Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 28 – Digital Storytelling for Beginners

Why is Storytelling Important?

If the idea that storytelling is important is a new one for you, we suggest that you take your 10 minutes today, and explore some of the resources below.

The importance of storytelling has been documented on many levels.  Some of us came through a school system that de-emphasized the importance of stories, and valued the  memorization of facts.  We may need to relearn the power of stories, and how they can play a critical role in our work as educators.

Consider the breadth of the idea of storytelling on Wikipedia.

Explore the importance of storytelling in First Nations Pedagogy.


Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share-Alike license by Guilia Forsythe.
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share-Alike license by Guilia Forsythe.

“When it comes to inspiring people to embrace some strange new change in behaviour, storytelling isn’t just better than the other tools. It’s the only thing that works.”

Steve Denning

Still not convinced?

Check out some of these TED Talks on the topic of storytelling, or this article in The Guardian on the Importance of Storytelling in the Digital Age.


Why Is It Important to Tell Our Stories?

Taken from a post by Stephen Hurley. Click the image for the link to the post.
Taken from a post by Stephen Hurley. Click the image for the link to the post.

If we don’t tell our stories, someone else will.  We are doing amazing work in education today. Who are we telling about it?

The importance of taking time to tell our stories is captured in this post by Stephen Hurley:  Telling Tales Out of School: The Stories that Emerge from the Work That We Do.  We hope you will take a few minutes to read it and consider your role in spreading the great stories of public education in Ontario.

Taken from a post by @stephen_hurley. Click the image for the link to the original post.
Taken from a post by @stephen_hurley. Click the image for the link to the original post.


Earlier this year, Darren Kuropatwa visited OSSEMOOC to share ideas around Digital Storytelling.  You can access his slides here.

Some of our participants shared their learning in the video below.


How can we begin to use digital storytelling in our classrooms?

This example from Kathy Cassidy demonstrates the power of tools available to help even early primary students share their stories.


From Kathy Cassidy's post on "Blogging in a Primary Classroom with only One iPad" (click on the image for the link)
From Kathy Cassidy’s post on “Blogging in a Primary Classroom with only One iPad” (click on the image for the link)


How can you find out more about Digital Storytelling?  Here is a great starting point: 50+ Web Ways to Tell a Story (by Alan Levine – @cogdog)

What digital storytelling resources or examples do you have to share?

Further Resources:

Digital Storytelling Tools

Digital Storytelling Resources (Dr. Alec Couros – @courosa) -> further resources here as well

Storytelling (David Jakes – @djakes)

Kathy Schrock's Guide to Digital Storytelling (click on the image for the link to the guide)
Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Digital Storytelling (click on the image for the link to the guide)

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 27 – more blog considerations

If you have been actively working through the steps in this getting connected in ten minutes a day series, perhaps you are feeling a little overwhelmed about moving into the blogging world.  To recap, the last few posts have covered: start a blog, a beginners guide, now what and blogging as a portfolio – all big steps in the online world.

Take a deep breath.  In this post, we will share a few more tips from our own personal blogging experiences.

Your blog is your online space.   In the beginning, you may feel like your finding your way – finding your online voice so to speak.  It is all about perspective.  You are writing for you:  your voice, your topic choice, your timelines and your style.

Part of being successful as a blog author is setting realistic expectations for yourself.  Seriously consider the:

  • frequency of posting:  schedule vs just when it seems to fit
  • length of post – noting that not everything is thesis
  • the “why” – just sharing, a deeper look at something, an opinion?
  • time to find/obtain related media (links, graphics, videos)
  • style – write the way you like to write – this is you – be yourself
  • accept that your purpose and/or style may shift over time


That! is a blog post

Writing in Snipits – How I blog by Royan Lee

Check out the evolution of Nikki Morden Cormier’s blog.

What are you thinking?

Just Make It Public

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 26 – Your Blog as Your Portfolio

Update August 18, 2015:

The Principal Associations in Ontario hosted a second Symposium for Ontario School Leaders on Technology Enabled Learning and Leading.  Dr. Alec Couros was invited to keynote and share learning on blogging as a portfolio.  His shared resources are available here.


