And so I near the end of a second course on the COETAIL journey.
It is fair to say that this project provided me the greatest test I had faced on the COETAIL course so far; yet it also has to be said that it has provided me with the greatest reward – the finalised RUA that my group created. Another major difference which has made this project so tricky, and also so rewarding, is the group element i.e. having to work with other COETAIL students online to create something new.
A Big Thank You!
Firstly, I have to say a big ‘thanks’ to the other members of my team who I worked alongside for their incredible dilligence, hard work and creativity. Some of their ideas and thoughts were quite brilliant and allowed me to take more of a bystander’s role within the project. Now when I say bystander, what I actually mean is ‘less-involved participant’.
Less Involved Participant
Being a ‘less-involved participant’ is not something I openly embrace, but for me it is and has been a difficult mould to break out of; this is one of the reasons why I found this project so difficult to get to grips with. There are also a number of other reasons why I found this type of project much more difficult to complete than other projects I have been given on the COETAIL course.
Another major reason has to be the globally collaborative aspect. Jeff Utecht outlined a number of the reasons why global collaboration is a frustrating and difficult thing to achieve in a recent blog post. My own reasons also include many of the same ideas that Jeff wrote about in his post; other reasons that I could also include would be ‘not wanting to dominate the group’ or ‘Are my ideas actually any good?’
Ultimately though, I actually think that everyone has to have a role within any group activity and I genuinely feel that where there is a/are leader(s) there should also be a follower or followers. After all-one can’t exist without the other.
So I assumed my role within the group as we began our online correspondance. I soon realised that working in a group to achieve a centralised goal was a powerful tool when it worked as smoothly as it seemed to for our group of intrepid RUA pioneers.
The activity itself was an excellent way of uniting different teachers from different schools with different backgrounds. Using the RUA also helped to give us an achievable target that would give something back to our schools, colleagues and the online educational community. I have included our completed RUA below. Please take a look:
The purpose of the RUA
The purpose of the RUA is to provide the three schools involved (as well as any other schools interested) with an easy-to-use and child friendly primary/elementary school RUA. The RUA should also be easy for teachers, parents and children to understand and use in both their online life at school and at home.
The Top Ten!
Finally, this is my Top Ten (not in any particular order) of what I particularly liked and learned about the experience of being an online collaborator in a group of pioneering educators:
- Using a Google Doc to centralise our thoughts and ideas for the RUA was a great way to have a central repository for our thoughts and ideas.
- Shared email conversations brought a better understanding of what needed to be done.
- Learning about new APPs or programs like https://piktochart.com/ was great for educational understanding
- Working with people from very different schools with very different backgrounds helped me to expand my horizons.
- Making new connections opened up new paths to connect.
- Brainstorming, talking and working alongside the primary head of ICT at our school was an added bonus.
- Not having to do all the work on my own was a great burden reliever.
- Getting to test the effectiveness of different types of RUA (that had been suggested by different group members) on my own students before deciding on the final RUA was a great experience.
- Having my ideas (few though they may have been) acknowledged and recognised by the other members of our group was empowering.
- And most importantly-working with the members of my team Andria Visser, Anna Dawn, Palvinder Thurman and Kathy Burtscher was a terrific opportunity.
Overall, I can honestly say that it was a very rewarding experience and a task that every educator should have to do; if only to see the benefits that true global collaboration can bring.