To wrap up COETAIL's course one, we were asked to do a final project.
Criteria: Essentially, pick a unit that's already planned, one you want to tweak or design a new one. You don't have to teach it.
Goal: Show what you'd include or change as a result of your learning in course one.
The rubric can be found here.
My project: Course one of COETAIL directly coincided with an IB PYP inquiry unit the grade fours in my context were embarking on, so I felt choosing this unit for my project made the most sense.
In a nutshell, here's the unit, using COETAIL's UbD planner:
Project questions - answered:
So how did the learners do?
This week's learning for Course 1, Week 5, centered on various learning theories.
ISTE for Educators link:
Learner 1c - Stay current with research & the learning sciences to support student learning.
Having done a (fairly) recent Master's of Educational Technology from UBC (2017), I'm fortunate that I come from a place where most learning theories in the readings this week, including Bloom's Digital Taxonomy were not new to me.
Still, it was nice to review and revisit the readings. It brought me back to some UBC-MET activities in which I compared and contrasted subsects of constructivist theory along with understanding what a weird period of time we were in when Skinner's Behaviourist theory was strongly purported.
One learning theory that was introduced in the orientation of COETAIL, and more strongly this week, was that of George Siemens' Connectivist theory.
In particular, I loved the succinct breakdown by Siemens (2004) in Bell's (2011) musings on the theory. Bullets one and three are particular favourites.
A quote from the Bell reading that highly resonated with me were the thoughts on research (2011; p. 106), "Good research is not only informed by theory but also helps to build it."
I had some serious sad face emoji this week when von Glasersfeld gets honourable mentions with his deviant radical theory of constructivism (sorry, Ernst - not a believer), yet good ol' Seymour Papert doesn't even get one cricket. Especially in COETAIL, a certification build upon the advocacy of technology in education. Even more so in a week where Bloom's Digital Taxonomy is introduced with its premise of "Creating" being at the upper echelon of this theory. Tisk, tisk, COETAIL --- 😢
All bias aside, Papert, after researching with Piaget for four years, derived his own variant of Constructivism, which he called Constructionism. Aptly named, of course, because... well... he thought people learn best when "constructing" things that are personally meaningful to them. If interested, you can brush up more on Papert's theory here, and more on Papert's legacy, here.
I could quote Papert all day - but, this quote sums up what he advocated in his theory:
Thankfully Seymour Papert lives on today with his two proteges - Mitch Resnick (who also has one of the coolest job titles on the planet) and Gary Stager. "Lifelong Kindergarten" and "Invent to Learn" are two must-reads for any educator, authored by Mitch and Gary, respectively. If your school has a maker space, Fablab, or kids who love to code, you can thank Papert.
Gary created a beautiful homage to Papert in his 2014 TED talk, "Seymour Papert: Inventor of Everything".
COETAIL: This would be a good "skim" resource to add to this week's readings in future cohorts.
The readings this week, with my consolidation, introduction and connections led me to think more deeply about what Stanford math expert, Jo Boaler, posits as to the way our brains grow and change.
In fact, I elucidate this so often to my learners, that this week's readings, in true "Bloom's Digital Taxonomy" spirit, has intrinsically motivated me to "create" my own infographic on the topic.
Some pondering questions to leave you with:
This week's focus for #COETAIL13 Course One - Week 4 is centered upon effective strategies for educational technology implementation and integration.
ISTE Educator Learner Standard Indicator 2b - Shape and empower a shared vision of learning with ed-tech with your stakeholders.
From the readings, the two most influential and enjoyable, which I'll unpack below, were:
This article won me over in their intro about looking out for "devils in sheep's clothing" during the pandemic. In other words, stick with less gimmicky items and focus more on good pedagogy - your gut should take care of the rest. If there are too many sparkles, it may not be the best for your learners.
These five tips shared offer a great starting point:
These questions are gold.
I can't even narrow down this list to any questions that I don't like.
It's that good that I'll be using this for future coaching, workshops and more.
One question that transitions nicely into my next sub-heading is, "Have I started with purpose and pedagogy instead of the tech?"
Start with TPaCK
Being passionate about Edtech for years, I'm often sought out by colleagues with inquiries about technology integration-specific questions and help amongst my colleagues.
