Helping Our Students Achieve Their Dreams!
(Photo Taken: Kim Meldrum, Walking the Road http://www.walkingtheroad.com/?m=1)

Well, what a year this has been!  Upon reflecting back from now to September I am proud of what we have accomplished.  I am proud of our Digital Citizenship Team dcp.lbpsb.qc.ca, I am proud of the partnership that Tanya Avrith, http://tanyaavrith.com/ and I have firmly established this year and I am especially proud of our roll out of Google!  We are the first school board in Quebec that will be fully Google by June 2015!   That is a whole lot of pride!

The year began with some stress as we were starting two new one to one Chromebook initiatives.  Boy, was that a learning curve!  I am not going to focus on that though as I have written it in a previous blog post. In the end the initiative has been a huge success and is growing through out our board.  The school year 2014-2015 will be very busy.  I am thankful to the teachers in the first year of the initiative for their patience and support and for their focus on using the technology as a tool to improve student engagement and learning.

The students at Beurling Academy who are in the one to one initiative have demonstrated significant learning through the use of the Chromebooks and GAFE.  Their teachers are enthusiastic about the students’ level of engagement and attention to task.  The teachers have commented to me about ,how wonderful it is not only to see the students’ engagement but as well the fact that they are completing assignments; something they were not great at previously!  On one of my visits to the language arts class I was blown away seeing the students engaged in writing on Drive and using the extension Read and Write to assist them.  They were working independently checking their grammar, listening to their writing to be read aloud to them through their earphones; helping them check for fluency and comprehension.  (As educators we need to constantly remember that oral language is the basis of reading so allowing students to hear back what they have written is key to improved writing.)

The students in this class have also had some challenges with reading so in selecting a novel study for them this year I wanted to find a story that would be engaging for grade seven students, would not be overwhelming in the amount of text, would be at a suitable reading level and would lend itself to having the students demonstrate their understanding through the use of technology.  Thanks to Twitter I received a recommendation for the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, by Brian Selznick.  When the student first glanced at the novel they were a little surprised by the number of pages, but when they saw that much of the novel is told through visuals they became more positive.  The teacher designed a number of teaching and learning opportunities for her students.  They culminated in the students borrowing some iPads from our department and making movie trailers with iMovie.  I was very impressed by their final products.  Check one out:  Hugo Cabret-grade 7 trailer

One of the highlights of the year was working with a dynamic company called Electric Pixelhttp://www.electricpixel.ca/ to redo our Digital Citizenship website DCP LBPSB.  It was a lot of work to design and then to organize all of the content, but it was all worthwhile.  Our site and resources are used regularly by many of our LBPSB teachers and support staff, as well as by people from far and wide.  Over the past few years our Digital Citizenship Program has grown from being all about teaching students how to be good digital citizens to focusing on both teaching students how to be good digital citizens while using the tools of technology to learn and to demonstrate their learning in creative and innovative ways.

Towards the end of the year Tanya Avrith, Holly Clark and I started working on developing professional resources for teachers in the area of Digital Portfolios.  It has been an engaging and enriching professional activity that I know we will continue working on for the next few months. Digital Portfolios as a vehicle for sharing, reflecting and curating students’ creations is extremely powerful.

I truly believe that the creation tools that are available through GAFE and other sites, the use of social media and the development of digital portfolios will inspire and motivate teachers to engage in reflection about their teaching practices thus helping them to learn how to develop teaching and learning opportunities that will allow students to demonstrate their learning in different and creative ways.  Students will be able to share their creations which will allow them to feel engaged, valued and to provide them with opportunities to engage in a world of learning, input, enthusiasm and networking!

The possibilities for amazing teaching and learning have never been better!

Originally Posted on http://kimmeldrum.blogspot.ca/2014/07/the-year-in-review-2013-2014.html