Course 5: Change as Opportunities

It is hard to believe that we are nearly 4 weeks into our final course of COETAIL. As schools continue to reopen and then close, all over the world, I am reminded time and time again the importance of looking after ourselves, our students and our work colleagues.

Personally, my school is attempting to begin the reopening process. After 354 days of virtual learning all teachers will be allowed on campus tomorrow (March 1st). Then we will welcome back our students on March 8th.

Whatever your scenario is right now I hope you are doing OK. Please know that whatever your current school situation then the COETAIL community is here to help and support you.

As with all change then there is also opportunities.

This week I really enjoyed reading Michael Fullan’s new paper “The right drivers for whole system success”. It offers a roadmap for the future and how we make changes in our systems to create better tomorrow.

Michael Fullan, “The right drivers for whole system success”

“The best stance we can take is to know that almost, everything will be different. In short, this prolonged ambiguity creates a tangible opportunity to make positive change happen.”  Michael Fullan, The right drivers for whole system success

I wonder how your C5 projects might include some of these drivers for success?

Making a start

Getting started with C5 is a little daunting at first. The course feels a bit different from others as you are not pointed on the direction of materials or asked guiding questions. Instead you can choose what you write about. My advice for you, if you have not yet started is find something that you are working on right now and start documenting the what, the why and the how in the form of a blog post.

If you want to sneak peak into how others of our community have started to blog in C5, then check out a few of these posts to get you thinking.

Simona wrote her first post of C5 and it was centered around the preparation that she is making for her Final Project which is about creating a Museum for her students.  “In Preparation for ISB Museum/ The Researcher”. It is great to see how Simona is documenting the process of getting the Museum up and running with images, videos, and written reflection. I have a feeling that doing this will really help when the time comes to make the final video reflection for C5.

Luiz took some time to share his thinking around social media and especially Twitter. I enjoyed reading his thoughtful reflection about ways in which we can use technology to connect to a larger audience and to other sources of information and inspiration. He end the post with some great questions. I am sure he would love for you to continue the conversation. “What is the best way to get the most out of Twitter? What tips or advice do you have? Is it about followers or the use of hashtags? Who do you like to follow on the platform?”

Cindy Kaardal “My COETAIL journey”

Cindy is taking the opportunity to move through the design process in creating one strong lesson that incorporates technology to transform learning. She is focused on asking her students to give feedback to each other using the 6+1 traits. Her second post focused on the idea of bringing clarity to what she was asking her students to do. She shared information from Julie Dirksen from her book “Design for How People Learn” and reflected on the types of objectives. The final objective is as clear as crystal!

Whatever your current scenario I hope that these blogs might help to kickstart your Course 5 journey. 

Next time out I will be writing about the different video tools that we might be wanting to use to put together our final projects.

Course 5 Considerations – What should you be doing right now?

  • You should be thinking about the 5 blog posts required for the course and how you might space those out over the time you are given. Please see the Online11 calendar for dates.
  • Throughout the course, please comment and link in the gradesheet
  • You are continuing to work on your final project. Check out some previous Course 5 projects here!

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash


Time to Bring it All Together!

Course 5 is here and there has been so much learning along our journey’s so far. It is hard to believe that a year ago we were getting to know each other with our first blog posts.

Fast forward 12 months and it is time to bring it all together with your #COETAIL final projects. I am so excited about seeing it all come together in  the culmination of all of the things you have learned throughout your COETAIL experience!

Photo by palesa on Unsplash

Your Voice!

Course 5 is all about you, and how you will be showcasing your understanding of the ISTE Standards for Educators and your personal journey as an educator. The subject of your blog posts will be up to you as will reflect your individual thoughts and experiences as an educator. They will also be reflective of your current teaching environment (in person, from a distance or in a hybrid environment) and tailored to your unique challenges or successes as an educator, right now.

That’s one of the things that makes COETAIL so exciting….with educators coming from countries spanning the globe, we get to hear so many perspectives and viewpoints on what is happening in our schools and classrooms and learn together.

