Archive for March, 2012

iSEE through Learning: information Safety, Ethics and Etiquette through Learning

I am working with a number of teachers to support the integration of technology into a Project Based Learning environment. As the Principal time is of the essence. I have blocked out two periods a week to work with a group of 13 students in grades 5 and 6 to support their learning on ancient civilizations. We have a fundamental question: What civilization provided the best innovations that impact our current civilization. The teachers started by using the work of Garfield Gini-Newman on critical thinking.

Below I have included a letter to parents that I wrote in order to invite them to participate with their child.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am working closely with Mrs. Mundy, Mrs. Deters and Mrs. Chartier to help support your child’s learning in social studies, science and literacy. Specifically I am working on incorporating the use of web 2.0 tools to track, engage and record our learning.

What is web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is the term that is being used by educators all over the globe to describe the use of the internet to create content and place it in the public forum for use, manipulation and creation. In other words it is a creative process for showing your learning that others can use to show their learning.

Web 2.0 has a myriad of online applications that can be used to generate content creatively. Some examples of web 2.0 tools are:

Social Media Applications: Twitter, Facebook, texting
Content Creation Applications: Blogging, YouTube, AudioBoo
Networking Applications: Skype, Google+, email

It is my intention to work with your child on learning the important lessons of safety, ethics and etiquette in this ever changing learning environment. For example, our first lesson was: “If we wouldn’t say it in the classroom, we won’t say it on Web 2.0” There are many lessons and learning opportunities that will arise from our work in this environment. It is my intention to help protect our children by teaching them with the tools instead of assuming they are protected by banning the tools for learning.

If you don’t already please follow the many web 2.0 elements of school life at Eastwood. We have many blogs, a Facebook account, Twitter feeds, Audioboo account and Youtube Account. These accounts will connect to the work your child is doing and is a way for you to share in the learning. I am going to host a parent night in May so stay tuned.

I also included this poster, that hangs in all classrooms, to illustrate our work with students to understand the role that BYOD plays in our student learning.

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BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices)

A Memo from the Principal

I would like to illustrate a number of things regarding BYOD (bring your own devices). I travelled the school in the last two weeks and talked to students about our rights, responsibilities and privileges regarding technology use in elementary school.

Working together with a team of students we have created the look and started the language for posters to describe our “Eastwood TECHNOrms” these will be delivered after the break and need to be posted in our rooms.

  • Our board has a policy that encourages the use of BYOD in schools for educational reasons.
  • We encourage students to use tech to engage in safe and appropriate communication and learning.
  • You as the teacher have the final say for the use of these in classrooms. BYOD is a great way to engage in learning, questioning, polling, communicating and microblogging (twitter).
  • Students do use texting as a form of communication during their nutrition breaks and recesses. If you feel there is something inappropriate happening you have our support in being sure the students are being appropriate and maintaining our trust. If you feel you need further clarification from the student please use discretion and the support of administration to help.
  • Cellphone use is not encouraged or allowed unless you are standing beside the student before during and after the phone call and they have asked your permission to do so for appropriate school related reasons. The office must be aware of phone calls made to a students home by a student.
  • Students engaging in online teasing, bullying and inappropriate use of technology must be brought to the attention of administration
  • As adults we always model and teach positive and appropriate online citizenship. It is incumbent upon us to explicitly teach online behaviours, pitfalls, do’s and don’ts through our literacy block and media literacy activities. These lessons cannot be avoided, dismissed or ignored.
  • If a student has not put their device away when asked it is appropriate for you to ask for the device and then it be returned at the end of the lesson.
  • If a student chooses not to turn it over please bring this to the attention of administration at your next free moment. We are here to support you.

Opportunities for learning from the use of BYODs and the behaviours around them are an essential part of our work as educators in the 21st century. If these items are banned or ignored who else (and when) will we teach our kids that taking pictures at a funeral is inappropriate or sending inappropriate images of yourself to a boyfriend will come back to haunt you? If you require assistance in these lessons you can find excellent sources at:

The Ontario College of Teachers: Professional Advisory use of Electronic Communication and Social Media.


Or these recent and timely resources below:




There are literally millions of resources to be used that could harness the power of web 2.0 and social media. There are a number of teachers that are successfully experimenting and implementing web 2.0 stuff. Ask me for details.

(I will post the Poster ASAP)

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My son has been whispering I’m sorry from the wing back lounge chair for almost 30 minutes. At least I hope that is what he is whispering. Could be he is still repeating that I didn’t buy him a lego set. This might be the largest Starbucks I’ve been too besides Seattle’s flagship. Yet I’ve only seen the first 10 feet. I havent even ordered my triple venti latte yet. This is something as, I admit, I am addicted. No, instead I am using this time to help my son learn a lesson about being grateful.

He entered LEGOLAND in Chicago bouncing and giggling. He left all snot and lower lip. What started as “take my picture, take a picture of that spider, take a picture of the hippo.” Ended as “I didnt get a lego set! I wanted a lego set.” His heart rate was 114 going in and 114 comin out. (I checked with my Azumio app.) Mine, a duldrum 41. We are sometimes “out of sync.”

Remaining calm in the face of such acrimonious dialogue is a skill I did not learn from my father. I am sure generation Xers can relate. My dad did not reason or coddle. You with me so far. While my Dad cultivated my philosophy of high expectations and trust above all else it is my life and skills as an educator that have most certainly saved me as a parent. For instance, I have written this entire post during “the episode” as my daughter calls them. I distance myself from the behaviour, refuse to own negative energy and resist fully the temptation to take events like this personally. The last element being the hardest as Gavin is my flesh and blood.

“You just don’t like me, that is why you didn’t get me legos or a birthday present.” You see he even makes stuff up to try and engage me. Not happening. At this point in the timeout I am surprised the barista hasn’t charged us for the bazillion Starbucks napkins Gavin has used to wipe his nose.

This relationship, between parenting and teaching, is the most important aspect of my life as a father. I share this everyday with students, parents and teachers. It is the one aspect of my personal life that I cannot seperate from my work life. In Loco Parentis or in this case In Parentis.

I got an apology. I got a hug. More than that Gavin figured it all out when he saw me typing on my iPhone.

“Are you writing this all down Daddy?”

“Yes Gavin.” I replied stoically.

“For everyone to read Daddy.”

“Yes Gav. For everyone to read and learn from our mistakes and our work.”

“I love you Daddy. Sorry.”

It seems Gavin has my desire to help others too.


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