The Kitchen Table

Bring the Home into the Classroom – Literally! What is one artifact or symbol that can literally make students feel “at home” in the classroom? An artifact that can ease stress, encourage conversations,  build relationships, have no limitations of age or ability and be completely  diverse in nature? A KITCHEN TABLE! In our home, The Kitchen Table is not just where we gather for meals but where we gather to talk about our day. It is the first stop when getting up in the morning, returning from a walk or coming home from work.  Where we throw down our keys, where we pile up our books and add to the week’s worth of newspapers. It is where we charge Continue reading The Kitchen Table

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Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

I am excited, thrilled and honoured to be given the opportunity to present some of  my experiences as a Teacher and Researcher, in particular how and why I am using Minecraft in my Maker/Learning Space. I look forward to meeting, sharing and collaborating with the many innovative and curious educators that will be attending ISTE and hopefully attending my session on: Monday, June 29, 12:45–1:45 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) Building/Room: PCC 108 What will I be presenting? Sharing? This year, I co-created and facilitated programming at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre, at the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. I’ve tried to write and share my experiences and personal reflections throughout the past school year. In one post, I write Continue reading Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

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A little Kindergarten and A little Starbucks – Universal Classroom Design

We designed our learning space with a little Kindergarden and a little Starbucks  – Here is how it happened: In June 2014, we were informed that we would be moving to an empty/unused classroom at Holbrook School (HWDSB). We were also informed that our proposal for new technology was granted which included 1:1 computers, projector, interactive whiteboard, doc camera (microscope), tablets, 3D printer, and NXT Robotics. Regardless of the fact that we were at the mercy of the physical space and size, including windows, electricity and lighting, we were absolutely pumped to design our “dream” classroom space that was Universal  for all learners.   From the onset, we wanted a space that not only engaged students to be active Continue reading A little Kindergarten and A little Starbucks – Universal Classroom Design

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Do we facilitate 21st Century means of Acquiring Knowledge?

I asked my students this question.  How do you acquire knowledge?   95% said – Books and Youtube/Internet (the other way around, actually).   About 5 % said Teachers. Ouch.  As I write this post, my son sits across the table watching a video/story about Minecraft World. He tells me that this is how he “learns how to craft”. My other son reads Reddit threads to learn/improve his skills on Java.         Matt Henderson asked me to think about and share my opinions of the following question: How do people acquire knowledge and how can teachers facilitate this process effectively? My quick answer- books. I can’t help but think about the Printing Press of the 1400’s and forward. I Continue reading Do we facilitate 21st Century means of Acquiring Knowledge?

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My Working Memory Deficit (and why I plead to educators to find other ways)

It is logical to conclude that many educators and leaders lead and teach like they were once led and taught. Why not? They were  good at it. They are the one’s that succeeded – the ones that were just fine learning through rigid assessments, text based assignments, memory driven tasks, criterion based and teacher directed/controlled learning with siloed subjects and curriculum. It is perhaps why we continue to hold on, so dearly, to these methods and pedagogies, even in a world where information and knowledge resources are at an abundance and in a variety of mediums.   In 2007, I read a post by Scott Mcleod called “What do students need to Memorize”. What resonated me the most was Continue reading My Working Memory Deficit (and why I plead to educators to find other ways)

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World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

“Salt and water combine to form salt water, which sinks below pure water. Heating up salt water causes it to split back into salt water and steam. Steam rises and condenses, eventually forming water droplets. Plants drink water and grow, but die if exposed to salt water. And that’s just three of the nineteen materials available for you to draw.” – World of Sand What I’ve discovered most about my students in this Gifted program, is that they want challenge. Not just any challenge, but a challenge that doesn’t have just one answer, but a myriad of possibilities. They want a challenge that can be done, and re-done over and over, with different results or possibilities. They want to Continue reading World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

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Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable? “What?, you’ve been banned from 8 different servers?” I shrieked at my 11 year old son.   “It’s part of the game – to build trust, act normal, get more responsibility from the server owner and then, destroy” he explained. I gasped.   “In many servers, the point is to build and protect. If you are in a server shared by others, you always take the risk of having your things stolen and your creations destroyed…but for some players, hacking into a server and destroying is the main point”. I gasped. “But it’s not nice…..” So he explains, “most teachers and adults aren’t Continue reading Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

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New Knowledge in the Digital Age

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Knowledge is changing in the digital age.  With all the amazing resources, tools, connections, community information, mediums, people -it really all comes down to access, information and data. The World Wide Web has allowed us to access people, places and community – and how we are handling the abundant sources of information and data – which is changing how we are thinking and learning. I wonder how this is changing how we are learning literacy itself? Information is constantly being reconstructed and reshaped – in real time through combinations of mediums and perspectives and links and ideas. Our knowledge is being accessed, shared, given by anyone – adults to children and Continue reading New Knowledge in the Digital Age

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What is the Ultimate Learning Space?

Learning Spaces A couple of years ago, I landed an incredible job at a brand new school. The school was equipped with a Smartboard in every room, a Front Row amplification system in every learning space, wireless Internet throughout the school and mini computer pods attached to groups of rooms. I could hardly wait to start teaching that year. At first glance, it seemed like a perfect teaching and learning space for the 21st Century. Today, I would argue the opposite. It first started with a conversation I had with my students, who, in a podcast, describe their “ideal” secondary school. They didn’t mention technology as being essential (although for them, that is a given). They mentioned collaborative spaces, Continue reading What is the Ultimate Learning Space?

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Digital Storytelling – Not new, but new for some.

Last week, I started talking to my pre-service students about Digital Storytelling in the classroom. I was a little surprised that many of them had not heard these terms before. Teachers College is half over. For me, digital storytelling, any storytelling actually is a KEY component in my instruction. It is the ‘Story’ that gives students the context, the imagination and the excitement. In my class, we made up stories everyday (my favourite was the time that I was to be sucked into the smartboard and visit my world-wide colleagues). Anyway, there is nothing new about telling stories in the classroom. In fact, storytelling is perhaps the earliest form of communication, before there were words, or tools to write Continue reading Digital Storytelling – Not new, but new for some.

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