PSA Day – Blogathon

network34As a professional, reflection takes up a large part of our lives. Active choices stem from reflective moments steering our professional learning.  Ultimately that learning reflects back into our classrooms with students. 

We were privileged to spend Friday with a group of K-12 teachers and student teachers at Burnaby Central. Titled “Blogathon“, it provided an opportunity to experience the social media world with our blogs. Goals of the participants ranged from a basic understanding of how to communicate using social media, how it could be used to have students dialogue with each other (increasing literacy skills), how it flattens the classroom by inviting experts and other schools (critical thinking), how to share information with parents and community (green friendly world), how to use blogs as a vehicle for formative assessment, how to integrate various web tools as teaching/learning workflow, how digital citizenship plays a key role today.

Beyond the basics, we looked at images and resizing (even the new copyright changes), using widgets to extend information [News Announcement, T-Countdown, Google Language Translator, MailPoet (as subscription), Gravity Forms (surveys)…]
*Written instructions can be found under LEARNING HUB > BLOGS > HOW TO

Throughout the day, participants explored, created, extended comfort levels as well as shared their experiences and challenged personal thinking. What vividly stood out was the collaborative nature of learning; fully hands-on, dynamic, open, questioning and connecting.  Comfort was felt in jumping over and helping others – result was empowerment of others as well as a spark that the ‘helper’ knew more than they thought.  And yes, there were frustrating moments when the technology didn’t work.  The experience served to provide other avenues of learning. Patience was a virtue and we had lots of chances to practice that.
Some snippets of overheard conversations:

  • This is amazing… I can see how this would work in my language arts program
  • You can’t be serious – I can use the ipads with the students to go directly to the blog. This is live ideas gathering if we use Padlet on the blog. 
  • (eyes sparkled) I’ve been waiting for this for a long time; Gravity Forms will ‘change my life’ (in how I can assess)
  • I can’t wait to teach this to my class…it’s more than I hoped for. I can use the math lesson, capture it, put it on the blog and have students discuss it on the blog.
  • You mean I can actually send my news to parents automatically! What will you think of next?
  • I love the web tools – picmonkey, edu.symbaloo, padlet, pixabay… They’re going to love learning these.
  • There’s so much – this is so much fun. I want more.

The success of any Pro-D happens at the intersection between the relationships, environment and the desire to seek out and grow. These are growth mindset opportunities to be in an ‘ideas incubator’ to construct new knowledge, deconstruct obstacles and be re-energized on the journey.

What was your PSA day like? I would love to hear. 

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Digital Citizenship

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Happy new year. Like all new years, it is a time of  anticipation and new beginnings. Especially with all the technological changes that our students have at their fingertips. While they may be really comfortable at texting and bouncing from one interchange to another, there is a significant difference when using technologies for organized multiple  purposes. Powerful research skills, understanding bias in published content, online communication and decision making all need practice to be proficient. Questions such as how do we teach internet safety, what happens to our digital footprint, how do we engage in dialogue on cyberbullying,  what about copyright as we consume and create online, what about privacy, are all front and center in our lives. These topics can all fit under the larger umbrella of Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship.

Digital Citizenship might be described as the ability to integrate technologies to fully engage in  an increasingly global and digital world. These skills or competencies reflect the need to analyze, learn and explore a world, that for the most part has not yet been conceived. A bit daunting, yet each topic area can be broken down. The key is to purposefully embed these into your everyday curriculum from early elementary upwards.

Over the next months and year, we will be actively delving into this area with practical ways that support the classroom.  You can start by joining us at our District Pro-D on February 21st.   Come and be a part of the developing journey as it unfolds. More information and registration will be in the District Pro-D calendar.

Nov-Dec Happenings

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Our November-December newsletter is now published.  Read what’s new and exciting in our district.   As well (sd41), you might not have been aware that you can take advantage of purchasing MS Office for home use (only $11).

Click here for this edition.
Or select the tab > Newsletters to find all issues.

A New Year – Lean into Possible Futures

summer beachTeaching is an awesome profession. Where else can you [every year or even every day for that matter] have “start overs” and be inspired by “creative ….   and engage in “possible futures”.  A new year to uncover new ideas and explore more deeply the rich ecologies we create.  And to grow into them – the journey is the most exciting.

Over the summer, I was able to engage in quite a few things to rejuvenate my soul [sleep, relaxation, the spa, visiting family and friends, reading a ton of books, rebuilding my running routine].  And I lucked out in participating in my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course); this one #clmooc [Making Learning Connected MOOC] was pretty casual, something that my summer brain could handle.  People offered their renditions of “makes” and “remixes” [handy terms for creative play and crafting] so I was able to see lots of examples [something I needed].  I explored a few tools and platforms and wondered how to bring them purposefully into our educational ecology – still mulling.  More importantly I experienced a community of supportive people who provided encouraging and thoughtful feedback.  What a feeling – it made me want to try more.  And even my failures were short-lived. I kept trying simply because I received responses from others. This got me thinking about how we engage with our students and teachers. I wonder when offering new experiences to teachers in PD or students how much time we spend on creating environments or ecologies that truly allow for everyone to experience and grow into the possible. What would these ecologies look like?  And how would these environments capture learning to reflect, extend, or include?

For those of you in our district, consider dropping into our online district Staff Development Calendar [frequently] and join a community to learn and grow with each other.  There are many opportunities.  Or perhaps create a community for others to join you.  Would love to hear how you’re creating ecologies and leaning into emerging possibilites.