Author Archives: Diana Beabout

Course 4: Final Project

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Wow! It’s time to wrap up Course 4 and plan for Course 5 – although you’re going to get a well deserved break before we start Course 5 in September. You’ve got plenty to do so I’m going to keep this post short and to the point. Course 4 has been digging in deeper about the effective use of technology for teaching and learning and to get you thinking about what you might do for your Course 5 project (although you are not limited to a topic from Course 4!). As you put together your plan for Option 1 or some ideas you are considering for Option 2, please review the Course 4 Final Project expectations and rubric. Overall, make sure you’ve completed and linked in the following items in your grade sheet…

  • One blog post for each week of the course plus one blog post reflecting on your final project (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 (Note: If you have not completed these or any other components for the GET, please work on getting them done before we start Course 5 in September 2018)

All course work should be completed by April 29 and I will finish with assessment and feedback and notify you of your final grade by May 6.

I’ll email more about Course 5 later but for those who want to look ahead, you can look over the Course 5 Expectations.

Have a great week and I look forward to reading about all your ideas and plans for Course 5!

Week 5: What is a Technology Rich Classroom?

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ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can we maximize the potential of technology devices in a classroom environment?

Another big question for educators these days! And as you see from this week’s readings having access to technology and devices involves a lot of considerations including management, usage and balance. And with lots of news, research and variety of perspectives about kids and technology, educators must be prepared to justify how they use technology to support and enhance teaching and learning. There are many resources to guide teachers about how to manage devices….here are a few…

Classroom Management Tips for the Technology Rich Classroom (Edutopia)

5 Classroom Management Tips for Technology Integration (Mind/Shift)

And it’s also important to consider not only the benefits when using technology, but also the challenges…

The Pros and Cons of Technology (Edudemic)
How Much Screen Time? That’s the Wrong Question (Edutopia)

There’s even debate on if technology is even making an impact in student learning….

5 Problems with Technology in the Classroom (Teach Thought)
School technology struggles to make an impact (BBC)

And how do we combine traditional (effective) teaching strategies with technology? Larry Cuban asks in Technology “Disrupting” Teaching,  “Have the new technologies used by schools and in classrooms altered the practice of teaching and learning? While Kerry Gallagher (in EdSurge) explains “Why Effective Digital Learning Shouldn’t Disrupt Traditional Teaching Techniques”

And do the devices we provide in schools make a difference? Kim Cofino leads an online discussion asking “Why are we building 1:1 programs with laptops when kids are using mobile devices?” (Laptop Learning Curve) (blog post and video OR listen to it as a podcast here)

Lots of things to consider as educators….but also consider this perspective from this student

Course 4 Progress Check
We are wrapping up Course 4 in the next few weeks and by April 22 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.

Week 4: The Future (is Now?)

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Essential Question: What is the future of education?

What a question! This week’s topic led me back to one of my favorite posts I wrote when I was a COETAIL participant five years ago (“Tomorrowland”) where I felt like I really started to recognize and articulate the shift I had made in my mindset about education. (And I reflected on my own 10 year old self being skeptical about the technological changes that could happen in my lifetime….boy was I wrong!)

This topic also reminded me of this video and although it is almost six years old, I find myself watching it at least once a year and thinking about, in my opinion and based on my experience, what progress has been made, what potential we have, and what challenges remain in education.

Although some of our readings for this week could be considered ‘dated’, perhaps some of these ideas were ahead of their time. Maybe some ideas have developed more fully than others; found a place in education. What were considered ‘innovations’ in the past might now be common practice or their time was short lived. Here are some additional resources based on our topics from this week…

Badges
Check out Jeff Utecht’s Shifting Our Schools recent podcast: Episode 43: It’s All About the Badges.

“…a conversation with Doug Belshaw from the UK. Doug has made his way from the classroom to being involved in multiple different projects including the Open Badge Alliance. A great conversation about digital badges and the future of where they are going.”

Global Collaboration
There are lots of resources out there about global collaboration but if it seems a bit overwhelming, here are a few resources with the basics

7 Steps to Starting a Global Collaboration Project (ISTE)
ISTE Global Collaboration Network
Collaborative Learning Spaces: Classrooms That Connect to the World (Edutopia)

A Recent Development: The Emergence of AR and VR in Education
And something that’s been gaining attention in education in the last few years…AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality)…and its potential impact on teaching and learning.

