OASBO IMPAC: The Cloud meets K12 Learning

I was invited to speak, along with Todd Wright and  Bill MacKenzie, at the March 30th OASBO IMPAC committee meeting on the topic of cloud computing and K12 education. My task was to kick off the session with a cloud computing 101 session. Todd (YRDSB) and Bill (UGDSB) followed with their Board’s experiences with online office suites. Their conversation framed the benefits of using online office suites as key tools in writing and collaboration.  Using tools of this type need to have good back end functions to make them worth while for teachers: ease of login (active directory integration), class management tools, the ability for the board to manage both the accounts and content as needed. Built into the strategy are the advantages of learning in the real world with an authentic audience.  The need to teach, embrace and role model good online ethics and digital citizenship were also highlighted.

Part of our role today was to set the stage for the important discussion of privacy and information management as it related to online student learning:

  • legal requirements
  • informed consent
  • protection of personal data
  • teaching students best practice for operating in these environments
  • training staff about the types of data suitable for authoring and storing in the cloud
  • raising awareness
All in all today’s session was a great conversation, with good discussion and excellent questions being asked and explored.  Finding that balance between legal, practical and leveraging the strengths of these online authoring and collaboration tools will be the goal as the IMPAC group looks at guiding the creation of appropriate board policies and/or guidelines.

My slide deck and presentation audio file are available below for your reference.

Presentation Voice File

Other Resources:

Google Terms of Service for Education
How iCloud Works
Calgary DSB Web 2.0 Guidelines
UGDSB Cloud Video (youtube)
Google Security Video
IPC: Privacy in the Cloud
Learning in public online


Helping the Shift

Overview:  The Connected Educators is based on connected learning communities. Connected learning communities are a three-pronged approach to effective professional development using the local (professional learning community), contextual (personal learning network), and global (community of practice) environments. Connected learners take responsibility for their own professional development. They figure out what they need to learn and then collaborate with others to construct the knowledge they need. Connected learners contribute, interact, share ideas, and reflect.  The book draws heavily on the experience of the authors as members and leaders of connected learning communities.

An inside peak at the chapters:

1: sets the stage for understanding what it is to be a connected learner.
2: makes a case for connected learning in communities.
3: explores the importance of being a learner first, educator second.
4: looks at developing a collaborative culture and a mindset that supports connected learning.
5: invites readers to explore free and affordable technologies and virtual environments that support collaborative learning.
6: guides readers through the steps of implementing a connected learning community.
7: examines how to sustain the momentum of professional learning using scale as a strategy for co-creating and improving a learning community.
8: focuses on leadership system, school, and teacher leadership in a distributive
9: looks at what the future holds for the connected learner and what being a
connected learner means for each reader.

I recently arranged to purchase a copy of this wonderful new resource for each of our (120) school libraries as a resource for all staff as we continue our journey of ‘shift’ along the technology enabled learning path.

Periwinkle sighting: PLP’s  Periwinkle with my Connected Educator book order.

Related Resources

Learn more

Buy a copy

Happy learning and connecting!


Google Chromebook: first impressions

Last week I felt a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas. I knew our shipment of Google Chromebooks was on the way, and very soon I would finally get a chance to try one out myself.  “Chrome Day” has now  happened, I have have spent a couple of sessions with a Chromebook.

Out of the box, the Chromebook was dead easy to setup up – no written instructions needed. Simply power up the device, answer a handful of setup questions, connect to wifi and presto. I logged into my Google account and everything was there: bookmarks, docs etc. – easy.  I must admit I was impressed with the ease of this process. I think I was online in less than 5 minutes.

The screen is clear and easy to read. (12″ diameter or roughly 7″ x 10″). Processor speed seems decent, and the battery life is solid so far.

Now that I have tried this ‘unmanaged’ approach, I need to investigate setup this up through the managed interface for comparison. It will be interesting to use a device where literally EVERYTHING is online. My testing will be with an eye to classroom applications and ease of use. Certainly from an IT perspective, the devices offers the browser interface for access to web content and web 2.0 tools for writing, communicating and collaboration with minimal maintenance.  I look forward to learning more about file management in this web only environment.

I will share my learnings and observations in a future post.

Related Resources

Google Chromebook


Blearning: #OntCL on Blended Learning

Technology and learning keep evolving, and at a rapid pace these days. As educators, this means there is always something new to explore, new ways to engage students, collaborate and make learning an authentic experience.

The OntCLC live Twitter Chat las Wednesday (March 7th, 2012) provided a great opportunity to share current thinking on Blearning.

What’s Blearning?  Blearning seems to be the evolving new term to mean Blended Learning.  Lisa Neale prepare this blog post as a backgrounder for the discussion:  The What and Why of Blended Learning.

As anticipated, it the live Twitter discussion, yielded some great sharing of ideas, insights and reflections. You can check out the discussion stream at  #OntCL Blended Learning Twitter Stream (March 7, 2012 portion). This is also a great chance to meet and connect with some new educators and build your PLN.

Related Resources:   Ontario ConnectED Leaders Consortium

Next #OntCL Twitter Chat:  April 4th, 2012