EdcampTO

I attended EdcampTO this past weekend, my first Edcamp experience.  In this challenging political climate, it was such a great way to re-energize and re-connect with folks who are passionate about learning and education. 

Things I really liked about Edcamp:

  • Not an exclusive audience, we had parents, business people, higher education representatives, public and privately funded education stakeholders.
  • The grassroots approach to developing the agenda
  • The passion for learning by all those in attendance
  • Connections to other learners through twitter
  • The explicit understanding that we were all reflective learners and intend to share our thoughts, reflections and big questions in an online context

For the past four years I have had the luxury of being surrounded by reflective, connected learners in my work environment in addition to my personal learning network.  This year I am back in a school where my colleagues have a very diverse understanding and approach to their own learning, so the Edcamp experience feeds my need.

Best of all, this learning experience reaffirmed my own understanding that learning both online and offline is really all about the relationships.  Thanks to Edcamp I was immersed in the best of both worlds.

I know that this won’t be my last Edcamp so  I’m looking forward to Edcamp Waterloo, Peel and Hamilton!

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Reflections on the ISTE Conference

Three days at the massive ISTE conference in Philadelphia has me really thinking about educational technology, professional learning, and our needs in a Canadian context. I found that the bulk of the offerings were focused on tools,rather than teaching. Frankly I was disappointed by this. Having never attended this conference I had hoped that there would be stronger offerings by leaders in education that focused on implementation of change in teaching and learning to reflect a 21st Century context. This was not the case.

ISTE promotes it’s international status, but I found myself continually being referred to the American context. Being the polite Canadian that I am, I kept these thoughts to myself until I connected with several Australians who had the same thoughts. I’m thinking that Canada and Australia have much to share and learn from each other and will be looking for opportunities to connect and continue to learn from these new colleagues.

Things I enjoyed most at ISTE: connecting and sharing with like minded professionals in the unstructured caves, over dinner and lunch. Loved learning about the research conducted by Dr. Sofia Pardo and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Rob Mancabelli was a new voice working with @willrich45 great discussion about moving yah but to change. Enjoyed the masterful facilitation skills of Scott McLeod in the Tech Savvy Principals session and all the TSP’s on the panel and I thought that Roger Pryor from Australia did a wonderful job of integrating multiple modes of teaching into his discussion about change and planning forward for our learners.

Overall, ISTE had many sessions that certainly made me think. Philadelphia was a wonderful host city, and I have much to ponder over the summer as I take a break and plan for next year’s learning adventure.

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ASI2010: Creating my reflection now :)

ASI2010I had grand ideas back at ASI 2010.  Yup, I was going to blog every session and idea that occurred throughout the three days.  The one thing I forgot about was the fact that I was an MC on day one, and was presenting three different hands on sessions.  At the end of each day I was exhausted, exhiliarated but in no state to write a blog post!

Now reviewing my cryptic notes, and rethinking the three days I have time to reflect just a month later!  The bonus of being on the program committee is that we get to review the feedback and I have to say it was rewarding to see that our work on the conference was well received.  My intuitive response to how the three days progressed was a very positive one and the data supported my intuition.

All of our feedback indicated that our keynote speakers Alec Couros from University of Regina, Garfield Gini-Newman from OISE and Bill Muirhead from UOIT set the tone for the conference and each speaker built upon the learning introduced by the previous speaker.  We could not have asked for a better combination of speakers or such a positive response!

Things I need to review:  RIP:  A remix manifesto, Eric Whittacre’s crowdsourced music, Why I hate IWB article.

My favorite analogy:  Personalized Learning ….choosing your own adventure!

Need to think more about:  the changing role of the teacher, the need to customize and personalize our learning and the need to respect everyone’s learning needs.  Need to examine how power is shifting with just in time learning that is removing walls, changing the need for timetables and shifting/disrupting traditional visions of educational environments.

Preparing for ASI2010

After a warm, restful summer it’s time to get my head in gear for another great ABEL Summer Institute.  Time for me to kick off the 2010/2011 school year with great professional learning, networking and an opportunity to reconnect with like minded, energetic educators.

This year I find myself prepping for three professional learning sessions!  As always, I look forward to the input I will receive for those who will join me in my sessions.  Additionally, I am really looking forwards to meeting up with our keynote speaker Dr. Alec Couros.  I am looking forward to discussing open networked learning with him and engaging our ASI delegates in this discussion.

ASI runs August 23, 24, 25th at York University in Toronto.  I will be tweeting comments along with the rest of the delegates, as well as blogging each day.  I look forward to sharing the discussions both here in my blog and on

Twitter!  #ASI2010  Join me!

Reading about Leadership

I spent most of the afternoon sitting in the sunshine, reading in my garden.  Although, I am usually the one with the latest novel in her hand this time of year, I have been reading articles by Michael Fullan, excerpts from Douglas Reeves books and reflecting upon conversations I have been having with district leaders over the past few months.  I am always impressed when I seemed to be faced with a convergence of ideas and lately that has been happening from many different perspectives.

I think I am very fortunate to work in a district with both the vision and the leadership to move educators forwards towards a changing vision of classroom instruction.  One that reflects all of the ideas I have been reading about where Principals and Vice Principals are becoming effective Instructional Leaders, the development of Professional Learning Networks are beginning to make the classroom walls disappear.  It’s so great to hear educators have effective professional discourse about their classroom practice and see how school communities are reaching out to parents to help involve them in their child’s learning.

Now I am waiting to see our district take the next step, where we take all of this exemplary pedagogy and connect it to the multiple literacies of 21st Century learning.  Where our Professional Learning Networks move beyond district towards a self directed model of professional learning that all teachers engage in.  I can’t wait to see real learning be truly connected to schools again.  We are getting closer…..