“Great technology will never replace poor teaching”

“One thing is clear, technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology will never replace poor teaching”  This statement is the last sentence from The OECD Blog Education and Skills Today, September 26 2016, Educating for Innovation and Innovation in Education by Andreas Schleicher. 

Also these statements:

“But far more importantly, even where computers are used in classrooms, their impact on student learning outcomes is mixed at best. Students who use computers moderately at school tend to have somewhat better learning outcomes than students who use computers rarely. But students who use computers very frequently at school do a lot worse in most learning outcomes. Imagine that, the more intensively students use computers at school, the less digital literate they seem to be, even after accounting for social background and student demographics.”

“But we also need to become much better at using technology to support new pedagogies that focus on learners as active participants with tools for inquiry-based pedagogies and collaborative workspaces. Technology is our best bet to enhance experiential learning, foster project-based and inquiry-based pedagogies, facilitate hands-on activities and cooperative learning, deliver formative real-time assessment and support learning and teaching communities. And there are plenty of good examples around, such as remote and virtual labs, highly interactive courseware that builds on state-of-the-art instructional design, sophisticated software for experimentation and simulation, social media and serious games.”

It is less about the having of the fancy hardware, and more about the teaching and the learning. Check it out! Rowan

[BTW: the red is  mine]

September 29, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Teaching poetry? Checkout Poetry in Voice website

If you haven’t seen it, check out the Poetry in Voice – it is  Canadian.  Note that you have to register to receive full access to resources. Watch videos of students performing in the competition, review lesson plans, follow a writing workshop, browse a poetry anthology.

From website in ‘About’ : Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation.

We provide an online anthology of classic and contemporary poems and comprehensive teaching materials on our website, all free of cost. We also run a nation-wide student recitation competition, where we award over $75,000 in travel and prizes annually.



September 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Technological trends driving change in schools

Check this out! Interesting  report  – boring title. Read the selections below from the executive summary

Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

From page 1:  Note the colour highlighting is mine

Trends: The experts agreed on two long-term trends: redesigning learning spaces to accommodate more immersive, hands-on activities, as well as rethinking how schools work in order to keep pace with the demands of the 21st century workforce and equip students with future-focused skills. In the short-term, the rise of coding as a literacy emerged as a new trend this year.

Challenges: Regarding the challenges for schools, creating more authentic learning opportunities and reconfiguring the roles of teachers is considered solvable….  the experts identified the task of bridging the achievement gap as a wicked challenge — one that is seemingly impossible to define let alone solve. Even in the face of increasingly advanced technologies and quality learning materials, not every demographic has the same level of access, and learning outcomes are still unequal throughout the world.

Almost there: In view of the trends and challenges observed, the panel also signalled the important developments in technology that could support these drivers of innovation and change. Makerspaces and online learning are both expected to be widely adopted by schools in one year’s time or less to encourage students to take ownership of their education by creating and provide them with ubiquitous access to digital tools, discussion forums, rich media, and more. The time-to adoption for robotics and virtual reality are estimated within two to three years, while artificial intelligence and wearable technology are expected to be mainstream in schools within four to five years.


September 28, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Educational leadership related to PLCs in schools

OECD has released #15 (Sept, 2016 /15)in the Teaching in Focus series titled School Leadership for Developing Professional Learning Communities. 

Selected from page 1:   “Professional learning communities refer to the structural and recurrent actions that aim to encourage dialogue and collaboration between teachers in order to improve their practices. Five indicators were used in TALIS 2013 to capture this concept: 1) teacher engagement in reflective dialogue; 2) deprivatised practice  [Deprivatised practice” refers to teachers observing other teachers’ classes, with the goal of providing feedback on their teaching] ; 3) shared sense of purpose; 4) collaborative activity; and 5) a collective focus on learning.

