Thank You

We wanted to reiterate how thankful we are to everyone for helping to make #connectedca 2013 a success. We were somewhat worried about what would happen to the community when we doubled the attendance. It seemed to have the same spirit, energy and togetherness as last year. Neil Stephenson predicted it best, that with this group of people all we would need is space and time. The group would carry the rest.

Thank you to OSI , Office Solutions Inc.for their tech support ahead of, and during, the weekend. The water bottles were a big hit and likely saved us from recycling over a thousand plastic bottles. Several lucky people walked away with prizes thanks to OSI as well. We look forward to your continued support of our school and continued support of the ConnectED Conference.

Thank you to Aerohive Networks for donating the extra access points for the conference. We had 1280 devices on the network simultaneously on Friday May 24 and the network didn’t miss a beat.

The Calgary Regional Consortium played a huge role again this year by providing the registration and organizing the catering at the school during the event. We want to extend a special thank you to Shannon Whalen for her work and extra efforts this year. Christina Somerville was also instrumental in processing registration, especially those later ones. Follow the CRC on twitter https://twitter.com/crconsortium 

The Calgary Science School is a Research Partner school with the The University of Calgary and we appreciated their assistance in booking the Alberta Room for the Reception Friday evening.

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The weather was uncooperative on the Friday and the Calgary Science School sponsored buses to shuttle participants from the Mount Royal Residence and back again. Thank you to the principal Darrell Lonsberry and Superintendent Garry McKinnon for your support.

A huge thank you to the students and teachers of the Calgary Science School. We heard many times over the weekend that the students were incredible in their ability and willingness to share.

 

New News

ConnectEd Square LogoThe ConnectEd Schedule (posted May 23) is available now, with dates and times to come very soon. The Steering Committee is meeting May 2 to begin the process. With the excellent registration numbers this year, we have room for more discussions. Please add yours here.

Saturday morning Yoga has been added to the schedule of events. This will be held before breakfast on the Saturday and is donation based with proceeds going to Kiva.org Weather permitting, we will meet in the school field at 8am.

Bussing has been arranged from the Mount Royal Residence to the University of Calgary for the Friday night reception. Two buses will leave Mount Royal Residence at 5:45pm, with return buses schedule from the University of Calgary for 9:30pm.

We have also arranged for 2 buses for Sunday May 26 leaving from the Calgary Science School to the airport. These buses will leave the school at 2:30pm shortly after the final discussion block.

Please complete the Conference Preparation form at http://bit.ly/101giFh if you haven’t already. We are using this information for the bus booking and catering numbers.

Why ConnectEd Canada?

Connected Canada (#ConnectedCA) will be happening on May 24-26, 2013 at the Calgary Science School (you can register here).  This will be a conference that is significantly different from many that are being offered with a focus on creating connections and conversations on things happening in the world of education.  We really hope that people from around Canada (our friends outside of the country are more than welcome!) will join in on these conversations, and continue to build connections long after the conference.  There is also an opportunity to check out the classrooms of a very innovative school and bring ideas back to your own classrooms.  Here are some reasons why you should attend:

  1. Face-to-face is better – There are many great conversations that are happening through social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks on the Internet, but the chance to sit and talk to each other is something that we should always take advantage of when the opportunity arises.  Admittedly, a lot of learning happens at these types of conferences outside the sessions through informal conversation.
  2. You are part of the conversation – There are people from around Canada that are committed to sharing their work but we all know that no one is “smarter than the room”.  Conversations are meant to be interactive with participants also sharing their successes and struggles.  We can all learn from each other and the format of the conference is meant to take advantage of that idea.
  3. No expensive keynotes – Okay…so many people might not see this as an advantage, but we wanted to provide an opportunity for educators to learn from other practicing educators.  We did our best to keep this 3 day event as cheap as possible, treat participants great, and give a valuable, connected learning experience.  Keynotes can definitely be hit or miss so we wanted to keep the speaking to a minimal so that you are a part of the conversation! (See #2)  Not one person is being paid for this event; we are there to support education and educators in Canada.
  4. See classrooms in action! –  Often we hear of some great ideas that do not seem feasible in the classroom.  On the first day of the conference, participants will have the opportunity to visit classrooms and see innovative teaching and learning as it happens.  We are all better when we have the chance to learn with one another so we are hoping that seeing students and educators in action will spark some great conversations and learning for participants.
  5. It’s going to be fun! – This is the unspoken truth of many conferences.  The chance to learn from other educators is invaluable, but we also have to revel in the opportunities to get to know each other as people as well.  The chance to socialize with one another and take part in functions, tweetups, and more will help us to deepen in our relationships which are the foundation of our schools.  The chance to connect is so important and we plan to ensure that there is ample time and opportunity for this.
As we come into the final 8 weeks before the conference, we encourage you to register for this great event, and bring someone (at least one person, if not more!) who may not be “connected”.  The chance to see how social media can easily improve both online and offline relationships, facilitate deep conversations, and invigorate our passion for education and our students, is something that is amazing to see by those who do not see the value.  BRING A FRIEND!

