Pre #BIT14 Interview with Derrick Schellenberg and Brian Aspinall


Michelle Cordy (@cordym on Twitter) continued her series of interviews leading to the Bring IT, Together Conference in Niagara Falls on November 5-7, 2014.

Last night, she talked to Derrick Schellenberg (@Mr_Schellenberg) and Brian Aspinall (@mraspinall) about their sessions.  This time, the focus was on inquiry in the classroom.  Both Derrick and Brian have TLLP projects and they served as the basis for the interview.

It was a rainy, rainy night here last night and I was unable to get a good, reliable connection to watch the interview live last night.  There are parts of the interview where internet connections were definitely an issue.  I guess I don’t have a monopoly on that.  Anyway, you can enjoy the interview since it was recorded.

Look for shout outs to Royan Lee, David Fife, and James Cowper and their blogs.

Michelle’s previous interviews leading into the #BIT14 conference…

Michelle’s Been Busy – #BIT14


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to join Michelle Cordy in an interview with #BIT14 keynote speaker, Richard Byrne.  You can read about it here.

Since that time, she’s been busy with a couple more interviews related to the Bring IT, Together Conference.

In addition to Richard, she’s interviewed George Couros and talked about his keynote address “Leading Innovative Change” and his leadership session “The Networked Leader“.  If you missed the interview, you can enjoy it here.

Her microphone had barely cooled off when she was back at it again.  

This time, she connected with Heather Durnin and David Hann.  At the #BIT14 Conference, Heather will be presenting “Three Dimensions in Student Learning“.  David will be presenting “How to make use of a Makerbot 3D Printer in Your School – Year II“.

You can enjoy that interview here.

Excitement is building as we get closer to the Bring IT, Together Conference.  Michelle nicely works the interview process to really tease us about the great learning that will happen.

Registration is still open – you can register through the website and read about these sessions and all of the other great happenings at the three day conference here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here are some of the great thoughts from the fingers of Ontario Edubloggers recently…

Guided Reading Should Be Happening Every Day

Bill Forrester’s blog is a new addition to the Ontario Blog collection.  In his most recent post, he talks about supporting colleagues with guided reading and admits that it wasn’t always a regular routine for his classroom.

Now, as a support person, he’s seeing the value of this as a regular activity.

In the post, look for some online resources to support the technique.


Volume = Length * Width * Height

Alex Overwijk’s blog is another new one to the group.  Welcome, Alex.

I thought this was a rather unique approach.  He shares a lesson that his students did dealing with volume and how they addressed the concept of volume using manipulatives.

Now, that’s a great approach but not entirely new.

What I liked though was taking the image and posting it to Twitter to get some thoughts from other connected educators.  He shares some of the responses.  Very interesting.  Would you be so bold as to post pictures of your hands-on activities in this manner?


Discovery in Primary Math

I think that the power of social media for sharing goes well over the top when lessons are shared.  Alex did above and Jen Aston describes a three-part math activity that she did recently with a split 1/2 class.

Check out the video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuIJQsV-L5s and then head off to Jen’s blog to read the rest of the story about her activity.

It sounds like so much fun.


How Social Media Can Help Increase Social Capital For Students and Their Families

I think that Tracy Bachellier nails it when she talks about the use of social media and “social capital”.  I love this quote that she embedded in the middle of her thoughts.

“It allows me to organize people a lot faster, to check people out for things I might want them to do. It allows people to find me, or if I want to get advice from people, the fastest way is to get them through facebook or twitter. There’s a lot of convenience involved in interacting with people over social media.” ~ Aimee Morrison, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature (Digital Culture), University of Waterloo

Traditional media takes so long to get results.  By the time it’s researched, vetted, edited and ultimately published, the original premise may well be old news.  Tracy identifies a number of benefits in her post that go well beyond that.

  • Social media helps overcome time and distance barriers
  • Social media builds upon existing ties and relationships
  • Social media facilitates new connections and collaboration
  • Social media provides a platform for advocacy, collective practice and action
  • Social media enhances social participation and engagement

Think about the traditional, controlled techniques of the past.  Buy a book, read it, implement it, review the technique sometime.

The immediacy and potentials that social media affords, as Tracy notes, are just too many and too big to ignore.  If we’re really going to stay on top of the latest and most effective techniques, being connected has to be the solution.  The downside is, as always, equity but we’re getting around that.  I did a quick look around the county here and there are some communities that are using internet voting for the upcoming elections.  A community obviously sees the power and is making it available for all – why can’t we model that in education?


