Tag Archives: connect

What Did You Learn? Who Did You Learn it From?

Dean Shareski posed this question at #canedu14 on Friday.  Darren Kuropatwa demonstrated how we could “harvest” (@jennzia) that learning in a shared video (below).


At #edCampIsland the next day, I shared the video with a few people at the end of the day.  Immediately, they said wait, we need to do that too.

Luckily I had one of my go-go-gadget friends along (Andy Forgrave, @aforgrave) and I knew he would relish the opportunity to create the video.

I wasn’t wrong.  He put together this wonderful collection of our learning through our edCamp conversations.


Day 18: What Are We Trying To Do Here, Anyway?

Here is the writing that I published on the “30 Days of Learning” Project on the #OSSEMOOC website (ossemooc.wordpress.com).


Written and shared by Donna Miller Fry

If you are like me, you sometimes hook on to ideas and run with them.

The excitement, the possibilities, it all pulls you in and you just go with it.

But those around you may not be entirely sure of what it is that you are trying to do.  Being able to clearly communicate, at a level where everyone understands your thinking, is an important component to effecting change.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present the #OSSEMOOC concept to a group of interested people.  Luckily, before my presentation, a colleague worked with me to help me distill the concept down to its key components, in a language that was meaningful to educators at all levels.

As we begin to work on our next projects in response to user requests and feedback, I think it is a good time to take a step…

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Stories of Open Sharing – And Why It Is Important

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Alan Levine (@cogdog) is a champion of open storytelling.

I followed Alan for years on Twitter before finally meeting him in person first in Terrace Bay (video below) and then again at Unplug*d12.

He asked me for our story about the time Commander Hadfield tweeted me to say that up in the ISS, he had watched the video my students helped create.  You can read the story here, but the full version, including the connections that led to the connections that led to the event, is told below.

Alan’s version can be found here.

I hope this inspires people to open their practice and put learning for all at the centre of everything they do.

Alan Levine, thanks for pushing me to do better, all the time.

Dean Shareski, thanks for modelling open and connected in all you do.

How I met the cogdog!

What Am I Doing Here?

It’s the first morning of #OTRK12. 

There are over 80 workshops for educators to attend over the next 2 days, and some of those presenters are waking up this morning and asking themselves, “What am I doing here?”.

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Presenting can be scary.  It can be intimidating.  We, as educators, can be evaluative. We all want to do well.  It’s our culture.


What are you doing here?

You are modelling best practice.  You are sharing your learning.

You are enabling others to learn.

You are connecting learners.  You are enriching lives. You are demonstrating courage.

You are walking the talk. You are Leading Learning.


What are the rest of us doing here?

We are here creating a culture of learning – a place where it is safe to share, where sharing is valued, and where the people with the courage to share are encouraged and applauded for putting themselves in that vulnerable position for our benefit.

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We are nurturing all learners.

Congratulations, and thank you, to every single educator who has stepped forward today and tomorrow to share learning with the rest of us.

Image credits:

Fear –the Italian voice via Compfight cc

Courage – DimitraTzanos via Compfight cc


Focus on Beginners: What do you Need to Start Connecting?


As we have travelled throughout the province this week, we have heard loud and clear that we need an easier entry point for our education leaders to start the connecting process.

Last Tuesday, connected leaders met to discuss how they became connected leaders – the catalyst that got them started.  Here are some of the things we learned.  Which of these do you need?  Which of these can you bring to a leader you know to help them connect?

1. TIME!  When can we possibly find the time to connect?


Educators are busy.  Nobody disputes that!  But could connecting actually make your life easier?  YES IT CAN!  You can pose a question on Twitter 24/7 and get an answer in minutes.  We have heard many stories with this theme.

Learn to make time.  Start with 15 minutes each day.  Some of us do “Tea and Twitter”,  some of us start…

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Bringing Back Joy

Blogging is important.

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From Dean Shareski’s Presentation at #SeLNO13

Because I strongly believe this, I often wonder what it takes to get people writing and sharing their thinking.

It’s easy to put “blogging” at the end of the “to do” list.

Dean Shareski made me think about this a lot recently when he showed up in Thunder Bay and asked us why JOY was not at the centre of the work we do with kids.

Reflecting on my own writing, I realized that the JOY had gone out of sharing my learning and writing my blog.  And when it isn’t fun for me, it is even less fun for my readers.

From Dean Shareski, Presentation to #SeLNO13, November 2013

As I was struggling with how to put some fun into blogging,  there was Dean again, and Brian Harrison, with a new MEME. This one is a blogging challenge to bring some fun and silliness back into sharing and writing.

