Day 24: Learning About Feedback

Written and shared by Michelle Parrish

I’m learning about feedback, and the intense process involved with it. Yes, I said “intense” – you’ll see why. :)

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 Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Comprehension Test


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Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Lyrics

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Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Interview

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Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Comic

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Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Collage

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Learning Goal, Success Criteria; Planner for Journal Entry

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.58.19 AM Bulletin Board – Back Wall of Classroom


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Bulletin Board – Student Samples


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Bulletin Board – Student Samples

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 Bulletin Board – Student Samples


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Bulletin Board – Student Samples


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Bulletin Board – Student Samples

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 Bulletin Board – Student Samples

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Bulletin Board – Student Samples

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Individual Google Docs, with Hyperlinked Feedback

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 Individual Google Docs, with Hyperlinked Reminders & Feedback

It’s all of 15 seconds – certainly a VERY SMALL PART of the 100 hours of video that is uploaded to youtube every hour!

But it’s a lot more than 15 seconds to the Grade 8s. To them, it’s a reminder of the steps involved in using teacher feedback. Steps? Yes, there are several steps actually. And sometimes they don’t remember them – which totally disheartens me because I know I was late getting home for a supper my hubby made last week! Late – because I was recording audio feedback to guide my students in their next day’s assignment.

So, it’s really, REALLY important to me that they use their feedback – important because I know they need the feedback to do their best job, and important because I was late for supper when my husband was cooking (a rare event indeed!). So, if I’m going to take the time to give feedback, I need to make sure they are using it for their learning.

In the flowchart (which was actually recorded on a whim for a friend, and not at all intended for its 15 second spot on youtube!), there are 7 steps.

1. Pick a book you like.
2. Read what other people did to be amazing (see bulletin board photos in slideshow).
3. Listen to the reminders for that task (audio recordings for each task were embedded in the google doc)
4. Listen to the feedback given on previous tasks (audio recordings were hyperlinked in each student’s google doc)
5. Use the planner, set goals to show what you know (see planner photos in slideshow)
6. Monitor your brain’s activity – check on what you’re doing (we talk about metacognition whenever I remember to!)
7. Hand in your best work!

The Grade 8s were advised that they needed to follow the chart as they prepared for their work. It was fabulous to see them moving around the room. Some were reading the bulletin board and some were conferencing with their peers (sometimes my feedback directs them to a peer who can provide a specific example of a particular skill). Others were listening to feedback and writing down their goals. A few were grabbing the planners and success criteria handouts. I was circulating, providing some one-to-one support where it was needed. I was able to focus my time on some key issues and struggling learners because every student already had some feedback to guide them in their next steps.

Now if only I could figure out how to remove the nasally tone from my recorded feedback – whose voice is that anyway?

Michelle Parrish is a learner and teacher in Northwestern Ontario, and she is most happy when working alongside her grade 8 students.

Follow her on Twitter - @mproom31

Day 23:Leaping Ahead With Our Own Learning

Written and shared by Brenda Sherry.

The original post can be found here:


My friends Donna Fry and Mark Carbone, co-creators of the #ossemooc  have put out a call for us to share our learning during this month of April and, as always, it takes me a little while to get my posts onto the blog!

Luckily for me, I had two great experiences last week,  one at the #otrk12 conference and one at the #gafesummit in Waterloo.   Starting withStephen Hurley’s examples of passion-based learning at OTRK12 was wonderful and I enjoyed presenting to the e-learning teachers about creating dynamic virtual discussions and seeing Jaclyn Calder’s presentation about the Grader App for D2L with awesome options for providing differentiated and timely feedback to learners.   It’s wonderful to see what an amazing teacher like Jaclyn does with technology!

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While I could share all the tips and tricks that I learned at #otrk12 and the #gafesummit,  I think I’d rather share a few observations that I have mulling around and arising from these 2 great learning events.

A principal from my school board approached me at the Google Summit a little distraught that she had perhaps purchased the wrong technology this year. She has provided her teachers and students with a variety of tools like  ipads, laptops, desktops and Chromebooks.  She seemed a little worried that she had made a wrong choice and should have bought more Chromebooks.  I reminded her, that regardless of how ‘feel good and for the cause of all children and teachers everywhere’ this event undoubtedly was, it was also a Google event after all,  and their mission was to make her feel as though Google products were the bomb. Obviously – they succeeded!

I assured her that an effective technology ecology in her school would also include some higher-end media creation tools like her computers and her ipads, and that she’d want to remember that the ability to do some computing with computers is also a really important skill for our students today.

