Visit to Thunder Bay Catholic DSB – 2016

TBCDSB

Last week I joined the team from Thunder Bay Catholic DSB for their second session in a series of four technology-enabled learning and teaching workshops that is a part of the Learning Connections project.  The first session, in December, was about learning the technology – using Google apps for education with a focus on Global Connections.  The second session was focussed on learning about collaborative inquiries, PLN’s (led by Donna Fry – so great to meet you!), TPAK, digital citizenship and they started developing their individual inquiry questions. Their third session will provide them with the opportunity to delve deeper into their inquiry and the fourth session will be a celebration to share artefacts and their learning.

During the two days I was there, IMG_1560teachers and teacher librarians from across the board attended one of the two possible days of learning and planning. In total, 13 teachers (grades ranging from 3 to 6) and 10 teacher librarians attended representing each elementary school. During the introductions, it was interesting to hear the great work in the board and how these educators are eager to try new things. Many are using Google Classroom and a few are venturing to use Google Hangouts to connect students from different schools. They recognize that it is ok to learn with the students and model taking risks, but they also recognize the importance of supporting the students to become great problem solvers so students don’t panic when stuff doesn’t work or become challenging.

The learning goals for the day were:IMG_1631

  • Come to a shared understanding of collaborative inquiry for technology-enabled learning and teaching
  • Develop inquiries differentiated to our interests and needs and those of our students

Some of the resources and activities to support their learning during the day included:

  • Explore and review TPACK to understand how their work can live in the sweet spot of the model.
  • Explanation of a new initiative in board to teach K-12 students the lessons from OCSB’s “Samaritans on the Digital Road
  • Review of OSAPAC’s curated resources on Digital Citizenship for Ontario teachers
  • Discussion of the video “This Will Revolutionize Education” with the key points made: what really matters is what happens in the learners head; making a learner think best happens in a social environment; how can we promote thinking that leads to learning?
  • Review of two articles: Ministry’s document: “New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning” and the blog post: “School Technology Struggles to Make an Impact” – an interesting point being made during discussion: technology can enhance great teaching, but technology cannot replace bad teaching.
  • Presentation and sharing by Donna Fry around building your PLN and the benefits of having an online network.

The team had opportunity to start developing their inquiry question with the understanding that it may change as the move forward with their work.

Two goals for their inquiry:

Evidence-Informed Instructional Approaches in Practice

  • Examine the impact of changes in instructional practice on studentIMG_1624 learning through collaborative planning, teaching and assessment.

Collaborative Stance and Skills

  • Explore how effective teaching is itself inquiry: asking our own questions about teaching, and learning from our student how best to teach them and help them apply their new knowledge.

Examples of the inquiry question of the team:

  • How can I use technology to help my students understand the communities in Ontario? How will this deepen their understanding and spark their interest?
  • How can I use Google Hangouts to make Global Issues more relevant to my students?
  • How can we guide our students to be more collaborative and take ownership towards becoming global citizens?
  • How can I use technology to help my students to compare and contrast various communities in the nineteeth century with those of modern day, as well as the roles that men, women and children play within those communities?
  • and more…

Thanks Cindy for a great two days of learning!

IMG_1699For my fun pic, I share the photos of the Harley dealer. With a nice brisk walk, in the -20 weather, I showed up at the store with frozen eyelids to get my HD Thunder Bay Tee! Bring on riding season (after I get to ski a bit, of course).

 

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