Headed to Niagara Falls


By the time this post goes live, I’ll be up and getting things ready tomorrow morning for the trip to Niagara Falls and the Bring IT, Together Conference.

Things are a little different this year; knock wood but I don’t have the bad cold that I did last year. That was brutal. I didn’t want to get in the proximity of anyone. That makes for a lonely conference.

It seems like a long time since 2013 and 2014. Those were the years that Cyndie Jacobs and I co-chaired the conference. It also was the beginning of a relationship with the folks at OASBO-ICT. That sparks good memories like Cathy Their’s amazing organizing ability and Chris Demers leading the jam sessions for musicians.

I have so many good memories (albeit after the fact) of worrying that moving to the beautiful new convention centre might not be a good move financially. As it turned out, we made an amazing amount of profit in those years with jam packed attendance. So many, in fact, that our successors were considering moving away from the theatre since it was standing room only for us. I also remember impressing upon the centre for the need for really good wifi and the assurances that it was there and then the panic when they sat in the control room noting that everyone in the audience had at least one screen in front of them! Never underestimate teachers.

Cyndie and I and a terrific committee has a couple of great years marked by ensuring that there were administration, technical and French language strands for those in attendance. We also had a self-driven mission to ensure that there were significant social events so that the collegiality could extend well into the evening hours. It’s nice to see that this has continued.

I’ve given a hand to subsequent committees as a member and just for being asked since then. Of course, last year, I was president of ECOO and past-president this year.

I’ve gone to conferences hosted by ECOO for years and do typically offer to do a session. It’s also good memories to think of the locations over the years for the event. Who could forget the Regal Constellation and all the spacey rooms? Or the night the power went out in Toronto! I’ve led discussions, workshops, break-out sessions, worked and presented at Minds on Media, and have been a featured speaker as well. I’ve never had the pleasure of doing an Ignite or Keynote session.

I also have a fond memory of the team approach to addressing Web 2.0 in the classroom with my good friend Zoe Branigan-Pipe. She still claims that her team beat mine.

So, what’s in the books for this year? I went back to see what sessions I had selected when I registered. I remember it being a tough job and I can see why. I hope that I actually get to go to those sessions. I’m a sucker for getting hijacked by others and losing my sense of time in the Exhibit Hall. I’m looking forward to Derek Tangredi as keynote; he was phenomenal at #ECOOcamp Owen Sound. I haven’t heard Angela Stockman speak before so this will be a treat.

Beyond that, Stephen Hurley and I will be broadcasting our This Week in Ontario Edublogs show live from the conference floor. I normally announce the blog posts on Wednesday but will do it now in case these folks are in attendance and want to join us. Stephen says his new mobile setup has four microphones so there’s room. Here’s what is on tap.

  • Cyber Dissonance: The Struggle for Access, Privacy & Control in our Networked World – Tim King
  • A Journey with Sketchnotes – Tina Zita
  • Walking in a New Way – the Ottawa Indigenous WalkPaul McGuire
  • Autumn Math WalkDeanna McLennan
  • How To Self Engineer A Learning CommunityRola Tibshirani

On Thursday at noon, the ECOO Annual General Meeting will take place. I get to do a couple of things here.

  • Recognize three outstanding ECOO members with Life Membership
  • Introduce the new Board of Directors

And then I’m done. There will be a new past-president and I’m out. I feel a sigh of relief coming on right now.

Above and beyond all of this, the conference is about people and making connections. That’s far and away the most important takeaway. I get immense satisfaction with matching a real life “how are you” with a Twitter or other social media presence. I’ve never been disappointed in that respect. There are just so many Ontario Educators doing so many amazing and interesting things.

It all starts on Wednesday morning and I’m really looking forward to it. Will I see you there? They do take walk-ins if you haven’t registered yet!

#ECOOcamp Peterborough


Following the success of the two #ECOOcamps in Owen Sound, the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) is pleased to be working with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board to bring you #ECOOcamp Peterborough.

ECOOcampPTBO

This will be ECOO’s first summer #ECOOcamp – look to a full day of learning on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.  #ECOOcamp Peterborough will provide participants with practical hands-on learning just in time for the 2019-20 school year.

Once again, ECOO will be using the services of TeachOntario to collect and share resources and discussions. 

http://www.ecoo.org/ecoocamp

Registration is now open here.

Pre #BIT14 Interview with Derrick Schellenberg and Brian Aspinall


Michelle Cordy (@cordym on Twitter) continued her series of interviews leading to the Bring IT, Together Conference in Niagara Falls on November 5-7, 2014.

Last night, she talked to Derrick Schellenberg (@Mr_Schellenberg) and Brian Aspinall (@mraspinall) about their sessions.  This time, the focus was on inquiry in the classroom.  Both Derrick and Brian have TLLP projects and they served as the basis for the interview.

It was a rainy, rainy night here last night and I was unable to get a good, reliable connection to watch the interview live last night.  There are parts of the interview where internet connections were definitely an issue.  I guess I don’t have a monopoly on that.  Anyway, you can enjoy the interview since it was recorded.

Look for shout outs to Royan Lee, David Fife, and James Cowper and their blogs.

