What does learning in a techy world look like in your classroom?

I can’t think of a different way to put it. For some reason I hate the phrases ‘learning with technology, learning with tech, technology based learning, even learning in a techy world’ and any other statement that puts an emphasis on the technology, as if it is something different from the tools of learning to begin with. In mine, it isn’t something added on but it’s pretty much the functioning of the class, tools that we have come used to using as we learn. I wrote about this one day last year, when I was late to class and the kids knew to hit up the blog and began doing their work – some at their tables, some in a quiet area so they could do video responses on their laptops, some alone, some talking together.

[Aha. laptops. We were very fortunate. We had a private donor give us 10 000 $ last year, a good sum of which was used to buy mini-laptops. (this leads to a whole other story about the validity of conversations on tech integration when we know there are many, many schools, students who have no tech to integrate into their learning across not only the world but North America as well.)]

That kind of integration did not happen over night. That scene happened about a month into the school year. It was a result of daily lessons on different ways to respond to query (conversation, video response, written response…), on how to read a blog entry (the whole thing, not just skimming through and then asking – so what do we do?), and on how to work independently. Oh, and I had taught English to the same group of students the previous year as well.

What does learning look like in your classroom? Do you use techy tools? Is it any different than any other kind of student-directed learning, just using different tools?

Thanks for your help: learning more about tech (digital storytelling) in secondary classrooms

I’ve received quite a bit of response from my plea for help in organizing a workshop I’ve been asked to give on integrating technology into secondary classrooms (2 workshops, one in English one in French) – Thank you :)

I’ll be using Teaching is a Verb – Enseigner, C’est Agir to share information with the workshop participants. The workshops will mainly be centred around digital storytelling in the content areas – I figured this was the easiest way to address the task I was given, “Can you put together a workshop on integrating technology in the High School Language Arts, History, and Science classes? Oh, and can you do a second one for French teachers? Thanks.”

At this point I have a whole slew of online resources to offer the teachers and to help organize my thoughts on the matter. I found a great Firefox add-on called Send Tab URLs that helped me to make a list of the resources I’ve collected so far.

There are a few examples of teaching and student practice among these links so far. I’d love to find more! The more I can show my teachers the better. The teachers who will be participating are already interested in the topic so theory will be kept to a bare minimum, though I’ll be able to direct anyone who is interested to the blog I am creating for any theory they want (I love theory :)

What they want is to see what it looks like in a classroom. I can show them final products, I can show them where to go to find different applications, but what I need to show them is what it looks like. If anyone has any resources for that, I’ll love you forever :)

From Send Tab URLs (38 links)

– The View From Here: Teaching the New Writing – Book


– Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: How New Media is Transforming Storytelling: A New Video Series


– How to create …. – Digital Storytelling – Resources for assignments at University of Wollongong Library


– Secondary Cycle Two


– Technology Tools


– ecole


– Tutoriel pour crĂ©er un montage vidĂ©o avec Windows Movie Maker – TIC@le: TIC, langues et formation des enseignant(e)s


– Inuktic


– Carrefour Ă©ducation


– Voicethread – FrankTechCamp2010


– Web 2.0 @ School – DigitalStorytelling


– CogDogRoo – 50 Ways


– USTREAM, You’re On. Free LIVE VIDEO Streaming, Online Broadcasts. Create webcasts, video chat, stream videos on the Internet. Live streaming videos, TV shows


– Your Brain on Computers – Studying the Brain Off the Grid, Professors Find Clarity – NYTimes.com


– Professional blog | davidwees.com


– Digital_storytelling_Kirsty_McGeoch_IATEFL_2009.pdf (application/pdf Object)


– Center for Digital Storytelling


– Technology integration


– What motivates us to do good?


– edbuzz.org » Teacher Resources


– Aberth Digital Storytelling — digital storytelling, participatory media and easing access to mass media for public expression


– Seven things to Avoid when making a digital story


– YouTube – spmath’s Channel


– What does exemplary technology infused Math instruction look like? (Middle & High School) | Welcome to NCS-Tech!


– Alternative Assessment with VoiceThread


– Google Forms for Assessment, Evaluation, and Reflection


– Technology


– VoiceThread as a Digital Portfolio « TeachingSagittarian


– Lightning Bug – Storyboarding


– The Digital Narrative – Find your story


– N°482 – Le Web 2.0 et l’Ă©cole – Le Cercle de Recherche et d’Action PĂ©dagogiques et les Cahiers pĂ©dagogiques


– Free Technology for Teachers: 140 New Things Being Tried In Classrooms This Fall


– Free Technology for Teachers: Free Downloads


– Edmodo | Secure Social Learning Network for Teachers and Students


– Storytelling — It’s News!


