Whatever happened to …


… SIGs.

Special Interest Groups – at least the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario ones.

Thanks to Peter Skillen for inspiring this thought with his comment about SIG-Logo from last week. 

There was a time when SIGs were a very active, in fact the most active part of ECOO.  I can’t recall them all but I’m hoping that people hop in with memories.  I do remember SIG-Logo (I learned so much there), SIG-ELEM (their mini-conferences were awesome), SIG-CS (I was very active in that one and we moved the Provincial Computer Science contest to the Ontario Science Centre), and then the memory fades.  I can’t recall whether or not there was a SIG-Hyperstudio or if it was just so big in SIG-ELEM.

ECOO also had a newsletter (ECOO Output) that you could set your calendar to filled with articles from members and the SIGs.  It was always read from cover to cover here and was a source for many ideas and activities.  For the most part, we were all constructivists if for no other reason, all that we had were tools!  You could make contact with the leaders or members within the SIGs and very quickly get answers.

Then, a few years ago, the SIGs went away.  Computer Science is still there, only listed as an affiliate.  Instead of a newsletter, a website is in place and you can see the updates, typically minutes from a board meeting.  The conference is in place and a great way to connect with other Ontario educators.  Rather than the SIGs promoting and nominating speakers by their specialty, a conference committee seeks to provide a balanced program of content.

Technology learning is different these days.  You make your own connections of a like mind through social media, edcamps, or some physical gatherings. 

There are such big issues right now that I can’t help but wonder if the very constructive SIG format couldn’t be of value.

  • Principals wishing to be digital leaders
  • We have two major directions in the province – districts implementing Google Apps for Education or Microsoft Office 365 – where do they learn and share?
  • Coding throughout the curriculum beyond the Hour of Code
  • Effective digital literacy education with a specific focus
  • Support for software licensed by the Province
  • Effective use of Web based applications
  • Effective use of portable computing devices
  • Student and Teacher privacy

Every day when I connect to my network through social media, I see requests for help on particular topics.  The answers, if they come, are sometimes good but what can you cover in 140 characters?  There are awesome Ontario Edubloggers solving the problems of the world one post at a time.  But just try to tack down one particular item from beginning to end.

As you read this on your long Victoria Day weekend (hopefully by the cottage or on the patio), what are your thoughts?

  • Were you ever a member of a SIG?  If so, which one(s) and do you have any special memories?
  • Are we OK with learning topics that are a mile wide but not very deep?
  • Is learning through social media, district PD, subject association, or the annual ECOO conference enough for you?
  • If you were to create your own SIG from scratch, what would you do?

In closing, thanks so much for Peter for stirring the pot for me.  I’m liking this Sunday post and want to make it a “Whatever happened to …” regular feature, at least until I run out of ideas!  I’ve put a link at the top of the page here so that you can see them all.  I’ve also added a link to a Padlet if you want to stir up stuff for me like Peter did.

As always thanks for reading and I’d love to read your thoughts below.

OTR Links 05/22/2016


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