Category Archives: TEL

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

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

VR

3683 up close

robot_close_up

programming ‘gizmos’

programming_gizmos

more robots

robot2

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

Help us learn about one to one

In the fall,  we are initiating  a 1:1 chromebooks for all grade nine students project in 3 of our secondary schools.

Our planning team would be interested in learning from your experiences.   If you have a suggestion, tip or perhaps would have done something differently, please share via this  [google doc].

Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas and learning.

Digging Deeper into Edu and Edtech

When opportunity knocks,  answer!

I was recently approached by Kristin Frizzell (@71frizzell) who is taking a course with  Brenda Sherry  (@brendasherry)  to do an interview as a component of the course. This sounded like a great opportunity so we worked out a suitable time this week.

I was impressed with the set of questions the class collaboratively developed around the intersection of learning, instructional practice and edtech.  Our Google Hangout on Air meeting was our first “official”  face to face (F2F)  — hmmm, make that virtual F2F  —  meeting and conversation.  Awesome!

I hope our discussion around the question set stimulates your thinking and supports your learning.

I look forward to a continued connection with ongoing learning and sharing with Kristin.

~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

Forward Thinking with Jamie Weir

At semester turn around I had a great opportunity to connect with WRDSB teacher Jamie Reaburn-Weir.  After some conversation about student voice, choice and assessment strategies, she kindly agreed to capture the conversation for wider sharing.

Enjoy Jamie’s forward thinking insights in this video.

I look forward to following along the journey where Jamie is leading her classes.

Follow Jamie on Twitter: Jamie Weir
Read Jamie’s Blog.

~Mark

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