doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Post #BIT18

It’s always a thrill for me to sit back after a conference and reflect on my learning.  This year was no different with the Bring IT, Together 18 conference.  Sadly, I  came to the game with a cold that’s been hanging around for a week and a half now.  It resulted in not being able to stay for the entire conference as I was afraid of falling asleep on the drive home.  The fact that I’m typing this should be an indication that I was successful.

So, here are my reflections…

It was a challenge to attend the conference from Tuesday to Thursday rather than the Wednesday to Friday that I’ve done for years.  I always seemed to be off track thinking it was one day and not another.


It’s a long drive made even longer by the construction on the 401.  I had to stop and get the door prize for the Annual General Meeting.  Now, I’m sure my friends in Hamilton know the town like the back of their hands.  But, getting off The Linc and then back on by going around the block didn’t work out for me.  I did manage to stay on “Upper” roads and finally got back on.

I’d had enough freeway driving by the time I got to St. Catharines so exited at the 406 to get down to Thorold Stone Road.  It’s always a hoot to go through the tunnel and go under the Welland Canal.  It’s a nice drive and gets you where you want to go easily.

Upon checking in, I headed over to the convention centre where the committee was hard at it.  I helped out a bit but then met Vice-President Peter McAsh and we were off to do some work for the board.  A break for a quick supper and we seemed to be ready to go.


The Workshop Day of the three day conference is always special.  It’s just nice to roll up your sleeves and get to the learning.  That, of course for me, means Minds on Media.  It’s always a treat to see what Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen have on the go.  There was a great deal of coding this year and it was interesting to tour the circuit and see the different approaches to things.  I was so pleased to see former colleagues at a MoM station.  I spent waaaay too much time catching up!

In the afternoon, Stephen Hurley and I teamed up for the voicEd Radio session.  Stephen led with his inclusive philosophy and had the group engaged in discussion.  He was expecting a small number but there was a nice group about three times the expected size.  We did our radio show live in front of the group and with the group.  Normally, I’d be running around the room with the mobile microphone but that wouldn’t be wise with my cold so Stephen did the job.  He got some great interaction from those in the audience.

For supper, Peter McAsh had connected with a former student who brought his boss to the conference.  It was a wonderfully geeky conversation.


The main conference kicked off with a keynote presentation.  Lots of energy, thoughts, and Dave Cormier had us thinking, particularly where Coding is concerned.  My biggest takeaway was to investigate the word “prosocial”.

My Session!  I took some time to put together a presentation with my thoughts about Hyperdocs.  The big message that I wanted to deliver was that there was a whole world beyond doing a simple Google Doc with links in it.  I had a great discussion at the end with a teacher whose board doesn’t allow access to Google Docs and so she appreciated how I showed how it could be done in Office 365 and highlighted Cal Armstrong’s post about using OneNote.  It was a real treat to have a former student in the session too!

I thought I might sneak down to the Exhibit Hall and boy, was that a mistake!  I ended up completely engaged in conversations there.  There were actually people working for different companies so I had to catch up with that.

For lunch, it was time for the Annual General Meeting.  It’s the best secret of the conference.  Rather than brave the long food lines, we had our own station.  I gave a quick overview of the 2017/2018 Board of Directors accomplishments.  (It will be posted to the website at some point.)  But, it was a real pleasure to hand out Life Membership to Presidents and Conference Chairs from the past.  These people are real builders and we’re only able to do what we can do today thanks to their efforts.


  • Chris Stephenson
  • Greg Weiler  
  • Tim Hawes  
  • Bill Mackenzie
  • Mark W. Carbone  
  • Doug Peterson

Conference Chairs

  • Geoff Day  
  • Brenda Sherry  
  • Doug Peterson
  • Cyndie Jacobs  
  • Harry Niezen    
  • Jaclyn Calder

Harry Niezen gave us his final financial report and he’s leaving with the organization in great shape.  Harry has been the rock of ECOO for so long for me.  He will be missed and he contributed so much in his work for the organization.

The new Board of Directors, or at least those who had their names submitted on time was introduced.

It was time for another quick walk about the Exhibit Hall before a meeting of the new Board of Directors.

  • Peter McAsh, President
  • Andy Forgrave, Vice-President
  • Treasurer, unfilled
  • Secretary, current two candidates
  • Adele Stanfield, Director at Large
  • Jen Apgar, Director at Large
  • Ramona Meharg, Director at Large
  • Doug Peterson, Past President

The reception!  A real highlight was ECOO giving out two Making IT Happen awards.

  • Aviva Dunsiger
  • Kim Gill

Then the reception and door prizes.  I was informed by the new President that I wasn’t eligible.  That was too bad.  I could jump up and down as well as anyone if I won some of those terrific prizes.

Waterloo Region District School Board is implementing the Google CS First program and were fortunate to have Chris Stephenson there for a catch up meeting.  I got invited to attend as an observer by Becky Rouse.  It was a great discussion.  The leaders are going deep with this with great questions and observations.

A quick burger for supper and then it was back to the Convention Centre for the showing of “To The Orcas, With Love”.  I’ve blogged about that previously.


I don’t know why I’m not kicking this cold.  I’m not getting pretty good at the elbow bump rather than the handshake.

I had breakfast with the Kings – Max, Alana, and Tim.  Tim gave me a preview of his presentation so I just had to attend.

“The 21st Century is 3d ready, are you?” – With all the discussion of high level processing with CGI, I was taking notes on my Chromebook.  I could have asked Tim if there was something that would run on it but I would have been laughed out of the room.  It was really interesting and Tim shared with us how he stays on top of things.

I had to sneak in to Emily Fitzpatrick’s session about Google Stuff.  Just when I found a seat in the very packed ballroom, I got taken aside for a conversation.  Grrrr.

Then, it was up to see Alana King’s session “Process and Portfolio: Digital sanity savers for tired teachers”.  It was one of those presentations that never finish.  She had way more information to share than time allotted.  I’m looking forward to digging through her presentation.  I thought she did an exemplary job of using Kahoot! for professional development.

At this point, I was starting to fade quickly so I figured I’d better hit the road in order to make it home.  Needless to say, I was disappointed to do so; it’s the first time I’ve ever ducked out early but safety first.

And, like most conferences – great connections and way too many good sessions and too little time.


4 responses to “Post #BIT18”

  1. That was a wicked recap…it was nice to relive it through your eyes. The four of us did the same on the 407 – 401 to home drive as well. Our minds are full, the time we had together incredibly privileged and some how as tired as we all were – we were energized to find space in our practice to make changes and fit new learning into our learning with children and educators. The world is vast and changing at a pace that is incomprehensible – BIT18 slowed it down and brought it close. Thank you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your great week! It sounds like a wonderful one! I really hope you feel better soon.



  3. Sounds like a great event. I wish I could make it some time. In any case, one thing I wanted to say is that time spent catching up with friends in real life is always time well spent. So glad you got to do it.


  4. Thanks so much for sharing your learning, Doug! I felt like I was attending a parallel conference to you in some ways – I would spot you occasionally in the distance, as I was heading to one activity or another. I think I have to start getting up at a more reasonable hour so that I can have breakfast with people!
    I will get my own reflections out this week, with luck. It was a great conference, with much learning to be shared!


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