Blended Learning ; kid data

We often research on data that speaks to trends. Sometimes you just have to ask the source. “Innovative Classroom_2014_Trends_in_Digital_Learning_Report (1) is one such resource. I could go on and make a statement about the merits of a blended learning model being implemented, but I think the read is enough to  make one believe that this is the “right thing to do”?



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Ed Camp as Innovation

In my quest for a better way to service learning, I have found some interesting concepts to sink  my teeth into, they are Ed Camp, Design Thinking, Creativity & Innovation, so as I work through an awareness and understanding of these concepts I realize that they are being looked at separately and not holistically.

Now my thinking has changed, I ask myself “What do these things have in common & how can I apply them to learning and change in education?” (Once again I have to thank Malcolm Gladwell for “Blink”, which really made me change the way I think and view interactions and the world.) After reading some work about each of these topics I have now come to the conclusion that separately they must be implemented together to effectively address some of the needs in public education over the next few years.

In design thinking the simple process of brainstorming , becomes a focus of channelling innovation to become a way of improving the learning environment through an appreciative enquiry method; taking what is good in the process and highlighting those ideals and refining what doesn’t work. Ed Camp is the sister to design thinking and works in tandem with the process.

The goal for schools and school districts is to embrace these two ideas simultaneously and create innovation in their environments where collaboration and engagement will improve learning and instruction.

dt_hero_1_626px ed camp

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Innovation & Design

Part of innovation is design, and within these two concepts is the overlying idea of creativity. Design thinking is a way for us to pursue the implementation of creativity in such ways that learning to think differently becomes a natural mindset. Let’s look at a business models of innovation and design thinking



Design thinking may have some short coming with a K-12 perspective , but what it does offer is a way to develop cross content thinking that allows students to start thinking differently. Thus design for innovation is being practices at an earlier age, where engagement and personalized are required.

Forward thinking education will be looking to a more integrated and holistic view of learning for the future. Design thinking is a way to bring this thinking in line with what success in the future will look like.

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New Years Homework; Networking, How Far Can it Go?

My Pay It Forward  homework was to share 11 random facts about myself, thanks Ron, answer the 11 questions provided and invite 11 others to answer 11 questions asked of me and to pass these on to others.  Here’s my 11 random facts, the 11 questions: Let’s see how far this networking goes

My 11 Random Facts

1. My favorite class in High School was English 12.  Mr. Cone’s vivid description of Don Quixote riding across the room with a window opening stick as a joust was unforgettable. So much so, I share this story of English Literature on a regular basis. He brought the written word to life.

2. I was in a Coca Cola Commercial in Holland in 1980 as a member of the Canadian National Team.

3. I shot a hole in one at the Belmont Golf Course in Surrey

4. I hit a kangaroo in Australia while driving in the outback, thought I had killed it only to have it leap up and run off after I had covered it up, it looked like a ghost!

5. My name was given to me after a famous Italian Singer named Claudio Villa; I wish I could sing.

6. My 1976 Fiat Spider was used in a movie scene of an old Disney movie shot in Vancouver in the early 1980’s

7. I met Francis Ford Coppula with my son Taylor and we ate lunch together at his winery and then took a photo.

8. I got to hold the Grey Cup for a day!

9. I sold 2 tickets to the 1994 World Cup Final in Pasadena, California, I regret doing this and will for the rest of my life!

10. We visit California Wine country every year as a vacation place.

11. I met my wife teaching Soccer to communities in Northern B.C.

11 Thinking Questions

1. What keeps you up at night? Worrying about the students in my school that need extra help and how to get it to them!

2. What would you consider comfort food?  Pasta with my Mom’s homemade Bolognese sauce, it got me through university!

3. What’s one thing you would change about your job?  Nothing, I love what I do!

4. What is one thing you would change about schools today? Supports for the diverse learning community

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone?  Find BALANCE in your life! Take care of yourself, emotionally and physically.

6. The biggest inspiration in my life is….?  My family!

7. What was the first music concert you attended?  Aldo Nova at the P.N.E. Coliseum

8. What is the first movie you attended?  Midnight Run –Capital 6 Grandville

9. Other than work, I have a passion for….?  Wine collecting sharing the experience, the history of the winery and the food that goes with it. Nothing better than conversation with  friends over a meal.

10. If you wrote a book, what would the title be?  “How to Trust and be Trusted in Building Relationships”

11. When I grow up I …… will be able to ask more questions than have answers for.

11 random questions for you

1.  What’s your biggest pet peeve? People throwing cigarette butts out of their car window or on the ground. I really, really, hate that!

2. Which teacher had the biggest effect on you? Mr. Cowell, my grade 6 teacher, who showed an interest in my fanatical love of sports. He was able to show how to harness that into learning something else! I thank him for that often!

3.  If you could talk to one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? There are many but the first person that comes to mind is Jack Nicklaus.

4. What would you ask them? In sport and life what defines you?

5. Which cartoon character is most like you? Garfield, I love that cat’s attitude!

6. What do you do on an ideal Saturday morning? Work in the garden, read a book with a cup of coffee and watch the weather change.

