Why Blog?

With the many demands on a teacher’s time, what would make a person want to blog? Yes we know all about how a blog or what I prefer to say, “a web presence”, can communicate. That is what a blog can do. However this is too simple of an answer. 

Here is my current short list of what I think of blogging… Perhaps you have others.

  • global connector to extend classroom activities and learning to the world
  • breaks down walls to invite the world into the classroom (including scientists, mathematicians, artists, entrepreneurs…)
  • connects visible learning moments for parents (yes, it’s automatic – delivery service to their phones or whatever device they use) 
  • creates a place for students to share their story and practice digital citizenship in an authentic environment (positive digital footprint)
  • values the student in owning their voice and story (“They matter… one person can change the world.”)
  • creates an environment for students to push their thinking 
  • inclusive of every learner through visual, audio, video, text (“It’s not just words.”) 
  • share curricular learning journeys and stories that can be discussed at home 
  • gives opportunities for creativity, exploration and pose/answer the questions that truly matter 
  • allows learning to be captured, annotated and reflected upon (“Tell our collective story.”)
  • create opportunities for teachers to engage in capturing formative assessment information
  • allows embedding of content from multiple places (“connecting the pieces”)
  • extend classroom notes and links, criteria reminders, memory joggers (honouring parents/teachers/students time)
  • continues the conversation of learning as never ending, always moving through building a community of practice 
  • access, access, access… anytime anywhere any device

Maybe the bigger question is, do you have a web presence? If you would like to start a blog, contact any member of our Learning Technologies team or go straight to our FORMS/APPLY page to begin the process. 

Student Driven Conversations

Funny thing about data (or I’d like to call them stories) – when students are an intricate part of the conversation, it takes on a whole different meaning. Recently, I was with one of our Joint Teams (LSS/Classroom partners and Learning Technologies) focused on supporting learners with written output challenges. I had shared how we could incorporate audio, video, images, or word prediction using digital platforms as enhancers for students to record their understandings and how important it was to have snapshots of these over time. Using digital tools invited a dialogue about a place to collate the artifacts. Our “student blogfolios” allow students to share and hold their story digitally. A range of possibilities exist: 

  • access anytime anywhere by participants
  • collaborative feedback in an organised focused manner
  • connected communication between student, parent, teacher (of course anytime, anywhere)
  • historic snapshots of whole child learning processes

Examples you ask? Grade 6/7 , Grade 4/5 , Grade 1 , Grade 8 

Knowing your “why” aids in this journey. Without any advertising, our Learning Technologies team has seen this expand exponentially (yes we really only started a little over a year ago with a small pilot). The implications are huge as we attempt to work through what it means to communicate learning in different ways, to empower students to own their voice and story, to share these breakthroughs with parents in ways that allows for collaborative dialogue. 

If you are interested in this, please contact any member of the Learning Technologies team or go straight to our FORMS page to apply.  

Technologies Amplifies and Changes the Way We Create

Is it “technologies amplifies our ideas and changes the way we create”? Or is it the other way around or both in tandem?

Last week our district came together for Pro-D. Aptly named “District Day”, it’s a day dedicated to learning and exploring together – meeting and connecting with friends and colleagues from other schools. Certainly it’s a day of “connectedness” where the buzz of excitement is palpable, exploration and new ideas are plentiful and teachers sharing their passions are the norm. While I must admit that this is an exhausting day but one of the most extremely worthwhile days ever! I always come away rejuvenated and filled with possibilities. It’s a sparkly time. 

What do the concepts of social emotional (perseverance, resilience, self regulation), curiosity, exploration and problem solving have in common? They are all intricately woven in the fabric of  Applied Design, Skills and Technology. At the 6/7 level, we invited lead teachers on the Thursday to experience Coding Quest. At the K-5 level, ADST is meant to be included in the regular curriculum. Inspired by Ian Landy (principal in Shuswap district) who presented at the CUEBC conference, we put together a number of centers focused on developing the mindset skills in ADST. The twist? – incorporating the core competencies of Personal Awareness, Communication and Critical Thinking. Just to give you a flavour, some of the centers were: 

  • Elenco Snap Circuits (electronics from basics to multi-levels) 
  • Keva planks (understand the dynamics of physics and architectural design) 
  • littleBits (snap together parts to code) 
  • LittleCodr (unplugged activity of developing specific logic and communication) 
  • Makey Makey (create something to do something awesome) 
  • Sphero and Ollies (code robots to do what you want them to do) 
  • Coding apps on ipads (from simple to advanced)
  • Pixel Art (post-it notes create an image – bitmap style) 

Why centers? We wanted multiple entry points to include something for everyone (a success story waiting to unfold). Each center is designed for active engagement in both the building/making aspect, as well as revealing self regulation, perseverance, resilience… (Personal Awareness Competency). Reflection during and afterwards is key to explicitly connect the maker mindset and language of the competencies (critical thinking, communication, personal awareness) in “I can…” statements.
Click here for all the center instruction cards and information on setup. 

We’d love to hear about how you’re implementing ADST in your classrooms? Send us your ideas below.