Student Voice and School Design

    "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." ~ Malala Yousafzai   I was doing a bit of organizing and cleaning of my files last night when I came across a report that I had written in 2008 when I was a learning technologies coordinator. In late 2007, upon the request of my superintendent, I organized and ran a Student Voices Forum on Technology with the purpose of gathering input from some of our high school students on the current state of technology in schools and more importantly what they thought school needed in order to help them learn. We invited 2 students from each high school to participate in a variety of activities with no teacher or adult support other than 6 learning technologies coordinators to guide and facilitate the conversations. The students did a masterful job of articulating their thoughts and ideas for...
Continue reading
1573 Hits
0 Comments

My Idea

  "The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it's to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they're valued." ~ Sir Ken Robinson   Yesterday my post asked the same question to 5 leaders from my PLN that I respect. The question was; "If you had the power to make 1 change, and 1 change only that would help to improve schools, what would it be?" They didn't disappoint with their responses, they were great.  Soon after I published the post, Aviva Dunsiger ( @avivaloca ) asked what my 1 change would be. I'm glad she asked because I had planned to post my idea today. As I considered the many ideas that would have a positive impact on schools I kept coming back to something I see almost every day in some shape or form - inquiry. Whether it's...
Continue reading
1751 Hits
2 Comments

5 Observations on Connecting With Today's Students

Below is a guest blog post from Tim Elmore. Tim is the President of Growing Leaders and author of Habitudes. He is committed to training the next generation of leaders. Enjoy. I'd love to hear your comments.   Because of the rapid cycles of change we're experiencing these days, I propose that we must rethink how we connect with students every four years. Let me suggest a few. The following observations are about Generation iY (i.e. students born since 1990) that may help you as you attempt to communicate and connect with students today:   Observation #1: They want to Belong before they Believe. Today's students are different than those of past generations. They don't necessarily make decisions based upon logic or statistics. I know professors, salesmen and ministers who will try to convince a young person about something before they build any sense of relationship or community. Students today...
Continue reading
4325 Hits
0 Comments

The Spirit of a School

  "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself" ~ John Dewey   It's Spring Break here in Ontario and the snow just doesn't seem to want to stop falling so today I decided to do a bit of organizing, as well as, back up my computer and iPhone. As I started saving the the school pictures from my phone something hit me - school spirit. People will have different ideas on what school spirit is. In fact if you had asked me when I was in high school or university my answer would have been much different than it is today. Back then I would have said school spirit is much like the picture at the top of this post. Athletics and teams were the heart and soul of a school. They brought everyone together, cheering and supporting their peers and having some fun doing it. I...
Continue reading
3368 Hits
0 Comments

ECOO 13 ~ Bring IT, Together

If you live anywhere near Niagara Falls you really need to check out the ECOO13 Annual Conference from October 23-25. There are hundreds of sessions to choose from, as well as social activities such as a photo walk, dinner and networking and a morning run along the Falls! I'll be leading a session on Engaging Student Voice through Video, and I'd be happy to share my experiences with you, in fact I'd love it! There will be keynotes from  Amber MacArthur, Jaime Casap, Kevin Honeycutt and Robert Baker.   Check out the ECOO13 website and register today. It's going to be amazing!      
3716 Hits
2 Comments

Thoughts on School Design

"School is a building that has four walls with tomorrow inside." ~ Lon Watters If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that in September I will be starting a new vice principal assignment at a large elementary school that is only 4 years old. In June as I met the staff and toured the school I began to notice things with the building that had me thinking about the principles of the design. It is a lovely new building with all the amenities that one would think a new school should have. However, that is simply a superficial look at the building. Looking deeper at the design I started to wonder how the school could have been built to suit the needs of students today. I admit that I don't know the building code or specifications for new builds from the Ministry of Education but...
Continue reading
5033 Hits
2 Comments

Love, Writing and Chocolate Kisses

It's amazing what kindergarten students can do when given the opportunity. As this week came to a close I couldn't stop thinking about their amazing thoughts and writing about what love is. It's hard to believe that some of these same students, just 5 short months ago, started school without knowing the alphabet or even how to count to 10. Now their writing and profound thoughts on love have me counting myself lucky to be reminded about what love is. For me, love is my daughter ZoĆ«. As she approaches her first birthday I can't imagine my life without her. So, If you are lucky enough to be celebrating Family Day this Monday I hope you enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and maybe even enjoy some "choklit kises". 
2903 Hits
1 Comment

Netbooks vs iPads

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for me with writing a paper for my comparative education course and reading 8 sets of classroom report cards. I'm happy to say they are both behind me and I'm ready to blog about something that has been on my mind for a long time, Netbooks vs iPads.  My first experience with Netbooks came during my time as a learning technologies coordinator. I failed to be impressed with the device on a personal level but more importantly confused on how they would be used in schools. Those first impressions have stayed with me and became more evident during the past couple of months as we introduced iPads into our school. Students have been engaged creating book trailers , Haiku Decks , and paper slide videos  with the iPads. These same students have a teacher who embraces BYOD, have access to a...
Continue reading
3601 Hits
2 Comments

The Broken Heart Machine

Earlier this week I tweeted about a conversation I had with a kindergarten student and his drawing of a broken heart machine. The conversation I had with him was short but inspiring at the same time. His machine was quite simple. The broken heart would go into the machine on one side and come out fixed on the other. Brilliant. There was nothing sad that had happened to him recently he just wanted to draw a picture of a machine that would mend broken hearts. I left the room after our short conversation with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and pride that students this young are able to demonstrate compassion for others. Then came Friday and the horrible events in Newtown, Connecticut. As my Twitter feed filled up with information about the tragic event I couldn't stop thinking about the safety of the students in my school, about my own...
Continue reading
2245 Hits
0 Comments

Increasing Student Voice

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to present to administrators at Thames Valley's annual tech conference iCon12.  I offered to present on the topic of increasing student engagement and voice through video announcements.  Although I knew about video announcements I didn't pursue it for our school until one of our teachers came back from a PD session and thought it would be a great project.  So together we did a bit of research and costing for the project and put the plan into action.  We were able to fund the project from 4 areas:  School budget, District based ICT funds, a Home & School donation and a "Speak Up" grant from the Ministry of Education.  If you are interested in doing something similar at your school here are a few questions to consider. How will you fund the project?   Do you have a space that could act as your...
Continue reading
1946 Hits
0 Comments