I remember when Nicholas Negroponte from MIT started to predict that ubiquity would be a game changer in our adoption of technology but that rather than getting simpler, as they should over time,  there was this interesting phenomenon with computers called ‘featuritis’ whereby software developers keep the software getting more complex and complicated (bloated and expensive) rather than cheaper.  Google seems to have figured that out.  Make the browser do most of the work, and the machine could remain inexpensive,  although not as robust.   Maybe robust is not what we are looking for in education anyway.  Easy (for teachers)  seems to be the preferred approach when it comes to technology.   I’m not in complete agreement with this, but I’m learning to accept it.   It is what it is.

People often ask me if I think things are suddenly changing, and while I’m hopeful,  I’m still cautious because I’m not sure it’s the technology that has been holding us back.   We’ve been able to connect our students around the world with blogs since about 2005 and with global projects using forums and list serves since the 1980s.  How many of us jumped on board?  We’ve had extremely rich sites sharing how-to’s of authentic learning and Project Based Learning for more than two decades.   Were we on board then?

We have had Ministry Licensed products that allow multimedia creation and assistive technology for our students for another decade or so.  Were we all making use of these?  When I tell people that my students and I were blogging with other classrooms across the world almost 10 years ago now, and we did this by taking turns all throughout the day on two desktop computers,  they sometimes look at me strangely – like they couldn’t imagine doing that without the Chromebook cart rolled down to the classroom or students 1:1 on their own devices.   They complain that there isn’t enough technology, and yet their classroom computer is often sitting silently in the corner reserved for teacher email.  What’s up with that?

I’m reminded that early adopters will always be willing to put in the countless hours that lead them to mastery of technology tools (and other things) if they feel that will  transform their classrooms – that hasn’t changed much since computers were first introduced into classrooms.

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Despite my observations, and my confusion about slow progress in educational technology, I refuse to become cynical.  Instead, I’m telling myself that it’s the ubiquity and access that will make the difference this time around.  Now that educators can leap ahead with their own learning through connected networks, they are not bound any longer by the limits of their own school building or in-services for learning…they can connect with and  support each other and learn not only how to use these tools, but what effective use looks like.

Now that we can share our success stories and connect more widely through social media and through networks like the #ossemooc there is no reason to ‘wait for the learning’ – we can just go out and get it!  It was exciting to see so many educators at OTRK12 and GAFE Summit finding their community and learning together!

Brenda Sherry is an education leader from UGDSB.

She shares her learning here:

Presentations, workshops and publications
On Twitter @brendasherry


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Day 22: Modelling a Growth Mindset


Written and shared by Daniel Pinizzotto. Daniel is a Math, Physics, and Computer Programming teacher; learning to step outside the box and trying to bring tech into the class more effectively. Follow him on Twitter: @mrpinizzotto
(Featured Image Credit: Sergiu Bacioiu via Compfight cc)

Originally posted on Thinking About Math Education:

Yesterday I went to Edcamp London and went into a session about growth mindset.  Not knowing what this would entail, I was wondering if the topic was going to focus on the growth mindset of educators or students.  When I went in I was hoping to get the perspective on how we as educators can help students in their mindset.  I currently feel that my Grade 12 class would benefit from me educating them on persevering in their education as most are off to college in September.  It was my goal to get a better idea of how I could educate my students to have a better mindset in their future education.

Great conversations started from Andrew Kwiecien, Ryan Chisholm, and Jeremie Roselle about the book on mindset from Carol Dweck.  The book covers how we can use our growth mindset when we want by looking at…

View original 499 more words

#OSSEMOOC 20140422

Our April 22nd Tuesday night discussion will delve into the topic of Digital Citizenship.  In consideration of today’s technology enabled learning environments, and the connected lives our students lead this is an area of increasing importance.

Join the meeting room by clicking  [here]  any time after 7:30.  The session will run 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.   If you are joining the OSSEMOOC conversation for the first time,  please allow a few extra minutes for the necessary set up downloads to occur.

We look forward to connecting with you to discuss this important topic.


Day 21: Connected Learning with Grade 3s

Written and shared by  Mark W. Carbone

Last week I became aware of an interesting approach to learning about Ontario communities with grade 3 classes. The idea is to involve people from around the province to submit picture clues about the community they live in. The clues are shared with the students, and student responses are tweeted (posted) back through a class or teacher based Twitter account.

The project takes on another level of connectedness by using a hashtag (Twitter conversation label) to collect all of the tweets on this topic into a searchable stream which can be viewed [here].

What an awesome way to bring a personal and connected context to the classroom.

I enjoyed an afternoon walk this weekend to take a few pictures to participate this week. I wonder how many clues it might take the students to guess where I live.

Here are some sample tweets from last week.

WhereAmI 1

possible answer

WhereAmI 2

This will be a great week in the connected learning world.   Consider participating!