Virtual Reality: The Next Generation Of Education, Learning and Training (Forbes)
10 Reasons To Use Virtual Reality In The Classroom
Real Uses of Virtual Reality in Education: How Schools are Using VR

Course 4 Check for Week 4
By April 15 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.

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. (More details about the COETAIL/GET Requirements here.)

 

The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.” – Stephen Hawking

“The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past.” – Simon Sinek

Week 3: The Present

image by Skitterphoto via Pixabay

This week we are exploring emerging innovations (or re-invigoration) of the learning frameworks reverse (aka flipped) instruction, game-based learning and play based learning. As with all ‘buzzword’ initiatives in education, we must take some time and investigate what these types of learning frameworks entail and how they are applied appropriately and effectively. I’ve seen many examples of them used in very innovative ways that engage and motivate learners, I’ve also seen them applied in simplistic, superficial ways that, in some cases, created even more work for the teachers and the students and/or the focus on learning was lost or diluted. I think of the SAMR model when considering these (and any) frameworks. Is this type of instruction just a substitution or augmentation of a traditional, teacher-centered method? Or is the learning experience being modified or redefined for the benefit of the student? Has it taken on a life of its own through a variety of interpretations and re-iterations? Is the variation innovative or burdensome for students? Whichever learning framework you choose to explore, please consider how it is defined and how it can applied to enhance learning for our students.

Here are a few videos and additional resources you might consider in your exploration…

Reverse (flipped) instruction

Jon Bergmann’s site  (pioneer of Flipped Learning)
10 Pros and Cons for a Flipped Classroom

Simplifying Flipped Learning (Jon Bergmann)

Game-Based Learning and Gamification

The Difference Between Gamification And Game-Based Learning
Gamification, Game-based Learning, Serious Games: Any Difference? 

 

 

 

Play-Based Learning (not just for the little ones!)

Play in education: the role and importance of creative learning
Institute of Play
Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too

 

Week 2: The Past (aka Back to the Future)

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Course 4 Final Project

I know we’ve just started Course 4, but it’s never too early to review the Course 4 Final Project information. The main focus of this final project is to start making some decisions about the topic for your Course 5 project which will be done in the fall (September – December 2018). You may already know what you want to do or still need some inspiration. Either way, your final project for Course 4 will be your opportunity to share your ideas.

“X”-Based Learning

The Essential Questions for this week…
Does project-based, problem-based and/or challenge-based learning have a place in your classroom? What hurdles do you need to overcome to make it work in your school/classroom?

First of all, we have to sort out what these types of learning frameworks are. How are they related? How are they different? In terms of educational buzzwords, these (among other learning frameworks) can be easily be used interchangeably and applied misleadingly.

Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL (Edutopia)

What’s the Difference Between Project- and Challenge-Based Learning, Anyway? (EdSurge)

And why would we focus on these in a unit called “The Past”? Aren’t these frameworks for learning the big buzzwords in education these days? Well, there have been educators advocating for these types of learning frameworks for YEARS! One educator referred to in this week’s readings is Seymour Papert whose theory of constructionism was influenced by Jean Piaget (a standard for all education students for his work in child development).

Lego Honors Seymour Pappert

In turn, Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab (think Scratch coding and LEGO Mindstorms) talks about the influence Seymour Papert has had on his work, including his recent book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. This companion site includes a long list of influence for the book including many educators and innovators from the past and present.

(For an overview of the book, see the article “A Case for Lifelong Kindergarten” from Mind/Shift)

Kindergarten For Our Whole Lives | Mitchel Resnick (TEDx Talks)

So why the big buzz around these not-so-new ideas about learning? I think you have to consider about the influence of the growing abundance of digital devices and resources and how they are impacting the world our students are experiencing and the potential for these digital tools to support and enhance these types of learning frameworks.  

The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.     –Seymour Papert

Course 4 Begins: What is Technology Integration?

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Course 4 Technology: A Catalyst for Learning

Is it Course 4 already?! As you read the description of this course you’ll notice it covers a variety of topics related to technology integration in teaching and learning which will help you start developing ideas for your Course 5 Project (Fall 2018).

Course description
Research based best practice for the embedded use of technology for learning will be shared and practiced. The focus will be on the habits that provide students with the ability to use technology for its greatest learning advantage. The best use of laptop computers, tablets, etc will be addressed as embedded tools to foster optimum learning of the curriculum. The optimal use of communication tools such as podcasts, blogs, social-networks, Google Docs, and videos will be addressed with tips for management and strategies to promote maximum learning in classroom.