This week, the Principal Associations in Ontario (OPC/CPCO/ADFO) are hosting a symposium for Ontario School Leaders on Technology Enabled Teaching and Learning.  The learning is being shared using the hashtag #ontedleaders .

George Couros has been leading some of the learning by meeting with principals virtually, and by examining the Ontario Leadership Framework.

As well, George has been sharing his ideas around open/visible learning and leadership, and sharing our professional portfolios online as our blogs.


Now that you have started to create your own space for sharing learning, consider that your blog can also be your personal portfolio.

How can you set it up?

If you remember in our first blog video, the difference between “posts” and “pages” was discussed.  “Posts” are your regular contributions to your blog – your writing.

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We add new posts by using the “Add New” option on the left side of the dashboard.

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Pages are listed on your blog and they contain information that normally you don’t change as frequently as your posts.

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We add new pages by hovering over “Pages” and choosing “Add New”.

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We name our page “Ontario Leadership Framework”.

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Once published, we can see the page on the public side of our blog.

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It is helpful to use subheadings for the different strands of the framework.  It is simple to set up these pages.

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Once again, we can add a new page.  This time we call it “Setting Directions”.  In the right margin, under parent, we choose our previous page “Ontario Leadership Framework”.  This ensures our new page appears under the main heading.

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Once published, we see “Setting Directions” under the Ontario Leadership Framework Page.

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We can repeat the process for “Building Relationships and Developing People”, and the other strands of the Leadership Framework.

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Clicking the “Setting Directions” heading shows us the page.  As we work on our blog, posts that fit this strand can be added to this page.

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A blog portfolio in progress might look like this:

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Posts are added to the portfolio pages as they are written:

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This is the basic Professional Portfolio set up.  How can you personalize your blog and make this your own?

Please feel free to ask questions and share ideas in the comments.

If you have the opportunity to attend the #ontedLeaders Institute, please remember to share your learning with your colleagues who were not able to be at the event in person.


Dr. Alec Couros – Presentation Resources – Blogging as a Portfolio

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 25 – You Have a Blog! Now What?

Over the past few days we have spent time setting up a blogging site. Now it’s time to start writing!

There are many reasons why educators use blogs in their professional learning.  Today we will help you with a few prompts to consider how you can begin sharing, and some excellent examples of Ontario leaders who already blog and share.

Some educators begin by sharing the great work happening in their school or district.

TLDSB Superintendent Andrea Gillespie shares her impressions of an event in her board here.  Dr. John Malloy, Director of Education for HWDSB, frequently shares the great work being done in his school board.

Other educators share the formal work being done in their schools and systems.

New UGDSB vice-principal Brenda Sherry shares their work around making the School Improvement Plan a living document in their building. Principal Peter J. Leblanc makes the staffing process at his school transparent on his blog.  New SGDSB Superintendent Nicole Morden-Cormier uses her blog to share all of the work their leadership learning team is doing, and invites others to comment and share in their learning.

Blogging is also a platform for curation.  We have looked at the process of curation earlier in this series.  We strongly suggest that you read this post by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (@langwitches).

Blogging as a Curation Platform @langwitches http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/15/blogging-as-a-curation-platform/
Blogging as a Curation Platform @langwitches http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/15/blogging-as-a-curation-platform/

WRDSB Principal James Bond demonstrates how he curates and shares thinking with his writing here.  Deborah McCallum curates resources here.

When we have the privilege of travelling to conferences and other learning events, there is an obligation to share learning with those who were not able to attend.  OCSB Principal Paul McGuire shares his ECOO #BIT14 learning here.

Reflecting on our learning helps to make our thinking visible. YRDSB Principal Brian Harrison reflects on his learning here, and ADSB Principal David Jaremy shares his thinking on student engagement here. HWDSB Superintendent Sue Dunlop share her reflections on leadership here.

