For Course 3’s project in #COETAIL11, Ryan, Matt, Saadia, and I decided to join together and look at ways we could encourage our colleagues to be global collaborators. One group member suggested collaboration as an option and the rest of us got excited about it because we all value it: it is one of the 21st-century competencies in several frameworks (e.g., ISTE Standards for Teachers, DQ Framework, The 4Cs, etc.) Furthermore, collaboration is something that teachers can benefit greatly from, but not everyone does it. Sometimes it is easier for us to focus on the task in front of us because working with our peers can feel like “another thing I have got to do.”
To encourage a culture of collaboration in our contexts, we moved forward with collaboration as our topic. We addressed all of ISTE Standards for Educators Standard #4 “Collaborator”; however, we focused on 👇👇:
- (4a) dedicates planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
☝️☝️We focused on this standard by creating a collaborative, friendly environment in which we practice using different tools together for a common purpose that is meant to highlight a fun approach to technology integration.
We also focused on 👇👇:
- (4b) collaborates and co-learns with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
☝️☝️We implemented this standard by intentionally under-directing in our instructions. This approach is meant to encourage teachers to be independent, self-directed learners who can rely on one another when they have a question or problem with the new tech tools we encourage them to use during our training.
For our PD, we differentiated a few different ways:
- The learners will be able to choose which tool they are most interested while also choosing which approach is most interesting (slide 30)
- We use a teacher-centered approach at times, but also share our presentation for learners who would like to follow along, or move forward/backward when/if they have a question.
- For English language learners, we also will use the CC option in Google Slides to aid them in reading our speech.
Without further ado, below is the link to our group’s learning experience.
Why did you choose the option you chose?
I chose the option of developing a PD experience because it directly ties into my job as a Coach of Technology. I regularly conduct PD experiences with my staff as I try to encourage them to use a tech tool to enhance good practice. In the 21st Century, being a strong communicator and global collaborator go hand in hand. Working on a strong why with the team was essential to us. That is, most of us are tech coaches or advocates, so it was vital for us to promote the learning first and then show how tools might be used to enhance that why.
How did you grow as a collaborator and facilitator during Course 3?
I think that one of my favorite ways that I grew during Course 3 was in thinking routines. I was learning about thinking routines in this course at the same time that I was taking some fantastic PD with Cognitive Coaching and also Service Learning with Catheryn Berger-Kaye. Cognitive Coaching came just before Course 3, and CBK came during it. Content aside, both of these PDs used several different thinking routines; even if I did not learn anything from the seminars, I still felt like I was walking away with numerous approaches. I liked that COETAIL came in just at the right time for my experience by naming these approaches as thinking routines and also gave resource links to the Thinking Collaborative’s site, which shared so many quick thinking routines. As a bonus, Cognitive Coaching is one of the seminars put on by the Thinking Collaborative. So it was helpful to feel like I had a somewhat definitive list of thinking routines that I could fall back on when I could not remember what had happened at the seminar. In short, I felt like Course 3 glued together a few disparate pieces and helped me solidify thinking routines in my head. In our final project, we decided to use jigsawing! We might have been able to use two different thinking routines to keep things lively, but our project authors all felt jigsawing would be the best for the learning we wanted to do.
How was this final project different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed/facilitated?
This project was different in that I do not often work with people in such different time zones. I think I saw that there was much flexibility in my team members in that they would wake up early or stay up late to ensure that we could communicate effectively. I also noticed that for a relatively simple project, we had to plan far in advance to make sure that we had enough time to communicate, plan, and revise with one another.
How does this final project relate to what you learned in Course 3?
As I mentioned above, I had several things that influenced me in my thinking during Course 3. When I approached the final project slide show, I think I was very intentional in really limiting how much I showed. It became essential to be very intentional in what I wrote about on my slides. I needed to have a strong visual hierarchy, images that reflected the central idea of the slide, and relate the content to the overall purpose of the presentation. In short, I felt like I had to focus and make design decisions that kept the reader on track.
What has influenced you the most in Course 3 and how is that reflected in your final project?
As I mentioned earlier, I think my ISTE Standard that I developed in was (6d) models and nurture creativity to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections. Learning about the visual hierarchy and how to use color, size, font, alignment was remarkable. I already knew a lot of those CARP principles, but the thing that I liked was the freedom to decide a project/topic that I needed to work on (i.e., Tech Integration Approaches, Terms, and Definitions Infographic). I also really appreciated Tanya’s feedback about my layout and how I could adjust things to reinforce visual hierarchy in my readers and helping to guide their eyes. Finally, I was influenced by taking a massive amount of time out to rethink my website and redesign it with a different theme. It made me rethink how I am presenting myself from a reader’s perspective.
What outcomes do you hope to see when students (or educators) complete this unit? How will you know that students (or educators) have learned the concepts?
Success to me would look like people being willing to take a risk, take a chance, and try something new. We were trying to tackle a vast topic: collaboration. Wow. Will our teachers become master collaborators after 2 hours? No, not really. What I would like to see is that they are willing to try at least one of the tools and reach out to others in the school or the world instead of keeping learning sequestered to their own four walls.
Learning is a process, a journey, and it is social. When teachers are willing to put themselves into a new or uncomfortable situation and build trust in me like a marble jar, I will know I have been successful.