Sunday 5 May 2019

Another Day another EdTech conference! #ECOOCamp 2019

I left Connect, went home and pick up the fam and headed to Owen Sound for #ECOOCamp 2019.

The boys are at the pool and at the Owen Sound library's Mini ComiCon this morning while I am learning with friends from the BWDSB and beyond.

The day began with Peter Skillen who spoke directly to my heart.  From pedagogy, to tools, to learning, to bias, Peter's experience runs as deep as his passion, and his down to earth delivery was perfect.

I also attended a session by Leslie Boerkamp (@lboerkamp) and Nicole Batte (@nicbatte) and it was all about my favourite things - extensions. They introduced me to a couple of new ones including:

Convert Google Docs to Gmail drafts - you can write and format an email in Google Docs and, with a click of a button, you can convert the Doc into a GMail email!  (It is all explained in the company's blog post)

Momentum - Replace new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring to-do, weather, and inspiration.

All the extensions they shared can be found in their slide deck.

Thanks to Peter McAsh who invited me to speak.  It was a great day!

Friday 3 May 2019

Google Data Studio with Richard Swandel and Jason Rodger

Richard and Jason took us through a quick look at the Google Data Studio and here I am...

This blog post will not do the tool justice as I was too busy playing to really capture as I learned...but here is what I have to say.

Google Data Studio is a powerhouse of a tool that helps you visualize data.  It is a monster of a tool but basically, we played around with some NHL statistics to create a report that looks like this:

In many ways, it is easier than manipulating data in a Sheet - no need for functions.  But grab some data and start playing around.  You can use their slide deck for info to play with and see a little of what the tool offers.

The New NFB

The National Film Board has a bunch of new and coming soon features that were highlighted in this presentation.

Campus is a collection of 5,200 documentaries, animated films, interactive productions, and short films in English and French.  It allows you to create playlists and chapters to show parts of films. 

Playlists on Indigenous Voices are also included and, coming soon is, the Learning Lodge.  Geared toward gr. 9-12, this collection will help raise awareness around Indigenous issues and stories.

Ocean School - knowledge and tools to understand our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us.  It includes

NFB Media School is also coming soon and it will offer workshops, master classes and more.

Check out a ton of new features on the NFB blog.

Badging with GSuite with Tanya Harris (for Melanie Mulcaster)

Note:  Tanya was filling in for Melanie Mulcaster who could not attend - so reach out to Melanie with questions!

The slide deck included some great videos including:

My pal Kim Pollishuke (#ShukesAndGiff) created this badge in a few minutes for our colleague Jeff who rocked the karaoke stage a few nights ago.

Cathryn Wake, a teacher from Ottawa Catholic DSB shared how her school uses digital badging to track learning skills.

You can access the slide deck for all the resources.

Cool Things I learned from Amber Mac

Amber Mac was the Friday keynote at Connect and her focus was on AI.  She shared some fascinating information...and some very cool apps like:

She also, near the beginning offered this advice:
And reminds us to:

Thursday 2 May 2019

Apps with Jessi Lalonde

Jessi (@jessilalonde) took us through an A-Z look at apps we can use in Education.  It was fast paced and full of great info!  Jessi brought everything back to great pedagogical uses.  Some cool tips I took away

  • Her first slide was full of Scrabble tiles (see above) - each one was linked to the slide with the apps for that letter - VERY cute idea.
  • Save your favourite Bitmojis in Google Keep
  • Use Apple Clips to add closed captioning to videos - great for accessibility.
  • DriveTunes - a new extension to me - DriveTunes allows you to play .mp3 and .m4a audio files right from Google Drive.
  • She talked about ways to help student with executive functioning disorders keep organized with Google Keep - totally going home to do this with my son!
  • 57 North - a choose your own adventure app for your MergeCube.
  • Make challenges for students to become Chrome Kings - experts in areas of Chrome (or any app for that matter!)
See Jessi's slide deck at:

Inspiring Mini Makers with Robin Holtie

I am always looking for ways to include making in the classroom.  I think the learning is so rich when learners (young and old) get dirty (metaphorically and sometimes literally).

I really enjoyed listening to Robin Holtie (@MrHoltie).  He offered some really fresh and fun ideas on making (mostly in intermediate).  From using Micro:Bits to create a Harry Potter style Sorting Hat to a Self - Contained Mars Space Station to support the reading of Weir's The Martian to Makedos in math, he offered some great ideas I had not heard before.

He also introduced me to Destination Imagination - program "that teaches "21st century" skills and STEM principles to kindergarten through university level students through collaborative problem-solving challenges."  It is a 9-month program, it is $105 to register and about $7 per student for the competition (going to finals means going to the US so prices increase there).  Totally something to check out for class or as an after school club.

You can find inspiration in Robin's Slide Deck.

Also, I sat beside my friend Laura Collins who is such an inspiration to me when it comes to coding and making (esp with littles) who told me about Klever Kutters to use when cutting cardboard.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

ARVR with Mistene Clapp

A few weeks ago I called out on Twitter asking people about AR/VR apps in the classroom.  I got some great recommendations. (I am still working on my listicle - promise!)

Coming to connect I really wanted to learn more in person.  Mistene Clapp gave a great presentation showcasing many apps for AR/VR in the classroom.  A few to check out include:

  • Quiver - colouring that comes to life
  • 3D Bear - AR app worth checking out
  • Curiscope Virtual-Tee - a t-shirt that lets you learn about the human body on a human body.
  • MergeCube - Dozens of kid-safe apps for AR gaming, learning and creativity 
  • Object viewer - use the Merge Cube to show 3D printed before you print!
  • Jigspace - Jig Workshop is the tool to create and share interactive, 3D knowledge for anything. 
Want more?  Check out: Mistene's slide deck

CanConnected - Mad Learn - BYOApp

Session #1 is with Ms Kimberly - a rep from @madlearn (

According to its website, "MAD-learn's relevant and engaging Mobile App Development program allows every K-12 student to create an app from beginning to end by empowering 21st Century technology literacy. Using the design thinking process, MAD-learn prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s careers by exposing them to all aspects of product development: ideation, planning, design, creation, testing, and launch. These vital and transferable skills are critical to today’s global technological economy."

Basically, it is a flash app.  The interface is quite user-friendly. You see a preview of the app in the middle, and the input works much like a word processor.  Overall it is quite robust.

They also have curriculum resources - although it was unclear if they were aligned with the Ontario curriculum or only Common Core standards.

Despite all this, I am not sure it is something I would use long term. The price point is high - $5000USD per building (no mention of the maximum number of students), $1750USD for a class for 30 students and $1300USD for an after-school group (no mention of the number of students).

You can get a 15-day free trial if you want to try it for yourself...and you can check out the app in the Google Play Store or the iTunes Store.

CanConnectED - My ISTE prep

About a month ago I was accepted as an emerging Edublogger for ISTE 2019!  This means that I will have a media pass and access to the conference with a chance to document what I am learning.

I have found ISTE to be overwhelming (understatement) and pulled in so many directions.  My plan is to do learning in the expo hall and in the playgrounds and document while I go.  The blogs will be microblogs - short little tidbits of sharing..longer than Tweets, shorter than I normally write.

Over the next few days, I am at the Connect 2019 conference so I am going to practice prepared for a bunch of blogs! So....