Tag Archives: TEL

Digital Learning Carousel Reflections

I had the pleasure of attending the  WRDSB  Digital Learning Carousel event today along with 400 educators and students from our Board. The event provided opportunity to share our collective insights around digital learning,  changing practice and planning next steps forward for our organization.  The carousel sessions I attended included online novel studies, innovative practices with math, inquiry approaches and the Futures Forum program.

Three aspects of the day really struck me.  The positive feedback on the interest in using Google Apps for Educators (GAFE) and the high rate of adoption on our roll out was awesome.  Secondly, I was intrigued to hear some of the educators sharing the benefits of enough technology to support small group instruction over a 1:1 approach. The ‘just enough’ model allows technology to be used as a learning support as needed while fostering opportunities for interaction, conversation and sharing.   A 1:1 approach can result in students being self focused or isolated. This feedback validates our decision to roll out our iPad program in a way that avoided convenient the “portable lab pack” allocation. Finally, so many discussions touched on the idea of the right mobile tool for the learning, teaching or assessment task at hand. I felt proud that our  IT department is deploying and supporting iPads,  Chromebooks and Windows mobile devices to support learning at WRDSB.


My Session Highlights

The online novel study group talked extensively about taking a proactive approach to digital citizenship before moving into online activities. Their approach included googling yourself to find out what is actually online, reputation management, managing your digital presence and building relationships. Tools used in this program included Google Apps for Educators, Today’s meet, blogging, skype and collaborative web page designs.  An impressive approach indeed!

In the math innovative practices session, I noted that educators were really digging into teaching collaboration skills. What does collaboration look like, sound like, feel like? “Look fors” would include accountable talk, building on the ideas of others to highlight two attributes. Digital tools used in this program included Explain Everything, GAFE, GeoBoard, Notability and iMotion.

The inquiry stream focused on the relationship of two key elements:

1.  What do students need to learn and what do I need to learn as a teacher?
2.  If I do this as a teacher, then students …

The final session featured the Futures Forum program, which I am very familiar with due to my involvement with the program. Presenters emphasized the importance of a growth mindset for both staff and students. The approach used this year involving SparKW really engaged the students in a meaningful way.

Clearly,  all of the presenters I saw today demonstrated a high level of professionalism and a growth mind set. Thank you for sharing your learnings!


EOIT2014 resources and reflections

I enjoyed my recent opportunity to present a session on ever changing EdTech world in K12  education at EOIT2014.  Three points from the various conversations over the day captured my attention.

Limestone DSB,  CIO Wayne Toms described how becoming active on Twitter has “changed his  approach to PD forever”.   He emphasized the importance of having access to a stream of current information and thinking to shape one’s perspective underscoring the importance of connected learning.

If fact,  this coming weekend,  two Ontario based EdCamps  are happening on May 10th as per the  “Tweet captures” below.  Connected learners can participate by following  #edcampsault  and  #edcampisland.



IT  leaders  Ron Plaizier and James Proulx  openly discussed the challenges of “all the moving pieces” – technology changing at a rate much faster than classroom practices shift and support models can be adapted.  There are no easy answers. The best strategy is to bring people together for conversation and time to play in this “change space”.  Agreed!

The third conversation focused on a notion I would call the  software “power” gap – the difference in capability when comparing a desktop application version against the corresponding web version.  This power gap differential exists in many applications.  In my view, the critical piece of this puzzle is at the intersection of  desktop > mobile, local > cloud and minimal NEEDed functionality vs extra features.  One “crystal ball” question is how long might it take to reach the ideal cloud based offering of a particular application?

I also wanted to share of few highlights from the back channel related to “What is the most important aspect of your work?”

TodaysMeetParticipants stated:






Related Resources

View  presentation  file

Twitter chat for  #EOIT2014

Blog articles related to the  Futures Forum  project.

Blog articles on the  SAMR  model.

Scoop.it articles on  SAMR



Connected Learning with Grade 3s

Last week I became aware of an interesting approach to learning about Ontario communities with grade 3 classes.  The  idea is  to involve people from around the province to submit picture clues about the community they live in.  The clues are shared with the students, and student responses are tweeted (posted) back through a class or teacher based Twitter account.

