BETT 4 years in a row!!

For the fourth year in a row, Science 12 at RHS has been featured. I was there in 2013 showcasing the Collaborative Classroom, 2014 Gareth and David showcased “is it alive?” , 2015 Gareth and David show cased “One Million Lights” and this year they show cased “Engineering Brightness”. Thank you so much to David and Gareth for continually including us in your wonderful work.

SMART Technologies also presented our work. They used our SMART AMP template to show how we were collaborating with Preston Middle (Colorado) and Pheasey Park Elementary (UK).

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David kept a blog. Some highlights were the unveiling of VIVIDTouch, which is an interactive flat panel that has the PC already built in. Is this the replacement for the MS HUB??

I wonder what 2016 will bring??  A book? An interactive biological spire of acrylic? or a celebration of Canada’s 100 year anniversary of Vimy Ridge??


Last week we participated in the SKYPE-athon with @AnthonySalcito, the Microsoft VP of Education.

Here is an excerpt from their follow up email.

“Anthony called into 33 classrooms non-stop on December 3rd, starting at 4pm in Seattle with a call to Auckland, New Zealand, and finishing with a classroom in Microsoft’s backyard, Bellevue Washington. During the 24 hours he called into classrooms in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, South Africa, Kenya, Macedonia, Norway, Austria, Russia, Ireland, UK, Finland, Canada, Argentina, Puerto Rico and the USA. “

Our students were featured in the follow up video review. Here is a behind the scenes video.


We talked a bit about the Engineering Brightness. A couple of things were of particular note. Seth, the person who has a hard time answering any kind of question in class, comes alive and describes the project. He did mumble and stumble a bit, but all in all, he jumped in. I was pretty proud! That is the second time that he has come alive when talking about something he knows inside and out and to strangers.


Anthony particularly liked that we were using school to help someone, that we were inventing and innovating and he particularly remarked that he like the getting feedback and iteration part of our process. He wants us to send him one of the wearable lights that we make.

Kennedy and Sarah talked about the idea of using SKYPE and technologies to get other perspectives to solve real problems. “You cannot use the same thinking to solve a problem that was used to create it”. (Einstein?)


Kennedy talked about using today’s tech, we can gather many different perspectives and a set of fresh eyes could be all that is needed. Sarah asked, if that is true then how are we going to get the perspectives from an important part of the world who do not have access to tech? His answer was that it is an important problem that we need to address and he was impressed that we were worried about it. He wanted us to consider the “LEARNING EXPERIENCE” first and the tools second. It is not about the tech.


In our debrief afterwards, they were a bit star struck. He made a great impression on the students. They were impressed by the fact that he would take the time to do such a thing, AND the fact that he seemed more interested in the learning experience and then whatever tool might be needed to achieve the desired learning.



Revisiting #MIEExpert and #MIEExpertFellow

Yesterday I had a chance to revisit and share my experience as an MIEExpert and Fellow. I gave a talk with Lia DeCicco-Remu at the MSFT CAMP 21 in Fredericton. Thank you to Lia and Jacynth for having supper with me the day before. It was more than just a trip down memory lane, but also a chance see where we were with a view to the future.


I started my teaching career, teaching the way that I was taught, like a university prof, finishing the course with time to spare and only a couple of students left at the end. My mentors talked about finding out “How are my kids SMART?” vs “How SMART are my kids?” However, I never had the excuse, or the latitude to explore.

Mario suggested that I apply for the then “Global Innovative Educator Forum” through Microsoft Partners in Learning. This designation gave me an excuse to color outside the lines a bit.

The Xenotransplant Project was born. It was selected to attend the Global Forum in Cape Town. The project placed 3rd for communication and collaboration. The first Canadian Project to be a winner. Maybe New Brunswick Education can make an impact on the world. Maybe we are on the right track. Small town New Brunswick can compete on the world stage!!

Lia was inspiring and empowering. Jacynth taught me that NB can do great things. Norm told me to write. (I now have 3 books in the works.)

It opened many doors to interact with people like Angus McBeath, Sir Ken Robinson, and Bill Strickland. Together they taught things like, “Teaching is the most important paid job in the world”, “My students cannot wait for another research paper, a task force, or report. My kids are dying now.” “If you are not willing to fail, you will never do anything original.” These global mentors added to my local mentors to help me explore project based learning, collaborative projects, how technology can help or hinder etc…

Last year, I was designated as Canada’s first MIEExpert Fellow. This is an invitation only program. Part of those responsibilities is to mentor others. I had been doing that anyway in Virginia, China, England, and Colorado. Truth be told, Maybe I learned more from them.

