explained how different it is for his students compared to his time growing up, in connecting with his peers. “My students told me that they use TikTok to create and share videos dancing or lip syncing to songs with each other. It’s great to hear about them being creators and admit to geeking out over a social media platform. Thinking back to when I was in school, this all feels a long way from monochromatic text messages sent from my Nokia 3310 or meeting up with friends on MSN messenger.”

Holly reflected that even though her students are young, it is vital to begin to teach them at a young age about posting information online . “Seven-year-olds may not yet be ready to fact-check news articles or find original sources for posts online; however, they can begin to hear about the concept of people posting false information online.”

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

As always, week 6 is for catching up on posts (the last few hurdles) and comments and getting your final project posted. Finding a way to embed the project in a blog post is ideal, but if your project doesn’t lend itself to being embedded then you can get creative.

Ensure that your blog post introduces and explains your project to your reader and features your reflection on the process of collaboration. I am excited to see what you have created!

Your checklist reminder for this week:

  • One blog post for each week of the course (5 in total)
  • One additional blog post reflecting on your final project (for a total of 6 posts)
  • A final project embedded into your last blog post for Course 2
  • One comment for each week of the course (for a total of 5 comments)
  • Course work is due May 31st 2020

Please keep in mind the late work policy that COETAIL has on the main site. I am able to be somewhat flexible if circumstances outside of your control are causing you to run a little over, however, this means feedback will be limited.

Have a great couple of weeks!!

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Week 5: Becoming Contributors

Looking back…

Welcome to Week 5! So far, Course two has proven to be extremely thought-provoking. I find your blog posts allow me to make connections, ponder new ideas and think of questions to consider every week. Here is just a sample of a few quotes I found particularly interesting about the importance of; modelling, understanding our students, age appropriate “social media” and the importance of sharing with others.

Obviously, we also need to be role-model for young people: giving a few classes on the importance of providing citations in their projects and essays but failing to apply it ourselves in school would be detrimental to the message.

Christel Toiler with Respect and Remix, hand in hand!

Now I realize how important it is to understand the generation we are teaching: Generation Z. We need to be able to support them in their learning journeys in a way that is relevant to their attitudes, dispositions, and passions with a system that feels authentic and meaningful to them. Ultimately, we need to be held accountable and responsible for the world each generation builds for the next. If we do so, maybe in a few years, they won’t be flabbergasted by the way the world sees them.

Luis Moreno with Gens X, Y, Z… not as easy as 1, 2, 3

During Distance Learning, Seesaw was where the students posted their completed school work. I gave feedback about their work as comments on their posts. The students wrote messages to each other on their work too, especially those who really missed the in-person social interactions we would have in the classroom. For my students, Seesaw is the most age-appropriate way they can socially interact with their classmates.

Erika Tabor with Course 2, Week 2: Social Connections Then and Now

As I was scrolling (a.k.a. lurking) through the Teachers College Writing Workshop Facebook Group, I came across a post from a teacher looking for a second-grade Poetry Unit. Perfect! I had just finished teaching mine and I was proud of the unit I had put together (It was the one I used for my Course 1 Final Project). I quickly linked my unit in the comments and was excited to see how many teachers wanted to use it.

Andrea Goodrich with A lesson learned

Positively Contributing 

This weeks topic is about “Becoming Contributors.” It’s all about making positive connections in our local and global communities. Students today have access to so many wonderful platforms to share and connect. It makes sense that we as educators model what it means to have a positive and contributory digital footprint by having our students take part in some kind of global learning initiatives online. 

Image by Joel Bevans

This concept is something that I am very passionate about. When I was a classroom teacher I was constantly looking for authentic ways to connect with other classes around the world. Now when I am working with teams of teachers I encourage, guide and share some ways in which we can do this. These could be projects that I have taken in before or new projects that emerge.

These big ideas were also part of the catalyst for my COETAIL (Course 5) Final Project, Travelling Tales. The premise of Travelling Tales is simple. 5 classrooms sign up and then take turns adding to a shared story through Adobe Spark Video. Each Tale is unique and based around The UN sustainable development goals.

