The interactive whiteboard… how do you use it?

Interactive white boards have been a hot topic in Quebec ever since the government promised one in every classroom back in 2011. The promise was long critiqued for not being well thought out and the fallout today is that many classrooms in Quebec DO have an interactive white board at the front of the room but… well… how are they being used?

Some teachers are starting to use them as part of a more flexible classroom. It can be the perfect centerpiece for a planning zone, where groups of learners can work together on planning out projects or brainstorming ideas.

How do your students use the interactive white board in your room?

Success indicators + technology

**Update. January 13, 2017**

Sandra, Johanne, and Kaçandre’s workshop is continuing to inspire the work I do. I began by creating this video that focuses on how Hattie’s #1 indicator – Teacher estimates of achievement – is embodied in our classrooms in Quebec. It addresses how technology can be used to amplify it as well.

I would love to create similar videos with concrete examples of other high performance indicators! Do you know of any teachers who are aligning their practice with high performance indicators and who are using technology to amplify this? Let me know about them!

Original post from Nov. 8, 2016

This morning I participated in a workshop animated by Sandra Laine, Johanne Proulx, and Kaçandre Bourdelais called Hattie pensé au TIC.

Together we explored John Hattie’s top indicators of success and began to consider how we can use technology to amplify those indicators.

My role in the RECIT is often tricky to describe – RECIT is about technology…right?

I have a mandate that talks about contributing to and transferring expertise about technology for teaching and learning within the provincial education community.

Expertise about technology for teaching and learning was once primarily about how to use specific tools in the classroom – the most infamous being the Interactive White Board, iPads being a close second.

But what happens when we focus on how to use tools? The tools remain an add-on. And, guess what?

We have no time for add-ons!

For a number of years I have been thinking a lot about how technology can’t be seen as separate from everything else we do. It is not a fun add-on. (In fact, when used as an add-on activity it’s usually more frustrating than fun.)

When used meaningfully, it is an implicit part of the learning and teaching process. It just makes sense.

So, how do we get to learning that makes sense with technology?

Johanne, Kaçandre, and Sandra are starting to ask, what if we start with evidence? What if we start with indicators of success that come out of research of what makes good learning?

High-impact strategies for learning
Here is a summary of John Hattie`s top strategies for high impact on learning (from: )

Hattie what should teachers do

I am spending a lot of time thinking about questions like the ones below:

Can technology use amplify these high-impact strategies?

When you use technology in your classroom or professional development rooms, do you consider why you are using it?

What about if we linked everything we did along indicators of success, like those identified by John Hattie, and then made sure that our technology use was in line with what the research tells us?

How does sharing my lessons online improve my relationship with my students?
How does creating an online space for my courses help me to communicate clear intentions?
How does questioning with online quizzes or forms help me to monitor my students’ progress so I can adjust my teaching?

And where does all of this fit within our new programs for Adult Education in Quebec?

A while ago I developed this little graphic to visualize a way to plan for competency development within the context of our new programs.

planning for competency development

Basically, the competencies and the evidence of mastery are locked to our programs but the way we go about it – the activities, the monitoring of learning, the formative assessment, the fluid pieces of learning – are unlocked because they depend on the teacher, the learners, and the community in which they are learning.

I think it is in this unlocked area that we have the potential to apply Hattie`s success indicators to make sure that we are responding both to the requirements of the programs and to the needs of our learners.

What do you think?

Fall Highlights, Construction Zones, & Road Maps

We are in a period of great flux. There is movement everywhere so I’m going to take a few minutes this morning to slow down and take a look at where we are going and at what we are doing to help us get there. Care to join me?

I’m going to jump forward a bit and invite you to view this slideshow. It has recent highlights about how we are getting to where we want to go – from great teachers to great conversations.

So, now the big question: Where are we going?

Ask anyone in Adult Ed lately and they are likely to answer

Renewal. Reform. New programs.

But what does that mean?

We are caught in a construction zone of renewal as we clear out old program codes and make way for new ones. And as we shift how we teach and interact with our students and our colleagues as a result of these changes.

Demolition of the Bonaventure Expressway (crop) by Exile on Ontario St Flickr

And construction sites can slow us down. But if we keep sight of where we want to go, we will find our best ways there. Because the renewal itself is not a destination. It is a means to getting somewhere. Just like technology.

rerouting If we reframe our destination and put our new programs where they belong, as part of the road map, we may just be able to see our way there.

So, where are we going again?

  • We want students to achieve – this is, after all, why we do what we do.
  • We want learning to be meaningful – in other words, we want people to want to learn with us because they find meaning here. We don’t want to waste their time.
  • We want people to be connected and to collaborate – why waste energy juggling balls in separate corners of the province, school board, or building? In order to collaborate, we need to be connected.

There is so much expertise in all of us. We are better together.

How are we getting there?

