December Tradition

Each year for the last decade, I have had the priviledge of participating in the Christmas Festival concert hosted at Benton St. Baptist Church in Kitchener. This event brings the church choir and soloists together with an orchestra formed through members of the local community. The weekend features four performances of the 2 hour concert program. This event is well received and each performance is sold out. I look forward to this event each year. The friendships and sharing of music with the participants is truly rewarding. I feel very fortunate to participate in this event each year.

The stage is set for the performances today. I wish you and your family a safe, healthy and enjoyable festive season.

~ Mark

PLP ‘on the road’

Yesterday I attended the ECNO annual AGM meeting in Toronto. As expected with the AGM of an organization, there is a certain amount of formal business processes to be followed. As mentioned in my blog post yesterday, by complete luck, I arrived an hour and a half early for the event. The best part about arriving early was that fellow Ontario PLP member @jeffreaburn.

I first met Jeff at the kickoff event for the Powerful Learning Planning (PLP) event in Windsor. Given the commonalities in our roles, we do cross paths at conferences and provincial meetings. Whether face to face, or online, I always find interactions with Jeff to be great learning experiences.

Our early arrival yesterday, was no exception. We had a great opportunity to discuss and compare IT department structures and strategies, netbook and iPod projects and the broad landscape of 21st century learning. Given our PLP connection, conversation eventually rolled around to a couple of key questions:

1. What is 21st century teaching?

2. How do we best create a culture of change and sustainability at the system level?

Culture changes in education need to encompass change that fundamentally impacts the way we teach. Ideas we discussed included:

  • teaching with technology embedded as more of a natural part of the learning process and not ‘separate’
  • significantly impacting teacher involvement in using technology – breaking past the keen ‘volunteer’ group and getting to a technology use by all scenario
  • strategies to expose and encourage greater use of free/cost effective web 2.0 tools in the learning process
  • ongoing PD opportunities
  • training for school administrators
  • stronger linkage of teacher technology training, embedded classroom use, school success plans and system goals
  • alignment of the instructional delivery to the technology world that is available to all of us – embrace the power

All in all, a great conversation that made the early arrival very worthwhile! The bonus was, I left with some key ideas to share with my staff and keep the conversation going with our Board. In the meantime, the learning will continue online.

~ Mark

Creatures of Habit?

This week I was scheduled to attend meetings in Toronto for OASBO and ECNO provincial IT functions.

Yesterday I set out to travel to the OASBO session which was begin hosted at the Peel District School Board, about an 85 km drive for me. I left just after 7:00 and pulled int0 the parking lot just in time at 8:55. I experienced major traffic bottlenecks in predictable spots, lots of inching along practising my shifting from 1st to 2nd gear and back.

Today’s AGM meeting was set for a location 3 interchanges farther into Toronto. Wanting to make sure I was on time for the AGM, I decided to leave earlier to account for the traffic slow downs experienced yesterday. I organized my morning to blast off at 6:30. Wonder of wonders, I experienced the ‘dream drive’ – no accidents, no construction, clear weather. I arrived in the parking lot at 7:25.

It was great to have an easy drive. I wonder  how predictably this ‘dream drive’ might occur? I wonder how much our ‘creatures of habit’ routines factor into making this drive predictable?

Just wondering.