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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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It is a major balancing act. Challenging those around you to do the most they can to innovate education is hard work. Supporting those around you that need time to breathe, rest and regroup is hard work. In education there is no easy work. Earlier this week I had a colleague write to me and say “I am a different learner than you. Things come easy to you.” I wrote back: Nothing comes easy to me, nothing. What is it about what I do each day that appears easy to others?

One thing for sure. I stay positive and happy all day long. The kids I work with, the hard-working adults deserve this from me. I have moments of weakness. I frown. I sigh. Then I pick myself up and go spend time with kids. I watch an expert teacher converse with a student. I take myself out of center and put the kids back in there where they belong. I believe that positive people, or people being positive, make things look easy. We laugh in the face of adversity, find opportunity in error and take each new challenge as an event of learning. I have tried to make this my mission. I have been challenged recently by my position. I have had to make some difficult “moves” and decisions. I have stayed happy and positive in presentation. I have remained calm. Stress has not been an issue. I have found that doing the right thing makes things easier.

Nothing is easy. If it was everyone would be doing it. Nobody is. Only I am doing the things I do.

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Talking with Daniel Pink about Motivation, Engagement and Education

On one of our snowed in nights this winter I had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Pink, author of  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Surprisingly he was snowed in at his location in Washington D.C. as well.  For over 45 minutes Daniel, Jodie and I talked about motivation and engagement versus compliance in the educational setting.  His insights into the system of education and the connections to his research for Drive are timely and certainly transferable.

The text below is a record of that conversation presented here with Daniel’s permission.  The conversation has been edited for presentation purposes.  Thanks to Daniel Pink for his interest in sharing his thoughts, ideas and perspectives with educators.

JC: Michael Fullan is an Ontario educator and an international educational leader who works all over the globe to research and reform education. How can we continue to motivate each other by engaging with what Michael Fullan describes as our moral purpose?  We’re faced with difficult challenges and teaching is a hard job. Sometimes recharging staff morale seems to fall on a couple peoples’ shoulders. Sometimes it’s the manager’s or the coach’s shoulders. What can we do to continue to motivate each others’ moral purpose?

DP: Part of it is simply having a conversation about those topics. You very rarely hear, and this is not a slam against teachers or administrators, inside of a school building the phrase moral purpose, or even the concept of moral purpose.  The more people talk about it the more it can become part of the conversation and become salient in people’s lives.  It is also another answer to the question about how you motivate yourself, how do you motivate others?  One thing that often gets lost in the conversation is that we’re always telling teachers how to do it. Here’s what you’re supposed to teach. Here’s how you are supposed to teach it. Here’s when you are supposed to teach it. Here’s where you are supposed to teach it. But we never ask why. Why are we doing this in the first place? The why has to do with that moral purpose and what drives a lot of educators in the profession itself – is that sense of, using Michael Fullan’s phrase, moral purpose. We don’t have enough conversations about why.  That is something that the administrators can do.  Just raise that question. We’ve had a tough day, week, year, what ever – let’s not forget about why we are here in the first place. We’re here because what we do matters in the kids’ lives. We’re here because, in all of us who have chosen this profession rather than something else, we want to make a difference in the world.  It is true in the private sector as well. There is even some interesting academic research on this that shows in one example of university call centres raising money through alumni. What they do is divide people into three groups –one is a control group; one group, each night before they make calls, reads something that explains what they can learn, what the benefits are of working in a call centre. You’re learning communication skills; you’re learning negotiation skills, etc. The third group, each night before they make calls, they hear from people who benefited from the money that has been raised at this call centre. So my name is Fred and I got a scholarship because of this fund and now I’m a neuroscientist, etc. One group controls, one group is reminded of the personal benefit and one group is reminded of the purpose of the exercise. They measure the results with how much money they raise. The third group, with literally just a few minutes of a reminder of why they are doing this, raises twice the amount of money, twice the number of pledges of the other groups.  What you have here is that simply reminding people of the purpose has this profound effect on performance but also on the morale. When you get into a system that doesn’t foster that, but in fact, in some ways actively suppresses that, suffocates that, then some people exit and what’s even worse than people exiting, is that some people who don’t exit stay and become cynical.

