A COETAIL Journey

As my personal COETAIL experience comes to an end, I want to hopefully inspire some of you out there who are considering joining. Check out my video below to hear more about my experience!

My Journey to COETAIL

Back in 2013, a teaching couple that I was working with in Seoul, South Korea told me about COETAIL. I was looking for a professional development opportunity in the area of educational technology and COETAIL sounded like the perfect fit for me. However, I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction instead.

During the time I was getting my master’s degree, I met several other educators through conferences I attended that had completed COETAIL. All of these educators impressed me with their skills, leadership, and knowledge. They were a great reminder that I should still join COETAIL!

After a few years, I had completed my Master’s Degree and was ready for a new challenge. In 2020, I was finally ready to begin.

SEt a Goal

At the beginning of each school year, my principal asks each teacher to set 3 goals for the year. To hold myself accountable for finally signing up for COETAIL, I made it one of my yearly goals. This meant I had to do it! There was no backing out or putting it off another year. I was also encouraged because my principal was enthusiastic about the idea!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Because two other teachers at our school had already completed the program, my principal was familiar with COETAIL. This was helpful because she was aware of the opportunities COETAIL would offer me as well as the benefits my students would reap from it. Furthermore, I had seen one of the COETAIL alumni from my school move from a classroom teacher to a S.T.E.M. teacher. Her COETAIL certificate had opened up this opportunity for her.  Seeing those doors open for this teacher, motivated me even more.

COVID adds an extra Challenge!

Six months or so after setting my goal of joining COETAIL, I joined cohort 12 that began in February of 2020. Right around the same time, schools were starting to shift from on-campus learning to home learning because of COVID-19. Doing home learning while working on COETAIL was challenging.

Spending hours on Zoom with students each day, creating video-recorded lessons, and keeping up with grading was time-consuming. It was difficult to find the motivation to complete my COETAIL work because I had already been on my computer all day.

Cohort 12 supporting each other along the way.

However, we (my cohort and instructor) were all in the same boat. Our instructor, Joel, was patient (as our work came in slowly) and our cohort was able to support one another by offering ideas and suggestions. Doing home learning while working on COETAIL allowed me to explore new technology tools I had never used before while building deep learning opportunities that students could access from home. Plus, I was able to use the material I was creating for COETAIL in the home learning environment.

COMING TO AN END

As my COETAIL journey comes to an end, I can honestly say that this has been one of the best professional development opportunities I have been apart of. I have grown my PLN, added a trunkload of new resources and tools to my teaching “toolbox,” and witnessed my students benefit from the deep learning experiences I have created throughout the past year.

If you are looking to grow your PLN, engage in global collaborations, and transform student learning, COETAIL is the place to go! You’ll be supported by your instructor, cohort, and COETAIL Alumni. Don’t put it off like me. Make a plan and achieve your goal!

I’m also interested in hearing your journey to COETAIL stories! How did you hear about COETAIL? Did you join right away or put it off like me? What advice do you have for future COETAILers?

 

 

Learning Goals in Action!

Let’s Get This Started!

The past month has been a bit crazy. Our school went back on Home Learning for three weeks following a small COVID outbreak in Vietnam. This has been the only time we have been online this school year, so I feel very fortunate as I know some of you are just returning to on-campus learning after a full year.

My students are currently about 3/4 of the way through my final course project. Going online was an easy transition as I had everything for my final project unit set-up for the kids digitally anyways. This allowed the students to continue to work collaboratively and for me to offer feedback and small group instruction through Zoom.

The time to complete the Course 5 Project is already going by quickly, so it about time I start blogging again!

Going Back to the Beginning

To begin, I went back to my Orientation blog post on My Learning Goals this week.  Back in February of 2020, I identified ISTE Student Goal 7: Global Collaborator and ISTE Educator Goal 4: Collaborator as an area I wanted to focus on throughout my COETAIL experience.  I had a strong desire to give students opportunities to collaborate with others outside of the classroom, which would give them an early appreciation for authentic, real-world learning experiences.

My Course 5 Final Project is a Social Justice Issues Unit that will end with students doing a Ted Talk on their issues. One of my goals for this unit is to connect students with experts on their topics. What better time than now to connect students virtually!

A year after setting my learning goals for COETAIL and, I am finally taking ACTION to make these experiences happen.  Here’s how…

Skype a Scientist

I believe I was introduced to Skype a Scientist while reading one of the Online 12 Blog posts (not sure who it was). Skype a Scientist connects classrooms across the globe with real scientists. All you have to do is fill-out a Google Form, which includes the best times for your class to connect and what type of scientist you are looking to connect with.  After that, you wait to get an email like this telling you that a match has been found.

“We’ve Found a Match!”

Soon after receiving the email, I reached out to the scientist who is living in Alberta, Canada. We were able to set a time that worked for our polar opposite time zones, which ending up aligning with students coming back to on-campus learning as well!

Students in Hanoi listen to Marine Ecology and Conservation researcher, Ms. Garg from Alberta, Canada.

Five groups (10 students) are researching environmental issues for their Social Justice Issues Project. Having the opportunity to speak with Ms. Garg, allowed these students to hear first-hand from a real scientist what is being done to protect the oceans (particularly coral reefs) from human activity.

Not only was this experience insightful for those students researching that particular topic, but it was also inspiring for others as well. One group of girls is researching gender quality.  Ms. Garg was able to offer some advice to these girls about getting more women interested in S.T.E.M.

Skype a Scientist was so easy to do! It was a good step in what I hope is just the beginning of making more global connections. I can’t wait to share some more ways I have been able to make meaningful connections outside of the classroom for my students during Course 5.