Carlo Fusco describes himself as:
“Teacher-Librarian with WRDSB, Science Nerd, Google Certified Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Ed Tech Facilitator, Blogger, Podcaster”
There’s a lot to dig into here!
Doug: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Carlo. Do you recall when our paths first crossed?
Carlo: I think we were introduced by Mark Carbone almost 10 years ago. You were the keynote speaker for the WRDSB CATC by the Water Summer Camp for teachers. I still remember your presentation on the importance of Professional Learning Networks. That was when I finally understood that Twitter was for more than telling the world what type of sandwich you were eating. Since then I have followed you on social media and often visit your blog.
Doug: I remember those two summers at CATC by the Water. I made so many new and interesting connections from WRDSB. I still have my Apple branded wine glass! Plus, it was a chance to sit in on presentations by people who had sat in on mine previously.
You seem to have both of the major platforms covered with Google and Microsoft certifications. Many educators elect to get certification in one area or the other. Why did you decide to get both?
Carlo: I like how both organizations have created a framework to guide you to learn about the tools they build. During the process I earned certifications while I learned.
Prior to my School Board adopting GSuite for staff and students, I had been using the free GAFE account with my students and had already seen how effective it was for collaboration and the sharing of resources. As I learned how to be the Administrator of the service, I found myself helping others get acquainted with the suite of applications. Becoming a Certified Google Trainer was a logical next step.
The Microsoft Innovative Educator certification was a little bit different. I have always been partial to Microsoft hardware (keyboards, mice, Surface) and it is the dominant operating system in our computer labs. I am currently exploring the use of the Surface Pro, along with the Microsoft Pen, and Wireless Display Adapter for use in Science classes. As a former Chemistry teacher, I am finding this combination to be a powerful teaching tool.
Doug: Which certification do you find the most useful with your day job?
Carlo: Being a Certified Google Trainer is something that I use everyday. We are a GSuite School Board and I am always helping staff and students get more out of the applications. As the products continually evolve, collaborative learning is taking place all the time. I really enjoy problem solving with others.
As I continue to play with a variety of devices, I am most interested in obtaining a Raspberry Pi Certification. I have learned so much about Linux and microcomputers from these devices. I currently have two that are tasked to do different things around my home.
Doug: I can’t help but imagine that you’re a promoter of technology and social media in your job as a Teacher-Librarian. What kind of advice do you give that you feel has been most effective in bringing teachers onside?
Carlo: As the “Tech Guy” at school, I found myself answering the same questions over and over. To help those that need more time to learn new technology, I have created a YouTube Channel (WCI Library Learning Commons) they can refer to as needed. The videos are short “How-To’s” for staff and students. I have also instituted myself into all our staff meetings. I spend 5 minutes showing teachers online tools that they might find useful in their classroom. I also get other staff members to share their success and failures with the hope we can all learn from them.
Doug: Normally, during this type of approach, you would recommend various people to follow on Social Media. Can you name names for those who you’d recommend for new users? Just on Twitter or with other social media?
Carlo: Most of the world uses Facebook, but I find it too noisy. I prefer Twitter as my favorite Social Media platform. If I was going to suggest following people, here are a few that will help you build up your PLN, give you a laugh, and provide wisdom:
- Jen Giffen @VirtualGiff
- Scott McKenzie @ScottMcKenzie27
- Jennifer Casa-Todd @JCasaTodd
- Trevor MacKenzie @trev_mackenzie
- Melanie Mulcaster @the_mulc
- Jen Apgar @JenApgar
- Carol Koechlin @infosmarts
- Tina Zita @tina_zita
- Lisa Anne Floyd @lisaannefloyd
- Leigh Cassell @LeighCassell
- Derek Tangredi @dtangred
- Alanna King @banana29
- Rolland Chidiac @rchids
- Donnie Piercey @mrpiercEy
- Cal Armstrong @sig225
- Sandra Chow @watnunu
Doug: Rats. Another list I didn’t make! But you’re correct; that’s an impressive collection. All but one of the suggestions are from Ontario. That makes me happy.
Can you think of a specific, personal piece of learning that you had that could only have been received through social media?
Carlo: I learned about the EdCamp movement through social media. I had never heard of them before and I kept seeing tweets about it. Then when I heard about one in Hamilton, I went to check it out. It was one of the best days of PD I have experienced.
Doug: There’s been one held since then annually in the Cambridge area. The one I attended had great cake to go along with the learning.
The Waterloo Region has embarked on a program of providing Chromebooks throughout the system to students. What model of Chromebook was chosen?
Carlo: Originally we experimented with the first generation Samsung Chromebook but the thin plastic on the lid did not hold up to student use and we had many cracked screens. We have since moved to the considerably more rugged Dell Chromebook 11.
Doug: How successful has the program been at your school? Can you provide some example(s) of things that have become possible through the use of this technology that would have been difficult or impossible using traditional tools?
