CONNECT 2015: Canada's Learning and Technology Conference - Thanks!

Thanks to everyone that made it possible for CONNECT: Canada's Learning and Technology Conference to go from this....








to this.





"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more
you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Team Canada Podcast from the Microsoft Global Educator Event

The E² Global Educator Exchange Event is an exciting three-day event to recognize and celebrate the achievements of educators who are preparing students for life in the 21st Century. The Educator Exchange brings together around 300 of the world's most innovative educators for an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate, create and share their experiences on how to integrate technology and pedagogy in ways that achieve 21st century learning outcomes.
Podcast participants:

Preservice Teacher Leadership In Action

While the research and policy literature frequently highlights the importance of leadership to school success and student achievement, the 'leadership' they have in mind is primarily that of the principal. As teachers have become more involved in school administration, the importance of teacher leadership and its impact on student success has also become more prominent in the school leadership literature.

Preservice Teacher Presenting at Tech Showcase
Unfortunately, there is little that acknowledges the contributions of novice or preservice teachers to the knowledge, practice or motivation of other educators. As an advocate of distributed leadership, I am a firm believer that influencing the knowledge, practice or motivation of others in the service of organizational goals can indicate leadership influence. While some may feel that their newness to the profession precludes novice and preservice teachers from being considered leaders I would like to highlight the contributions of Brock's EdTech Cohort as a case for acknowledging preservice teacher leadership.

Contemporary leadership portrayals highlight the importance of how leaders influence those around them (Leithwood et al, 1999; Northouse, 2010; Spillane, 2006; Yukl, 2010). From a social influence perspective, leadership can be considered to be any activities that attempt to influence the knowledge, practice and motivation of other organizational members in the service of the organization’s core work (Spillane, 2006). Within the context of the schoolhouse, school leaders are seen as ‘‘those persons, occupying various roles in the school, who work with others to provide direction and who exert influence on persons and things in order to achieve the school’s goal” (Leithwood and Riehl, 2003, p. 9). Thus, by exerting influence in the service of school/educational goals preservice teachers deserved to be considered leaders.


Preservice Teacher Leaders Presenting 
At the recent Brock Tech Showcase, the members of Brock's EdTech Cohort showcased their skill and knowledge of how to use the latest technology resources to create innovative learning experiences for students. Throughout the day, the over 300 attendees, which included teacher candidates, classroom teachers and principals, listened intently, took notes and made plans to implement what they had learned in their classroom. Influencing classroom practice as well as the knowledge, practice and motivation of the hundreds of educators they interacted with, clearly demonstrates that they should be considered 'leaders'.

Check out their Tweets and Blog posts for more examples of preservice teacher leadership in action.

~Lead On!


Becoming a Tech-Enabled Leader

Learn how to use a variety of social media tools (Twitter, YouTube, blogs)
 to enhance your leadership influence.

Flipping the Instructional Focus - Presentation

More important than flipping in-person lectures for online lectures, professors need to consider how they can flip the instructional focus and emphasis learning ahead of teaching.




Key Recommendations


1. Use video of less than 10 minutes in duration to chunk content and maintain a high level of student engagement

Videos are a widely-used kind of resource for online learning. This paper presents an empirical study of how video production decisions affect student engagement in online educational videos. To our knowledge, ours is the largest-scale study of video engagement to date, using data from 6.9 million video watching sessions across four courses on the edX MOOC platform. We measure engagement by how long students are watching each video, and whether they attempt to answer post-video assessment problems.
Our main findings are that shorter videos are much more engaging, that informal talking-head videos are more engaging, that Khan-style tablet drawings are more engaging, that even high-quality pre-recorded classroom lectures might not make for engaging online videos, and that students engage differently with lecture and tutorial videos.

