The program was started here at ISB in 2009 in a partnership with Buffalo State – SUNY. The program is designed to introduce teachers to many new Web 2.0 tools, have conversations about New Literacies, and turn the tools and conversations into action in the classroom.
Since our original cohort back in 2009 Kim Cofino and I have continued to be involved in starting, supporting, and teaching other cohorts around Asia. Kim will also be starting a cohort at her school in Japan next year as well.
I think there are a couple reasons why this program has taken off Internationally and continues to grow.
1: People Need Credits
Overseas we do not get all the opportunities one has in their home country to take course and gain credits or clock hours. Yet we all have teaching certificates that need to be keep current. In my case that means 15 credits every 5 years or 150 Washington State approved clock hours. Seeing that I can’t get the 150 clock hours because I’m not in the state the credits are the route I take…and many like me. So there is a need for a program that offers credits for international teachers to keep their certification current.
2: Technology, Future, 1:1
I made a statement in 2009 at an admin conference here in Asia that by 2012 there would be a clear line between those schools who were going 1:1 and those that would not. I still stick to that timeline and the roll out of 1:1 programs here in Asian International Schools continues to explode. This means more and more schools in Asia are looking for teachers who know how to handle every students having a laptop, how to engage and make meaningful lessons when technology and the power of the web is at everyones fingertips. Hence we’re seeing people take this class to up their own skills because they work at a 1:1 school already, or their school is moving in that direction, or they want to work at a school that’s going 1:1.
3. Apply Your Learning Now
The way we have structured the program is that each course is made up of being an active community member and creating a lesson that uses the theory, tools, or approach we’ve been discussing in that class. The constant reflection on CoETaIL blogs allows teachers to be thinking, exploring and processing the new information. The creation of a lesson/unit plan at the end of the unit allows them to apply their learning now in their classroom/school. As soon as teachers start teaching lessons successfully we’re seeing whole school cultures change around their view and approach to technology.
4. Teachers and Staying Current
We know that teachers still matter and part of teaching this course means staying current in a field that is constantly changing. While in Portland, OR at ITSC11 a few weeks ago I had two people in one of my workshops that told me they were taking a graduate course right now that did not mention or use one of the tools we talked about or the theories we discussed….and that they had learned more in 3 hours in my workshop that they could use right now then they had in their graduate course to date. This is a big issue right now in graduate programs. We all know the programs where you can take the classes and still not know anything. They drive me nuts!
Not one of the CoETaIL cohorts looks the same, the information, the links, the ideas keep changing. Kim and I a month ago sat down and re-evaluated the Blogging, Commenting, and Unit Design Rubrics for the course and made more changes. I tell the participants the first day that the information and the direction we go in these courses can change, and will change, in an instant based on new technology tools, ideas, or conversations.
A big part of this course is getting use with being uncomfortable and not knowing what’s coming next…very much where we find ourselves in this day in age and the pace of technology. Getting comfortable with uncertainty takes time….and is frustration for some.
5. A Program that is relavent and PD that matters
We took a survey 6 months after the last CoETaIL course ended to find out that 93% of participants in the course now think about technology as they are creating unit and lesson plans. That’s the kind of effect we hope that PD has on teachers and schools. 86% say what they learned during the program has influenced their teaching on a daily basis. Those are pretty good numbers I think for 6 months after the program has finished.
It’s been a fun run and we’ll see where this program goes….for now…it’s back to reading some more blogs.