Category Archives: WRDSB

Evolving the Sphero Challenge

A year ago, I attended my first WRDSB hosted sphero programming challenge. At this event, students worked in teams to program their sphero ball to travel on a predetermined “track” created with large sheets of chart paper taped down on a gymnasium floor. The focus was on a team approach to solving the path through coding. The excitement and collaboration levels were high as the students worked away at solving the puzzle. Have a look at the video to get a sense of the action.

Original sphero challenge

 

The next iteration of the WRDSB sphero challenge took a approach. Teams were provided a set of criteria to create a sphero track, which they would then solve using the collaborative approach as was done in the first challenge. I liked the concept behind this new approach combining creativity, differentiation and problem solving. Given the time constraints of running an after school event that involves teams from different schools, and therefore transportation etc. I thought this first attempt went well, although I did observe that some teams struggled with time management in the creation phase so there was less time available to solve the puzzle – good learning on the time management front, but some teams were not able to show their coding skills to the fullest. Check out the action captured in this short video.

Shero challenge 2

I certainly left each of these events on a positive note and pondered “what next”?  In terms of track design, I wonder if a mid range approach might work – perhaps having a common start to a track and parameters to complete it to help with the time efficiency element. I applaud the efforts to create a coding challenge that requires collaboration to solve the problem. Over time, it would be great to see more students have this type of opportunity and also have students experience different roles within the team functions.

Related Resources:
STEM sphero guide:
http://stemeducationguide.com/classroom-activities-sphero/

Coding with spheros with  Scott McKenzie  and  Megan Lowe: (workshop summary)

Coding with spheros (full):

~Mark

un musée virtuel

In this post, I am pleased to share the work of Mme Rosemary Berndt and her grade nine French classes.  This year they pushed their approach to un musée virtuel” to a  new multi media and collaborative approach in making their learning visible.  It was a pleasure to work with Mme Berndt and her students in providing support to the project.

This audio clip by Mmd Berndt provides a project overview and professional reflection.  (Note: this is also included in the video introduction).

Video (overview and student work)

~Mark

Going 1 to 1 Panel Discussion

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Educational Technology Strategy Summit to share the WRDSB “going 1:1” journey in a panel discussion presentation.

The discussion was moderated by teacher  Andrew Bieronski.  I was joined on the panel by  Ed Doadt (Principal),  Jamie Reaburn (teacher), students Tara and Brooke.

The discussion was well received, noting that there were many positive comments about the journey, the sharing of research and observations and including student voices in the session.

Have a listen: 

Session sketchnote: 

Resources:

Conference Twitter Stream:  #edutech17

~Mark

Scaling EDU Change

Last fall the Waterloo Region District School Board held their third Digital Learning Symposium.  Each symposium has focused on sharing effective classroom practice,  changing practice and promoting innovative practices.

The series of events has provided an opportunity for educators to come together, share, network and talk about next steps to pushing the envelope, building synergy and scaling change at the system level.

One of the strategies used at this recent symposium was to capture the best practices shared through video recording and create a WRDSB system blog to share the learnings and innovative approaches through other initiatives such as meetings of system leaders, school staff meetings and subject association sessions.  It is important to keep the momentum of the change conversation going.  This public blog also supports open learning for all educators.
innovative-change

  1. Student Produced Learning Objects
  2. Project Greenlight 
  3. Leveraging Technology for Inquiry Based Learning
  4. Deepening Mathematics Understanding with Coding
  5. STEM in a Globally Connected Classroom 
  6. Digital Work Flow  
  7. Student Writing With Storybird 
  8. Helping Little Brown Bats 
  9. Tangling With Triangulation 

I have enjoyed being involved in this project and look forward to working on the next phase.

Tacheles stairs, Berlin

Join in!!!.   How will you participate in open learning by scaling up?

~Mark
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Note 1:  The blogging project calls for a post week through until May, so the sharing will continue through to May. 

Note 2: Creative Commons image by Flickr user Paolo Margari

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)
ghomystery

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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Moffat Creek Coding Clubs

As part of my Virtual Coffee Shop blog theme, I was fortunate to connect on site with  Moffat Creek P.S.  teacher Jason Riddell  in December to check out the action at one of the school coding clubs.

The approach used by Mr. Riddell embraces a variety of important elements including: age appropriate options,  student choice, coding options and challenge.

I happened to attend on dinosaur capture challenge day.  Check out the action and interview with Mr. Riddell in this video I created based on my visit.

Happy learning.  Happy coding.

~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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The Connected Classroom with Tania Bumstead

As part of the recent WRDSB Digital Learning Symposium,  teachers presented 20 minute sessions as part of  the breakout offerings.

I was fortunate to attend Tania Bumstead’s presentation  where she shared her experiences and insights on the  journey of  turning her classroom into a connected learning space.   In the presentation Tania highlights the value of an online personal learning network (PLN) through twitter,  collaborative work for students, taking risks and valuing new approaches.

Enjoy the presentation.

Connect with Tania on Twitter.

Many thanks to Tania and her students for sharing their experiences.

~Mark
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Genius Hour Insights

As part of the recent WRDSB Digital Learning Symposium,  teachers presented 20 minute sessions as part of  the breakout offerings.

I was impressed with Andrea Stephen’s session where she shared insights on her journey of including Genius Hour as part of the learning experience in her classroom.

I think you will find her approach and insights on building student comfort in less structured learning, evolving ideas, considering audience, building on failures and assessment.

Connect with Andrea on  twitter.

Thanks for sharing your learning Andrea!

~Mark
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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.

6Cs-fulllan

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.

photo

Make it a great learning year!

~Mark
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