2. Use frequent quizzes or polls as formative assessment tools to support student learning

How Tests Make Us Smarter
Tests have a bad reputation in education circles these days: They take time, the critics say, put students under pressure and, in the case of standardized testing, crowd out other educational priorities. But the truth is that, used properly, testing as part of an educational routine provides an important tool not just to measure learning, but to promote it. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/how-tests-make-us-smarter.html


Grading college students on quizzes given at the beginning of every class, rather than on midterms or a final exam, increases both attendance and overall performance, scientists reported Wednesday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/education/frequent-tests-can-enhance-college-learning-study-finds.html

3. Consider a flipped learning approach to enhance student engagement 

What's an inverted classroom? Just ask students in some University of Toronto computer science courses.
The teaching method flips traditional notions of classwork and homework so that students learn some of the course material through videos and readings at home and do what used to be homework in class with the help of their professor.

http://news.utoronto.ca/engaged-students-higher-marks-finals-benefits-inverted-classroom?utm_source=Bulletin&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Research

Get the lecture before you even arrive in class

Instead of a traditional three-hour lecture, the professor prepares online video lectures, slide shows of core content and quizzes for students to work on before class – hence the flip. Once in class, the professor reviews knowledge gaps revealed by the quizzes, leaves time for students to work together on problems and delivers the occasional short lecture to reinforce a concept.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/canadian-university-report/get-the-lecture-before-you-even-arrive-in-class/article14964503/

Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds

Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods.
http://news.sciencemag.org/education/2014/05/lectures-arent-just-boring-theyre-ineffective-too-study-finds

Flipped learning skepticism: Is flipped learning just self-teaching?

The flipped classroom does not automatically provide those sorts of outstanding learning experiences. What it provides is space and time for instructors to design learning activities and then carry them out, by relocating the transfer of information to outside the classroom. But then the instructor has the responsibility of using that space and time effectively.
http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2014/04/28/flipped-learning-skepticism-is-flipped-learning-just-self-teaching/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

A significantly greater number of students fail science, engineering and math courses that are taught lecture-style than fail in classes incorporating so-called active learning, according to the largest and most comprehensive analysis ever published of studies comparing lecturing to active learning in undergraduate education.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512154852.htm

The Classroom Comes Alive
There’s growing awareness that post-secondary classrooms need to get with the times — and the march of technology — by embracing more interactive teaching methods that include a variety of learning styles.
Interactive learning, peer instruction and online educational tools are being hailed as methods for increasing retention rates and even bumping up grades by encouraging students to not only memorize new information but apply it.
http://www.thestar.com/life/schools_guide/2014/09/18/the-classroom-comes-alive.html

Penn State University: Flipping the Classroom - Simply Speaking 


4. Don't fear MOOC's, focus on what we can learn from them

10 lessons learned from MOOCs
Fast-forward two years, and the predictions about the disruptive effect MOOCs would have on traditional colleges and universities have, so far, been overblown. But with two years of experience under their belts, MOOC providers and users are adjusting both their perceptions about online learning and the courses themselves. Here are 10 lessons they’ve learned.
http://www.educationdive.com/news/10-lessons-learned-from-moocs/306113/

Contact North. (2014). How to Make the Most of Blended Learning
Blended learning is a fast (if not the fastest) growing delivery and instructional design method in colleges and universities. As faculty, you can use blended learning to encourage more engaged and interactive learning for your students. After defining and outlining some of the benefits and challenges of blended learning, we offer examples of ways blended learning has been used effectively in colleges and universities in Ontario.
http://contactnorth.ca/trends-directions/how-make-most-blended-learning


5. Use Bloom's Taxonomy when planning course activities to determine the degree to which students are engaged in higher-order thinking skills


Bloom's Taxonomy
Remembering: can the student recall or remember the information?
Define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state
Understanding: can the student explain ideas or concepts?
Classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase
Applying: can the student use the information in a new way?
Choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
Analyzing: can the student distinguish between the different parts?
Appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
Evaluating: can the student justify a stand or decision?
Appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate
Creating: can the student create new product or point of view?
Assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.
http://ww2.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Twitter for Teacher Candidates & New Teachers


1. Don't be an Egghead: No one wants to follow an egghead.
Be sure to complete the Twitter profile with a picture and a brief description about who you are and what you do. Include a link to your blog or website so potential followers can find out more about you.  Here is a great example:


2. Share Information and Retweet: Don't just lurk or promote yourself, share ideas and links to resources. Retweet the information that you find valuable. Make sure you have a good ratio of tweets and retweets. Nobody wants to follow your never ending monologue. Just like in kindergarten, you need to listen and share if you want to make friends. 




3. Know your Audience: If you want to use Twitter as a professional learning network, only post information that is relevant to your professional life. The occasional goofy picture is fine, but create a personal account if you have the urge to share your beer can collection or LOL cat fascination. Sharing relevant professional information that highlights your professional interest or expertise will facilitate the development of an active learning community that will support your professional growth.

