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.
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:Heather Theijsmeijerleveraged her PLN twitter connections with Donna Fryand me todevelop 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’sVista 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.
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
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.
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.
Leveraging Multi Media
The impact of 1:1
Visioning the changing world of the teacher
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:
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.
Tuesday night I had an opportunity to support WRDSB teachers Scott McKenzie and Megan Lowe at their Coding with Spheros workshop. I appreciate their willingness to share their learning and workshop materials openly through a live streaming broadcast and video recording. The workshop provided a solid instructional framework for curriculum context, activities, problem solving and collaboration.
This version of the video is the presentation portion of the workshop (35 minutes). Markers have been placed in the video to highlight the sub topics.
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.