The project takes on another level of connectedness by using a hashtag (Twitter conversation label)  to collect all of the tweets on this topic into a searchable stream which can be viewed [ here].  What a GREAT way to bring a personal and connected context to the classroom.

I enjoyed an afternoon walk this weekend to take a few pictures to participate this week.  I wonder how many clues it might take the students to guess where I live.

Here are some sample tweets from last week.

WhereAmI 1

possible answer

WhereAmI 2

This will be a great week in the connected learning world.


How many apps?

This point from the Twitter stream of  EdCampSWO resonates with me.


How thoughtful are you about choosing apps for use with your students?

Do you choose apps that support the “C’s” in a technology enabled learning environment:  Communicate, Collaborate, Create, Citizenship, Critical Questioning/Answering?   Perhaps your app choices facilitate inquiry or project based learning.

Where do you stand on app selection?  How many is too many?  What do you use as app selection criteria? I would be interested to know your ideas on this.  Please comment or get in touch via  @markwcarbone  on Twitter or  +markwcarbone  on  Google +.


London PNC: Digging into change

Last Thursday (April 10, 2014) I had the pleasure of attending the meeting of the London MISA PNC group  to serve on a panel discussion with


Joe Sisco of the WECDSB did a nice job hosting the event and moderating the panel discussion.  My role on the panel was to share some ideas concerning technology planning.

My response:

I enjoyed the variety of  questions the panel addressed.  Two conversations really stood out for me.  First,  some excellent dialog around the notions  of professional sharing:

and secondly, examining comfort with change:

In a rather timely fashion, this tweet from  Donna Fry  was posted just two days later while she was participating as a virtual learner by following the Twitter conversations of  Edcamp SWO  and  Edcamp London  which ran on Saturday April 12th.  I think the tweet captures the essence of the panel discussions in a nice concise way.



Related Resources: sound clips in a local format

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

Clip 3:


The Power of AB squared

After hearing about this intriguing classroom collaboration project at  EdCampWR, I was delighted to meet with  elementary teacher  Alison Bullock  to learn more about this cross panel collaborative project with secondary teacher  Andrew Bieronski.

The  Learning Framework

The project framework is based on the new  Ontario social studies curriculum.  Alison’s grade 4 French immersion students will be partnered with Andrew’s grade 10 students.  The grade 10’s will be mentoring with grade four students as they progress through a summative project which requires students:

      • create a physical structure of a museum artifact
      • produce audio guided tours in both English and French
      • generate a QR code linking to the audio files and
      • share about learning process

The Collaborating

The grade 10 students will provide mentorship to the grade 4 students as they research, plan and write the scripts needed for the audio guided tour files.  Students will be collaborating through the WRDSB Google Apps for Educators  (GAFE) environment. The role of the grade 10 students will be related to their civics and English courses.

All students, in both grades,  will share about their experiences in this collaborative learning project through their blogs.   Blogging platforms may include Google, WordPress or Weebly. 

Bringing it all Together

As a conclusion to this learning process, the class museum will be created in the physical space in library, where  all students connect for a grand finale.  Projects will be displayed and the students of both classes involved will meet face to face. 

This project is just getting underway.  I look forward to following along this learning journey.

Note on the Title:  I thought is was interesting that the two teachers involved in this project have the same initials. Given their interest in technology enabled learning and passions for forward thinking, I thought the notion of  


was quite appropriate 🙂


Mobile Learning with OSSEMOOC

Last night I enjoyed the mobile learning session presented by  Rob De Lorenzo  as part of the  OSSEMOOC  professional learning series.


After the session I went the the chat transcript and picked out a few phrases that resonated with me.  They are:

  • it is so important that community creates the learning
  • the “any’s” — anytime, anywhere, anyone, anything learning
  • love that idea – learning languages on social media.
  • The need for administrators to be involved in the process is critical.
  • technology empowerment of teachers is critical to reach our tech hungry students
  • The computer lab is an artifact. We’ve moved beyond the need for it.
  • Wifi is a game changer.
  • No need for uniform platform anymore – different tools for different tasks
  • let them bring the devices they are comfortable with.
  • You choose the device that will best let you do that”
  • No tech can replace carefully thought out lessons and teaching strategies!
  • mobile productivity

Which phrase(s) resonate with you? Why?


Now, an invitation, or perhaps a challenge depending on your viewpoint.  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post or consider writing a blog of your own to share your thinking.  If you choose to blog,  please share a link to your post.

