Happy September – Welcome back!

Happy September Everyone. Hope you all had a great summer with time to connect with family and friends. 

This year we have quite a few new things to share, including our new home base at Canada Way Education Centre (tucked in between Canada Way and Woodsworth). Pop by and say hello in Room 3 > some of our workshops and teams will be held in the Presentation Room 8, while other sessions will be at school sites across the district. 

 

We have a number of focus learning sessions in the Staff Development Calendar to check out (more to come): 

  • Develop a web presence using blogs, websites (save time, get shortcuts)
  • Communicating student learning using digital portfolios and  multiple tools (eg. green screen, powerpoint…)
  • ADST centres kits (with core competencies) 
  • coding initiatives (Tynker (a whole program), Micro:Bits, Minecraft)
  • Fast ForWord to support struggling readers
Stay tuned for more information (email if you’re interested): 
  • O365 (basics and using Teams) 
  • coding initiatives (Tynker, Micro:Bits, Minecraft)
  • Using VR/AR to spark learning
  • All the Right Type (keyboarding)

As well, we have some joint learning teams (Making and Writing using O365; Math and Minecraft; CSL – Writing, self-assessment and inclusion). 

For those of you looking for support in addressing Digital Citizenship, please see the link in the top toolbar under CURRICULA or sidebar. 

We’re SO excited we’re starting right away!  Email if you have any questions or would like to jump-start ideas. 

Learning Walks

We are fortunate to live in an area that is surrounded with nature right outside our doorstep. The popularity of using “learning walks” add new elements to our day. I can think of the power of this opportunity in every one of the curricular areas.

“What if” we placed devices in the hands of students and asked them to capture images that they felt were significant. Now that takes focused observational skills to weed out the many and only select visuals that are “significant”. What would significant mean? It might mean something quite different to every individual. Imagine the conversation that would open. 

VOICE RECORD PRO (professional grade audio recording app with immediate feedback) allow audio recording of thoughts including the option to embed an image. Save the named clip as an mp4 and it is ready to upload to student blogfolios or websites.  (*Uploading requires wifi.)

Imagine the possibilities of this simple addition of technology in the immediacy. These might include: 

  1. decision making in the present moment 
  2. hone observational skills (slow down to appreciate the details)
  3. include every student in their efforts to communicate their choices of significance (written requirement is removed)
  4. oral language development practice (app provides immediate feedback through a visual needle gauge)
  5. collaborative conversation in partners with assessment feedback
  6. responsibility in care of a device

I was so excited about this idea that I tweeted it out last weekend. 

 

 

 

 

 

We would love to hear your stories of how this might work in your curricular environments. 

Authors & Voice – Using Google Classroom/GAFE

Storytelling is about discovery; discovery of oneself, discovery of our relationship with the world, discovery of questions within ourselves. Purposefully and intentionally immersing technologies that are simple to grasp, amplifies the discovery allowing the power of voice to lift off.

This year’s joint project between Learning Technologies and Literacy accessed the collaborative nature of Google Classroom to strengthen writing, voice, and empowerment in every student. The simplicity of the environment made it the best alternative to focus on writing communication, not learning the tool. Pre-assessment set the groundwork in maintaining the focus. Activities ranged from heart maps, personalization to self-reflection of goals. All classes learned and accessed the many tools embedded to support inclusion (eg. audio, voice-to-text (sometimes it’s easier to speak and watch it flow out on a page), dictionary with images, integrated web research (no leaving your page), auto translation (ELL inclusion from day one), text-to-speech, word prediction…). Again, these were done purposefully when need arose and all students engaged when they felt the need or wish. Immediate timely support through teacher and student comments provided opportunities to focus on growing the writers voice. The values of core competencies were evidenced throughout their writing process. 

These stories of learning are captured in the words of students and teachers.

 

More stories are on their way and will be posted as our project teams round off the year.