Michelle’s previous interviews leading into the #BIT14 conference…

A #BIT14 Twitter Chat


A number of Ontario (and other places … first two participants were from Australia and Singapore) educators came together for the first of a number of Twitter Chats leading into the 2014 Bring IT, Together Conference.  The conference will be held in Niagara Falls, ON on November 5-7.  There are still a few days for people to submit session proposals for the conference so the hopes were that the content of the chat might lend some inspiration for those experiencing writer’s block getting their proposals ready.  The topic?

“Your biggest challenge integrating technology into the classroom/school”.

A Storify of the chat transcript is located here.

chat

A big thanks to those who joined in.  Look for another chat in the near future designed to get people thinking and meeting about computer and technology before the actual conference.

Call for Presenters–#BIT14


ECOO members received an email yesterday announcing the Call for Presenters for the 2014 Bring IT, Together.  In case your announcement got caught in a spam filter, you missed it, or you’re not an ECOO member, the message appears below.

image

I had previously announced that the calls were open in a blog post “Get Your Keyboard Out #BIT14”.

Already announced are keynote speakers Richard Byrne from “Free Technology 4 Teachers” and George Couros, “The Principal of Change”.  Look for more details as they get confirmed.

A direct link to the “Call for Proposals” can be found here.

Please consider submitting a proposal if you’re doing something with technology that really works well in your classroom and/or there’s a topic that you’re passionate about.  It would be great to have you on the program.

This is the only conference for Ontario Educators by Ontario Educators in the province.  Plan now to be in Niagara Falls, ON for November 5, 6, 7, 2014.

Microsoft at #ECOO13


One of the real benefits of the partnership between ECOO and OASBO ICT at the recent #ECOO13 conference was the opportunities for exhibitors that normally visit one conference to have access to both groups.  And, to the attendees, they could visit exhibitors that they would not normally see.  One of these exhibitors for the traditional ECOO attendee was having Microsoft on the Exhibit Floor.  Personally, I can’t recall the last time that Microsoft had a presence at the conference.

The company definitely had a big presence and I really liked the white comfy chairs where you could drop in to take a load off and chat with any of the folks that were around.

Their influence went further than just the Exhibit Floor.  On the Wednesday workshop day, they sponsored a keynote speaker and a full day of workshops at the event they called the Microsoft Meet-up.  For the conference attendee, it was an opportunity to experience some very Microsoft things like Office 365, XBOX Kinect, Lync and Skype, and more.

In preliminary talks with the folks at Microsoft, I shared with my experience with the Global Partners in Learning Summit from a couple of years ago.  Alfred Thompson, who at the time was their educational evangelist, had invited me to attend their event as a member of the “press”, or more appropriately I guess, the media.  My media, of course, was this blog and it generated a number of posts.

The sad thing was, before the invitation, I had no idea about the Partners in Learning Program.  Do you?  However, having been at this event with the networking and seeing the great things on display, it was an event I will never forget.  So, for the complete Meet-up, there was an opportunity for Ontario Educators to learn about the Partners in Learning Program.

Partners in Learning is just a part of the bigger Windows in the Classroom Program.  Obviously, something as big as this can’t be fully shared and on display at a three-day conference.  I would encourage you to follow the link and take a look at what all is available.  You may be surprised.  So often we think of Microsoft as the provider of Windows and maybe the Office Suite.  There’s so much more.

They even sponsored the conference bags.  When I first saw them, I said to a friend that they were so big that you could put a class set of laptops in there.  They proved to be very popular and people were seen with this bag fully jammed with swag, computers, and even coats.

I hope that Microsoft found working with teachers as well as the technical side of the house beneficial.  It would be nice to see them as regular participants for the annual conference.

Day 1 at BringITTogether #ECOO13


I am tired.

But, very happy.

There were a few fires to put out at the first of the day of #ECOO13 and I’m convinced that the internet can never be your friend if you’re running a conference but beyond that, what a day!

The Google Spot was huge.  I was hoping to be able to sit in and take a look but there literally was no room.  The attendance at DJ’s keynote just filled the ballroom.  So, I thought I would go next door and sit in on the French session.  Things were going well until the conference walkie-talkie picked up conversation between people in the building.  My apologies, Lise and Pierre.  Sigh.

I toured the Minds on Media.  There’s so much good learning happening there.  Collaborating in groups was the order of the day.  Extra internet access points provided the needed network access.  I did get a smile.  Those who were running the event were tinkering with the best of them!  I saw a remote controlled helicopter and a Promethean table in action.

The food was awesome – a bunch of us dined in The Learning Space and I made my first tour of the Exhibit Hall. I just had to take his picture outside the Promethean bus as they were hanging up some T-shirts on a clothes line.

I finally solved an identity problem.  For months now, I’ve been interacting with cubeforteachers.ca.  An old friend came up to chat during a break and identified himself – not in the life I know him from but his new role as the social media presence for the Cube.  It was a nice, nerdy conversation about PHP and SQL.  Good stuff.

There was the usual round of trouble shooting.  Some things were easily solved; others required a little more thinking!

The ultimate though was the opportunity to meet the many people I interact with online in a face to face situation.  Ontario Educators are such a great bunch.  Friendly.  Open.  Collaborative.

Lost!   It’s the first time at a new location and there must be some scientific reason, being so close to the Falls.  The helpful conference committee in the light blue shirts did their best to get people to the right place.

At the end of the day, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

That certainly put the day over the top for me.  I’m looking forward to more of the same on Thursday.