Category Archives: Technology in Education

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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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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The power of one word

Through out this school year I have noted two phrases used in various ed-tech presentations and discussions: technology enriched learning and technology enabled learning.  I believe there is a significant difference between these phrases.  I know which one I would choose and why.

I am interested to know which one you think is the best phrase.  Which side of the fence are you on?

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Care to vote? 

~Mark
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Resources:

View the original creative commons photo

Handing Down Knowledge

I happened to catch a rebroadcast of the December 27th 2015 Cross Country Canada radio show and was intrigued by the topic – “Has the wisdom of older people become sidelined in the age of Google and YouTube?”

I found the commentary from the various participants very insightful and wide ranging.  Some users talked about relationships, comparing face to face ( F2F) to phone, F2F to video call (skype, facetime, GHO etc.), F2F to email – well, you get the picture.  Other comments focused more on the knowledge transfer aspect of the discussion.

One could easily argue that with all of the fantastic audio and video recording tools available now, online storage and search capabilities we have the best opportunity ever in history to capture and publish  and share knowledge, perspectives and stories  from generation to generation.  Perhaps we simply need to be more thoughtful about going about this process of handing down knowledge.

Hands Across Time

I couldn’t help but wonder about  making some more intentional connections to school systems here. What role might students play in making connections with the senior members of society, building relationships and capturing their knowledge and stories for future generations to explore?

Listen to the fascinating CBC podcast  [here].

Note: Image credit Bill Gracey via Flickr creative commons license  (flickr link)

~Mark
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Exploring the Year of Code Waterloo Region

This blog post kicks of a new component at Mark’s Musings. In recognition of the importance of creative thinking, tossing ideas around, and learning by doing it is equally important to allow forums for ideas to: germinate, build, be discussed, be modified, tested and challenged. As a personal ‘next‘ or next step, I have decided to add the Virtual Coffee Shop series within my blog to dedicate intentional time to capturing a conversation or two each month to share with a broader audience.

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I am thrilled that Stephanie Rozek was able to join me for this first live streamed conversation in the Virtual Coffee Shop series to discuss the Year of Code Waterloo Region initiative.

Recording:

~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”.

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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.

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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

YEAR of {c0de} WR

Year of {c0de} Waterloo Region launched today the Kitchener City Hall.  The room was filled with energy and an amazing array of interesting demonstrations.

I had a great conversations with team members Susan Watt, Peter McAsh and campaign director Stephanie Rozek. I look forward to my meeting with her next week …. just think of the possibilities!

Here are a few of of the sights I enjoyed today.

Robot Video: 3683 in action!

checking out VR

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3683 up close

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programming ‘gizmos’

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more robots

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Additional Resources

Web:  Year of {c0de} Waterloo Region

Follow campaign director Stephanie Rozek on Twitter:  @srozek

Follow @yocwr

Follow the Twitter discussion at  #yocwr

~Mark