Tag Archives: Powerful Learning Practice

Celebrating Future-Ready at WRDSB

I have been a longtime believer in a self directed job embedded approach to staff development.  For several years I have had the privilege of working with a dedicated team in IT Services  at the Waterloo Region District School Board to design and deliver staff development programs fitting this ideal.

Last fall I participated in the 2013 Connected Educator Month activities which included an opportunity to complete an interview and submit documentation about our CATC Camp and CATC connections programs along with information about the WRDSB Futures Forum Program.


I am honoured and thrilled that  our WRDSB submission been selected  as a part of the Future Ready program as an international case study and is published on the US government Tech Ed website as a one of six case studies selected.


A special announcement was shared with over 12,000 US based school superintendents.

Learn more about the Future Ready program.

The case studies, including our WRDSB submission  are online here.

View the Future Ready professional learning toolkit.

I want to acknowledge the team of Rebecca Rouse, Harry Niezen and recent retirees Ron Millar and Anita Brooks-Kirkland for their insightful and collaborative work with me in on our ITS staff development program.  I also appreciate the on going support and collaborative work of Mary Sue Meredith and Ken Whytock.


PLP Experience Focuses on Educator Learning

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to participate in a set of interviews for a story about how PLP cohorts help educators learn. Having just completed an exciting year participating in the PLP program lead by @snbeach and @willrich45, I was eager to participate.

I took a bit of time to check out Converge, an online publication and located education reporter and writer @reportertanya on Twitter and Linked In, then replied to the email indicating my interest. The next couple of emails exchanged covered some background information and arranging a time to connect via skype for the interview.

On interview day, we connected via skype at the appointed time, bridging California and Ontario, and had a 45 minute video discussion about my experience in the Ontario PLP program, what I felt my key learnings were and what our Board will be doing differently as a result of participating in the PLP project.

Congratulations to:

  • Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson for designing and running the PLP program to provide an excellent training opportunity for educators, and
  • Tanya Roscorla for her excellent research and article – well done!

Enjoy the published article, Global Communities Rethink Learning at the Converge website.

~ 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