Getting Started with ‘All Hands on Deck’

allhandsondeckI just started reading “All Hands on Deck” by Brad Currie yesterday, and couldn’t help but jot some of my early thoughts down before I even finish reading it. I don’t usuallly think to split up a review/reflection on a book or anything like this, but to be honest, I got to page 7 and had to stop and think. I couldn’t believe how I thought ‘this is me!‘ every sentence on the first page.

Brad makes mention of some key points early on that I could relate to very easily. At first, I didn’t think there was an order to reading these books in the Corwin Connected Educator Series. Moving into the third book however, I’m happy now that I read Connected Leadership before this one, as it sets a clear stage for taking what’s possible, finding the right tools and making connections with staff, students, parents and communities with the tools available.

I’ll throw this out there now – not everyone is going to believe the Twitter thing; at first anyways. There has always been a stigma associated with social media being more of a toy. At the same time however, over the past few years it’s been evolving to be a go-to for educators and leaders worldwide, being ‘the’ avenue which people share, learn and communicate with people all over the world.

courtesy of www.freepik.com
courtesy of www.freepik.com

I truly do believe there is an amazing opportunity that not everyone is aware of, possible to do even at our fingertips on the go. I read this article over the weekend that, although referring back to April 2014, notes that educators dominate the Twittersphere. This provided me the reassurance that I (sometimes) need as I continue to share how Twitter and making connections can be such a powerful practice, whether we use it individually or as aa school system.

via www.pixabay.com
via www.pixabay.com

It has been a fun and eventful at times becoming more of a connected educator/leader, but I honestly have to say it has been even more fun seeing how I went from being a non-believer to someone who can’t go without Twitter!

I am looking forward to this read, and will share my thoughts on it once complete.

Your ‘Brightspace’ as a ‘One-Stop-Shop’

my-homeOver the past few years, we (eLCs) have been collaborating and sharing ideas, designing our ‘My Home’ landing pages to be that ‘one-stop-shop’, where students and staff can access and/or link to many external resources form within one area.

As I think back and take a look where ours is and what it could be, there is some serious potential here.

A lot of what you see is a result of a successful, collaborating network of people working across Ontario from Moosonee to Windsor. The fact that we all share ideas and resources with one another constantly via Skype, Hangouts, eCommunity and especially Google Drive is evidence alone that being connected is more powerful now than it ever has been.

With all of the materials that we have collected and made accessible through this network, the options are endless. Every board could have their own personalized look and feel to their own landing pages by accessing shared design ideas (there’s a shared folder for that!) and a variety of tools and integrations to add to their pages.

Homepage   Grade 6 7Am I completely satisfied with my landing page? No; then again, I’m always looking to improve my work constantly. The page that you see here was probably my vision more than a year ago. Sure, I may set goals that get shuffled around and prioritized as needed, but one thing I’ve learned is to at least set those goals. Eventually, when you get to them, it’s one more checkmark off of the endless to-do list!

As a teacher, I wouldn’t want a list of websites to have to send my students to. Simply bookmarking all of the sites needed would become overwhelming for students – let alone the teacher and students having to manage so many login credentials.

Thankfully, integrations through Brightspace such as Learn360 and Explore Learning (Gizmos) to name a couple, these integrations are huge features to praise when staff the potential of blending their teaching, and getting technology integrated into their lessons. This simplifies a lot of things, especially since all that they would essentially need is their Brightspace login information and they’re off to the races.

The nice thing about all of this? I think a lot of people have shared this same thought the powers that be, as more and more integrations are ‘in the works’ led by e-Learning Ontario. I’m looking forward to future integrations (piloting one right now!) and what lies ahead for the one-stop-shop model for our landing page (great, I’ll need to change it all over again! 🙂 )