Category Archives: TEL

Saving Paw Prints

I enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to participate in and present at the inaugural  Learn By Design  conference hosted at the International School of Brussels. This was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed meeting so many fantastic educators and students.

I want to take a moment to introduce two new friends, Peter (centre) and Fred (left), who are undertaking an interesting project to provide real help to dogs with disabilities.

In this video, recorded at the conference,  Peter and Fred share their vision,  research and action plan to date.  I am sure you will be impressed with their vision.

Peter and Fred pitch their idea to the Learn By Design attendees.

You can connect with Peter and Fred via their twitter account or website.

Twitter:  @savingpawprints
Website: https://1geep8.wixsite.com/savingpawprints

I look forward to our continued dialog as they move their plan into action.

~Mark

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Learning Together with GHO

One of the highlights from my week was participating in a “mystery hangout”.   This particular (Google) hangout had an interesting twist with teachers and students learning together and collaboratively.

The Plan:   leveraged her PLN twitter connections with  Donna Fry and me to develop a plan to give the G Suite (Google Apps) lead teachers in  Rainbow DSB  a hands on experience with Google Hangouts to demonstrate the learning, collaboration and problem solving that can occur in this setting.  After a call for participants, we firmed up the the Rainbow DSB GAFE lead teachers as one team, and  Tania Bumstead’s  Vista Hills P. S. class as the other team.  Alison Bullock  and I played an online support role in the process as fact checkers and communication with each team lead.

Team Vista Hills

Team Rainbow (screen capture)
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The task was for each team to determine the location of the other team through a series of yes/no questions.

The experience:  When it came time for he actual event, Heather connected everyone into the Google Hangout, and we were ready for a 45 minute learning situation, beginning with some introductions.  The Vista Hills class worked in groups to tackle the tasks – receiving answers from team Rainbow, interpreting them and tracking them on Google maps.  Another team generated potential questions and determined which question should be asked next. A third team interacted with team Rainbow and posed the questions.  The excitement in the room was high, and there was a steady buzz throughout the session.

I was fascinated with the ingenious yes/no questions asked by the two teams as they working through the process of solving the geography puzzle in front of them.   Are you located

  • in Canada
  • east of the Manitoba/Ontario border
  • in the eastern standard time zone
  • within 100 km of Algonquin Park
  • west of the GTA
  • located north of the 402/403 highway corridor
  • east of the escarpment
  • in a city with a population over 100,000
  • within 50 km of Lake Huron

and finally, team Rainbow asked: are you located in KW?  Team Vista Hills pressed on and with a couple more questions and one hint, determined team Rainbow was on Manitoulin Island.

It was evident to me that a great learning experience had been enjoyed by all, and that more mystery hangouts will occur in the future. Thanks to all the learners who participated in this event!

~Mark
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Future Orienting Libraries

Today I spent some time with WCI librarians Carlo Fusco and Leah Crowell discussion how they have Future Oriented the school library.  In our discussion, we explored 5 areas of interest and impact which were determined in a previous visit.

  1. Transforming Libraries
  2. Leveraging Multi Media
  3. The impact of 1:1
  4. Visioning the changing world of the teacher
  5. Shifting to device agnostic spaces

Carlo and Leah, thank you for sharing your learning, visioning, and change process.

Interview in 3D video:

Interview in 2D video:

Audio Podcast:

Students I chatted with at the school were very positive about the continued evolvement and current status of the future oriented thinking about the library space to service student learning needs.

Connect on twitter: @mrfusco  and  @WCILibrary.

~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)
studentletter1

student_letter2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Mark
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Learning with Spheros

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.06.51 PM

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.

coding_chart

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

CB&S

 

 

Tickle

 

 

 

 

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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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.

Permanent clipboard

Kim’s thoughts on changing practice:

~Mark