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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End of a year, start of another….

The holiday season is always a time to reflect upon the past year.  The activities and accomplishments of the past year are always interesting to think about but it’s a great time to begin planning forward.  I have had a very busy fall working with educators across Ontario as they work to embed technology into their classroom practice as part of their daily practice.  Shifting from a paradigm of the technology “event” to effective learning that happens to use technology.  We have some wonderful educators in the province who are doing great things with their students every day.

The challenge is in moving our system leaders forward to ensure that we move from pockets of exemplary practice to school and system wide foci.  It’s difficult striking that balance between the data, the practice and the professional learning.  I honestly believe that we have to involve our system leaders, and classroom teachers in learning that looks like what learning should be in 2011.  Heck, we are ten years into the 21st century, what are we waiting for?

As educators we need to join the rest of the world.  Digital literacy isn’t really new, it’s literacy reflected in a variety of different media, if you are an educator in this day and age and don’t get this I’m a little worried.  21st century learning is now, not something to plan for, when do we stop referring to this like it is some rare breed of learning and just start engaging in it?  New media that we refer to isn’t so new, education is just slow to notice and embrace it.

I think this is an exciting time for learning, we have such easy access to information and such opportunity to shift learning so that students of all ages can participate and direct their learning needs.  It’s a shame that systems are so slow to change.  Yes, change is scary but it is inevitable so why not give it a shot?

The new year will bring me challenges and changes and I welcome them.  I look forward to my own learning in the coming year and can’t wait to share with all of learning colleagues.

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