This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Stuff is happening in Ontario Education.  Whether it’s good questions, good research, or good suggestions, there were some great things shared by educators in the province recently.  I’ve pulled a sample of some of the terrific things that I’ve read recently.

From Consultants and SATs
Zoe Branigan-Pipe asked a simple question that could be answered yes or no.

and then, in typical Zoe fashion, goes ahead and answers it!  Not only does she answer it correctly talking about the need for Professional Learning but she goes ahead and gives 14 ways to make it happen! 

I like the latter part of her list.  I do have a problem seeing the need for the suggestions at the first part of the list.  It’s the year 2012.  We’ve got a system doing electronic report cards, everyone knows about "The Google", email is a persistent part of everyone’s life, and you can’t turn on any television or radio or even walk your dog down the street without seeing evidence of the impact of Social Media everywhere.  I think it’s time we all get with it.  There should be no need whatsoever for a kid gloves approach.

The emphasis needs to be on Professional Learning.  If your district isn’t providing it ongoing and regularly, then they can’t complain about not having 21st Century Classrooms.  If you’re in that district and not getting what you need, perhaps you need to push the envelope or just go ahead and make it happen organically.

From Principals, VPs, and Administrators
Like this.  Brian Harrison describes the unconference session held in York Region.  See the hashtag #litschool for a record of the discussion.  A group of educators got together in a discussion setting to push the Literacy@School initiative.

Brian summarizes his view of the day in three themes – Document, Share, and Connect.

It sounds like a terrific day. 

What I think is important is that it certainly was a terrific day for those in York Region who participated but, with their taking their learning visibly online with the hashtag discussion, they brought in the world to their event.  How many times can you say that you’ve been to a Professional Learning event and that’s done with any sort of significance?

And to bring Bruce Springsteen into it puts it way over the top.  Perhaps we need a Wrecking Ball to knock down traditions that get in the road?

From Parents / School Advocates
Like Zoe, Sheila Stewart also asked a good question.  "Where does a parent fit in effective change in education?"

The post also includes interesting references from Will Richardson and Jose Vilson.  Her original premise expanded into a bunch of questions and generated some interesting responses from her community.

There is a message that comes through in the post and the replies.  The need for inclusion at a significant level is sought.  And why not?  If you have community resources wanting to assist, why wouldn’t you find some way to have them included?

From K-12 Teachers
Stephen Hurley kept cranking out the posts this week.  I got a smile from his post about sponsoring a baseball team and the challenge that he had with the spelling of the website.  But, that’s not the post I want to focus on.

Instead, a recent post talked about the need for a Great Storyteller.  In the post, not only does he identify the need but he develops the skills and requirements for the position.

I’ve "been there, done that" supporting the creation of multimedia stories for graduation assemblies and production of keepsakes.  In the beginning, it was furious activity getting to all schools in a timely manner and helping over that last hurdle.  But, eventually, it got better.  Through continuous Professional Learning opportunities, great CAITs, and Computer Contact meetings, we were able to raise the collective abilities of schools.

Where such an approach falls short is apparent when "that person" leaves the school.  Then, you’re back to square one with an enthusiastic replacement. 

As I read and re-read Stephen’s post, I can’t help but think that the place doesn’t just need a storyteller, the place needs everyone all telling their stories.  Everyone has a story to tell – can we not use literacy and technology skills for this purpose?  For me, it harps back to Zoe’s question – do we value these skills?

From Trustees / Higher Education
I really like reading Alana Callan‘s blog.  I hope that Sir Sandford Fleming College takes advantage of the learning that she shares through the post.  I wish that more people would share their recent learnings like she does.

Many organizations are struggling with the concept of providing worthwhile online learning and, as an extension, worthwhile blended learning.  I hate to say it but a great deal of it looks like correspondence courses which completely misses the mark.

Unlike so many that are overly concerned about the nuts and bolts of physically machine the technology work, Alana makes the assumption that that will work and moves on to the more important questions of the synergy of groupwork and how assessment will work.  After all, educational systems still have to provide a mark, right?

In this recent post, she has shared some pretty valuable links on these topics.  They’re worth reading, thoughtfully considering and bookmarking.

Please check out these and all of the other great blogs from Ontario Educators.  As always, if you’re involved in Ontario Education and want to be listed among these great authors, just fill out the form and you will be!

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OTR Links 05/11/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.