Carpool Karaoke EDU Edition Challenge

Earlier this year Brian Aspinall started posting his reflections in video format –karaoke style– to share his thinking and inspire conversations about computational thinking and coding in education. More recently he challenged other educators to start sharing their thinking in a similar way… and we accepted that challenge.

Following our #EveryoneCanCode PLC last week, some brave members from our team piled into Kaufman’s new car and hit the road in conversation about how to further the integration of computational thinking skills and strategies into our classroom programs in #AMDSBLearns.

So now we extend the challenge to you and your colleagues to try something new! Whatever you are discussing with your colleagues in that soon to be hot, stuffy, and often curious smelling J/I classroom, could be moved into a cool, breezy, (and maybe curious smelling) car, with an added element of music to inspire a more light-hearted and uplifting conversation about how to move learning forward. Who’s in…???

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Leave a comment below!

May #AMDSBKidsChat: Unity

Join us as we discuss #Unity during our next #AMDSBkidschat on May 17th from 10AM-11AM. #AMDSBKidsChat is a great place for students to connect with their peers, creatively share ideas, improve literacy skills by communicating and collaborating with others, and develop citizenship and character. Everything you need to get started can be found here! Watch the video(s), answer the questions ahead of time, and join us to share your ideas and learn with other K-12 students throughout #AMDSBLearns!

Unity through Team Building (P/J)

Unity is Strength (P/J/I)

Unity is Strength (J/I/S)

Questions:

1.  What is unity?

2.  In what ways are you different from your friends? How are you similar?

3.  Why are your family/ friends important to you?

4.  Why is it important to work together?

5.  If you had the power to change anything in the world, what would you change, and who would you want on your team?      Why?

6.  How do we show unity in the classroom? school?

7.  How do you show unity in your community?

 

Additional Activities:

We encourage you and your students to take part in A Kids’ Guide to Canada – Un guide du Canada. Join us in creating Canada’s first ever multi-lingual, multi-cultural interactive guide to Canada created by kids and for kids to mark Canada’s 150+. Learn more by visiting A Kids’ Guide to Canada or contact me!

Chasing the Evolution of Technology… Sink or Swim?

I had the opportunity to spend this past week at Connect and network with some of the most influential educators in Ontario and across Canada. One conversation with a district level admin really resonated with me and I wanted to share my thoughts about it here…

I’m struggling with what I believe is an epidemic in education- chasing the evolution of technology.

How can we not?

 Literacy has always been defined by technology. And as such, if technology defines the context in which we learn, socialize and experience the world, we have to continue moving forward, or fear being left behind… or even worse, not providing our students with what they need to be successful now, and in the future.

But, as technology continues to develop at an exponential rate, we are forever being dragged along behind our changing times- trying to keep up and catch up to what’s new -and what’s next… but should we? How do we find that balance?

What compounds this issue is that we are bound by the funding allocated during each given school year to invest in initiatives that we believe will move learning forward. However, classroom teachers have become increasingly more aware of the initiative ‘shelf-life’ that carries a June expiration date.

What I’ve realized as a result of countless conversations with teachers is that these kind of experiences have conditioned us to start over every year with something new, regardless of where we were at in our learning the year before. June signifies the end… as opposed to a pause, with a focus on moving forward into September. So what are the implications for us? and for our students?

Repeating these kinds of experiences year after year is not only leaving teachers and students feeling exhausted and burnt out, but we are perpetuating a generalist skill set without ever really mastering anything… . Maybe some would argue this isn’t necessarily a bad thing?

If we compare the idea of integrating new technologies to that of teaching a new grade, the first experience you have is all about getting your feet wet, dipping your toes into the pool where you will eventually swim as you become more comfortable with the curriculum, the relationships you have with your students and your colleagues, and the experience of learning something new. But if we were asked to change grades every year we would never leave the shallow end. Is this not true for the integration of technology as well? If we are always looking ahead to ‘what’s new’, and continuously starting over year after year, might we -on some level- be committing ourselves to a more shallow implementation of technology-integration?

I understand that this posts generalizes the experience teachers have year and year, and it’s not the case for everyone. And I also recognize the need to change -and embrace it myself. However, I feel there is an urgent need for us as educators to better understand the “WHY” of our choices when integrating technology. I also believe we need to better understand HOW” these kinds of tech-integrated experiences will benefit learners in our system now, and in the future.

I have always been a firm believer in integrating technologies into classroom programs that are being using in the “real-world”. By doing so, we are recognizing and valuing the experiences our students have outside our system, while at the same time making informed decisions about the kinds of tech-integrated experiences our students need to be successful within our system. This “one-life” approach to technology integration allows us to build bridges between home and school, while helping students develop the necessary skills to be safe, productive, contributing digital citizens, guided by our knowledge of effective pedagogies. It’s not about ‘what’s new’. It’s about WHY, and IF new is better, and HOW it contributes to a better educational experience for learners. If our focus is on leveraging digital technologies to develop 21st Century Competencies, and create a culture of innovation, risk-taking, and continuous learning, it would stand to reason that we need to provide students with an educational experience based on continuity, so when they decide to dive into the deep end, they know how to swim.