Category Archives: Technology Enabled Learning

2016 1:1 Kickoff

The start of this school year has an extra kick of pizzaz for me. WRDSB is launching a 1:1 Chromebook program for all grade 9 students in the system. The intent is for students to keep their chromebook for their 4 years of secondary school.

The learning space has changed: access to digital resources for all, leveraging online learning environments such as Google Classroom and Google apps noting that over 60% of WRDSB staff and students currently use this environment daily for writing, researching, collaborating, exchanging ideas, providing feedback, documenting and sharing their learning.  In many respects, moving to 1:1 is a scaling up based on the successes of the  Futures Forum  project.

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Graphic from http://michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/13599974110.pdf

On Sept. 1st, I had the opportunity to attend the grade nine orientation session at Cameron Heights CI. Principal Ray Teed estimated that over 90% of grade nine students were present.  It was great to feel the energy and excitement in the building. Here are a few highlights from the tour, lunch and chromebook pickup.

… and a nice touch at Southwood SS.

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Make it a great learning year!

~Mark
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Student Feedback 1 to 1

I thought I would share some student feedback on their experiences with our 1 to 1 pilot project this year on the final day of the 15/16 school year.

“Another component of this course that completely differs from my previous year is the use of technology. Everyday, we were fortunate enough to use the chromebooks provided by the school rather than write with pencil and paper. Although, at the beginning I was very reluctant to have the entire course essentially online, I was able to develop my skills with computers and different programs we used throughout the semester.” – MP

“At the beginning of the coarse when i found out we were doing the coarse online and on chrome books everyday….I did not like the thought of it at all because I’m pretty horrible with computers and such. After this semester I now am capable to make a website and transition to using google docs all the time now for everything.” – KP

“Everything we did this semester was digital, meaning I did not use a single piece of paper. I really liked this aspect of the course, as I found it was easier to remain organized, and on-top of assignments. The google classroom was a bonus because it allowed me to work through multiple assignments simultaneously. Overall, I think in the current time period it makes sense for every English course to operate this was, and I’m really happy that I was able to experience this type of course two years in a row.” – MG

“For the entire semester, our class used Google Chromebooks to complete work and participate in class discussions. Not once this semester did I have to pull out a piece of paper (which was nice). Based on my experience, this is the way that all English classrooms should be like in the future.” -SP

“The daily use of technology was new to me for an ENG course. Initially, I was skeptical of its usefulness, and even feared that it would interfere with my ability to do rough work, because I was so accustomed to paper-and-pen work. However, the use of technology was majorly useful. I very much enjoyed the access to an instant and limitless dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, library, and on and on. I am convinced my work was better for having access to these things, especially the first two items of that list.” – SN

“I enjoyed that the course was very technology based with everyone having a chrome book to work on. I feel it makes life a lot easier when all of my work can be accessed from anywhere and can be handed in from anywhere.” – LB

“Although the technology portion of this course was new to me and took a little getting used to, it was one of my favourite parts of this course. Learning through the source of technology was a good way to keep teens of our generation focused on learning in the classroom. Having all/most assignments online and easy to access was really helpful when working at home or somewhere aways from school grounds. Also being able to hand in assignments online was easier for me personally because I liked having the night of the due date to finalize my writing or slideshow before turning it in. “

I look forward to launching our 1:1 program across all secondary schools in September!

~Mark
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Students Thinking Mobile and Cloud

You never know what surprise might happen in a day. This was such a great student written letter to receive – forward thinking and action oriented with a vision.

By happenstance, I received this letter during the same week as I completed a number of school visits to converse with Principals about the role of technology in the change process.

It is so awesome to see students thinking about change and signalling a readiness from their perspective. I look forward to responding to this student next week. I am thinking a Google Hangout conversation would be a nice approach if it can be worked out.

scan of letter (with student name removed for privacy)
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~Mark
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Have Your Say: What has changed?

Over the long weekend my wife and I were thumbing through a stack of magazines and I came across a fall 2014 professional journal that had an article about this top 10 classroom tools list.

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In contemplating how fast technology changes and the considering the emphasis on changing classroom practice,  what are your top 5 tools now?