The stories have a wonderful narrative where we get to hear students voices, see their pictures and make connections about what they are learning. Tales have been created by students as young as 4 years old to 18 years old and they have been created in Russian, Spanish, French & English.Check out some of the Travelling Tales on it’s YouTube channel. The big picture for Travelling Tales is promoting creativity, collaboration, and global connectedness.

Image by Joel Bevans

Global Projects

To get your juices flowing this week I want to highlight some of the amazing educators (and some former COETAIL-ers!) around the world that are leveraging the power of social media to get their students participating in building positive connections. These projects not only help students see the value in using social media for good but also build empathy by connecting them with people in other parts of the world.

World Read Alouds is an awesome project started by Sean Forde in Incheon, Korea. He started World Read Alouds so kids all over the world could use the power of Flipgrid to read stories together.  It’s an initiative that promotes global connectedness and the value of literacy.

Pana Asavavatana is a former COETAIL-er and early childhood educator who was looking “to find authentic ways to connect her class to the world.” She began The Travelling Teddy Bear Project in 2014 with the intention of combining the connections we make in the digital world with tangible objects that kids could see and touch (Teddy Bears). Every year, teachers sign up their classes all over the world. Teddy bears then travel the world visiting those classrooms. When they arrive at different schools, classrooms participate in various forms of digital communication like Twitter posts, blog posts, and creating videos to share their visit.

Pernille Ripp created The Global Read Aloud in 2010, with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. From its humble beginnings, the GRA has grown to make a truly global connection with milllions of  students having participated.

Another resource...I created this Padlet for a workshop, at a Learning2 Conference, that I was running a while back. On it are links and projects that have been added by others.

These are just a few examples of some of the wonderful things you can find teachers and students doing in connecting beyond school or classrooms. You may have your own personal favourites too. Please feel free to add them to the Padlet.

SPARK

Looking at these projects there is so much possibility! Do you see how you may be able to spark empathy through digital connections? How can we empower students and other stakeholders to use technology to positively impact the world?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Some housekeeping items:

By now you should have 4 blog posts and 4 comments in your gradesheet for feedback. If you are running behind that is ok. As long as you have all your work completed by the deadline on May 31st. Keep in mind that late work will be subject to limited feedback. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.

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THINK : Course 2 Week 4

The great Aretha Franklin is launching Week 4 of Course 2, with her aptly named song “Think”. If like me you like to read and listen to music. Then I might suggest opening this song up in a new tab and reading this weeks blog. If you don’t like to read and listen, save it for it later!

Aretha sings these words and these are going to be pivotal in our thinking this week:

Think about it (think)You better think (think)

Think about what you’re trying to do to me

Aretha Franklin – Think
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

You may be thinking how does this relate to COETAIL. Well this week we continue to build upon the ideas of respecting the remix, evolution of connections and finding balance as we THINK our responsibility, as educators ( and good humans!) in spreading factual information. What this means is critically examining information before sharing and positively interacting online. It’s a topic heavily connected to media literacy and digital citizenship.

Put it simply we need to THINK before we post.

So what exactly is Media Literacy?

There is a lot of connections and crossover between terms like digital literacy, media literacy, and informational literacy being used. They definitely intersect, but this might be a good time to share the differences and similarities.

DQ institute (which is a great organisation to explore if you have not heard of them before) describe media and information literacy as “The ability to find, organize, analyze, and evaluate media and information with critical reasoning.

Media Smarts, another fantastic resource for all things surrounding the fundamentals of digital & media literacy explain that “Media Literacy is all about “being able to access media on a basic level, to analyze it in a critical way based on certain key concepts, to evaluate it based on that analysis and, finally, to produce media oneself.” Media literacy is not limited to digital media alone, but rather all messages we consume in a variety of media platforms.

Cornell University defines Digital Literacy as “the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet.” It encompasses many of the traditional literacy skills such as consuming and producing information but adds the layer of technical skills and digital know-how that students need in the 21st Century.

The American Library Association defines Information Literacy as a “set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” It encompasses both digital and media literacy. 

The graphic below from the ALA shows the intersection of various literacies within the information literacy landscape.

Coonan, E., & Jane, S. (2014, April 29). “My dolly’s bigger than your dolly”, or, Why our labels no longer matter. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from https://librariangoddess.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/my-dollys-bigger/ 

What I really value about this image is the way that it blends awareness, meaning making, communication, ethical choices, and evaluation with the way that you interact with our many literacies.

