Category: Course 4

Look what’s coming next!

Course 4 focused on exploring deep learning pedagogies while we engaged in planning for our final project in Course 5. Online Cohort 13 reflections were deep, insightful, and awe-some, in the truest sense of the world.

Online 13, as we embark upon our final stretch of this journey, we hope you will take a moment to peruse the ideas of your colleagues and draw inspiration from them. There are so many great plans presented – innovative, divergent, engaging and exciting! 

We hope this list will energize and excite you as we embark upon Course 5 together. 

Megan Vosk is developing a digital storytelling unit titled Speak Your Truth, with the goal to develop a space for sharing stories. Check out her plan, which allows students to share their authentic voice as creators while also developing empathy as viewers and listeners.  

Danielle Richert shares two ideas to inspire learner agency with meaning and purpose in PHE and Grade 3. In her coaching role, she presents ideas for working with students and adults in order to deepen agency across the school. In addition, she shares some wonderful advice for us all about how we spend our time:

“I want what I dig into, focus on, give my time and energy towards, and especially create to have a purpose beyond the creation itself.”  

Brandon Inman is considering sharing our experience as reflective bloggers with his students, empowering them to blog and share their unique voices and perspectives. How amazing for students to blog about justice as fifth graders and learn about the power of global collaboration and making an impact. 

Justin Ouellette is encouraging his students to take responsibility and become climate experts. He also shared some fantastic COETAIL Takeaways:

“Key learning from COETAIL that I have intentionally embedded in this proposed unit are:

  • Co-construction of success criteria with students

  • Student agency in personally meaningful guided inquiries and in the way to demonstrate knowledge at the end of the unit via the brochure medium.

  • Incorporating the ISTE Standards – particularly Knowledge Constructor and Creative Communicator

  • Collaborative planning, teaching and learning

  • Thoughtful and intentional design to make learning engagements more accessible and aesthetically pleasing for the intended audience”

Coleton Tillett shared an exciting proposal in which her students will become scientists and present their learnings at their culminating Energy Summit. She has shared a wealth of resources that are definitely worth exploring. 

Colin Spitler has embraced New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and plans to work with a grade level to inspire students to plan their own service projects. He plans to lead from the emerging future as he learns alongside students with the goal to truly inspire agency and student-led projects.

Abigail Lopez-Salazar is exploring concepts around independence and agency, focusing on how students can take greater ownership of their learning. She has drawn inspiration from Simon Sinek’s ‘why’ with the goal for the ‘why’ to become a “naturally occurring pattern” in her students’ thinking. 

Michael Juntke plans to embrace the power of design as his students design their own app. Not only will his students develop their technical skills, but the design process will inspire their creativity. 

Lana Yashchyna plans to redesign the PYP Exhibition, adding tools for deeper learning and focusing on the ISTE standards. 

David Berg will inspire his students to become historical explorers by engaging their agency as they investigate an ancient civilization of their choice in a presentation format of their choice. His ideas about creating flexible unit structures in which the topic can be interchanged but the core of inquiry, research and agency for students remains is an interesting idea as we embrace the design elements of our roles as educators.

“Essentially, I want to be able to create units that can be scaled up or down depending on the grade and switched in and out for different content.” 

While our projects represent the diversity of our experiences, there are many common themes, including student agency, service, collaboration, and a focus on rich topics such as the environment and social justice.

We hope you are as inspired as us by the ideas, and we encourage everyone to keep blogging as you embark upon this process, keep commenting and supporting one another, and continue asking questions and sharing ideas.


Week 5: What wants to happen next?

As we near the end of Week 5, please be reminded of the Course 4 final project, which is designed to help you plan for Course 5, in which you will redesign a unit and share your journey in a compelling digital story.

While the theme of Week 5 is “putting deep learning into practice,” this is an ongoing theme and one you will revisit time and again in Course 5. In fact, you have all been putting deep learning into practice as you engage in your own COETAIL journey and share your classroom practices and experiences. Bravo!

As you reflect upon the myriad of options presented this week, what inspires you? What do you wish to try in your own classroom? What will you design or re-design? If you already have experience with a concept such as project based learning, why not try augmented reality or game-based learning? This is an exciting time to dream, imagine and play. 

What wants to happen next?

This is a great question to pose of oneself and comes out of futures thinking protocols. As you pause to reflect before your next action, observe your space, your students and your own passions. What wants to happen next? What feels right to try as you enter this next phase of learning? 

In your final project for Course 4, you have two options:

  1. Design a unit planner for your Course 5 final project. Use this option if you already know what you wish to create in Course 5.
  2. Share 2-3 options for your Course 5 final project and reflect upon the questions posed.

Please refer to the Course 4 Final Project for more details. Enjoy the exploration and the space to plan and create! 


Week 4: Deep Learning is Love

In week 4, we were reminded of Paulo Freire’s revolutionary ideas in which he advocates a pedagogy of love. Discourse and dialogue make up two major components of Freire’s ideas, and in his seminal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, he writes

“Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself” (2005).