Mark W. Carbone is the Chief Information Officer with the Waterloo Region District School Board, co-chair of OSAPAC and present of ECOO.

Follow on twitter here:  @markwcarbone

Day 20: Sharing My Learning at #OTRK12

Written and shared by Heather Touzin


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I had the fantastic pleasure of presenting at OTRK12 on April 1st, 2014. It was my first time ever presenting to a group of educators outside of my board. I loved it. Maybe it was the topic (TLD class at AMSS and the Provincial Learning Management System D2L), or maybe it was because I felt like everyone in the room understood the struggle to engage adolescents with their AT. The most powerful moments came when members of the audience shared their experience, and their questions. I was able to illustrate to this group the ways the D2L addresses the needs of some AT learners. I feel there was a strong need for educators involved with AT to connect and share. I follow the #ATCHAT hashtag and conversations on Wednesday nights on Twitter.

 Twitter has fast become my go-to for keeping up with AT and other edtech based questions I have. My ever-growing PLN has offered me more in two years, then all my PD days combined. I value the sharing, the questions, and the support I receive from the Twitterverse of teachers out there.

This connected network of teachers, is by far the most exciting learning I have experienced.  We live in a fast paced, ever-changing tech world. We educators need to keep up. We need to adapt. But most importantly, we need to teach our students, HOW to adapt to change, and HOW to wield that change to their learning needs. And that makes for exciting times as an educator.

 Heather Touzin is a special education English teacher with the Lambton Kent District School Board. Recently, her focus shifted to assistive technology and blending learning. For the past three years, she taught English to a dedicated one-to-one SEA computer class, at Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School in Sarnia. Currently, she provides support to secondary AT students, resource teachers, and classroom teachers in her board.

Follow Heather Touzin on Twitter: @heathertouzin

Day 19: EdCampSWO: The Learning


Written and shared by Jan Lewis


#EdcampSWO Take-Aways: The Morning

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my first Canadian EdCamp. I’d first been exposed to the EdCamp movement last year upon attending EdCampDetroit and I was blown away by the quality of the PD (teacher-directed) and the vibrant community that existed in our area and, through Twitter, around the globe. I hadn’t heard about the previous EdCampSWO but made the determination then that I would definitely be in attendance at upcoming EdCamps.

This years EdCamp for South Western Ontario met at Tilbury District High School. They coordinated to be able to connect with EdCamp London, happening at the same time. It was great to have one session as a Google Hang Out with participants in London, as well to stream the keynote address by Doug Peterson from our location to theirs.

For those of you who might not know how an EdCamp works, it is a gathering of technology-using educators and education stakeholders who gather for a day to attend or facilitate a variety of professional development sessions. The topics are decided day-of based on the interests, needs, and knowledge of the attendees. A whiteboard grid is posted in a central location with a handful of session rooms listed and a time-slot. Participants select whichever of the multiple sessions occurring in each time slot they feel they’re most interested in and show up to learn. Because we are all grown-ups and we can change our minds and learn at different rates and not hurt anyone feelings when we’re honest about that EdCamps are free-flowing, giving participants full permission to get up and leave mid-session and pop in to another one as they see fit. Participants may choose to become presenters or facilitators, as well, simply by adding to the whiteboard the topic they feel they can contribute something in a discussion about. Furthermore, if they’re hoping to learn something in particular and don’t see it on the board, they can write up a session and state “want to learn” or “who knows about…?” and others who wish to learn as well as those who feel they have some knowledge to contribute can show up for that session.

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The biggest problem, of course, is that you can’t attend every session, especially if you’re facilitating. That was the case for me this year; there were several topics I was hoping to learn more about that I didn’t see on the board so I volunteered to facilitate them but that meant that, although we had some great discussions, I felt I’d missed out somewhat on a lot of the other great learning happening at the same time that I couldn’t just pop in to.

One of the best things about this experience was getting to meet some high quality tech-loving people from our neighbouring school-board, Lambton-Kent. It was very interesting to hear how a different Board was approaching technology in education and see the good things they were doing.

Here’s what I took away from this very enjoyable Saturday…

Session 1: Augmented Reality 

This was facilitated by Colin Pattison (@colinjpattison) a teacher in the Lampton-Kent District School Board

The Future of Augmented Reality” video showed the possibilities of this virtual world hidden in regular objects. Ie. hold your phone up to the sky and load the weather data, with related graphics.