JN: The connection and similarities between teachers and students is evident in the complexity of the “task” of learning. How do we maximize engagement across the board for all learners in a school specifically in areas of mastery, autonomy and purpose?

DP: I think a lot of it goes to autonomy. When we think about engagement, it’s sort of what we were talking about before. We start with a premise that learning goals and performance goals are the same and they are not but if you start with that premise you are going to make mistakes.  We have another premise that is erroneous which has to do with the very nature of engagement. Engagement and compliance are two very different things. And in many ways the whole idea of management, as it’s conducted in business and as it has then been imported into schools, management is about compliance.  No one is ever managed into engagement. No one is ever controlled into engagement. You engage.  I engage. My kids engage.  Human beings engage, not by being manager controlled, but by getting there under their own steam. That engagement depends on self-direction. When students engage, as I’m sure you both have seen in the classroom, they engage when they finally find a way to get there under their own steam.  If we really want engagement, we have to get rid of a lot of these very controlling mechanisms that we have.  We have to give students greater autonomy – not free reign wild kind of autonomy – but dial up some greater autonomy.  We have to give teachers greater autonomy. There are national differences here of course, but, there are policy makers out there saying that, in the States, the ideal education system is if you’re in year three class in Detroit, Michigan and a year three class in Miami Florida and a year three class in Seattle Washington, and its Math class, and its the third day of March, those teachers should be doing the exact same thing.  That’s terrifying.  It’s not giving teachers any kind of autonomy over how to do it their way, how to do the best thing, how to customize and tailor it. It is very alarming where things have gone in the United States. The good news is that the pendulum is swinging back a little bit. There are stories in today’s papers if you go online. The Washington Post has stories about our federal legislation of no child left behind and how much district principals and superintendents are pushing back on that, and you even have legislators who are involved in doing it saying “Oh my God! We made a big mistake. It’s too rigid. It’s too controlling.” The problem in education policy is that we’re looking for the silver bullet, the magic elixir and it doesn’t exist.

The door is still broken 20 years later.  Maybe that is Dad’s reminder of what it is going to take to “teach” his granddaughter Zoe to drive when he gets the chance.  When we work with other humans and we focus simply on compliance instead of engagement we are destined to drive right through the garage door.  If we want to learn we have to listen, to each other.  Motivation is a two way street and the traffic is moving fast.

Learning is a complex process no matter the context.  As Pink illustrates true motivation requires autonomy, mastery and purpose.  When talking about the complexities of learning institutions engaging and motivating the learners, “big people and little people,” cannot possibly be accomplished by a numerical equation, a secret resource or Pink’s magic elixir.  It takes highly skilled, passionate and engaged teachers dedicated to learning first with a drive that comes from a deep sense of moral purpose.

Thanks for your time and insight Daniel.  I assure you that if you are ever lost in Quebec City you’ll find your way.

carrots + sticks < love, “Click” change and Teacher / Learner by Libby Levi for opensource.com

You can follow Daniel (DP), James (JC) and Jodie (JN) on Twitter

@danpink, @cowpernius and @iteachELL

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Talking with Daniel Pink about Motivation, Engagement and Education in Two Parts. Cross posted at Connected Principals.

My wife Tricia “failed” her first driver’s test. There, the world knows. Her father had dedicated the previous few months to teach her proper. During the first lesson she, her father and younger brother got into the sky blue ’88 Caprice Classic station wagon that was parked in the two car garage.

“Place the keys in the ignition place your foot on the brake and turn the engine over.” Her father stated in his stoic and serious manner.

“But Dad, shouldn’t I. . .”

“Listen, if you want to learn you have to listen. Do not interrupt and listen. I’ll teach and you listen. Now turn the engine over. Good. Place the car in reverse and slowly take your foot off the brake.”

“Dad, when am I going to . . .”

