Blogging with primary students

Today (Wed. May 29th, 2013)  I will be interviewing  Waterloo Region District School Board  teacher  Jenni van Rees  at 4:30 (EDT).

Our discussion topic:  blogging with primary students.

Catch the live broadcast by visiting the   QueST Radio 1-24   website.   I will also be writing an upcoming blog post featuring Jenni’s work in this area.

~Mark

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Resources for Compass For Success Presentation

 Slide Show

Tweet Anatomy

Digital Footprint 

My Digital Footprint by George Couros
Your Digital Footprint by Diana Graber

Twitter Resources

Twitter Guide Book by Mashable
Twitter Basics (pdf)
Twitter 101 (pdf)
Twitter Essentials
Leveraging Your Twitter Experience

~Mark

TEDx Youth at HHSS

Last week I happened to come across this tweet.

AB-tweet

This sounded interesting, so  I took action, visited the website and reserved a ticket.

AB-ticket

I meet teacher Andrew Bieronski at the door.

AndrewB

The Program:

I was very impressed with the TEDx Youth event that Andrew and his class put together.   The program featured a number of speakers well balanced with male/female and a variety of ages.  In addition to the tradition voice based presentations, the speakers used different approaches to presenting including music, dance, video and poetry.  I particularly enjoyed the slam dunk poetry session with a good message about bullying and a personal presentation about dealing with diabetes.

I was struck by one common element over the evening.  All of the presenters were obviously passionate about what they were doing, and their topics of choice.  All of the presenters were awesome in their own way, and  had an important message to share out to a broader audience.

Congratulations to all presenters, and to the class who that took on the task of organizing the evening.  I understand that a similar event may in the works for next year, so I will be watching for details!

Thanks for a great evening at Huron Heights Secondary School.

~Mark

Maxing your Twitter Experience

I have been enjoying an extended conversation with Jane Mitchinson regarding the process of participating in social media. The conversation has wandered between conversations over coffee, to Twitter, to connecting face to face at Ed Camp Hamilton and back online, most recently in the comments section of my  Ed Camp Hamilton  post. Now that is a great example of keeping the learning going and leveraging different tools.

The last comment, raises a number of points and questions about whether or not Twitter becomes in echo chamber.  While I do understand that concept, and have seen it happen, there is also the idea of reach – communication reach through social media tools. Reach, and the notion of the 6 degrees of separation make explain some of this.  None the less, there are some solid points to consider when navigating this space.

  1. Given the number of your followers, and the number you follow, how do you best get traction in important conversations?
  2. Although Twitter arguably represents only a ‘slice of society’ what strategies yield the best diversity for enriching your experience
  3. Engagement styles:  depth vs skimming – how do you keep your learning rich? and your contributions worthwhile?
  4. Finally, I believe it is important to contribute by contributing content through blogging etc.  and asking good questions.  I wonder what percentage of Twitter users are also actively contributing?

Please join this conversation.  How are you maximizing your Twitter experience?

~Mark

Reflections on Ed Camp Hamilton

Saturday May 4th, beautiful sunny weather, no humidity and roughly 150 energized educators at Ancaster Sr. Public School to participate in Ed Camp Hamilton.

edcamp-attending

First, hats off to the organizing committee for planning a great event  — lots of positive energy and opportunity for networking —  take a bow.

I arrived early enough to take advantage of the opportunity to network prior to the official kickoff. It was wonderful to greet friends, meet online acquaintances for the first time and make new connections.

The day followed the traditional ed camp format with a group kickoff to pose questions to form the basis for the days discussion.  The submissions were sorted into groupings and assigned to room locations to facilitate the proceedings of the day.  Each of the discussions I attended was thought provoking:

  •  shift
  • motivating colleagues to change, try new things and take risks when they are reluctant
  • the role of administrators
  • innovation: grass roots, top down, or both
  • what other ingredients are needed for change
  • assessment: do current practices hinder change?
  • the squashing of innovate practice by some of those who fear change and risk taking

Great discussion, no easy answers, nuggets to chew on, things to ponder, take aways to try, ideas to share — awesome!  In addition to the excellent session discussion, three additional conversations are still rattling around in my mind.  One conversation started with Ron Millar and continued with Jenni van Rees  — new ideas for scaling a PD plan for next year.  Hold that thought and perhaps watch for a future blog post.

The second conversation started in the lunch line with Jane Mitchinson and Carlo Fusco, then continued at the lunch table with Ron and Jenni joining us.  We got talking about socialization, the impact of that process and when important conversations become too big and lose focus.  I believe we agreed that one of the hot topics and key elements of change in education right now is the “hot ball” of putting the conditions  of change in place, the shift to technology enabled learning, continued focus on pedagogical improvement and building capacity for change and risk taking. In essence, I believe this synergy  burns brightly because events such as ECOO, the OTRK12 conference,  the Ontario GAFE Summit and this Ed Camp event keep fuelling the flame  for continued learning, sharing and professional reflection.  Sustained energy is SO important right now.

BUT, what happens when the conversations become blurred by the big paint brushes — questions that could take the collective us off our game. Questions that are too big and too general to ever be wrestled to the ground.  Loss of focus would be a major hinderance.  Do people supporting change NOW, have to also be guardians of the focus of the journey?

The third conversation happened after the event – a very engaging conversation with Donna Fry. We talked further about the challenges of creating opportunities for change, and sustaining the energy to keep things going.  Donna has great ideas and big plans for her area — what an amazing educator! I hope I can be a part of the action.

Thanks again to team Ed Camp Hamilton for arranging this successful event.  For those that could not attend, check out the #edcampham twitter stream.  Until the next event, see you online and keep the learning, sharing and reflecting GOING.

Related Resources

Now Thats PD  by  Jane Mitchinson
The revolution will be tweeted … at the Shifting Ideas  blog by Carlo Fusco
Ed Camp Hamilton Reflection by David Fife (www.davidfife.ca)
EdCampHam left me with more questions …. by Karen Wilson

~Mark