Colin told those who hadn’t heard of AR that, “Augmented reality is like QR codes on crack.” Then he showed us two different apps that he uses regularly in his classroom: Layar and Aurasma

I had heard of Aurasma for the first time last year at EdCampDetroit (surprise) and was impressed with the concept but had some trouble with the app so never went further in implementing it with any of my students. It was wonderful to see an example of a teacher who was making it work and to pick his brain about things that were tricky before. At the end of the session we had time to play with Aurasma for ourselves and make a quick Aura as a test.

I learned some valuable things for making Aurasma work:

1. Make sure your Auras are set to “public” if you want others to be able to see them. (You can make a channel and follow others’ channels too.)

2. The app will open to the scanner. If you want to make a new Aura, you need to touch the Aurasma icon below the scanner and then the add button, etc.

3. You will be making your “overlay” (the video, or whatever, that will be augmenting the reality) first.

4. Then you will be capturing the image that the Aura will be layered upon. Images have to be crisp, preferably colourful, and unique or they won’t take. Also, the image won’t take until the little tri-coloured slider bar below the screen slides into the green.

In Mr. Pattison’s class, all students create in Aurasma under the same account. This allows the teacher to manage everything students have made because choosing to make an Aura “public” is literally open to the world, as expected. This led to some discussion about whether that’s safe or not. The conclusion was that it was, (provided the video and images of students have a Media Release already filled out) – random people scanning and watching the video would have to be in the building to scan the poster or have access to the book cover etc. themselves. (To view book reviews and other interesting Auras check out his channel: Tecumseh8). He also told us that a very short time limit and file size limit exists in this app, about a minute. Great for ensuring that we make every word count! There was also some suggestions for using this app for students with ESL to increase vocabulary by having it speak the name of the object when the object is scanned.

We also talked about Layar. I had never heard of Layar. This is a little more user-intensive than Aurasma. Mr. Pattison told us about how he pastes a poster, for example a title board of the Narrative Success Criteria he developed with his students, to each of their desks and then the students use the Layar app to scan the poster and they get all the content he posted, most recently updated. I thought this was fascinating! His students all bring their own devices to school, mostly iPods, and he has printed a simple colour poster, using it as the marker link and then students get access to all sorts of things they would use to help them fulfill their success criteria, including videos, quiz vocabulary, a slideshow presentation in HaikuDeck, and more!

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Seeing this in action feels well beyond me, right now. But it is certainly something I’ve added to my “things to look into in the future” list! As an added bonus, this caused me to reconsider the usefulness of HaikuDeck as a whole. The slides were beautifully and professionally done. We discussed how the purpose of HaikuDeck is to “force” presenters away from creating slideshows containing pages of 12pnt font that the audience has to read (or worse, is forced to listen to THEM read!), and instead use the slideshow the way it should be – as a series of powerful images with FEW items of text that a presenter then TALKS to us more about. Sounds good to me!

Session 2: Hour of Code – Encouraging Logical and Digital Thinking for the Future

I was surprised that no one had added this topic to the whiteboard already. Maybe it wasn’t as well-known as I’d assumed?  More likely, it was because EdCampSWO was smaller than some of the more well-established EdCamps (for now). Regardless, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and see if anyone wanted to learn and talk about this. I was pleased to get to chat with about 10 other people, and even more pleased when their wonderful tech people helped me rustle up an adaptor so the Mac could connect to the projector.

No one in the group seemed to have really heard of the Hour of Code initiative and I was pleased to be able to share what I knew about it. We discussed the laptop programs and iPad apps that Parkview’s 4-8 students are working on, and discussed the positive results and challenges we’ve seen with this sort of learning thus far. I’m still developing a previous post about Hour of Code that you may wish to visit and check back on every once in awhile to get some of those details.

There was some discussion about what some of the earlier games had to do with “actual” computer programming since they are designed as drag and drop blocks rather than using coding language. Hopefully, we cleared the confusion up when we discussed how these apps were designed to introduce children to the logical thinking required for programming and slowly scaffold them in to understanding more difficult concepts, such as repeating loops, if/then and if/then/else statements, and streamlining the amount of instructions to fit within smaller parameters. After that, students move on to more “traditional” coding apps that use certain language and numbers to program objects to do certain things. At higher levels, control is released even further and students are encouraged to “code something amazing” to share with the class. This provides a sense of purpose and momentum as they work through the lower levels.

We discussed where this was taking us (better thinkers, independent problem-solvers, and oh yeah, jobs), and how I hoped to introduce the students to programs and apps that actually allow them to create their own games or apps that can be shared with a wider audience. We also talked about plans to introduce Dash (a free, web-based program that teaches students how to use html, java, and css to code webpages).

Session 3: What Makes a Good Leader? (Google Hang Out with #EdcampLdn)

I joined this session already in progress and it was interesting to hear the thoughts of the teachers and administrators from both London and Tilbury discuss what makes a good leader. The overall consensus was that a great leader is much more than just a “manager” and respects the professional capacity of the people around her/him and gives them the autonomy to do as they see fit.

