Category Archives: GAFE

Shifting Perspectives on Libraries

I stopped at the Starbucks at King & University this morning on the way to see  Carlo Fusco  at Waterloo CI to consult regarding his library project.  As I entered, I happened to notice the striking view change that (literally) just one step made.

sun-combo

One step, a small step, can strikingly change your perspective.  Have a listen to Carlo’s perspective on library change.

~Mark

Changing Practice with GAFE

Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) offers many opportunities to develop new ways to approach curriculum delivery, instructional design, providing feedback, assessment … well, you get the picture – OPPORTUNITY!

At 2:30 p.m. EDT (today, October 17th, 2015)  Andrew Bieronski  and I team up to deliver a session at the  Ottawa GAFE Summit  to dig into this topic from a WRDSB perspective.

If you would like to join us remotely, we will be sharing our session via  @Livestream  (free account needed to view)
Note: the stream will be activated approximately 15 minutes before the session.

Slide Deck:

Video recording of our presentation:

~Mark

Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

SM choices

Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

device choice

Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

English Association Presentation Resources

This post combines the slide decks and resources from the 2 English Association sessions on the April 17th professional learning session into one presentation.

~Mark

The Importance of Now and Next

N  O  W
E                     
X
T

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.

 

 

Publishing Makes a Difference

I recently had an opportunity to enjoy a site visit to John Mahood PS,  a WRDSB  K-5 school to see a their technology use in action.

Under the leadership of principal Tracy Tait, the staff has been working hard over the last 3 years to explore new effective ways to utilize technology to enable student learning in new ways, change and improve practice and share their successes.

The traditional lab at the school has been dismantled and the desktops have been redistributed throughout the school.  The mobile technology (iPads and Chromebooks) within the school has been allocated so that each classroom has a minimum of 6 to 8 devices to share among the students.  The lab space is now used as a “tech lounge” – more of a flexible creative work space.

In a site walk through, Tracy commented that she expects staff to integrate mobile technology into the learning environment as part of their daily practice.  I enjoyed observing a couple of classes during silent reading time and seeing that student had a choice in both what they read and HOW they read it: paper based, via iPads or Chromebooks. Talk about a great example of student voice and choice!

The school focus on choice for students is making a noticeable difference.  Several staff commented about technology options providing choice and independence for students.  In some cases, the use of technology created benefits in socialization between students both in and out of class.  In conversation, it was noted that technology use  improves the focus on learning which in turn impacts behaviour in a positive way. In some cases, the use of technology removes frustration when paper and pencil based tasks create an obstacle for students.  The result is increased  participation through differentiated approaches.

This video captures some of the observations and thinking of students and staff at the school.

[youtube http://youtu.be/eEDd5oOwI4k]

Ethan’s Story

Kyle’s Story

Samuel’s Story

Note: The video and story presentations are published with permission.

~Mark

WRDSB hosted GAFE Summit

The Waterloo Region District School Board will host their 3rd annual summit in April 2015.

EdTech

This will be a 4 day event with the following schedule:

Thursday April 9:  Ontario GAFE Technical Community meeting
Friday April 10: Boot Camp courses
Saturday April 11th and Sunday April 12th: GAFE Summit with the EdTech Team.

Details are online at WRDSB hosted GAFE Summit.

Join us for a great professional learning opportunity.

EdTech Logo

 

~Mark