5 on 5 part 2

I recently enjoyed a second opportunity to participate in an interview process with IT World Canada.  The format is 5 on 5 — 5 questions for 5 people. View the IT strategy 5 on 5  November discussion on innovation.


Great CATC conversation

I attended a technology planning meeting tonight with Rebecca RouseCarolyn Graham and the Smithson Public School CATC (computers across the curriculum) team. Reflecting on the meeting, a few thoughts stayed with me:

  • good energy on the team
  • positive outlook towards change
  • technology change is messy right now, and shifting quickly.  Time is needed in the sandbox to play!
  • static vs dynamic use of technology (static = fixed labs etc., dynamic = technology in the student learning space)
  • technology to enable and enhance learning,  not new technology for technology’s sake
  • discussion focused beyond now and short team –> what does the next 3 years look like at the school?
  • increasing access
  • advantages of mobile technology
  • highlighting new learnings at staff meetings

I hope some of the discussion points listed here, might provide guidance to other sites in their planning process.  We look forward to working with the Smithson staff to develop their plan and support them moving forward with their agenda.


Tech ‘saves’ B-Day

Last night I met my daughter Stephanie at the Tim Hortons at Clapison’s Corners. We were connecting so I could give her a birthday present, at little late because the item of choice is challenging to locate right now in our area – an iPhone. I arrived first and patiently waited for her to arrive.

Fast forward >>> Stephanie arrives after a slow drive, we selected a table, ordered tea, opened the iPhone box, and began the setup process. After the first couple of basic steps we were prompted to join a wifi network or plug into a computer for iTunes access. Well, there we were, no wifi at Timmy’s and no laptop. Hmmmmm.

For a moment, I thought we were stuck, but then it struck me. Connect the new phone to the internet via the personal hotspot on my iPhone. Bingo – we made the internet connection, completed the registration process, activated the phone and connected to the 3G network. This allowed us to finish up most of the initial configuration of settings.


In some ways, the idea of a personal hotspot seems so simple, and yet, it is truly amazing. So, for this day, technology ‘saved the day’ and let the magic moment happen. We celebrated by exchanging text messages from one side of the table to the other!


People Power to Make a Difference

I received an email from OpenMedia.com on Nov. 16th with the title:  Half-a-million Canadians changed the Internet

I thought it was worth sharing the following excerpt from the letter as a great example people pulling together to champion a cause, in this case in a technology/internet cause.

“A year ago the CRTC decided that big telecom giants could force their small competitors to adopt metered billing. This would have killed Big Telecom’s independent competitors, and it would have meant a more expensive and controlled Internet for all Canadians. It was this outrageous move that led OpenMedia.ca to launch the now half-a-million strong Stop The Meter petition that forced the CRTC to reconsider their plan.

Yesterday (Nov. 15th 2011) , finally, the CRTC pulled back from its mandatory metered billing decision. This decision won’t stop all big telecom metering, but it could provide a much needed unlimited, independent option for many Canadians. It is truly rare for people to outmaneuver Big Telecom lobbyists, but together, we did it. Thank you for playing a crucial part in safeguarding the affordable Internet.

We changed the foundation of Internet billing in Canada—that’s a game changer—but we’re concerned that uncompetitive pricing may be buried in the pages of the policy that the CRTC released yesterday. We’ll study the details of this decision closely in the coming days and, with your help, take whatever action is necessary to push for fair pricing.”

Thanks to all who participated to make a difference to all.


#OntCL Kickoff

Tonight  the official kickoff for the first Ontario ConnectEd Leaders chat event happened.  Participation was great, and there was an action packed 75 minutes of sharing on tonight’s topic: Why Be a Connected Leader and What to Tweet.

The energy was amazing – great synergy.  I think there is already anticipation of the next  event. Thank you to all participants for a great event.

I have captured a few highlights below.

Additional Resources

Primer of tonight’s #OntCL session from The Principal of Change : What should a networked educational leader tweet about?

The full Twitter Stream of the #OntCL  conversation.

The Ontario ConnectEd Leaders Consortium web site.


Cell Phones in the Classroom Debate

On Sunday afternoon, I received a tweet from @jmuellertate about contributing to a cell phones in the classroom discussion via twitter for a new teacher education class at WLU.  I had to do a little multitasking to contribute, but was happy to contribute to the discussion.

I captured the twitter stream of discussion based on the #cellinclass hashtag. Although many of the Twitter contributors were in favour of leveraging this technology within the classroom settings, @jmuellertate indicated that the faculty of education students tended to be on the cautious or no use end of the scale.

@brendasherry  raised a great point in the follow up discussion tonight: Would these new teachers feel the same if they experienced first hand how cell phone technology could enhance the learning environment?  Great question indeed. Perhaps this topic should be revisited after some of the classroom sessions have been completed.

As for me, I am in favour of leveraging cell phone technology to enhance learning.


Pecha Kucha at ECOO 2011

The suite of presentations at ECOO 2011 included a Pecha Kucha session. Pecha Kucha is a presentation style – 20 slides, 20 seconds of speaking time per slide.  Preparing for this was a unique experience, as I am used to presenting in a more free flow approach. I decided to keep my slides as simple as possible  to support the main idea being discussed. My presentation topic was being a change agent.