When exploring this weeks topic you will be thinking about how your students can responsibly consume and share information online. Also, think about experiences you may have had or steps you may be able to take to model digital and media literacy skills.

I am going to end this blog post like I began with Aretha Franklin’s message.

Photo by Joël de Vriend on Unsplash

Hey, think about it!

You, think about it!

Aretha Franklin – Think

What role will you play in promoting curiosity and truth?

Finally, don’t forget to let me know if you need any help with the Course 2 Final Project. This could be getting in contact with other members of our cohort to join forces Or it could be to bounce some ideas around.

I can not wait to see what you create through global collaboration!

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Week 3: Finding the Balance

Ahh balance…. Certainly this is something that currently is getting hard to find! For me distance learning means too much screen time, too many virtual meetings and too little balance between home and school life! I am sure you are all feeling elements of this too.

Thinking back…

Before sharing my thoughts on this weeks concepts and reading. I wanted to give a few shout-out’s to some of the awesome posts that I have read in the past couple of weeks around the concepts of copyright, remix culture, communication and connections. Keep them coming!

Luis offered some glimpses into the things that we need to consider during distance learning to do with copyright in “Doing Copy… Right!“Let us peek at a glimpse of the simple planning life of any educator in today’s reality…Start my online conference using the platform that my school has implemented. If the tool allows the use of a custom virtual background, chances are I’ll want to use a different and fun one other than the default ones. Is that image/photo mine? I find among my personal library a picture book that matches perfectly with the theme of the day and decide to read aloud online for the students. Is this book out of copyright?”

Melanie explained in her blog post COPYRIGHT AND REMIXING that “at my grade level, I’m not concerned about students profiting from their created work. I’m concerned about them using someone else’s work as their own. It’s more about academic honesty and helping students feel safe enough to show what they know.”

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Simon told us about a time that someone stole his photos and posted them on Facebook in Copyrights and wrongs. “In some ways, I suppose my ego should feel a little inflated by this, however, I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to my ability as a photographer. Instead, I felt a little hurt that I didn’t receive any credit for my original photographs or at least a message asking if he could repost them.” I wonder how others feel when do not credit our sources too! The internet remembers!

Julija shared her thoughts on remix culture in To Copy or Not to Copy… “We are learning from the best authors, artists, singers, composers, educators, business managers, personalities and explore their best works as examples. Remixing culture is inevitable.” You really want to check out Lithuanian remix artist Jolita Vaitkutė‘s website that has a host of remix-ed portraits and art. Thanks for sharing Julija!

Katya reflected in her post Evolution of Connections about just how communication changed. “Back then, we had to go to see our friends because not everybody had a simple home telephone, and we spend hours to speak and to play together in a real place and real-time. Nowadays the young generation communication transformed from real life to virtual reality, they use different social platforms to communicate, search the news, get new knowledge in a variety of areas (drawing, cooking, fashion, new heroes, new movies, games, news about celebrities, memes, etc.)”

Anyway on to Week 3 and lets think about how we try to find a balance with our digital presence.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Finding a Balance

This week we will be focusing on ISTE Educators Standard 3dEducators model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.

In our virtual learning environments that most of us are currently involved, this is a vital concept to think about. During our online meetings with students (via zoom, Meet, Teams etc) what may this look like ? OR When students are sharing their learning with others what might this mean? OR Can I share this lip-dub with the world that the school recently created?

It’s all about finding balance with our digital presence. You will reflect on how educators can maintain privacy while still contributing in a meaningful way to online communities. This may be different depending on where you are in the world, and the limitations you face in your particular school.

For example, some schools have restrictions or policies surrounding how we share student thinking and learning with others outside of your organization. Another thing to consider is how does GDPR effect data storage and retrival for your school?

You may also face specific guidelines surrounding how you express your opinions while still representing your school (Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer!) You may want to consider exploring the policy (or lack thereof) your school has when it comes to social media. If your school doesn’t have a policy surrounding social media and online sharing, what might you consider as a series of guidelines for both professional and student sharing in online spaces?

