Category Archives: Course 2

The End of Course 2

number 2We’re just days away from the end of course 2. I know you are all really sad about that as the school year winds down, grades are do and summer vacation plans start to take shape.

The official last day of Course 2 is Sunday May 19th. Hopefully everyone can have their final projects and reflections on the process and what it was like to collaborate globally posted by then. I love reading those reflections as that is where the learning takes place and realizing just how hard collaborating globally can be across time zones, schedules, and life is something to keep in mind as you do collaborative projects with your students.


Know that just because the course has ended officially the community and networks you have formed are still alive and well. Your blog is here to continue to use and reflect on over the summer, twitter doesn’t stop, and change and learning are constant. So know that if you find something in your summer travels that you just have to write about…your blog is always open.


Summer time we do not run any COETAIL courses. A) We’re teachers and like our summers too. B) It’s time to do updates!

We have some major updates rolling out over the summer so there will be times during the summer when the site and your blog might be down. Know it will be back up shortly and the updates will continue to roll out as the developers get them ready for August and the start of another year of COETAIL.

The Future is Amazing:

I spent yesterday in geek out mode. Google started their big developers conference yesterday with a 3 hour keynote that myself along with about a million others watched live online. I was in full geek mode (really not a pretty site).

What they announced and where they are heading is just simply amazing and as I sit her a day later and listen to developers talk about what they are going to create with what Google announced makes me shake my head in awe.

The future is here….Google and other companies are not slowing down. If anything they are speeding up and as educators where does that leave us? Take what they released yesterday with the new Google Maps alone and the classroom has to change. Globes and pull down maps just will not cut it and outside of school students will never use anything but a digital map in their lives. So what does that do to our curriculum around maps? Around GPS? You do teach GPS in your mapping unit right?

Throughout the sessions that I have listened to the developers keep referring to this generation as the “On Demand” generation. They will expect everything to be on demand and not only will they demand it, companies goals are to make sure everything you need can be found on demand. The new Google Chrome will blow your mind.

Google is also adding voice commands to Chrome. By saying “Okay, Google” and then asking a question — such as “show me things to do in Santa Cruz” — the Google results page will speak back to you. It comes from its knowledge graph and knows Santa Cruz is a place. It then pulls related things to the city. Users can also make more narrow voice requests, such as “show me pictures of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.”

Users can also ask how far away a point is to their location and where to eat nearby. ~Mashable

 Or what about the new Google Play Education store that looks to take education and specifically the iPad head on.

At the end of the day…..the future is here…..if you teach next year the same way you taught this year……you will be behind. If your school and school leaders expect next year to be the same as this year….you will be behind.

The world is changing and changing fast. If we are headed towards an “On Demand” world then we need to figure out what education looks like in that world and how do we take advantage of it in our classrooms.

Have a great summer, relax, reflect, learn, love, disconnect and recharge. I’ll see you all back here officially on September 2nd!

My Field of Tulips

color overdose I still find this whole Internet thing so amazing. Not so much the fact that I’m cruising at 35,000 feet over the Rocky Mountains right now as I write and post this blog post to you…although that is amazing. But more the fact that I’m still trying to figure out what an educators role is when you live in a connected learning environment. I need to do some thinking typing out-loud here as it’s my way of reflecting on my own understanding of my changing role as I see it when it comes to being an instructor in this type of environment.

The weather has turned beautiful here in Seattle and the tulips are in full bloom and if you know Seattle; when the weather is nice you get outside. Over the past couple of days I have disconnected mostly and enjoyed the outdoors with my wife and friends running in a 12K race and playing golf. The problem with this is even though I’ve taken a couple of days off you haven’t. So yesterday I opened up my Google Reader and found I had over 100 blog posts to read. I settled myself in to start going through them and as I went from blog post to blog post I was finding some amazing conversations already happening some already complete. I found myself not being able to add to the conversation in an authentic way.

The community (that’s all of you) have taken on a learning culture of your own….you don’t need me…..really….you don’t. My comments, if not authentic, mean nothing, do nothing to forward the conversation and really are what we would consider spam. However the teacher inside of me says I “must” respond as I am the teacher and that’s what teachers are suppose to do. Does that hold true in this type of learning environment? An environment so rich in conversation and discussion that I am but just a node among nodes?

