Monday, April 14, 2008

Pan Canadian Literacy Forum

For Darren's take on the events and what transpired please go and read his post Students Rock the Pan Canadian Literacy Forum.

As a teacher you live for these days. Three of my students were asked to participate at the Pan Canadian Literacy Forum Conference. Along with three of Darren’s Students and the two of us we were a panel on 21st century learning.

Going into this presentation I figured that there would be 5 or 6 people in the audience. Wow I was wrong. The room was paced with between 100 and 150 people and it was also broadcast on CC tv to the other provinces in Canada who were also holding this Conference.

The students were amazing. It was one of those... “this is why you teach moments”. The Panel started with a brief introduction from Cheryl Prokopanko from the department of Education talking about Literacy with ICT.

Then I got a chance to introduce what Darren and I do. My introduction was followed by my three students. Now is when I am starting to gush and my pride overflows.

Kate started to talk about collaboration and how we as a class have been working with another class down in Alabama. She did an excellent job telling the audience about the collaboration and the technology (voicethread and elluminate)used to get the job done. Kate explained the Geomonster project we did with the Challenger Middle School Students.

When she was over Karen got up to explain the power and role of E-portfolios. She explained the difference between the regular paper portfolio and the electronic kind. She was an excellent salesman for the use of these assessment tools in a k-12 classroom.

was my last student. He had the daunting task of explaining about the class blog and everything(scribeposts and growingposts) that goes into making it an artifact of the classes learning for the year. He explained the different uses of the blog and the assignments that make up being part of the classroom community. I was really impressed with how he explained the importance of commenting on each others posts.

Now what was really neat. Darren’s students got up next. Three amazing Grade 12 students. Coming to the end of their High School life. The opposite end of the spectrum from where my students were.

Chris talked about the role of the classroom blog. Similar to Angelo’s but in much greater detail and explained the role of community and the roloe of the blog in creating that community.

He was followed by Graeme that explained Darren”s Developing Expert Voices. Graeme explained how much work went into these projects and how proud students were of there finished pieces. He spent time explaining the rubric and how it was created jointly by the teacher and all of the students.

The last student, Mark, was able to convey to the audience the role of audience and the uses of some of the tools at the DMCI blogs. From Google Translator to cluster maps to askme. What a powerful performance.

That left Darren..... Always the passionate blogger and advocate for youth he talked about 3 inspiring people. Dave Eggers the Ted Prize winner, Ken Robinson and Velki .... a Finnish teacher. Darren explained Dave Eggers wish to have more mentors for students and the importance of being a mentor. His was was called Once upon a School.

Darren explained the role of Ken Robinson and his crusade to allow students to excel at creativity.

Finally Darren talked about the role of the teacher Jukka Sinivirta from Finland. He bows to his class everyday. When asked why he says that they are the future of Finland. Finland by the way has the best math test scores in the Western World.

It was then time for the audience to speak out. The questions started out slowly but then a few more people started to ask questions. Most were directed at the students and they handled them well. Darren has a recording of the event and we will put it to a slide show.

I hope the students will have a second chance to preform this set of presentations. There is talk that they might go and visit the Superintendent. It would be a fitting end to some fantastic work.

I am impressed with the quality of work and the effort put into this presentatio by the students। I loved seeing where these students will be in 4 years. Darren’s students did not have exposure to these tools and this pedagogy early in their Grade 8 life. I know technology will change but wow what these students will be able to accomplish in 4 years time will be quite something. Darren receives my first set of student bloggers next year. True he has had some of them in previous grades. But the first real batch of students taking Grade 12 Pre Cal and AP math will be there next year. Watch out for many special things to come out of Daniel McIntyre.

Here are the slide casts of the day. I will be uploading a flickr later today.

Introduction and Sargent Park Students

Darren's Students and his conclusion.

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