Feel free to check out the Storify I pulled together (quickly) of tweets related to the leadership hang out.

And then it was lunchtime!

More to come in another post about the take-aways from the afternoon sessions…

  • Doug Peterson’s keynote about the best kind of PD
  • Sharing genius hour ideas
  • Discussing Skype in The Classroom

Jan Lewis is a Technology, Library & More teacher at Parkview Public School in Windsor, Ontario. Sharing our journeys along the technology learning curve with you. :)

Follow Jan Lewis on Twitter: @mrslewistweets

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Day 18: What Are We Trying To Do Here, Anyway?

Written and shared by Donna Miller Fry

If you are like me, you sometimes hook on to ideas and run with them.

The excitement, the possibilities, it all pulls you in and you just go with it.

But those around you may not be entirely sure of what it is that you are trying to do.  Being able to clearly communicate, at a level where everyone understands your thinking, is an important component to effecting change.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present the #OSSEMOOC concept to a group of interested people.  Luckily, before my presentation, a colleague worked with me to help me distill the concept down to its key components, in a language that was meaningful to educators at all levels.

As we begin to work on our next projects in response to user requests and feedback, I think it is a good time to take a step back and share with everyone the whole concept of #OSSEMOOC.

Below is the explanation I came up with for the presentation yesterday.  If you have any questions about #OSSEMOOC, please feel free to comment on this post, email us at ossemooc at gmail dot com, or fill out the survey here.

#OSSEMOOC: Why, What and How

Why are we doing this?

The world has changed – is changing – and schools need to reflect this.

How can leaders keep up with change so that they have the capacity and confidence to make great decisions around the use of technology-enabled learning in their schools and boards?

How can we model connected and open learning for school and system leaders?

How can we create the structures that allow us to learn from each other, and support each other as we make decisions that will impact classroom learning?

What do we need to create?

We need to create a sustainable learning environment in Ontario that promotes self-directed learning for education leaders, and

  • considers all learning preferences
  • allows for all levels of readiness
  • provides numerous entry points
  • is flexible
  • allows choice
  • respects limitations of time
  • supports a variety of learner interests
  • promotes the development of connections and connected learning


How Do People Connect in #OSSEMOOC?


  • Read a blog.  Come to, read the blog on the front page or link to any blog posted by an Ontario school leader or any other member of the OSSEMOOC group of connected learners


  • Follow on Twitter (@ossemooc).  We tweet information and tidbits that provoke deeper thinking, usually with links to further explore topics of interest.


  • Participate in live conversations.  We anchor #OSSEMOOC  with live sessions on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. EDT.  We will have open discussions, guest speakers, and leaders sharing their storied.  Everyone is welcome to join the conversation.


  • View Livestreamed events.  We endeavour to live stream as many learning opportunities in the province as we can.  Watch here for details.  If you can’t make it to a learning event, let us know and we will help you connect through streaming or twitter feed.


  • Get 1:1 Support – Do you want to learn to post a blog and make your thinking and learning visible?  Let us know here and we will walk you through it.


  • Start your own events.  #OSSEMOOC is supported by OSAPAC but we want you to connect and learn together beyond what we are currently offering. This is a catalyst for connecting. Go learn together!


  • Sign up here and you will receive email updates about our events, plus resources to challenge your thinking and deepen your learning.


The focus is on meeting the needs of those leading in Ontario education but it is open to anyone who wants to participate.  We all learn from each other.  We welcome everyone who wants to connect and learn.

We look forward to connecting with you.



So what did I learn today?

K.I.S.S. * will go a long way to encouraging collaboration and ownership in ideas and innovations.  It’s a skill I will continue to work on, and I depend on my PLN to challenge me to do so.

*Keep It Simple, Stupid!


Donna Fry is an Education Officer with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch (eLO) of the Ontario Ministry of Education, a school leader (on leave), and a member of OSAPAC. 

Follow on Twitter here: @fryed

Day 17: Using Twitter for Professional Learning

Written and shared by Brandon Grasley

About a year ago I wrote a blog post called “How I Use Twitter Professionally - Updated!“. Since then I’ve refined or changed my use a bit more, so I thought it was worth refreshing the post again. So, the content below is the same as before, but with current stuff.

My tweets are public.

I’m trying to encourage conversation and collaboration, so my tweets are globally accessible. This also means I don’t make statements I wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone reading – my family, my students, my employer….

I don’t follow a lot of people.

I currently follow 292 people (that’s a big increase in the last year; about doubled), of whom about 200 are actively tweeting (let’s say at least weekly). Some of these aren’t related to education; for example, I follow The LEGO Group (@LEGO_Group).

