Category Archives: Connected Learner

The Importance of Now and Next

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Last fall I can remember sitting in a Starbucks with Donna Fry working on our  OSSEMOOC  project, and talking passionately about the importance of being “present” – living life in the moment and explicitly doing the best thing possible in that moment:  listen, understand, suggest, advise, coach, act …  you get the picture.   I don’t recall specifically how we got onto the topic, but the importance of the conversation stayed with me.  This is a choice,  a way of living, a way to interact with people.   That is the “now”.

StarbucksLogo

In his recent address to Microsoft employees on the 40th anniversary of  the company, Bill Gates restated his views on the importance of making  “the power of technology accessible to everyone, connect people to each other and make personal computing available everywhere.” 

And then, there it was – a very powerful quote:  “What matters most is what we do next”  he wrote. Let that sink in:  What matters most is what we do next.

Lets take a moment to frame the importance of now & next in terms of our GAFE Summit experience this weekend.

Clock-now

Be in the moment – learn, experiment, play, document,  ask and savour the joy of learning.

Clock-next

What will you do to

  • keep a new connection
  • document your learning
  • share your reflections
  • change your practice
  • make your learning visible and/or
  • nurture those around you?

It is up to you.  What is your  NEXT?

~Mark

Resources:   Read Bill Gates email address to Microsoft employees email address.

 

 

Forward Thinking with Jamie Weir

At semester turn around I had a great opportunity to connect with WRDSB teacher Jamie Reaburn-Weir.  After some conversation about student voice, choice and assessment strategies, she kindly agreed to capture the conversation for wider sharing.

Enjoy Jamie’s forward thinking insights in this video.

I look forward to following along the journey where Jamie is leading her classes.

Follow Jamie on Twitter: Jamie Weir
Read Jamie’s Blog.

~Mark

Social Media as a Writing Tool

The other day I happened to catch a segment of The Current CBC broadcast as I was driving between school appointments. The topic was big data based the book Dataclysm, which certainly captivated my interest for a variety of reasons.

Dataclysm book cover

              Image from Amazon.com

I happened to tune in just at the moment the discussion was focused on analyzing data written in social media, Twitter in this case.   While many view social media communications as somewhat inane,  an in depth analysis reveals some interesting facts.

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  • writing tends to be more sophisticated
  • word length is 20% longer
  • lexical density ,  the proportion  of meaning carrying words, is  higher than in many other forms of writing (email, magazines etc.  – perhaps opposite to what you would think)
  • with a limitation on the number of characters per message or post, 140 in this case,  people learn to improve word choices
  • in turn,  this improves editing skills

In the interview,  Christian commented that this type of analysis can and has been repeated.   This is not an isolated ‘one time’ look at this area.

When one considers the writing benefits summarized here,  I believe there is a strong case to incorporate  the social media writing medium in the school system.   Of course there are natural connections to digital citizenship, engagement, real world audiences etc.

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As a classroom educator,  if you are already doing this, keep going!  If not,  consider giving it a try with an age appropriate system, a collaborative document with simulated limits  or even  offline.

Related Resources

Listen to the  CBC Podcast  with Christian Rudder on Dataclysm

Book:  Dataclysm  by Christian Rudder

Have a comment?   Please share.

~Mark

Jump Start Your 14-15 Professional Learning

As your school year schedule settles in and your thoughts drift to incorporating professional learning, there are many great opportunities happening in Ontario.

ossemooc_logo

OSSEMOOC  launches a mini course series (“mini-moocs”) this week featuring a presentation by Brenda Sherry and Peter LeBlanc on Wednesday Sept. 24th. Details are [here].

Perhaps attending an Ed Camp is on your list to experience.  Never been to an Ed Camp?   Check out these Ed Camp related  blog posts by  Donna Miller Fry  to get a good sense of what to expect.

EdCampBarrie

Ed Camp Barrie, one of several Ed Camps in Ontario this year,  is running on Saturday September 27th.  Registration and other details are available at the  EdCamp Barrie web site.  If you can’t attend in person and are interested in participating as a virtual learner follow the  #edcampbarrie  Twitter stream and watch for details about  live-streaming of select sessions.

BIT14

A little farther down the road, plan to attend  Bring It Together 2014, the jointly offered Ed Tech conference offered by ECOO and OASBO ICT.  The conference is running November 5th-7th.

Enjoy your professional learning journey.

~Mark

 

Meet the Teacher Night Tech Slam

At this point in my life I find myself with one university graduate and one in first year and on the way.  It has certainly been a long time since I attended an elementary school meet the teacher night.

In a  recent summer conversation with WRDSB teacher  Alison Bullock,  my interest in the parent  aspect of  school year startup was rekindled.  Alison was enthusiastically sharing about her plans to provide parents attending with a fast paced “tech slam” – a quick tour through many of the different online services students would be using in their learning journey with her.  I approached Alison about attending meet the teacher night,  and I was thrilled that she readily agreed.

On parent night evening, I arrived at portable 4 to find an energized room of parents and students.  Students were eagerly leading parents to their seating area.

QRdesk

On the top of each desk was a  QR Code  that linked to a personalized welcome video for each parent.  Students were visibly excited to show their parent(s) how to access the video and have them watch it.

Now it was time for the tech slam.

Wow – actioned packed, filled with key learning statements and clearly highlighted  the connected learner robust technology enabled approach to be used in the classroom.

Casual conversation with parents afterwords showed excitement and interest  about the  approach to learning their child would participate in.

If I had elementary school aged children,  this is the type of classroom learning experience I would want them to have.

Related Resources:

Follow Alison’s class on Twitter: ESTP4.

~Mark

Sharing Your Learning CATC Camp Style

In recent months,  I have taken note of emerging strategies for sharing your learning.  One example that really struck me as powerful is the making of a story telling video where participants share an important learning, experience or perhaps credit someone for supporting learning or changing thinking.

I personally enjoyed participating in the video made after Dean Shareski’s session at Connect 2014. Check out two good examples shared by  Donna Miller Fry  in her blog posted titled  What did you learn? Who did you learn it from?

Watch our #catccamp14 sharing video.

Related Resources

CATC Camp Storify Day 1
CATC Camp Storify Day 2
CATC Camp Storify Day 3

Reflection by Kimberly Flood.

Keep the learning and sharing going!

~Mark

Learning at CATC Camp Day 3

~Mark

Learning at CATC Camp Day 2

~Mark

Learning at CATC Camp (Day 1)

Connected Learners Need Connected Leaders

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Todays connected learners need connected school and system leaders.  Further to the presentation prepared for  TEDxKitchenerED about the work that is/needs to be done in the area of personally owned,  self directed learning opportunities for school/school board leaders to build awareness and capacity in this area,  Donna & I are pleased to announce that the  official TEDx video is now online.

 

~Mark