Main speaking points for each slide are outlined below.

1. “Simple can be harder than complex” is a Steve Jobs quote. Today I
want to honour Steve Jobs with this quote by applying it to my topic
and approach to this presentation. “Simple can be harder than complex”.

2. My favourite Greek letter is DELTA, which represents change.
The topic of my presentation is considerations in being an
effective change agent. Lets ponder some of the important elements
by reflecting on some questions and ideas.

3. The challenge: check out the landscape around you, and have a really
good look, not just a cursory look. What do you REALLY see?
Fear? Avoidance? Fragmentation? Struggle?

4. Reflect on how you can make a difference.
— What path forward will be developed based on your reflections?
— How will you make the best impact possible?
— What actions will you take?
— How will you make a difference?

5. Technology perspective:
— We need strong alignment with authentic student learning.
— research, writing, analysis, problem solving, project based learning,
— critical thinking, expressing thinking in writing or digital storytelling.

Technology must be used in enabling and engaging ways to support
learning – it can’t simply be for the cool factor.

6. Need a plan

— change does not happen randomly in the large scale
— the right building blocks have to be put in place,
— and in the optimum sequence in whatever level you are working at
— decide on your key elements, and focus.

7. sphere of influence
— what are your potential impacts
— how do you position yourself so your actions have maximum impact?
— and share in a way that influences your sphere
— commit to what makes a difference

8. study culture (teachers, admin, IT staff, learning support staff)
— leader, follower, bumblebees or samplers, early adopters, resisters
— pause to reflect, what will make a difference in the BIG picture.
— how you can best impact?
— how do you turn these ingredients into a symphony of change?

9. Gaining credibility
— be reflective
— show your actions make a difference
— share your experiences in meaningful ways
— you need to share in ways connected to your sphere of influence

10. Personal growth
— you must outwardly embrace change
— you must demonstrate that you can change as an individual
— you MUST be a learner, but not just any learner
— you need to be a learner in the way we expect our students to learn

11. Role modelling
— talking the talk is simply not good enough
— you have to walk the walk, this is critical in my view
— do it in visible ways
— fundamentally, you must LIVE IT.

12. Be an enabler
— Actively play the role of the enabler
— but do it in the focused way that moves your agenda ahead
— and do it in a way connected to your sphere of influence
— fracturing your focus will not help in the long run

13. Stay the course
— can’t be a weather vain, no matter what the challenge
— champion your strategy
— there is less chance of people buying in if you have a new “best idea” on a regular basis.
— Stay the Course

14. Embrace the end user experience
— the milkshake story by Clayton Christenson
— At McDonald’s, why do people buy milkshakes in the morning?
— Simple — it is all about the end user experience
— commute to work, need something to sustain them, need to
—— consume it with one hand, can’t me messy, avoid frequent bio breaks.
— Now, put the end user context to technology enabled learning

15. scaffold
— as people dip their toe into this new world (Alison’s blog idea)
— feel welcomed and supported
— people need guidance to travel the scaffolded road
— if the goal is to change the broader landscape, then this idea is critical

16. focus
— doing too many things fractures resources and outcomes.
— focus on the things that make a difference,
— a difference now that is a stepping stone to the level needed

17. sustain
— build capacity in ways that impact
— don’t build on false economy
— if something only works because an extraordinary amount of $ or
——- equipment was provided, then the idea is not scalable or sustainable
— build capacity in a sustainable approach

18. pace yourself
— change takes time
— change takes consistency
— don’t burn out, pace yourself to be effective
— Being a change agent requires time and commitment

19. Believe in yourself
— you must, if you don’t others won’t either.
— do your change agent work with conviction
— you can transform
— be part of the educational transformation movement
— join the revolution and help make a difference

20. Tips 🙂
— I like the concept of consistency, maybe a uniform?
It worked for Steve Jobs
Personally, I like wearing black
Oh, and some of that new bullet proof skin might come in handy too!!!


Student Voice: Technology

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the WRDSB Student Trustee meeting at Cameron Heights Secondary School. The student trustee team is led by Sajdeep Soomal and Adrienne Fiander under the direction of WRDSB trustee  Kathi Smith and staff advisor  Kevin Donkers (login to view this link).  As I have for the last four years of attending these sessions, I anticipated an engaging evening of discussion around a variety of issues.

Sajdeep and Adrienne had prepared a list of topics for discussion which included:

  • an update on the Board technology plan for the next year
  • use of mobile technology within schools
  • clarification of the WRDSB email policy
  • future directions with YouTube
  • ebooks (eTextbooks)
  • and ideas for Facebook for school related platform.

From my perspective, we had a fascinating discussion. As we covered the topics, the students asked insightful questions about the use of technology. Over the evening, our conversation touched on smart boards in secondary schools, digital citizenship, tablet use, business models,  network management (bandwidth capacity, security, virus protection, data integrity, freedom of information & privacy needs and legal requirements) and our collective responsibility for being  good role models for appropriate, ethical and safe online activity.

Thanks to all for a great evening. I look forward to continued conversations online and my next face to face meeting!