“…you have to know your own interests before you can pretend to represent someone else’s interests.” Richard Elmore   Recently Pearson Canada pulled together a group of Ontario educators who are active in social media for a one day event at their Toronto office. It was called a symposium, though (semantics aside) it really was more of a focus group. The participants; who were invited by the session facilitators, @royanlee and @taniasterling were compensated for their time and ideas. This collaborative blog post is a joint effort by Brian Harrison (@bharrisonp) who attended the event and Donna Fry (@fryed) who followed the conversations via the event hashtag, #ontsm.   The story from the outside: What I learned this past weekend will change my practice. Normally, I say that after attending an event (conference, symposium, summit). But last

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Time to Lead

Source: http://worldshiftcouncil.org/ “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”    Albert Einstein These are challenging times for those of us who work in the areas of school and system leadership in Ontario. Our current circumstances are placing demands upon all of the stakeholders in our public schools; teaching and support staff, administrators, politicians, families and students. Demanding times (as the old saying goes) often reveal character rather than build it. It is important for the small group of Ontario education leaders that we have knit together through #OntCL to stay connected, stay focussed and recognize the opportunities that these challenging times are offering; to capture the essence of wēijī. I recall all to well the years I spent as a classroom teacher in the late 1990′s. Over a 5 year span my wife @TechieAng and I, both elementary teachers, were participants

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Deep Breaths: The Aspirations of Educators

Aspirations are the building blocks of life; literally and metaphorically- each breath we take sustains us and allows us to accomplish all that we do- the mundane and the glorious. It was the very meaning of this word that caught my eye as I skimmed the Twittersphere in early July and came across the report Teaching the Way We Aspire to Teach, a joint endeavor of the CEA and CTF. My attention was fixed on the word aspire because it is a word that is not currently used much our public education context, and it makes me wonder if that is one reason why we seem to be a little stuck these days. When I began my teaching career 20 years ago I had a fully formed set of aspirations of the teacher I wanted to be; informed by the experiences I had working alongside a lifetime’s

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Technology Enabled Learning: Leadership, Change, Capacity Building

Last week I connected with WRDSB Principal James Bond to have a conversation about his learnings over the last year with the major tablet initiative in his school. We had a great discussion, and James agreed to me writing this blog post based on our conversation. I kicked off the conversation with a few questions to frame our discussion. 1. How do you see the role of the principal in terms of leadership in the area of technology enabled learning? 2. What were the key ingredients to building capacity among the staff? 3. How did you approach changing what was the norm in your school? Shift Shift takes a lot of effort, and you have to be prepared to work hard to move towards the desired result. Another important aspect is respect – respect that teachers, just like students, are

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20120606 Twitter Chat Guiding Questions

The next OntCLC twitter chat is set for June 6th, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) using the #ontcl hashtag. This twitter chat will take on a reflective approach.  As you look back on the 11/12 school year and plan for 12/13, please consider these guiding questions:   1.  How will you build on a learning success from the 11/12 school year? 2.  Share a new technology enabled learning experience you are planning for your students. 3.  Share a strategy you plan to use to leverage social media tools in your classroom or school community. 4.  Identify a potential barrier you experienced and share a strategy to address it.   I look forward to seeing you online Wednesday night. ~Mark   Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on

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Twitter chat: BYOD

On Wednesday April 4th, the Ontario ConnectED Leaders will host their monthly Twitter chat at 8:00 p.m. (eastern daylight time). The topic will be BYOD: leveraging the benefits, getting ready. Here are a very resources that might help prepare you for the chat topic. I hope to see you in the Twitter chat. Join in with hashtag #ontcl Intel: Teachers Engage BYOD in primary BYOD: What’s in a device? Scooped: A Principal’s memo Scooped: Using student owned devices in the classroom ~Mark Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend

ECOO 2012 Call For Presenters

The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) will hold its annual conference: Learning in the NOW Century October 25th – 26th, 2012 at the Parkway Sheraton Hotel in Richmond Hill.  Preconference events, including Minds on Media will take place on October 24th. The keynote speakers are Michael Fullan, John Seely Brown and Nora Young.  Michael Fullan is a renowned writer and speaker on educational leadership and change. In his most recent collaboration with Andy Hargraeves, Fullan explore the challenges and offer guidance on approaches to transforming education at the school and system level.  Fullan has also written many other texts about leading change, including Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Systemic Change  in which he explores four policy mistakes that he believes are counter-productive to achieving sustainable systemic change in education.  No doubt his talk at ECOO12 will stimulate rich discussion

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Go, Do That…

“…if you’re afraid of something, of putting yourself out there, of creating a kind of connection or a promise, that’s a clue that you’re on the right track. Go, do that.”             ~Seth Godin~ When they find out that I’m a fairly active blogger and tweeter, colleagues and friends often ask me why I engage in these activities. I have a wide range of responses that range from the poetic, to the pithy, to the pointed; depending upon the context and the relationship I have with the person. This isn’t about that~I assume that the fact you are reading a blog post suggests some degree of tolerance for the form and an understanding of why blogging matters in our world and, in particularly, in education. Nope, this is about an awesome email I received from

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Twitter Chat – Wed. March 7th 8:00 – 9:00 EST

Please take a moment to vote for a topic for a twitter chat using #OntCL on Wednesday, March 7th form 8 – 9 pm EST. Visit the poll on our Facebook Page. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend

Parents as Partners Webcast – Building a Learning Network

Many schools are beginning to use social media to send out information to parents. Examples include twitter feeds and facebook pages. These initial forays into social media are a first step. They provide parents and the community with greater access to information regarding the school and the learning happening within its walls. A key facet of school leadership is developing relationships, both within staff and also with families and the community. This relationship building must include seeking feedback and listening. Most of this work is done face to face, through school events or outreach programs and even through informal conversations in the hallways or at drop off or pick up time. We live in a time when top-down leadership and closed door meetings are no longer seen as the way to get things done. Stakeholders want to be involved in

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