Welcome back – It’s a New Year

Happy September. Hope your summer was filled with lots of time for family, rejuvenation and fun. Back to another year of learning, connecting with familiar faces and meeting new faces. Whether you’re starting in a new site, new job position or deepening your understanding of the redesigned curriculum, it’s an exciting time. One of the greatest things about our district is that we’re in the journey together. Support is everywhere – ask someone, anyone! If they don’t know, they’ll point you in a direction. 

Learning Technologies supports every curricular area. Included in this are innovative learning and teaching practices, communication, assessment as well as consult on hardware related possibilities. Latest opportunities you ask?

  • Last year we launched our ADST kits focused on developing the language of core competencies (centers that can be run in any elementary building). This will continue – if your school is interested, contact any member of our Learning Tech team. 
  • Trying to get your writing standards so there is focused support on revision process or respond in timely manner? GAFE (Google Apps for Education) connects and takes advantage of everything digital. This allows you and your students to layer comments where needed (anytime, anywhere). Group work could never be easier. 
  • O365 is on a soft pilot launch at secondary and this will unfold through the year. 
  • Need a web presence for your classroom work and communication with parents? Tired of all that paper that doesn’t quite get home? Our sd41 blogs are the mainstay for informing parents/students. Help parents to understand the redesigned curriculum by providing tidbits. Give a window into your class learning. (At elementary, a classblog can also be the platform to authentically practice their digital citizenship/footprint.) 
  • Want to “Communicate Student Reflective Learning“? Our ePortfolios/blogfolios have risen to the challenge of providing a space catered for reflection. A private space for students to show elements of critical thinking to their parents and gain responses. This is a back-and-forth conversation including child-parent-teacher. What we’ve discovered is that it connects across languages and generations (parents, grandparents can respond in any language), across distances (families who live in other parts of the globe), as well as strengthens digital citizenship (for upper intermediates, parts can be public like a website). 
  • Get the most out of your iPads (idevices). This is an ongoing conversation as apps are constantly removed and added to iTunes. Our “Top 20” has changed again – stay tuned. We support district configuration, school organization and effective learning using the tool. 
  • Classroom online programs supporting literacy and math?
    • Reading A-Z (new pilot upgraded from RazKids) includes French text, print copies (watch the trees – we love trees).
    • Skoolbo – basic literacy (beginning reading onwards) and math skills in a gamey fashion. (teacher managed) 
  • Fast ForWord (district) – Tier 3 or 2 intervention targeting students at-risk for reading. (*contact: Janet Chow
  • School site support – we love meeting and working alongside our teachers and administrators. Email our team. 

**Applications are on our site under FORMS/APPLY. Registration for learning sessions are in the Learn Portal (STAFF DEVELOPMENT CALENDAR). 

Current Learning Teams: 

  • Honouring Voice in Every Writer – Engaging Hearts and Minds > open to anyone who is interested in using GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Storytelling is about discovery; discovery of oneself, discovery of our relationship with the world, discovery of questions within ourselves. Using GAFE in ways that is purposeful and intentional, elevates the connection and allows the power of voice to lift off to wider audiences. This project boldly attempts to create spaces where every voice is heard and empowered. (Registration will be on Staff Development Calendar)
  • Supporting classroom innovative practices > Partnership with SETBC and district LSS creating communities of practice between classroom teacher and LST to differentiate for all students. These teams are provided with technologies (and pro-d) that support the learning for all students. 
  • ImagineerTech – focused on integration of technologies within the classroom in meaningful, purposeful ways. 

This is only a smattering of opportunities – we’re involved with so much more. If you’re interested in something not on this list, please email our team. 

Know Your “Why”

Recently we had session 2 of our Communicating Learning via ePortfolios Team. When I wrote up this session to post for the team, it struck me that anyone should be able to see this especially at a time when we’re all focused on assessment, report cards and all the things that come with the process. 

What do you think about these statements regarding ‘learning’? puzzle_640

  • Learning is doing
  • Learning starts with the learner’s own ideas
  • Learning involves getting personally involved
  • Questions drive learning and are also outcomes of learning
  • Learning involves uncovering complexity
  • Learning can be a group process and a group outcome
  • Learning and thinking can be made visible

How might these ideas affect the way you approach a learning environment, an assessment environment or what this means to think well (critically, creatively)? If you know your “why”, I wonder if it isn’t easier to frame the assessment. I’m especially captivated by “questions drive learning and are also outcomes of learning”. Not the teacher’s questions but student’s questions. 

We’d love to have your thoughts on this through the comment feature here. 

Updates on Learning and Thinking

storyearthIt’s almost November and there’s certainly a bite in the air – you know winter is just around the corner. Two of our larger projects got off the ground with a blast. ImagineerTech Team focuses on exploring the curriculum and ways to integrate learning technologies that include all students. The redesigned curriculum offers opportunities for rich conversations (eg. how we create environments that invite curiosity, wonder and questions, assessment as ongoing spirals of learning [for teacher and student], even the mundane how to achieve workflows that keep us sane). With each person accessing one of our district assigned laptops, it is quickly apparent that this is a key piece of technology that can be used to extend a teacher’s and thus a student’s learning.
Our sessions are written and published under our TEAMS > IMAGINEERTECH page – come and learn alongside us.

Woman's Eye and World GlobesCommunicating Learning via ePortfolios Team also flew out the door with gusto. Building on last year’s experiences, we started the year with 1500 portfolios across elementary and secondary. Teams focused on the conversation, laying the groundwork for making learning visible and adding to the vocabulary of articulating the learning process. In many ways, the process is the product. This can take many different forms depending on voice and choice: audio recording of students reading (pre/post with self reflection), audio speeches with a view of reflection/redo, capturing science processes or prototyping sessions, story writing and merging with Google Apps for Ed. personal thoughts on a topic, etc. As well, one would not get very far without understanding a bit of the structure of the eportfolio or blogfolio. The beauty of this platform is the ability to grow with the student’s ability to change the way they view themselves as learners and ultimately (possibly) share their voice on a global scale. 
These sessions are written and published under our TEAMS > Communicating Learning via ePortfolios page – come and learn with us. 

Our site houses many opportunities to explore the world of learning. Feel free to browse and/or email us with any questions or connections that you’ve made. Better yet, leave a comment here.