Category Archives: Course 1

The Future Classroom

Last Week of Course 1

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This is the last week of course 1! You made it W00T! Many of you have turned in your course 1 lesson plans already and I’m slowly going through those when I can find Interent access and time (currently in London). Sunday (March 17th) is the official last day of Course 1 and then you get a two week break before we start course 2 (and I get time to grade).

Why is Course 2 seven weeks lone?

Great question. We know that many schools have their Spring Break either the end of March or in April some time. So we have given you 7 weeks to finish 6 weeks of work allowing you to take a week “Spring Break” somewhere in there. Which week? That’s up to you and your plans. You take the week that is best for you.

What if I don’t finish course 1 by March 17th?

If you find yourself behind and it doesn’t look like you’ll finish course 1 by March 17th please let me know. What will happen is I will put an Incomplete (INC) on your grade sheet and will turn that into SUNY (if applicable). You will then have until May 1st to make up the work needed to still receive a grade. After May 1st I can not award you a grade and you will have to retake the course. 

The Future Classroom

One of my favorite reads each year, as well as document to use with schools and administrative teams, is the Horizon Report. What makes this report even more special is after reading it, watch these two videos below created by Corning. As you watch the videos have a look at the name of the glass…all of it is already in production or development.

This is exactly what the Horizon Report is talking about and this is a companies look on the future. As far as I know Corning did not read the Horizon Report before making these videos….which makes the report and what companies are working on pretty awesome if you ask me. There is a great “Unpacking Video” of the second one.

I don’t agree with all the teaching strategies that are shared during the school day in the second video and I think this is what we’re fighting…even companies that are designing the future are having a hard time thinking of education differently than what it looked like when they grew up. This is the battle we all fight in the changes that are coming. The community at large, parents being a large part of that, have a hard time imagining education looking any different than it did when we went through school. This is the reason why “re-schooling” parents on school is an important part in the transition process and one that very few schools do. How is your school “re-schooling” the community at large to understand what the classroom and school should look like in 2013 and beyond? At ISB we created a Parent Tech Certificate that included 5 – 2 hour glasses that parents could take to up their own skills as well as learn abou the changes that are coming to our school and to education.

Have a great two weeks off and I’ll see you all back here on April 1st (No Joke!)

The COETAIL Effect

So I read this on someone’s blog but can’t remember who’s and if it was yours let me know so I can link to the original use of this term. But I think it’s time we actually coin this term as I keep reading your blog posts where this is happening and I think it’s so cool it needs it’s own term.


When after spending just a few weeks in the COETAIL program you look at the world and students around you differently. You find yourself listening to conversations differently and watching the way kids interact with technology differently. You find yourself sitting back and observing the technology landscape around you and our interaction with it.


Now help me wordsmith this and get it right and we’ll publish it for the COETAIL community.

Here’s a link to the Google Doc. Feel free to make edits, write your own definition or leave a comment.

How can it be March?

It’s been a long three days and but just moments ago my RSS reader showed 0 unread items. I’d like to think I won’t get that far behind again and then I look at my upcoming travel schedule.

Wed-Thurs: Chicago

Fri-Sun: Arizona

March 12 – March 31: An around the world trip with stops in London, Switzerland and Shanghai

So basically I got caught up just in time to get behind again. So know I’ll be in and out of the network, in and out of your blogs and on and offline a lot this coming month.

I will be at the ECIS IT Conference in London, am working with ISL in Switzerland (where I get to meet Vivian face to face) and at the EARCOS Teachers Conference. If you happen to be at any of these events please track me down and introduce yourself. I always love meeting people who I only know through online communication face to face.

About Me

I noticed that many of you still don’t have an “About Me” page or similar page that tells us who you are. In some comments I even saw people asking what each of you teaches, schools, etc. Take some time this week to create your “About Me” page that gives us all little more detail into the person behind the blog.


You are doing a great job of commenting on each others blog posts and those of other members throughout the COETAIL community and beyond. Thank you for being a part of the network. A couple of things with comments on your own blog.