Additional Resources
Listen to the  archived recording of  Mobile Learning .


Connected Learning: A Virtual EdCamp Experience

Why not make your Saturday a great opportunity to learn.  Would you like to learn from where ever you are?   You just need an internet connection.

EdCampWR is happening Saturday Feb. 22 2014 at Ryerson PS.  I will be attending in person and sharing my experience through  video broadcasting of sessions  and interviews.

Here is how you can learn virtually.

Learn more about  Ed Camp Waterloo.

Sign up for a free account to access the video stream here.

Where to watch:  click here.

Follow the  Twitter conversation

Make it a great learning day!


Reflecting on Openness

Educon 2.6 got off to a great start tonight with the panel discussion on creating a more open and transparent world. As anticipated, the excellent panel presented a variety of views and thoughtful insights. I thought I would share a few points in an effort to encourage you to reflect on some of the points raised in the discussion.

  • Define openness.  What does this mean?   What are the different contexts?
  • Learners or students?
  • Valuing connnectedness
  • badges rather than marks/grades/pass. What might this mean for  future employers? higher ed?
  • MOOCs – making them really work and not continuing old patterns
  • vulnerability
  • technology to enable learning – it is all about HOW we use it

I have selected a few tweets from the 100’s that were posted that connect to these points.











Will your reflections lead to change? renewed commitment to “the cause”? improved practice? attention to nurturing those around you? a more open approach? It is your journey. Make it worthy of the best student learning possible.


Setting the Stage for Digital Inclusion

I am always amazed at how time to reflect changes what eventually ends up in a blog post.  This post is a great example of this notion as I originally thought I might write about these topics in different posts, but now I  think the ideas are more powerful together.

I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the  1:1 Computing Conference  this fall with  Ed Doadt.  It was great to meet so many passionate educators at the event. Two ideas from this conference really struck me.

First, I was amazed at the high number of schools/districts that were declaring “singular”  IT strategies: we use ONLY iOS or win 7/8 or  chromebooks or BYOD devices.  This is an all in approach with no flexibility or notion that different devices have different strengths/weaknesses, that students will have varying comfort levels with different devices, that technology will continue to develop and change at a torrid pace never experienced before or that a variety of devices might be a better fit to support learning.  I feel strongly that our approach at  WRDSB  to use and support a variety of devices  to support learning will yield better results than a singular strategy approach.

Secondly, I was really taken by the keynote presentation by  Alicia Banuelos   outlining the powerful state of digital inclusion – a community approach to full wifi coverage for the San Luis community in Argentina – schools and community, access for all students and community members. The work to build access for all is based on the idea that those without access will have less opportunity to: learn, work, develop networks (people connections) and lead productive lives.  A very powerful idea indeed.  Since hearing this presentation and meeting Alicia, I have been reflecting on what this would mean in an Ontario context.


A few months ago, the Ontario K12 IT Leaders authored the  Manifesto for 21C Learning  document outlining the need for a powerful Ontario provincial network (meaning internet & WAN) to support not only K12 needs, but an infrastructure that would create opportunities for learning, working, business and innovation with an eye to need, scalability and sustainability – digital inclusion  for Ontario residents.

I typically listen to  Craig Norris  on  CBC KW  on my drive into work. On a recent show, Craig was hosting an interview about business investments in the area of transportation between Toronto and the KW area and how that would be beneficial to facilitate business opportunities in the technology area. While listening to the show, I couldn’t help but think about the opportunities that would come from investing in an Ontario network. Now, one can not deny the initial large investment (some estimates of over $2B have been estimated) that would be involved to truly achieve a state of  digital inclusion of this magnitude. Yet, this seems like such an important need, how can we afford to avoid tackling it?


I believe a high speed provincial network an achievable goal, and that the money is around, but you must  THINK  differently.  The money would need redirecting. Consider the annual profit margins in the banking and financial sectors.  Perhaps a pension plan (teachers?) investment could be part of the solution.  Strategic partnerships.  JUST  BE  CREATIVE.

Achieving this goal would:

  • recognize this as a critical need,  rather than an  item on a political agenda
  • be for all Ontario citizens and
  • be affordable.

I believe achieving this is about collective will,  and not “what if”.   What does a future Ontario look like to you?