Perhaps it takes a challenge to get your first blog post published! OSSEMOOC has set up a few challenges in 2014. To start, we asked educators to simply share one thing they learned by asking the question, “What did you learn today?”. The results are found under “30 Days of Learning in Ontario” on this blog.

Then, we asked educators to pick one thing that caught their eye on social media, and share it (curate) with the world by providing a few sentences on the importance of the learning.  These can be found under “30 Days – Picture and Post” on this blog.  Both examples are great starting points for new bloggers.

This past week, #Peel21st started a Blog Hop with the question, “Learning in the 21st Century – What Does it Mean to You?”.

#Peel21st Blog Hop: http://makelearn.org/2014/11/18/learning-the-21st-century-what-does-it-mean-to-you/
#Peel21st Blog Hop: http://makelearn.org/2014/11/18/learning-the-21st-century-what-does-it-mean-to-you/

Why not take up the challenge and participate?

There are many more examples of Ontario education leaders sharing through blogging.  Follow any of the blog links in the margins of this OSSEMOOC blog.

Once you create your first post, be sure to share it on Twitter so others can read your work.  Share it with OSSEMOOC as well, and we will add you to our exceptional list of Ontario education bloggers.

*Always remember that help is available. Write a comment on this blog if you need assistance.




This week our OSSEMOOC open mic professional learning discussion and sharing forum will examine the topic of BYOD. There are many facets to explore including: shifting practice, IT planning, policies/procedures, digital citizenship and much more.


Please join us Tuesday November 25th (2014) at 8:00 p.m. EST  in our online meeting space by clicking  [here]  any time after 7:30  p.m.

Spread the word,  bring a friend and introduce them to the OSSEMOOC experience.

Your OSSEMOOC team.

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 24 – Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog

Yesterday we looked at the options available for educators to begin a personal/professional blog for free.  Today, we hope you will take ten minutes to actually begin creating your personal space for sharing and curating.

Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-commercial license by Thomas Hawk
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-commercial license by Thomas Hawk

We will guide you through the process of starting a blog at wordpress.com.  The process is quite similar for other hosting sites, and all sites have extensive support available to walk you through the process of setting up your blog.

Begin at www.wordpress.com

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Begin entering the information.  Your username will appear when you make comments on other WordPress blogs, so consider carefully what you want that to be, and be sure that it is reflective of you (i.e., your real name or your Twitter handle are good options).

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Consider carefully the “blog address” as this is what you will use to drive readers to your site.  Keep it simple and reflective of who you are.

Take a screenshot, or carefully record the set up information so that you will be able to log back into your site.

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You are provided with a number of options.  For now, we will stick with the free version.  Choose “create blog”.

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WordPress.com will now “walk you through” a number of steps to create your blog.  Consider the purpose of your blog as you create a title and tagline (all of these can be edited later).


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At some point in the process you will be asked to verify your account through the email address you originally provided.

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In the email message, you will see an option to follow beginner tutorials.

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You may need to log into your site from the email message.  Use the information you carefully recorded when you set up the blog.

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When you are creating a blog, there are two “sides” or “views” in the process.  There is the public side, which is what others see when they visit your blog at the URL you have chosen.  For example, it’s what you see right now at https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/.

When people navigate to my new blog, they see this front page, but with their own login information on the top black navigation bar.

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The “other” side or view is the dashboard, where you create your posts and design your site.

To access your dashboard from your public view, click on the name of your blog in the top left, and choose dashboard.

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WordPress.com has provided an excellent instructional video to help you understand and navigate the dashboard side of your blog.

Take some time to watch the video and play with some of the features on your new site.

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Access the video here: https://v0.wordpress.com/player.swf?v=1.03

Below are some further resources to help you navigate and learn the dashboard side of your blog.

WordPress.com Get Started Tutorials

WordPress.com Quick Start Guide

WordPress TV: Understanding the Dashboard

Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 23 – Yes, It’s Time to Start Your Own Blog!

Much of the work we have done so far in getting connected has been about where to find information on the web, and how to share the valuable information with others.

