Welcome to Week 3! Time flies when you are having fun. This week is Carnival Break, in Panama, and I am currently out of Panama City and at Playa Venao, Panama. It is a time for beach, surf, swimming and for some rest and relaxation. Please be aware that I do not have WiFi access all of the time because I am camping, but will be checking in daily to stay connected.
I am really enjoying the thoughtful and reflective posts that have been shared in weeks 1 and 2. Online 12 has already proven to be a dynamic group of educators looking to build on their already impressive practice. Last week we focused on becoming a researcher and how to sift through the vast amounts of information available to us to support and enhance (ours and our) students learning.
Andrea focused on moving from a lurker to connecting and creating. “I can see how being a lifelong lurker could be detrimental to my personal growth as an educator. I want my students to be connectors, creators, collaborators, and contributors so I should be leading by example. This is essentially the reason why I am now a COETAIL-er. I want to push myself outside of the box of lurking and into the world of connecting and creating.”
Josmary explained that she used to be a creator but lost her spark and has set herself a goal to rekindle the creative flame. “My goal through COETAIL is to awaken the collaborator and creator I once was. I read Catlin Tucker’s 5 Reasons Teachers Should Create a PLN Now! and now understand the value of maintaining and being a creator through PLNs. Staying connected with other educators and innovators, keeps the creativity and ideas flowing within the classroom setting. I truly see the Internet as a way to make connections with yourself as a learner and with others who are learning with you “
Simon shared that his research skills and curation of information were a little disorganized and he used to send emails to himself with resources (something I can relate to doing! “In the past, I sent myself emails. A lot of emails. When I found a resource online I would put the topic into the subject line and then send the link to myself. Then when I needed to find the materials I would search through my inbox and voila, they would appear. Sometimes though I’d like to play tricks on myself. I’d send emails to myself with subject lines such as, “Random Stuff.” I do this for the same reason I write “Misc” on every box when I move house, I think I’ll just remember what was in it when I see it. This is one area I need to work on, I had not thought of using Padlet as an organization tool so starting there seems like a good idea. ”
Cindy took a student centered perspective in her week 2 reflection. “Students can and should be being taught these research skills from a young age. If anything, I am hearing this silent cry behind what is written in emails from caretakers, wether they know they are saying it or not. In today’s day and age, I believe that everyone needs to be capable of finding things out on their own. Of being an inquirer. Of decoding instructions and making them relevant.”
What I can learn when connected with others?
This week we will be focusing on how connections can strengthen and deepen our thinking and understanding. We will also uncover ways in which the connections that we create can support new learning opportunities.
I have changed as an educator because of the connections that I have made. These connections can (and will) be different for us all. Personally, some of these connections are with educators who I have worked with (or currently do). I have also developed as an educator by meeting other teachers at conferences, workshops and institutes. However a constant source in my development is my Professional Learning Network (PLN). I know that my PLN (specifically through Twitter) has become a huge resource in my work rethinking what education can and should be like. It’s also helped provide me with ideas for professional goals both in and out of school.
I share and learn every day with educators who I have never ever met but who are a constant source of inspiration to me. One of the amazing things about International Education is how connected everyone is to each other. I work with colleagues who I knew on Twitter before meeting them in person! These global connections have also supported me with some other projects that I am involved in such as Travelling Tales and Creating Cultures of Thinking Online. Connections have pushed me try things out, to set goals and re-imagine education.
What are your professional goals? How has your network inspired you? How can you broaden your PLN? I know I am already seeing some of you participate in meaningful ways with your PLN. I am certain it will continue to enrich your experience throughout COETAIL and beyond.
Everyone has their blogs up and running and we encourage you to develop and personalize your blog over time. You can try new out different themes and look at adding widgets.
Some of you are asking about not being able to upload large files on to your blog posts. This is because their a limit on what you can directly upload to your wordpress blog. Large file sized video/audio files should always be hosted elsewhere (like YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive) and should never be uploaded directly to your blog site. Once uploaded to an external site (like YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive) you can embed your video/audio in a blog post using an embed block OR hyperlink to the external video.
Embedding videos into a blog post is a great way to share content. A video or document that is embedded (instead of just linked) makes it easier for the reader to view the content. See below for a simple video about embedding a YouTube video into WordPress posts.
Hyperlinking in a comment is a great way to keep a conversation going and share resources. The trick is you need to use an HTML code to do this in comments. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be a programmer to do this! You will need this line of code <a href=”URL HERE”>Highlighted anchor text here</a> and you can add your link in the “URL HERE” space. Just insert in with your comment text and your link should work.
Add a question or two at the end of your blog post to encourage interaction from visitors to your blog. See an example of this on Luiz’s post “Lurking what is that?”
Headings can add interest and organization to your post. They make it more readable and serve as visual cues that help communicate the essence of your ideas. Before beginning a new section of your post, think of a heading that will apply. You can see great examples of this in a few blog posts from weeks 1 & 2 including this post from Brittany entitled “Wholehearted Digital Citizen”
Comments: Please ensure you are approving comments on your blog. If you don’t do this you will keep your peers from receiving instructor feedback. Also, you are encouraged to comment on as many of your peer’s posts as you like, but you are only asked to add one comment per week to the gradesheet for feedback.
Gradesheet: Some of you have not yet filled in your blog posts URL’s for feedback on the Gradesheet. You share it with me previously so it should be in your Google Drive. Each week please fill in your blog post title, URL, and date. Please also fill in a URL for one of your peer comments.