Check! Done! Finished! Awesome!

And just like that our #online8 cohort is complete. Its been an amazing journey with a fantastic group. We lost one or two along the way and gained a couple too. Just like a real international classroom, there are always hellos and goodbyes.

I’m thankful for the learning journey with all of you and I’m excited to keep the energy and connections alive. I hope that some of you will consider checking out COETAIL 2, (I’m pretty tempted my self). At the very least, stay in touch and stay connected. Keep blogging, keep sharing keep making your schools amazing places to learn.

If you haven’t checked them all out already, the full list of projects are below.

I hope someday our paths will cross in the physical realm. Until then, we’re only an email, a tweet or a blog comment away.

Cheers!

Final Project Review Instructions

Hey guys. Awesome work on completing (almost) the course! You’re final task is to review each other’s projects and provide feedback. Here’s a run down of how it should work.

  1. Fill out this survey with a link to your final project blog post.
  2. That makes it magically appear in this spreadsheet so that you all have easy access as you’re reviewing.
  3. Watch at least 5 project videos from our cohort and provide feedback to your peers on this form Make sure you provide some written comments at the end as well. We all know as educators, that’s the most helpful part of the process.
  4. Treat yourself. You’re done!

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I hope you all have found this to be a challenging and fruitful experience and you’ll continue to be a part of this awesome COETAIL community.

Course 5 Check up

Just a quick check in on my favorite cohort today. I hope this post finds you all doing well and cruising along on your way to completing an awesome final project. I’ve seen a few posts start to pop up in our feed and I’ll be checking in on them all soon. It is definitely important to make sure that you are chipping away at this project along the way. I suggest you take a little time each week to plan, organize, edit video, and so on to be certain the final video does not sneak up on you. It takes some time to put together.

I’d also like to share, and maybe brag a bit, about the Maker Faire we hosted here at LCS last week. If your school has not hosted one, put it on your to do list. Our very own @pandion (Andy Richardson) did a fantastic job pulling us together and creating a day that saw a little bit of everything. There were students sharing dance performances, teachers making rugs, stop action movies, student film projects, human rights displays, lots of slime and a cardboard castle. The energy in the gym was through the rough all day long. What a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved!

My happy place

Alright. I’ll stop and let you get back to work. Our spring break starts Friday and I’m going off the grid for a bit with the family to catch some waves, nap in a hammock and enjoy one more big adventure here in this beautiful country. I’ll be back and reconnect in a week.

Cheers

Kicking off Course 5

Welcome to Course 5!

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You’ve made it to the final COETAIL course! You’re well rested from a fantastic winter break, rejuvenated by an awesome start to the second semester and ready to tackle a final project. The finish is within reach and I’m excited to be a part of this culminating project of your COETAIL experience.

Course Overview

This one is a little different from all the others.

First, it is over a much longer period, January 29 – May 6. All work must be submitted for this course by April 30. The last week (April 30-May 6) of the course is for you to watch other cohort members’ videos and provide feedback. It’s very important for you to know that there is no room for any extensions beyond April 30 so please manage your time and commitment to your final course assignments carefully.

Second, you are not required to post to your blog every week.  However, as many of you have found throughout the other courses, blogging can be a great way to record and reflect on your progress as your project develops. You are only required to log 4 posts, including one about your final project during this course. Due to this, you will notice that the Course 5 tab of your grade sheet looks a little different. Be sure to read Weeks 3 & 4 carefully as they give you the details about specific blogging requirements for this course. There is no commenting requirement, but of course, your comments help each other out.

Independent & Flexible

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You’ve got a lot of freedom in this course to work in a way that meets your needs. I strongly suggest reading through the assignments for the entire course as you get started this week, just to get a sense of what lies ahead. There’s less structure, but still some specific requirements that need to be met.

The most important part of Course 5 is to take your work and reflections from the previous four courses and put it all into practice. Make this learning your own and continue to build your own blogging voice as well as your PLN. We hope that this course is not an end to your COETAIL journey, but a jumping off point for your continued learning and online presence.

Continue to use your PLN as you work through this course. Ask each other questions, use the #COETAIL hashtag on Twitter, jump into the Google+ community that’s over 500 members strong. You can always reach out to anyone in the COETAIL community for help. I’m always available via email and so are the Awesome Coetail Coaches.

Final Thoughts

Keep an eye on this blog as I’ll post some updates and remind you of deadlines here. I’ll also make sure to share all the awesomeness that you guys are producing throughout the course.