After all, sharing classroom experiences has proven to be worthwhile in building connections beyond school walls and creating authentic learning experiences. By sharing and learning from others in social media spaces, students build empathy and global understandings. As an educator, I have gained so much from my PLN and share frequently while still abiding by some best practices like not sharing the personal information of students. This is definitely a worthwhile topic in an ever increasingly connected online world.

A Few Reminders

Final Project: You are required to collaborate on this project to have the experience of a globally collaborative project. The most important aspect of this project is the concept of global collaboration, not the content.

Each member of the group should be part of our COETAIL 12 Cohort, but the more diverse you can make your group, the more realistic your global collaboration experience will be. Ideally, your group will have 3 to 5 participants and include at least 1 participant outside of your school.

Part of your challenge will be to communicate with the other members of your cohort to determine who might be interested in collaborating with you. How do you connect with others? Where might you go to make or look for connections?

Finally: By the end of this week, you will want to have 3 blog posts and 3 comment links posted in your gradesheet. We have a little extra time for this course so just let me know if you are running behind.

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Course 2 Week 2: Evolution of Connections

Technology has changed how and who we are connected to. Gone are the days of making connections with the aid of a carrier pigeon or a message in a bottle. Now we have the ability to connect with anyone who has access to technology within a matter of seconds. Gone are the days of making mix-tapes with cassettes (more of that later) and sharing them with friends 3 days later. Now we can create art (music and theater) in real time with colleagues who are based around the world.

The rise of social media has been rapid. It is a key form of communication, bonding, friendship among people today. It is fair to say that social media has changed the way we interact with one another. It is hard to imagine that just ten years ago it was not nearly as widely used as it is today, nor did it have quite as much of an impact on the world around us as it currently does. The birth of the internet and social media networks have given rise to totally new ways of communicating and even larger networks of people to share with.

Thinking back to my time growing up I used to spend hours making mixtapes consisting of a mashup of radio songs that I liked. I would record them, occasionally add my own DJ voice, and then share them with my friends. This is an example of how I was curating, remixing, and creating in a 1980’s participatory culture.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

A lot has changed since the days of the mixtape. Mixtapes are no longer made on boom boxes, but now sophisticated online sharing communities like SoundCloud. Allowing creators to share their own works, as well as remixed versions of others and to connect with like minded music fans from around the world.

“Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement.” 

~Henry Jenkins

YouTube, one of the most popular platforms on the planet, gives people of all ages the ability to create their own content and become an “expert” in their chosen area of interest. Children and teens today have “more power in their hands than in any previous generation.” This can be both a positive thing and a negative thing, as many of us have often considered. As teachers, I’m sure many of us have seen how popular YouTubers can have a huge influence on students. YouTube has become so prevalent in children’s lives that it is “helping to shape the ways that young people form their sense of themselves and the world around them.” 

Image by Methawee Krasaeden from Pixabay

Which makes me wonder…How do we, as educators, promote and support a culture of participation in our schools? How can we give students the opportunities to practice the skills that they need to be successful in participatory culture?

“If it were possible to define generally the mission of education, it could be said that its fundamental purpose is to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, [Creative] and economic life.”

New London Group (2000, p. 9)

This week we will be focusing on the impact technology has on our social interactions and the nature of communications. Here are some of the questions that you might want to consider:

  • How is the way your students communicate with their friends similar to the way you connected with your friends when you were a child/teenager? And as an adult?
  • What did you used to think about students and social media? What do you think now?
  • How and why are social interactions and communication changing?
  • How do you use social media in your classroom? How do students learn to communicate in digital spaces in your class?
  • How have the recent school closures (because of the global pandemic) changed the way that you and your students are using social media?

RSS Readers

A number of you have reached out and asked about RSS Reader and how best to set it up. Here is a little video of how you might use Feedly (my preferred tool) to make your workflow with COETAIL a little easier and not miss out on any of our #COETAIL12 cohort blog posts.

If you already have a RSS reader set up, then no need to watch the video. After watching the video please let me know if you need any help and support with setting up your RSS Reader.

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Course 2: Week 1 Respect the Remix!

Reflecting on our community of learners.

Welcome to Course 2! Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the amazing Course final projects that you created. Some of you were planning for next school year, others were creating plans that were (or are in the process of being) implemented during distance learning, because of school closures.