But we must start with the Essential Questions in Week 1: What is technology integration and does it work? What is your definition?

It can seem like a simple question, but from my experience with COETAIL and as an eLearning/Ed Tech/Innovation/ICT coach over the past 6 years, there are a variety of perspectives on what ‘tech interaction’ is, who should integrate tech, when it should be integrated and how, and how we measure its effectiveness in teaching and learning. Many frameworks have been developed over the years regarding the integration of technology including SAMR, TPACK, TIM and more recently T3 Framework (which I first learned of from Sara’s Course 1 blog post here).

Which framework should we use? That is something for you to explore this week! I look forward to reading about your perspectives on ‘tech integration’ and what tools or frameworks you use for some self-assessment.

I’ll leave with a few additional resources you might like to explore…

Really? It’s My Job to Teach Technology? (Jeff Utecht)
Making It Work: Structuring Technology-Rich Learning (Kim Cofino)
Administrative Walk-Throughs in a Tech Rich Classroom (podcast episode with Jeff Utecht on Shifting Our Schools)
The Laptop Learning Curve  (podcast episode with Kim Cofino on Shifting Our Schools)
And because the title caught my attention (but content is very relevant!)… Peering Past the Pixie Dust of Technology (Jill Hobson)

 

Week 6: Wrapping Up Course 3 on Visual Literacy

image by Free-Photos via Pixabay

I hope you’ve enjoyed this course on the topic of visual literacy. I keep going back to one of the Understandings that threads throughout this course: Design and layout of information influence effective communication. And you’ve all shared in various blog posts how this impacts how you present information to others and how we need to work with our students in understanding and applying this concept. And I hope you can carry this message to your fellow educators as well!

Progress Check
By the end of this week you should have

  • 5 blog posts completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 5 comments completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are encouraged to comment more, but only log one per week. Try to keep them timely, not necessarily get them all done the first week.
  • 1 final project embedded into a final blog post for the course.

The course officially closes on March 4 and I will finish assessing posts and final projects so I can post grades by March 11. And then we’ll start Course 4 March 12 and be finished with it by the end of April! Then we have a break until September when we begin the final Course 5.

Final Project

The final projects for course 3 are always a lot of fun and there are plenty of options to fit individual interests. I know some of you have been already been sharing your ideas via your blog posts. And I’ve seen a lot of learning, self-reflection and application regarding visual literacy. I know my resources around visual literacy have grown from ones you have shared!

 

Week 5: Infographics and Data Visualizations

image by JuralMin via Pixabay

As we continue to explore visual literacy for Course 3, this week we look at the use of infographics and data visualizations. This can be one of the more challenging aspects of visual literacy to address. If we are selecting infographics or data visualizations to share with students, how to we help them learn to decipher what they are being shown? (Critical Thinking Skills!) And if we ask them to construct an infographic or data visualization, which tools should they use and how should they present the information effectively? (for some fun, just Google “Bad Infographics” for some examples you could analyze with your students!)

A Couple Recommendations…

In this week’s readings, we share some additional resources including Nicki Hambleton’s site about Sketchnotes (aka Visual Notetaking). Nicki works with students and adults in developing ways to synthesis and organize ideas and information visually. You can find her on Twitter @itsallaboutart and check out her Learning 2.0 Talk “The Power of Visuals” here.

Another educator (and friend of Nicki’s) that also shares the power of visual notetaking is Sonya TerBorg. Just today she shared a blog post “Sketchnotes 101” with some basic strategies for visual notetaking. Sonya shares her own sketchnotes via her Twitter account @tersonya. Beyond sketchnoting, Sonya’s blog covers a wide range of topics, especially around student agency, innovation and inquiry

Progress Check for Week 5

  • 4 blog posts completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • Remember as a part of your GET certification it is important to start trying to incorporate ways you are planning trainings for your colleagues and using GSuite tools in your daily work
  • 4 comment completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are encouraged to comment more, but only log one per week. Try to keep them timely, not necessarily get them all done the first week.
  • Hopefully well into working on your final project for this course.

Note: I’ve had a few participants ask about how to know if they are on track for the GET certification. Your blog posts should evidence of how you are meeting those tasks listed in the GET tabs and/or in the assignments. Of course you can also use your blog to document any training you do. Let us know if you have additional questions about GET.