How often do we speak about love in education? We speak a lot about empathy, equity, compassion, and even hope, but do we acknowledge that all of these are ingredients to love. 

Some years ago, I was privileged to hear a powerful keynote by Tara Reynolds, in which she stood on stage in front of 400 school leaders and challenged them to consider love. She noted that love is the hardest work we do. 

Despite this powerful experience and the ideas presented by Freire, I rarely hear the concept of love discussed in school. And yet, love is why we do the work. We love our students. We love our schools. We love our colleagues. And we love the work of building units, co-creation, and collaboration. Yes, it is deep, hard work, but it is work we do because of our passion and our love. 

And because of this love of our work and our students, we invent, innovate and co-create. 

In his week 3 post, Justin Ouellette states that agency “is not something we ‘give’ or ‘let’ people have. It is something only taken away.”

Brandon Inman shares that “Our job as educators is to foster their innate humanity and allow it to call them to action.” 

Michael Juntke notes the need for us to embed “freedom, heart, reason, time, empathy, care.”

What Justin, Brandon and Michael all allude to is the revolutionary pedagogy of love. An engaged pedagogy, that, as bell hooks argues, is the practice of freedom. A pedagogy of deep learning, embracing the 6Cs presented by Michael Fullan. 

There are a myriad of important terms for our work, and at the base lies the notion of love. What might schools look like if we embed the term more fully in our schools? How does love serve deep learning? Technology integration? Our work as educators? 


Reflecting on Week 3: Deep Learning Can Always Get Deeper

We don’t know what we don’t know. This week, as we delved into equity and bias, I hope we were forced to reflect on new learnings and the fact that we always have more to learn. Certainly, events of the past year have forced these new learnings as well, not simply Covid, with all it has brought, but also the DEI conversations that have been ignited. 

The premise of Gordon’s Ladder shows us how we can move ourselves out of unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence and beyond. This first shift though, from unconscious to conscious is the most difficult. We must be willing to engage with what we don’t know, admit flaws and weaknesses, and be willing to grow. 

Image by Steve Barkley

The Dunning-Kruger Effect argues that no matter how much we learn, there will always be something we can’t see, some layer of ignorance. This American Life presents an intriguing episode about this concept, In Defense of Ignorance

Whether we choose the more hopeful view of Gordon’s Ladder or embrace Dunning-Kruger, one thing is certain: we have more to learn!

Enter Deep Learning. Perhaps ignorance and incompetence will become less prevalent as we engage our students and ourselves in deep learning. A first step towards this would be to embrace mindset. How humble and vulnerable are we willing to be? George Couros expanded beyond Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset and presents The Innovator’s Mindset

Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros

This week, three of our COETAILers highlight the ideas presented in this post – competence, mindset and reflection. 

Abigail Lopez-Salazar reminds us of the need to embrace a growth mindset as we embark upon our journey of integration. Read her apt reflections here as she embraces questioning to learn more. 

Danielle Richert displays incredible vulnerability as she reflects honestly upon the overwhelm of today and keeping balance. She displays beautifully how we can use our blogs as spaces for reflection and sharing. Read more about her insights here.  

Megan Vosk highlights the irony of presenting a workshop on new pedagogies using strategies from old pedagogies – we don’t know what we don’t know! Read about her interesting experience here

Thank you Online 13 for continuing to learn, grow and inspire!


Week 2: Deep Learning & Partnerships

This week, we focus on deep learning, which Michael Fullan defines with 6Cs:

  • Character
  • Citizenship
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity 
  • Critical Thinking 

In this brief video, he speaks to the process of iteration and the notion of living laboratories.

In many ways, our COETAIL Journey serves as a living laboratory as we ideate, iterate and co-create. How do we do this? With a process of reflexivity – an ongoing cycle of reflection and action.

Put simply, learning is reflection and action followed by further reflection and action. Our very own COETAILer Michael Juntke speaks to his own growth journey as he reflects on his response to SAMR then and now. Check out his post here and thank you Michael for sharing your growth! 

Whilst reflection can be a solo act, often our reflexive processes benefit from partnerships. We learn by co-creation and collaboration. In the video, Fullan also speaks to leading from the middle and activating our collaborative partnerships. He references systemic change via leading and learning from the middle. Whilst he is referring to adults, what might it look like if we view this at a classroom level? How might we allow our students to lead from the middle and engage them as learning partners? As we think about deep learning and learning partners, let’s think about activating agency and leadership in our students.

A final aspect of reflection is our own blog, and as COETAILers, we are privileged to formally reflect each week. How might our blog inspire learning partnerships? What might others be gaining from our insights? What do we gain from others? 

Check out Justin’s post on how and when to use the various frameworks here. He encourages us not to simply choose based on our preference but to consider purpose and context in using the frameworks. His post definitely adds a layer to our collective work – thank you Justin! 

Who are your learning partners? Who are your students’ learning partners? With what deep learning are you and your students engaged?