Shared by Dafyd Jones under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share-Alike License.
Shared by Dafyd Jones under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share-Alike License.

But what if nobody created any of the resources you are sharing?

Your presence online is valuable because others are creating and sharing with you.  You are a valuable part of your own PLN.  Creating and sharing back with your colleagues is an important part of the process, and a valuable aspect of your own professional learning.

Today we start supporting you in the process of creating your own blog.

Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share-Alike License by Dekuwa.
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share-Alike License by Dekuwa.

You can’t create a blog in ten minutes, so we have broken the process down into a series of easy steps.  Our goal is to have your blog live online before the end of this 30-day series.

Are you ready?

First, what do we mean by the word “blog”? We need to have a shared understanding of what a blog is.

Edublogs, one of many possible platforms for your blog, has created this instructional video that will give you the basics of what a blog is in under four minutes!

The next step in setting up your own blog is making a decision about what platform you will use to host your blog.  Many educators use one platform for student blogs and a different platform for their personal blog.  How should you decide?

Edublogs recently did a survey of bloggers, asking about their platform of choice.  Reading their comments might help you with your decision.

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Of course, asking your PLN on Twitter what platform they use and why is an awesome use of your Professional Learning Network to support you in your work.

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If your friends are already blogging, ask them what they use and why.

Once you have made your decision, it’s easy to sign up for a free blog.

(OSSEMOOC is currently using a WordPress.com site, and as we work through the components of blogs this week, we will be using examples from our own WordPress.com site.  If you are really new to Web 2.0 tools, you may want to start with a WordPress.com blog and follow our tutorials.  Once you understand the fundamentals, you can switch to any hosting site of your choice.)

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If you are already a blogger, what tips can you offer new bloggers?


Personal Blogging – a fantastic step-by-step guide by Edublog’s Sue Waters.



Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 22 – Making Thinking Visible Through Blogging

As we move into the last week of our “10 minutes of Connecting” series, we continue on from our thinking about Collecting – Connecting – Curating – Collaborating to Creating and Sharing.

One of the easiest ways to own your own creative digital space is to start your own blog.

Shared under a Creative Commons attribution - non-commercial - Share-alike license by Konrad Glogowski
Shared under a Creative Commons attribution – non-commercial – Share-alike license by Konrad Glogowski

You have already started your “blogging” work by contributing to the “microblog” Twitter.  When 140 characters isn’t enough, you need to create your own space to share your thinking and learning.

There are many reasons to start your own blog.  Today we are considering the purpose of blogs, and how they can help us in our own learning.

Many leaders start blogs as a way to help publicize and share the great work being done at their school.

Others make their personal growth plan visible to their school community.

Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution License by Christian Schnettelker
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution License by Christian Schnettelker

A blog can be a place to share resources and learning plans for a group of learners.

Some leaders use their blog as a professional portfolio, demonstrating the work they do in each area of the leadership framework.

Take some time today to look at the blogs posted in the margins of this page.  This time, look for the purpose of the blog.

How can blogging help you in your work as a lead learner?

Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-commercial - Share-alike license by Giulia Forsythe
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-commercial – Share-alike license by Giulia Forsythe


Blogging Resources for Teachers: Sue Waters

Blogging With Your Students: Langwitches Blog

Why Teachers Should Have Blogs: George Couros

The Need for Courageous Leadership: George Couros

Documenting for Learning:  Langwitches Blog

Visible Thinking Routines for Bloggers: Langwitches Blog

How to Grow a Blog – Konrad Glogowski


Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 21 – Introduction to Google Forms

By now  you have created your own Google Drive, and you have learned to create and share files of different kinds (documents, spreadsheets, presentation slides).  Google Drive allows you to collaborate on so many levels – with colleagues, students, parents and complete strangers.

Google Forms allows you to quickly gather data and store it neatly in a spreadsheet where you can organize it and sort it according to your needs.

There are two parts to this post.

First, we want to share with you the best resources we can find on how to use Google Forms (instructions).

