Susan I agree Hope is a key factor…. as well as Passion… Enjoy this fantastic post created by my mentor.

Counsellor Talk : Creative Collaborative Connections


After listening to Will Richardson’s blackboard collaborate talk I had to reflect on what it is that I would really want my ideal school to look like. I believe this will be an ongoing reflection as I continue to engage in my own process of learning in this digital age.

I believe I am very fortunate to be working in a self- directed learning model. I love the way students learn at Bishop Carroll High School. This model has been in action for over forty–years and is fantastic, but still evolving.

As I really reflect on what it is I would like to see in a school, the school counsellor comes out in me as my first thought is a school filled with HOPE.

Do hope and technology go hand in hand? I believe they most certainly can.  This video I discovered after receiving a tweet demonstrates the importance…

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Modifying Our Learning Environments


On Thursday I was able to participate in a Blackboard Collaborate session with Will Richardson, regarding the disparity between traditional school systems and the skills that our students will need to be successful in the future.

This session reinforced for me the following key ideas.

A modern learning environment should be, self organized, authentic, connected, transparent, ubiquitous, networked, discovery based and authentic.

We need to be the Designers of our own learning…. No longer a passive activity.

Moving from Delivery to Discovery Learning

Focus on the Passion

New schools are networks not buildings.

The accessibility of the internet has helped to reduce the elitism of education. It is also forcing us to redefine what it means to be a teacher.

Kahn Academy= access= learn almost anything for free. Accessing info is a lot easier. The teacher can no longer be a dictator and expert – is economics and efficiency going to take over the role of teaching or mentoring our students?

Innovations such as Mine Craft, Harlem Shake and My Education Path
will impact how schools define “approved resources”

The following are links to schools I’ve learned about, which are currently breaking away from the traditional model of school systems. This is by no means a comprehensive list. I would love to hear about any other school you could recommend.

A.S Neill’s Summerhill School, Suffolk, England,,
a co-educational boarding school is the original alternative ‘free’ school. Founded in 1921, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world

Bishop Carroll High School
, Calgary Canada – this is the school where I currently work. Bishop Carroll has been running in Calgary for over 40 years. It is a self- directed school based on the Trump model. Bishop Carroll was the first school of it’s kind in Canada. It has been a model for schools across Canada and Australia. It was the founding member for the Canadian Coalition of Self Directed Learning (CCSDL) . The CCSDL holds a yearly conference in October to collaborate on ideas around promoting self direction.

Degreed is a free service that scores and validates your lifelong education from both accredited (i.e. Harvard) and non-accredited (i.e. iTunesU,, Khan Academy, etc.) sources.

Fitzroy Community School
Victoria, Australia FCS is an independent, alternative primary school. It has its own unique style of operation. Our school has a relaxed atmosphere and good outcomes at the same time. Children are keen on learning and keen on coming to school. The most common comment that visitors make is that it feels like an extended family. FCS was founded in 1976 by Philip O’Carroll and Faye Berryman in their home at 597 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy and still operates there.

Toronto Waldorf School,
Toronto, Canada. Waldorf School is part of an educational community of 2,500 schools and kindergartens that circle the globe. One of the largest and fastest growing educational approaches in the world, Waldorf schools have supported students in over 70 countries for over 90 years.

Quest University Canada is Canada’s first independent, not-for-profit, secular university. Quest offers only one degree, a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences, and focuses entirely on excellence in undergraduate education. It was founded in 2002 by former University of British Columbia president Dr. David Strangway.
It opened with a 73-student inaugural class on September 3, 2007. The only degree offered is a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (4-year program). Maximum 20 students in a class; average class size is 15. Courses scheduled on a “Block Plan” where students take one course at a time for three-and-a-half weeks. All small, interactive, seminar-style classes, in which faculty lead students through discussions and activities.

The following are also a few interesting reads:

Sweden’s Newest School System Has No Classrooms

The Future of Classrooms

Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere By Will Richardson

A Reflection on Digital Literacies and Me

Digital Literacy image

Does literacy = comfort level with communication? It depends on who you talk to.

