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It’s that time again as we’re about a month out from another COETAIL Cohort starting. Excited that Ben Sheridan is the lead instructor for this cohort. Ben is currently in Kentucky doing his PhD in Online Learning…could you ask for a better pairing? To get a glimpse of Ben’s thinking in action you can check out our latest COETAILcast where he wastes no time at all getting into whether the “hour of code” movement is the right movement for education.

At the writing of this blog post there are about 20 spots left for this cohort. As we start 2016 think about starting a PD journey that time and time again educators have said this is some of the best PD they have ever done. If you need more convincing here are some final projects from COETAILers that just finished up in December and their final projects after 18 months of transformational learning.

Mark Mouck: Collaborative Notetaking in 9th Grade English

Mark has captured his students talking about collaborative notetaking in class warts and all. I really enjoyed and appreciated the variety of their reasonings for doing (or not doing) notetaking in this way.  His project is both student-centred and student-driven.

Annie Hall Paulson: Technology in PE Class

What I really love about Annie’s Course 5 project is that despite the challenges, she demonstrates a growth mindset and flexibility. Her students make cute appearances all through the video sharing their learning with us all.  This project will definitely inspire you to try technology in a curriculum area that you may not think you can.

Sonya terBorg:  Student Blogs in the Junior School

If you are wondering how to blog with students – especially in the Junior School, then you really need to watch Sonya’s Course 5 project! Even with a number of obstacles, often times, beyond her control, Sonya remained flexible and with her growth mindset, was able to work around those challenges.   You’ll hear from both students and teachers and gain some really great tips that apply to anyone working with students/teachers and technology.

Colleen McCabe: TourBuilder in Literacy

A very student-orientated Course 5 project! You’ll get to hear students talk about what they did in Colleen and Angela’s combined TourBuilder Unit. There’s great modelling of the tool and the task and what’s even cooler is that the students want to continue to learn in this way.  A great example of how technology can be integrated in powerful ways.

Ann Lautrette: The End but really the Beginning

Ann has done something “different” with the presentation of her Course 5 project (I don’t want to give too much away – but just so you know, I really enjoyed watching it!!).  If you’re interested in a redesign of the core of IB – using blogs instead of an exercise book for TOK, then you really need to watch this one!  What I really like about this project is that it is an awesome example of a student-centred, student-driven project that shows that the sharing of student work really reflects the power of blogging and how you can make it work for IB.

Erika van Vogt: Introduction of A Class Blog

It’s quite obvious that I’m a big fan of blogging with students. Erika’s student-driven (through roles) Introduction of a Class Blog has digital citizenship deliberately and authentically entwined throughout.  Her students explain what’s going on and it’s very powerful to see inside Erika’s classroom as the students work on their tasks.  The enthusiasm of the student interviews in this video presentation is fabulous to see!

Becca Allen: Making Thinking Visible

Becca did an outstanding job of not only sharing her learning from Course 5 (along with all of the other elements of this project like student feedback, student learning in action and student samples), but she also constructed her video in such an organized, clear and thoughtful way so that the viewer can really understand her entire process. Personally, I also always love to see examples of technology being integrated seamlessly into regular classroom routines like visible thinking routines. It’s a great way to see how technology can support good pedagogy without becoming a massive project.

Kara Cole: Minecraft in the Classroom

Kara did an amazing job of both structuring this project for student success and letting it be completely student centered and student directed. For me, this project is an outstanding example of the importance of being structured and organized, but how you can make that experience all about the students. I loooove the very first few seconds of the video where her grade 5 students are in the computer lab and the noise level is out of control with their enthusiasm and energy about learning, but when you get closer you can hear that they’re so engaged and purposeful. For me, this is what a classroom should be. Thanks for bringing it to life so clearly in your video, Kara!

Kristy Godbout iStop Motion with the Who Am I? Unit of Inquiry

Kristy has done such a fantastic job of connecting hands on learning with visible thinking and technology in her kindergarten classroom. Kristy has so many great examples of her students learning in action, as well as their finished product. Her video is so well organized and thorough, including all of the elements required for the project in such an engaging and inspiring way. It’s always fantastic to see young learners using technology so purposefully, and for it to be so well integrated into the classroom environment, rather than an add-on.

Daena Greig: Animated .gifs in PE

I have to admit, I can’t stop talking about this project. It’s such a simple idea technologically speaking, but one that has such a far reaching impact, not just for PE but for so many other subject areas. Daena and David have worked together to use animated .gifs in PE (and David has worked with other subject area teachers along the same lines as well, so it’s not just great for PE, it’s great for lots of subjects), so that students are able to record very short, repeating, animated images of themselves demonstrating PE skills. The addition of an animated rubric for them to evaluate themselves takes this project to another level. I know this idea is going to spread!

Angela Spitzman: Tour Builder for Literature Circles

I love this idea from Angela! I’ve used TourBuilder a number of times, but never in the way that Angela describes it here. She has her students delving deeply into the stories they are reading to create animated tours of either the actual story or a possible continued version of the story. The students are truly interacting with the characters of the story as they plan and map the path of their adventures right on Google Earth.

Carly Thomas: Global Collaboration with Ning in AP Environmental Science

I am so appreciative of the fact that Carly took a risk and created a globally collaborative project for Course 5! I think we can all appreciate how hard it is to create a global project – and she did it from China with tons of restrictions on what kinds of tools she could use, in a very content heavy subject area as well. It’s great to see the value her students have placed on having that global interaction, as well as her ideas to continue to further the collaboration.


I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.

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