La voix des élèves

You know, a lot of people talk about Student Voice.  Others ignore it.  Some pay lip service.

johanne

This blog post reinforces the need to listen to what is said.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make such a big difference.


Using Intelligent Agents in D2L to Enhance Your Online Course

One of my favourite activities when was the DeLC for my district was going to regional meetings and partake in the learning and sharing that was happening.  It’s easy to feel so inferior because there’s so much to learn about online learning.

The Desire2Learn LMS was continually evolving but we thought that we’d struck gold when we first learned how to set release conditions during a course.  In this blog post, Rod Murray shares a number of resources about the “Intelligent Agents” in D2L.  Whether you know them all or not, it’s still a nice review.

Rod


Again, there was some absolutely wonderful thinking and sharing in my reading this week.  I hope that you can take a moment or to and give these posts a little social media love.  Their thoughts are only a click away.  The complete collection is located here.  There’s always a wealth of thinking and sharing happening there.

Interview with Richard Byrne – Keynote Speaker at #BIT14


Michelle Cordy (@cordym) has been doing a series of online interviews with educators.  Starting on Tuesday evening, look to her efforts in putting a human face to the Bring IT, Together conference through the interviews.

I was honoured to be invited to share the microphone with her as she interviewed Richard Byrne.  (@rmbyrne)  Richard will address the group on Thursday morning in a keynote titled “The Power of Technology to Prepare Students for the Future” and then will offer a breakout session “Ten Common Challenges Facing Educators and Tools to Address Them”.  He promises this to be a practical edtech approach in the classroom.

Those who tried to watch live know that there were a couple of challenges – Richard was in one Google Hangout Room and Michelle and I in another wondering where he was!  We eventually solved the problem and were able to complete the interview, albeit a bit late.  If you missed it, or would like to enjoy it again, it’s presented below.

News and Weather


There was a great deal of hubbub yesterday when word got out that Google had released a copy of its News and Weather Application for iOS.  It had been previously available for those who use the Android system.  I gave it a download to see what it looked like on iOS.

I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised when, if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, … but other than the default dark display install of the familiar white of the Android, it looks and functions exactly the same way.  In fact, the first thing I did was go to the menu and add “Education” as a category.  Now both versions should pick up the same content.

But other than that I was off to the races.  Of course, location is important when you’re looking for the weather and there was no issue quickly picking up me at home.  A quick change of location and you’re pulling in the weather from wherever you want.

Like good news reading applications, a collection of “Top Stories” occupies the home for the application.

Tapping the now familiar hamburger menu lets you see the default news categories.  There is a nice selection to get started – World, Canada, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Sports, Science, Health, and of course the local stories from Amherstburg and Windsor.  Amherstburg just doesn’t have a whole lot to report so the application appears to pull in stories from around the country to fill.

With each story, a down arrow exposes related stories which is a very nice feature.  Once you’re done with the top stories, swipe left and right to work your way through your defined categories.

Clicking on a story takes you directly to the story.  There’s a navigation bar at top that will bring you back to the application.  Therein lies a problem for sharers.  Unlike other reading/sharing programs that connect directly to Twitter or Facebook, News and Weather doesn’t.  Fortunately, in this day and age, most sources have a way to use social media on their website.  The problem is that there’s no consistent way to access it.  It would be nice to have a native sharing button.

The layout is clean and you know that with Google who is already indexing things anyway, you’ll get relevant and fresh content.  For those on the iOS platform looking for a reader, I’d suggest downloading it and seeing if it has a home on your device.

Android Download

iOS Download

Minds on Media at #BIT14


A very unique, Ontario founded learning opportunity is available for those coming to the Bring IT, Together conference in Niagara Falls.

You have to experience it at least once to understand just what’s happening.  It’s not quite workshop – for that, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It’s not quite unconference because there is a formal structure to it.  It sure isn’t “sit ‘n git”.

It’s the best model of the learner in charge of the learning that I can imagine at present.  Imagine a room with centres managed by people very comfortable with a particular piece of technology or pedagogy and you just walk over and plop yourself down.  You’ll be asked “What do you want to learn today?”  That starts the process, the conversations, and the learning.

The model is the brain child of Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen.  They’ve taken Minds on Media to places all over the province and have become a fixture at the annual conference for Ontario computer using educators.  I’ve had the honour of championing a station on a couple of occasions and was a pedagogista at another.  The model respects your prior learning and supports any additional learning that you may need to fill in the cracks or to extend your understandings.