The OECD study conceptualises school leadership as being comprised of two domains:

  1. 1. Instructional leadership: the set of practices related to the improvement of teaching and learning.
  2. 2. Distributed leadership: the set of practices related to the ability of principals to incorporate different stakeholders in school decision-making processes.”

From page 4:  “The School Leadership for Learning report shows that educational leadership is clearly related to the development of professional learning communities in schools at all educational levels. It is especially related to the engagement of teachers in reflective dialogue and teacher co-operation. However, there is still room for improvement and some indicators of instructional and distributed leadership need further development cross-nationally. A possible method of enhancing instructional leadership is through training for principals that focuses on this area. By encouraging principals to take notice of developments in their field through in-service training or attendance of leadership courses and professional development activities, awareness of their role as a school leader can be fostered.”

Read the related blog, here, by Montserrat Gomendio.

Check it out! Rowan

September 27, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Classroom use of YA books with bullying theme may promote empathy in school

The Canadian Journal of Education has released its latest issue (2016, 39:3). One of the articles written by J.Hughes (UOIT)  and J.L Laffier (UOIT)  is titled Portrayals of Bullying in Young Adult Literature: Considerations for Schools.

Selected from the abstract, page 1:   “In this article, the authors examine how bullying is portrayed in three recent young adult novels, focusing specifically on whether the information about bullying is accurate, biased, or represents old myths in comparison to current research. The authors conduct a systematic analysis of the following four themes: (1) What is bullying? (2) Who are the bullies? (3) Who are the victims? (4) Who are the bystanders and what role do they play? They conclude by arguing for the inclusion of young adult fiction that deals with sensitive issues as a way to promote awareness, empathy, and social change to empower youth in school settings.”

Selected from page 5: “The three young adult novels selected for the purposes of this article were Bystander by James Preller (2009), The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen (2012), and The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale (2013). In our classroom-based research with students, we have also used Wonder by R. J. Palacio (2013), Freak by Marcella Pixley (2013), Schooled by Gordon Korman (2000), and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (2000). For teachers working with students in secondary school, we recommend Thirteen Reasons Why (Asher, 2007), Eleanor & Park (Rowell, 2013), By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead (Peters, 2009), Speak (Anderson, 1999), and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Quick, 2013).”

Selected from page 19:   “Through critical discussions of how bullying is presented in the books in comparison to the student’s real world experiences, students can take an active part in finding solutions to prevent bullying. This can empower students to be “agents of change” and promote an equitable and empathic school community. Using YA books that focus on bullying has the potential to create awareness about the issues and transforms the lives of students, not only the 64% of students who report being bullied, but the 72% who report witnessing bullying events at school (Stop a Bully, 2014).”

And the article comes an excellent resource list. Check it out! Rowan

September 26, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Word on the Street – this Sunday at Harbourfront (11am to 6pm)

Word on Street is this Sunday (September 25) at Harbourfront.  Check out the map of publishers & associations and the schedule of authors. It is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Check it out! Rowan



September 23, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Poet Laureate of Toronto invites poems from secondary students

The Poet Laureate of Toronto, Anne Michaels, is inviting secondary school students across TDSB to help create a city-wide poem in celebration of Canada’s Sesquicentennial. Through their teachers, students are invited to submit 10 lines of poetry celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.

Each school is asked to determine a selection process to choose their best fifteen stanzas for submission.  These 150 stanzas will form a single, city-wide poem to be read at a spectacular celebration at Toronto City Hall during the last week of April, 2017. The best 150 stanzas will form a single, city-wide poem to be published as a “poem in a box” where the stanzas will be able to be shuffled like a deck, and read in any order to symbolize equality and diversity.*  The “poem in a box” will be distributed to all Toronto public libraries – a wonderful way for these selected students to see their work published and distributed across Toronto. Each participating school will receive two copies of the “poem in a box” for their school library.

For further information please refer to the Letter to Secondary Administrators.  To submit please refer to the Submission Form.

*how cool an idea is this? Check it out! Rowan


September 22, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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