My visit to Catholic DSB of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Catholic SB started with a great weekend in Ottawa with my husband. Lots of walking, visiting friends and good eats! Once he left me on Sunday, it was down to business and my visits to the two school boards. My expense claim is going to look funny with only a return flight home and no flight to Ottawa 🙂
Monday was spent in CDSBEO at Holy Cross Catholic School in Kemptville. Good thing I figured out how to drive my rental car so I could get there safely. Somehow I ended up staying in first gear with a revving engine…now I know! CDSBEO is new to Learning Connections, only starting in January of this year. Their focus is on the use of technology in mathematics: “What does good mathematics communication look like?” I was involved in a co-plan, co-teach, co-debrief lesson around mathematics (thanks for the awesome avatar). Students were working on problems involving addition and subtraction of decimal numbers. Once students solved their problems, they were given choices to record their thinking: Skitch, Explain Everything, Smart Notebook… Students in the classroom used the technology quite easily and were open to explore different ways to interact with the tech. It was evident for some students that the technology helped engage them in their work. It was fun to be part of the process including the debrief to determine how to improve on the lesson.
Although not the case here, I often question, does the technology sometimes get in the way of the learning? Teachers need to critically think of when and how the technology is being used. Students also need to understand that using technology is not always the answer. I have observed in some classrooms students reaching for non-technology options when approaching their work – this is great to see!
After an awesome dinner at The Keg and a good night sleep, the next day I was off to OCSB, but first I had to pick up Shadi from the airport and not get too lost on the way to the board office. We made it there safely and in good time (not too much of a tour around town getting lost).
The day at OCSB was their full day Learning Connections celebration of learning with about 100 educators participating. The morning had immense energy and lots of sharing during their learning fair and the afternoon was full of discussion with an EdCamp. The learning fair was set up with two groups: foxes and owls with each group visiting 6 poster presentations about their LC project. Then a couple of foxes met up with a couple of owls to share the projects they heard about. With our mixed
group we had to think, share, create around the big idea of the learning fair. The big ideas we observed were: parent engagement and student lead learning. This is a highlight of two of the projects presented:
- a flipped classroom using videos to front load curriculum, posting a blog of classroom activity and providing parents with curriculum for learning at home;
- a school created a Genius Centre where students provided technology support for the school and taught teachers how to use different apps or programs. (http://www.genyes.org/programs/genyes).
The afternoon proved to be very beneficial for everyone as they participated in the EdCamp sessions. Teachers had many choices for the afternoon including: learning about different apps, finding out how to set up their own Genius Centres, hearing about flipped classrooms, determining how to increase parent engagement and more.
My favourite app of the day… Powtoon. Check it out at: http://www.powtoon.com/
Never a dull moment in Ottawa. Thanks for the great two days and the yummy chocolates Karen 🙂