We hope to see you in Calgary on May 24!

Spread the Word

Registration for the 2013 ConnectEd Canada Conference is open through the Calgary Regional Consortium: http://www.crcpd.ab.ca/programs/category/28#programs  Please spread the word and share with colleagues.

Discussion proposals are coming in and there is still room for more. We would like to have the list of topics for the sessions so we can begin to assemble the schedule in the new year. Submit your discussion topic here: http://bit.ly/QUsNkP   Submit your questions for the conversation or issues you wish to discuss, we will contact you in the new year for a more detailed description for the program. Topics submitted for this year include: Inquiry Based Teaching, Innovation and Creativity in the Classroom, Effective 1 to 1 initiatives, Re-Booting Empathy in schools, Project Based Learning and Collaborative Inquiry, Learning Commons and more. We are still looking for facilitators for the May 25-26 sessions. Please submit you ideas to the Google form:  http://bit.ly/QUsNkP

Our Friday May 24, 2013 reception venue has been booked and confirmed. We are co-hosting the event with the University of Calgary Education Faculty in the Alberta Room on campus.

We will also be looking for host schools for the 2014 ConnectEd Canada conference. If you are interested in hosting the event, please let us know. You can email dan.m@calgaryscienceschool.com or erin.c@calgaryscienceschool.com and it will find its way to the committee.

 

 

 

 

November 2012- 178 days and counting

from May 28, 2012 Let’s Do Something That Matters
I spent the weekend at the most amazing conference, the inaugural ConnectEd Canada (#ConnectEdCA) conference. I’d like to preface by saying that I am a conference type person. I love PD, I go to as many as possible and occasionally have to talk myself out of going to too many workshops and sessions.
I love learning and discovering new things and I love to talk about teaching and education.
This conference was different.
I learned so much and connected with so many people, I’m not sure if I can accurately reflect on the whole experience. I’m not sure if I’ve been able to process the whole experience yet!

The details are coming together for the second ConnectEd Conference. The discussion proposals that have been submitted so far have us very excited about round 2. We are looking for more proposals, please don’t leave it too late. We would rather have a tentative outline of a discussion now while we plot the schedule. We will be in contact with you for a more detailed description to print in the program early in the new year. The list of discussions from 2012 can be found at: http://connectedcanada.org/?page_id=74

We are close to having the Friday night reception venue secured and ready to announce. We also hope to have the Thursday TweetUp and Saturday social events posted on the conference schedule page shortly.

If you have any questions about registration or submitting a discussion proposal please contact our host school organizer Dan McWilliam of the Calgary Science School. dan.m@calgaryscienceschool.com

ConnectEd by the Numbers:

- 178 Days until ConnectEd Canada 2013
- 7 Days until Registration opens: http://www.crcpd.ab.ca
- 1 ongoing and supportive community of inspiring educators
- 300 attendance spots for you and your colleagues.

