Category Archives: #OneWordONT


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Back in August, Carlo Fusco invited me to speak on his podcast about my education passions, and the things that were keeping me up at night.

(The podcast can be found here)

In the podcast, I quickly outline my concern about the gap between what I see happening in schools, and what we need to learn to thrive in 2017 and beyond in the digital economy.

However, it was later in 2016 that I listened to Audrey Watters and Kin Lane in the Tech Gypsies Podcast, when they talked about each and every one of us being responsible to learn the things we must learn to make sense of the world, and to make good decisions.

The entire podcast is worth your time, and I highly recommend listening to it regularly.  If you only have a few minutes, begin around 35:00 (36:45 if you are really short on time, and Caution: Language can be explicit at times)

We need a more digitally literate society.  There are so many examples of why this is true, and I will be exploring those further this week.

Fullan's 6 C's don't require technologyEven when we consider the thinking around 21st Century Learning, and the 6 C’s (or 4 C’s) that we so readily accept, we are missing the part where digital literacies are critical to making good decisions for ourselves and for our children.

Throughout 2016, I worked to craft careful messages to influence others about the importance of digital literacies.

In 2017, rather than a focus on trying to convince others that digital literacies are important, I am committed to providing an open structure where others can learn more about technology with me.

I am convinced that in this world where facts are difficult to find, each and every one of us needs to find our voice and lead learning that will ensure that our connections are creating positive change in our world.

My focus word for 2017 is


[rhymes with seed, feed, need]

This spoken word piece, written and performed by Chinaka Hodge at TEDWomen 2016, pushes all of us to find the leader inside ourselves.

Enabling Educators to be Learners: 1/10

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!


How can we enable our colleagues to access the rich professional learning opportunities available online?


We want to own our own learning.

We want to self-direct our learning.

In 2016, it has never been easier to do this.  The abundance of open, accessible resources is overwhelming.  Learning to manage and organize the information is a new competency.  Learning to reflect, to share, to find, to converse, to connect, to adapt – we are doing this.

Or are we?

We all know colleagues who don’t participate in learning in digital spaces.

For those who provide learning opportunities online, the sphere of influence has a definite, distinct boundary.  They cannot reach the individual who does not engage in digital spaces.

Online teachers struggle to help students who refuse to log into the course.Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.07.59 AM

In the same way, it doesn’t matter how rich, how engaging, how simple to use or how valuable online learning is for educators  if they don’t know where to look for it or how to use the tools that will allow them to access it.

I think that we have done very well in providing digital resources and learning opportunities for teachers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 8.02.57 AM
Thanks to Julie Balen for collating this year’s #ontwordont

How, now, can we work to enable the educators who still do not access the rich professional learning environment online?

As someone who self-directs their own professional learning online, how can you help one colleague this month to see some value in engaging in online learning or using online resources?

Leverage your PLN to ask for help.  What is the best starting point for one colleague? What can you show them that will help them see the value in engaging in online, self-directed professional learning?



Twitter for Absolute Beginners

Leveraging Twitter for Rich Professional Learning

Ontario Edublogs

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.48.31 PM


#OneWordONT – 2015 and 2016

My #OneWordONT for 2015 was COURAGE.

I checked in here at the halfway point in the year to reflect on how well I was ‘living by the word’ in the first 6 months of 2015.  Courage has been a tough one.  The ‘other side’ of courage can be challenging to manage.

By far the most courageous thing I did was in October, at #IgniteYYZ

Dean Shareski asked us to do an IGNITE presentation on something we are curious about.Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.34.52 PM

I’m really curious about how our education system continues to ignore what kids do in digital spaces.  In particular, I wonder about the impact  that ubiquitous access to violent, degrading pornography is having on our young people.

In the lead up to the event, I chickened out and changed topics three times, but deep down I knew that I had to be courageous and address the issue of how horrendously young women are treated in our schools, colleges and universities, and one of the reasons why this is happening.

I have written about the topic of pornography and youth here, and I have posted the reading slides from the IGNITE below.

Thank you to those who came out to support all of the presenters that evening, and especially to those who continue to draw attention to the impact of pornography on the health of our youth long after the event.


For 2016, my #onewordONT is


We are living in times of exponential change.

Gone are the days when leading professional learning meant hours of preparing content to deliver.  Leading learning is now about organizing your resources so that you can meet the needs of your learners as they arise.

For example, no longer do my colleague Kirsten and I walk into a workshop with a ready-to-go PowerPoint.  Instead, we do our best to anticipate learner needs, we prepare multiple resources that can be used in numerous situations, and then we meet individual learner needs on the spot.

Professionally, we also need to be agile to take advantage of opportunities in a quickly changing world.

What is our elevator pitch?  Can we express what we do in 140 characters or less?

Are we constantly rethinking, revising, re-aligning our strategies and our work with how the world changes?

Are the structures we rely on agile enough to allow us to take advantage of the best opportunities for our students?

How do we manage the constant flow of information?  How do we create meaning and share it?

Do we allow our beliefs to change based on the availability of new data?

Agility on a personal level is also a priority.  Am I fit enough, healthy enough, strong enough to fully participate in all that life has to offer?

I look forward to learning with everyone in my PLN as we explore and share our #OneWordONT focus throughout 2016.

Happy New Year!

What’s your #OneWordOnt? Be sure to share it on Twitter using the hashtag.