I really enjoyed reading about all of the amazing ideas you had and seeing how you thoughtfully embedded technology into your plans. I was also pleased to see that you were reflective of your Course 1 understandings and took the time to consider the right ISTE Standards to connect to your learning goals.

I was also incredibly impressed with the level of engagement the Online 12 community had in commenting and connecting with one another, throughout the course. It was always so exciting to see you spark discussion with each other and build both friendships and great professional connections. If you have not had a chance to look at some of the final projects then try and take a look at one or two in the coming days.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

A thread, which I noticed, through many of your projects was that the concepts, skills and ideas from COETAIL were helping and supporting you in this Virtual Learning journey. Remember we are a community of learners who are supporting each other with ideas, resources and tools. If you need any help and support then please reach out.

I am going to reiterate a message that I shared with you via email that…Perhaps COETAIL can be a place where we connect our ideas at a time when what learning looks like and feels like is being reimagined. In this critical juncture, perhaps the big ideas can be at the center of this reimagining.

This should be seen as a beautiful opportunity to live without the shackles of a bricks and mortar institution that has hemmed in so many ideas and productive learning moments already.

Ewan Mcintosh,

Kicking off Course 2! Literacy in today’s world

In Course 2, we will be shifting our focus from ISTE Standard 1: Learner to Standard 3: Citizen. Standard 3 is all about educators inspiring students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world. Throughout Course 2 we will be exploring how to make positive and socially responsible choices online, reinforce media literacy skills by critically evaluating online resources, and developing a greater understanding of how we manage our digital identities and personal data.

Week 1: Remix!

Week 1’s big idea is all about respecting the intellectual property of others, which then supports a culture of innovation and remixing.

Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

remix is a piece of media which has been altered or contorted from its original state by adding, removing, and changing pieces of the item. A song, piece of artwork, books, video, poem, or photograph can all be remixes. The only characteristic of a remix is that it appropriates and changes other materials to create something new.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remix

I love a good remix! Whether it be remixing songs so that they sound even better (Tori Amos, ‘Professional Widow’ (Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix anyone??) OR changing a piece of artwork OR changing other peoples photographs OR authors remixing ideas from other authors! In can be sais that everything is a REMIX!

As educators, it’s our responsibility to model the ethical use of resources so students see how to properly give credit to content creators, artists, writers, etc. Your task this week is to explore how we can responsibly use online information and reflect on the ethical use of other’s content. Return to your previous blog posts and assess them for copyright and proper citations. Reflect on your use of resources and images and consider the following questions for reflection:

  • Do we as a global society need to rethink copyright laws?
  • Do you see this as an issue in your school?
  • What’s our role as educators in copyright usage in schools?
  • How can you inform your students and peers about the importance of proper citation?

The resources provided in your course tab are extremely useful for learning more about the tools and information available to educators surrounding copyright. In particular, I am a big fan of the Copyright Flowchart created by Langwitches blog. It’s a great visual representation of the important rules to follow when using information you find online. It’s also a great set of takeaways for those who create original content of their own. We are in an age where many students grow up wanting to be online content creators, so understanding how they can protect their own digital contributions is of equal value.

Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay

COETAIL 11 instructor, Tanya LeClair has created a fantastic poster that may be a helpful resource to share with your students (and colleagues), during online learning. It uses QR codes to link to Creative Commons Zero image sites. Feel free to take it and use it yourself as a way to model more responsible sourcing and citations of the images students may use to share their learning. In addition, you may find this playlist from Edutopia with a list of videos looking at copyright and remixing helpful.

Reminders:

  • If you have not finished all of your Course 1 assignments you will not be able to begin Course 2
  • Remember to check your blog for comments and approve them as soon as you receive them. Other participants may be using the comment as a part of their mark.
  • Ensure that your post uses hyperlinks to connect to Internet resources cited
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Week 6: Course 1 Final Project

Building our community

These are unprecedented times. Over 70 countries, around the world, have announced or implemented the closure of educational institutions in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Of course this is not a new thing. Some schools in Asia have been closed for nearly 8 weeks, already. For others they may have closed in the past week. And some of us are getting prepared to move to continuous learning.

