Tag Archives: #ontarioplp

PLP ‘on the road’

Yesterday I attended the ECNO annual AGM meeting in Toronto. As expected with the AGM of an organization, there is a certain amount of formal business processes to be followed. As mentioned in my blog post yesterday, by complete luck, I arrived an hour and a half early for the event. The best part about arriving early was that fellow Ontario PLP member @jeffreaburn.

I first met Jeff at the kickoff event for the Powerful Learning Planning (PLP) event in Windsor. Given the commonalities in our roles, we do cross paths at conferences and provincial meetings. Whether face to face, or online, I always find interactions with Jeff to be great learning experiences.

Our early arrival yesterday, was no exception. We had a great opportunity to discuss and compare IT department structures and strategies, netbook and iPod projects and the broad landscape of 21st century learning. Given our PLP connection, conversation eventually rolled around to a couple of key questions:

1. What is 21st century teaching?

2. How do we best create a culture of change and sustainability at the system level?

Culture changes in education need to encompass change that fundamentally impacts the way we teach. Ideas we discussed included:

  • teaching with technology embedded as more of a natural part of the learning process and not ‘separate’
  • significantly impacting teacher involvement in using technology – breaking past the keen ‘volunteer’ group and getting to a technology use by all scenario
  • strategies to expose and encourage greater use of free/cost effective web 2.0 tools in the learning process
  • ongoing PD opportunities
  • training for school administrators
  • stronger linkage of teacher technology training, embedded classroom use, school success plans and system goals
  • alignment of the instructional delivery to the technology world that is available to all of us – embrace the power

All in all, a great conversation that made the early arrival very worthwhile! The bonus was, I left with some key ideas to share with my staff and keep the conversation going with our Board. In the meantime, the learning will continue online.

~ Mark

Elluminate with the Ontario PLP group

Monday afternoon, we held an online Elluminate session with our Ontario PLP group with Will Richardson. For many of the participants, this was their first experience in this type of environment, so the session began with a tour of the features and controls which included screen layout options, audio (mic) testing, communication indicators (thumbs up/down, applause, I have a question, stepping away/I am back etc.) and  chat window functions.

I was really impressed with the level of participation and the comfort level displayed by the meeting attendees throughout this first session. I wanted to share some further thoughts about a discussion point we have had within our Ning group and during this online session.

The discussion topic centred around the use of the term ‘lurker’. In the online community this term is generally accepted as way to refer to people who ‘look around’ and seemingly watch the activity. The points in question are, independent of the common use of the expression:

a) Is the use of this term appropriate?  and

b) how does its use make you feel?

From my own point of view, I feel the use of this term has a negative connotation to it. While I am absolutely clear about the use of the term in this context, I would rather see a term used that presents a positive image. I see online participation occurring in three different categories:

  • Role 1: People who participate by reading and observing, more of a quiet studier.
  • Role 2: People that fall into this role are the connectors. They share information by forwarding emails, reposting blog articles, retweeting Twitter posts etc.
  • Role 3: People in this 3rd role are the initiators or contributors. They author their own blog posts, share social bookmark lists, respond to other people’s blog posts and suggest resources for others to be aware of or review.

Depending on the learning experience, a person move progress through all of these roles with a particular tool as well as having an ‘overall role’ with their online experience.

I was particularly interested in the small group discussion that occurred within the structure of our session. Will gave us a list of 7 big shifts, divided us into groups of 6 and asked each to have a discussion based on which of the big shifts resonated with them. The discussion in my group revolved around 2 shifts –

a) synchronous to asynchronous (and back again) and

b) place/time dependent to  anytime/anywhere/anyone learning

From my point of view, these are the two elements that are shaping our current learning opportunities and community development within the Ontario PLP group. Everyone is actively involved in reading and responding to posts in the discussion forums, blogging, connecting on Twitter etc. Each day provides an opportunity to embrace a steady trickle of learning and collaboration through the use of web 2.0 tools. In depth discussions are occurring, questions and new ideas are being posted, and new points of view are being explored. Factoring in our face to face kickoff, and the elluminate session, all of this activity falls into the 2 shifts or categories I identified. This opportunity is truly a synchronous/asynchronous anytime, anywhere, anyone learning journey.

This is certainly a fantastic opportunity and I am delighted to be part of the Ontario PLP leaders and learners team.

~ Mark

Ontario PLP Kickoff Event

This evening I am taking a few minutes to reflect on the exciting day I had. Today was the launch of the Ontario PLP Cohort with Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. From the moment you entered the meeting room at WECDSB,  you could feel the energy and excitement has people found the team tables, plugged in laptops and connected to the wireless internet access. It was great to meet some people face to face that I had only worked with online!

The day was a ‘power’ session designed to make us all feel ‘whelmed’ – close to overwhelmed, but not quite! Sheryl presented first taking us through exercises to define networking and community as it pertains to our roles and the online world. Teams were provided opportunities to dialog about setting their expectations and assumptions about their ongoing working sessions. She beautifully set the stage for Will to present and challenge us as why the status quo will not do justice to preparing students for the world in which they will live and work. The presentations were well designed and delivered with impact.

The balance of the day was a mini ‘boot camp’ to get the 100 participants oriented to the online tools required to complete our work over the next year. We took tours of Wikispaces, Twitter, Delicious and Ning. After each tour, we had working time to register accounts, set defaults and get oriented to using the various tools. We will use #ontarioplp as our Twitter hash tag.

The wrap-up session included establishing our rules of engagement, booking Elluminate session times and reaffirming our individual commitment to participant and get the maximum learning, sharing and contributing over the next few months.

I am very excited to be a part of this project and learning with educators from Canada and the U.S.A.  We have a great team from our Board and I look forward to moving our thinking about learning, systemic change and the role of teaching forward.

Thank you Sheryl and Will for a great day.

~ Mark