Then, we will take you to some resources that help you think about how you might utilize Google Forms in your practice.

To begin with, go to your Google Drive.  Because Google frequently updates its interface, it is sometimes challenging to find instructional material that matches the current interface you are working on.

First, let’s look at how to switch between two styles of Google Drive.  If you click on the Create button, and it looks like this, you are in the traditional, older format of Google Drive, with Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations.


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You can switch between this and the new format here.

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The “new Drive” uses “Docs, Sheets and Slides” , and Forms are accessed in a slightly different way.

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You can return to the traditional interface here.

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As you use the supports available online, you may need to switch between formats to follow the instructions, depending on which format the instructions were created in.

Here are some resources to help you get started with Google Forms.

Google Doc Editor Help Centre

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Choose Forms.

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Choose Create, Edit, Format.

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Then Create a Survey Using Google Forms.

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This series of links will walk you through the very simple and intuitive process of creating a Google Form.  If you have any difficulty, please ask for help in the comments to this post.

Why would you use Google Forms in your practice?

This example of how Google Forms can be used to enhance the teacher-student relationship was shared by George Couros.

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has featured a comprehensive guide to using Google Forms in education.


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This site contains a number of different ways to use Google Forms in education settings.  Some are clearly geared to the American system, but they will spark some ideas for integrating Google Forms into your personal professional practice.

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Please be sure to share back with us (in the comments) how you are using Google Forms!


Ten Ways I Use Google Forms in my Tablet Classroom

Collecting Data Using Google Forms – this resource uses an older Google Forms interface, but it is included here for the use of the tool (not the instructional piece).

OSSEMOOC Google Forms Session Resources

OSSEMOOC Google Forms Tuesday Night Session


Ten Minutes of Connecting: Day 20 – How Leaders Use Google Drive for Collaboration

Today we are building on some of the learning you have been doing in this series.  We have focused on a number of tools to help you connect.  We hope that you are continuing to set aside 10 minutes each day to connect through one of those tools, or to learn something new with us.

This series will continue to exist on our website even after November 30.  You can work through it at a pace that suits you.  If you find it helpful, please spread it to your colleagues.  Use the link at the top of this page to suggest other topics you need to learn about, or simply post a comment on the blog asking for help.  The whole purpose of OSSEMOOC is to support education leaders (formal and informal) in getting connected and modelling the learning we want to see in our “classrooms”.

Connecting drives innovative thinking!

Yesterday we looked at how to access and build your Google Drive so that you can share your documents, images, spreadsheets, presentations and resources with others.  Google Drive allows you to easily collaborate on any topic with those on your team.

How are school and system leaders around the world leveraging this method of collaboration?

Photo shared by in_case under a Creative Commons attribution license.
Photo shared by in_case under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Take ten minutes today to explore some of the possibilities that will help you to transform the way you do your work and model the learning for those in your sphere of influence.

If you are already using Google Drive in your practice, please share how by posting this on your blog and sharing the link on Twitter under the #ossemooc hashtag.  Or, please share how you use Google Drive in the comments for this post.

Let other leaders see the power of collaborating online!


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Google Docs for Administrators: 5 Ideas to Get Started – by Kyle Pace.  How can we streamline administrative tasks with Google Docs? “Administrators modelling for teachers, which will hopefully lead to teachers modelling for students.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.30.02 AMGoogle Docs for Administrators: 5 More Ideas – by Kyle Pace.   More ideas for streamlining the tasks of school leaders, including event planning and teacher collaboration.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.06.33 AMWeb 2.0ing Your Staff Meetings – by Mark W. Carbone. Great ideas for bringing staff meetings to life and incorporating asynchronous collaboration.



 Google Apps for School Administrators – Derrick Waddell

Shared under a Creative Commons attribution - non-comercial - no derivs license by Don Shall
Shared under a Creative Commons attribution – non-commercial – no derivatives license by Don Shall


Further Resources:  

Google Tutorials (Richard Byrne)