Its not a bad idea to rough out a timeline for the course either. The final project video might take you longer than you think. Leave yourself lots of wiggle room.

Now go and be awesome.

Wrapping up Course 4

Just a quick post as I’m in Lusaka this weekend and access to internet is limited. All course work should be completed by December 17. I will do my best to get all feedback completed for submitted work by the 19th so we can all go about our merry way for the winter break without work on our minds. 🙂

I’ve gotten a bit behind on the current feedback as I’ve been in Lusaka for Part 1 of Cognitive Coaching this weekend. A fantastic course if you ever get the chance to check it out. I’ll get caught up over the next few days once I return to Accra. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them.

As usual, the final week of Course 4 is a time for you to catch up and make sure you’ve completed all the work over the last five weeks. Here’s what you should have:

  • One blog post for each week of the course
  • 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 4
  • One comment for each week of the course (for a total of 5 comments)
  • GET: Completed Trainer video & application! We’d love to see your video embedded in your final blog post as well.

All of these items should be listed on your grading spreadsheet so that we can give you feedback.

Cohort Feedback Reminder

Previously we asked you for mid-course feedback. If you didn’t have the chance, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts on this very simple survey so that we can continue to improve. We’ll be providing more opportunities for feedback at the conclusion of the program as well.

Week 5: Technology for all my friends

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I remember when I first arrived at LCS and found that every student either had a laptop or could check one out for every class. I was elated. After years of reserving labs, or hoping the 10 iPads for 30 students were charged, this was going to be heaven. I went in full steam ahead. Computers were a part of every lesson plan and I was using every tool I could think of that would keep them open. I slowly realised this wasn’t the best plan. Not every task needs to be digital, in fact many should not be. The excitement of these shiny new toys was just too much for me to resist. Once I refocused my energy a bit and started mixing paper and pencil with digital tools, my classes were easier to manage and students were more engaged.

 

This week is all about finding the balance.

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We know at this point that good integration is not based on what technology you have access to in your room. It is what and how well you decide to integrate that technology into your student’s learning. This week its time to reflect on your own use of tech in the classroom. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how tech is used in your classes and quite curious to hear of someone who has tried out tech breaks.

 

Weekly Progress Check

By December 10 you should have

  • 5 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 5 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are welcome to comment outside the cohort, but please continue to read and comment within it as well.
  • Generated a great idea for an awesome final project

If you are working toward GET certification, make sure you are working towards or have already completed the Level 2 Google Certified Educator exam, as well as the Trainer Exam. If you have questions about these requirements make sure you ask so we can clear them up.

Week 4: The Future

This week’s reading are all over the place. So I figure I might as well throw this in there too, because I’m pretty sure it is now the future when this is happening.

 

But I digress. There’s a little bit of everything this week. MOOCs, flat classrooms, digital badges, connectivism. Where do we start?  Will the future of education really change or will we continue to be stuck in the ruts of traditional education systems? It isn’t really a new question. You’ve been reflecting on it each week as you’ve read and written, sharing your thoughts and insight. What will you share this week?

Highlights

I haven’t done this in a while, but I want to share some of your posts here. Abbi had a great post clarifying and investigating some of the alphabet soup of project, problem, place, etc, based learning last week.

Andy came up with his own model of tech integration and also shared this post about education model and potential that really hit home for me, as i know the friend he is talking about quite well.

Dudley dug into the ideas of play last week as he explored BreakoutEdu, Scratch and brain breaks.

And Mike got me thinking about the impact on our world if every class really stepped up their game with authentic project based learning.

I hope you’ve had time to read through everyone’s blogs. I’ve got so many bookmarks and notes to go back to from your posts, I’ll never get to them all. Its fantastic.

Project Check for Week 4

By December 3 you should have

  • 4 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 4 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are welcome to comment outside the cohort, but please continue to read and comment within it as well.
  • Deep thoughts that have generated a great idea for an awesome final project

If you are working toward GET certification, make sure you are working towards or have already completed the Level 2 Google Certified Educator exam, as well as the Trainer Exam.

Enjoy the week and don’t hesitate to email me with questions!

Flipping for Fun: Week 3

Running a little late this week as the fever got me the last couple of days and unfortunately it wasn’t the fever for the flavor. But I’m back in action and we’re headed over the halfway mark of course 4.

