I enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to participate in and present at the inaugural Learn By Design conference hosted at the International School of Brussels. This was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed meeting so many fantastic educators and students.
I want to take a moment to introduce two new friends, Peter (centre) and Fred (left), who are undertaking an interesting project to provide real help to dogs with disabilities.
Last fall the Waterloo Region District School Board held their third Digital Learning Symposium. Each symposium has focused on sharing effective classroom practice, changing practice and promoting innovative practices.
The series of events has provided an opportunity for educators to come together, share, network and talk about next steps to pushing the envelope, building synergy and scaling change at the system level.
One of the strategies used at this recent symposium was to capture the best practices shared through video recording and create a WRDSB system blog to share the learnings and innovative approaches through other initiatives such as meetings of system leaders, school staff meetings and subject association sessions. It is important to keep the momentum of the change conversation going. This public blog also supports open learning for all educators.
One of the best elements of the web is the ongoing learning and sharing that takes place. While in many ways, you never really know what impact you will have with a tweet, retweet, participation in a chat, a blog post, commenting , creating a podcast, video etc. I like the notion of the ripple effect.
More and more though, I am thinking about levels of learning. Even though all of the examples above can be classified as participating, contributing, sharing and learning. I wonder though, what is it that actually triggers one to find the PLN that will help you learn, challenge you, push you, and follow through to grow and change your practice?
I am sure that many web users enjoy the variety of ways to participate. I do too, but I find both the enjoyment and learning that comes from reading blogs and the related comments to be a great experience.
Here are a few highlights from my web travels this week:
One of the highlights from my week was participating in a “mystery hangout”. This particular (Google) hangout had an interesting twist with teachers and students learning together and collaboratively.
The Plan:Heather Theijsmeijerleveraged her PLN twitter connections with Donna Fryand me todevelop a plan to give the G Suite (Google Apps) lead teachers in Rainbow DSB a hands on experience with Google Hangouts to demonstrate the learning, collaboration and problem solving that can occur in this setting. After a call for participants, we firmed up the the Rainbow DSB GAFE lead teachers as one team, and Tania Bumstead’sVista Hills P. S. class as the other team. Alison Bullock and I played an online support role in the process as fact checkers and communication with each team lead.
The task was for each team to determine the location of the other team through a series of yes/no questions.
The experience: When it came time for he actual event, Heather connected everyone into the Google Hangout, and we were ready for a 45 minute learning situation, beginning with some introductions. The Vista Hills class worked in groups to tackle the tasks – receiving answers from team Rainbow, interpreting them and tracking them on Google maps. Another team generated potential questions and determined which question should be asked next. A third team interacted with team Rainbow and posed the questions. The excitement in the room was high, and there was a steady buzz throughout the session.
I was fascinated with the ingenious yes/no questions asked by the two teams as they working through the process of solving the geography puzzle in front of them. Are you located
east of the Manitoba/Ontario border
in the eastern standard time zone
within 100 km of Algonquin Park
west of the GTA
located north of the 402/403 highway corridor
east of the escarpment
in a city with a population over 100,000
within 50 km of Lake Huron
and finally, team Rainbow asked: are you located in KW? Team Vista Hills pressed on and with a couple more questions and one hint, determined team Rainbow was on Manitoulin Island.
As I settle into my new retirement/flex time groove, I am dedicating more time to reading, listening and learning from blogs, podcasts and video channels as I find tuning in “on the ground” to learn and reflect with people who openly share really rewarding.
The great find this week was a CBC podcast titled “The Dangers of an Insular Web”. The podcast digs into some important challenges of curating information in a personalized way in our digital online society. Without giving away the details of the interesting panel discussion, if these elements of digital communications tickle your interest, then this podcast is for you.
participatory internet culture
impact of smart phones and apps, power of geo location to personalize info
triangulation: tech companies, data, personal use/habits
triangulation: AI, algorithms, full user control and
personalizing is a dual edged sword
Whether you are a heavy digital communicator, new to this arena or perhaps a teacher considering media literacies, I am sure you will find this podcast raises your awareness and stimulates your thinking.
Live link to the CBC podcast: Screened Off: The dangers of an insular web
As always, please consider sharing your learning and thinking through a comment here or connect on twitter.