I have been very lucky to be part of some amazing PD over this past year. I won’t go through all the awesome things I have been a part of but will talk about a few. I sit on a committee in the Toronto District School Board call the Digital Lead Learners(DLL). I get to work with some awesome teachers on this committee such as Sandra Chow, Ray Mercer, Julie Millan, Andrew Schmitt, David Hann, Aaron Chan, Shaun Grant, Brandon Zoras (to name a few…there are so many more I know). These amazing educators have opened my eyes to some great PD this year. Through the DLL team we have done PD for schools on Google Apps. Because of this PD and thanks to Julie I applied to the Ontario Google Summit this year. What a truly amazing experience that was. I didn’t only get to present I also got to network and learn from some of the amazing Google Certified teachers I have only ever read and seen videos about. Also through the DLL team I was able to be a part of a DLL showcase in the TDSB where we got to share our best practices. I shared the LEGO WeDo I have been using throughout this year.
This brings me to another amazing team and PD I was lucky to be a part of! I am lucky enough this year to have met Vernon Kee who is truly an exceptional educator! He introduced me to the world of LEGO when he brought in his large amount of LEGO to my classroom this year. From there the STEM department has allowed me to borrow LEGO WeDo kits (thanks Julie Vandermeij). I have been lucky to use these LEGO WeDo with my students and then present not only in my board about them but in Canada at the CONNECT conference on how great it is to use LEGO and code it to move! I was very happy to be invited to the CONNECT conference and again see truly exceptional educators speak. If you ever get the chance to attend a CONNECT conference I highly recommend it. I not only learned from amazing presenters but also got to see some of the new tech that is out there as well. Definitely going to try some of the great things I learned about!
The best PD this year has been the event a bunch of DLLers came up with called Rethink the Box! My amazing partner in running Rethink the Box is Shaun Grant! Shaun and I met at the beginning of the year at a DLL meeting. One day Shaun and I were shopping to buy stuff for our classes at Creatron Inc and when looking around the store the idea of Rethink the Box came about. We then of course shared this idea with other amazing DLLers in our family (and a few outside the DLL community) and ended up December 23rd downtown putting together what goes inside Rethink the Box! Now what is Rethink the Box? It is a box with motors, buzzers, lights, gears, syringes and tubing, a battery pack and of course a box! Now what can you do with a box and all those items? That’s what Rethink the Box day was all about! We paired a team of students, a teacher and an engineer together gave them a problem (this year it was making an assistive device), had them listen to an awesome Keynote who creates assistive devices for students in TDSB. This year our awesome keynote was Dale Zimmerman at SunnyView PS! At the end of the day we even had judges and a banner for the top teams in their age group to win. It was truly an amazing event! Our team has already said this is the first annual Rethink the Box event! Here’s our website and storify of the event! http://rethinkthebox.weebly.com
I am very lucky to have been working with such dedicated, devoted and hardworking educators this year. I am looking forward to and planning next year’s PD. I am excited to see what conferences, events and board PD I can do. I am looking forward to learning from and meeting more amazing people from around the world and making my dreams of not only reading about these people but seeing them in person come true.