Course 5 Components

  • Blogging: 6 posts in total. 4 on a topic of your choice, 1 about community engagement & involvement, and one about the final project. (See the My Courses tabs for more details). There aren’t due at certain times, however it is expected that you post throughout the course to show how your thinking may be evolving throughout the course.
  • Peer Comments
  • Final Project (check out this awesome YouTube playlist of projects)

Here is an example of a final project created by COETAIL’er Matt Broughton. 

There are some great ideas in “8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content” from CopyBlogger. One of the things to remember is that readers are impatient and thus the importance of employing scannable text.

What can you do to engage your readers so they lean into your content, stay on your pages, and interact with your information?

Since we covered it so long ago in Course 1, it might be good to revisit now. Here are a few tips to remember when writing for Course 5!

  • Break up walls of text. Don’t forget to add images into your post to break up those overwhelming larger paragraphs.
  • Don’t forget the headers! Share ideas in separate chunks of text and include headers about them to help the reader scan your post easily.
  • Use lists and bullets….but not too much. Including short lists can aid in readability but ensure you aren’t overusing them. Ask yourself if your ideas can be shared in a list form at any point.

Here we go!
As usual, please let me know if you have any questions about your Course 5 final project and how I might be able to help!


Week 5: Putting Deep Learning into Practice

This week is all about ACTION!  We will be relating some of the frameworks, concepts and big ideas to what this actually looks like in practice. Some of you have already featured how you are putting deep learning into action by showcasing some amazing learning moments, lessons and units.

Cindy explained that in Studio 4 students have “C.A.R. Time.” (Choose, Act, Reflect)  and that as a result of listening to Brene Brown she wants her students to go deeper.

“My hope is that by learning about these concepts, they will become better humans moving forward into the future. More confident. More courageous. More vulnerable. Failing more. And learning to grow from all of these experiences.”

Simona reflected on giving students leadership roles, authentic learning and fostering creativity as students designed Winter Postcards.

” (Students) created Winter Themed postcards and we advertise per Seesaw to the parents creating online shopping opportunities for the parents before Christmas. The funds were donated to the Angel Tree.” 

Andrea found inspiration, from Cindy’s week 3 blog post and redesigned an upcoming Math unit. 

In an effort to work towards teaching with Deep Learning in mind, I created this Math Unit with lots of inspiration from Cindy’s week 3 blog post while keeping Michael Fullan’s description of Deep Learning Tasks in mind.”

This right here is the power of COETAIL!  Learning and growing from and with one another is what COETAIL’ers do.

Pedagogies in Action

This week we are delving into more acronyms in our bid to think about what deep learning really looks like, feels like and means for our students and ourselves.

Challenge Based Learning (CBL)

This multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning  encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems. The approach is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with other students, their teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to develop deeper knowledge of the subjects students are studying, accept and solve challenges, take action, share their experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues.

Project Based Learning (PBL)

Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product or presentation for a real audience. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.

Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

The terms “virtual reality” and “augmented reality” get thrown around a lot these days, thanks to the resurgence of VR headsets  the use of AR apps and games like Pokemon Go. They sound similar, and as the technologies develop, there is certainly some connections. However they are two very different concepts, though, with characteristics that readily distinguish them from one another.

Games Based Learning (GBL)

According to EdTechReviewGame-Based Learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world.

Design Thinking

This approach to learning leans heavily on collaboration, and problem solving. The design process is a structured framework for identifying challenges, gathering information, generating potential solutions, refining ideas, and testing solutions. It can be used a long term project/course/unit tool or for a single learning opportunity or activity.

Blended Learning

This is something that we are very familiar because of COVID-19.  School closures,  working remotely and in person with students has certainly been pretty real to all of us in 2019 and 2020. The Christensen Institute defines it as: 

“A formal education program in which a student learns:

II_disruption_figure_1_v4_matchpdf_newat least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;

at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;

and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.”

Phew…that is a lot of different structures and frameworks that you might have heard during professional learning  or in your collaborative conversations with colleagues.  I am sure that you can see that there are some similarities and differences between these approaches, which are all based around the big idea of fostering deep learning.

Some questions that you may want to consider in your reflective blog post are: 

  • How might you assess & measure the impact of deep learning pedagogies?
  • Which effective new pedagogies might you implement in your practice?
  • What might that look like in your context?
  • How do you support students in becoming “independent, autonomous learners able to effectively design, pursue and achieve their own learning goals and personal aspirations as well as master curricular learning goals?”
  • What do learning frameworks and new pedagogies look like in your classroom/school?
  • Which methods have you implemented before?

By the end of this week you should:

  • Have 5 blog posts completed and linked in your gradesheet
  • Have 5 comments linked in your gradesheet
  • Continue working on your Course 4 final project
  • Be thinking about your Course 5 project and how you might get the process started now.


This is your last week of integrated Google for Education Training! What steps do you need to take in order to become a Google Education Trainer? How might we support you?

You should work through Units 6 & 7 of Google for Education’s Certified Trainer Training:  Integrate Google Tools in the Classroom & Deepen your Knowledge of Google for Education. How might you integrate Google tools in your practice to support student learning?


Week 4: Unleashing Deep Learning

Welcome to Week 4! This course is flying by isn’t it?!? I have been so impressed with the depth in your reflections. You are being thoughtful about considering educational technology frameworks and new pedagogies, and how they can and do translate practically to your classrooms. Here are a few examples of how you have fostered deeper learning.

Julija explained the importance of “Being an expert in both – teaching subject and technology is great, but collaboration can be even more effective…(for example) designing 3D prototype of race car, printing it out using 3D printer, assembling it and testing its speed to analyze and understand physics laws, and most probably.. comparing your model’s performance with one of you classmate’s – all of this raises students’ motivation really high. This is a time- and effort-consuming process but it gives a lot of benefits.”

Erika reflected upon technology has supported deep learning with her students. “Thanks to technology, students can take more ownership of their learning by finding the resources online on the topic or curricular content they are learning.”

Luiz created a hilarious post littered with Portuguese idiomatic expressions, which has you thinking and laughing together. He certainly has the “the cheese and the knife in his hands.” Check out his awesome Educational Philosophy too that relates to a lot of what Michael Fullan is explaining in “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning.”

Unleashing Deep Learning

This week you will be exploring the idea that technology alone does not promote learning. You’ll reflect on the ways in which type of technology supports deeper learning and how you might personalize learning experiences to accommodate learner differences. A helpful starting point might be to take a moment to reflect upon the ISTE standards for Educators. 

  • 5.a. Educators use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • 5.b. Educators design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

“For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

As I think about these standards I am able to make connections to the ideas that Paulo Freire introduced to us in his seminal book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”  Freire describes five ideas that he believes are important for dialogue.

  • Humility
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Critical thinking

I believe that these ideas are not only fundamental for dialogue between teacher and student, but for learning in its broadest sense. Brene Brown talks in her SXSW video, about The Four Pillars of Courage and how “a daring classroom is a place where both teachers and students commit to choosing courage over comfort.” According to Brown, courage can be developed if these four pillars are present:

  1. Vulnerability
  2. Clarity of Values
  3. Trust
  4. Rising Skills (The ability to get back up when we fall)

When we welcome failure and find the value in discomfort we will be willing to try new things. By modelling this as teachers, and being partners in learning something new, we are showing students we have courage. I am curious to see your thoughts on some of the ways we might foster deeper learning through the modelling of courage in our classrooms, and how technology might play a role.

How might technology support this mindset? How does/might your practice, and the tools you use, promote the choice of courage over comfort?

This week you will be writing a reflective blog post about content and concepts from the week. Check out the My Courses assignment tab for guidance on some of the themes and questions you might want to consider.

By the end of this week you should:

  • Have 4 blog posts completed and linked in your gradesheet
  • Have 4 comments linked in your gradesheet
  • Continue working on your Course 4 final project
  • Be thinking about your Course 5 project and how you might get the process started now.

GET Participants

You’ve almost finished the integrated Google for Education Training! What steps do you need to take in order to become a Google Education Trainer? How might we support you?

You should work through Unit 2 of Google for Education’s Advanced Training: Leverage Learning Models to Personalize Learning. How might the concepts from your COETAIL courses support you in personalizing learning for your students and colleagues? How might you use SAMR to guide professional development that you design?


Week 3: Learning Deeply, Digitally

We are at the halfway point of Course 4. So far, you have been exploring different frameworks for technology integration, as well as ways in which human connections make deep learning possible. I have enjoyed reading your blog posts, seeing your digital creations and getting an insight into what teaching and learning looks like in your unique settings.

Holly Mashburn CC 2020

Holly created a variety of  great  visuals in her Week 1 blog post, including this one that has tech at the bottom of it because “it shouldn’t be the first we think about.”

Katya reflected upon her technology use not only with SAMR and TPACK but also with her overall confidence in using technology. I wonder where are you using this scale?

Simon shared that he is pushing for ways to use technology is above substitution and augmentation. He mentioned that he is “starting to see more opportunities for going (at least) one step beyond substitution with tech integration that will support my students’ progress.”

Deep, equitable learning is our responsibility

This week we are thinking about the importance of providing deep learning tasks. I value the way in which Daniel Pink explains about deep learning. He says that we what we are really doing is providing “purpose” for our students. And that is something that we all are striving for in our schools and classrooms.

Michael Fullan goes even further in “Rich Seam” and shares the importance to think about how we can get students to:

  • Practice the learning process
  • Create new knowledge
  • Use new knowledge
  • Apply future skills
  • Display proactive dispositions

As we plan for rich learning opportunities these are great reminders to keep in our minds. Perhaps you have them on your unit plans. I wonder how do you keep these ideas alive when planning for deep learning?

However we also want to make sure that the learning is equitable for all of our learners. When thinking about the word equality…. What word comes to mind? According to Oxford Languages it defines it as: 

  1. the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
    “an organization aiming to promote racial equality”

Sometimes our (invisible) biases and the language we use in our classrooms/schools have an impact on student learning. So being aware of what biases we may have is an important step. An area about this that I find extremely interesting is the types of language that we use with our students. I often refer back to his chapter on “language” from his book in Creating a Culture of Thinking. If you are not aware of it or have not read it before this is a great poster that explains it, briefly.

This image below is a great reminder about the importance of equality in our classrooms, schools and society. It is my belief that educators do have a moral imperative to make the world a better place. What does equality look like in your classroom or school?

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This week…

Our learning so far means that we understand that the use of technology can actually enhance these factors. As you are unpacking this weeks readings try and keep these questions in mind. How might technology facilitate deep learning experiences? & How might deep learning create a more equitable learning environment?

Please visit the My Courses page for some of the resources, big understandings and essential questions you might consider for your post. Some of the most reflective posts are those where the writer asks themselves these. When you are commenting also consider asking them of your peers. This will go a long way in developing meaningful connections to our understandings.

By the end of this week you should have completed:

  • 3 blog posts with links submitted on the gradesheet
  • 3 comments with links submitted on the gradesheet
  • Continue thinking about how you might plan for the Course 5 project
  • Begin thinking about the Course 4 project
  • For those in G.E.T. please see the My Courses page for what you should be working o

Week 2: Partners in Learning

The world is changing and the requirements for people entering into this world are different than they have been in the past.

Photo by Greg Bakker on Unsplash

This quote by Shannon Doak from Emerging Theories of Learning and the Role of Technology is a fitting way to begin this week big understandings and our personal reflections.

