Category: Orientation

My learning goals

I have really enjoyed reading through everyone’s introductions over the past week and am looking forward to learning from all of you (Cohort 11) over the next year and a half! It has also been really nice seeing how welcoming and encouraging the wider #COETAIL community has been! I am so excited to be a (new) member of this community! I am hoping to complete the Google for Education Trainer as well and am hoping to learn a lot from all of you to be able to do this.

I am in the special situation of completing this certificate alongside my husband. He is currently a Tech Integration Teacher at our school. Throughout this course, I feel I will be able to benefit from his expertise, both online and off!

After reading through the ISTE Standards for Educators, I had some trouble narrowing it down to the specific standards that I would like to focus most on over the next year and a half. This is what I’ve come up with for now:


In my first blog post, I shared my reasons for why I decided to start COETAIL in the first place – one of them being that I wanted to be able to better support my students in becoming more “literate” individuals. As I mentioned, this was inspired by Will Richardson. In his talks, he often references Mozilla’s Web Literacy Framework. The ISTE Standard that I feel most aligns with this is Educator Standard 3 – Citizen. In order to be able to inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world, I need to be living this as well.

Substandard 3b is one that really resonates with me as this is an area that my grade level team is frequently discussing. How can we as educators support our students to critically evaluate the digital information they are exposed to? I would love to learn from others as to how they tackle this in their classrooms!


The school I am at is 1:1. Elementary students (prep – grade 5) use iPads, and Senior School students (grades 6-12) use MacBooks. The grade 5 students have access to the Google Suite and we use this frequently to collaborate within our community and share learning to the larger school community.

Substandard 4c’s focus on using collaborative tools to expose students to authentic, real-world learning experiences is what I see as the next step for my teaching team. How do you provide students with authentic, real-world problems to solve? And how do we provide students with authentic audiences to share their learning with? I really hope to gain some insight in this area over the course of the next year and a half.


My Professional Learning Community

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I feel that within my school community, I am very well connected. In my grade level team, we work together to plan and implement our collaborative teaching model. In this team, I have contributed to and greatly benefitted from the expertise of each team member. I have also been a member of many focus groups and design teams within the school community.

Both my husband and I come from a family full of teachers, so whether we’re home for the holidays, or chatting with family, the conversations inevitably turn to education. This stands true with teacher friends around the world!

In terms of my online community, these connections are more one-sided at the moment. I learn a lot from the posts of others, but do not engage in many online discussions. This is a goal of mine! The people I meet through professional development opportunities make up a chunk of my network as well, but again, these are not the lasting connections I wish they were.


The start of my COETAIL journey…

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be starting my COETAIL Journey with Cohort 11! I am new to blogging, but excited to give it a go!

My name is Caitlin Howald and I am originally from Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). I started my international teaching journey 6 years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. I made the move to Europe after two years there, and am currently in my fourth year teaching at the International School of Düsseldorf in Germany. I am a Grade 5 teacher, and consider myself lucky to be working in a collaborative teaching model in a newly designed flexible space with 4 other teachers! Follow me on Twitter to find out more about my teaching journey.

I went from having no real access to tech in my classroom in Bangkok to 1:1 iPads in Düsseldorf, which was a huge shift! I now can’t imagine a classroom without them! With that said, I am always looking for ways to more effectively use technology and support students in this ever-changing digital world.

In the fall of 2017, our school brought Will Richardson in as a guest speaker. He is a provocative speaker and is not afraid to question the status quo in education. (For those of you not familiar with his stuff, I highly recommend taking a look!) One of the pieces of this talk that resonated most with me was his discussion of what it means to be “literate” in today’s world. It made me question if I was doing enough to support students with this.

At the IB Global Conference in Vienna this fall, I was happy to be able to listen to Will Richardson speak again, but realized I wasn’t any further along on my journey in helping students to build this 21st century literacy…

Enter Twitter. I have only in the last year or so, become a more active Twitter user. I kept stumbling across people talking about COETAIL (one of these being Tanya!). After looking into it, I decided that this journey was what I needed to move me forward towards my goals of becoming a more “literate” individual and teacher.