Tag Archives: Course 5

Saving the World w/ COETAIL

I had intended to share both my students’ collaborative projects  as well as the SIC work I have been doing with the teachers in my building. I had NO idea how short 10 minutes actually was to describe a project in-depth,  so I was forced to choose.  Although a tough decision, with the  kind guidance of COETAIL coach, Diana Beabout,  I decided to go with the student project for the video requirement of Couse V.

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Pets and Google Hangouts

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We are making SIC progress!

As part of that progress, last week, we held a Google Hangout.

Although we say it over and over again that “tech is just a tool”,  this meeting was centered almost entirely on the tool. I didn’t get to discuss much of our agenda items but… we all met @alica’s lab, @paul’s cat, @doug’s pug, @chris’ corgi and @tom’s 2-year-old. Laksa made her own two-second appearance as well.  Members learned about the drawing tools, sharing the screen, the integration of Google Drive and how to put fun effects on each other all while on a Google Hangout.  Sharing via the Hangout, which was new to all members, was more about building our relationship as a group than any other objective I had originally in mind.

My objectives should have been:

  • solve problems
  • build relationships
  • have fun
  • finish a few minutes early

We accomplished all of the above with a smile on our screen. How often are such objectives clearly stated and/or would be accepted by administration in our classrooms today?

The Hangout was not without hiccups. I had set-up a Today’s Meet room as a back-up plan if we couldn’t get connected.  We needed that space along with two cell phones, our Google Plus Community and (sadly) our archaic school Groupwise email system to get us all in the same room at the same time.  It took a techno- village.

I continue to be proud of the members of SIC. They are taking risks in their classrooms and starting to feel more confident in participating and in some cases even leading in various face-to-face and online learning environments.

SIC Progress

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For a few reasons, but mostly my passion in sharing what I have learned in our COETAIL class, I started a Summit Innovative Cohort (SIC) at my school.  Our teachers have had very little professional learning around Digital Literacy, building their PLN, Creative Commons, and using technology in innovative and transformative ways. That had to change.

A few teachers and I have been trying to encourage the use of Google Apps for Education for years (as a start) but haven’t had much luck without district support or school leadership helping to model the tools. Teachers in my school work tremendously hard but I feel we are doing them disservice by not equipping them with the tools, skills and possibilities for teaching and learning today.  This year, I have more hope and even more energy to help lead the change.

Inspired by Tony Wagner’s, Creating Innovators and seeing Dr. Young Zhao this summer at InnEdco, I decided on innovation for the direction of our cohort.  Fortunately, the word sic (think big air) in a ski town goes a long way.

I wanted SIC to be pure awesomeness. Similar to the those restaurants in New York that only serve 20 hamburgers a night.  Also, I didn’t want too many teachers to participate so I could provide more personalized support. I didn’t have to worry; only 10 teachers wanted in. I announced the big winners with lots of excitement leaving out the fact that all that applied were able to participate.

I’m impressed with our group so far.  I’m no Kim or Jeff but I’m hoping to guide these teachers through a similar process while continuing to learn along with them.  We have considerably less time than a normal COETAIL cohort, there is no formal credit attached to their work but I think it’a an important start. Our face-to-face meetings (we’ve had one) is something I cherish. Being part of an entirely online COETAIL cohort has been a challenge for me in building relationships.  However, I want SIC members to learn that although we physically have each other,  which feels safe, the power and learning will come from them connecting with others around the world.

Our first assignment was to join both our Google Classroom and our SIC Community via Google Plus. Teachers are also experimenting with Twitter and each has started a blog to reflect on their learning. A couple of students are already up and posting. I love how Alicia shares her initial hesitation in social media.

Course 5 Projects Ideas

So many options

I’m teaching one (higher level) Spanish course next fall. It’s a new course. I’ll have two sections of about 20 students in each section. The rest of my job allocation will be dedicated to coaching teachers and helping run our district’s K-12 Dual Language program. Here are a few ideas I have in mind. I’m thinking redefinition.

**Electronic Portfolios for Dual Language students entering 9th grade and/or Electronic Portfolios for entering DL Kindergarten students.

  • Use Google Sites to create a skeleton for them.
  • Help students chose important entries to mark important milestone
  • Help all teachers see the importance of students reflecting on their work over the course of many years.

**Create/or Participate in a Global Collaborative Project with my Spanish Course.

  • Students connect with students from primarily Spanish speaking countries to improve language proficiency, gain insight into culture, to build relationships and become effective global citizens.
  • Students could solve an authentic problem.  This is always more challenging than I think. I often have SAVE THE WORLD as one of the guidelines on our projects but haven’t ever dedicated the time necessary to SAVE the WORLD.
  • Give students 4 or 5 choices of a semi-structured project so it’s more manageable for me to help them and they’ll have classmates with whom they can collaborate.
  • This could be a semester long 20% project for each student.
  • Access to technology will be a challenge.  Maybe I could attempt to run a BYOD mini program for my students. I could probably get 50% to participate. I would have more success if I had some other teachers/classes in the building on board.
  • Send kids to a Flat-classroom Conference.
  • Have students present during the Global Education Conference under the Student Strand.
  • Have students blog (and comment) regularly as a way to communicate, connect, document and share their global projects.
  • Tie their project to the three novels they will read. Share the content created with other Spanish teachers reading the same novels.
  • I have ordered Flattening Classroom and Engaging Minds to help me create this course.

**Help our HS school with a 1:1 Roll-out plan. Just typing this out made me cross it off the list. It’s a huge job but not for Course Five. 

**Use technology smartly to improve language learning in all Dual Language Classrooms K-12.

  • Create flipped content that can provide repetitive, creative, compelling comprehensible input for students.
  • Help teachers build their PLNs.
  • Help teachers and students include more digital storytelling into their classes.
  • Help teachers create positive digital footprints for themselves and their students.

**Becoming a much more prolific blogger and sharer of educational practices with a larger audience. 

  • I’ll be working with six new Spanish teachers to our district and need effectively communicate with them all.
  • How can I help them assimilate to our country and help them be effective teachers?
  • Can technology help improve the conversations, classes, materials, technology, etc. that I’ll be sharing with them?
  • What technology structures should I be thinking about putting in place to help these new teachers?
  • I’m also attending and presenting at a few WL conferences and could be sharing best practice, reflecting and connecting with more WL educators.

I’m looking forward to flushing these ideas out over the summer and coming up with something that will best represent my learning in this class. With one week of class left to go before summer break, I’m excited about the possibilities for next fall. That’s always a good sign. 

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan in July.