Hello everyone! Welcome to the 1st week of Course 1. I’m sure you are all excited to get started since you have been preparing with your orientation for a few weeks now.

The first week of COETAIL is all about going past passive lurking and getting connected. You will explore the concept of lurking, and discover how active participation in your professional learning network can benefit you both personally and professionally.

I was once a lurker…

If you looked at my Twitter profile today you would see that I am active in posting, commenting, and participating in frequent chats with other educators. I love sharing what is happening with my students and opening up the doors to my classroom, but this wasn’t always the case.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Before I was actively involved with my PLN, I really had no idea why someone else would want to see what I had to tweet about. Was my classroom special? Do I seem self-interested if I post? Isn’t this all just for famous people?

Those were the questions I asked myself. It wasn’t until I took COETAIL Online 4 that I realized the real power that sharing with a wider community can have. I took baby steps and shared a little here and there. I started finding educators I liked and followed them…then I started to comment on what they shared (and they commented back!!). That motivated me to share even more and the results were fantastic. People wanted to see what I was doing and gave me amazing feedback. I gained confidence in my practice, gathered valuable insight on how I could improve and made connections that would result in many future opportunities.

Putting the “Social” back into Social Media

Going from lurking to actively participating in my PLN really put the “social” into social media for me, and continues to give me inspiration and encouragement every day. I hope this week as you dig deeper into the readings that you define how being active within your professional learning network can be of value to you.

What to do this week?

  • Check in with the My Courses page to see your readings for the week.
  • Ensure you have finished any requirements from the orientation (setting up the RSS feed, sharing your gradesheet with me, etc.).
  • Ensure that when you are setting up your blog that you approve comments as you receive them. A part of your assessment is commenting on other participant blogs so they must be visible to the public.
  • Write a reflective blog post on this week’s content.
  • Share your blog post URL with me on your gradesheet.
  • Comment on at least one of your cohort members posts and link that to the gradesheet as well.
  • Don’t forget to share and hashtag #COETAIL so your peers can see when you post.
  • G.E.T. participants see the Google Education Trainer Tab for more information.

 

A few Blogging Tips & Tools

For those of you who may be new to blogging, here are some helpful tools that definitely come in handy when writing:

Grammarly  – Grammarly is an amazing free tool that helps you check your spelling and grammar while writing online. You can use their site, or you can download the handy Chrome extension that allows you to use it while writing anywhere on the web. It’s like having a writing assistant with you at all times.

Pixabay & UnSplash – In future weeks we will be learning about copyright and image use online, but to get you started here are two great sites for finding images that require little or no attribution. I am using one in this very blog post!

Hemingway Editor – I don’t always use the Hemingway editor, but it’s a very useful tool that gives you insight on the content and style of your writing and what may need improvement. It will analyze your piece of writing and tell you where you might be using wordy sentences, dull or complicated words, and determine it’s readability. 

I hope that you find a few of these tools helpful to you. Happy Blogging!