Although I still have a visit to post, I thought I would insert a timely post about our conference we had last Friday. On Friday May 23, over 50 educators from across Ontario came to York University to share their Learning Connections projects and learn about the exciting work our group is involved with. But, before I “talk shop”, I have to tell you how really, really, really, really…wait for it, one more… really glad I was to be at the conference! I was called for Jury duty starting May 20th and didn’t think the conference was going to happen for me. Luckily, when I arrived downtown at the court house, with 500 other people, I had the sense to pay attention to all the instructions, all hour and a half of them. At the end of it, they announced that some people could volunteer to be interviewed for a coroner inquest jury that takes place in June…I jumped at the opportunity (literally jumped!). I went downtown the next day and was the LAST person selected for this jury in June – I would be at the conference – yippee.
The good part about this, was that conference was all planned the week before and there was no last minute panic to get anything in order. Thanks to my awesome team. 🙂
On Thursday, we hosted a dinner at the Schulich School of Business where we all enjoyed a great meal. After our good eats, we couldn’t resist the photo opp. outside with the cherry blossoms. BEAUTIFUL! Participants even had the opportunity to photo bomb – go Martha. This was not the end of the evening and unfortunately, not the end of my adventures before the conference. Once again, I was so glad that everything was so well planned in advance since the next 3.5 hours were spent in emergency – I got home at 1:00 am. Luckily, not too serious, but a fall by one of the delegates lead to a late night and a cast on her arm. Get well quickly June.
Finally, Friday arrived and the sharing and learning began. Judy Speirs, Ministry of Education – Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Executive Officer, welcomed the delegates and challenged them to build awareness of Learning Connections within their districts. I am hoping that our district specific videos will help them with this challenge. Throughout the day, our multi-district project teams presented their work to the whole group and were very well received. Presenters made comments about their experience such as:
- best learning experience ever
- the two districts could learn from each other in a deeper and more meaningful way
- they were able to push the envelop in how they used technology for literacy and numeracy instruction
- innovative instructional practices developed through collaboration of teachers and students
- partnerships have lead to lasting friendships
The individual District Champion project teams presented their work through two carousel sessions where delegates rotated to different rooms to hear about the projects throughout the province. This provided opportunity for participants to ask questions, get ideas, share their successes and challenges and learn from each other.
Another awesome day in the life of Learning Connections. I love to see how these dedicated educators work with their colleagues and students to improve the learning for all!
I end this post with some highlights of the day from our participants:
“Totally inspired by the work people from various school boards are doing.”
“Was great to hear from other boards using technology for collaboration between colleagues and students – even multi-district collaboration”
“Cross district collaborations demonstrated that this model has great potential.”
“Great to get ideas from other districts! Rich sharing was inspiring.”
“Realizing many schools are at the same point as we are. Hearing about all of the incredible things that people are doing and networking for potential help and collaboration for next year.”
“Networking with members of other districts during small-group sharing. Seeing examples of tech integration in action.”
“The food was delicious! Food makes or breaks the day. Ha!” – Yup, sometimes it is all about the food 🙂