Tag Archives: Week 2

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

image by geralt via Pixabay

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

Week 2: Visual Literacy in the Classroom

image by crushman via Pixabay

As I mentioned last week, Course 3 really helped me reflect and self-assess on how I was communicating effectively with others (or not) through visual presentation. It also got me thinking about how important it was that I also help my students develop their own visual presentations. As I reviewed the Understandings and Essential Question for Week 2, I noticed that technology is not mentioned specifically in any of them! We need to consider how design is addressed in general communication skills and in various mediums (literacy!). However, we also need to examine how technology is used in crafting visual communication (benefits and challenges). Which leads to the focus of this week’s unit…What do we (and our students) need to know about communication and design?


  • Design and layout of information influence effective communication
  • Audience and purpose behind your communication affect how and what you communicate.
  • Different information mediums require different strategies when organizing information and communicating effectively.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does the ability to use, create and/or manipulate imagery foster effective communication?

Two of my Visual Literacy and Design Gurus
In addition to this week’s resources, I’d like to share two influential and amazing resources I have found in Keri-Lee Beasley and Heather Dowd. I met both of them through the ed tech community when I was working at an international school in China and Keri-Lee and Heather were in Singapore. Among many other topics they are experts in regarding the use of technology in schools, they both did workshops and developed resources related to visual literacy and design. I am incredibly grateful for the openness in sharing their resources (which I have used myself in working with students on visual literacy and design).

Keri-Lee created an iBook, Design Secrets Revealed that presents the basics on CARP (instead of CRAP) design principles and it’s intended audience is students grades 2-9 but is a great resource for adults as well. She also has a blog “Tip of the Iceberg” that includes (among many great resources) a specific section on Design Resources and resources from her workshops including “Presentation Design for Kids”.

Heather has shared resources from her Learning 2.0 workshop on Visual Literacy including a section of Graphic Design Resources. She also has a slide show, “Graphic Design Tools and Rules” she developed for middle school students that you are welcome to copy and modify for your students (or staff).  You can also find more resources from other workshops such at her HD Workshops site that include “Visual Design for Pages” and “Tell Me with a Graphic”.

If you want some practical, student-tested materials about visual literacy and design, I recommend you check out Keri-Lee and Heather’s resources.

And just a reminder…
I know it’s only Week 2, but make sure to look over the options for the Course 3 Final Project!


Week 2: Balancing Online Connections with Protecting Privacy

image by Timisu via Pixabay

I had a fantastic time at the Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai this weekend connecting with other international educators interested in innovation in education. I hope you had a chance to check out some of the action via the #learning2 hashtag. If you’re looking to build your PLN, this hashtag is a great place to find people to follow and interact with and the hashtag is pretty active throughout the year, not just during conference time. You can also check out a playlist of L2 Talks on YouTube (like mini TEDtalks).  I highly recommend Learning 2.0 conferences and there are a lot of COETAIL connections to be found among the participants and the topics. 

After spending the weekend at an event that involves a lot of social media interaction and several discussions around digital citizenship and online safety, this week’s topic is a reminder for me to reflect on balancing my online activity and protecting my privacy. This is a huge issue for us personally and professionally. Our online life is important to us not only socially, but has become a staple in daily life for shopping, banking, entertainment, file storage, etc. Technology and the internet have made so many tasks so much easier, but on the other hand a lot of personal information is ‘out there’ on the web and it’s security is not always guaranteed. I found this article that addresses the quandary we can find ourselves in: Why We’re So Hypocritical About Online Privacy. And not only do we need to educate ourselves about this, we have to consider the impact of privacy issues on how we use technology in the classroom and how we educate our students (and parents) about this topic.

Being Connected

I encourage you to follow each other on Twitter (You can subscribe to COETAIL Online9 List which includes all Online9 participants). I’ve already seen some sharing of resources relevant to Course 2 by some of our participants.

Gene Marie Chagaris who shared a tweet with information about podcast on copyright laws and Rory Bell found a great resource on copyright protection. Nick Garvin, who has been participating in a number of Twitter chats, references a chat on remix and responsibility.

Checking In

Just a reminder of where you should be in Course 2

  • 1 blog post completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet
  • 1 comment completed and listed on your grading spreadsheet (It is encouraged to comment more, but only log one)
  • Checked and approved all comments on your own blog and hopefully responded. You’ll get much more from continuing the conversation.

Have a great week!