Whatever stage you are at with distance learning, please understand that we are all in this together. We can support each other with resources, tools and ideas. The #COETAIL community and your growing PLN are great sources of inspiration, who believe in the power of connections. So please reach out if you have a question or a challenge in our “new normal” of continuous learning. We are all in this together!

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Catching Up…

This week I have felt like I have constantly been catching up!

  • Monday- Day planning our new Inquiry Based Units with ES Social Studies and Science leaders
  • Tuesday – Travel with Grade 5 team to Chiriqui,Panama, over 500 km away from school – for a 4 day “without walls” experience. Then our school was told to close because of the pandemic.

Since then it has been a roller coaster of emotions. Supporting a school community to distance learning, suddenly, when you are not there in person has been interesting! It was certainly a way of using tools, authentically, using distance learning tools such as , G-Suite, Zoom, Padlet etc.. We are in day 3 now of distance learning and we are slowly catching up!

As we move into the final week of this course I am sure you are probably feeling like this too. After catching up with your posts yesterday, I hope you can look back on your posts and feel a sense of accomplishment in the work that you have produced and shared so far.  

Simona reflected that with online learning and “This week was quite successful because I could learn from my experience. Based on my results of the previous experience, how much information should I give, and reduce the vocabulary and examples for the little ones, and encourage them enough to be motivated to create and give their best? I learned to mention they’re good results in our shout outs and virtual assemblies and virtual talent shows at the end of the week. To post on the weekly newsletter some of their artworks to feel proud by themself and gain more confidence, that they have an “authentic audience”.

Holly shared that she is really thinking about how she is using technology because of the readings and prompts in Course 1. “We’re thinking about how to appropriately use technology with our students by first thinking of the learning objectives and what we want our students to learn. In the past, I have explored new technology with my students by trying them out. It was more of a technology for technology’s sake.”

Erika is getting prepared for distance learning with a variety of G-suite tools. ” I plan to utilize the following Google tools during distance learning: Google Classroom to share lessons and photos of anchor charts; the daily lessons will be put into a Google Slides deck which will be uploaded to Google Classroom; to track students’ work and which students I meet with virtually I will use a Google Sheets spreadsheet that the ES tech integrationist has made a template for; the teachers will be using Google Meet to have face-to-face interactions with the students daily. “

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).

March 22nd is the final day to ensure you have completed all Course 1 requirements:

  • 6 blog posts (including your final project/blog post)
  • 5 comments on other participant blogs
  • Links to blog posts and comments added to your gradesheet

Your blog post this week is slightly different as you don’t have to reflect or comment on any readings, but you should write something to introduce your unit plan and explain why you chose this as your final project. Some questions to consider:

  • If you have built on an existing unit, what have you changed and why?
  • If you started from scratch, how did you decide on this unit? 
  • How does this relate to the learning in Course 1? 
  • What outcomes do you hope to see when students complete this learning experience/unit?
  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

Two important reminders for those of you pursuing GET certification:

  • Your final project should make use of Google tools that support learning.
  • You may choose to create a unit of inquiry from the perspective of a trainer of teachers. You can use the technology standards for teachers that you use at your school or the ISTE Standards for Educators.

We have provided you with a UbD unit template, but if you are more comfortable with a different unit planner template please feel free to use it. We really want you to be able to use this time to put together (or enhance) a unit that you will actually use with your students. So do what you can to make this unit usable! Here’s a link to the project rubric that will be used to assess your final project.

Embedding the Google Doc into your blog post can be a little tricky so please take some time to review this helpful blog post on how to embed a Google Doc into your post.

Categorizing

As we reach the end of course 1, one of the things that can help in keeping a check on our posts is by using categories on our blogs. Think of it a little like cleaning and organizing your house, as you prepare for some new furniture (Course 2)!

This tutorial shows how to make pages show posts from certain categories and assign them to top menu in WordPress. Happy Categorizing!

Virtual Elbow Bump!

J slick / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

I want to thank everyone for doing such a wonderful job during Course 1. I have been inspired and excited to see the enthusiasm and hard work put into each and every one of your blog posts.

You are clearly a caring group of educators looking to grow with one another and I loved seeing the connections you have made throughout the last 6 weeks. As we finish up course 1, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns about the final project. I look forward to seeing them!

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