– Please remember to check to make sure you approve your comments. Hopefully you have it setup (Settings – Discussions) that you get an e-mail when someone comments. That’s an easy way to approve the comments on your blog.

– Some of you have e-mailed me about being marked as Spammers. This happens if you comment on too many blogs to close together like a spam bot would or if you try and add more than two hyperlinks to a comment. So just know it’s nothing big but that does happen once in awhile.

Final Thoughts

In this weeks reading (week 4) you had the article by Marc Prensky Adopt and Adapt. Know that where we are headed and the goal of COETAIL is to have you doing “New Things in New Ways”

There is a model called the SAMR model which follows this same thinking.

This model was developed by Ruben R. Puentedura and you can Google and find a lot of great resources out there on this model including this well done explanations of the different levels.

I talk about the SAMR model a lot in my talks and presentations because I think it helps frame for teachers the kind of transformation that is possible with technology in the classroom. The one thing I don’t like about all the diagrams I find is that they make SAMR look like a hierarchy of levels rather than what I think they really are which are stages that we all go through when we are presented with new tools technological or not.

SAMR Circle

Based on my own thinking I created the above diagram because what happens is once we redefine something it becomes common place and we start over dabbling with the next great thing.

I like to use e-mail as an example. As some point around 1995 some IT person somewhere thought it would be a great idea if all teachers had an e-mail address. So what did we do…we used email to substitute what we use to do, then it augmented the way we communicated, next it modified how we expect to communicate in schools until it redefined everything from in school communication, to communicating with students, parents, and the wider community. Today….email isn’t seen as a disruptor…but it was.

As we head into the final weeks I want you to step back and think about how you use technology or how it’s used in your classroom. Hopefully you are a scatter plot on that circle above. A little here and a little there….

Redefinition is difficult as stated in the above link

Redefinition: The Technology allows the creating of new tasks, previously inconceivable.

Think about that for a second…..that’s tough. That is using technology in a way that there is no back up plan. If the electricity goes out, if the computer doesn’t work that day there is no back up plan. The task you were going to do can not be replicated with paper and pencil or other materials. This is tough! It is not easy to redefine learning at this level….however know this is where we’re working to by course 5. We have a lot of learning ahead of us but we have started down that trail.

On that note the Online 12-13 cohort is just finishing up their Course 5 projects that look to “Redefine” a unit in their classroom. You might want to add the RSS feed to their cohort blog where over the next two months all their projects will be posted. You can even click on the link under the video and evaluate the project and presentation.

This will be the same format you will follow for course 5 as well.

Ready or not….week 5 here we come!

Payments, Paperwork and Posts

She Bought a Clock on Hollywood Boulevard I can’t believe we are in week 4 already. It does feel like we’re on a fast pace freeway for sure. A couple updates as we pass the halfway mark of course 1.


Payments were due at the end of week 3. Hopefully you got yours in on time. We have transitioned over to a new payment system called Freshbooks that hopefully makes it easier for both us and you to keep track of payments. Because of this we are no longer marking it on the grade sheet. Saving us loads of time and hundreds of clicks (always trying to find ways to reduce my clicks.) If you are unsure about your payment or have questions please e-mail info {at] and we’ll be happy to help you out. At this point in time unless you get an e-mail from us assume you are paid for course 1 and good to go.


For those of you who are taking COETAIL for SUNY graduate credit I have added a new “lesson” to the couse 1 list after week 4. Everyone must fill out the course registration forms for course 1 and 2 and mail them directly to SUNY. Directions on the registration forms and the overall SUNY process can be found in this lesson.

If you are not taking COETAIL for SUNY credit…congrats… paperwork headache for you. 🙂


I just want to clarify that your assignments are just one blog post a week…not five per week. 🙂 Some of you have been blogging fools…which is fantastic…and also overwhelming (as I’m staring at 170 unread items in my Google Reader). I am reading….just not faster than you all are posting.

