One step into the beyond

I have started this blog post a few times and each time I’ve started there has been a slight feeling of anxiety that has stopped me. I think it’s because this time, for the first time, I will be sharing this blog post online and so I want to get it right. That feeling of wanting to get something “right” has been with me throughout my teaching career and it’s something that I am learning to let go. I don’t know if I’ll ever get something “right” however I am consistently working on trying to be better for my students and provide them with rich learning opportunities. This is one of the reasons why I decided to enroll in COETAIL and why I enjoy teaching so much. I enjoy the challenge of striving to help students meet their goals with engaging, student centered activities that are also fun. With that in mind here are the ISTE standards that I want to focus on during my COETAIL journey.

Standards to focus on:

4a

Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.

4b

Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.

4c

Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.

4d

Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

From –  https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

My area of focus is going to be the standards under collaborator. I chose these standards as my area of focus as they align with my school’s vision as well as my own practice. As a teacher at a PYP school my team meets daily to share ideas for collaboration as part of a grade level team as well as with specialists. An area that we need to improve is incorporating technology and digital resources into our plans. I love putting technology into the hands of students and empowering them to take control of how to show their understanding. Living in China I sometimes feel restricted by what is available for students to use. A personal goal for me, however, is to change this mindset and embrace what we have as opposed to what we do not have access to.

As a Fourth-Grade teacher I am sometimes surprised by the lack of exposure students have had to basic software such as Microsoft word and PowerPoint. They also lack some fundamental skills such as downloading images, copying and pasting text, and sending emails. I want students to learn to use each other as resources and share the skills they have with one another. My students are willing to be risk takers every day in the classroom, that is until they have a computer in front of them. I hope to build their confidence in digital literacy and work collaboratively to diagnose and solve problems.

I am looking forward to collaborating with a number of people throughout my journey. At a school level I have my grade level team, our technology director, and administrators to use as resources. I feel lucky to work with such an enthusiastic group of educators who truly put student learning first. I am also excited to start working with the educators in my cohort, I realize already that I need to begin being more confident in building an online presence. I have a twitter account, but I think I can count the number of tweets I have made on one hand. For the last two years we have participated in the Global Read Aloud. I gained a wealth of ideas to put into my classroom, but I felt shy about sharing back in case my ideas weren’t deemed to be “right” by other, more experienced educators. As I mentioned at the start of this post I have to learn to let this go as, during team meetings, I have no problem sharing ideas. The idea of posting something online just seems a little daunting still.

Originally, I wanted to apply for the COETAIL and Heritage certificate. After some reflection, however, I feel as though the COETAIL & Get might be the better option for me. I feel that having the integrated Google trainer content and the option for 2nd stackable certificate might align more with my professional goals and help in continuing to collaborate with other educators. I am excited for the journey to start and I am looking forward to learning along the way.

Connection Reflection

I began by thinking just how few communities I felt I was part of. The most important for me is, of course, my classroom. I love to try new ideas that I feel will support students and creating a dynamic community where ideas feel free to be shared.

Last year we participated in the Global Read Aloud for the first time, this gave students the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with others around the world. This experience also helped me meet other educators through Twitter and has given me further opportunity to communicate and share ideas online.

I have found the TES website invaluable since I began teaching. Resources are easy to find, however, there is also a very active community in the forum sharing ideas. I have found that being able to ask for advice from other teachers from around the world has been helpful in adding to my own practice.

Finally, I am lucky to remain in contact with a number of educators I have previously worked with. The mediums such as Facebook I am able to keep in touch with them and continue to share and see ideas that we have used in the classroom. I am not, perhaps, as active in these communities as many of my friends so this is an area that I feel I could work on.

Hello World!

I’m Simon Dobson and I am originally from the UK. I am currently teaching Fourth Grade in China at Hangzhou International School. I have just started to use twitter and you can find me @Dobson_Simon_A.

I left the UK about 12 years ago to start teaching overseas, I started out teaching ESOL at GEOS language school Imabari, Japan. This was my first step into working in education and I have been teaching in one way or another since then.

A friend of mine recommended COETAIL to me a little over a year ago and I just missed out on the deadline to join cohort 11. Since then I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to sign up for COETAIL and I am really excited to start!