Week 4: Digital Storytelling

 

image by thommas68 via Pixabay

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts for this course, the topics from this course around visual literacy really had an impact on my teaching. While teaching middle school Humanities at my previous school, I offered a digital storytelling elective and was able to integrate digital storytelling into my Humanities class as a way for students to share their learning. I also began to facilitate professional development sessions on digital storytelling in the content areas. (Here is a link to my Google Site for a workshop I did a few years ago – it does need some updating but it contains examples and many of my go-to resources for digital storytelling).

With the technology tools we have available and some preparation and planning, digital storytelling can be a powerful way to engage students in sharing their learning. There are many benefits to using digital storytelling beyond creativity and technology skills that can help students share their learning and teachers assess it. (6 Reasons You Should be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students; Digital Storytelling: An Efficient and Engaging Learning Activity)

Here is a story about one of my learnings from using digital storytelling…The first time I taught a digital storytelling elective was even before I started COETAIL and it was a steep learning curve for me. A couple of my students had iPhones with iMovie on them and even though I had set up a process for them to develop their story first, they said they’d have their story done by Monday. Keep in mind, I was not experienced with iMovie or how this worked on an iPhone at this time. On Monday, they shared this movie they created about spies in their apartment building including falling and exploding cars. At first I was impressed with the technology and what they were able to create visually. But once I watched it again, as a teacher assessing their work, I realized their story did not make much sense and it was mostly them improvising. Also, it was difficult to hear their dialogue and keep track of the characters. Was it impressive visually? Sure – mostly because it was a new format for me. Did they communicate their story effectively? Nope. So we as teachers we must keep in mind, that creating a digital story is more than just the software or app that is being used. Even if students are tech saavy in creating digital media, they still need guidance on creating an engaging story.

 

Here’s a TedEx video of iPad storyteller Joe Sabia about the evolution of technology and storytelling which relates to our essential question for this week: How does this new form of storytelling differ from forms in the past?

Looking forward to reading more about your learning and experiences with digital storytelling!

Note: For more about the power of storytelling > The magical science of storytelling By  David JP Phillips at TEDxStockholm (shared his presentation “How to avoid death by PowerPoint” in my Week 3 post.)

Week 3: Understanding Presentation Design

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Essential Question: How can visual presentations effectively communicate a message?

As we continue through Course 3 focusing on Visual Literacy, we now take a look at presentation design. As I’ve mentioned before, Course 3 really helped me reflect on my own presentation design AND delivery and make adjustments (both in my perspective and how I used the digital tools). Just like with any kind of communication, audience and purpose is key and impacts how you design your presentation and how you deliver it. One of my colleagues who is very skilled and designing and delivering presentations, would ask, “If you include all the information the audience needs in the visual presentation itself, why not just print it out for them and not waste their time talking about it?”

Not only has my design and delivery of presentations evolved over the years (a constant work in progress!) but I’ve made an effort to work with students in developing more effective presentations. (At one point I even banned fancy font, rotating words and explosion animations from presentations by middle schoolers!) My question is how do we get more educators (and schools) to invest time in helping students develop these valuable communication skills?

Don McMillan’s comedy routine “Life After Death by PowerPoint” is included this in Recommended Readings this week and is very funny but it also reminds us what is ineffective in digital presentations. There are lots of useful resources regarding Presentation Zen and presentation design as well in this week’s Recommended Readings. Another video resource I found is David JP Phillips TEDxStockholSalon presentation “How to avoid death by PowerPoint”. I think PowerPoint gets a bad rap, but as Mr. Phillips points out, “Use PowerPoint as it is supposed to be used.” 

Progress Check for Week 3

  • 2 blog posts completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • Remember as a part of your GET certification it is important to start trying to incorporate ways you are planning trainings for your colleagues and using GSuite tools in your daily work
  • 2 comment completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
    • You are encouraged to comment more, but only log one per week. Try to keep them timely, not necessarily get them all done the first week.
  • Please continue to check for and approve all comments on your own blog (and of course respond to them – keep the conversation going!).
  • Hopefully you’ve started thinking about the final project for this course. Remember you can start it at anytime. 

As always, let me know if you have any questions or would like any feedback about final project ideas!

Resource to share: Check Out Slides Carnival for free PowerPoint templates and Google Slides themes!