My starting questions are usually about the enduring understanding of the unit they are teaching. In other words, I want to know the GRASPS statement, the summative task, or "What knowledge and understandings do you want your learners to walk away with?". This is the way... the UbD way.
More importantly, it is the TPaCK way. If you're unfamiliar with TPaCK, I highly recommend watching this short video.
Essentially, you start with your curricular or "content knowledge" (i.e. the standards drive the learning in your context). Next, you know your craft, or, put simply, are the expert in the "pedagogical knowledge" as to your delivery of the content. Lastly, the "technical knowledge" is understanding what "tech" will best make the understanding and knowledge of the content visible.
Other super important consideration - knowing your learners and the context in which you teach (represented by the dashed line below).
The sweet spot is where all three circles overlap ?.
So let's stop for a second.
Close your eyes and ask yourself - "What is 'technology'?" or, better yet "What do I see when I see 'technology'?"
What did you come up with?
Did you include some of the things in this photo?
Remember that technology is all around us. Papers, pencils, computers, and chairs combined. Digital technology is just one aspect when it comes to putting a label on this term.
In sum, curriculum first, use your pedagogical expertise to scaffold the learning, then select the best tech to get you there.
Add in some and/or all of TeachThought's 15 questions and this should steer you to an excellent end result!
I can't write a post on this topic and not include SAMR. However, I do put it at the bottom of this post for the following reasons:
Some final questions I'd like you to ruminate upon when considering which educational technology to use in your classroom are the following:
The by-product of saying "YES!" to these questions is creating "ownership" in learning. In other words, building self-efficacious and empowered learners!
The IB offers a great reflection wrap sheet in regards to honouring agency below:
Hopefully, I have empowered you to think more deeply about the ways you integrate educational technology in your teaching context.
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes on the subject, by educator and author, George Couros.
This week's COETAIL13 - Course One emphasis was on connected learning.
ISTE Educator Learner Standard links:
Connections to some major education concepts, themes and topics:
10,000 hours vs. 20 hours?
Not sure I align 100% with what Josh Kaufman posits in his TED Talk; it's a little too generalist and oversimplified. If you haven't watched it, Josh elucidates that one can get "good enough" at anything in 20 focused hours, rather than Ericsson's well-cited 10,000-hour theory. To be fair to Josh (and Ericsson), he does clarify that the 10,000 hours was always defined as an "expert" level theory and the "expert" part is often left out (suffering from a case of telephone game as it's passed on).
With Kaufman's 20 hour oversimplification, I'd be more sold if he used the term "basic foundations", rather than "good enough" on anything with 20 solid hours.
When I think about three of my passions (tennis, climbing and photography), which I still approach with "Shoshin" and have spent well over 20 dedicated hours, "good enough" would not be even close to a label/level of comfort I would be satisfied with.
All three are lifelong and enduring. They continually challenge me, empower me to persevere and have enough varying degrees of challenge. Jocko Willink and Joe Rogan term this as "embracing the suck".
Essentially, all three continually ask me to step out of my comfort zone.
Therefore, Kaufman would've sold me more by specifically narrowing his theory to something like, "20 hours is an appropriate amount of 'good enough' time for smaller (or bite-sized) learning projects/passions."
COETAIL's Call to action
This week, we were asked to be put on the hook, setting a goal to "geek out" and get "good enough" with.
So, here's my action plan...
Goal: Continue to gain perspective and skill in photography
My actionable next steps:
Due date: April 1st, 2021
Now to test if my goals are SMART enough...
Specific ✅ Measurable ✅ Achievable ✅ Realistic ✅ Time-sensitive ✅
What impact, connections, and or empathy piece could this have for my learners?
What about you?
The focus of Course One : Week Two was based on the ISTE for Educators Learner standard indicator 1c - Staying current with research to improve the teaching and learning in your context.
In addition, some of the readings and resources centered on teaching research skills to our learners, which would align nicely with the Citizenship ISTE Educator standard, 3b, which centers on the critical examination of online sources, building digital literacy and media fluency.
In a connected world, research should fall on your lap...
I like RSS feeds (Feedly's my preference), sure, but Twitter and knowing some Boolean Search basics are fundamentals in today's age.
Just recently, I was catching up with a friend who is currently doing some Master's research. He mentioned he was struggling to find information for his literature review. Whilst listening, I threw out my advice (EBSCO, KQED, etc.) and also tweeted this to my connections on Twitter. Within 24 hours... the skies opened up for him! My tweet put him in touch with experts locally and abroad, as well as links to some great published papers.
Developing, curating and being an active participant in professional learning networks (PLNs) pay their dividends when it comes to times like these. They are, almost always, my first port of call for any major wonderings (after I've done some searching as well).
Google Ninja Skills
Whenever my kiddos and I do some info report writing and/or work on our research skills, I usually run a workshop around some of Google Ninja Skills (a top 10 curation).
TRAAP / CRAAP
In addition to some Google Ninja skills belt upgrades, it's crucial to teach kids about TRAAP (aka as CRAAP, for lack of a better acronym) testing their resources. In a world of deep fakes, fake news and more, this is a super important litmus test to teach and apply to any resource.
After watching the video linked above, here are a few resources that I use with my kiddos:
And whilst we're talking about research, it is worth mentioning the MISO method, championed by the service-learning guru, Cathyrn Berger Kaye. We were lucky enough to bring her in as a keynote speaker in a pre-pandemic, face-to-face, professional learning conference with my current employer.
The MISO method is such a great scaffold for building action research skills.
MISO stands for media, interview, survey and observation. It gels lovely with design thinking, too! Here are some resources that I find helpful in regards to MISO:
How about you?
Some other resources related to this topic worth sharing:
This week's readings brought up several ideas worth discussing.
Creativity stems from creative consumption of media - not just consuming
Jeff's blog post, "What does it mean to disconnect?", the message of focusing on creating rather than consuming, linked me to John Spencer's amazing video, "Why consuming is necessary for creating".
If you liked Spencer's video, follow it up with his amazing blog post on the subject.
Balance is important no matter what we do, online and off, and there's certainly value to consuming, especially when it's used to create.
This is a message I strongly purport to those I guide, my son included.
Ito, Mizuko, et al.'s reading on, "Living and learning with new media", had many connections to my youth. I remember all the chat's on Napster, MySpace, and IM. Anyone else guilty of buying those gamer magazines for those "cheat codes" or lethal combo strikes for games like Mortal Combat or Street Fighter?
Even the dating element struck a few chords. While I may be a bit old for apps like Tinder, I do remember flirting on Facebook and even tried some online dating websites when I was a free agent...haha.
Moving beyond "Lurking"
Whilst both readings may be dated, the messages within them are not. They both still relate to the theme of this week of peer-connected learning and moving beyond the "lurker" stage.
I love seeing my son, in his true digital native form, navigating, communicating, exploring and learning with his peers, (mostly) uninterrupted for a defined time period in online spaces. Some days it's learning about how to build the next best thing in Minecraft, others it's how to advance his skills in the latest Roblox game with his friends.
I particularly enjoy the way he and his peers build each other up in their community so they can all enjoy their passion together. This is particularly salient when they may not be able to see one another due to whatever pandemic-related lockdown restrictions may be in place.
Often I catch him in the moment of learning on an online math site, or perhaps watching a YouTube video, then seamlessly, with no intervention, asking Google or Siri something he doesn't understand, then flicking back to the original content.
Sure, there's a lot of noise to eventually get this signal, but it's moments like these that solidify the argument that the best time to live is now. In other words, all of this digital technology can undermine our well-being, if not used with intentionality and purpose.
"New media" = An outlet for self-directed learning and agency
Interests are easier to pursue online since it connects us to anyone with a device and an internet connection with similar interests.
The world is truly our oyster and niche interests, knowledge and experts are accessible because of this new media.
Just imagine a world without places like Wikipedia, Reddit, TripAdvisor, and more?! Crowd-sourcing is truly a remarkable thing.
In sum, "new media" is the perfect culture for a beautiful milieu of Vygotskyian social constructivism, Pink's ideas on motivation, and Bandurra's theory of self-efficacy. In other words, learners strive when they step out of their comfort zone, have autonomy, learn and seek feedback from peer experts, work towards mastery, have a purpose and more.
Some wonderings that arose from the readings...
A call to action - Questions to ask, as educators...
Three great resources to extend your thinking on this topic
If you struggle with answers or are looking for ideas to any of the above questions, here are some great resources/ learning opportunities for you: