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Day 12: Supporting Educators and Promoting New and Improved Learning for Our Students

Written and shared by Deborah McCallum

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what learning is going to look like for our students in the future, and how education needs to change, to meet the needs of society. There are great leaders and movements starting up in Ontario that are helping to support educators and promote new and improved learning for our students.

Indeed, I believe that these new movements need to include embracing eLearning and blended learning environments as frameworks and catalysts for facilitating and activating successful learning for our students.

Today’s education system is outdated in many ways. Structures and institutions are built upon values from the Industrial era. Our students are no longer growing up in this era. There are new opportunities to learn, and learning can look different in different communities and families, cultures. Society has changed in many ways. As Steven Hurley stated in his opening speech at the On The Rise Conference (OTRK12) – desks may be organized in groups, but alas, they are still the same desks!

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We have new technologies that have permeated the rest of our world, our economies are changing rapidly, and job security and stability will not mean the same things for our children as they did for our parents generations.  Further, due to the rapidly changing society of technology, there will be different futures emerging for our students in terms of what jobs will be available. We have opportunities now for students to engage in a variety of learning experiences and a variety of literacies that we can promote to help them navigate uncertainty and follow their passions – literally right at our finger tips! Indeed, it is a very exciting time.

What do students need to succeed?

As I consider what it is that our students will need to succeed in their futures, I always come back to ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills’.  Without a doubt, these are the skills that future generations need to count on to succeed in any job, career, or learning environment.

Knowledge construction, metacognitive elements of learning, reflection, critical thinking, flexible decision making, imagination and creativity are just some of the skills that will be necessary.

Technology has come so far that it is so intuitive for anyone to use, but, the higher order thinking skills still need to be in place to make the most out of these learning opportunities and technologies. eLearning and blended learning environments will continue to grow, and therefore, we need to consider how to apply higher order thinking skills to the eLearning environment.

eLearning & Blended Learning

I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a workshop at ORTK12 where we co-created an iBook on eLearning. What a brilliant idea to bring together educators to help describe this as something beautiful that can be presented to parents, teachers, students, administrators to understand these new virtual learning spaces that we can create for our students.

I look forward to these new spaces and places for learning, and more importantly learning how to effectively integrate the higher order thinking skills into these new paradigms of learning!

Deborah McCallum

Educator and Learner investigating the intersection between Knowledge Building, Indigenous perspectives, Edtech, Digital Citizenship & New Pedagogies for the 21st Century. Desire2Learn Instructor for AQ & OntarioLearn Highered; Teacher-Librarian Specialist; Science & Technology; Counselling Pychology, GD.




Photo Credit:

alles-schlumpf via Compfight cc

Day 4: The Power of Perseverance

(Thank you to Aviva Dunsiger for sharing this learning)
What Did I Learn Today?
Today, I learned about the power of perseverance. Yes, I’ve heard many times before that we should persevere, keep on trying, never give up … but how many times have I done the opposite of that?


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The funny thing is that my learning happened in the strangest of ways.  Our Board is launching a new email system beginning tomorrow. I email my parents all the time through a group mail list, and I needed to get things up and running so that I would be ready for tomorrow. I could access our new system today, so I was going to try and move my contacts over.


Quickly I got frustrated. I couldn’t figure out how to add a mail list. I eventually saw that I could create a group, but as I tried to type in a parent’s email address, it wouldn’t work. So frustrating! At this point, I was about to tweet one of our 21st Century Learning Consultants for help, but I decided that I wasn’t going to give up so easily. Since making a group wouldn’t work the way I thought, maybe I needed to try a different way.


I decided to add each of the parents to My Contact Folder. Then I was able to add the contacts to the group. That was until I got to one of the contacts that had a name before the email address: I couldn’t find him in my email directory. Why? Okay, I exited from the group and added the contact with just the email address. Then it worked!


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The whole process took me over an hour, but in the end, I was able to send my parents a group email, and yippee, they got it! How does this relate to education? If I’m going to ask my students to search out the answers to their own questions, problem solve, and try again, then I need to model this as well. I need to be willing to make mistakes. I need to be willing to try something, see how it works, make changes, and try again. I need to experience this same feeling of joy that comes from perseverance, and today, this is exactly what I felt!


What are your own tales of perseverance? Why is it important for educators and students to persevere? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!


Aviva Dusiger is a Grade 5 teacher at Ancaster Meadow School in Ancaster, Ontario.


Twitter: @avivaloca
Blog: Living Avivaloca: http://adunsiger.com/


Photo Credits:
Hooray: mherzber via Compfight cc