Category: Contribution

The Final Project of Course #4

As a possible final project of the Course 5, I’ve chosen one of the Music topics that we teach every year and integrate it with digital tools and concepts. Our music teacher is always preparing for the technology integration unit with a big passion. This time, I have decided to update a unit of Grade 3 music lesson. I chose option 1 – redesigning the unit.

Photo by ZEKERIYA SEN on Unsplash

Slides template for students

Unit Planner

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

I think this unit includes a lot of easily accessible tech tools that provide us opportunity to teach this unit online during the school closure. Moreover, I think this unit will be a great experience for students and will let them see how useful technology can be in learning music. I have used some of the deep learning strategies for students to learn how to learn.

How does this unit reflect your learning during COETAIL? How is this unit different from or similar to other units you have designed/facilitated?

Inspired by Game-Based Learning method, I decided to adopt this idea and design a template, looking similar to a game, that students will have to fill in. I’m still thinking of the design elements that would make the slides look like a game. In this unit I’ve only used some elements of the game like students receiving points after each completed activity. Also, learning stages are represented as missions that contain more steps to accomplish it.

How will the ISTE Standards for Students that you chose to enhance your students’ understanding of the content?

I believe that all of the chosen standards will enhance students to become independent learners, designers, responsible digital, citizens, successful collaborators and problem solvers. The list of standards is long, but it represents the complexity of the unit as well as a variety of tasks students will receive. Students will learn by figuring out how to accomplish the tasks and will become new knowledge creators as well. I would like to give students as much freedom as possible and encourage them to be not only individual learners, but also effective collaborators.

ISTE standards for students that I chose for this unit are:

1d: Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
2b: Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
2c: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
3c: Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
4a: Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems
4d: Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
7a: Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.

What has influenced you the most during COETAIL and how is that reflected in this final project?

While creating this unit I could feel the influence of the newly learned teaching strategies, concepts and methods. In this unit I included concepts and teaching/learning methods that I’ve discovered during my COEATL journey over past 4 courses, such as  SAMR, CARP or collaboration between teachers, collaboration between students, research, rubric-based assessment, analyzing learned knowledge, reflection and, of course, new pedagogies with deep learning strategies.

Here is an example of how the SAMR framework will be used in this unit. 

Substitution – technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional change. In this stage students will explore possible music genres by doing digital research. Gathered resources will be added to a slides template, prepared for students in advance, instead of getting this information from their teacher.

Augmentation – technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvements. Students recreate music genres using digital musical tools in Chrome Music Lab.

Modification – technology allows significant task redesign. Students record music using online screen recording tool like Loom.

Redefinition – technology allows creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. In this stage students will use online coding tool Scratch to design and authentically looking animation for their music pieces created in the previous step, using Chrome Music Lab.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

Ideally, I would like to teach this unit at school, because this would provide wider opportunities for all of us to learn together.  Even though as I mentioned, the unit contains many digital tools that provide wide opportunities for teaching this unit online. COVID 19 is my only concern in facilitating this unit.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

The new unit requires to rethink teaching strategies that will help students take more ownership over their learning.

This new unit requires to explore more online games and resources, that I can include in the learning process to raise students’ motivation.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Students will need to develop even stronger collaboration skills while working with partners. Students will also need digital research, problem-solving and coding skills. Students will have to demonstrate a positive attitude and perseverance regarding independent learning.

What outcomes do you hope to see when students complete this unit? How will you know that students have learned the concepts?

I hope, that students will like this new teaching method and strategies, which will encourage them to learn new knowledge independently. Also, I expect students to help me in the future to design even better Game-based learning activity, that I will be able to use with other students.

I will know that students learned the concept from their reflections that are included after each mission.


