June 1, 2017

Episode 1 – #TeacherStories: A conversation with Emilie on how she organizes learning materials

*Note: I am learning how to integrate podcast posts into the blog, so I apologize if you receive this post twice! – Tracy*

This first podcast is a conversation with Emilie Bowles– History, Contemporary World, English (Sec 1-3), and Computer Science teacher at Nova Career and Education Centre in Chateauguay, Quebec. We talk about the tools she uses to organize resources for students as well as her own professional learning.

Music used in the podcast: Retro Soul from http://www.bensound.com

Resources mentionned in the podcast
Edmodo – I have never used it but I know a few teachers who really like it.
Microsoft Classroom – since our conversation, I have learned that Microsoft is discontinuing their classroom feature. A drag for those in Office 365 environments – THOUGH Google’s classroom is now open to anyone with a google account, be it personal or through your school board so that is helpful.
Emilie’s YouTube playlists
Collaborative slideshows as study aides and to facilitate feedback – see how this has been used for second language learners.
Loom chrome extension for video feedback
Connect – yearly learning and technology conference (in Canada!)
Google cardboard for virtual field trips
Aurasma – augmented reality book reviews
QR Codes – check out this video that talks about how QR Codes can help create equity in your classroom
La Classe CLIC – a flexible professional development room at CSSMI
Blogging in the Classroom
GIS – Geographic Information Systems
Kahn Academy – it has come a long way. I know teachers who use it for a variety of reasons – even for PD!

March 31, 2017

Telling our stories… with PowerPoint?

Short answer: Yes.

but let me elaborate.

Ever since a group of teachers told me that the professional development I had just done to them flopped big time, my direction has shifted.

(note the ‘to them’, that was intentional)

I was showing them something a group of consultants had made for them in order to encourage them to do things differently in their classrooms. Their response was…meh. They asked – why should we use this thing? We can already find all of that by ourselves, on the Internet. What they really wanted to see, they told me, was concrete examples of teachers in Adult Education, in Quebec, doing things differently in their classrooms.

I felt horrible – I had wasted their time, I had forgotten to ask what they needed before going in. Luckily, they let me know ­čśë

So, for the past 2 years that has been my mission. Avi Spector and I have created videos of teachers doing things differently in their classrooms. We use these videos in professional development, we share them on PDMosaic and on Twitter and YouTube. We see changes happening – the teachers we have highlighted are starting to offer professional development sessions themselves. They are influencing other teachers and their own practices are evolving as a result of it. When teachers work together, magic happens. And it is so good!

This year, I’m experiencing another shift. I am still seeking out stories of risk-taking, innovation, and success. I am also having more people ask me for help in sharing their stories – as in, they want to learn how to make their own videos. Especially when they hear that I use… wait for it… PowerPoint to make my teacher story videos. Now, PowerPoint is not the fanciest of video creation tools by far but what I love about it is that just about every educator in the Quebec school system has access to it on their classroom computer.

I always say that the biggest objective I have is to make myself obsolete and this shift I described above is playing into that. This year, as I collect teacher stories, I am working more in collaboration with the story tellers: consultants are starting to take video footage, teachers are starting to record themselves and collect creative commons images that are legal to use in videos – for some teachers, they are getting closer to not needing me at all in the creation process! (bittersweet – I do love this collaborative process…)

Parallel Story
While all of this was unfolding, the Service National of the RECIT, of which I am a member, has been looking at developing a platform for self-directed learning of teachers (l’autoformation en fran├žais). From the start, I was not interested in this platform. A lot of my energy goes to PD Mosaic, a different kind of space for online professional learning. As the year progressed and as more people were asking for help in making video, I decided to develop a course about making video capsules using PowerPoint. The course also deals with how to choose videos for your classroom and how to structure the viewing of the videos to maximise their impact on learning. The platform is currently in a testing phase and the course, along with the courses made by other members of the Service National, should be available to everyone by the beginning of the next school year. Here is a teaser video I created as part of the introduction to the course. (And yes, it was made with PowerPoint!)

Posted in: Blended Learning, Video
February 17, 2017

Remembering the Citizen in Digital Citizenship

Making the digital scary

I can’t wait to walk into a conversation or presentation about digital citizenship that does not include the words risk and dangers or even ‘pornification’ (for real, just saw that one at a conference the other day).

A few months ago, I saw this on my twitter feed:


I still hear people (in education) talk about the real world vs the online world.

What?

Read more ››

January 17, 2017

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?

Read more ››

January 13, 2017

Success indicators + technology

Sandra, Johanne, and Ka├žandre’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.

Read more ››