Learn East 2015

In August, I attended Learn East. For the first time in a long time, I went solely as a learner. I helped a bit in the maker space with Jacob, but he did not really need any help.

Listening to Sally Ng talk about how much she loved tech and STEM and one “women in comp sci” image of a person behind a screen all day turned her off, was so instructional. One poor 20 min presentation turned her off her talent. Fortunately, she has many talents upon which she can draw.

I was able to met and chat with David Alston. For a while, we have been moving AROUD each other. We finally got a chance to chat. I think there will be some synergy here.

The new SMART Tech rep was there. When he found out I was in the building, he removed the “FOGARTY-STUDY (still spelled wrong)” from his deck.

Found out that Partners in Learning is going to do an Ed Camp 21 in Freddy soon. I wonder if Lia will be coming??

Bryan Facey and Jeff Whipple run a fantastic session. I am so luck to spend time with both of them. They are so generous to me. Here’s hoping for more in the future.



Tech in the Classroom with AEI

At the end of July, I spoke to the Atlantic Education International (AEI) conference. There were lots of principals, new teachers, veteran teachers on their way to China and other places. I spoke about tech in the classroom. It was not a how to, but rather, look at what they can do, here is why you would want to. The literacy peer-authoring vs co-authoring really hit a chord.

It is interesting that people think they are doing collaboration or critical thinking or communication, until they see other things that are happening and all of a sudden, they are not so hot after all.

We need to keep preaching and showing real classrooms doing real work to inspire.

Nureva Troove and SPAN

It was a privilege to be invited to NUREVA’s to play with their new ideation products, SPAN and their digital Portfolio software, Troove.

Screenshot (56)nureva Troove

I really like both of their products. There are some classrooms that are SOOO ready for both of them. They fit into what the school of tomorrow should look like. Large digital space to work and the ability to use digital portfolios over the lifetime of a student can help get an accurate picture of a student, not just how they perform on tests. I hope that these will have enough critical mass to be sustainable. Are teachers, report cards, standardized testing and the whole system etc… ready for such things??

What could happen if the outside community can make comments and participate in the education of a student?

It will be fun to see how it all plays out.

Wearable lights arrive at Pheasey Park, UK

Earlier in the year, the Y4 UK students from Plessey Park Elementary suggested inspired us to make wearable lights for the Dominican. We were thinking only 3D printed. Our students learned how to sew, make circuits, solder, ohms law etc…We produced a few variations on a wrist wearable light with 6-10 LED’s.

The interesting connection physically solidified the virtual network we are creating. John Howe and Tracey Winey at Preston Middle, Colorado; me at RHS in Canada and Plessey Park in the UK have been working on designing and building lights for students who cannot study after dark. These collaborations were by email, Bridgit, SKYPE, Notebook and AMP… all virtual.

I flew to Keystone Colorado for INNEdCo. John drove from Fort Collins where I gave him 3 prototypes. He kept one. A few short days later, John flew to ISTE in Phili. David Whyley also attended ISTE Philip. They both spoke about OML while they were there. John handed two RHS wearable prototypes to David. David brought them back to the UK. David delivered them to the Y4 Plessey Park kids.

In early July, the UK kids were still in session. We were on summer break. We had a final skype/SMART AMP session where the UK students showcased their colorful decorations for the wearable lights that “were still under construction”. We had some great discussion about colours, boy and girl designs, the cost of multiple colours etc… At the end, we had a surprise unveiling. The story about John and David meeting in Philadelphia was told, a box was taken out and opened, revealing two wearable prototypes ready to be decorated by the UK students. They were wide-eyed and excited, that their virtual idea had changed the minds of high school students and now was live in front of them. We are anxious to see what becomes of them in the up coming year.


Innovation in Education Colorado (InnEdCo)


SMART Invited me to speak at InnEdCo in Keystone, Colorado, June 22-25th, 2015. I spoke on “How we can Make Students Successful in a Collaborative World”. In addition to talking about how collaboration can be taught side by side with literacy and word problems, I also presented some of the One Million Lights work. We showcased SMART AMP with the Can-UK collaboration.

I re-met so many people from Fort Collins. There seems to be a connection there. There were 3 people that came up to me and said something like, “I saw you speak at SES,…” and then continue to describe my talk. It is nice to know that what I am saying seems to be memorable.

I had a wonderful 30 min early morning face to face with one of the organizers of the conference who also happens to be an important person in Fort Collins Education. I think I challenged her thinking a bit around collaboration, 1:1 devices and SMARTBoards, particularly around peer editing vs co-authorship.

I am so thankful to John and Julie Howe for coming to visit me. They had so many other things on the go, yet they drove down to see me. Thank you. In addition to reconnecting, I was able to pass him some of the wearable lights that my grade 10 students made.

Later, John went to ISTE Phili and met with David Whyley who was also at ISTE. Two great people met each other. John handed the lights to David. David took the lights back to the UK to bring our little international collaboration full circle.

What happens next is the topic of another blog entry.

PS. I won a Lifeproof case from OTTERBOX for a phone that I do not have. TIme to find a Samsung S5!!

Stem Educator Symposium ’15 #preses15

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It is like coming home!! It is nice to have many homes.

Of all the conferences that I get to attend, this is the one that is most meaningful. Here inspiration turns to action. Here, you get to talk the talk, then visit a classroom and see it in action. They do not show pics or graphs, they show you students in action. Then they show graphs. I am not sure it is fair that so many great people are in one place at a time. I have spoke about Tracey, Scott, John, Ryan, and Amy in the past. This time I would like to focus on Kathy and Sue.

There were many things that amazed me, but the thing that got me the most was the MATH Collaborative Classroom of Kathy Sampson and Sue Martino. This class is composed of grade 6, 7 and 8 students. They were talking about math. They were debating different ways to solve quadratics and what forms were most appropriate. The transition from group work (productive noise) to whole class instruction (silence) to many different hands being raised to group work (productive noise) was amazing. Just for kicks, I asked students to solve a Chem 12 Calorimetry question that uses the distributive property. Although they did not understand the chemistry, they were able to solve it without the use of a calculator until the very last bit. This was the same question that some of my grade 12’s complained was too difficult.

I loved the way that they used language, that students use jargon correctly in a professional way. I love the discussion that was happening between students and between students and teachers. It was similar to the things that I try to do in my classes, but it was at a whole new level and with less mature students about a topic that I previously thought pretty dry.

I have so much more to learn form them. I hope they will contribute 2 chapters to the Collaborative Class Book.

RHS and #OML on EarthDay by students for students

RHS Science 12 students decided to run a TED Talk-like fundraiser for the automated Greenhouse and One Million Lights. Earth Day made sense. But I was at SES in Colorado. So students ran this fundraiser with minimal adult involvement. I skyped in from Colorado to kick things off, but it was by students for students.

earth day brochure screen shot

OML Greenhouse Brochure

They organized the theatre, the sound system, lights, program, pamphlets, snacks (provided by IEEE), greeters, MC’s etc… They were PRO !! They are like the childhood toys,… my job is to wind them up, point them in the general direction, and let them go.

They contacted the media re their event. This was the result. Scan_20150428 (2)

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My Science 12 students win Pitch at Sustainapalooza

RHS Students Micro GrantRHS students win $1500 micro-grant for aquaponics system at Sustaina-palooza

Riverview, NB – A $1500 micro-grant was awarded to Riverview High School students at Sustaina-palooza, last weekend at the Chocolate River Station.

RHS Science 12 students Caitlyn Downes, Cole Hayden and Dakota Steeves pitched their project, a sustainable Hydro-Aquaponic greenhouse, to a judging panel on Saturday, April 18. They were one of 11 groups to vying for the Palooza Pitch prize. The micro-grant will assist the students in creating an aquaculture greenhouse wall inside Riverview High School that will provide experiential learning opportunities in sustainable food systems for students and citizens alike.

“These project pitches from our community were each inspiring in their own way,” said Shane Thomson, Riverview’s director of economic development. “In fact the judges were so enthused by another RHS project that they contributed $500 of their own money, above and beyond the $1500 prize.”

That project developed by students Sydney Irvine, Ashley Meehan and Grace Park is a public art piece which also functions as a sundial. They will use the funds to build a prototype and costing for the finished piece.

Sustaina-palooza participants enjoyed three days of films, tours, discussions and workshops as well as a keynote presentation by Jason Roberts, founder of The Better Block.

The Town’s sustainability committee Envision Riverview took the opportunity to launch its vision statement for the town’s sustainability plan which is still in development. The vision is the culmination of three months of engagement activity, which included over 400 survey responses and three Envision Cafés. The vision statement will guide the committee as it completes an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan for the Town of Riverview.