Carlo: It has been very successful. We have seen students printing less and the need for computer labs has also decreased. The Chromebooks have made it possible for students to do research, collaborate, and create products for evaluation. Even with these devices in the hands of students, there is still a need for a variety of devices in the school. For example we still have 4 heavily booked computer labs and I sign out a large number of iPads from the library. I like the way that the devices are always with the student and easily accessible. Whereas, with the old model we had to go the devices. It has really caused many teachers to rethink their lessons. With facts so easy to pull up on the device, teachers have moved to higher order questions and help students develop their problem solving skills.
Doug: If a stranger walked off the street and into your library, describe what they might see on a typical day in the life of Mr. Fusco’s library …
Carlo: Libraries have changed considerably since I was a student. I have removed all the desktop computers from the Library and replaced them with mobile devices such as Chromebooks and iPads. I have programmed a couple of microcomputers to provide digital signage throughout the Library. I have created locations where students can sit in comfortable chairs and sofas, study quietly, work collaboratively, and even find a book. I also schedule classes into the library to teach them about the virtual library and digital citizenship. I created a short video about my library for Treasure Mountain Canada 5 that was held in Winnipeg last year — http://bit.ly/mylibrary18
Doug: You had the experience of being the ECOO co-chair for the Bring IT, Together Conference in Niagara Falls. How did that work for you? Do you have any stories to share about the planning or the conference itself?
Carlo: The Bring IT Together Conference is a large conference with many moving parts. I have always been on other side as an attendee and presenter, I don’t think I was quite prepared for the size of the conference. I missed a few things along the way but the feedback has been very positive. The conference is completely run by volunteers and it is a lot of work. Everyone that contributed deserves to be praised for their commitment to providing quality PD to Ontario educators. I am also quite pleased that the role of Co-Chair has gone to Jaclyn Calder. She brings a lot of experience with her and she will do a great job.
Since I have since stepped down as co-chair, I have been focussing on smaller events such as the upcoming Digital Citizenship Summit at OISE on October 27. I have also had the opportunity to present at various conferences and will be giving a keynote session later this month at the TCDSB.
Doug: Good luck with that. I follow a couple of superintendents from the TCDSB and they really appear to be at the top of their game.
On your blog, you had a series called “3 Qs with …” and then podcasts with a number of educators. How did you get started with this?
Carlo: I started “3 Qs with …” as an exercise in podcasting. I really didn’t know how to do it, so I just did it. I learned that the voice recorder app was good enough to conduct a short interview. I also learned about hosting the audio files and how to get them onto the iTunes store. As for the subject matter, I have met and learned from so many innovative teachers that I wanted others to share in my experience. That is why I interview educators that have taught me something.
Doug: What successes did you enjoy with this format?
Carlo: It has been well received. On average, each podcast has been listened to about 100 times. That is more than I expected. The problem now is that I have fallen out of the habit of recording new interviews. I have become so engrossed in my conversations with other educators that I forget to record them. That is something I want to change, I want to share my learning with others.
Doug: It will be good if you do decide to get back on the podcasting train.
On your website, you have a list of various presentations that you’ve given. I know one that I’ve noticed you give frequently is “Understanding Your Digital Footprint”. Can you tell us about this presentation? What is the key message you’re trying to deliver?
Carlo: That is one of the most requested talks I do. Originally, I developed it for my Grade 11 lesson on Digital Citizenship. Our school Parent Council heard about it and wanted it presented to them. Since then I have also given it at an OSSTF PD Day event, for the Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy, and I will be sharing it with the TCDSB later this month. It is full of information about how we leave a trail online, especially on social media. The big message is that people will infer what they know about you based on what they observe on social media and that you need to be responsible. That is the reason I give it to Grade 11’s every year. I want them to start cleaning up their online persona’s before they go looking for employment.
Doug: With your big background of diverse experiences, I can’t imagine seeing you sitting still. What’s next for Carlo Fusco?
Carlo: The good news is that I will be going back into the classroom next year. I will still be the Teacher-Librarian at WCI, but, I will also be teaching 1 section of Grade 11 Pre-AP Chemistry. I am also excited to be working with people such as Jennifer Casa Todd, Tina Zita, and Mark Carbone to organize the first Digital Citizenship Summit in Canada.
Doug: Thank you for sharing so much information, Carlo. We appreciate it.
You can follow Carlo here:
- Twitter: @mrfusco
- Blog: https://fusco.ca/
- Presentations: https://fusco.ca/presentations/
- Waterloo Collegiate Institute Library Learning Commons – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDlQi2WnviW5bvLfuD1hK5A?reload=9
- Treasure Mountain Canada 5 – http://bit.ly/mylibrary18
Periodically, I interview interesting people like Carlo for this blog. You can check out all of the interviews here.