Updated: Jul 7, 2021
It’s very fitting that this post falls on the cusp of a new year; a time of reflection and future intentions. Although I may not celebrate the Lunar New Year in the same capacity as my colleagues and host country, I have adopted this occasion as an opportunity to recalibrate my resolutions from last month’s New Year. Some of these goals are health and self-care related, but the majority of them are centered around teaching and learning, so it makes sense to align my learning goals to ISTE standards. The hard part for me is narrowing my focus to just one or two because, like most things in my life, I tend to take on too much.
Goals for my learners
Stepping back into the classroom as a homeroom teacher has been a great opportunity to facilitate the goal setting process with students. The dialogue, modeled thinking and reflective practices that are presented throughout this process have far-reaching impacts on students. My ISTE-focused goals for the students in my care this year are around Standards 1 and 6, learner empowerment and creative communication.
“Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.”
I’ve always believed in giving students voice and choice, but it has become much more intentional when planning learning experiences recently. I actively seek ways to embed student agency and hand the ownership of learning over to them. One example of this is choice boards for math practice. Students in my class reflect on their current understandings and make choices about what and how they want to learn within the unit.
Each new strategy and concept presented to students requires time and space for them to work independently and with peers to deconstruct and reassemble ideas in ways that are meaningful to them. Technology plays an important role in this because it presents a variety of ways for them to practice and showcase their learning. We have been using online resources from Khan Academy, BrainPop and Seesaw to achieve important milestones, and students are excited to share their successes with each other and their parents.
“Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.”
Creativity and communication are arguably the most important skills to have in the 21st century. To know this is one thing, but to teach this is quite another. I have been working collaboratively with a number of teachers in specialist subjects (mostly art last term) to create opportunities for students to express themselves creatively in different ways using technology. One of the major successes we’ve had as a team came when students used the power of social media to share out their artwork and got a response from the artist they were studying! While it took the facilitation of teachers, the students were the ones who generated the idea, and as a result, other students and teachers are following their lead.
goals for my teaching
After an in-depth look at the ISTE Standards for students, it is time to narrow the focus of my own learning goals; not an easy feat, but a necessary one. During my COETAIL journey, I will be looking to focus on ISTE Standards 5 and 6 to become a better and more intentional designer and facilitator of learning for my students.
ISTE STANDARD 5- DESIGNER
“Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.”
One of the most exciting parts of being an educator today is the wide variety of resources available for lesson curation. I suppose it’s also beneficial that I have been working as an instructional coach to empower other educators to do just that through the lens of technology. Much of my work over the last 2 years has been to research, pilot and share different platforms that can be used to create meaningful learning experiences for students in different content areas. As I begin my COETAIL journey, I would like to focus more closely on Standard 5a and empower students to be independent and self-driven learners who set and work towards their own learning goals. In my current context, we began semester 2 with a provocation about the role of teachers, and we circle back around to it often to remind ourselves of our personal ‘whys’.
I believe real growth can only start when we know ourselves. As an educator, I try to make reflection and feedback an integral part of our classroom routines, so we can form habits that benefit our learning. I’m not sure yet what impact this will have, but I hope to be able to unpack this more throughout the COETAIL courses.
ISTE STANDARD 6- FACILITATOR
“Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.”
Our school has been on an evolutionary journey over the last couple of years as we move towards a more conceptually-framed, inquiry model of teaching and learning. To that end, we have done a lot of work around incorporating the design process and blended learning experiences in the way we approach content standards. I am particularly interested in Standards 6a-c as a stand-in classroom teacher because I want to set up opportunities for students to have hands-on and virtual experiences, both independently and with their peers. This has taken time and careful planning, but the impact it will have on student learning and achievement should be worth it. It’s likely that I will be revisiting this blog post in the upcoming months and years as I iterate, fail, redesign and share these experiences with colleagues, COETAIL buddies and my wider PLN.
COETAIL in my goal process
My decision to join COETAIL was an act of commitment to myself, my students and my learning goals. I don’t yet know what impact it will have on the teaching and learning in my class, but really, I’m sure it will only improve what’s already happening. I’m excited to continue to unpack my learning goals and make adjustments as the year rolls on. I have chosen to just complete the COETAIL certificate, but have also been taking some of the online coaching courses through Eduro Learning in hopes to meet these goals. Any and all advice, encouragement and feedback are encouraged to move me forward! Looking forward to sharing this learning journey with all of you!