So far, throughout all of our COETAIL courses, we’ve been writing and researching about different aspects of technology integration and the hope is that you are starting to solidify a personal definition or perhaps even philosophy around this idea. What is good technology integration? What isn’t it? Why do you believe that it’s important to integrate technology  authentically and how do you measure or assess the integration in your classroom and throughout your school?

How might human connections make deep learning possible?

This week our aligned  ISTE Standard for Educators is 5.c. Educators explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning. You’ll be considering the role of learning partnerships and how human connections can help enhance learning and enable us to develop deeper understandings.

Fullan and Langworthy describe effective partnering as something that is built on “principles of equity, transparency, reciprocal accountability and mutual benefit.” Teachers and students no longer have a transactional relationship where the teacher gives knowledge and the student receives, but rather a proactive co-learning relationship.

This feeds into the idea of how important relationships are in schools. Jennifer Gonzalez (aka Cult of Pedagogy) explains about the Marigold Effect. Whereby “Many experienced gardeners follow a concept called companion planting: placing certain vegetables and plants near each other to improve growth for one or both plants.” This transforms into the idea of learning from and with each other as we both individually but collectively.

When we take time to put relationships first in education this gives is a strong foundation in which we can build from. Which in turn supports our ability to ; create and develop innovative learning environments; make deep learning possible, use technology to redefine and transform learning.

It makes me wonder…

  • How might human connections make deep learning possible?
  • How might the classroom/school environment impact learning partnerships?

I would love to know your thinking around our essential questions for the week. Take a look at some of the great resources that will get you excited about just what is possible when we find the sweet spot of technology, deep learning and knowing our students.

Week Two To Do List:

I know what it is like at schools as we hit the November period! There is a lot that is happening and will be happening in the coming six weeks before our next vacation. My advice is to try and stay on top of COETAIL posts and comments as before we know it, it will be December…and that gets even crazier!

By the end of this week try and have written two blog posts and two comments on members of our cohort.

Talking of commenting I want to share how impressed and rich the comments are becoming. I have seen a big shift in the comments being richer in community spirit and understanding. Many have links, questions and new discoveries to deepen our collective understanding. Thank you for that! Remember, if someone comments then please try to approve it and reply back. Commenting on blogs should be like a conversation.

GET (Tab)

You should work through Unit 3 of Google for Education’s Certified Trainer Training: Implement Best Coaching Practices. How might you coach your colleagues in any of the concepts you’ve learned during your COETAIL journey?

In this unit, you’ll learn:

  • How to build relationships through peer coaching 
  • How to effectively model for teachers 
  • How to perform a demonstration lesson 
  • How to model real-time flexibility and responsiveness 
  • How to use non-evaluative coaching 
  • How to adhere to proven principles/frameworks for feedback

As you progress, connect with your cohort peers to support each other!


Week 1: Frameworks for Learning

Course 4 begins to pull all of our thinking and understanding together from our previous 3 courses. It joins up the dots around technology’s use in fostering deep learning and connects our ideas to frameworks and innovation. Put it this way it is a real mixing pot of awesomeness!

This week we are considering the importance of frameworks and how they help with technology integration. Not only can they be used to evaluate where we are but also set goals around where want to be.

Before we start with Course 4 I want to take a moment to recognize and congratulate you all on finishing Course 3. The way in which you  and collaborated with colleagues from around the world to create your final projects was fantastic. There were many amazing ideas and ways in which you embedded the big ideas from the course into what you created. Thank you!

I also want to recognize that there is so much happening for all of us right now, because of COVID-19 and school closures. Some of us are back in school, others working within a hybrid model, some have not gone back into school yet and some may started school and then go back to distance learning. What every your scenario stick with it, apply what you are learning in COETAIL with what you are doing. Finally, I want to tell you that you are all doing an amazing job! 

What is technology integration?

According to Wikipedia it is  “Technology integration is the use of technology tools in  areas in education in order to allow students to apply computer and technology skills to learning and problem-solving. Generally speaking, the curriculum drives the use of technology and not vice versa.”