“Tricia, you have to listen and do what I say. Don’t interrupt. I am trying to tell you, you need to listen.” The electrical engineer inside was getting the better of Dad. Learning about things like driving and electricity was not done through trial and error. This was life or death. Get it right the first time.

Tricia was making every attempt to engage with her teacher. She was instead being told to comply. Let’s face it. From the driver’s perspective learning to drive is an engaging process. From the passenger’s seat compliance seems entirely appropriate.

Until you realize you just instructed your 16 year old daughter to drive through the closed garage door. The 13 year old boy in the back seat stating that “she was trying to tell you Dad,” didn’t help.

On one of our snowed in nights this winter I had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Surprisingly he was snowed in at his location in Washington D.C. as well. For over 45 minutes Daniel, Jodie and I talked about motivation and engagement versus compliance in the educational setting. His insights into the system of education and the connections to his research for Drive are timely and certainly transferrable.

The text below is a record of that conversation presented here with Daniel’s permission. The conversation has been edited for presentation purposes. Thanks to Daniel Pink for his interest in sharing his thoughts, ideas and perspectives with educators.

JC: Variations of the carrot and stick can be seen in classrooms all over the world, certainly in North America. How can we unlearn some of these practices, practices of – to be kind of flippant about it–candy and detentions, so that kids can be motivated to learn more?

DP: For adults unlearning things is far more difficult than learning things so it’s a very tall order. One of the things that‘s happened is that we essentially created a set of assumptions that the way people, whether they are big people or little people, perform better is if you offer a reward or threaten them with a punishment. What’s disconcerting is that this is true some of the time. The danger with our kids is that if we treat them in a way that suggests that the only reason to do something is to get a good grade or to avoid a punishment we essentially sacrifice an enormous amount of talent and capability. When learning is open-ended, collaborative, when it’s about the strategy rather than the right answer then the approach is valuable in terms of helping kids think.
JC: In Ontario we have had a recent change to our report card system driven by a document called Growing Success: Assessment Practices from K-12. Learning skills are at the forefront of a child’s progress. The rest of the report card uses the traditional letter grades to rate a student’s performance. What are your thoughts on assessment, evaluation and reporting processes that happen in schools?

DP: You have to know how kids are doing. The problem is that often the assessment ends up driving everything. It basically becomes the purpose rather than feedback on the purpose and that is incredibly distorting. When you focus entirely on the performance goals, you often have a very thin, fleeting mastery of the material. It could actually be doing kids a disservice. You want to measure learning skills and you need a measure of performance. What concerns me is less grades per se than when grades basically become the goal rather than learning as the goal. If grades are the goal then people will go for the grades and may miss out on the learning. Again, I don’t think you necessarily have to get rid of grades but you have to put it into context. I don’t think there is an ideal evaluation system but before you get to the ideal evaluation system you have to go to the first principles. We are evaluating things because we want to give people feedback so that they can learn. We are not evaluating things as the end in itself.
There’s a difference between a learning goal and a performance goal. They are not the same. Our schools, especially in the States, are focused entirely on performance goals because they think that learning goals and performance goals are the same. Policy makers, even parents, haven’t reckoned with the fact that they are two very different things. I’ll give you the best example of this I can an example that you can relate to in Canada. I took French in secondary school and in university for six years. Every marking period of every semester I got an A in French. I can’t speak French. Why? The reason is I didn’t learn French; what I did is I performed on tests and quizzes. But if you throw me on the streets of Quebec City, in a French speaking part, and I get lost, I’m not going to find my way back home. If I had focused in those six years on actually trying to learn French maybe I would have gotten a B but I would probably be able to speak French. We’re obsessed over performance goals and we’re sort of thinking that if the performance goals are right then the learning goals will follow and that’s just not true. In fact, the opposite might be true. That is, if we focus on the learning goals then the performance will end up taking care of itself.

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-582″ title=”carrots + sticks

JN: How do we change the minds of the students who have been going for that grade all along?

