This year Learning Connections continues to support multi-district projects providing them with both release time and a budget for hardware. Six districts decided to focus on broadening their learning through three different multi-district projects. My first visit for this group was in Simcoe County DSB while they connected with Hastings and Prince Edward DSB to launch their project and have the teachers “meet” from the two sites for the first time.
The goal of their project is “all about creativity, critical thinking… and most of all, collaboration“. Their focus is to remove the “silo effect” of teaching math, science and technology and make cross-curricular connections for these subjects in grades 7 and 8. To find out more about their project, you can visit their project page. Everyone was excited to connect with their partnered teachers, but some apprehension was noted since they weren’t completely sure of the direction their inquiry would take them. I am sure that working on the edge of this unknown will bring innovation to their practice.
It was great to spend the day with such innovative educators willing to take the risks and try something new. The day started with logistics at the individual sites, such as handing out the Chromebooks and recording inventory of equipment. They developed some norms around how they will learn about the functionality of the technology and set up a feedback and question Google Doc to support each other with the learning of the technology. Interesting to see how the leads from each district set up a Google Shared Folder to ‘house’ all the resources for the project. Very transparent and easy to access for everyone included in the project. The morning continued with discussions around models for integrating technology in teaching: TPAK and SAMR. This framed the day for the districts to connect online and start their collaboration.
A Google Hangout was used to connect the two sites and the teachers met for the first time. The groups first met as a whole to discuss the overall project and then the teachers broke off with their partners in individual Hangouts. To activate some thinking around what a cross-curricular project looks like, the group viewed: Kids Against Road Salt Video. When the teachers made their individual connections with Google Hangouts, each partnered set of teachers could put together a plan on how to continue with their collaboration. They had time to look at the curriculum, determine the connections between math, science and technology and decide which unit will work for their multi-district inquiry with students. I can’t wait to see the work and inquiries they come up with for their students. Next meeting: I will be in HPEDSB to learn about their progress!
So, this brings me to the fun part…as promised, a fun pic for each visit. This visit took me to a shopping mall before heading home. Well, maybe the pic isn’t that fun, but the shopping was – scored some nice stuff 🙂