– digitalstorytelling – home


– digitalstoryca’s Bookmarks on Delicious


– monarchlibrary – digitalstorytelling


Calling for help in high school tech workshop development in English and en français

I will be facilitating two workshops, essentially identical though different ;) , on integrating technology into secondary school classrooms. Specifically Language Arts, History, and Science.

When it comes to workshops, teachers want practical ideas that they can use in their classrooms so I will be organizing the workshops by practice first and then filling the theory in as we go, as it is needed.

Oh, they are identical but different because one is for English secondary teachers, one for French.

Ideas I have so far:

Digital Storytelling as the basis for integrating tech not only in the language classrooms but in the other classrooms as well

Demonstrating examples using:

Here are the workshop descriptions:

Technology as part of the learning process: Specific activities that integrate technology in the Secondary classroom.

In this workshop we will explore specific ways to integrate technology into Secondary Language Arts, History, and Science classrooms. It used to be that technology was an add on, something extra that many of us believed we did not have time for given the reality of rigorous curriculum and time constraints. Now, technology use is part of the curriculum, part of the learning process. We will look at specific ideas that can be used in the classroom – digital storytelling, blogging, voicethread, video, and other collaborative or individual activities – and how they are related to curricular competencies.

The material we cover, as well as ideas for further exploration, will be added to the website Teaching is a Verb – Enseigner, C’est Agir. The website is set up as a blog and I welcome your comments and questions as they can help me to design a workshop that best addresses your needs.


La technologie et le processus d’apprentissage: des activitĂ©s spĂ©cifiques qui appuient l’intĂ©gration de technologie dans la salle de classe secondaire

Il Ă©tait une fois que la technologie en salle de classe Ă©tait une activitĂ© supplĂ©mentaire, quelque chose qu’on faisait si on avait le temps après le ‘vrai travail’ du curriculum. Maintenant, la technologie fait partie du curriculum, du processus de l’apprentissage. Durant cet atelier je vais vous prĂ©senter des activitĂ©s spĂ©cifiques que vous pouvez utiliser dans vos salles de classes – le rĂ©cit numĂ©rique, des blogs, VoiceThread, vidĂ©o, et d’autres activitĂ©s de collaboration et non – et comment ces activitĂ©s sont liĂ©es aux compĂ©tences du curriculum.

Le contenu de l’atelier, en plus que des idĂ©es pour l’exploration supplĂ©mentaire, sera affichĂ© au site web Enseigner, C’est Agir – Teaching is a Verb. En fait, ce site web est un blog alors je vous invite Ă  me laisser vos commentaires ou vos questions, car ils pourraient m’aider Ă  crĂ©er un atelier qui rĂ©pondra plus prĂ©cisĂ©ment a vos besoins actuels.

Any ideas for me? Things you think are must haves? Things I should avoid?

Stop talking about classrooms that don’t work

This morning I read a thoughtful post about what ADD may or may not be. Despite the timeliness and depth of thought present in the article, I was stricken by one paragraph about the perils of classrooms on our children. How our young children today, so rife with creative potential, are doomed to a future of diagnosis and boredom because they will be subjected to school.

I was not only stricken but insulted.

Does all of the work that I and many of my colleagues have done over the past years have no bearing on the future of education? Do all of those teachers out there in schools all over the world who care about their children not count?

I feel we need to get beyond the system is broken kind of thinking and focus on what is working. We see what we look for and if we keep focusing on a broken system we will only succeed in creating more broken system.

Instead of creating a doomsday effect by telling ominous stories of the proliferation of ‘traditional’ classrooms that stifle creativity and connectivity, I prefer to point towards learning that does the opposite, learning that works and educators who ‘get it’.

George Couros
Michael Doyle
Lori Centerbar
Kevin Hodgson
Glenn Moses
Linda Clinton
Elona Hartjes
Darren Kuropatwa
Kelly Hines
Karen S.
Dea Conrad-Curry
Zac Chase
Angela Maiers
Chris Lehmann
Jose Vilson
Damian Bariexca
J. M. Holland


You get the point. There are good educators who foster good learning in good classrooms in good schools. I keep this in mind as I work towards hope for the future within (and without) the walls of my own school.

mid-night invictus, a story of inspiring leadership

I woke up at 2 am, couldn’t fall back asleep, so began to watch Invictus, the story of Nelson Mandela’s call to Rugby to begin healing South Africa in 1995. Watch the film for the final game. I think it’s one of the best EVER. Even though I knew the outcome, I was on the edge of my seat, cheering with the crowd, admittedly with tears on my cheeks.

That game happened because of Mandela’s inherent leadership. He knew what was needed to inspire his country – his family, as he called its citizens – to begin to become a nation undivided and he did not let anyone get in the way of that vision, no matter how unpopular it was.

These are the words that inspired his powerful vision, throughout his 27 years in prison and his presidency:

Invictus by William Ernest Henry

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Those final two lines, a reminder that no matter what we control how we are in the world.