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JON BRADNAM
What an engaging workshop! The two morning sessions that I attended were full of vibrant ideas on topics I knew very little about.

In the first session, I attended a workshop on Comic Life & Bitstrips. Both of these tools are ones that I would use with my class. With Bitstrips, students can feel free to create comics integrating other characters from their class, or ones that they generate on their own. Because it is web based, students can easily work on their Bitstrips creations at home without having to worry about software. Comic Life is a more powerful tool that is a bit more extensive than Bitstrips, but requires software to be installed. I saw Comic Life used in my last block, and the students were highly engaged in these activities. I will definitely use one or both of these tools in the future as they help teach the comic from of language, voice, and are engaging for the students.


The second workshop I attended was a very advanced level workshop on digital prototyping. I was a bit overwhelmed as it was myself and four high-school tech teachers in the workshop, but the information was very interesting. We learned about new programs such as AutoDesk, which allow students to create digital prototypes of their creations and test out the variables that affect it before creating it physically. This saves a lot of time and money as the final physical prototypes would be created digitally first. Any design flaws or errors would be noticed in the program without a prototype needing to be destroyed. Although I will likely never need to use such a program, it was fascinating to see the technology being demonstrated, and to know that there is a lot that goes into the design process, even for simple things like wheels.
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Rachel Graf
Learning With the World - Connecting Globally Using 21st Century Technology (Mali Bickley / FrontRow)

This session encouraged teachers to engage their students by using Global Collaborative Projects. They showed examples of students' projects, interactions and collaborations between Canadian students and students from such countries as Korea, Australia, the United States, Afghanistan and many more. They focused on the website www.iearn.org where teachers can go to find hundreds of collaborative projects to interact with students in many different countries. They focused on a project about a book called The Bat-Chen Diaries which is a diary written by a girl in Jerusalem who was killed by a terrorist bombing. Through this project students are able to create their own diary entries and publish them online. The presenter's class even had the chance to video conference with Bat-Chen's mother. Another project that was introduced is called Rock Our World and a Mac computer is needed for it. In this project a piece of music is created by layering pieces that are created in many different countries all over the world. For example, the students in Canada could sing part of the lyrics and students in Korea could add in a drum beat. When the song was completed all the students were involved in making a music video. The great thing about these projects is that they have many curriculum connections. On the other hand, the tools and materials needed for them, such as Mac computers and video conferencing tools, can be very expensive.

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Natalie Deruysscher
Learning With the World - Connecting Globally Using 21st Century Technology (Mali Bickley)

This workshop session focused on using web 2.0 tools to create global learning communities in the classroom. Mali Bickley is an experienced elementary teacher who was extremely passionate about global learning projects by IEARN. She outline a few of the projects her own grade 5 "dream team" classes have created with other classes across the globe, including Bat-Chen Diaries, My Hero, Rock our World, and One Dream. Bickley stressed the possibilities with using web 2.0 tools, which allows students to create and publish information online. By including global projects, students become engaged in their learning, their learning becomes meaningful as they develop leadership in online communities.
I particularly was interested in the Bat-Chen Diaries projects, where students read the diary of a young Jewish girl living in Jerusalem who was killed by a terrorist bombing. Students are asked to write their own diary entries and collaborate with other classes around the globe which are doing the same to publish a collection of dairy entries online. Bickley highlighted how engaged her students were to have their own work publish to be read with the rest of the world. Through this project, students also began to realize the similarities among children's concerns and wishes around the world. Personally, I believe this is the central reason for include global education learning, such as this in your classroom, as students develop empathy with other cultures around the world. Bickley's concluding remarks were start small and dream big!


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Melissa Walker
Workshop Attended: Learning with the world: connecting globally using 21st century technology
“The illiterate of the 21st century won’t be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
My favourite workshop was learning with the world: connecting globally using 21st century technology. This session was so inspiring. At the beginning of the presentation we were introduced to the Front Row Amplification System. However, the main tools highlighted were information and communication technologies for example, web conferencing technology. It motivated me to want to engage in Global Collaborative Projects in the future with my own class. The presenter described many inspirational projects she had participated in using real examples and videos. My favourite project was a novel study on a book called “The Bat-Chen diaries” which was about a girl who was killed. Students all over the world would write journal entries about their feelings throughout reading. Students were even able to web conference with Bat Chens mother. This is something the students will never forget!
I chose this workshop because I believe creating a global classroom is really important for creating respectful, empathetic learners. I also believe it creates a more meaningful way of learning and therefore engages students and motivates them to succeed.
This workshop was very fascinating to me. I learned many great meaningful curriculum based project ideas that can be incorporated into many of my classrooms in the future to engage and support student achievement. For those of you who did not attend this workshop, a great resource and way to get involved in global projects is
www.iearn.org !!!

