I have 36 years experience in K-12 education. I have been fortunate to work in many different roles including teacher, department head, ICT consultant, IT Manager and CIO.
Personal interests include performing in the Venturi Winds woodwind quintet, the Cambridge Symphony and the KW Community Orchestra as well as composing and arranging music.
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This blog post features a look at a collaborative coding project at Moffat Creek Public School in Cambridge Ontario. Grade six teacher Vicky McKenna (@VickyMcKenna1 ) collaborated with kindergarten teacher Mark Woodfield (@kindycop) to have her students create a custom program for their assigned kindergarten buddy.
The video includes interviews with Vicki, Mark, digital literacy support teacher Jeff Brown (@jeff_dbrown), student feedback as well as some classroom action.
The session of the Virtual Coffee Shop podcast features an interview with Cambridge based music therapist Janel Morphy. Janel has started her own business (Axon Music Therapy) and has experience working with school aged students.
Make a cup of your favourite coffee brew, and enjoy this conversation and learning and wellness!
One of my highlights from attending the OMEA Interlude 2017 conference, was hearing the Six String Nation presentation by Jowi Taylor – wow, what an amazing story.
Jowi is an award winning writer, broadcaster, creator of the Six String Nation project, recipient of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal. I was thrilled to meet Jowi in person at the conference, and honoured to host him at our home to record this podcast about the Six String Nation project concept, journey and future plans.
Jowi Taylor and the awesome sounding voyageur guitar
Head to the kitchen and make your favourite coffee brew and enjoy this wonderful conversation with Jowi.
This session of the Virtual Coffee Shop podcast features an in depth discussion with music educator Josh Hill. I think you will enjoy learning about his fascinating insights into the fabric of education.
I have my coffee ready. Do you?
Settle in to a comfortable chair and enjoy the discussion!
A year ago, I attended my first WRDSB hosted sphero programming challenge. At this event, students worked in teams to program their sphero ball to travel on a predetermined “track” created with large sheets of chart paper taped down on a gymnasium floor. The focus was on a team approach to solving the path through coding. The excitement and collaboration levels were high as the students worked away at solving the puzzle. Have a look at the video to get a sense of the action.
Original sphero challenge
The next iteration of the WRDSB sphero challenge took a approach. Teams were provided a set of criteria to create a sphero track, which they would then solve using the collaborative approach as was done in the first challenge. I liked the concept behind this new approach combining creativity, differentiation and problem solving. Given the time constraints of running an after school event that involves teams from different schools, and therefore transportation etc. I thought this first attempt went well, although I did observe that some teams struggled with time management in the creation phase so there was less time available to solve the puzzle – good learning on the time management front, but some teams were not able to show their coding skills to the fullest. Check out the action captured in this short video.
Shero challenge 2
I certainly left each of these events on a positive note and pondered “what next”? In terms of track design, I wonder if a mid range approach might work – perhaps having a common start to a track and parameters to complete it to help with the time efficiency element. I applaud the efforts to create a coding challenge that requires collaboration to solve the problem. Over time, it would be great to see more students have this type of opportunity and also have students experience different roles within the team functions.