Image by nck_gsl from Pixabay

Our COETAIL Online 13 cohort did amazing work as learners and educators over the past year and a half given the challenges of completing coursework during the academic year with all the usual personal and professional demands coupled with the unprecedented impacts of a global pandemic and geopolitical events. When we put the results of the learning, planning, implementation, and reflection they share in their final project post and videos in that context, we can’t help but be inspired. Here is a round-up of our COETAIL Online 13 cohort graduates.

Justin’s Final Project Video summarizes a six-week “Sharing the Planet” unit of inquiry. He document the different component of the grade 4 unit planned and implemented by his team in blog posts found here. As just one part of the project, “…students created explanation texts… [to] serve as catalysts to sharing this knowledge with their peers, giving them an authentic audience (more on that below)…the summative text pieces offered a rich demonstration of the learning and knowledge that children inquired into, offered them a choice in what they were interested in learning about, and students were given a lot of flexibility in terms of medium and style in which they were to present their work.”

Megan explored reflection as part of her digital storytelling project with her grade 7 EAL (English as an Additional Language) students and shares her and her students’ journey in “Don’t Skip the Reflection!” post. “I had internalized the belief that once the final product was done so was the learning. I thought that the arc of the unit had passed its climax and the denouement didn’t really matter. But I was wrong. There is so much to be gained from deep reflection. And so, my advice to teachers everywhere is “Don’t skip the reflection!””

“Although We’ve Come To the End of the Road…” brings together Brandon’s Student-Paced Math Class concept. Inspired by an episode of Cult of Pedagogy, Brandon set up a system for his elementary students and incorporated technology with his main goal “..for students to use technology to gain a sense of autonomy and continue learning on their own terms.” Additionally, he considered the use of translanguaging in the classroom as “Students can also help each other in Thai, their native language, when they are having issues with English.” One outcome that he highlights in that “The time that I was able to spend with students one-on-one was truly amazing.”

In Michael’s “My Final Project – Design An App” post and video, he shares his intentions in working with elementary students on how to design an app. “We got off to a great start, the kids were super motivated. We discussed everything, everyone was able to get involved, we were in the same boat.” He also reflects on the challenges presented given local lockdowns in China on his work with students and how priorities have had to be adjusted in these situations. Despite the interruption to the plan, Michael remains hopeful. “So the small learning results of the children were amazing. And made the project very amazing from the start. It touched me and showed me that we are on the right track. I am confident that the children will continue to explore the topic of apps, technology, learning, a better future.”

Coleton redesigned her grade four’s Unit of Inquiry for Energy and shares the highlights of the unit in her post and video “COETAIL – Final Project “Energy Unit”. Coleton reflects that “…by having the students use technology to create a video presentation of their experiment and learning I was able to transform their summative project using technology. They were able to be so much more creative in how they shared their learning and were able to reach their new broader audience.” And with the changes to the unit, teachers and students were able to adapt their learning and video presentation when lockdowns put everyone out of school and into online learning. 

As detailed in his Course Five Final Blog, David re-designed a unit for Middle Years Programme (MYP) 1 (Grade 6) for Individuals and Societies, an IB course, based around an exploration into the systems that define an ancient civilization. The unit was organized around the following phases: Build Background Context, Refine Research Skills, Prepare/Plan Research Steps, Collect and Process Information, and Produce Product based on student choice. David shares a lot of reflection but particularly focuses on student agency…”there was a huge range of products created reflecting a wide range of interests. Seeing the breadth of ideas and preferences students had, and the length some were willing to go to create something they are passionate about, highlights the need for more student choice in curriculum.”

Lana and her team focused on building global connections and collaborations for their grade 5 Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition as she details in her post and video PYPX: Always Expect The Unexpected. Despite a variety of challenges, this experience has inspired her and her team to continue to incorporate the ideas and connections in the future. “There have been many challenges and mistakes… but the process we all went through together has been amazingly fulfilling and uplifting. I have seen my students grow immensely as communicators and collaborators, reaching out in search for answers and solutions. I have noticed how they own the learning process proudly. And these are our community’s  biggest achievements.”