7. What would we find on your bedside table? A book, a box of sentimental trinkets and a photo of my family.

8. What’s your go-to book when you’re needing inspiration? “Blink” by Malcom Gladwell

9. If money were no option, where would you live? Where I live right now only I wouldn’t have a mortgage!

10. A personality who has impacted the way you think about life is…?  Stephen Covey

11.  As an educator, what do you hope to leave as your legacy? The belief that learning can be fun, meaningful & Life long

I have challenged 11 others to do their homework! If you wish to challenge yourself please do so! And  if you see me or we meet somewhere don’t forget to share something about yourself with me also! Remember It’s ALL about the RELATIONSHIPS!

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Creating the Conditions for Learning

It seems to me that culture and creativity are keys in facilitating the conditions for engaged learning. Teachers and students alike, in the ideals of 21st Century educational change, need to showcase the awareness of these concepts. Along with culture and creativity the educational skills of leadership which are showcased by leading and created through visible behaviours, much like trust (behaviours listed below) are key in building relationships which inturn supports learning.

conditionsI begin to highlight the specific ways we can affect change of teaching and learning for the 21st century in a positive way. In “Trust in Schools” Bryk & Schneider, share some conditions and stated that “school improvement research has documented that teacher’s orientation towards innovation is an important precondition for instructional improvement. Unless teachers internalize responsibility for improving student learning, better achievement remains unlikely. Similarly that urban schools must also foster greater parental involvement is well document. Without such involvement, students, students’ engagement with the school remains weak, and efforts to improve academic achievement will likely be frustrated, regardless of the actual quality of classroom teaching.” Therefore, the pre-condition to trust in school culture revolves around two big items.

  1. Orientation to innovation (creativity) – teachers and principals develop a can do attitude and internalize responsibilities to change their practice in order to advance student learning.
  2. Professional Community (relationships)– Teachers share a commitment to improving personal teaching and general school operations. The other piece examines the degree to which facilities’ work together to focus on student learning (well defined learning expectations and set standards for learning.

If these are the conditions that we focus on and work towards then we will be able to make a difference in learning for students and staff. If these happen consistently, we will all start to take ownership of the process and the success of student, school and district will happenuntitled

If we look at creativity we can also see that there are certain behaviours that once facilitated lead to the improvement of learning , meaningful learning, engagement and what Mihaly Csikszentamihalyi calls “FLOW”. The conditions for this are listed below.

Creating the conditions table

Once we , the education system, learn to tie these behaviours to Educational concepts like “Assessment for Learning” (AFL), then we can make connections to the similarities with other broad theories, bring them together and lead educators and students into a joint effort of improving learning for everyone.

Finally, Posner & Kouzes, “the Truth About Leadership” has synthesized what their research into 10 truths that are visible in good leaders and leadership. The more we embed these traits into our person the better we will be able to do our jobs of improving learning for studetns. I have taken all of the resources  discussed above and made them visible for me to create an awareness of the commonality that exists in what I call “creating the contions for learning“. I believe that by focusing on the chart below, we can make a difference for the students in their journey through our schools and learning.


imagesCARBSJYMWe can Create  conditions by modeling these traits so that leaders in schools and schools themselves can facilitate them. I envision  all learners having a greater opportunity and being engaged in their own learning journeys.

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Ideas & Networking! Building Innovation!

The evolution of networking people and ideas.  It’s amazing what technology will allow us to do with data!  When the lens is focused on innovation and creativity, then collaboration is powerful! Watch this and see what I mean.

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Kid Creativity; the age of imagination and design

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A Journey of Creativity

I was inspired by Phil Hanson’s simple message of how his artistic journey changed his view on being creative. Developing physical limitations through a shake his motto of “seizing the limitations”, has allowed him creative success! A truley inspiring story!

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digital connectedness

How we meet our social needs through technology is a very interesting thing. I believe that the depth of connection can be transfered through social media. As a tool for engagement it brings learning to the “dance floor” so to speak. Allowing kids to engage in their thinking with something that excites them, which is what learning should really be all about. It is our role as facilitators-educators to connect the learning to the broader applications of live and integration. Much like the conclept of INQUIRY which works within the educational setting of  classroom or school this form of engaged learning helps us deepen connections to real world concepts.

Still another way, QR CODES IN CLASSROOMS are allowing us to connect, engage and apply learning to what the real world has in store for us in the future. In the end, it is important to remember the way you ask questions is key to the way you engage learners in learning. If it has no meaning or connection to what is relavent for them in their world of social and techological connectedness, then we are slowing disengaging students who are technologically connected more and more everyday.

Ask yourself, how can I use technology in teaching to help students understand that the concepts in school are relevent, valid and applicable to learning ?

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Exit Interviews

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the local highschool and interview some students and their graduating class. Lucky for me I had the chance to speak to some students that I had worked with in elementary school. It was an honour to see how these you people had developed over the last 5-7 years ( students from three different elementary schools I worked at) and to see them as well-polished young adults was truley and intrisically motiviating thing.


They were going to graduate , go off to university, U.B.C. and Thompson Okanagan University. Sports scholarships and Law Degree’s were the mindset of the students. Yet another student, was dumbfounded that I was there, wanting to reminice about grade 7 camp and the fun that she had there, kayaking, hiking and playing capture the flags. She was preparing to go to B.C.I.T. for film and broadcast, preparing to see the world through the eyes of a journalist.

I must admit I had goosebumps when I saw them. Each one with a uniquely different story,  connected to school and connected to me! Wow, these kids, I mean young adults are amazing. I know as time goes on , we are in good hands as our youth develop skills and resolve to keep thing going, no matter what they are.

I can’t wait to go back next year to see some other students, the passion and vision they bring to the chances of future success through hard work.


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