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Rob Langlands

  • There is often a satisfaction that goes along with things coming full circle, not so in this case.

    First of all, I don’t like that my “official” COETAIL journey is coming to an end. In some weird way I will […]

    • Great project Rob. I really enjoyed the video you made and the unit plan. There are so many 21st century skills here for your class to work with.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Cheers Joel

    • wow, that seemed as though it took a lot of organizational work from your end before you even started the project with the students. I’m glad to see an authentic example of flipped learning though and will definitely be inspired to try a different style with the students. I’m interested that you said you are not sure why the students were more engaged and I think that is taking a very honest view of what you did – once you inspire everyone else, will they still be interested? Well done!

  • I’m not in the business of handing out advice, I rarely offer advice even when people ask for it. But I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to offer future COETAILers some advice as they embark on their journey … […]

    • Hi Rob,

      What brilliant advice. You have captured the Coetail learning and journey brilliantly. I have very patient friends, a husband and 3 boys who know I will come out to play one day, but not just yet. Sometimes the time commitment is tough but I also wrote in a recent post that it is the most powerful professional development I have ever done. I’m challenging myself and sharing stuff in a way I have never done before.I love the my increasing PLN and the friends I feel I am making along the way even though we have never met. I’m learning from so many exceptional educators all over the world and because of this I honestly feel I’m making a difference in my class, around the school just a little bit and sometimes across the other side of the world. I’m so lucky because there are 5 coetailers at our school and we all feel it is such a powerful learning experience we are just about to do a pitch to our community to start the next cohort. It’s so motivating to see all your final projects.
      Thanks for the advice and congratulations on getting your badge!

  • Rob Langlands wrote a new post, Mea Culpa …, on the site Rob 2.0 3 years, 5 months ago

    … Mea Maxima Culpa
    I spent my formative years in Belgium being educated by Jesuits. As much as I hated it at the time they did provide me with a solid education and 3 years of forced labor in a Latin class […]

  • Introduction
    Well, it’s been a long time in the making but I finally have a plan for my final COETAIL project. The past few months have been a wild ride: going through units, coming up with ideas and rejecting […]

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 7 months ago

    Hi Wendy, I didn’t use a site to create my infographic but I used Adobe InDesign (and a bit of Photoshop). The great thing about InDesign is that it gives you complete freedom to do whatever you want, the biggest downside is the very steep learning curve. I would probably advise people against using InDesign to create an infographic unless they…[Read more]

  • It’s going to be a fun semester: Teaching 5 different classes, setting up a new STEM team, packing up our lives to move (don’t know where yet) and to top it all of let’s just throw in a final project for […]

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Christy,

    I love the idea of MOOCs but I think they fill a very specific void and I don’t think they will ever replace schools or teachers. They’re great for people who can’t physically attend school for any reason (isolation, disease, finance, …) but even for those people it will require an above-average amount of self discipline on behalf…[Read more]

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Tracy, I love how you talk about dispositions that we should have as teacher who want to be ready to take on whatever tomorrow might bring. The only thing I would add to your list is a willingness to take risks and a willingness to change. As someone famous said somewhere at some time: “The only thing that’s constant is change”. If we’re not…[Read more]

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Cate, I find myself agreeing with much of what you’re saying. Ever since I started teaching more than 15 years ago (Yikes!) we’ve heard about how technology was/is going to revolutionize education. There are definitely small pockets of innovation in some classrooms and some schools but overall technology has definitely not had the impact we…[Read more]

    • Hi Rob, I totally agree. There is hopefully a middle road and I am sure we can travel it. I think we must continue to keep the pupils in the centre and not the technology. If we do that whilst making meaningful change all should be grand! Here’s hoping for that meaningful change!

  • 8 months ago Angela (@alanglands) and I engaged in a showdown over whether or not schools should limit a student’s access to the web. As our fourth course winds its way to completion this week’s conversation […]

    • Although I don’t know the rules that boxing judges use, I’ll score it like this:

      Round 1 – Team Blue! Gone are the days of expecting students to sit and listen or work quietly. My approach is to teach students about brain research that informs us about how we concentrate best, how often we need breaks, and how to choose the best tech(maybe none) depending on the task we are working on. Teaching students respect, self-control, social etiquette, and citizenship in person and immersed in tech simultaneously is more real-world in my opinion.

      Round 2 – Team Blue, but I agree with the “lunch and recess” bit from Team Green! It’s all about balance. Adults should model no-tech, face-to-face, and active endeavors as well as tech use that is also social. I fully concur with Team Blue that kids can be highly social with tech in hand and with their faces on a screen. Minecraft is social, and so are many other well-designed digital means of interacting. I think anti-social tech can happen when teachers are not designing learning well, when an old-school classroom style uses tech as substitution or augmentation(SAMR) without leveraging the communication and collaboration elements that tech can often facilitate and even encourage.

      Round 3 – Team Blue! First I agree that we all feel envy and kids will recognize a show off for what he/she is. Teach kids that what matters is what you do with what you have. I’m a believer in BYODevice or BYOLaptop or BYOMac, depending on which way the school wants to go. Of course a host of variables come up in private vs. public schools. Now that a decent Chromebook is less than $300, more families around the globe will be able to send kids to school with devices. And buying/insuring/deploying/servicing school-owned devices seems to be going out of style because it is a financial and logistic hassle. Governments should be subsidizing low-income family tech purchases for students as part of education budgets. I really think that with the current cloud-based environment, education can be platform free. And when students can learn to choose which device and app and workflow is best to accomplish a task, then they are more empowered to learn and produce.

      Round 4 – Team Blue! Again it’s about respect and etiquette. Although I sometimes feel that students should be hanging on my every word, I then remember that I need to get out of the way and let them learn and pursue interests. Developing respectful practices and learning about when and how to have a conversation or discussion is vital. Again I also think that adults need to model this–both letting go of the expectation that everyone is going to listen just because you are supposedly someone important and having the self-discipline to set aside distraction to devote yourself to interactions with others. For example, if someone gets up in front of a room of teachers with a crappy Powerpoint, poor presentation skills, and nothing interesting for me, I’m tuning out and going techie to see what the Langlands are posting on twitter. But if I am working with colleagues, I am going to use tech in a way that does not interfere and hopefully enhances our interactions and our productivity.

      Round 5 – Both? Kids should learn to cook, tie knots, do bicycle maintenance, and loads of other things. Watching a video, consulting wikihow, or messaging/video calling someone to help you are all GOOD STRATEGIES. We should expect everyone to know how to do lots of things and solve lots of problems with and without tech. I do see lots of people who seem to hit a dead end when their tech doesn’t work. But I also see people who could do A LOT more if they were willing to use and learn more tech, both adults and kids.

      I guess I’m more of a TEAM BLUE fan in the end.

    • I’m actually wondering if this is more of a trick post – that your’e both team blue secretly. 😉

      For the most part, I’m team blue.

      I’ll just briefly share a couple of quick and random thoughts:

      ISManila is BYOD school from grades 7-12. I helped lead this rollout, so you know where I’m coming from. Many/most other schools in the region are/were going 1:1 with school-bought laptops, so we definitely were bucking the trend. And yet, many years later, we’re having great success with the program. We find that about 80% of students buy Macs and those buying Windows tend to be gamers. The great thing is we’ve not experienced any issues revolving around jealousy or feeling the need to keep up with each other. If you create a base standard that parents should adhere to, the variation in devices is relatively small anyway.

      With this continual access to technology, it comes down to the teacher’s individual teaching style and preference in regards to the access to tech in the classroom. If a school provides training and support to work in a BYOD/1:1 environment, then teachers should feel comfortable and supported to make the decision about when and how tech should be used. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking students to close their laptops during times when tech isn’t needed or desired. And research says that if we allow tech breaks periodically, students are generally more able to focus throughout the rest of the time.

      Having said this, I’m speaking from the perspective of working in a very privileged and well-funded int’l school. There are certainly other obstacles and issues involved in other schools so this isn’t a broad generalization, nor does this model fit in all situations by any means.

      Another important component to this topic is that of parental understanding, support and knowledge. Many of the green/blue considerations need to involve parents and a balance to be had outside of the classroom and school. Are students getting sufficient sleep? Are parents modeling good tech practices at home (no screens at dinner, time when tech isn’t part of the evening, etc). If limits are heavily imposed at school, what happens when we can’t provide teachable moments off campus when they’re not supervised?

      We’re continually pushing forward and tech/internet/connected living and learning are simply woven into the fabric of our existence, so it’s important that we provide authentic environments from which to prepare students, that we continually push ourselves to learn and level-up our own skills and to better understand the impact this all has on their/our future.

    • I’m going with Team Blue but I also think there is more middle ground to this. In terms of interaction- cooperative tasks can be set up where students have to work and talk together in order to complete the digital task, Hangouts or skypes require great communication skills in order to participate. I also think that if we use technology all the time then yes, we will fall into the situation where kids can’t function without it. But we should be modelling that there are multiple ways to look at a problem. That’s part of the critical thinking and the non tech step of determining search terms, or defining questions or planning presentations or determining sequences for movies etc is crucial. Yes they have tech in the end but it doesn’t start that way. Tech use should be purposeful and focused, not just for any old thing. Oh, and don’t the multitude of tech fails teach children the skills of perseverance, patience and resilience? I’m with team blue.

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Alexis,
    I totally agree, there are always new things, new technologies that promise to “transform” learning but these things hardly ever live up to their billing. When I look back at just some of the few changes I’ve seen over the years (internet in the classroom, laptop carts, one-to-one programs, technology integration, …) they always came…[Read more]

  • Introduction

    This week is going to be easy, just have to answer two simple questions: “Will education as we know it change because of technology? Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?” […]

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hopefully in just a few more years, COETAIL will be a ‘school-house’ familiar name. Momentum is certainly brewing (see what I did there?). Just five years ago, GAFE was alien to many, now- Google docs, slides, and forms are everywhere. I think the speed at which things changed will be paced by the changing skills employers value. I know that is said time and time again–but I do think universities are going to value collaboration skills above SATs in a short amount of time. If you’ve read much of Seth Godin’s blog–he highlights many amazing ideas about how we can get to a better version of us in the future. Check him out:

    • My own dream – I’m curious to see how VR affects education. I think this may be the next major paradigm shift, reverberating across many asepcts of our learning and teaching. I know it’s not quite here yet, but 2016 will be a tipping point in my opinion. I’m excited to see how we can provide completely new learning environments, experiences and application across the curriculum.

    • Hi Rob
      Firstly, it was great to read a a post that included IPA in the first paragraph. I love an IPA and to be honest did not know it was big in South Africa. Do they have region specific hops? I wish it were bigger here in Switzerland, but hey hum you can’t have it all and Belgium, Netherlands and the UK are not that far way so I can fulfil that passion quite easily (also a guy at work brews his own and is happy to share!)

      Now onto technology. I have seen some shift but, like you, this as been amazingly slow. I work with some amazingly inventive people who have used technology to change the way they teach and others who use it to search the web and type essays. I am not sure more courses are the answer, but then again I am not sure what is. I read “” where Matt was talking about using the right tools for the right job and this is what I would love to see more of. Where pupils and staff make educational choices about the technology they use.

      For me, like you, collaboration is an essential tool. I suspect at the moment many teachers feel they are doing that with Google Docs. However, this is usually a very limited and local collaboration and there is so much to gain from opening this to a more global audience. Have you worked on any units that have used collaboration outside the classroom? How did they go?

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    Hi Leah,
    I’m glad you were able to make the connection between flipping and your particular job, that’s one of the things I love most about COETAIL, everything can be applied in so many different ways. I often find myself sitting in meetings where I’m just being bombarded with information and I always wonder what the point is. If the point of a…[Read more]

    • Thanks Rob. You have some convincing arguments. I particularly like the idea of using a flipped approach to et a conversation started with parents at home. As with many things, perhaps trying it out a bit more will help me ‘see the light’!

  • Rob Langlands wrote a new post, WTF!?, on the site Rob 2.0 3 years, 10 months ago


    Recruiting is a stressful time, looking at schools and job postings, submitting applications, waiting to get an invitation for an interview and then hoping you don’t screw up that interview. […]

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    Hi Tanya,

    I think some of the things you mention in your comment are really important for people to know. First of all, it doesn’t have to be super techy, some problems can be solved with very little tech but that doesn’t make the learning experience any less authentic. You also mention that the problem your students solved wasn’t a huge problem…[Read more]

  • No fancy links or pictures this week, just a love letter …

    Dear Project, Problem and Challenge Based Learning,

    I received some disturbing news about you this week: according to the COETAIL readings […]

    • Rob,

      This is touching. I too love problem based learning…..I hope this doesn’t cause a problem.

      I like how you used a problem your librarian had as an opportunity for learning. We did something similar during a unit about signs and symbols at my school. We did research on different types of signs needed for schools and an evaluation of the signs within our own school. Once we found where we might be missing some, we made them ourselves and posted them around campus. This wasn’t super techy, or even for a huge problem, but it was connected to a real world scenerio and helped enhance student awareness about signs they see around their community places. When students can make connections to their own lives learning really sticks.

      • Hi Tanya,

        I think some of the things you mention in your comment are really important for people to know. First of all, it doesn’t have to be super techy, some problems can be solved with very little tech but that doesn’t make the learning experience any less authentic. You also mention that the problem your students solved wasn’t a huge problem but it was probably a huge deal for them knowing their signs would actually be put up around the school. Students raise the bar for themselves when they solve real problems like this and I’m sure they were super proud when they saw their signs go up.
        No worries about loving problem based learning too, we’re not in an exclusive relationship.

  • Rob Langlands posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    Hi Amanda,

    I made my infographic using Adobe InDesign. If you don’t know InDesign, it’s a desktop publishing program and it has a pretty steep learning curve so if you’re considering using InDesign become friends with someone who knows the program.
    If InDesign is a bit daunting you could also look at something like Microsoft Publisher, it’s a lot…[Read more]

  • Stress!!!

    We all deal with stress in different ways and for me the stress of recruiting has been a mix of back pain and sleepless nights. So when I went to bed with an aching back I was actually excited […]

    • Go for it Rob! I know exactly how you feel. I’m the elementary learning support teacher and so I’m often working 1:1 with students but oh, how I long to get into a classroom. Every year, I hope that I will find a way into a classroom partnership and help show that inclusion is possible, alternate methods of understanding and expressing understandings are possible. I often find myself working with a student to complete a task that the teacher has assigned and I just think “surely there’s a better way to do this” or even “what a shame they didn’t know that X exists”. It all comes down to the same thing – time. Time to build a relationship, build trust and most importantly time to plan. I try my best to attend teacher planning meetings but because I can only attend once a week (because I do actually have to teach students!) I find I will mention something like “how about a global collaboration on this?” and then I don’t have enough time to actually show them what I’m talking about. I’m really hoping to convince some teachers at school to sign up for COETAIL and then hopefully I can build that bridge. I totally sympathise with the lack of time aspect.

  • Rob Langlands changed their profile picture 3 years, 10 months ago

  • Rob Langlands changed their profile picture 3 years, 10 months ago

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