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:


    Using Twitter to Support (Grad Student) Scholarly Impact

    Here is an example of how graduates students can use Twitter to support scholarly impact. Below is a weekly update from Twitter that highlights my most popular Tweets from the previous week. The Tweet that received 145 views in one week is a link to a paper (9 Ways Fear is Slowing the Integration of EdTech in Schools) MEd. student / EdTech Intern, Jason Ribeiro created for a class, and then revised for an online publication, www.FractusLearning.com


    Encouraging students to share their work online provides them with opportunities to significantly increase the scholarly impact of their work, while connecting with the broader academic and educator community. Without the use of social media, it is unlikely that anyone, other than the instructor, would have even known that this paper existed. 

    Tweet On!

    Higher Education & K-12 Educators Connect to Support Educational Innovation

    Regardless of technological ingenuity, the effectiveness of any educational technology product is dependent on its ability to address the needs of the education community. Unfortunately, a lack of access to education stakeholders has been noted as one of the greatest challenges to educational entrepreneurs. This lack of classroom and educator access can greatly hamper the innovation and product development process.

    With a goal to nurture the ongoing relationships between education stakeholders, researcher, entrepreneurs and technology companies the Faculty of Education at Brock University and the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) have combined forces to create the Educational Research and Innovation Hub.

    Located within a grade 6 - 9 middle school, (it will grow to include grades 10 -12) the iHub will provide researcher and entrepreneurs with the distinct advantage of being in close proximity to education stakeholders so that they may easily observe classroom and school-wide practice, gather educational insight, solicit educator and student feedback or pilot the use of innovative products in an authentic context.

    Suraj Srinivas, co-founder of Vetica, is one of many who see the incredible value in having the Hub located in a K-12 institution. “Having a hub like this in a school with access to teachers and students in a supervised environment is huge for us. We can create something, push it out there to our potential users, and get their feedback quickly which is so important to a small company like ours.

    During the iHub opening on February 26, 2014, the DSBN Director of Education, Warren Hoshizaki, noted “We know there is a wealth of entrepreneurs out there searching for opportunities to use their talents and skills to support Canadian education. The expertise and resources they access at the Hub will assist them in changing their ideas into tools that improve teacher practice and benefit student learning for years to come.”

    Dr. Fiona Blaikie, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Brock University, believes that the Hub is an example of how 21st century research should take place.

    Once in operation, the iHub will:
    • Facilitate research opportunities that pair university researchers with entrepreneurs and educational technology companies to investigate the impact of newly created educational technologies and support the development of new innovations. 
    • House a co-working space where educators, researchers, entrepreneurs and educational technology companies can develop ongoing relationships.
    • Deliver an ongoing series of presentations, colloquium, focus groups, and networking opportunities that bring educators, researchers, software developers, entrepreneurs and educational technology companies together to connect, collaborate and disseminate innovative ideas. 
    The Brock / DSBN Educational Research and Innovation Hub is not the first time that these two organizations have combined forces to support educational innovation. The school district and university were the original organizers of CONNECT 2014: Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference. This unique two-day event connects K-12, college and university educators, school leaders and technologists with the technology resources that support 21st century teaching and learning.

    These endeavours highlight the ongoing relationships needed to needed to mobilize the knowledge of these combined communities and support the development of innovative educational approaches, tools and resources.

    DSBN, Brock Partner to Launch Educational Research and Innovation Hub

    From the Brock News

    The District School Board of Niagara and Brock University’s Faculty of Education are collaborating on a unique initiative to support innovation in Canadian education and technology.

    Housed inside 2,100 square feet at the DSBN Academy in St. Catharines, the newly minted Educational Research and Innovation Hub will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to cultivate powerful new learning technologies.

    “We see incredible potential in this new project,” says Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN Director of Education. “We know there is a wealth of entrepreneurs out there searching for opportunities to use their talents and skills to support Canadian education. The expertise and resources they access at the Hub will assist them in changing their ideas into tools that improve teacher practice and benefit student learning for years to come.”

    When the Hub officially opens its doors in late February, it will be a home to several original start-up companies. The collaborative atmosphere of the Hub will promote discussion, idea sharing and creativity amongst educators, researchers, graduate students, entrepreneurs and education technology companies.

