Thinking Big – Course 4

Kicking off Course 4


I loved having the space and time to talk about pedagogy. I don’t know if I ever said the word pedagogy as much as I have since I started thinking about technology in the classroom. Being able to debate and talk and share ideas with other educators in an incredible opportunity.  – From my post-COETAIL reflection Things I know and things I don’t know: COETAIL Edition

First off, let me say how excited I am to be able to work with all of you (and Brandon) on course 4. While every single course in COETAIL influenced my teaching in profound ways, I love how course 4 focuses on pedagogy. This is the session where we can really think about how technology can redefine our classroom. This is the session where we can really think BIG. And for me that’s exciting to learn, think, and blog about. And for our students, it can be transformational.

(Some of) The Big Ideas

cc licensed ( BY NC SA )
flickr photo shared by Xurxo Martíne

I have a feeling that the Big Ideas discussed in Course 4 could change every week if Jeff wanted them to. It should come as no surprise that the Big Ideas about technology and pedagogy is a dynamic list. That’s one of the reasons we start Week 1 looking at technology integration models, particularly TPAC and SAMR.  For me, this discussion was a gamechanger. These ideas surrounding tech integration allowed me, as a classroom teacher, to develop criteria to judge whether I was using technology in a beneficial way for my students. And with this criteria in place, I developed a critical eye when it came to other Big Ideas. More importantly, it helped me develop an open-mind when it came to new, big pedagogical ideas. This open-mind, coupled with a critical eye, has given me the guts to try new things in my classroom. And I think with this mindset, amazing things can happen.

Just some of the Big Ideas we will be discussing in this course are Gamification, Reversed Instruction, Connectivism, and Problem Based Learning. Trust me when I tell you, I get geeked about these topics. Brandon and I will be introducing each new pedagogical idea as we move through the course and there are some fantastic resources to kickstart your blogging in the course site. Moreover, you’ve probably started to find other Big Ideas in your Twitter stream and RSS reader that you want to experiment with and reflect upon.  I really look forward to learning more from all of you and how these ideas fit (or don’t fit) with your classroom or school environment.

The Long View

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Rick van der Wal

Start Brainstorming
cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Rick van der Wal

Another aspect of COETAIL that we will be addressing in Course 4 is your final project. Seems kind of crazy to be thinking of course 5, when we’ve only just started this course, but it’s good to keep in the back of your mind which Big Idea you really want to delve into for your final project. It’s also really important for you to have a strong understanding of SAMR model, which you will be exploring this week. Your final COETAIL project will have to demonstrate how you have used technology to redefine your classroom –  to create tasks that would be inconceivable without the computer/tablet/etc. Brandon and I will be helping you get ready for the final project throughout course 4 and sharing a lot more information as we go, so stay tuned for more updates.

Final Thoughts

Again, I’m thrilled to be able to act, with Brandon, as an instructor for this course. There are so many of you that I’ve met in person and even more I follow on Twitter. I’ve probably read some of your blog posts as the #coetail hastag is a go-to when I need inspiration. Please say hi and introduce yourself on Twitter (I’m @ndbekah and Brandon is @javajive)  or in the comments.  I’ve also been on the journey of COETAIL (complete with last-minute blog posting) and if you have any questions please let us know ( and . Brandon and I will be figuring out the logistics of how this course will run as we go and both of us will be blogging in the space. You should be expecting some more blog posts about specific expectations of this course soon, but overall the course will run the same as when Jeff was teaching it. And trust me when I say we really want to support you in your learning. The focus of this course is reflections through your blogs (a little different from Course 3’s projects) and we hope to see glimpses of your classroom through your blogs. Because we plan on learning a lot from you too.

Now I leave you with a video from one of the most inspirational schools I know, High Tech High, a public school in San Diego. This is a school that doesn’t just think about Big Ideas but actually makes them happen. Which is really the point of thinking big.



5 thoughts on “Thinking Big – Course 4

  1. We’ll just see how geeky they can get about theory and pedagogy. 🙂

    I just launched course 4 in Seoul and I truly was excited about these different approaches in the classroom and how technology plays a transformational role in them…..although I have a feeling the participants thought I was joking when I talked about being excited for this course.

    This is where the rubber hits the road….sure you can talk about images, you can make presentation, use every web 2.0 tool out there…..but if we do not have a foundation grounded in good learning, good teaching that focuses on skill based standards (the only kind that matter in my opinion) then we’re using technology for technologies sake and that’s not what we’re after here.

    Thanks for the inspiring blog post…I’m excited to learn with you all as well.

  2. I have a feeling this course is going to be my fav! Can’t wait to get started!! 🙂

    1. p.s. is HTH a public or a public charter school?

      1. Hi Lissa-

        Like I said before, I really love the concept behind this course and I’m geeked you’re excited.

        My understanding is HTH is a charter school (actually there are now 11 schools in the charter system), with a lottery admission. But I think the demographics are really diverse. It’s an fascinating school and it’s worth checking out their vimeo channel.

  3. Thanks for sharing your reflections from your COETAIL experience. I really like your sentiment from your Learning 2.012 talk. “Most of us became teachers to share our passions with our students, but sometimes we have to spend a significant amount of time learning about their passions.”

    I think this is so true and I am really looking forward to learning more about Gamification. I am hoping as a middle school science teacher to incorporate more of these ideas to make the learning environment optimally engaging and motivating.


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