Empower to Foster Contribution

“Dos” and “Don’ts”

My biggest take away from the University was: “We have to keep telling our children what to do, but not what not to do”.
This is a common mistake all adults make. They are afraid that children (or students) will take risks and “burn their fingers”. They always say: “Don’t touch!”, “Don’t share your private information online!”, “Don’t visit untrusted websites!”. Don’t….. Don’t….. Don’t…… and many more “DON’TS”.
Meanwhile, what’s happening in the child’s head? – “Hmm…What should I do then?”
My biggest belief is that we have to take our children and students to that dark forest of what should be done and what shouldn’t together and explain all the dangers and advantages of doing something, let them try, let them explore. It is their life and they have to be ready for their future life. How else can children learn and satisfy their curiosity? How will they know, that oven might be hot if they have never touched it?
Students need their own real-life experiences, good or bad. It is amazing, how many new fantastic ideas students come up with when they are allowed to use the online environment and explore/try its opportunities. I found this TedTalk really powerful: Extracurricular empowerment (McLeod, TEDxDesMoines).

Most schools have technology Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) which contain lots of negative phrases. How about an Empowered Use Policy (EUP) instead? In other words, instead of saying “NO, NO, NO!” all the time, how about saying yes? Scott Mcleod (
I personally agree with this statement. Students got used to hearing restrictions quite often at school. When I ask my students about internet safety they usually begin a sentence from a word don’t. Then, I ask them to paraphrase – “What should we do?” For example: If I can’t share my password with anyone, what should I do with my password? Students get confused, but sooner or later they give me a positive statement, and eventually, they learn it.

Contribution Wanted

Technology is a powerful tool and I can only imagine how this COVID-19 pandemic situation would affect education without all the technology tools. Online communication skills are extremely valuable at the moment. They are very useful during all the collaborative projects with between various grade levels, other local schools, or even schools all over the world.

Over the past several years, our school has been participating in the creation of 7 Travelling Tales. The purpose of Travelling Tales is to raise one or more Global Goals related problems, that, through the digital storytelling, is then developed in the tale, as well as solved at the end. Five different schools around the world collaborate on the creation of one tale. It takes about 6-7 weeks for the tale to be completed. I have to warn you – this project is contagious. Once we tried participating in it and now we can’t stop. It has some great advantages like – teamwork in the classroom. Everyone is involved in the process, everyone takes turns in order to suggest his/her own contribution. Students are so engaged in this project. They take Global Goals for Sustainable Development very seriously. Thanks to the Travelling Tale projects, almost all of our elementary students know almost all Global Goals for sustainable development. Travelling Tale is also a great tool for teaching empathy. I can only imagine, how many more students around the world found out the same generally relevant and valuable information.

One day colleague of mine – a Russian teacher – asked me about her students’ (Russian learners) participation in this project. Joel Bevans was happy to hear about our idea and gave us all permissions, as well as necessary online tools in order to help us make our tale come true. We made it happen and I value this experience even more. This time, I was searching for possible participants, and this way I could make new great connections with teachers in our country. It wasn’t easy, but definitely worth it 🙂 Can’t wait to do it again.
I often remember our first TT, which included 4 different continents. Incredible and so simple as well. We all have connections and it is so powerful when we all come together for the same generous purpose.
Participation in this project really pushes students to think about other people around the world, living without food in poverty, nature, and animals that are killed just because of our constant need for convenience. This way students become more empathetic regarding all those global problems. Empathy is a key factor in this project.

“We aren’t destroying the biosphere because we are selfish. We are doing it simply because we are unaware.”
– Greta Tunberg (Gowthaman, 29th Sep 2019)

It is amazing, how huge is the impact of Greta Tunberg’s ideas on many of us. Personally, I think that children’s strong voice can be heard even better, compared to any adult. We all are more sensitive about children and awareness raised by them sounds more important. Being part of participatory culture, youth often contributes to spreading a word and raising awareness about global issues by communicating through social media.

While writing this post I’ve found several great resources, which I will try using in the future while teaching Empathy and help students become more connected with other students all over the world:

Empatico – Communicating with another class on the other side of the globe is a great way of exchanging all kinds of experience – from personal thoughts to academic knowledge. While using this platform, students’ motivation to learn raises nearly 100%! I found this really useful while teaching geography, cultural facts and of course, empathy. Here is one of the examples of how this kind of project can be very successful.

PenPal schools is another online collaboration project, which has really caught my eye. This great tool/project allows communication between students all over the world with teacher support and assistance. PenPal Schools connects half a million students from 150 countries to practice writing, create original projects, and make friends from around the world. This is a great way of learning proper online communication. The world is so close to us now 🙂