But you see…that’s OK….I love getting to a blog post only to find that there are 3,4,5 comments, that there is a discussion going on without me. That this idea and theory of connectivism and learning communities does work. I am just a node in the community…and I am no more important than any other node. We are all teachers and we are all learners…..we are all equal nodes. We have taken the hierarchy of the teacher/student relationship and flattened it completely. What would it take to do the same in your classroom?

Some of you have e-mailed me if I haven’t left a comment on your blog….and PLEASE do! I have left a comment on every blog that I have in my RSS Reader….if I haven’t left a comment on a blog post it’s because I don’t have your blog in my RSS Reader. Please e-mail me the link to your blog.

Also here is the list of all the blogs I have (list on front page)——————————–>

If you do not see your name there….then e-mail me.


This week we finish up the reading of Living and Learning with New Media. I have loved your reflections of this great research so far and your insight in to seeing what you are reading in your students, your own children….or yourself. Here is hoping that you make time to “geek out” this week on something.

Now time to pour another glass of this wonderful red wine and go read some more blogs.


Be Less Helpful

My Classroom

My Classroom: and its nodes

I must be the only teacher in the world that can’t wait to open up my reader and see where your thoughts are of late. I read a lot of what you write out loud to my wife (who is now going to kill me for linking to her here 🙂 ). She just smiles at me as I get so excited when I see the light bulb come one, or I read deep reflections that make me pause and say WOW. People ask me “Don’t you miss the classroom?” Not really….because I never left. My classroom looks different it looks like a bunch of nodes. The image above is the site… actually the gray cluster at the bottom is the colorful stuff is all the connections…our nodes on the web. This is my classroom today and honestly ..when I look at this…I have a hard time thinking about going back into a four walled room without a connection. I can’t imagine being cut off from all these nodes.

Today I was reading @tgascoigne blog post Blast Off! and his reflection on what he’s thinking after reading about Connectivism and watching the video (blog post below). In his blog post he asks some hard questions that had me stop and think for a second and then led me to the comments to see that @vzimmer had reflected on his questions as well….adding to my own reflection on Tim’s questions. That led me to this blog post as I wanted to reflect on those questions and a comment would have been to long.

  • How do we encourage our students to flourish in this world of networks when our organizations are built on outdated theories?
A great question and all I come up with is we teach them anyway. I know Kindergarten classes that have their own class Twitter accounts. They follow authors of books they read and tweet them, they follow other kinder classrooms. #kinderchat is a great twitter hashtag to get connected. WE…the connected ones….can not allow outdated organizations to hold us back. We push, we pull, we “mess around” and “geek out” until we find a way to make it work…until we find away to prove that our new theories are better than the old ones…..that is what COETAIL is about and feel free at any time to walk into your admin and tell them you have to do xxxx for this graduate program you are taking. That it’s part of your research….if they need something from me just say…and I’m there to support.
  • As a networked teacher, how do I start encouraging my students to network appropriately?
I think it starts with conversations in the classroom and even saying things like “I don’t know Alex….who might we contact that would know more about that? Do you think we could find someone out there that might be able to teach us?” The network appropriately thing is HUGE and the only way we are every going to put a dent into cyberbullying (course 2 BTW) is to set up networks where we can teach them the good power and appropriate use of these networks. In many schools this is not happening and then we get frustrated when there is bullying online. A new skill that schools need to take on? Yep!
  • What is my role as their teacher in a world where knowledge and learning is at their fingertips without me standing in front of them?

The most important question of them all. How do we repurpose ourselves as connectors to information instead of the one and only node in the classroom? What does “being a teacher” mean in a networked classroom? This is a deep question to think about and to think about the types of questions you need to be asking students…the type of tasks that we need to be asking students. I think it starts with a phrase my friend Dan Meyer says “Be less helpful”. My two favorite phrases “I don’t know…where do you think you can find the answer to that question?” and “Go play with it for a while…see what you learn.”

Not sure if any of this helps…..not sure I care….I’m just reflecting and needed a place to write my half baked thoughts…..and this seems as good a place as any. 😉

Becoming a Student of Connectivism

As week one comes to a close it has been great to read your first blog posts and see all the different places you are all coming from…both physical places and also technological places in what your school make up is and where you are at in your own personal thinking with where education is at and heading.

