Category Archives: Connected Learner

Learning With Passion

Learn with passion. Follow your dreams. What could be better?

Earlier this week I had the privilege of seeing this in action at my school board.  One of our students has always dreamed of working at a technology company – and specifically the Apple Store in this case. The student self initiated the process of how to prepare a resume, researched it, obtained feedback from his teacher and arranged delivery of his resume.

Now, you might think this sounds fairly typical at this point BUT,  it is important to know that this particular student is 5!!! Here is a little excerpt from his resume.

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Hats off to teacher Aaron Fewkes  (@mrfewkes) and our local Apple Store team for pulling together a fabulous afternoon of passion based learning for our student Jack where he received a heartfelt greeting, met staff, toured behind the scenes and had a chance to experience and demonstrate the latest technology.

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Aaron had arranged for Jack to skype with his class to share his experience live from the store.

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With some collaborative teamwork with the onsite staff, Jack shares his experience.

You can also check out the storify version of the twitter action of #jacksbigday.

Make every day count: Learn with passion. Follow your dreams.

~Mark

Beyond the Wall

This week I came across an article about “hitting the wall” with social media (via social meda 🙂).   I thought it was a good read,  and it was certainly easy for me to relate this to many conversations  I have had about the  OSSEMOOC  project.

Getting to the wall seems to be an all too familiar story, the “too” problem – takes too much time,  too few characters, too many choices, too much online time, too hard to organize, too … well, you get the picture.

brick wall now what

Yet,  when people stick at it and get beyond these questions and concerns by finding connections, relevance and meaning, they don’t go back.  Learn to channel information,  improve meaning or context, contribute and balance time & work flow in new and more powerful ways.

There are some nice tips about setting realistic goals and pacing yourself. You can read the full article at  social media today.  Why not apply some of these tips to the  30 day program at OSSEMOOC (see sidebar).

Make your “wall experience” a journey,

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a personal journey!!!

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Perhaps you will find that your journey will have this result!

~Mark

Breadcrumbs and Ripples

The 2015 WRDSB learning carousel day focused on  Innovative Change  was a great day of learning and connecting for me. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of the sharing sessions and loved the energy in the room.  As a reflection,  I wanted to share a few things that resonated with me by bringing together ideas from two conversations.

Each year, we have been purposeful about initiating targeted new projects to model change, inform our collective practice and leverage opportunities to share and role model.  Some of our projects from the last few years are captured in this whiteboard ‘clip’.

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Along this journey, we have learned some important items or “breadcrumbs” as I like to call them,  that should be applied to new projects and scaling up strategies as we move our innovative change agenda forward.

Some of our breadcrumbs include:

  • learning IS messy. We need to accept this and continue to play in this space.
  • co-learning between teachers, and teachers & students is a really important element.  It is OK to fail.
  • shifting writing from paper to digital spaces makes a difference
  • student voice and choice are motivators in the learning process
  • using technology as an enabler creates new possibilities  to be explored in the context of the C’s and the  SAMR model.  Think about boundless and joyful learning.

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In my view, as we look at a path forward, each of us has to own our piece of the collective through our own actions.  I like the question,  what is your next?  Creating a culture where:

  • conversations of change and identifying entry points are ongoing and natural
  • we celebrate small steps forward with joy and encouragement
  • the process of nudge, encourage, give/have  permission and expect is openly explored
  • we continue to be intentional and
  • we share our experiences in open and  easy to access ways

are all important elements in sustaining the synergy and  energy of forward movement.

ripple effect

Join the move to  innovative change and add to the ripple effect.  Learn, connect, reflect and share.

~Mark

Related Resources

The storify of the days twitter stream.

The ongoing twitter discussion at  #wrdsbchange.

The  Innovative Change  blog.

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”.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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