May 2015 archive

Connecting to Clouds

flickr photo by william couch shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

flickr photo by william couch shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

From what can be described at times as disjointed, social, convenient, studious, informal, applied, and visual, one might conclude that my learning style is far from traditional. Anything that helps me make sense of my learning is a good thing. When I came across connectivism in our readings, I couldn’t help but make connections to the way I learn and think.

A Quick Refresher on Connectivism:

Connectivism is a learning theory that stems from the work of George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Thier concept of learning pits the individual seeking knowledge “outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database)” through connections (both virtual and real world). This knowledge is characterised by its ever changing or “nebulous” nature which can be typical of information in today’s society. As a result, they considered the access to knowledge more important than the knowledge itself. Or according to Siemens that “the pipe is more important than the content within the pipe.”



Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.12.24 PM

Check out this screenshot from my Twitter account. See anything relevant? The sheer amount of “favoriting” I’m doing reinforces this idea. I’ll know how to access this information when I need it. There’s no need to have it in my functional memory.


Anyway, listen to Siemens break the concept down a bit more here:


My interest in it…


To date, much has been written about adopting a connectivist approach to tertiary study. For my digital essay, I’m looking to explore ways this could be incorporated more frequently in the secondary school setting.


I get excited by theories that place learning squarely at the feet of the individual. The principles of connectivism outlined by Siemens directly relate to what I want to encourage students in my classroom to be able to do. Modern learners should connect with others and information databases in order to further their understandings and be able to critically evaluate information.

I have wholehearted concerns about students’ privacy, digital citizenship and the levels of digital literacy required for this adoption, but just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean we should stray away from it.

As we grow more and more connected, it will be vital for our students to understand these connections as feel confident that they can use them to their advantage.

flickr photo by mikecogh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

flickr photo by mikecogh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license


elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved May 18, 2015, from

Off the Beaten Track

It seems as though I’m always reading things that have to do with technology improvements that benefit the classroom. Scrolling down my Twitter feed you’ll find tweets that highlight 5 Chrome apps that rock, or the always enjoyable ‘10 of the best’ extension that will make you a better teacher. I’m learning some nifty tricks and things that I’ll definitely apply in my classroom but it’s refreshing to take a step away from tech PD and hear something else for a change…

Today at school we had the opportunity to hear from Brendan Spillane. Among his notable achievements, he is an internationally accredited Executive Coach and works with a range of leaders from business, education and elite sports. He’s also a former principal… His workshop with us posed the question: How can we be true to ourselves and each other to ensure a high performance culture exists within our own teams?

Better talk for better organisations from EDtalks on Vimeo.


Here are my takeaways from this:

    • The idea of the campfire. It’s a powerful metaphor for a safe place to have conversations. This was part of Brendan’s overarching call for the need to have a high degree of trust in your organisation and structures in place that maintain that. When you’re put in a position where you have to have a hard discussion with a colleague or parent, the campfire setting can be created with your posture, energy, stance etc. that will enable feelings of safety and security.
    • I’ve been hearing this one a lot from all angles so it’s gotta be important: He reinforced the importance of reflective time. He said ”a high performing person’s mind grabs all the information it can and makes personal sense of it”. (Definitely motivation for this blog post!) I don’t think I’ve been giving my students an opportunity to do this enough…
    • Pathways to high performing organisations consist of high levels of: trust, quality conflict, engagement, peer accountability, teamwork and results. If put to them, how would our students rate these factors in our classrooms?
    • “Your intentions are not your impact”. Be honest with yourself about what you achieve in the classroom
    • He also challenged us to think about where we find our joy in our lives.




Pull up a chair from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Any presenter that can leave you searching for answers and reflecting on a full day’s PD late into the night is one you don’t want to miss.

Contact him here: