Sharing Away! Cross-Post and let the learning be transparent! Why Not?

I am currently teaching the Junior Additional Qualifications Course at Brock University, as I have been for the past 6 years. While the course design is always in process – I have included opportunities for the participants to explore their own strengths, passions, and pedagogies instead of just answering post after post after post… The interesting thing about this course is that the participants consist of both, very new teachers (usually working at the Secondary Level)  and very experienced teachers, often consultants, coaches or leaders in their school.   The experienced teachers are usually headed toward a formal leadership position like Vice-Principal or a “Department Head” and the new teachers are often exploring their options, potentially opening up an opportunity Continue reading Sharing Away! Cross-Post and let the learning be transparent! Why Not?

2017 CANeLearn Symposium Presentations

Over the next three days, I’ll be at the CANeLearn Symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia! Sweet! I’m sooooo looking forward to the opportunity for  conversations and face-to-face connections with the many friends and colleagues of whom I’ve only connected with online – OR maybe I just haven’t seen you in WAY TOO LONG.  You know who you are! This will be the best part! I am completely honoured, humbled, inspired and energize to be a featured speaker – along side such forward thinking and creative educators and leaders. Thank you so much to the CanELearn Team, Volunteers and Leaders for organizing such a fantastic event! Remi Kalir, Assistant Professor of Information and Learning Technologies at the University of Colorado Continue reading 2017 CANeLearn Symposium Presentations

When it is time to drop your lesson and talk about world events….

What is your lens? Maureen Wilson, from Hamilton, Ontario shares her experiences at the Women’s March of Washington We had to be ready to change our pre-planned lesson…Students wanted to talk about what was happening in the world. The following posts describes why we altered our plan and shares the alternate lesson! Critical literacies involve people using language to exercise power, to enhance everyday life in schools and communities, and to question practices of privilege and injustice. (Comber, 2017) Huge events unfolded across the world over the past two weeks which prompted our teaching team to change a “pre-planned lesson” to focus on current issues of Social Activism – locally and globally.  On January 20th, Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration took Continue reading When it is time to drop your lesson and talk about world events….

Just starting a Makerspace in your school? Tips on where to start!

  Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to co-create two Makerspaces (from Cafe Bar to Makerspace)  within my school District – both very different and yet both fall under similar approaches and philosophies that were inspired by the town of Emilia Reggio  which is “based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach    Our Makerspaces  include a vast assortment of  technology tools and robotics as well as hands-on building and craft material and textiles (sewing machines), arts and music , and content producing tools (camera, computers, tablets). But Continue reading Just starting a Makerspace in your school? Tips on where to start!

From Classroom to Cafe Bar – A Makerspace, Reggio Inspired Learning Space

In every city or community around the world, the cafe/coffee shop is place for gathering with friends or colleagues, catching up on daily reading, playing games, engaging in the art and music culture, knitting, writing, planning, creating, organizing, designing and learning – and of course, sharing in food/drink.  Drawing from hundreds of examples of cafe community gathering hubs across our own city, Hamilton (A coffee shop for every mood) or Toronto (Top 10 Places to work or study in Toronto), or New York City (The Best Coffee Shops for getting work done), we created a classroom space with similar characteristics.   The coffee shop as office: Coffee shops are the unofficial offices of an army of modern workers thanks to free wi-fi, good company Continue reading From Classroom to Cafe Bar – A Makerspace, Reggio Inspired Learning Space

Bring Back the Maker in Learning…

It is always an honour to present at a conference. To have such incredibly passionate and engaged educators, leaders, academics  and friends dedicate time to listen and reflect on my words might be one of the most humbling experiences of a lifetime.   I sincerely thank you for empowering me and reminding me of the support and kindness that exists in our field – it is that that helps me (and you) to move forward.  Christ Hatfield, our closing Keynote on Thursday reminded us that innovation is not just about one single person but it is a combination of so many people’s experiences, skills and talents. That is how I feel.  Please continue to connect, share and dialogue. I look Continue reading Bring Back the Maker in Learning…

Indigenous Worldviews Inspires THIS classroom MAKERSPACE

Reconciliation should include a commitment to bringing in the Indigenous World Views as part of the learning process.  I ask, ‘Would recognizing that we are already moving in this direction be a valuable part of the healing process for Indigenous populations?’  Many traditional methods of teaching are being challenged, and now, in Canada (and elsewhere), we have begun to adopt some of the very philosophies and principles (of course, with different names, definition and labels) that were once removed from our First Peoples when they were forced to attend Residential Schools.   Canada has made a strong commitment toward Truth and Reconciliation in respect to First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI). This is especially important in our Education Systems because Continue reading Indigenous Worldviews Inspires THIS classroom MAKERSPACE

A Makerspace Inquiry Lesson – Minecraft, Yarn, Smoothies and the Honeybee…

What does a ball of yarn, a quilt, a Makespace, the Honey Bee, a podcast, Green Smoothie and a Minecraft Museum all have in common? The following is an example Inquiry Lesson that infuses Maker Space, Collaborative tools, Inquiry and Design thinking, including Minecraft. We facilitated this lesson at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre in our Grade Six Journalism Program, for Gifted Students. This Video is the lesson consolidation. Everything is connected. “How Wolves Change Rivers”. Interconnectivity. We ask: Is Interconnectedness essential for our survival? *How does the interconnectedness of anything change its course or direction in life? *What does it mean to depend on someone or something? *Will the disappearance of the honey bee impact human life at the Continue reading A Makerspace Inquiry Lesson – Minecraft, Yarn, Smoothies and the Honeybee…

When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

I do not share this post with the intent to judge others in their attempts to educate students by using specific tools.  Instead, I want to encourage critical thinking, reflection and discussion. I share it as a way to ask for support and guidance as to when we should be using Game-Based tools to engage and teach certain content. I struggle with incorporating the popular “Craft Reconciliation” project into my current Inquiry Lesson about Truth and Reconciliation between the Canadian Government and First Nations Peoples. I struggle at the thought of using a tool that for many students is considered a “game” to address such a deep, personal and difficult topic. I do not want to put light on Continue reading When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

The Makerspace Classroom is WAY more than Circuits & Programming

The Enrichment and Innovation Centre  is considered a ‘Maker Space Community’ with a strong focus on STEM principles, problem based learning, design thinking and arts education, each with an overriding theme of Social Justice and Environmental Education. The Inquiry driven model was designed with specific attention to enriched programming, current pedagogies, computer science, environmental considerations (physical space), online and blended learning, and community partnerships.   The Learning Environment is something that I’ve discussed many times in this blog. More and more, the term ‘Makerspace’ is becoming synonymous with the “Learning-space”.  A space where we teach, learn and create.  However, the conditions for engaging students and teachers in a space where creativity and design is at the core needs to Continue reading The Makerspace Classroom is WAY more than Circuits & Programming