4.  Use #Hashtags to Avoid Being Overwhelmed: Your Twitter page can look like a fast moving springtime creek once you start following more than a hundred people. Searching by #hashtags can make it easier to find the information you want. A Twitter list is a curated list of Twitter users that you can create or subscribe to. Once the list has been created you can view the Tweets just from the people on the list. This is a great way to follow the Tweets of people from your school, district, or educational speciality.

#BrockTechies = Brock Teacher Candidates
#Newteacher = New Teachers
#NTchat - New Teacher chat
#OntEd = Ontario Education
#CanEd = Canadian Education
#EdChat =  Education Twitter Chat
#EdTech = Educational technology

#Hashtags enable you to search the Twitterverse to find Tweets related to a specific topic. Searching by #hashtags is the most efficient way to find educational resources. Use the guides listed below to find the #hashtag for what you are looking for.
5. Follow the Teachers, School Leaders or School Districts You Would Like to Work With: The quality of your Twitter experience will depend on who you follow. Be sure to follow the school district you would like to work for or where you will complete your practicum. This will ensure that you are informed about current district initiatives.
Reviewing the people the district account follows is a quick way to find the Twitter accounts for teachers, principals, schools and school leaders that work within the district. They may even have a Twitter list that makes it even easier to find district schools or employees.

In addition to following your colleagues and the organization you work for be sure to follow some of the most active Canadian educators on Twitter. The large number of followers these educators have amassed is a result of their exemplary use of Twitter. Following these leading Tweeters will give you a diverse offering of perspectives and resources. Following just people you already know will result in a echo chamber that fails to provide you with new ideas or opinions.




  • List of Twitter accounts of public school boards in Ontario (Courtsey @SylivaLink)
  • Great list of educator related Twitter lists created by @Michelle_Horst
  • List of Ontario Educators on Twitter created by @DougPete
  • List of Ontario Educators on Twitter2 created by @DougPete
  • Twitter List of Canadian Teachers
  • Twitter List of Canadian Educational Leaders
  • Twitter List of Canadian Professors






  • Top 100 Canadian Educators on Twitter
  • Top 100 Canadian Educational Leaders on Twitter
  • Top 100 Canadian Professors on Twitter
  • (These lists were created in early 2013. The number of followers and rankings may have changed)


    Brief Flipped / Blended Learning Workshop: Resources

    Flipped/Blended Learning Agenda

    Setting the Stage

    1. Watch the video: Flipping the Classroom - Simply Speaking
    2. Review The Flipped Classroom Infographic by Knewton.com
    3. Review the Blended Learning Infographic
    4. Watch the video: Blended Learning and Technology Integration
    5. Reflect: What is the greatest benefit of the flipped/blended approach?

    Core Learning

    1. Read two  flipped / blended articles. Take notes related to the benefits and challenges associated with the flipped/blended approach.

    Apply New Learning 

    1. Small group discussion: What is the difference between the flipped and blended learning?
    2. Small group discussion: Debate whether the benefits of the flipped learning approach outweigh the challenges.
    3. Group discussion: Identify the potential benefits and challenges of implementing the flipped approach at your school.
    4. Review the new stories related to the flipped / blended approach in Ontario: Identify the tools and resources used in these examples.
    5. Identify the resources needed to implement the flipped approach at your school.

    Reflect and Connect 

    1.  How will what you have learned affect your teaching?
    2. Are there elements of the flipped / blended approach that could use in your classroom this term/semester?

    The Academic Benefits of Educators & Students Working with Startups


    While it is obvious that EdTech startups have a lot to gain from working closely with educators, the benefits to the education community can be of great importance as well. Startups benefit from the educational insight educators provide and thus enhance the educational viability of their products. Students can benefit from the opportunity to fulfill written and oral communication expectations while engaging in authentic learning as they experiment with new products. Teachers may benefit from the chance to enhance their understanding of the available technological resources, while ensuring that future EdTech products successfully address their needs. Lastly, school leaders can also benefit from the opportunity to infuse a spirit of innovation into their school community.


    Interested in learning more about how educators, students and startups can work together to support academic success and educational innovation? Vote for the SXSW EDU session proposal: