Photo by ansot photography on Unsplash

Welcome Aboard! A huge welcome to you all as we are about to enter Week 1 of Course 1. I am certain that you are ready to start the learning, connections, collaboration and fun as we set sail on COETAIL12! It has been great to get to know you, through your orientation posts. You have shared your current communities that you are part of, your have set goals that you want to achieve and thought about why COETAIL…why now?

The first week of COETAIL is all about going past passive lurking and getting connected. You will explore the concept of lurking, and discover how active participation in your professional learning network can benefit you both personally and professionally.

Image by 024-657-834 from Pixabay

I was once a lurker…

Writing this blog post I am getting a little Déjà vu. It is taking me back to my first blog post when I was part of COETAIL Cohort 5. It was titled “I am a lurker…but I am changing” – it was my call to arms to change my technology habits for the better by de-lurking and becoming a creator of content. By becoming a collaborator both in and out of my classroom. It helped me to foster connections and provide my students with opportunities to critically think in authentic ways.

COETAIL pushed me to open up the windows to my classroom, to share the learning that the students were taking part in. COETAIL pushed me to increase my PLN and see Twitter as a place to connect, share and learn. COETAIL pushed me so that to take (baby) steps into the connected community. COETAIL pushed me so that I realized that my thinking and sharing of ideas resonated with other educators around the world.

That motivated me to share even more and the results were fantastic. People wanted to see what I was doing and gave me amazing feedback. I gained confidence in my practice, gathered valuable insight on how I could improve and made connections that would result in many future opportunities. I am certain it will do the same for you, too!

Putting the “Social” back into Social Media

Going from lurking to actively participating in my PLN really put the “social” into social media for me, and continues to give me inspiration and encouragement every day. I hope this week as you dig deeper into the readings that you define how being active within your professional learning network can be of value to you.

You are the captain of your ship…

Remember we are all the captain of our own learning. We are here with different experiences; in our roles and unique educational settings; with our experience of a PLN; creating and consuming content; connections and collaboration. I invite you to dig into the resources and then think about your personal journey. What is it that you are thinking now? What is it that you want to do as a result of the resources? How might you know if you are successful?

What to do this week?

  • Check in with the My Courses page to see your readings for the week.
  • Ensure you have finished any requirements from the orientation (setting up the RSS feed, sharing your gradesheet with me, etc.).
  • Ensure that when you are setting up your blog that you approve comments as you receive them. A part of your assessment is commenting on other participant blogs so they must be visible to the public.
  • Write a reflective blog post on this week’s content.
  • Share your blog post URL with me on your gradesheet.
  • Comment on at least one of your cohort members posts and link that to the gradesheet as well.
  • Don’t forget to share and hashtag #COETAIL so your peers can see when you post.
  • G.E.T. participants see the Google Education Trainer Tab for more information.

A few Blogging Tips & Tools

For those of you who may be new to blogging, here are some helpful tools that definitely come in handy when writing:

Grammarly  – Grammarly is an amazing free tool that helps you check your spelling and grammar while writing online. You can use their site, or you can download the handy Chrome extension that allows you to use it while writing anywhere on the web. It’s like having a writing assistant with you at all times.

Pixabay & UnSplash – In future weeks we will be learning about copyright and image use online, but to get you started here are two great sites for finding images that require little or no attribution. I am using one in this very blog post!

Hemingway Editor – I don’t always use the Hemingway editor, but it’s a very useful tool that gives you insight on the content and style of your writing. It will analyze your piece of writing and tell you where you might be using wordy sentences, dull or complicated words, and determine it’s readability. 

I hope that you find a few of these tools helpful to you. Happy Blogging!