Awesome Collection of Ontario Educators are Official Smarty Pants

The Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Symposium 2011 is now over.  What a day!  It’s tough to believe that I can be so exhausted and yet so motivated at the same time.  It was so great to see familiar faces today; draw friends’ names for door prizes; and to enjoy some bread pudding with good friends.

The Smarty Pants tags were attached to the nametags of the wonderful presenters for the day.  What’s unique about these presenters is that they don’t ask to share their expertise; they are specifically chosen by the committee.  The ultimate goal is to have people walk away from the day bemoaning the fact that they could only attend two breakout sessions instead of them all.  I did have some requests to get the presentations put up on the Western RCAC website and hopefully that will happen soon.

What is so unique about the day’s format is that the presenters are all from the western Ontario region.  So, the initiatives that are being shared aren’t just pipe dreams; they are things that are happening in classrooms with real teachers, real students in the region.  Unlike other conferences where the grass may be greener over there; the grass shown here is in actual practice within driving distance!

  • Peter McAsh explains how he uses Edmodo with Students, Teachers, and Parents;
  • Danika Barker shows how she has created her own professional learning network and encourage others to follow;
  • Heather Durnin demonstrates how "The Idea Hive" enriches paired classroom experiences between Wingham and Snow Lake, MN;
  • Kenji Takahashi demonstrates the potential of video streaming;
  • Mark Carbone once again talks about the challenges and successes Waterloo is enjoying by embracing Facebook as a work and collaboration space;
  • Elaine Ernewein loves Pixie 3 and thinks it’s one of the best primary titles that are OSAPAC licensed;
  • Trevor Hammer engages students in the process of independent writing using the Livescribe Echo Pen;
  • Gidget Davidson brings her audience up to date on an iPod Touch Literacy project;
  • Kim Gill just doesn’t want some success – she wants it all and explains why technology is so important in her Special Education classroom;
  • Harry Niezen shares the learning (positive and challenges) from the Future Forums Project as they lead the way developing a culture for 21st century learning;
  • Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen take their group beyond the three words Project – Based – Learning to deconstruct learning activities to understand exactly what PBL is and why it’s so important;
  • Janet Ewaskiw provided the answer to the best way to tell stories using the Ministry of Education licensed Frames 4 software package;
  • and, Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Rodd Lucier tell their story about relationships in professional learning. 

Whew!  Throw in lunch, a couple of keynote addresses, and door prizes and it was a completely packed day.  I am so in awe of the Smart Pants listed above – there was certainly buzz about the learning activities they helped facilitate. 

Yes, they were smart and hopefully everyone in the audience leaves just a little more inspired and smarter on their own as a result of the experience.

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