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This week we’re looking at flipped classrooms, game based learning and play. If you’re working your way towards GET, this is a great opportunity to think about how GSuite tools could help with a flipped classroom. Perhaps even take a stab at flipping a lesson and tell us how it goes. A lot of the work I do with teachers is essentially a flipped model. I often get emails, asking for help, so I’ll send a quick tutorial video and then follow up in person. Or I’ll send information out that includes links and videos before a training session so that participants can tinker around a bit before the session which often allows for some deeper learning and investigating in the actual session.

I mentioned last week I’ve been working through the Learning Creative Learning course and its a part of this week’s readings list. While it isn’t actually a reading, there are lots of resources within the class. There’s even an UnHangout on Tuesday you can jump in if you like. This week’s excerpt from the book Lifelong Kindergarten included a quote that really resonated with me and I think relates to any type of project.

In addition to providing children with easy ways to get started on projects (low floors) and ways for them to work on increasingly sophisticated projects over time (high ceilings), we also need to support many different pathways between the floor and the ceiling (wide walls).

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If you’re thinking about gaming in the classroom, check out my Twitter friend Steven Isaacs who teaches an entire course on game development and design. Ok. Maybe that’s not the same as game based learning in the classroom, but it takes the idea to a whole different level. I’ll also throw you over to this post from my Online 4 cohort about gaming that I absolutely loved from Matt Fron

I look forward to reading this weeks posts and as always don’t hesitate if you have questions or want to bounce around some ideas.

Progress Check for Week 3

By November 26 you should have

  • 3 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 3 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are welcome to comment outside the cohort, but please continue to read and comment within it as well.
  • Started thinking deeply and generating possible ideas for an awesome final project

If you are working toward GET certification, make sure you are working towards or have already completed the Level 2 Google Certified Educator exam, as well as the Trainer Exam.

Projects and progress

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This week we’re checking out several different approaches to classroom learning. Project based, challenge based and problem based learning. I just stumbled on another approach in the past week that I’m curious about as well. I’m trying to carve out some time in my weeks to sneak in this open course called Learning Creative Learning. Its a bit too early in my investigation to say which category it might fit into, but I’m intrigued by the idea of learning through play and the lifelong kindergarten. I’m headed back into the classroom in the coming year so I’m looking for ways to mix it up a bit.

I also came across this post from TeachThought over the weekend that discusses the difference in doing projects and project based learning. It includes an interesting graphic demonstrating the difference as well. I think it brings up some great points. Think about the last project in your class. Was it the process or the product that carried the most importance? Its a valid question to ask ourselves for just about any assignment.

Final Project

If you’re working on GET you do need to produce a trainer video. You can find complete details in the link. You can also search “Google Certified Trainer Video” and get a pile of examples. But if you want a really good example, click here. 😉 Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

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Progress Check for Week 2

By November 19 you should have

  • 2 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 2 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are welcome to comment outside the cohort, but please continue to read and comment within it as well.
  • Started thinking deeply and generating possible ideas for an awesome final project

If you are working toward GET certification, make sure you are working towards or have already completed the Level 2 Google Certified Educator exam.

Course 4: The Beginning of the End

You’ve made it to Course 4! In this course we’ll look at how all of this fits together and begin the journey toward a final project. Week one starts with a look at what successful integration means and the various frameworks for tech integration. Don’t get overwhelmed by the plethora of readings for this week. You don’t have to get through them all. However, I would suggest selecting at least one regarding each of the various frameworks (SAMR, TPack, T3) in the last section of readings. Think about each of their benefits and pitfalls. There are lots of opinions out there on these. I think it is important you develop your own and build some reasoning around your thoughts.

Final Projects

Part of this course is beginning your planning for the final project. Remember that if you are working towards your GET certification, there needs to be an emphasis on GSuite tools as well as training others to use them. We’ll keep referring to this and help you flesh out what that looks like as we work our way through this course.

The idea is that you are reworking a unit from the ground up to embed technology meaningfully and authentically as a means to enhancing learning. I’d encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing back through your posts and reflecting on your learning as you start this process. What are the ideas that struck you the most? What concepts do you think will be most beneficial to your students or, if you’re in a position to provide training, to your staff?

Your options are pretty wide open. Just make sure you’re working on something in which you find value, will be applicable and you will have a chance to complete over the duration of the final course. You’ll have the chance to bounce ideas off of me, other COETAIL coaches and your colleagues before you make a final decision.

Progress Check for Week 1

(I’m reformatting this a bit. Hopefully it will be an improvement.)

By November 12 you should have

  • 1 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 1 comment completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are welcome to comment outside the cohort, but please continue to read and comment within it as well.
  • Started thinking deeply and generating possible ideas for an awesome final project