Tag Archives: EdCamp

Virtual Learning via EdCampWR

Looking to learning something today?  OSSEMOOC is providing a virtual learning opportunity via EdCamp Waterloo Region. Tune in to select livestream video sessions [here] (between 9:30 and 3:30) and/or follow along the twitter stream at #edcampwr .  


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)

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…

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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.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.23.00 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.30.42 PM

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

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 trendsmap.com
Trending tags (both #edCampSWO and #edCampLDN are there) as shown by trendsmap.com 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

Day 13: Our First Edcamp



one of three workshops put on for our first Edcamp

How can we possibly find the time to give teachers opportunities to learn about new technology?  There is no question that we need to find a way to change the way we deliver PD.  Teacher learning needs to be embedded and easily accessible so that everyone can keep up with all the changes being brought on through Google, Apple, chromebooks and apps apps apps!

We are experimenting with a version of the edcamp model. To do this, I gave over our regular meeting time (once per month) and allowed teachers to sign up for three 20 minute workshops.  Fortunately, we had three staff members who were willing to present.

I don’t think this is how a regular edcamp would work, but we were dealing with limited time and no more than 15 staff.

The model needs some work, but…

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