Learning Connections 2013-2014

The new school year has started and so has our new year for Learning Connections.  Learning Connections (LC) is an online professional learning community available to educators in publicly funded K – 8 schools across Ontario. LC is funded by a grant from the Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat (LNS), Ministry of Education in Ontario www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy.  This is my second year managing this program and I am very excited to work with this year’s districts.  For more about LC, please go to our site at:  http://www.learningconnections.on.ca/

We have 12 districts involved this year

LC District Champions 13-14

We had our first face-to-face meeting on Friday and it was great to see everyone.  The day started with a huge surprise for each of the districts – an iPad Mini for each district to capture their LC story throughout the year (more on this later).  The day continued with breakout sessions to learn about different technologies for teaching and learning and planning time for the districts to plan their projects.

Sharing in Learning Connections

Sharing and collaboration is a large part of Learning Connections. Districts stay connected through:  two face-to-face conferences (one in the fall and one in the spring), monthly online meetings and our shared Word Press site at:  http://lcchampions.abel.yorku.ca/.  This year I am implementing a new way for us to share and stay connected through the iPad Minis that each district has now – it was so much fun to play Santa at the conference on Friday and give out the iPads 🙂

My Vision for Sharing

My goal for this year is to have the ABEL Videographers create a video for each district to tell their LC story for this year.  My plan is to have each district contribute by capturing photos and videos on their iPads throughout the year and share through iCloud.  Each district’s iPad is set up with their own iCloud account with a shared Photo Stream with my account.  When they place their photos and videos (yup, iOS 7 came just in time to make my vision work with video as well) in our shared stream, I get the media right away.

LC iPhoto Share

Challenges Ahead

Many!  One challenge that I can see already is for me to manage all the media that will be coming my way.  I am also looking into ways for our group to annotate the media they share to put the videos and photos into context.  So far, using comments in the Photo Shared Stream works, but if the media is deleted from the Photo Share Stream, the comments disappear.  Another challenge I foresee, is that I will not be able to keep all media in the shared streams throughout the year.  I fear my device will run out of storage with 12 shared folders.   I am going to have to decide on a workflow to download the media to my computer, keep the annotations and delete items from the shared streams.

I have been discovering new ways to manage iPhoto and media every day…love this new adventure.  I will do my best to keep you posted on the progress and provide more details as we move forward with this project.

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