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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Technology is a wonderful tool that can connect us

This is my 10th year serving as an elementary principal, and I learn something new every single day. Sometimes I learn through my own mistakes, and other times I learn by listening, observing, or connecting with others.

At Thanksgiving Day weekend (October 6-15), my wife and I took some time off work and traveled to Sweden and Iceland to be with our daughters. My oldest daughter, Alisha, is attending Jonkoping University in Sweden through U of Windsor studying nursing for a semester while my youngest, Candice, is at Brock University in St. Catharines studying Concurrent Education. This was my first time to Europe at 53 years old on the day we were leaving.

Using technology is very important part of organizing my life and is part of my lifestyle.  Even with our busy schedules, the planning and booking of our trip to Sweden and Iceland was easily done as we are able to communicate with other through various forms of media. All of the places we visited and functions we attended we were able to pre-book and/or co-ordinate last minute with various apps.

With Google Maps outlining transportation routes and pick up and drop off times--no asks for directions anymore. Even with the language barrier, I found myself using Google Translator to understand what I was looking for. Currency converters are fantastic when determining how much you want to spend. Most of the people I observed had some a phone for taking pictures and video. While having something to eat we would Airdrop our pictures to each other and share them with our family and friends on social media.

Keeping a charge on your phone is a task and/skill as you are always looking for an outlet. Having a convertor is essential outside of North America and also to carry a portable one is definitely a good idea as nothing is worse than having your device run out of power. In addition, a luxury that was taken for granted is having access to the Internet 24 for 7. Even though I purchased a travel plan, I found myself looking for connectivity when in remote areas. Not sure why I was so driven to share on social media what I was experiencing, but turning on roaming was a costly mistake.

Most of my communication is done when I get up in the morning. I still found myself connected to staff and was able to get a good sense of their immediate needs and keep a pulse on the building. On the hand, my communication back to them and loss sense of 6 hours difference in time may have interrupted their sleep and had those questioning my sense of relaxation?

Technology is a wonderful tool that can connect us in so many important ways. We just have to be careful that we do not allow it to disconnect us from those who matter most. As an educator, I’ve found that the most transformative aspect of technology is its ability to bring people and ideas together. It can have the opposite effect if we’re not careful.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Process, Process, Process

Setting direction of your school is what most of us due at the beginning of the new school.   Reviewing EQAO scores, report marks, familiarizing staff with your SIP (School Improvement Plan) can be an undertaking. With the learning foundations that are involved take time to meet those learning conditions that are met. How we get there through a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end is the Process.

As educators we need to concentrate on the middle where the learning takes place. When we focus on the learner oriented vs. performance oriented we will see outcomes later with greater success. Not only do students learn, but as educators we learn with them and leaving the impact on the work with others.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Over 500 Principals and Vice-Principals from the province took time out of their summer vacation and attended Technology-Enabled Learning & Leading Institute 2017. It is great to see so many dedicated educators learning two weeks before the return to school.

The main speaker of the event was Jennifer Casa Todd @JCasaTodd. As she shared with us her book Social LEADia: Going Deeper with School Social Media Accounts. Many of her comments resonated with me in my attempt as an educator to promote 21st Century Learning.

This is my fourth summer institute and the movement of educators using Social Media to enhance learning in their schools has grown significantly. Almost of the group as of today vs. about 20% of the group at that time are now using a Social Media platform.

Moving from DigitalCitizenship to Digital Leadership must be modeled through educators. I have met many great educators that use Social Media on-line and in person: George Couros @gcouros, Dr. Alex Couros @courosa, Dr. Brad Gustafason @GustafsonBrad, Lisa Anne-Floyd @lisaannefloyd, and Brian Aspinall @mraspinall. Their abilities to share learning and the opportunities for professional learning using Social Media is tremendous.

Promoting Digital Citizenship happens 24/7 as it improves the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others. As educators we need to share and promote with our students what are appropriate responses, videos, and ideas.

Interacting with our communities on what is happening in our schools should be in real time; making it current and transparent. Either through Facebook, Twitter, and/or Remind, the sharing of video newsletters, live calendars, or sending out information is essential to informing our parents. Being positive, empowering voice, creating a digital footprint, and giving credit when sharing ideas of others is a step in the right direction toward Digital Leadership.