I can’t read all of the stuff they tweet. I’m relying on my tweeps to retweet the really good stuff so I have a better chance of seeing it, or to mention me if it’s something they think I ought to notice.

I accept anyone as a follower, pretty much.

Except for a few obvious accounts, I let anyone follow me. Since my tweets are public, anyone can read them (even without a Twitter account), so letting people follow me doesn’t reveal anything extra. Plus, it’s easier when you don’t have to approve people.

I don’t follow back as a courtesy.

Before I decide to follow someone, I take a look at their tweet history. Is their stream of tweets going to enhance my experience? Will I learn from them? Or will I only learn what they had for breakfast?

I’m a fan of some personal stuff on Twitter, but if you post 300 times a day just to talk without conversing, I don’t need to see it. It’s not about you, it’s just that your use of Twitter doesn’t fit with mine.

Today I noticed that I have 3 fewer followers than I did a few days ago. Since there were a few new followers recently that means that more than 3 cut me off their list. That’s totally expected, and is actually pretty great. I think your lifestyle on Twitter should be like the Law of Two Feet: if it’s not working for you, move on.

I don’t accept Direct Messages (DMs)  from people I don’t follow.

This cuts down on the spam. Now it’s just mentions, and there aren’t too many of those. This is a good idea for anyone, so I thought I’d list it here.

I follow hashtags for a while.

Recently I followed #OTRK12 (our annual conference in Mississauga) and #GAFEsummit. I don’t follow the very busy tags, although I sometimes apply them to my posts (#D2L, #onted, #blendedlearning, #edtech).

I try to follow the people in Northern Ontario. We face many of the same issues, and perhaps we have solutions to help each other. I like that idea.

I don’t cross post to Facebook anymore.

I tweet too much. No one on Facebook wants to read all of that stuff. The handful of FB friends who do are also Twitter users and teachers, so they just go to Twitter to find me. When I write blog posts WordPress will publicize them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, and I’m certain that’s plenty for the FB crowd.

I use Tweetdeck; it rocks.

Chrome has TweetDeck as an app; I like that I can have columns for a variety of things I want to look at. Currently I have my Twitter timeline, my Twitter Interactions, my Twitter Messages (DMs), columns for #edCampSault, #OTRK12,  #OSSEMOOC,  @timrobinsonj’s eLC list@MeglioMedia’s Tech Enabled Learning list@ColleenKR’s SGDSB list, and #niprockart. It’s great.

I say things for myself, and I say things for others.

I tweet things that I want to remember or revisit (great for “note-taking” at a session/workshop/conference). I also tweet things to inform others or start conversations. My tweets (of links and such) aren’t endorsements, but since people sometimes view them that way I try not to share stuff that I’m not at least familiar with.

I talk a lot, but not too much

I try to ask questions and help out when others ask questions. I’m proud to say I am included as an honourary member of the SGDSB educators list because I help out the teachers up there, so I think my contributions are valued.

More importantly, I’m developing relationships with these distant folks, and the growth of my PLN has helped me out in my work as well. It was very exciting recently at OTRK12 to meet people whom I knew only through Twitter, and it was surprising how natural the face-to-face interactions felt. We were already friends. So thanks, tweeps.

If you want to follow me…

I’m @bgrasley. No pressure, of course. Use Twitter however it works best for you!

Brandon Grasley is the eLC for Algoma District School Board and the chair of the recent OTRK12 Conference.

Day 16: What CAN I Learn Today? #edCampSWO #edCampLDN

Written and shared by Andrew Forgrave

While I had originally thought I might take in #edCampSWO (SouthWest Ontario) in Tillbury, ON at the last minute, it turned out not to be the case. Add to the mix a similar interest in also attending a second Ontario #edCamp being held on the same day in the same end of the province, #edCampLDN (London), and the dilemma truly magnified. What to do?

The OSEEMOOC spearheaded by Donna Fry (@fryed) and Mark Carbone (@markwcarbone) has been underway for a little over a month now, and Donna’s current challenge to Ontario educators is to share a “What Did I Learn Today” post with the community.   With this in mind, I decided to undertake to explore a “What CAN I Learn Today?” question, with the focus of following two Ontario #edCamps from afar.


Face to Face Learning Rocks!