I am finding myself more of a group facilitator…or a farmer (coming from a farming family). I feel like you (the community) are my field of tulips. More than anything I oversee the field to make sure everyone gets what they need. Everyone needs the basics water,  sun, food. Or in the case of this course the structure; outline, tasks, space. But each of you are individuals within the community and need certain things as well. Some of you need more time, some of you need special attention due to Internet or personal situations, and others of you need provoking. Not all of you get the same amount of attention and not all of you need it. You are all individuals in the field and beautiful in your own thoughts, reflections and projects. Yet as a community you are truly amazing! So…as we continue to move through this program together know that I am here for you to help you grow to give you what you need both as individuals and as a community. There will be times (like these last couple of days) where I’ll back off and let the community grow, and then other times where I’ll be highly active. My hope and thinking is my involvement matters much less than your growth and learning….and I hope you feel that way too.

….enough pondering for now……

Spring Break

There is a Spring Break week in this course. I put it for next week but you can take it whenever you need it. Some of you I know already have while others still have it to spare. No worries…again the only thing that matters is the final date of May 19th. I know as we get into May things get crazy. IB teachers are in full swing already and elementary teachers are headed into their last report cards. It is always a stressful part of the year this month of May and I hope COETAIL isn’t part of it…..if you need anything, or if there is anything I can do to relieve some stress I’m just an e-mail away.

Lawrence Lessig: Re-examining the Remix

For the next couple weeks I am going to share with you numerous videos that talk about Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons as that is a fundamental part of what this course is about and something I strongly believe every educator needs to better understand so that we are both protecting ourselves as well as our students.

There is no one better to explain this and help us think about this new culture of the Interent than the mind behind Creative Commons Larry Lessig. So grab a glass of your favorite beverage, find that comfortable spot on the couch and open your mind. Caution: This might hurt a little.

Embedding Images into your Blog (Updated)

So I still want you to watch the video that I created last year in this weeks outline. However a year is a long time in the digital world and compfight (which I still believe is the best tool for finding creative commons images both for yourself and for students) has made many changes so I thought I’d give an update of the two ways that I use to embed images into my blog posts.

The WordPress plugin

Yes there is a WordPress plugin and yes you are using WordPress. Yes, I could install it and make your life easier. However…I won’t. 🙂

Yes…I am that mean! 🙂

Actually part of the learning here is some HTML coding that I go over in the video. Coding is a skill worth knowing and if you do use something other than compfight then you will need to know how to code in the image. Also if compfight ever takes this away you’ll need to know how to code in an image. Either way knowing how to code in an image is a skill worth knowing and helps lead to other things you can code into your blog posts in the future.

The new popup

Now when you click on an image you might want to use on compfight it gives you a pop up box that allows you to download the image directly from it as well as the HTML code to put the perfect credit link on your image. It’s as easy as 1,2,3 and can save you a lot of clicks in the long run.

Downloading and Citation

Once you have download the image you can simply upload it to your blog as per the video and using the new Photo Credit HTML code in the caption area to give the perfect licensing credit every time. What a time saver and a perfect way to make sure you are staying true to the creative common license.

Embedding straight from Flickr

The other way I like to embed images is directly from Flickr itself. Flickr makes it easy on creative common license photos where you have permission to do so to embed the image directly into a blog post.

Simply click on the image in the compfight pop up and it will take you to that image on Flickr. Once there you can go to Share – Grab the HTML/BBCode and copy and paste the code there into your blog post (on the HTML side of course).

The difference:

Uploaded to the blog with caption HTML

Photo Credit: Brett L. via Compfight cc

Embedded straight from Flickr

Oh no, here come the Bloggers

You’ll notice that the embed code from Flickr doesn’t have the caption credit however, if you role your mouse over the image you get the license and if you click on the image it takes you back to the image on flickr…again…giving credit through the hyperlink.

Both ways work in my book as long as you are somewhere some way linking back to the original source. Whether through the caption or through the image itself. What really matters and what I’ll be looking for is that link back to the original source and that the image is released under a creative commons license (we’ll be learning more about this in the weeks to come).

Downloading vs Embedding

Now…there are positives and negatives to both downloading and embedding images. As a blogger you will have to decide which one works best for you…..and probably like me you’ll end up using both.

Downloading Pros and Cons

Downloading the image off the web and then uploading it to your blog is great because you now have a copy of that photo which means if the person in the future decides to take the photo down you still have a copy and under the creative common license still get to use it unless the owner asks for you to take it down.

The negative side to this is you do not get unlimited upload space on your blog. Here at COETAIL we give you about 20MB of space to upload images and content…not a lot when you start thinking about it. So if you do upload that’s fine but use your space wisely and don’t upload huge images that you are going to embed and make small anyway. I use images that the longest side is about 500 pixels and then embed into blog posts around 200 to 300 pixels. This keeps the files small but also keeps them in good quality as I’m embedding them smaller than the image originally is.

