Category Archives: reflection

Innovation: Think Outside of the Triangle

This blog post is in response to the Innovator’s Mindset Blog Hop activity tonight inviting people to post about a personal definition of innovation as a kickoff to the book study.

As I pondered what I might write about tonight, I decided to consider two different angles that come into play in my view.

On the personal front, I believe innovation is connected to curiosity, creativeness and play.  You react to new ideas, readings, questions, prompts, devices etc.  Giving yourself permission to play, explore, take risks and let the mind wander in a boundless way is key. Through the act of play,  new ideas are built and remixed.  Sometimes, there is that unannounced AHA moment – something ‘concrete’ to try perhaps on your own or in your classroom.  Be purposeful about this – the more you engage in play and creativity,  innovative ideas will become more plentiful.

cc_triangle

Personal innovation is one thing, but I believe it really comes alive when you can exist in a culture of innovation — a culture where: people wonder, conversation is encouraged,  new ideas are received without judgement,  open sharing is a norm and one suggestion or question leads to a new interpretation.

Nurture yourself by surrounding yourself with those who will contribute to your innovative energy — in all aspects of your F2F and online endeavours, take risks and think outside of the triangle!

~Mark
markicon2

 

 

Image via Flickr creative commons license

Check out what other Ontario bloggers are saying about innovation:

 Amit Mehrotra,  Stacey Wallwin,  Jennifer Casa-Todd

Paul McGuire,  Tina Zita,  Donna Miller Fry,  Patrick Miller

Michelle Parrish,  Jason Richea,  Jancey Clark,  @PeelASP,  

Julie Balen

Check out more at OSSEMOOC!

Advertisements

Considering One Word

As 2015 year winds down and we can see 2016 just on the horizon, the time of year is often a time of reflection. Perhaps you will have a particular focus in 2016. Can you characterize your focus with a single word?

I am taking time to consider my word. Will you?

~Mark

Remembering and Making a Difference

Today’s post shares the Cameron Height CI staff and student prepared Remembrance Day Service recording of the livestreamed version.

I was impressed with the service because I thought it pushed the boundaries on the traditional service, was relevant to students and provided meaningful options for students to be involved in impacting people’s lives.

Well done CHCI !!!

~Mark

Exploring Moocs at CyberSummit15

Last week I had the opportunity to attend and present at the  Cyber Summit 2105  conference.  I was thrilled to be partnered with Jonathan Schaeffer, a Distinguished University Professor of Computing Science and currently the Dean of the Faculty of Science, at the University of Alberta for the presentation topic:  Are MOOCs Past Their Peaks?

I began the session by sharing the 2 year journey of  OSSEMOOC,  a learning community supported by OSAPAC which I co-lead with Donna Miller Fry. (@fryed)

Jonathan shared his perspective and insights on the MOOC movement, noting that  while it is only a few years old, it has already had a tremendous impact on teaching and learning. Although some of the original hype surrounding MOOCs has not been realized, the reality is that they are here for good and are influencing institutional thinking.

In reflection, although the perspectives we each  presented represented significantly different contexts,  some very interesting commonalities emerged.  In summary:

  • teaching is all about meeting the students needs (not limited to the teacher’s needs or comfort zone)
  • MOOCs do, and will continue to play a role in moving learning forward
  • MOOC’s are playing a disruptive role along with other technologies
  • Educators own the responsibility to keep exploring new possibilities (including with technology) to achieve the best possible learning experiences for students.
  • There is an important need for “mini moocs” that needs to be recognized and acted on
  • Building a quality brand matters

My slides for the OSSEMOOC portion of the presentation:

Many thanks to those who attended our session.

~Mark

 

CATC Camp – digging in deeper

Once again our annual summer computer camp,  CATC By the Water,  was a great learning experience. You can check out some of the learning and innovating thinking at: CATC Camp learning and sharing or CATC innovators.

GoPro1

One of my favourite conversations this year happened when I took the time to sit down with George Couros and Donna Fry to  revisit a conversation from a year ago, where we debated why educators look to one well known lead or theory to follow rather than leveraging the room – the educators who are learning, changing, innovating and sharing publicly.  After all,  the smartest person in the room, is the room!

perspective1A

                 Personal photo

Digging deeper into the conversation this year we talked about another angle that I believe is important in this discussion.  Perhaps the most important element is not if fact “the one” vs “the room”,  but each of us recognizing which one of these causes the personal disruption needed to learn, change, grow and share.  After all, we each have a responsibility for owning our professional learning journey. Perhaps a good term for this would be “differentiated disruption“.

Perspective2A

                 Personal photo

Where do you stand: the one, or the room?  What does it take to shake up or clarify your  practice?

~Mark

 

We Dared to Dream

Five years ago, we dared to dream – created our first teacher support role dedicated to focusing on in servicing and supporting elementary teachers to use educational technology in the most effective ways.   It seemed like the right approach, at the right time to forge a new path forward, create interest, synergy, and impact the future.  Susan Watt was the successful candidate for the position – and the journey began!

palmtrees

Standing now in 2015, and looking back,  what a journey it has been.  A new path was definitely forged.  I look back fondly on all of the annual “system tours” as they were affectionately known – professional learning for staff at each school — using a dual boot Mac, what can I do with an iPad, we have wifi hotspots – now what, wifi in the classroom, GAFE, chromebooks, dropbox and more.   Another important project was migrating our acceptable use procedure (AUP) to the responsible use procedure (RUP) where our initial thinking about staff as digital citizenship role models and use of social media for positive purposes was captured.  I could of course, list many more highlights, but you have the idea of system impact.

SWatt

In her retirement speech, Susan challenged her colleagues:  “ So, I have some advice for our retiree supporters tonight: go off script, listen and respond to your students’ spontaneous questions and observations. Understand that every moment is teachable. Don’t settle for the status quo. If it doesn’t feel good for kids, challenge it. If it’s being done a certain way just because it’s always been done that way – question that rationale. Follow your heart and intuition.  Explore new options. Take a risk. Embrace change.

Susan, it has been a privilege to work with you.  Thank you for your creativity, determination, enthusiasm, ability to see a big picture, having a huge positive impact, and, perhaps most of all,  daring to dream.

planewing

I look forward to staying connected and following along your life journey via your  new blog:  Watts Up Next. Thank YOU!

~Mark

Tribute to Marilyn Allen

Today is one of those markers in time.  For the last 7 and a half years, I have had the pleasure of working with and reporting to Marilyn Allen,  Executive Superintendent of Business and Financial Services at the WRDSB.  As Marilyn winds up her final day and prepares for stepping into retirement, it seems appropriate to share a few comments.

baseball hat

Over the years, there have been many hats worn: mentor, coach, cheer leader, planner, organizer, advisor, team builder, strategist, problem solver and friend.  All hats were worn with purpose, integrity and thoughtfulness.

Mark&Marilyn

                    The #selfie

I have appreciated the qualities you emphasized in our going work: up front and open conversations no matter what the challenge or topic, pro-activeness, no surprises and clear language.  On a personal note, I loved that no matter what was going on, you ended every meeting with a resounding “go forth and do your best work“.

ducks in a row

Marilyn, you have been the champion of “awesome” and “keeping our ducks in a row“.  Thanks for being  a great mentor, open to new ideas and believing in me!!!

You have much to celebrate.  I wish you a long, happy and healthy retirement!

~Mark