This is where your road map comes in. Some questions to consider:

  • What is my road map to student achievement?
  • What is my road map to meaningful learning?
  • What is my road map to connection and collaboration?

I really think that the answer is in allowing people to talk to each other about their practice (whether it be teachers, consultants, directors, staff, counselors, or students). I find the most successful work I do with teachers or consultants is when I create opportunities for connecting and collaborating and then stay out of the way to allow it to happen. Incredibly rich resources grow out of these opportunities, you saw some of them in the slide show above.

Image credits:
Demolition of Bonaventure Expressway by Exile on Ontario St on Flickr –
CC BY-SA 2.0

Rerouting by Tracy Rosen, based on a cell phone screenshot of Google Maps

Some thoughts on change and the reform

This was originally going to be a post talking about change and the reform (or the renewal, or whatever you want to call it) yet I don’t want to just add another drop to the bucket of words that is already overflowing about the reform like reform vs renewal, group work vs individual work, learning situations vs learning activities, text books, reinvestment tasks, student-centered, program centered, manifestations of learning, lecture vs experiential learning, learner vs student, grammar vs. whole language … because, in reality, there is no this vs that.

I love the potential of our programs in Adult Education because they point towards what makes sense – learning that is centered on developing the competencies of the students in our rooms, in our centres, in relation to their courses of study.

In the most simple and basic terms – Our programs define the behaviours that our students need to work on in order to be able to succeed in their courses. And they provide for situations that allow our students to practice these behaviours.

A behaviour is something we do. So in order to be successful, we need to do.

So let’s get out there and do. Instead of presenting to teachers about the differences between new and old programs, instead of presenting to teachers different kinds of learning situations and what they might look like in their classrooms, let’s play with the programs and learning situations in our professional development rooms and in our classrooms. Let’s make sense of them together.

And let us not forget that there is no one size fits all classroom.
Each classroom across the province is different. Point finale.

Only our teachers and students know the piece of the puzzle that is specific to their classrooms and so their voices need to be raised in these conversations. They are the experts on their classrooms.

Instead of talking about programs, let’s talk with teachers, with students about their development in relation to their courses. And let’s not forget the listening side of the talking equation. By talking with instead of about, we can make learning – whether it be in PD rooms or classrooms – closer to the intention of our new programs as learner-centered programs focused on competency development.

There is no try, just do.
Just do it.

This post was inspired by this one, shared on Twitter via Marcy Webb:

Why I’m done talking about diversity by Marlon James

Images at top of post built on Women of Color in Tech Stock Photo #24 found here:

Offer of Service 2016-17 – How can I help you?

We are at the beginning of an exciting year with all of the anticipation that new beginnings bring us!
Jack's 1st bus ride I need your help in discovering teacher stories to document and make videos about as well as to collaborate on the creation of new PD Mosaic tiles to use throughout the province!

Last week I presented my action plan for the 2016-17 school year to my planning and evaluation committee (made up of directors, consultants, representatives from the ministry as well as from different associations in Adult Education) and it was accepted. This means I have crossed the starting line and hope to catch up with all of you on the front lines as soon as possible!

My plans for the year are very similar to last year’s plans. I do not believe in new projects each year, I prefer to look at deepening the work we do together each year and expanding on what we have already begun.

Avi Spector, our Regional Service to Adult Education, and I work closely together. Our visions are very much aligned and we strive to maintain a consistent vision in the work we do. It looks something like this:

Vision - RECIT Adult Ed English

Like last year, I still plan on documenting as many teacher and centre stories as possible. This year, the focus is shifting to stories about implementing the new programmes. I also want to add some student stories to the mix.
(You can see last year’s stories here: )

I also still plan on collaborating on a variety of PD Mosaic online resources. Again, there will be a broadening focus on implementation this year. Tiles on Reform Math Mindsets, Digital Citizenship, and different elements of Evaluation for Learning are already in progress.
(You can see the most recent PD Mosaic tiles here )

I also still plan on being involved in professional development at school boards, centres, conferences, and online as much as possible. Again, with a growing focus on new programme implementation.

Some of the themes that were highlighted last year are still current this year:
Teacher-centered, teacher-driven PD à la EdCamp (read more about that here – with videos: ) and with other methods (read more about that here – watch videos, too: )

Using stations to facilitate technology integration, differentiation, multi level teaching, and formative assessment (read a bit about that here, more resources will be added throughout the fall: )

Evaluation for learning (there are already two online resources available for this, more to come shortly! (Here is an intro: and here is one on triangulation of evidence: )

Some new themes that are emerging:

  • UDL
  • Learning Spacesdistance ed, classroom management, innovative classroom environments
  • Finding the Citizen in Digital Citizenship

Ideally – I would like to meet with you to come up with PD that is tailored for your community. The document below contains all of the resources and PD I was involved in last year if you are looking for ideas! (direct link to pdf: )

I am looking forward to working with you!