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Vanessa Dionne
Workshop Attended:
Learning with the World: Connecting Globally using 21st Century Technology


The workshop focused on collaborative learning applications and tools through the use of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 allows anyone from all over the world that has access to the Internet to publish their works online – you no longer need to have the computational HTML skills. Collaborative learning projects found on iEARN proved to be a hit among her students. An example of her literacy program was the Bat-Chen diaries in which the students read the diaries of a young girl who has killed by a terrorist bombing. While reading these diaries, students created their own diaries and then published their works online.

I selected this presentation as I am interested in incorporating global education into the classroom. I believe that learning should be meaningful and relevant to students’ lives. Global education shows the interconnectedness of the world and how even one person can make a difference. I would absolutely adapt some of the collaborative learning applications that were discussed in this workshop such as having students publish their work online. I believe students now would feel a sense of ownership over their work when they see their writing online. Using technology in the classroom is vital as we are now living in a technology savvy world. The majority of students are frequently using computers and the internet. By allowing students to bring these interests and strengths into the classroom, they may become more engaged in the learning activity. Video conferencing was another tool that was used frequently in the presenter’s classroom. Students were able to video conference with one of their idols as well as a former child soldier from Sierra Leone. These experiences would be something that students would be able to be actively involved in while they are learning about the components of interviewing.

The technology presented in this workshop was personally fascinating as I hope to be able to make this much of a difference in my future classroom. I am an individual who loves volunteering and being involved in community events. When I was in high school, I had 3 very meaningful experiences which will stay with me forever. I hope to be able to be one of those teachers that students will remember as someone who was involved with helping them to make a difference and be a part of something meaningful to them.



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Kelly Bartok
Workshop Attended: Make Your Lessons POP with BrainPOP!

I attended the BrainPOP workshop and found it to be very valuable. We were introduced to many free videos and resources for teachers to use, and were also shown the many videos, resources, and activities that can be accessed with a membership to BrainPOP. Memberships are very pricy, but with the right technology in the classroom (i.e. computer and LCD projector), there are many valuable learning opportunities for the students. It is a very child friendly website, especially since they hire a couple of teachers to monitor the website, and answer any questions and suggestions that students might have for BrainPOP. The presenter said that he models how to use the website, and throughout the year, gives more reign to his students, and they will choose educational videos that they are interested in and share with the class. BrainPOP is also creating a Ontario Curriculum connection with their videos and activities. It is still in progress, however once complete, a teacher can search the grade and expectation, and see what is connected that they can use in their classroom. As well, BrainPOP has created a site for ESL students, and French students.
I chose this presentation because I had previously learned about BrainPOP in a previous technology class. It was something I remembered I thought might be useful when I am teaching, however never looked into it any further. After attending, although I will not purchase a membership, I am definitely going to use the free videos, activities and resources. The teacher that presented this to us was very passionate about it, as his whole school uses BrainPOP, and the presentation was very interesting and authentic.

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Danielle Anderson

Workshop Attended: Learning with the world: connecting globally using 21st century technology

This was the first workshop I attended, and I loved it. The beginning of the session focused on the use of the Front Row Amplification System. This system can be used by any teacher in order to project their voice throughout the classroom. The device is also used for children with special needs, such as loss of hearing and ADHD. This system helps students focus on the lesson, and assists in eliminating many other noise distractions. The workshop continued on with the suggestion of WEB 2.0 tools for global connections in the classroom. Mali Brickley, and experienced teacher, focused her presentation on a variety of information and communication technologies which allow students to create, explore and share information with others in their classroom, community and around the world. The activities are mainly constructed through the organization IEARN (www.iearn.org ). The activities she had her students participate in were video-conferencing, pod casts, blogs and music making. She mentioned many activities she has had her students performing on web 2.0; however the task that caught my eye was Rock Our World. This activity is promoted by Will Smith, which makes it that much more exciting and interesting. The students were given the task to lay down a particular beat with drums, symbols, vocals etc. However, if they did one item for the song, they would pass it off to another school in another part of the world to add the next section. When the song was complete it had been worked on by ten or eleven other schools. I think that this type of assignment would be interesting to students, because they are working together with people all over the world to create something that is unique, but is also something they can call their own. This activity did a wonderful job in bringing the global to the local or visa versa.
I firmly believe in integrating global issues into the classroom, and technology is a great resource to have at our finger tips. Students can participate in an abundance of technological activities or create a variety of learning tools. I like the idea of video-conferencing with soldiers in Afghanistan, famous authors or humanitarians. This brings a real-world view into the classroom, and peaks student interest. Furthermore, Mali stressed the idea of having students create blogs or podcasts based on curriculum expectations. These types of tasks are interesting for students, because they thrive in the virtual world. As an educator I hope in infuse technology into my classroom in any way possible!


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Adriana Pascoli
Workshop Attended: Smart Board
Wow! I think throughout this entire presentation my jaw was opened from shock and amazement. I have heard about smart boards before this workshop, I had watched a quick presentation on them a while back, and I had the opportunity to see one in the classroom (though I didn’t get to use it). Everything I find out about the smart board makes me think of the endless possibilities a teacher could have within a classroom if they had access to one. This presentation by far taught me the most about how, why, and when a smart board can be used within the classroom. I learned about the cost of a smart board, the history, how it is made, where it originated and how it was originally created as a gaming tool. The best part about the presentation was the resource website we were given that contains lesson plans and units that have been created specifically for a smart board. On this network not only can you get lesson that are compatible with a smart board but it is a place for educators to log on for smart board help, instructions, and where you can upload any lessons you have created to share with everyone. The smart board has so many features I wasn’t even aware of and I know that there is much more still to discover. For example, I did not know that you could scan anything and upload it onto the smart board (like a text book or novel the class is reading). Example 2. The presenter demonstrated how you could teach a math lesson on angles. He first pulled up graph paper, then a shape of his choice, formed the shape to make the desired angle, then pulled up a protractor and measured it. This was amazing how everything was right there, overlapping each other perfectly for an amazing lesson. We also practiced using the controllers or ‘clickers’ to answer a multiple choice quiz. I can’t wait to get one!



Heather Vandahl
Assistive Technology

This was a great workshop. The presentation reviewed popular assistive technology that is used with students who have special needs. The presenter was from the Peel School Board, however I have seen the technology used in the Niagara District School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board. Some of the tools that the presenter reviewed included speech recognition software that allowed students to use word processing programs with out having the fine motor skills to type. These word processing programs allowed students to include pictures and add colour. The presenter also spoke about switches that allowed students to make choices by pressing their head against a sensor on the head rest of their wheel chair. It was great being able to see how technology can assist students with special needs and provide them with the support to achieve higher expectations in class.

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Georgia Napthine
Working with Garage Band

Wow! Great workshops! This was such an inspiring experience to see all the different ways that students can interact with technology. The first session that I attended at the Technology Showcase event in Hamilton was “Learning to use Garage Band”. Garage Band is a musical based program that runs on Mac computers. Using this program students are able to experiment with different sounds and melodies. They can create their own music with pre-recorded sound clips of virtually every instrument. These sound clips can be altered in pase and tone. Students can also record their own vocal sounds with the use of a microphone or instrument sounds by plugging electric guitars or keyboards into the computer. This program was amazing to work with and very inspiring. I would love to use it with my students.
The major problem I found with this workshop was that there was no prior indication that the program was only relevant if you have apple computers in the classroom. This program is not compatible with PCs although PCs represent the majority of computers currently found in school. Because of this aspect of the workshop, it came of slightly like a sales pitch in which the speaker was trying to convert computer users from PCs to Mac. Although I am a Mac user and found the workshop very interesting, I spoke with several teachers who found the workshop impractical and wished they had attended a different one.

Still, this was an eye-opening showcase and I really enjoyed it!



Nicki Dunham
Using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom and BrainPop!

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This was the brainpop instructor. I did enjoy this workshop and as many of you may know, there are many great lessons and videos you can use from this website. The workshop that I would like to discuss is on using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. I found it shocking when the presenter had told us that she uses twitter with her grade 1 students. Yes, Grade 1! The grade 1 students in her classroom are "tweeting" per se. The parents are on board. The teacher has established her own account where her students are able to log in and tweet. It is a great way to get your students to think critically about what to write, practice their writing skills and spelling, read what they have wrote, and reflect on their thought process. It is critical to clarify rules with your students before allowing them to use these tools. Examples include using initials, no full names should be used, no personal information should be given out to anyone, and to define the responsibilities while using these tools.
Another great way to use technology in the classroom as many of you may know are blogs. Blogs are a great way to communicate information to your students as well as to parents. The presenter had showed us one of her colleagues blog where she updates it on a regular basis. She also showed us with the use of a smart board and Skype where the teacher and her class were able to connect to other people from around the world. They were able to talk to students in Halifax, Sault. St. Marie, and Australia to discuss about what they were learning in the classroom. At one point, they connected to a teacher from another city where he actually taught the students a math lesson (from the other side of the screen). The students were completely engaged. The teacher wasn't even in the classroom with the students, yet he was teaching them a lesson through a smart board and Skype. This workshop has really inspired me to use technology in the classroom.



Lindsay Ard
Building Futures: Laying the Foundation of Effective Instruction in Literacy

With our moving in date as January 29th I was unable to attend the Technology Workshop. Therefore, with the permission of Candace Figg I will complete my wiki post on the Building Futures Workshop. The literacy workshop emphasized the importance of literacy in our live and in the live of our students. The workshop allowed us to reflect on our reading, writing, and oral communication abilities and how these abilities have assist us throughout our education. It has reminded me that literacy encompasses a variety of skills that allow us to function in society. With this reminder I understand that without developing literacy skills students will struggle with everyday tasks. With the literacy initiatives their core priority is to reach every student to enhance their literacy abilities, to reduce the gaps in student education, and to increase students' confidence in public through the development of their literacy skills.
This workshop complemented the concepts that have been taught throughout our teachers education and extended these concepts through our participation in literacy activities. From this workshop I have learned that literacy development in students is key to students success and I am looking forward to continuing my professional development through participating in more literacy workshops.