    Dr. Fiona Blaikie, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Education at Brock University, believes that the Hub is an example of how 21st century research should take place.

    “Everything unfolds in context and in partnership,” says Blaikie. “As leaders in technology education, Faculty of Education researchers and students are superbly positioned to engage with entrepreneurs and colleagues at DSBN to better serve to society, teaching, learning and scholarship.”

    Dr. Camille Rutherford, Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, acknowledges that there needs to be a direct line from invention to practice.

    “Regardless of technologic ingenuity, the effectiveness of any education innovation is dependent on its ability to address the needs of education,” says Rutherford. “Unfortunately, a lack of access to education stakeholders has been noted as one of the greatest challenges to educational entrepreneurs that often come from non-education backgrounds.”

    The Hub aims to eliminate the disconnect between educational insight and the innovation process. It will bridge this gap by providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity to observe actual classes and the strategies teachers use to support student learning. Start-ups will also be able to refine their products by observing their use in an actual classroom setting. This will allow companies to make necessary enhancements to ensure they are best meeting the needs of students, teachers and schools.

    In addition to the benefits the Hub will bring to the product development process, students will also benefit from their interactions with these start-up companies.

    “Students will have safe access to programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs, giving them the ability to ask questions, share ideas and learn more about potential career paths,” says Dino Miele, DSBN Chief Information Officer.

    Located within the DSBN Academy at 130 Louth Street in St. Catharines, the Hub is unique in its location.

    “There are a number of EdTech incubators and accelerators throughout North America, but there has yet to be a location that is housed within a K-12 educational institution,” says Rutherford.

    FETC: The Place to Be

    Despite Orlando's unusually cool and wet weather, the Florida Educational Technology Conference should be considered one of the best values when it comes to EdTech events. Here are the top five reasons why it is the place to be.

    1. It's in Orlando in January - For Canadians or anyone from a cold climate that may be the only argument needed. Despite the chill in the air this year, it was a nice escape from the polar vortex gripping the northern half of the continent. At the Mindshare Learning Canadian Tweetup (There were over 300 Canadians at FETC this year) the prize for the coldest hometown went an educator from Saskatchewan who was happy to be avoiding the -44 weather back home.
    2. Price - The FETC walk-up registration price (No membership needed) was $290. There were a number of online discounts that brought the cost down to $230 if you didn't register in time to take advantage of the early bird pricing. In contrast the ISTE walk-up registration fee for non-members is $448. 
    3. Sometimes smaller is better - With 8, 500 attendees, FETC is less than half the size of ISTE with is over 18,000 attendees. This can make FETC less overwhelming and exhausting. Despite the smaller size, most of the rock star presenters and technology companies listed on the ISTE website are also at FETC. A review of the conference agendas with reveal a number of commonalities when it comes to presentation speakers and topics. Regardless of the smaller size, FETC provides excellent professional development opportunities.
    4. Travel - Flying into ISTE's various conference locations presents attendees with a roller coaster of airfare research each year. With Orlando as FETC's permanent location, developing a budget for getting to FETC is considerably easier. As a vacation destination, there are plenty of flights and routes to choose from and late January also provides many off-season travel deals, making it easy and affordable to get to FETC each year.
    5. Accommodations - As a vacation resort mecca, Orlando is a very budget friendly location. I've had the pleasure of staying at the Vista Cay Resort for the past two years. This resort includes condo and townhouse accommodations that permit small and large groups to stay within walking distance of the convention centre for less than the cost of a hotel room at ISTE. Staying in a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom townhouse provides plenty of sleeping and meeting space for a group of 4. Each year we notice a growing number of educator walking between Vista Cay and the convention centre. On the walk this year we encountered a couple of teachers from Saskatchewan that noted that there were part of a group of 30 people from their school district staying at Vista Cay while attending the conference. A review of my past credit card statements reveals that the cost of registration, travel and accommodations for FETC is often less than my hotel bill at ISTE. 

    That should be proof enough that FETC is the place to be, but if you need a little more convincing check out the following blog posts:


    Laura Gleeson - My FETC Experience
    Jason Ribeiro - Revisiting FETC
    Kyle Tuck - FETC 2014