My Final Project: A Global Book Club

What were your goals for your lesson/project (Standards)?

I used the ISTE Standards for Administrators to define my goals for the project:

  • Visionary Leadership: e-Learning Vision at EAC

1b. Engage in an ongoing process to develop, implement, and communicate technology-infused
strategic plans aligned with a shared vision

  • Digital Age Learning Culture: Themes of the Book

2e. Promote and participate in local, national,and global learning communities that stimulate innovation, creativity, and digital age collaboration

  • Excellence in Professional Practice: Model by Being a Learning Leader

3b. Facilitate and participate in learning communities that stimulate, nurture and support administrators, faculty, and staff in the study and use of technology

In addition to these standards I also had the goal to pull in different aspects of each course. I wanted to work on visual design, connecting, playing around to figure out new things for myself, and attributing credit where due to name a few.

What tools did you use? Why did you choose this/these tools for this/these task(s)?

I used a variety of tools for my project (see below), but to make my video I used iMovie. I’ve worked on iMovie before, but mainly for fun personal videos of my son or short clips to share with parents for work.  Creating a storyboard, voice, and finding visuals was hard work.  I used icons from The Noun Project and created my avatar on Bitmoji (I feel like one of the cool kids now!).

Google Hangout Air

Youtube Streaming

Piktochart

Twitter

Vimeo (watched videos from book’s website)

GAFE (Docs, Forms, Email)

I choose some of these because over the course of COETAIL they have become my favorites and others because I wanted to challenge myself.

How did you go about introducing your lesson/project?

I shared my project and asked for participation through my PLN on Twitter. I also shared the project with colleagues at my school.  I realized through this process how hard it is to promote and publicize a project. I wanted to audience to be any educator that was interested, which is different from projects I’ve done with my classes.  I had to tweak my approach, but find the balance between spamming people and putting #GBCreatingInnovators out there.  

How did the students react? Include actual samples of student reflection (video, images, etc)

The members in our group enjoyed the meetings and learned a lot. They would send me brief messages throughout the project thanking or sharing something they learned.  I would love to continue meeting or sharing, though not as frequently to see how implementation at our respective schools goes.

Outcome? Did you meet your goals?

Yes, I met the goals I set, but there’s always room for improvement.  I think if I did another global book club I would have a clearer idea of potential pitfalls and get/give constant feedback.  I would also like to expand it to possibly have parents involved (gasp!).

Evidence of learning? Remember to include student evidence like video, images, reflections.

I think the learning that happened wasn’t always shared out, it was the wrestling with ideas in our heads and ideating how to implement it at our school. I know there was tons of reflection going on as far as the opportunities we provide for students, the language we use, and the lives we model. This project has and the group members I learned with have inspired me to find little ways to look for innovation in each day, as well as push the norms of traditional teaching.

#GBCreatingInnovators Meeting 1

#GBCreatingInnovators Meeting 2

#GBCreatingInnovators Meeting 3

So, COETAILers that’s it…for now.  I am so thankful for COETAIL and its amazing community that has challenged my thinking, encouraged exploration, and improved my teaching.  Tchau for now.

PS: I wanted to give credit to the outline of questions I saw on another COETAILER’s final reflection, but in the midst of a million tabs being open I lost it.  If you know who created these straightforward questions to clearly outline the process please let me know so I can give him or her credit.

Tweaks and Improvements

After our first #GBCreatingInnovators meeting I realized that going a month between meetings would be too long and I was afraid that our momentum might fade. I brainstormed ways to publicize our group and keep up the discussion open in the time between meetings.  I posted articles I found that connected to the themes in our book and started/shared a Flipboard with our group members. But still I didn’t feel that was enough to keep it fresh on all of our busy brains.

Photo Credit: Shin.Shin Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Shin.Shin Flickr via Compfight cc

I wrote Rebekah asking for some ideas and feedback.  When I got her response I had a Homer Simpson moment, duh why didn’t I think of those ideas.  She suggested creating little challenges for the group, doing a slow chat on Twitter between meetings, and sharing in the Google+ community.

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A snippet of Rebekah’s email

I took her up on two of her ideas, I didn’t attempt the Google+ community idea because I felt like my PLN and connections were stronger on Twitter than Google+. I thought back to things that inspired me in our previous COETAIL courses and created a list of challenges ideas.  The one that stuck and others liked trying was visual notetaking. We shared our visual notetaking during the meetings and briefly talked about what we liked, didn’t like, what we could improve, and how we could use it with our students.  

