We Dared to Dream

Five years ago, we dared to dream – created our first teacher support role dedicated to focusing on in servicing and supporting elementary teachers to use educational technology in the most effective ways.   It seemed like the right approach, at the right time to forge a new path forward, create interest, synergy, and impact the future.  Susan Watt was the successful candidate for the position – and the journey began!

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Standing now in 2015, and looking back,  what a journey it has been.  A new path was definitely forged.  I look back fondly on all of the annual “system tours” as they were affectionately known – professional learning for staff at each school — using a dual boot Mac, what can I do with an iPad, we have wifi hotspots – now what, wifi in the classroom, GAFE, chromebooks, dropbox and more.   Another important project was migrating our acceptable use procedure (AUP) to the responsible use procedure (RUP) where our initial thinking about staff as digital citizenship role models and use of social media for positive purposes was captured.  I could of course, list many more highlights, but you have the idea of system impact.

SWatt

In her retirement speech, Susan challenged her colleagues:  “ So, I have some advice for our retiree supporters tonight: go off script, listen and respond to your students’ spontaneous questions and observations. Understand that every moment is teachable. Don’t settle for the status quo. If it doesn’t feel good for kids, challenge it. If it’s being done a certain way just because it’s always been done that way – question that rationale. Follow your heart and intuition.  Explore new options. Take a risk. Embrace change.

Susan, it has been a privilege to work with you.  Thank you for your creativity, determination, enthusiasm, ability to see a big picture, having a huge positive impact, and, perhaps most of all,  daring to dream.

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I look forward to staying connected and following along your life journey via your  new blog:  Watts Up Next. Thank YOU!

~Mark

Help us learn about one to one

In the fall,  we are initiating  a 1:1 chromebooks for all grade nine students project in 3 of our secondary schools.

Our planning team would be interested in learning from your experiences.   If you have a suggestion, tip or perhaps would have done something differently, please share via this  [google doc].

Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas and learning.

WREPNet Anniversary

Today Waterloo Region celebrates the 15th anniversary of WREPNet, a regional fibre optic network that was built to serve education and community partners within the region.

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WREPNet is governed through the establishment of a joint venture agreement.  The ongoing existence and development of the network is a real tribute to the technical team and steering committee members of each organization who have worked together in a cohesive and progressive manner to serve the needs of Waterloo Region.

It has been my pleasure to serve as WREPNet co-chair for a number of years,  and I extend sincere congratulations to all involved in this fantastic venture.

WREPNetPartners

Here are a few WREPNet fun facts:

  • WREPNet is currently one of the most state-of-the-art region wide information networks in Canada
  • Approximately 585 kilometers of fibre optic cable is installed to connect the 327 sites throughout Waterloo Region to WREPNet
  • The fibre optic cable is connected to 10,200 hydro poles
  • If you laid all of the individual strands contained within the fibre optic network being installed for WREPNet, they would stretch 5,042 kilometers – most of the distance across Canada! – Vancouver to New Brunswick
  • a typical day of network traffic  has doubled  16 times over this 15 year period.

A little WREPNet history:

Learn more about WREPNet [here].

~Mark

Digging Deeper into Edu and Edtech

When opportunity knocks,  answer!

I was recently approached by Kristin Frizzell (@71frizzell) who is taking a course with  Brenda Sherry  (@brendasherry)  to do an interview as a component of the course. This sounded like a great opportunity so we worked out a suitable time this week.

I was impressed with the set of questions the class collaboratively developed around the intersection of learning, instructional practice and edtech.  Our Google Hangout on Air meeting was our first “official”  face to face (F2F)  — hmmm, make that virtual F2F  —  meeting and conversation.  Awesome!

I hope our discussion around the question set stimulates your thinking and supports your learning.

I look forward to a continued connection with ongoing learning and sharing with Kristin.

~Mark

Learning With Passion

Learn with passion. Follow your dreams. What could be better?

Earlier this week I had the privilege of seeing this in action at my school board.  One of our students has always dreamed of working at a technology company – and specifically the Apple Store in this case. The student self initiated the process of how to prepare a resume, researched it, obtained feedback from his teacher and arranged delivery of his resume.

Now, you might think this sounds fairly typical at this point BUT,  it is important to know that this particular student is 5!!! Here is a little excerpt from his resume.

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Hats off to teacher Aaron Fewkes  (@mrfewkes) and our local Apple Store team for pulling together a fabulous afternoon of passion based learning for our student Jack where he received a heartfelt greeting, met staff, toured behind the scenes and had a chance to experience and demonstrate the latest technology.

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Aaron had arranged for Jack to skype with his class to share his experience live from the store.

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With some collaborative teamwork with the onsite staff, Jack shares his experience.

You can also check out the storify version of the twitter action of #jacksbigday.

Make every day count: Learn with passion. Follow your dreams.

~Mark

EDUin30 teacher shoutout

My  #EDUin30  teacher shout out goes to Mr. Gwyn Beynon,  who taught me from grade 8 through 13, then again at teacher’s college. So many great memories, learnings and connections. Thank you Gwyn for making such a difference in my life.

 

Just made it, officially in 30.9 seconds with a little editing!

~Mark

Beyond the Wall

This week I came across an article about “hitting the wall” with social media (via social meda :)).   I thought it was a good read,  and it was certainly easy for me to relate this to many conversations  I have had about the  OSSEMOOC  project.

Getting to the wall seems to be an all too familiar story, the “too” problem – takes too much time,  too few characters, too many choices, too much online time, too hard to organize, too … well, you get the picture.

brick wall now what

Yet,  when people stick at it and get beyond these questions and concerns by finding connections, relevance and meaning, they don’t go back.  Learn to channel information,  improve meaning or context, contribute and balance time & work flow in new and more powerful ways.

There are some nice tips about setting realistic goals and pacing yourself. You can read the full article at  social media today.  Why not apply some of these tips to the  30 day program at OSSEMOOC (see sidebar).

Make your “wall experience” a journey,

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a personal journey!!!

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Perhaps you will find that your journey will have this result!

~Mark

Connect, Learn, Reflect, Share: Make a Difference Today

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