 

 

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dDdSWUhKc0VuN19Ga05ZUWZpVHU2RGc6MQ

2nd Annual ConnectEd Canada

ConnectEd Canada 2013 will be held May 24-26, 2013 at the Calgary Science School. The vision for the conference is “…more than just presentations, but conversations on how we can continue to move forward as educators. As we want to focus on keeping conference costs extremely low, it is imperative that YOU are ready to bring your best ideas and share them. The conference is totally participant driven and submissions for conversations is open now.” If you are interested in hosting one of the sessions please complete the Google Form.

Reflections on #connectedca 2012

Calgary Science School & #connectedca 2012
http://storify.com/kstef2/calgary-science-school-and-connectedca-2012

Fraser Heights Learning Designs
http://fhsslearn.blogspot.ca/2012/06/calgary-science-school-and-connected.html

David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts
http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/connect-ed-canada/
http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/inquiry-resources/

Let’s Do Something That Matters
http://mrsbing.blogspot.ca/2012/05/connectedca.html

It was That Good and We set the bar high for this year. Registration will open soon through the Calgary Regional Consortium website. Stay #connectedca on Twitter for updates and to keep the conversation going.

Keeping the Conversation Going #ConnectedCA

“Teachers in every province are sharing the same stories and struggles. Over the three days, through our formal and informal conversations the similarities and interest in networking were common threads. With so much common ground, culturally and practically, those of us who are connected leaders have an opportunity to grow a wider and richer national network of educators. A national PLN focused on the sharing of best practices that can support all of our Canadian teachers, schools and students.”  Brian Harrison

I’m feeling totally inspired.

After months of planning, Connected Canada has come and gone, yet it was probably one of the most amazing personal and professional experiences that I have ever had.  I am sure that personally the impact was not the same for most, but being one of the people who helped organize the conference (along with the amazing Erin Couillard and Neil Stephenson), it was amazing to see what came out of the few days.  To be honest, I was playing the role of host most of the time, so I was not able to get really in depth to some of the learning that was happening, but it was the collegiality that blew me away from educators across the country.  They supported one another, and although many of us are at different stages in our careers, that did not stop a conversation or people genuinely helping one another.  Although it was obvious that many provinces and areas were not represented, it was a start to something that hopefully will only continue to grow.

As I sit back and reflect on the successes of the weekend, I feel like our work is not completed, but it has only begun.  As I called out conference participants at the beginning of the three days that they need to keep the conversation going, I feel that I need to do my best to help facilitate those conversations and help create what John Seely Brown would refer to as a “spike” where we can all connect to get better at our profession.   The passion that was so abundant over the last few days from so many participants, has given me another boost to really do my part to help kids all over this country and the world.  But is continuing the conversation and really connecting with educators across the country something that is realistic?  I am reminded of the Will Smith quote (yeah, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) on being realistic:

“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”Will Smith

In the same video, Will Smith tells a story about his dad ripping down a brick wall and then having him and his brother rebuild it.  With all the hard work, he came to realize that if you focused solely on the “wall”, the work would become overwhelming, yet if you focus on laying each brick perfectly, soon you have a wall.  Did we just lay one of the bricks?

What I felt the most about the weekend was that this was a group of educators that wanted to make a difference.  By no means are they the only ones in education that want this, but that trait was abundantly evident at this conference.  That passion was infectious and it needs to spread.  By continuing to use things like the #ConnectedCA hashtag and connecting with one another, will we continue to build momentum to a better way of school?

What schools and education need to learn from things like Occupy Wallstreet is that if you want to create mass change, you have to make your movement public.  Keeping the conversations, problems and solutions confined to conversations in your school is something that we shouldn’t do anymore.  The conversations need to be open and the connections need to be strong.  Erin, Neil, and I talked over the last few days about our own accountability to what we just witnessed over the last few days.  We knew that if this was just another “conference” we probably have failed.  But if we can all use and continue to build upon the “wisdom of the room” and push each other to get better continuously we will have so much more.

If you are looking for the answer to education reform, it does not lie in any type of pedagogy or technology.  It lies within people.  People that want to make a difference in the lives of children.  People that know if schools need to get better, we as individuals need to get better.  As evidenced this weekend, this is not only educators, but it is also students, parents, and citizens who care about the future of our kids and know that improving school means improving so much more in our world.

As Jerry Maguire said, “Who’s coming with me?”