“#edCampQuinte 3 — Participants Around the Table” by @aforgrave, on Flickr

I will admit to a strong bias in favour of face-to-face learning with Twitter colleagues at an actual event. Twitter conversations last night with Rodd Lucier (@thecleversheep), Brenda Sherry (@brendasherry), and Peter McAsh (@pmcash) reinforced for me that a significant effect of #edCamps and other such gatherings is the opportunity to converse with educator colleagues and friends between the sessions. It’s difficult to replace that in-person presence. Having been involved in the organization of #edCampQuinte (3 camps back in 2011), and having attended #edCampToronto (twice), #edCampWR (twice), #edCampOttawa, (as well as following the original #edCampPhilly remotely via Twitter), I’m firmly convinced that in-person attendance is the ideal way to go.

However, knowing that I would be attempting to follow the conversations and the sessions from a distance, my efforts switched to looking for a variety of ways to capture experience and the discussions occurring within and via the ether of the Internet.

Following from Afar

  1. The first step in my adventure was to create a couple of columns in my TweetDeck Twitter client to follow the #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN hashtags in real-time.
  2. In support of archiving the conversations for later review, I also made use of Martin Hawksey’s (@mhawksey) ever-evolving TAGS google-spreadsheet-scripted-visualization tool.  Not only does the tool create a spreadsheet of archived tweets from a given #tag, but it also allows for the creation of an interactive and continuously updated visualization of the participants and their conversations.
Screen captures of the Twitter clouds from #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN

The static screen capture above doesn’t do the clouds justice. Click below to view the actual dynamic interactive archives – they’re amazing!

Understanding the Scheduling

#edCampSWO Session board via
#edCampSWO Session board via

Because the schedules at most #edCamps are participant-generated in real time from grass roots interests during the events themselves, a pre-posted schedule is usually avoided. Normally, the session board is compiled following a crowd-sourcing exercise involving either sticky-post-it-notes or whiteboards.

  1. A quick check of the #edCampSWO twitter stream led to an already tweeted picture of the initial board from Tilbury.
  2. I didn’t see a similar photograph out of London, so I posted a quick inquiry to the #tag, and within moments received two replies (from Craig Yen (@craigyen) and David Hann (@TeacherHann)) alerting me to the fact that the #edCampLDN board was being maintained in a Google Doc.  Wonderful! Check out the topics (image from start of the afternoon)
#edCampLDN Session Board posted in Google Docs
#edCampLDN Session Board posted in Google Docs

But it got better.

Collaborative Note-Taking

Not only was the #edCampLDN schedule posted online, but each entry included a link to a blank gDoc for collaborative note-taking! Great thinking!   I quickly paged through and pasted in a request to each document to capture the name and twitter handle of the session facilitators for later followup.

But what about #edCampSWO? Surely such a system might provide useful for collaborative note-taking there as well? What was required to support a similar opportunity there?

  1. Transfer the #edCampSWO session board to a gDoc.
  2. Create linked gDocs (with requests for session facilitators and their @twitter coordinates) for #edCampSWO sessions.
  3. Tweet out invitations for the #edCampSWO participants to post their notes in the appropriate documents.

By 12:30 pm I had followed through with steps 1-3 above, and by 1:00 pm had incorporated the recently-added afternoon entries to the schedule and and linked gDocs for the remaining sessions.  Shortly thereafter there were responses from Michelle Korda (@KordaKovar), Emily Fitzpatrick (@ugdsb_missfitz), Michel Grimard (@miche4195), Brian Aspinall (@mraspinall), Mary Alice Hanson (@Ms_Hanson) expressing interest in the shared note-taking endeavour.

#edCampSWO Session Board in Google Docs
#edCampSWO Session Board in Google Docs

The invitations stands for any and all attendees at #edCampSWO to transfer your notes, links, thoughts and ideas into the shared note files.

Attending a Cross-#edCamp Session Keynote via Google Hangout

Doug Peterson (@dougpete) keynotes at #edCampSWO on April 12th
Doug Peterson (@dougpete) keynotes at #edCampSWO on April 12th, animated GIF by @aforgrave

#edCampSWO had a post-lunch keynote by Ontario’s “Grandfather of EdTech” Doug Peterson (@dougpete). As it turned out, the keynote was shared from #edCampSWO to #edCampLDN via Google Hangout, and so the opportunity for shared note taking between both venues was enhanced — as well as providing an opportunity for me to join in and see Doug’s presentation. As it would turn out, the notes in the gDoc are mostly mine.   It was nice to connect briefly with #unplug’d12 friend James Cowper (@cowpernicus) who set up the Hangout, and to bring in #ECOO and #edCampQuinte colleague Peter McAsh (@pmcash).  These are all some folks I would have been catching up with F2F, had I actually been in either Tilbury or London today in First Life. 


After Doug’s keynote, I again re-issued the invite for folks at #edCampSWO to collaborated in the shared notes, and then went back to monitoring the Twitter stream. At around 2:30, a few spammers started to join in the #tags, which prompted a question in the stream as to whether the #edCamp conversations might be trending. Trending conversations attract these silly spambots. 

Screen capture of trending tags (both!) as shown by
Trending tags (both #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN are there) as shown by at around 2:30 pm April 12

Conversations in Other Online Spaces?

Earlier in the day (at 10:48 am my text document indicates) I noted to myself that I tend to monitor things from the Twittersphere for the most part — and I wondered at the time if there were #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN conversations going on via other networksGoogle+ and Facebook specifically. At around 4:00 pm, as the #edCamp goodbye and thank-you tweets were flowing, I looked in on both the other two networks and did searches for both of the Ontario #tags.

A solitary #edCampSWO #edCampLDN post on Facebook
A solitary #edCampSWO #edCampLDN post on Facebook
  • 1 mention (for both #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN) on Google+ (from Mark Carbone, announcing Doug’s dual-edCamp Hangout)
  • 2 co-mentions for both #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN on Facebook
  • 3 unique mentions for #edCampSWO on Facebook
  • 0 unique mentions for #edCampLDN on Facebook

So, No. Real-time conversations tagged with #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN were essentially only happening within the Twitter online space.  Not a real surprise, as Twitter has been extremely effective among those Ontario Educators who have embraced social media over the last half-decade. Google+ was kind of late to the party, and Facebook tends to reflect a more personal, rather than professional focus.

Pinterest? Nope. Nothing there.

So. What DID I Learn Today?

First some general acknowledgements.

  1. Tracking #tags is a great way to gather information from afar (people, links) for subsequent followup.
  2. Most of the conversation during and about the sessions occurred in the Twittersphere, not Facebook or Google+.
  3. Sharing sessions via Google Hangouts work well. (Hangouts can now also be recorded to YouTube for asynchronous sharing.)
  4. Shared, collaborative Google docs present a wonderful, as-yet mostly-untapped potential for collaborative learning.
  5. Gathering/Curating/Sharing a list of subsequent reflective blogposts from #edCamps to continue the conversations is often only a serendipitous effort at best.

Some Suggestions:

  1. Future #edCamps might wish to promote a shared, online schedule and note taking function like #edCampLDN modelled today. Getting folks involved in advance and having some folks working behind the scenes to support and facilitate the note-taking.
  2. Have one audience member sit up front and share each session via a Hangout or livestream as an option for those who can’t attend. It is easy enough to do today with the wonderfully accessible technology existing today.
  3. Select dates for #edCamps in conjunction with other organizers to allow for some potential cross-#edCamp sessions — but also consider scheduling events within the same area on different dates to maximize the opportunities for F2F participants to attend both. (The next two upcoming Ontario #edCamps also scheduled for the same day — May 10th: #edCampSault in Sault Ste. Marie and #edCampIsland on Manitoulin Island.) Note that there were 9 #edCamps held today around the world — a new record for one day, I believe.
  4. Photos! Pictures say a lot, and help others from afar to see the goings on.  I enjoy sharing photos from the #edCamps I attend — and missed not being able to capture some of the action today. Consider arranging for one or two attendees to act as #edCamp photographers and share their images via a Flickr set.
  5. Encourage attendees to blog and share their reflections and learnings. Find a way to curate the posts to help attendees and others learn from the #edCamp after it is over, and to promote ongoing conversations.

Do We All Need a Designated Person-On-The-Ground? Or Can We Be That for Each Other?

I recall with fondness asking tweeps Danika (@DanikaBarker) and Zoe (@zbpipe) and Doug (@dougpete) to act as my personal Advance-ManPerson-On-The-Ground in their respective parts of Ontario to keep an ear to the ground for the as-then-yet-unannounced dates of opening for new Apple Stores. That’s another story, but the idea of having someone working with you in another location is a powerful one.

It would be a difficult task to line up individuals for all the various sessions happening at a distant event (especially when #edCamp attendance and session topics are determined rather more spontaneously than other conferences) — but the idea of a collective, collaborative shared Team-On-The-Ground acting collaboratively for others is a powerful one.

It would be wonderful to see this become yet another characteristic of the evolving, grass-roots #edCamp experience.

So, What Did YOU Learn Today?

I look forward to reading the still-accruing notes and yet-to-come blog posts from both #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN. And looking back through the Twitter stream to search out photos to help visualize the events. I know that there is a lot of learning that will follow on from today — seeking it out and making use of it is both the challenge and the adventure.  :-)

In the interests of helping to aggregate posts that come from today, these Google forms may come in handy. Please consider sharing your thoughts and your learning!

What did you learn today?

Follow Andy Forgrave on Twitter @aforgrave

Connecting to Learn


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