Traditionally there are two definitions for literacy. The right side is more active.


There are also differing ideas on how we develop literacy



Digital literacy needs continuous maintenance. It is not just a leveling up experience (gold, silver and bronze users).
It is important that we do not view digital literacy as just one area but multiple facets: Digital literacies are PLURAL, SUBJECTIVE and highly CONTEXT –DEPENDENT @dajbelshaw

What are the Essential Elements needed for digital literacies?


This is how I see myself currently working to develop my digital literacies, during #etmooc.
Cultural = working in the context of the current culture.
I work with high school students and they are very much connected with their phones. Part of my cultural competence is to make myself familiar with apps, tweets, chats, meme’s and other areas which they will use to access information.
Cognitive = problem solving to be able to work with new technologies.
I demoed this during the digital story challenge when I worked with 14 new tools. Although each tool was different, as I moved through the challenge I found each new application easier to work with based on my previous experience and comfort with tinkering around.
Constructive = being able to use technology to create social action
For example Susan Spellman Cann and I noticed that there was not a general twitter forum for Canadian School Counsellors to connect so we developed #cscchat which was modeled on Dr Erin Mason’s #scchat for American counsellors.
Communication = a systematic awareness of how digital media is constructed.
For example learning to use RSS feeds, hash tags and scoop it to syndicate information on the web.
Confidence- your belief that you can solve and manage your own problems.
Since starting #etmooc I am less likely to call my tech up to my office to “fix” things. Remembering to use tools such the “help” function, or look up ideas on Youtube or Snapguide.
Creative the adoption of new technology requires teachers who are willing to take risks…. Allowing students freedom of choice for project formats is the key.
I experienced this with the pd session I co-facilitated with Susan Spellman Cann on Feb 1. We offered the counsellors in the session a variety of examples but then allowed them to take responsibility for their own learning… rather than prescribing the tools to learn.
Critical Thinking being aware of messages on the internet such as sources and context.
I reflected on this aspect a few weeks ago in a twitter chat with @susanvg and @jeanninestamand where I stated that I think that it’s important to teach kids about both giving and receiving constructive feedback. My favorite starter I teach my students is… an “I like (paired with an) I wonder” Susan also shared the following link with me for examples of other constructive criticism starters:

Blogging Comments

Civic- being able to use technology for everyday tasks such as employment opportunities, entertainment, education and learning more about what is going on around you.
I have developed this both through my Linked In account, RSS feeds, Huffington Post subscriptions, Following feed on Twitter etc..

I hope to continue to develop my various literacies as well as my reflective practice through the rest of #etmooc and beyond….


This post is based on T3S1 Digital Literacies with Dr. Doug Belshaw @dajbelshaw
Feb 18, 2013
• Slides from this session:
• About Doug:
• Contact
• Doug Belshaw (Mozilla Foundation) – Northumberland, England
• Doctoral thesis (and really interesting and entertaining read, I can attest):
• Doug’s Ted Talk:
• Mozilla Foundation blurb –
• Webmaker (from Mozilla) –
• Towards a Web Literacy Standard:
• Web Literacy White Paper:
• The digital natives debate: A critical review of the evidence’ (2008):

First impressions for topic 3 Digital Literacy – Information, Memes & Attention

Well time to move past my digital story challenge and begin to refine my focus to digital literacy. Phase 1, I checked out wikipedia for a general overview of the new literacies:
What are new literacies?
I realized that this was about more than just recognizing the words on the page.
I found that the following two videos helped me to visualize the evolution of communication, which helps me to understand how my students may be gaining knowledge today.

The value of making connections in an online environmoent

As we move into this new version of learning, I feel that it is our responsibility as educators to make sure that our students are not only comfortable with technology, but that they are also practicing responsible digital citizenship. As I am a relatively new member of the online community I will be using the following resources to help me mentor my students to become responsible digital citizens.

Educational Techonology and Mobile Learning

!0 Must Have Resources to Teach Students about Copyright and Fair Use

I am looking forward to exploring this topic further over the next two weeks. As my impressions mature I hope to be able to blog about my new ideas.