Classcraft explain that it is “Technology integration is the well-coordinated use of digital devices and cloud computing as tools for problem-solving, deeper learning, and understanding.”

IGI Global share that it is “The use of technology to enhance and support the educational environment, teacher instruction, and student learning.”

After those different definitions all I can say is thank goodness to ISTE! No organization has done more to describe the role of technology in education than The International Society for Technology in Education. As you are aware it has different sets of standards for many different stakeholder groups, including students, educators, administrators, and coaches. The ISTE standards are extensive and they provide a host of resources to support effective technology integration.


There are two frameworks that we can use to help guide us as we integrate technology into our learning environment.  Thy are not rules or steps that we must follow, but are concepts and ideas that can help us make meaningful decisions when using technology to enhance learning.

As we start integrating technology into the learning that is being planned for and taught, we need to be aware of the impact on student learning.  One way of evaluating how we are integrating technology  is using the SAMR model.  The model looks at 4 steps of technology integration and how this can impact learning.  It was created by Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D. as he looked for ways to think about “Transformation, Technology, and Education.”

Image by Jonathan Brubaker
his blog post here.


The first stage is Substitution, which is the easiest stage for any educator who is using technology. Think of this stage like “digitizing worksheets.” Augmentation comes after Substitution. In the Augmentation stage the way technology has been integrated adds slight improvements.  There is not a lot of change in how things are done but there is some functional change.


Modification happens when there is significant task redesigns to the learning. Here, we are giving students new options in their learning and they are able to do things more effectively because of technology use. There is HUGE difference between this stage and Substitution, which should show in the thinking and learning. Redefinition occurs when the technology has created possibilities in teaching and learning that were not previously possible before.


TPACK is based around the idea of effective teachers being knowledgeable in technological, content and pedagogical knowledge in order to have a 21st Century learning taking place with their students. It is the overlap of these three main knowledge area Technological Knowledge (TK), Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) and Content Knowledge (CK)

The result of TPACK will be different from teacher to teacher and classroom to classroom. There is no one way to view TPACK integration, it is however a framework to help guide to a more engaged and effective learning environment.
Both these frameworks offer us guidance and support about how we can can enhance teaching and learning, with the help of technology integration. Each model has its own way of doing things and gets you reflecting and planning in a new light. If you are wondering about how the TPACK and SMAR  models intertwine then check out this video which does a great job of explaining this, in way more detail.
These frameworks are especially important for us to consider within our context, class and schools. After all as Kim Cofino explains:

We are all technology teachers.

Over to you…

This week in your blog post take some time to reflect on:
  • What does technology integration mean to you?
  • How are the different frameworks for technology integration similar to and different from each other?
  • Are there other frameworks that you have used in your school?
  • Do you prefer one of the frameworks over the others? Why?
  • What does technology integration look like in your classroom/school?
  • Using one (or multiple) of the frameworks, how would you evaluate your own practice of technology integration?
  • How has your practice changed over time?
  • How do your beliefs and practices fit into your school’s vision for learning?

The Final Countdown (For course 3!)

Finishing off Course 3

The Final Countdown.. The end of course 3 is rapidly approaching (25th October) and it is a quick turn around before we delve into Course 4 (which starts on 2nd November.) It is time for a little music to get us in the mood! Click on the link below to get your blood pumping and start creating your COETAIL Course Countdown to do list! 

This last week of the course is for you to finish up on all your blog posts and comments and give you time to complete your final project. Please see the “Understanding the Course 3 Final Project” unit to review the details. 

The Final Project

Your Course 3 final project must be publicly viewable and linked/embedded in a blog post with a reflective write up about the learning experience. Here are some questions that might guide your reflection:

  • Why did you choose the option you chose?
  • Why did you choose this topic? These standards?
  • How did you grow as a collaborator and facilitator during Course 3?
  • How was this final project different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed/facilitated?
  • How does this final project relate to what you learned in Course 3?
  • What has influenced you the most in Course 3 and how is that reflected in your final project?
  • What outcomes do you hope to see when students (or educators) complete this unit? How will you know that students (or educators) have learned the concepts?
  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

I am really looking forward to seeing what you have created in your global groups.