Dean: “And besides, it’s just a good excuse to write which is never a bad thing.”

So here I am, biting on the challenge, with the hopes of reminding myself why we blog, read, share, think, and start conversations.

So thank you Lee Kolbert, Dean Shareski, and Brian Harrison, all bloggers I learn so much from. You model such excellent collaborative practices, and you are catalysts to get the rest of us sharing again.

The challenge: (from Lee Kolbert) (Read here for Dean Shareski’s response)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger. 
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself. 
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. 
  4. List 11 bloggers. 
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you. 

So here we go!

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger. 

Principal-extraordinaire Brian Harrison

2. Share 11 random facts about yourself. 

Eleven Random Facts About Donna Miller Fry:

1. I *detest* Chicken Caesar Salad.

2. Ben Wicks drew me into one of his comics.  Really.

3. My life was once completely focused on Mysis relicta.

4. I have visited every province and territory in Canada.

5. I can’t sing.  At all.

6. My favourite American State is Oregon.  By far.

7. I am fascinated by ice.  And wild blueberries.

8. My beagle, Basso, jumps into bed with us at 4 a.m. every morning. Like clockwork.

9. I am going to be an artist when I grow up.

10.  I have a serious, incurable addiction to espresso.

11.  Life is too short for bad coffee.

3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

My Questions for You Are…

  1. Who is your favourite superhero? Spiderman, hands down.  It’s all you need to know about why spider silk is so strong.
  2. What is the most interesting place you have visited? The northwest coast of Newfoundland – Gros Morne to Saint Anthony.
  3. IOS or Android? Family of 4: 4 MacBook Pros, 4 iPads, 5 iPods, 4 iPhones, Apple TV.  Um…. 
  4. Would you rather be a hammer or a nail-Why? Hammer.  I could never be a nail.
  5. What was your first part time job? Clerk at the local pharmacy.  I was 13 and called in because they were short staffed.  It was on the job training and I stayed for five years!
  6. Left on a desert island, what 3 books do you take with you? Any of these:

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 12.31.33 PM7. When do you usually write your blog posts? Life is a blog post. They are always swirling.

8. Pizza- thin crust or regular? Thin.  No question.

9. What was the topic of your first blog post?  Hmmm, good question.  Here is the first one from my last blog, the oldest I can find online: Ringing In the New Year With New Ideas. It’s about what we learn when we connect with people outside our immediate field of interest, and how this can move our thinking and learning forward.

10. Did you ever own an 8-Track cassette? No, but my father did.  We listened to it whenever we went “up the road” to the trapline.  I can still hear his favourites: “Big John, big bad John”.

11. Lennon or McCartney? McCartney, though I want to say Lennon

4. List 11 bloggers. (I have chosen *northern* bloggers – all Canadians, mainly from Ontario and Manitoba. Be sure to visit them!)

1. Clarence Fisher @glassbeed

2. Brandon Grasley @bgrasley

3. David Jaremy @davidjaremy

4. Sheila Stewart @sheilaspeaking

5. Darren Kuropatwa @dkuropatwa

6. Jenni Scott-Marciski @jmarciski

7. George Siemens @gsiemens

8. Julie Balen @jacbalen

9. Stacey Wallwin @wallwins

10. Rob Fisher @RobCFisher

11. Lindy Henderson @hendylou

5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you. 

Okay, northern bloggers, I have some questions for you:

(with a caution from Lee KolbertIn response to a FB post about this meme,Dan Callahan made a really good point. He said, “This seems like a plot to get the bloggers of the world to answer most of their potential credit card/iTunes security questions.” While that is certainly not the intent, (as always) be careful about what you post online. )

1. What was the first “subject area” you studied after leaving high school?

2. If you could cook anything, what would you cook for supper tonight?

3. What makes you stop and pause during your day?

4. Cats or Dogs?

5. If you could have only one Pinterest Board, what would the topic be?

6. What was the catalyst that got you blogging in the first place?

7. What is one (funny) childhood misconception that you had, or that you have experienced with a young child? (for example, we lived near Manilla, Ontario during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. My 5-year-old daughter watched the news and thought it was right near our house!)

8. What was your favourite summer job?

9. Where do you find flow?

10. What was one personal challenge you faced in 2013?

11. What are YOU passionate about?

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from Dean Shareski, #SeLNO13
from Dean Shareski, #SeLNO13

Have fun with this! Share, play, learn, connect.

Let’s keep it going in 2014.

Merry Christmas, PLN!

Some other “players”: