Today’s post shares my resource prepared for #gafesummit London ON (May 28/29, 2016. It was a great day of learning, making new connections and of course had many of those special ‘sparkle’ moments when you meet an online connection face to face for the first time. This particular summit had a special connection for me as a Saunders SS graduate.
On behalf of the Waterloo Region District School Board, welcome to the 4th annual Ontario GAFE Summit. In reflecting back on our 1st summit, this has been an absolutely amazing journey – still going strong with sellout participation each year.
Before we begin, I want to extend a sincere thank you to ECI Principal Jeff Klinck and his staff for their efforts and openness to support this event. I also want to thank the many people in IT Services and the EdTech team who have contributed to the preparations for the weekend.
And, thank YOU for giving your time this weekend. Not just any weekend – a historic weekend. Why? Last night SpaceX landed a stage one Falcon rocket on a floating drone barge. Wow! When I watched the recording on YouTube I couldn’t help but make a couple of connections to our Summit event today. One – this is mathematics and problem solving at its best, and two, watching the rockets trajectory reminded me of the many conversations I have had with Donna Fry about the importance of professional learning to fuel opportunities to change the trajectory of a student.
I have a hope for this weekend.
My hope is that as you participate, learn, network, make new connections, discuss and trade ideas that you will TAKE ACTIONwith what you learn this weekend. I challenge you to share and make your learning visible. Please start conversations, participate in online sharing, and blog about your experiences to support the learning of others. Become part of the Ontario Wave of Change by keeping the ripples moving in positive directions.
Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) offers many opportunities to develop new ways to approach curriculum delivery, instructional design, providing feedback, assessment … well, you get the picture – OPPORTUNITY!
At 2:30 p.m. EDT (today, October 17th, 2015) Andrew Bieronski and I team up to deliver a session at the Ottawa GAFE Summitto dig into this topic from a WRDSB perspective.
If you would like to join us remotely, we will be sharing our session via @Livestream (free account needed to view)
Note: the stream will be activated approximately 15 minutes before the session.
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.
Note: The video and story presentations are published with permission.