Please reach out to me if you have any last minute questions!


Breaking Down Barriers

Wow…so far during course 3 you have done some wonderful learning and exploring around how we can use visual mediums for teaching and learning. Through blog design updates, infographics, and presentation designs, you have shown that you are being thoughtful about how we use design to facilitate understanding.

Here are a some of the wonderful visual thinkery that you have been sharing  from Course 3 so far:

Andrea created an infographic which visualized the data from her Writing Post Assessment for Narrative Writing. Here is what she created:

Irena created this infographic to “help students to visualize their thinking process…(as)it helps clearly to present the content of the topic studied.”

Erika updated her blog design with new colours, menus and images.

Melanie created and shared infographics and some newly designed slides.

Breaking Down Barriers

This week you will be exploring how technology allows us to connect with diverse ideas and people. Some of the themes you will see are global connection, collaborating asynchronously, and the representation of social identities.

We know that technology is a great tool and without I wonder what school closure may have been like for all of us, over the past 9 months or so. Making connections, collaborating and learning from each other happens just as effectively asynchronously as it does synchronously. Using technology can also open our eyes to what is happening around the world and make us more aware of the challenges that are part of our globe.

One such group who are utilizing technology is the wonderful Global Nomads Group. The approach is around the important concept of being able to “leverage technology to foster authentic, global, youth driven dialogue.”


This idea of breaking down some of the barriers in the world and trying to make a more just system to live in, is something that I explored more over the Summer. I took part in a Project Zero workshop from JusticexDesign who explained that injustices are by design.

Implicit biases and systemic oppressions are built into systems like media, architecture, government, transportation, and time. These human-designed systems can empower or oppress, amplify or silence. Supporting young people to recognize inequities in the everyday designs of systems they encounter is a critical step toward reimagining a more just world.

In our current world how important is this concept to instill in our schools and society. 

Visible Thinking

As I was looking at the themes for this week and how we can use digital tools to collaborate and share ideas I couldn’t help but make a connection between a popular visible thinking trend and the Text Rendering Protocol.

In the Text Rendering Protocol students are finding meaningful phrases within a piece of text and sharing how it made them think or feel. A process that prompts students to explore different ideas and discuss their diverse understandings.

I made a connection to something I first saw on Twitter called #Booksnaps. Booksnaps, which was started by Tara Martin asks students to take a photo of a page of a book and “mark-up” that page using their iPad or tablet. They would highlight passages that mean something to them, annotate their thinking, and use emojis or bitmojis to communicate feeling.

It connected well to this weeks topic since they are often shared online to allow for discussion and further thinking to take place. Students can explore one another’s #Booksnaps asynchronously through their social network or LMS and gain a deeper understanding of different viewpoints. This activity is both fun (since it incorporates technology students are familiar with and enjoy), and a great way to generate further discussion.

This Week:

This week you will be using wonderful tool that promotes connection and collaboration, Flipgrid. You will be reading Harro’s chapter about the Cycle of Socialization and identifying 1 sentence, 1 phrase, and 1 word that is particularly important to you and your understanding of the cycle of socialization. You will then go to our community Flipgrid and add a video to the Community Text Rendering topic briefly introducing yourself and sharing your word, phrase, and sentence.

After that, you will switch over to the Community Discussion topic and add a video:

  • Reminding us who you are.
  • Sharing what you heard from others’ videos and what it says about the document/concept of the cycle of socialization.
  • Reflecting on how this cycle might impact your practice.
  • Debriefing the process – how might you use a similar process with your students?

In your blog post, share the QR code and link to our community Flipgrid. Share your blog post with your PLN and encourage them to add their voice to the conversation. 

