Monthly Archives: November 2013

Speed Geeking

It’s the next evolution of PD for teachers here in the Peel District School Board It was the second #peel21st north Edtech Network meeting held at HBSS.  This session would take on the well known format known as ‘speed dating’ used by many singles seeking companionship or someone to spend a little time with but with a Peel Tech Twist…which is to geekify.  Out fabulous team of ITRT’s (Intstructional Technology Resource Teacher) led by Tina Zita has prepared an excellent schedule of sessions for the coming school year.

These meetings are not only a great way to share and gather information about what is happening around our board but a chance to connect with those who are trying to do just as many other teachers are which is integrating technology into their teaching and learning practices.

The a focus was the topic of BYOD “Bringing Your Own Device”.  Our school board recently “approved a $7 million investment in technology for Peel students that will ensure our schools are increasingly connected and relevant in the 21st Century” with its focus on WiFi infrastructure for all schools.  The result has been a push towards opening the teaching-learning environment to the personal devices many students own.

I was given the opportunity to share my experience with BYOD at the intermediate (Gr. 7 and 8) level.  The primary question asked by the groups during this session was “what does BYOD look like in Grade 7 and 8?”  My response has evolved greatly since the beginning of this school year.  My vision that I shared was, devices out and available at all times, ready to perform. This year however, BYOD has taken on a much different look.  I have far fewer students who bring more than their iPod or smartphones and while there is a use for these devices there are far greater limitations to their usage.  I also shared that I feel that BYOD has been plagued by actions of a few during the previous school year and during the first part of this school year.  And of course this is where the discussion continued.   One group asked the questions, “Have you experienced any issues?”  Whether it was connectivity, to the inability to access device app stores and of course what they were probably trying to get at, bullying/inappropriate use, I was able to share that yes, I have experienced it all.  But of course this allowed me to share that as with any new initiative it is important to lay the groundwork (build a strong sense of Digital Citizenship and an appropriate use policy) for all groups who will participate or face an uphill battle to fix what has been broken.  

Before I knew it the session was over, there was a sense that everyone wanted more, who wouldn’t.  It was a laid back environment where learning was happening at its own pace and in its own direction.  And everyone was able to take just what they wanted away, back to their own school and classroom where they could add it to their arsenal of technology knowledge and tools.  Have questions about my experiences with BYOD at the Intermediate level, feel free to comment, tweet @_PhilYoung or contact me via email @  And you can always check out the BYOD video shot at Treeline Public School a couple years back. 

Until the next session

Can I Panic Now? setting the right tone in the classroom


There’s a pedagogical chestnut from years past that insists that a teacher should not crack a smile until Christmas. For the most part, given what we know today about effective teaching, this advice is wrong to the point of ridiculous. However, what is interesting about this tip is that embedded in its foundation is the idea that the tone a teacher sets in class at the beginning of the school year determines the classroom dynamic for the reminder of the semester.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.

As so often happens in smaller, composite schools, a teacher may be a classroom teacher as well as a service/support teacher, such as a guidance counsellor, teacher-librarian, or resource teacher. I’ve done this in the past, and I have to say that time management is much more of a challenge when you are engaged in one position that overlaps…

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Digital Citizenship: A Parent Perspective

Great to see the perspective from outside the walls of a school.

~ Mark's Musings ~

Within the context of  Connected Educator’s  month, October 21-25 is digital citizenship week. After recording an earlier Google Hangout session on the topic of  Digital Citizenship  with staff, I thought it would be interesting to record a second hangout to gain a parent perspective on this topic.

Earlier today, I was joined by  Susan Parr, a parent from our school board community and  Chris Vollum, a social media consultant and parent to share some conversation on this topic.  If the notions of  online safety, openness, academic honesty, integrity and social success capture your interest, then this conversation is for you.

Many thanks to Susan and Chris for sharing their time and interest in supporting this important topic.  Until next time …


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It’s “Mo”Time…

For the last few years since I realized  that I was able to grow facial hair, I considered participating in Movember but there was always an excuse why I couldn’t participate.  Well this year is different, at school I have challenged my students to learn about those things that interest them most in a project called #genius where students are doing everything from testing the aerodynamics of pop bottle rockets to creating and marketing their own candy.  I thought amongst many others ideas that my pet project would be my moustache and the I would work towards fundraising for men’s health by participating in Movember for my very first time and why not support the cause.

The statistics say,

•    1 in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and 1 in 28 will die of it.
•    A man dies from prostate cancer every 22 minutes.
•    In 2013, 23,600 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and 3,900 men will die of prostate cancer.
•    Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men.
•    The incidence rates are nearly double in African Canadian men.
•    If detected and treated early, there is a 95 percent survival rate associated with prostate cancer.

So the journey begins,

Day one was easy, I can shave, I’ve done it before many of times. My wedding, family photos, when I wake up and feel like I have the energy too.  The result was a baby soft face that I had not seen in more than a year.

Baby face

Day two, three, four and five have past.  Have not had the urge to shave yet.  The itching they say sets in during the first few days, not even a challenge.  I mean, I typically shave once or twice a week, I am use to the two or three days on initial growth.

Day six on, what will become of my moustache?  So far I’ve got a light fuzz, what for years I expected to be the maximum of my abilities to grow facial hair.  I however, have come to realize that I am capable of much more.

Support ‘Mo’cause… @

Style, yet to be determine, what do you think?

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