Embedding Pros and Cons

Embedding works great and the positives are that it takes no space up within your blog. The image is hosted at flickr and we just display it here on the blog. The same way the video is hosted on YouTube and we display here on the blog. This is great! You get to keep your space for important files and use the amazing unlimited space of Flickr and YouTube to host your files for you. A lot of my images are uploaded to my own Flickr account and then embedded from there same as I do for videos to YouTube.

The negative side effect to this is if that person on flickr ever decides to take the image down you loose the image in your blog post and it shows that ugly red x box because the address to that specific image is broken.

So….you’ll have to decide for yourself which way works better for you and your blog in the long run and I think both downloading and embedding are both useful and good to use in blog posts. I hope over the rest of COETAIL you use both ways to practice and see how it works.

Starting today….it is required that you add at least one image to your blog post, and that the image either be used appropriately under a creative commons licence or that the image belongs to you. Notice in my screenshots above those images belong to me so there is no license. However this blog is licensed creative commons (check out the license down the sidebar…you’ll be getting yours soon) so therefore those images, belonging to me are released under that license as well. How you license your own pictures is completely up to you. All that I really care about is that you use photos to help convey your message and that they be used legally.

More on all of this in the weeks ahead……

Course 2 Journey Begins

Crazy to think it’s April already and no fooling around here at COETAIL…..course 2 starts today!

There will be a few blog posts this first week to get you kicked off and sharing some information (including updating our COETAIL Effect definition). For today I want to get the big stuff out of the way so we’ll start with the end in mind….your final project.

Final Project:

network illustration

After you click on My Courses -> Course 2 and then the blue button in the upper right hand corner to start the course you’ll have access to the complete course outline. You might want to head down to the final project as I would recommend getting started on this pretty quickly in the course.

Redoing Your School’s AUP with Collaboration:

Your final project this course is to revamp/recreate your schools Acceptable Use Policy or whatever it is called. You know the one….the one that guides a school’s policy on what kids can and cannot do on a computer.

What we have found is that many schools have very outdated AUPs and some schools…..gulp….don’t have any at all. So we take this course where we talk about digital footprint, copyright, and cyber safety to give you a chance to take a lead within your school to bring these guidelines up to speed looking at 2013 and beyond. Over the years this has been a very powerful process for teachers and for schools. Why?

1. An AUP created by teachers who are learning about the new ideas around technology……go figure!

2. AUPs are important, but nobody wants to take the time to update them…here you get credit for doing it and at the same time move your school forward.

3. We are seeing a 90%+ adoption rate of AUPs created during this course actually being used by schools. W00T! Yes…we’re changing school’s idea of technology around the world!

Collaboration a must:

Here’s the catch…we ended last course talking about collaborative projects and the power of global collaboration. So now it’s time for you to try it out and see just how easy/hard it is to start collaborating virtually. For this assignment you must collaborate with at least one other COETAILer outside of your school. Yes…that means the 14 of you in Angola need to find at least one other poor sole in this class to work with you…if not more. Your collaborator can play a role as simple as a critical friend to a full on “let’s create one we both can use” collaboration. How do you go about doing this? That my friends…is in your hands. We leave it up to you to figure out how to connect with others. You can use groups on this site, comment on blogs, messaging within this site. You can use Google Docs, Skype, Google Hangouts, Twitter….you see where this is going? The tools are out there….now it’s time to use them to connect. Your reflection that you post with your final new and improved AUP needs to include a reflection on how your global collaboration worked.

What does a good AUP look like?

We’ll be learning about this through the course and I strongly encourage you to do some searching within the greater COETAIL community to find examples and reflections from those COETAILers before you as well as that other thing we will continue to talk about…the Internet. 🙂

All we ask is that you try your hand at it and help your school out. You’ll notice that some schools broke it down to having different AUPs. K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 seems to be a popular way to do it. Is there a right way or wrong way? Not really, it is up to you to decide what would work best for your school, in your country, in your technology environment. If you are a K-2 teacher then maybe you work on a new K-2 AUP. I don’t expect you to do all divisions. But then there are places like the 14 of you in Angola where this could be very powerful as you could create new AUPs that look a like and sound a like and take into consideration new technologies and new visions. Just saying. 😉

That’s long enough for now….feel free to ask clarifying questions in the comments here and be looking for another blog post from me in a couple of days. For now I leave you with this: