Thursday, January 5, 2017

Educational Technology in Manitoba - a FREE eBook

Late last year my colleague, Dr. Rennie Redekopp (University of Manitoba) and released a new free eBook we edited title Education and Technology: Manitoba Action and Reflection. This book consists of 15 chapters written by Manitoba Educators. The book is divided into 4 parts: Current Trends and Issues, Connecting and Sharing , Stories of Personal Transformation, and Where Do We Go From Here?

The book was an idea I had over a year ago and Rennie agreed to help out. The chapters paint an exciting portrait of educational technology use in Manitoba schools. The editors hope that it can act to inspire others to implement educational technology in thoughtful and meaningful ways.

You can get the book here:
on the ManACE web site as a pdf, or in the iBook store. (It is also available on Kindle store - but you have to pay for it there!)

Download and enjoy!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016


This year, CSSE (Canadian Society for the Study of Education) conference was held just 'down the highway' in Calgary at the end of May, beginning of June. I was fortunate to have two proposals accepted, I was unfortunate because I had to cancel at the last minute. The faculty of education at BU was well represented with several colleagues attending and presenting, a few graduate students were also presenting. By all accounts it was a great time. Last year in Ottawa was my first CSSE conference, and it was very enjoyable. One of the presentations was with a colleague and was the initial findings of our case study of a rural 1:1 school. I thank my colleague and research partner, Dr. J. Kirk, for doing the presentation (we did put plan it out and prepare it together). My other presentation was a roundtable (I went to a few last year and enjoy them - more of a discussion than a paper presentation is) about a multiple case study of social media use in a rural high school, unfortunately it had to be cancelled. With all that said, I am pleased to post the slides for the presentation and the handout I had prepared for my roundtable. For the handout I decided to use piktochart and experiment with a  more visual approach.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Riding the Wave of Change (conference)

Last week (May 5-6) was the annual Riding the Wave conference in Gimli, MB. This conference is sponsored by MAETL (Manitoba Association of Educational Technology Leaders) and ManACE (Manitoba Association for Computing Educators) and is meant for K-12 educators and IT folks and is, of course, related to technology use in schools. I don't usually present at this conference - it is great to just go, relax, and take in sessions - and this year, I almost decided to not go and attend a one day research seminar at my institution (it sounded really relevant and interesting), in the end I decided to go to RTW. It was a great decision, I do try to stay in touch and I work closely with K-12 school personnel, I want my teacher ed courses to remain relevant, and I like to work with the field. The decision to attend was certainly not a mistake.

Sphero maze!
The keynote was given by the inspiring Kathy Cassidy (@kathycassidy) from Moose Jaw. I use her book Connected from the Start as a text in my EY ICT in Ed course - the students always love it! Her message was all about new literacies - multi-literacies in today's digital world. The importance of visual (including video) literacy. An inspiring presentation. It was good to chat with her again for  a few minutes.

Sphero Chariots!
The other sessions I attended were about coding and maker spaces - something I want to add into my ICT in Ed courses next year when I return from sabbatical (sadly almost over!). I played with spheros and lego and learned some great tips and ideas. These sessions were by Tara (@msmclauchlan) and Joan (@jbadger), from St. James Assiniboia SD and Diana Rendina (@DianaLRedina - a visitor from Tampa - her slides are here). I also attended a great session by Shannon McLintock Miller (@shannonmmiller from Denver) who presented powerful stories about student voice. A great reminder about the purpose of our efforts, and a topic that I value (see my Hybrid Pedagogy article on student empowerment).

A slide from Shannon McLintock Miller's Presentation
That evening, we held a sweltering (the AC was broken!) list of 15 fantastic Ignite presentations sponsored by ManACE. Photos of the event can be seen on the ManACE instagram account - what an evening of inspiring stories, all of the spotlight speakers volunteered to present - and the evening finished with the conference keynote, Kath Cassidy, giving another great presentation. The plan is to put up the audio of the presentations via ManACE.

Darren's "The Fourth Screen"

The next day, I attended 2 sessions before I had to head off. Both addressed the important topic of digital citizenship, although with very different approaches. My friend Darren (@dkuropatwa) presented powerful stories for teaching digital citizenship - he included asides explaining his approach - which is very positive - and showed us many resources. I hope to have Darren come to my institution to present to faculty and students alike. The next session was by another friend, Dr. Rennie Redekopp (@rredekopp), Rennie took a more critical approach - that to be citizens we need to consider issues such as the environment, sustainability, energy use, and manufacturing in relation to digital products (see his links here). Together, these approaches offered important resources and food for thought for thinking and operating in a digital world.

All in all, it was a very good conference - so many good sessions to choose from, I know I missed some other great ones. I learned much and gathered up ideas/resources to incorporate into my own courses for aspiring teachers. It also provided an opportunity to connect with friends and to meet new ones.

One final note, a shoutout to the amazing Andy McKiel (@amckiel) - who, as a member of MAETL and ManACE, does incredible work behind the scenes in putting on events in Manitoba for educators!

Gimli Beach
Gimli Pier

Gimli Pier

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Compassion and Care in Curriculum

The other day I came across this blog post by George Veletsianos (the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology) in which he talked about his thoughts about how we should be including "compassion, kindness, and care" in digital learning.   He writes that he is no talking about overtly teaching compassion, etc, rather,  "I’m more concerned here with how to embed compassion in our practice – in our teaching, in our learning design processes, the technologies that we create." He goes on to list several questions he is thinking about. After over 35 years as an educator, I firmly believe that relationships are vital to meaningful learning. This was/is true in any level in K-12 and in higher ed, and in any role. I have been a classroom teacher, an ICT leader, and a school administrator, and now a teacher educator. George's questions are interesting to contemplate. How can we include compassion in our course design? As I begin to think about my course syllabi for next year, it is something I will have to think about. The work of Noddings can be useful in thinking about this as well. Noddings (2012) wrote: "A climate in which caring relations can flourish should be a goal for all teachers and educational policymakers. In such a climate, we can best meet individual needs, impart knowledge, and encourage the development of moral people."  With the world in its current state - from the hatred we see between people not even known to each other, to the often disgusting online commentary on every topic under the sun, a little bit of compassion, care, and empathy would go a long way. 

Perhaps we need to embed a pedagogy of care and compassion in our work as educators? 

Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 771-781.