HAVE YOUR SAY:  Take the top 5 survey

~Mark
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Learning with Spheros

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I intended to share this blog post much sooner than today, but life has been a little crazy.

 

On a recent (March)  visit to Ryerson P.S. I had an opportunity to visit the grade 1 classroom of teacher Jenni van Rees.  The excitement in the room was obvious as it was coding day!  Learning goals for the session were clearly laid out and reviewed with the students.

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Students were clearly comfortable using both iPads and Chromebooks as they worked in groups of 2 or 3 for collaborative learning and problem solving.

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The students really did work collaboratively, and it was great to see their joy in planning, testing, reviewing results and determining next steps.

Fast foward to April where I had an opportunity to attend a Sphero Challenge event organized by teachers Scott Dickie and Chad Lloyd from Westmount P. S. 

I arrived early to see the first of 4 sphero tracks being marked out in the gym. The remaining tracks were laid down as teams from a variety of schools began to arrive.

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As was evidenced in Jenni’s  classroom, the energy and excitement was in abundance.  Teams were eager to embrace the challenge: planning, measuring, calculating, comparing, testing, observing, collaborating, communicating, iterating … “all in” problem solving for sure. 

I hope this highlights video give you a good sense of the  Sphero Challenge event.

I am already looking forward to the next one!

~Mark
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Innovators Mindset: Starting School From Scratch

The world in which we exist today is complex and changing rapidly. There is more knowledge, more research and arguably more opportunity than ever before. One could put an argument forward that we are on the right path, that education is gradually shifting to a better place. Yet I wonder, are we?

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As highlighted here, the possibilities are endless and yes, the really answer is indeed likely closer to a book.

This question certainly fits my personal passion for change. My mind is flooding with thoughts and ideas:  learning is messy, differentiated, innovate, accountability, technology enabled, maker spaces, coding, literacy, numeracy, learning commons, collaborate,  real world context, problem solvers, analysis, literacies that fit the world in which our students live NOW,  pre-service teacher training, shifting culture, speed of change, differentiation, linearity (or not), global context, contributing to society  … well you get the picture.

For the purposes of this Innovator’s Mindset blog hop, I thought I would highlight a few “must changes” on my personal list.  Now waving the change wand ….

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  1. Boundless & Joyful Learning – we need a simple yet differentiated free flow to learning centred around student passion(s) rather than the current model which is tied to grades and calendar years.  Stomp out content driven learning. You can read more about my ideas on engagement and personalization of learning [here]
  2. Learning spaces – flexible, windows, filled with natural  lighting,  flexible furniture arrangements, no rows, learning commons/maker space style, student run white boards and  interesting colour schemes.  The design should focus on what you can do by bringing people together.
  3. Teachers as learning facilitators –  innovators, risk takers, technology enabled, differentiators, and digital resources and tools, no ‘walls’,  real world context (community and global)
  4. Assessment – Within the classroom perspective, we know a lot more about the importance of conversations, observations and products, frequent feedback and documenting learning – all good, but everyone must be ‘in’.  “High stakes” testing through provincial/(state), national and international assessment strategies need to change as the current model is far too linear and based on ages and grades rather than brain development and a variety of other factors.  I believe we need to reach beyond literacy and numeracy.
  5. Professional Learning – connected, self directed, self motivated learners (not sit and get), what is your next (not best) – thanks @pmillerscdsb

IM-9        Plan Act Assess Reflect (PAAR) may indeed be more powerful as Assess Reflect Plan Act  (ARPA).   I believe we need to build a lot of capacity yet in the area of open sharing.  Hallway and staff room conversations may be fantastic, but if you can’t search, access and share them then they are ideas and learnings in isolation.  More of my thoughts on this are in my blog post  Just Make It Public.

I hope some of these ideas have poked your thinking.  I invite you to comment here or connect with me on Twitter (@markwcarbone) or via  #innovatorsmindset.

~Mark

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Note: Image from: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Wandlore

Leveraging the Clipboard

On a recent school visit, I had a wonderful opportunity to meet teacher Kim Clegg and see her classroom in action.  One tip Kim shared with me was the benefits of leveraging the google docs permanent clipboard to facilitate providing better descriptive feedback to students.

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Kim’s thoughts on changing practice:

~Mark