So where are you going? Well our goal it to have you become a teacher of connectivism. This program is set up to help you do that be first making you a student of connectivism. That is what building your PLN is all about. Watch this video below and I want you to put yourself in the shoes of this student….that is your “student role” here within COETAIL. Then watch the video again putting yourself in the “teacher role” of this student and think about what this means for your school/classroom/position.

By the end of this program our hope is that you become a Networked Educator

Networked Teacher Diagram - Update

Take some time to reflect on this idea. As we go through this program together we will continue to revisit and reflect on your process of becoming a connectivism student and start to build the skills, ideas, and mindset needed to become a teacher of connectivism.

Week 1 down….congrats you made it. 🙂

Where You At?

OK…so work is only fun it you have some time to play. I have never tried this before with a cohort but thought I’d give it a try with you all. No pressure…if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. But if it does….I think there is something in it for education and what we can do with Maps!

Here is our Cohort Map!

View Online 13-14 Cohort in a larger map

Now here’s how to add yourself to the Map.

1. Log into your Google Account

2. Click on this link to be taken to the map

3. Once there you should see a big Red EDIT button. If not something went terribly wrong and you are now on your own to figure it out. 🙂 (This might not work if you are using Google Apps through your school…as your school might not have maps turned on. If that is the case go yell at your IT Director…..nicely of course 🙂 )

4. Once you click on the edit button you should get a new set of tools on the top left of the map. 

5. Next zoom in to where you are and then click the placemarker (the one in the middle) and put a marker on the map. How accurate you are is up to you. 🙂

6. After you put your placemarker where you want it you’ll get the description box.

7. I HIGHLY recommend clicking on the Rich text button to activate the tool bar so you can give us a link to your blog, or twitter, or Google+ or ????. You can add an image or just tell us a little about yourself.

8. When you are done click OK

9. Remember to click SAVE over to the left to save it so everyone else can see it and there you go….you have now created a placemarker on a Google Map.

Now….think about how you might be able to use collaborative map making in the classroom.

Course Access and Google Docs

Great to see that about half of you have already created your account on the COETAIL site and have your blog ready to go. If you haven’t gotten to this first step yet scroll down and you’ll see the videos to get you started.

Course Access:

Now that you have created an account on the COETAIL site we can give you access to the course materials. On the Menu Bar of this blog you will now see “My Courses”. Once you click on that you will see a pull down for “Course 1” click on that and then enter the course. You should now be all set and now have access to all the week 1 readings and activities.

This is the first time I am using this new system so you’re feedback is welcome. You will be able to keep track on where you are at by clicking “complete” at the end of each week’s lesson. It says something about taking a quiz….but there are no quizzes in these courses….just reflections. 🙂

Google Docs:

I have now shared with you a folder of Google Docs that we will use and for your reference through this course. We will be talking more about these as we go forward and explain to you how everything works and how they fit into our “Learning System” that is COETAIL.

If you didn’t get the e-mail that these are shared with you head over to your Google Drive and see if you see the folder. Easiest way is to do a search in your Google Drive for them.


Welcome to COETAIL

I am excited to get started on this learning journey with you. The below video will give you a COETAIL overview as well as take you on a tour of the COETAIL site. If your Internet speed does not allow for streaming you can click on this link then click on download and choose a download option. I would recommend the Orignal .mov file format.

COETAIL Program Overview and Course 1 from Jeff Utecht on Vimeo.

The Google Docs mentioned in the video will be shared with you by Wednesday at the latest. I am in the process of setting up a new system that hopefully will be better for everyone. More to come Wednesday on this blog. Between now and then I hope you will find time to create your account on the COETAIL system, create your blog and maybe even write your first blog post. Video on how to get started can be watched below or downloaded here.

COETAIL User, Blog, and Group Setup from Jeff Utecht on Vimeo.

If you have any issues or questions feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me at jeff {at}

Ready or not here we go!