I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts on using Flipgrid for collaboration and gaining a deeper understanding of each others learning. It will also be a fun new way to see our Cohort in action!

And finally…

We are now entering the final two weeks of Course 3! It officially ends on 25th October. So if you are lagging a little behind then now is the time to get these reflections and comments posted.

I also want to make you aware that it is a quick turnaround for Course 4, as it begins on 2nd November and runs until 13th December.

Have a great week!


Becoming Communication Artists

Week 4 is all about the art of communication and how visuals can enhance our message. How and what we present to our audience matters greatly in the manner in which our messages will be received, and how impactful they might be. I read this article which resonated.

Every story begins with the foundation of language. Oftentimes, when we think about language, our minds default to written text and spoken conversation. But language is more than words—it’s any way of communicating across mediums that brings an idea, topic, or conversation to life. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual from 8 Designers’ Tips for Better Visual Storytelling

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Here are a few steps to take when building a visual presentation with the audience in mind:

  1. Less is most definitely more! Consider using fewer elements on a slide. In David JP Phillips brilliant TedTalk called Death by Powerpoint he explains that having no more than 6 elements on a slide is important. The audience won’t have enough cognitive resources to understand more than that. That includes text. Avoid including large pieces of text on your slides because people can’t read and listen at the same time.
  2. Ditch the flashy transitions! Your slide presentation is there to support you and not the other way around. Using different transitions and confusing animations can sometimes distract the audience and work against you.
  3. Synthesize your message! Consider giving a follow-up sheet containing the main points of your presentation. Rather than packing all your slides with as much information as possible, causing people to snap photos of each slide, considering giving out a one-pager with all your talking points. You can tell people this ahead of time and put some supporting images on your slides rather than text.

Your assignment for this week is to choose a visual aid (slide, poster, anchor chart, etc.) that you would like to update. Gather feedback from your students and/or colleagues about how well the visual aids their understanding. Based on their feedback, and the readings from this course thus far, redesign that resource. Please share your process on your blog post, as well as a reflection of how you think it went.

A wonderful example of someone going through the process of revising their visual presentations using Presentation Zen is this video by Cult of Pedagogy’s Jennifer Gonzalez. She outlines how she used to build presentations and how considering some key design elements changed her approach.

Inspiring each other

I have really enjoyed catching up with your posts this weekend. They are insightful and inspiring. You have all done some wonderful work in this course so far.  Keep up the awesome work! If you have not had the chance to read some of these blogs, make sure you check them out. Here are a few:

Luiz reflected in his post Social learning in IB Diploma Biology about the idea of handing over responsibility to his students, so that they continue to develop their skills (ATL’s) such as collaboration and communication. “In my view, the more time we spend developing Approaches to Learning, the less time it takes for students to learn content because they are more efficient, more independent, and more social. That’s why time, for me, is a non-issue.”

Cindy shared, in her Week 3 post, some  fantastic looking infographics which she created, using Apple Pages, to assist her students with their unit titled “Our How We Express Ourselves.”

Luis explained in his week 2 post that as educators we need to be modelling collaboration skills to our students to enhance collaboration skills in them. “We can always grow and generate changes in our peers, demonstrating, for example, a sense of leadership, responsibility, feedback, positive reinforcement, and so much more, when we work collaboratively, always coming from a place of empathy and respect for the individual.”


Remember that the Course 3 final project is an opportunity to experience an authentic global experience. and get to know in more detail, some of your COETAIL 12 cohort. If you are still in the need for a group then now is the time to ACT! Check out the document that I emailed you and join a group of like-minded professionals who are looking to redefine learning. We are in this together!

By the end of this week you should have completed:

  • 4 blog posts and inserted the links for each in the gradesheet
  • 4 comments on your peers blogs and links for them in the gradesheet
  • Work on the final project can be ongoing throughout the course.
  • If you have not yet, please take a few minutes to complete the Mid-Program Survey from the Welcome Week as soon as possible.