MIE Fellow

Since then, I have been trying to unite the Canadian Network. So the last time I was in Toronto, I scheduled a delay in my flights so I could meet with other MIEEs. I had the privilege of meeting Kaylan Dorland. She was a first year Grade 2 teacher and already an MIEE. Wow! Her show case was Who to You, a program that uses Skype to connect her kids to others. I left our meeting inspired. We have plans for her grade 2 students to teach my grade 12’s how to use SWAY. I also tried to connect when in Calgary, but it is a bit too far to them.

kaylan Dorland

I was surprised and excited to hear from Lia that Kaylan also walked away from this short meet inspired and excited. This seems to happen a bunch. I guess I should just expect it when you put great people together. I just still have a tough time putting myself into that caliber of teacher.

The GIEF was the flashpoint that the mounting pressure was trying to produce. I owe much of my success to a whole bunch of people who invested time and energy into me. I Stand on the Shoulders of Giants.

It has been a great ride so far and I feel like the best is yet to come. I am looking forward what is on the horizon. Finally, Microsoft have created an environment that merges the functionality that I use from many different locations. Maybe I no longer need Moodle, Twitter for class, Google, WordPress, Grades, and YouTube. Microsoft may have leapfrogged many of the other companies who dabble in Education. The SWAY, ONENote Class and O365 may be the trifecta.







Inspiring a Province

Sometimes in New Brunswick, we have a small town complex. “My dream is to …. But I am just from New Brunswick”. “That is such a big problem, what can a small action from New Brunswick do?” This can translate to our education system as well. “We are a poor province, our education system must be terrible.”
I hope that this little project helps to destroy these attitudes. I get to rub shoulders with lots of celebrities. This little project is deemed worth by their heroes. If their teacher can make it big, perhaps they too can follow their dreams.

JRDN and me


Silken Laumann and me

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Craig Kielburger and Tracey

Other places are showcasing a New Brunswick-Colorado-UK project as a model to follow. Perhaps we can make an impact. Since we are small and near the bottom, maybe it is an opportunity to make a dramatic change in our 10 year plan. BC is trying to, but they are larger and have more inertia to overcome. We have an opportunity to become world leaders in education. Where people will immigrate to NB so that their kids will go to our schools. We have the talent in our province, we just need to be bold enough to use it!


Hell on Wheels

Henri Winckler

henry winkler


We Day Alberta!!

One Million Lights was invited to speak to 16,000 students at WE Day Alberta. For the first time, Gareth, Tracey, John and I were together in one place. Thanks to SMART Technologies who brought us together, we finally closed the circle. We made it to the Big Leagues.


DCIM100GOPROGOPR0844.we day sign signatures behind scenes lights team ready to go on lights team on stage lights team on stage 2 light team in cue line gareth in cue line gareth and i in cue line
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I wonder if this will lead to growth in the number of participants in the OML/Engineering Brightness project.

We need a web page that can handle the traffic and collect data. We need a way to collect data on who is participating, where the lights are being produced, where they are being sent and a running total. I would also like a total number of volunteer hours.

OML Changes to Engineering Brightness

There has been some confusion about our name because there is another organization that is similar. Where they are fundraising to purchase lights, we are trying to have kids put their own hard work into the lights for their partners in learning around the world.

If the project is to be owned by the community, the community should name it. Students, teachers, and volunteers contributed and voted. There were two close options. While gathered together at a coffee shop in Calgary, we decided on a name. My original favorite did not stay my favorite.

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Engineering Brightness (Ryan Martine’s contribution) has a nice play on words. Not only are we trying to engineer lights so that students can study in brightness, we are also trying to be deliberate about growing a brightness of heart with the philanthropy and brightness of mind with the learning and design thinking. 

Michelle Romanow Keynotes at Shad Cup

The newest Dragon from CBC’s Dragon’s Den also happens to be on the board of SHAD Valley International. She gave a wonderful Keynote to the SHADS and the Shad Cup.
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She encouraged the SHADs to use their inexperience to just make it happen. Being young means she did not know that she was not supposed to be able to do it. It also meant that she had little to lose. She did not have a family to support. So take bold actions while you can.
Planning generally won’t save you from the big issues that show up. You cannot predict the problems that show up. Do not let “analysis paralysis” set in.
John Howe is looking for someone to inspire their students, particularly girls, into the entrepreneurial realm, both for business and social arenas. I wonder if Michelle would be interested in speaking.

Her story about going to St Andrews’ to get her Caviar was particularly interesting to the UNB SHADS as we visit there every year. Perhaps she would be interested in revisiting St Andrews’ with us next year!

I also wonder if she would be interested in Pretty Brainy and Brainy labs??

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.