Staff Learning & Capturing Voice

Learning alongside is powerful and builds collective efficacy that nutures relationships, trust and risk-taking. On April 9th, 2013, the @AncasterSrPS Grade 8 teaching staff and I spent time learning together with @bloggucation and @mrjarbenne. The day’s theme focussed on sharing their wonderings and questions about our Grade 8 students transitioning to high school. The “how” was what was different because the day was designed to allow self-directed learning and choice.  We were learning through collaboration with tech tools that foster openness, transparency and choice in how to contribute.  The powerful learning was embedded in the staff choice and experiencing different ways of how one can express their thinking and ask questions.

Staff were learning as individuals because one size does not fit all. The key: leveraging the affordances of technology is the best way to go whenever possible because it allows one to express their thoughts in connected ways via text, image, video, audio creating optimal learning conditions focussed on choice.

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Snow Day is a Learning Day

I’m a wee bit late.  Sorry about that.  Better late than never, right?  Very excited to be joining in the #ETMOOC.

Here’s how it happened.  Keep your eyes open and imagine snow, sleet and ice.  Yes, that’s right today was a snow day in my part of the world. Schools closed. It happens in Ontario, Canada.

Snow Day

But that doesn’t mean learning and connecting stops for me.  I’m a connected learner. I couldn’t wait to fire up and mine twitter.  It’s been awhile that I’ve dedicated a whole day to just learning what I want to learn. Just exploring what I want to explore for a whole day. What a treat. Let me say, when you do spend a day like this learning, exploring and going wherever you happen to go, magic happens!

Today was a wonderful day of DIY learning.  Today was a day of blissful connected messy learning.  I was all by myself yet very much not alone.  Does that make sense? Sure it does.

So, that’s how I found #ETMOOC.  I’m thankful and looking forward to learning together with everyone.

Snow days are still learning days. Every day is a learning day.

A Collaborative Learning Culture in the Digital-Age

This week Jared Bennett and I presented at the ECOO 2012 Conference themed Learning in the NOW Century. This post shares about a component of the presentation.

The importance and necessity of creating a collaborative learning culture with others isn’t new. In fact, it’s actually quite quotidien in life because we are social beings who inherently want to share and collaborate with each other.  What’s different today is in the how. In today’s digital-age, we are able to collaborate differently through the use of technology and web-based applications.  We can share our thinking, ask questions, make decisions, solve problems, create plans and design solutions through online collaboration. Sustained collaboration that stretches beyond the face-to-face and document exchanges via e-mail transfer. Continue reading

To Share Is To Learn

Knowledge is power. NO. Knowledge is power when it is shared with others. YES.   Sharing your knowledge and thinking can be done in many ways.  It can be done using words, images, actions and numbers.  Why do we share?  We share because it is social and we are social beings. Sharing is learning and about helping others.

What we know, what’s around us, who we are, what we do and why we do it, who we connect with all helps to define us and build our knowledge. Our life experiences shape who we are and sharing about them allows us to learn, reflect and grow.  To share empowers us to all to be learners.

So, how do we share?  It can be done face-to-face and online. We listen, discuss, question, read, demonstrate, create, inquire and so much more. In today’s world, social networking tools have made the sharing of knowledge so open, transparent, accessible and global.   A key benefit of participating, engaging, and sharing your knowledge leveraging social networking tools is that you build a portfolio, a digital footprint and legacy that is open.  Openness. Continue reading

Is Your Connectedness Showing?

The Web is connection.  It’s about how google, twitter, skype, text, facebook,webinar, podcasts, blog posts, skype, wiki and so on connects us.   Thankfully, the list can, does and will go on and on. I’m grateful for my connectedness and how it shows.  There are limitless ways to connect in today’s digital world. This is how we live and learn. Today, I tap, tap my fingers on my keyboard to ask my principal and vice-principal colleagues:  Is your connectedness showing?

Interestingly, it often seems there is a tendency for many leaders to disconnect during the summer because our feet are not planted in the classrooms, hallways, offices nor playgrounds of our face-to-face physical spaces. In fact, come to think of it, I haven’t heard from many of you except for those who I connect with online and in the cloud. Why is that?  Why does the prefix dis come into play in our connected world? Being connected is not bound by time nor place in today’s digital world.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.   Continue reading

Open Post To My Team

Thank you team.  It has been an honour and a privilege to learn and lead alongside with you for the past two years. This post is one that celebrates and reflects on the past two years in my role as the Principal of the 21st Century Fluencies Team, a part of the HWDSB Leadership and Learning Department.

Our vision and strategy and what we do as instructional leaders matters so very much in today’s world of education.  We are about learning with staff and breaking new ground in creating the learning conditions that engage all, conditions that leverage technology, the connectedness of the web and impact how, when and where students and staff learn. Continue reading

On ‘Being’ in Social Media

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. – Carl Jung

What does it mean to be? For me, being is about understanding who I am as an individual and also, who I am as part of a collective. How I live as an individual and how I live with others and the world around me defines who I am. In today’s world, we all have many roles in our onground and online lives that define us and our relationships, ultimately creating the life we live. There is choice and our actions as an individual and interactions with others impact the depth and breadth of who we are or possibly who we could or might be. So, who am I?
Here’s a word cloud on ‘being’ me:

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Scoping Out Policy & 21st Century Learning

Policy development.  Might sound a tad boring, somewhat seemingly mired in long arduous meetings, and possibly not so much connected to 21st century learning. Not the case from where I sit these days, not at all. It’s been very interesting research and shifted my thinking about how authentic real-world learning and working needs to be woven into how a policy is written and eventually implemented.  No question, there is a policy development lag as it relates to learning and working in the 21st century in the K-12 education world.  I along with other HWDSB staff have been doing a significant amount of research on policy development as it relates to: social media, acceptable use, BYOD, internet safety and more.  Here is our diigo collection for your reference on one of our key areas of focus: Digital Citizenship & Ethics.

What I found is that most policies only contend with what one might call operations or directives of 21st century learning and working not the vision of what it means to learn and work in the 21st century. Continue reading