A couple of years ago, I had the chance to interview Brenda and Peter about Minds on Media.  You can read that interview here.

No two Minds on Media sessions are the same.  Brenda and Peter gauge the burning issues in education and fill the needs with Ontario classroom folks who share their experience and expertise.  They’re also ready to extend their own understanding by participants asking the tough questions!

This year, at the Bring IT, Together Conference, you have the opportunity to learn along with…

Student Learning with 3D Printers Heather Durnin
Playing with Programming: Coding for Younger Students Peter McAsh
Frames5: How can you use it across the curriculum? Karen Kelly-Miller
Get Filming with your phone, iPad or Camera! Jose Martinez
3-D Printing Heidi Siwak
Make Your Old Stuff Work! David Scott
Turtle Art Artemis Papert and Brian Silverman
105theHive.org – K12 Student Internet Radio Andy Forgrave and Kim Gill
Tinkering and Making Cathy Beach
Minecraft in the Classroom Jen Apgar
Getting Googly (Using Google Apps for Education Effectively) Marcia Piquette
Working with Microsoft Office 365 Kate Taylor
Game-based Learning Adele Stanford and Derek Walker

Select this session for your Wednesday, bring your own equipment, and get ready for an absolutely full day of hands-on learning.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I really enjoy writing these Friday posts.  There is such great thinking and sharing going on in the minds of Ontario Edubloggers.  As they say, never a dull moment!  The only challenge is finding a way to share the love and narrow it down to a readable selection!


Effective Professional Learning

Stephen Hurley threw out a challenge to readers of the VoiceED.ca community.  What constitutes “effective professional learning” from your perspective?  Obviously, “effective” is in the eye of the beholder.  I think everyone should weigh in on this.  Stephen has a big presence on social media so perhaps an amalgam of great thoughts will be inspirational to Professional Learning leaders to change things up so that your learning experiences become more valuable to you.

Regular blog readers here will know that I bit and wrote a post sharing my thoughts yesterday.


Getting Connected

Chantelle Davies and her co-author of this post could have written it in response to Stephen’s challenge about Professional Learning.  Read this post to see their thinking about Connections, PLNs, Leadership, …

Any disagreement on their assumptions?


Throw a Tablet into the Mix!

I had to really smile while reading Rolland Chidiac’s post.  Those of us who are long time users of technology take so many  things for granted.  But, there was a time when the learning and use of the technology was brand new.  In this post, Rolland shares the excitement that happens in his classroom on the first day using a Nexus tablet.


What Parents Can Do

Lisa Munro reflects on a document that she read recently “Parent Tool Kit: What Parents Can Do to Help Their Children Develop Healthy Relationships.”  She pulls out a number of interesting points that made an impact on her both as a teacher and as a parent.

i like the way that she extended the concepts by providing additional resources on the topic.


Who Does the Imposing?

The question of the day comes from Robert Hunking…

Does the education system impose itself on society or does society impose itself on the education system?

In his post, he itemizes many of the current conversations and discussions to support his rationale for asking the question.  I do think that the question is a good one.

I’m going to answer his question with the answer – depends.

I think it depends on when.

I grew up in rural Ontario – actually in Robert’s neighbourhood.  At that time, I would suggest that the education system did indeed impose itself on society.  We were learning so many things that didn’t really exist in our community at the time.  That was our vision of education – go to school, learn stuff, and then use that knowledge to make the world better.  I still remember my dad saying that if I didn’t want to do that, I might as well just quit now and get a job on a farm.

Well, I don’t know if you’ve been by a farm lately, but there’s more technology there than I could ever have imagined.  In my youth, tractors had four wheels and were painted red.  There’s so much happening these days and it’s constantly changing.  It’s not just there, of course, what we’re teaching in schools doesn’t even come close to the changes happening everywhere.  As an example, this morning I saw a 10 page document explaining how to fix your Microsoft Outlook when it goes bad.  It’s no wonder that employers care less and less about graduates with specific skills – they want graduates who have the ability to learn at a breakneck speed.  They want graduates who can think for themselves and this is imposed explicitly on those who would be graduates.  If you don’t believe me, go spend some time with a student in an experiential learning program.

As always, it begs the question to the classroom practitioner – what are you doing about it?


Wonderful thoughts and sharing again this week, folks.  Thanks so much.  Make sure to check out the complete blog posts from these folks and add your own thoughts.

Until next week…