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I also did my first (and unsuccessful in my opinion) slow chat. I created an infographic with questions and icons on Piktochart and Tweeted it out to the world.  Looking back I needed to be clearer on the length of the slow chat and I needed to send it out to a broader group than just the #GBCreatingInnovators group. Another thing I would do is bring the slow chat to my school, sharing my learning with the #wearegiants community.  If I do another slow chat in the future I will create a bulletin board or another avenue to share and get input from the teachers at my school.

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Those are two little tweaks/additions I made to make the #GBCreatingInnovators more meaningful and embedded into our lives. I would’ve liked to try more, but I had to find the balance of things I could do well and commit to with the rest of the happenings in my life.

It Takes a Village

village
Personal photo taken in the village of Cusco, Peru

 

To be honest I started #coetail because of my PLN.  There were people I respected and followed that were former COETAILers who raved about it. I also saw the #coetail popping up on lots of posts, so I took a journey down the rabbit hole and was hooked.  After the first reading of the first course, I knew this was the right decision to join the COETAIL community. Since my first course I feel I have moved from between Stages 4-5 to between Stages 6-7 of Silvia Rosenthal’s Seven Degrees of Connectedness infographic. I feel that throughout my COETAIL journey I have become a more connected educator through continuing to build my PLN and strengthen connections in a more authentic way. COEATIL has been my village to help me expand my thinking, gather ideas, solicit feedback, and grow as an educator.  Thanks to my final project I feel like I am more friends than colleagues with the wonderful educators and people I learned alongside.

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Stronger Relationships Through #GBCreatingInnovators 

I learned how to think deeply about students’ developmental readiness and how to encourage little moments of innovation from Joy.  

Thomas taught me how to be flexible and to transfer the big concepts of our book across grade levels, as well as how to listen intently with an open mind.

Suzy inspired me with her final project and her keen ability to reflect upon her practices in order to engage students and parents in the learning process and collaboration.

Katherine, who joined our group at the recommendation of Joy, gave insight into providing time for prototyping and reflection. She shared many classroom experiences and I appreciated her transparency.

Liz only got to join us for the last meeting, but her constant support and sharing throughout the #GBCreatingInnovators project spurred ideas and gave me new perspectives.  

Collaboration and Passing the Spark 

I titled my blog SPARK, because of this quote 

The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have the idea spark another.  ~Marva Collins

Throughout this journey I have been so inspired by fellow COETAILers (past and present), and although I am not in the classroom right now I have tried to spread their projects/ideas to my teachers at my school.  

Joel’s final project immediately sparked my interest, to which I shared it with our early education teachers and through Twitter.  To me it is such a powerful combination of all aspects of COETAIL and so empowering for the students and classes involved, I just had to share. 


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Another little collaboration I tried to organize and pass on was to connect our 1st grade teachers with other teachers around the world.  I knew Joy, Suzy, and Joel all taught lower grades so I created a Google doc for people to sign up and share about their students’ and class responsibilities in their respective locations.

Prior to deciding upon my final project idea I created a Final Project Feedback document for COETAILers to share their ideas and give/receive feedback about final projects.  I tweeted it out to get a wider audience.  I loved reading others ideas and also valued the feedback I got.

Learning

I feel one of my responsibilities as a learning leader in my school is to share and connect teachers. Twitter and my PLN have enabled me to do this far more easily than before.  Before I was active and built my PLN I spent hours researching and finding articles that applied to teachers (and my needs).  Thanks to my PLN and the beauty of #hashtags I find more relevant articles, examples, and connections almost momentarily.

One educator, whom I deeply respect and who challenges me to rethink my approaches to learning is a fellow COETAILer, Tricia.  I was on the COETAIL site one day and read one of her posts, and from there I was hooked.  She has such a divergent view of the school culture and environment, I enjoy listening to her podcasts and reading her posts.  

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I have followed #sisrocks for years, stealing ideas like an artist from their teachers and administrators. Through the hashtag I have deepened my PLN connections and passed on ideas to our teachers. Their hashtag encouraged me to start a hashtag for our school, #wearegiants.

I value my PLN so much, it is the genesis of my learning and ideas. I find it much more useful and relevant than traditional courses and books.  It is real time, authentic, needs based, and encouraging to me as an educator.  I can only hope to grow my PLN as I progress in this wonderful field of education. And thanks to being in the #coetail sorority I will forever be a lifetime member of a network of professionals who value learning.