DP: It is really difficult because as an individual you are taking on an incredibly heroic and daunting task. You’re saying how can I deprogram and reprogram my 25 students, and then all the students in the school, and then all the students in Ontario. It’s a very daunting task because every other message they are getting, whether from parents, from policy makers, from the design and architecture of the school’s evaluation system itself, is telling something opposite. So you’re going up against really ferocious headwinds. The way I look at this is you’ve got to start small. Try to reach one or two kids. If you can do that, that is progress – you’ve made a difference in one or two kids’ lives. Try to reach one or two parents. Find one or two fellow educators who are with you and you have a little alliance and that’s how institutions change. That’s how society changes. We all want to be able to say “Whoa! Here we go – we’re going to change it all.” And it doesn’t work that way. It’s slow and it’s one by one. What keeps teachers going is the opportunity to affect one or two kids and to have those kids be better human beings because of their presence

To Be Continued . . .

carrots + sticks < love, “Click” change and Teacher / Learner by Libby Levi for opensource.com

You can follow Daniel (DP), James (JC) and Jodie (JN) on Twitter

@danpink, @cowpernius and @iteachELL

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The three of us sat in the lounge at 12 am and solved all of educations current reform problems over a decaf and a bottle of red. Been there? At a conference surrounded by people that looked nothing like you but came together driven by a common motivation or search for inspiration? Recently in Atlanta GA. I was in this space. Laura is an Latina-American Indian (as she self-identifies) instructional coach and Greg her African American teaching partner. We are more alike than different.

Laura asked about wine the same way I had asked her about fear and ego one year earlier, beside a tree, crying.

“Why do people smell it? What is the difference between red and white? What food does this wine go with?” I answered her questions with the knowledge that I was afforded from my wine drinking family and from the cultural community I was born and raised in. Being from a Canadian grape region helped. But none of those reasons were as expicit for explaining my privilege as the fact that I was white and born and raised in a predominantly white community. I watched Laura hold her glass of Grand Callia (Bodegas Callia Reserve 2006) by the bowl. I described the quality of the glasses we were holding and their ability to make the taste of the wine reach its potential. I told her to hold her glass by the stem so that her body temperature would not change the quality of the flavour. I felt terribly snooty doing this. She asked me to tell her everything. “The stem gives you perspective on colour, clarity, sugar content and nose, without the stem the wine changes by your observations instead of simply by it’s exposure to air. Fingers move faster on a warm bowl for example.” And then she stated.

“You are the first white person to tell me these things. You are the first white person I have asked. Knowing these things gives me access James, access I would not have otherwise. Holding the glass here is easier but I am only going to hold these glasses by the stem from now on.” Paulo calls these cultural norms the dominant syntax.**

Culturally (by societies’ standards) Laura and I are different all the way around. Spiritually we are the same. We ask each other questions and answer without any fear of judgement simply to learn about and from each other. I recall seeing this kind of interaction between my daughter and an African Canadian boy at daycare years ago. I watched and listened as they explored each others differences. They recognized and silently honoured one anothers’ skin and hair and eyes and then played with dolls.

There is a catch though. All the dolls looked like my daughter. Access.

This experience translated to the PLC table for me. I have been surfacing and challenging our teams’ assumptions and beliefs about education and access. It was early the next morning when I woke up and recorded a rough blog entry about how we must respect the time spent together at the PLC table and the role of access and culture. We must hold it by the stem I thought. Our cultural experience with discourse, discussion, argument must be fully understood for the full flavour and complexity of human interaction and learning to take place. As the leader, principal, coach, facilitator I can’t take the easier way out, try to control it all. I have to hold the glass by the stem instead of the bowl. I have to make sure others at the table hold it the same. If we do we stand to learn a great deal about each other and our work together.

I have been privileged my whole life. Privileged because of my skin. I am trying to replace the kind I have been born into with the incredible learning privilege I have been afforded by folks like Greg and Laura and certainly the staffs I have worked with. I have learned powerful lessons from Laura and Greg in just a few meetings over 2 1/2 years. Why? Because I am privileged to have met them by chance. Thank you friends. Keep holding your glass by the stem (unless there isn’t one).

(The Pedegogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire.)

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