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Jennifer Byrnes

  • I will start with a little confession. My name is Jen and I am addicted to TED talks. I went to TEDx Amsterdam ED in 2015 and I got to listen to an amazing group of speakers, including Hanna […]

  • Welcome to my COETAIL final project! It has been an incredible journey and I am so excited to (finally) be sharing my final project.

    The Idea:
    For my final COETAIL project, I decided to focus on […]

  • In many ways I have been weaving my learning from COETAIL into my teaching practice, both as a teacher and a colleague. However, in many ways, I am not. When I come home at the end of the day, blogging, tweeting […]

  • The final course is upon us! When I sat down in course 4 to create my plan on how to tackle the final project, I had the idea to integrate setting up our daily classroom routines in conjunction with our technology […]

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 1 year, 9 months ago

    I agree with Brandon, you are doing a great job working within the limitations around you. I am really curious to find out how things go for you next year and if your school starts to shift into a more technology-focused mindset. In the meantime, I think it’s a great idea to use Google Sites and Classroom to set up a digital platform for your…[Read more]

  • My focus for Course 5 is to redesign the first 6 weeks of school. I am a big fan of elements of the Responsive Classroom and have used their philosophy as a foundation for my classroom management and how I […]

  • Wow! It has been a busy year and eventful year. Participating in COETAIL during my school’s transition to our 1:1 iPad program has been quite a journey. As overwhelming as it was at times, I am so grateful that I […]

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I really like your idea of building technology routine in the classroom similar to other classroom routines. Most of the students from this generation probably have never seen the world without technology and therefore learning technology comes natural for them. Likewise, students at an elementary level are able to acquire impressive level of skills in technology. But like other routines in class, it’s important to set up clear expectations and transparency. I hope the following link help you setting up clear expectations as per grade level. All the best for course 5 final project.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      You are certainly right there are a TON of apps to choose from for various purposes. We are also about to introduce iPads into each classroom next year. This is the first time teachers will have their own iPad in the classrooms. As we are not yet a 1:1 model, the iPads were intended for learning centers and more leveled reading. My main schedule for the start of the next school year is to introduce some productivity apps that relate to the units to the teachers so they feel more natural to turn to the iPad for certain tasks, hopefully on a daily basis, and since I’m in a bilingual school, in TWO languages. I really liked the Padagogy Wheel poster that Allan Carrington created. Maybe this will be useful for you too.
      Have a nice summer ahead.

  • This is my tenth year of teaching and I cannot believe how much technology has changed during these years. It has gone from almost none, (2 Desktops in my first classroom) to almost all (1:1 iPads in my current […]

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I am so moved by your post. I live and work in a city where my international school stands in such stark contrast to the local public schools where the teachers still only use chalk and chalkboards. I feel this disparity and hate it. I have been thinking a lot about how I can be a catalyst for more exchange between our school and the local schools. I totally agree with you that as new technologies become more affordable and accessible that these local schools will take off. The key is finding affordable options and providing training for teachers. Your post has reminded me to keep brainstorming, networking and talking about this issue with other educators in our city. I participate in a monthly meeting with teachers, tech coaches and administrators from four international schools. We talk about innovation, share ideas, and network. I think this topic is a great one to bring up at one of our meetings. How can we come along side our local public schools? How can we get a few key local teachers to join our monthly meeting?
      Thanks so much, Jennifer for making me think and hopefully act.

      • Hi Michelle and Jennifer,
        @ Michelle- Being in Nepal I share a very similar experience, and like you it’s uncomfortable. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been thinking of ways to connect with the local schools, and you are spot on with the idea of networking and idea sharing. In that vein, what we’ve done in Kathmandu is create an NGO called Quality Kathmandu Schools. It consists of 25 schools, of which, only three have expats attending. While in it’s infancy, the mission of the group is to create professional development opportunities for teachers and teaching assistants as well as opportunities for students K-12. We have already had a number of job-a-like training for teachers, which have proven to be beneficial. The cost was $1 and included lunch. It’s helping to set a higher standard for the Nepali schools. We are now working on student events, not athletics, but debate, art, literacy,etc. Just being in the meeting yesterday, I watched the exchange of ideas and passion for improving the education within Nepal. Perhaps it’s a model that would work for you too. Happy to share more.

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 1 year, 10 months ago

    Hi Steve,

    I am really interested to find out which LMS you are using. We are going through a lot of transition with tech at my school right now and I am starting to feel overwhelmed by all of the digital tools I am using to create a safe digital learning environment (some mandatory, others by choice). I use Power Teacher Pro to store my grades…[Read more]

  • I first learned about the Flipped Classroom when I was at a TEDx event a few years ago. Similar to many other teachers, upon learning about the Flipped Classroom, I realized I was already doing some of this with […]

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I think it’s fantastic that you are using Google Classroom and Khan Academy with your students. I so wish Khan Academy existed in my day- I was terrible at math!

      I like how you listed the reasons for the use of technology with your students and how to present it to the parents. Your challenges will eventually become positives once your allow everyone more time to fully understand technology integration and how it is necessary for our 21st century students.

      Thanks for a great post!

    • Hi Jen
      Reading your post made me realise that what we were doing 5/6 years ago at WAB was really flipping the classroom. All those shared lessons and resources, the blogs that the students could access in class and at home and the use of video.
      I am interested in what you are doing with Google Classroom as I to had been put off by how it looks. We just use Google Docs etc to share things with the students and put all the resources that we use in folders. What is the big difference with using Google Classroom? Is it easier to access/ organise?
      Will also be interested to hear how the gaming goes.

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 1 year, 10 months ago

    Hi Dan,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. I like how you first interpreted the flipped classroom, students can learn so much from each other and providing them the time to share their learning with each other and take on the role of the teacher can lead to amazing things! I wonder if this is something you can combine with the flipped classroom…[Read more]

  • Ah… the acronym! Education’s favorite jargon tool! But what is the difference between Project, Problem, and Challenge based learning? They all share commonalities and they each strive to enable a […]

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 1 year, 10 months ago

    Hi Michelle,

    I really enjoyed learning about the different elements of Project, Problem, and Challenge based learning to happen in your class. It’s always exciting to reflect on new learnings and realize your already using elements of it. 🙂 I thought the way you implemented challenge based learning in your Active Global Citizen Projects was…[Read more]

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 1 year, 10 months ago

    Hi Valerie,

    Great post! I feel the same way, that I kind of fluctuates between the different levels, depending on the day and project. I am starting to realize that it’s okay to do this and that different lessons may authentically connect to different stages of the SAMR model. I may be embracing my inner Luddite, but sometimes I think it is…[Read more]

  • I’m lucky enough to be in that age group that grew up with technology. I don’t mean with an iPad in my hand. I mean technology and I grew up together. I remember when we got our first VCR, home gaming console […]

    • Hi Jen,

      It’s an amazing journey we are on! The devices your students now use every day would have sounded like speculative science fiction back in the VCR days (there’s nothing as cool as an iPad in the original Star Trek). What is waiting for us around the corner?

      I wonder whether we are too hard on Substitution. It’s the bottom of the SAMR ladder, but if it is replacing a worthwhile activity, the activity will still be worthwhile. Your Google forms example reminds me of the times when I have felt the relief of falling back on an analogue solution. I find myself doing this more and more; it’s an easy way to wrongfoot the students!

      Even when we are apparently substituting, moreover, with a digital device we are creating a record which we could compare year-on-year; we are building in the possibility to share what has been done; and maybe the students themselves will identify a way in which the technology can transform the task (the ‘deeper understanding’ in your Seamless definition above).

      “Do you think I’m only substituting?” ask my concerned colleagues, and I feel I have to reassure them that they have not failed in any way. Furthermore, Redefinition is quite a high bar which we need to reserve for the occasional triumph (I often have difficulty just defining what I’m already doing).

      Maybe SAMR needs a subterranean rung called Diminish which we can congratulate ourselves for having avoided, but then it would even be more difficult to pronounce.

    • Hello Jennifer,

      I like the idea of the students making the Pedagogy poster. Talking through what are the “best ways to use them (Technology)”. I am wondering how I could incorporate this into my teaching of PE to MS and HS students. What were the types of questions that students asked you? What were the key questions that you used with students to create understanding about depth and use of technology?

      Your thoughts about how it was just as easy to do it with pen and post its because the email addresses where turned off is a timely reminder about how other systems of operation can get in the way. Steve’s point above about substitution methods allowing for a historical record is also something that I have been thinking about. It makes me think of the days of databases and how do we store this information. Tag it if you like and how much time does this take for what reward. I would love to find a simple solution to recording post its or pen and paper work for later use or comparison.

      You have made me think about SAMR from a different angle, thanks


  • I’ve learned so much in course 3! I’ve been using presentations and infographics with my students, but this project gave me the opportunity to pay close attention to the visual elements of my slides and create my […]

  • March in 4C is an exciting time! The tulips are popping up all over the Netherlands and our students are working away at writing their very own myths. As part of this unit, we review and introduce […]

  • I’ve been experimenting with digital storytelling quite a bit with my students this year. With the launch of our 1:1 iPad program, using technology with my students has never been easier or more accessible. So far […]

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 2 years ago

    What a great way to dive in and try something new! It’s true, even if students don’t speak the same language, they all speak tech! Using digital storytelling is a great way to get student’s attention in a differentiated and exciting way. I am wondering if you shared your digital story with your students, I bet they would love it! It is wonderful…[Read more]

    • Thank you Jennifer! to date I haven’t shared the story with my students but hope to in the future when we get to writing our own stories. I haven’t tried Explain everything or Notability yet. I am interested to know how you will be using them with your students and what age group you are working with? I am currently working with K2 children 5-6…[Read more]

  • Jennifer Byrnes posted a new activity comment 2 years ago

    Hi Jackie,
    I really like the changes you made to your presentation. Your use of CARP makes the slideshow much more engaging for your audience. LESS IS MORE for sure! One thing that did cross my mind as I was looking at the changes is your audience. Now that it is word free (for the most part) your audience will be focused on you, rather than the…[Read more]

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