Monday, May 12, 2014

A Look Back at Connect 2014

Canada's largest educational technology conference, CONNECT,  was a huge success. On May 8th and 9th, educators, leaders, administration, companies and start-ups came together in Niagara falls to experience everything edtech. Over 1,500 attendees were able to experience new technologies on the exhibit floor and learn together during sessions and workshops. School boards and their CIO's from around the area attended, and I met attendees who came from as far as Saskatchewan, Nashville and the UK!

Around 100 education and industry leaders gathered together at the Can/Am event on Wednesday night to network and discuss the field of educational technology. From both sides of the border, those who gathered were able to begin to solve issues and share their own experiences with technology in their fields. Combining industry perspectives, with educator perspectives and start-up companies was truly the unique aspect of the whole CONNECT conference.

On Thursday, May 8th, the conference kicked off with the inspirational key note address from Dr. Michael Fullan surrounding the issues of Leadership, Technology, Pedagogy, and Deep Learning. He reinforced the idea that teachers need to be more than just facilitators of student learning but, act as activators in their classrooms. Deep learning should always be the focus for educators in the classroom. The rest of the day consisted of informative workshops, sessions and experiencing the exhibit floor, with over 800 booths.

I presented my Masters research at the CONNECT conference later that day. I was able to share with over 50 attendees what I have been working on all year during my MEd program. My presentation was entitled "Promoting 21st century learning iPad applications in the primary/junior literacy classroom". I shared the background research on the benefits of using mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom and the research behind the use of applications. The main goal of my presentation was to reinforce the idea that iPads and applications must be used effectively in the classroom to truly reach desired learning goals and the possibilities they encompass. I discussed the FREE applications I deemed truly 21st century - ones that completely redefined traditional practice, were engaging, aligned with curriculum and were multimodal, and the audit process I completed. I showed attendees sample lesson ideas for this applications and tips and tricks of iPad use, which is located in the handbook I have made. We were able to discuss barriers to iPad implementation and create strategies to overcome these.

For those interested, I have attached my slideshow for you to view. CLICK HERE to access a list of my top 5 applications and a few others are included in this presentation for your use! If you are interested in receiving a copy of my handbook presented, feel free to email me at and I can email you a copy once my final edits are completed!

 I was able to attend a special VIP reception at Niagara college in the evening and a special Karaoke night at Margaritaville! On Friday, the second day of the conference, I was able to attend a few sessions and continue to explore the large exhibit floor. The day ended with a unique chance for start-up companies to participate in a Dragon's Den styled pitch to a panel of leaders from the Niagara Region and Microsoft. They had 5 minuets to pitch their product to them and received feedback and suggestions from the panel. The audience was able to vote using clickers from Turning Technologies and Learning Bird was decided as the best presentation. The winner recieved their own booth at next years conference!


If you did not have a chance to attend CONNECT this year, I strongly suggest it as one of your conference destinations for 2015. Congratulations to the organizers who worked so hard over the last few months to prepare for this event. Thank you to those who attended my presentation and I was happy to make some great new connections! See you all in 2015!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Connect 2014 Conference

Brock University, Niagara College, DSBN, NCDSB, Mindshare Learning and Compass for Success have partnered together to present, Connect 2014!

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting next week at the Connect Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. This is Canada's educational technology conference that connects educators, administrators and companies supporting technology and 21st century learning. On Thursday, May 8th, I will be presenting my Masters of Education research in the K-12 presentation stream. Check out the description below!

Look forward to a full review of the Connect 2014 conference! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Using Technology Effectively In The Classroom - The SAMR Model

I am currently in the final stages completing my research and stumbled upon an interesting model about technology integration and how teachers can use technology effectively. I thought I would share this model with all of you so you can put into your own practice as innovative educators.

The SAMR model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura and involves four stages that resemble the progression of teaching and learning with technology.

S Substitution
  • Technology is used to accomplish the same sorts of tasks that could be accomplished before the technology was integrated. 
A - Augmentation 
  • Technology is used to accomplish the same tasks completed before the use of technology, however the technology offers some sort of functional benefit over the traditional method before technology integration. 
In the stages, this is when the use of technology in the classroom "crosses the line" between using technology as an enhancement to lessons and moves towards the idea that the use of technology is transforming the lesson. 

M - Modification 
  • The technology allows for the lesson to be significantly redesigned compared to traditional tasks.
R - Redefinition 
  • The technology allows for the design of a lesson to contain completely new tasks that would be impossible without the use of the technology. 
This video describes the model in more detail. 

It is the goal of integration and implementation of technology to aim to use technology in ways that modify and redefine your lessons. Using technology in effective ways requires using it for your lessons in ways that transform your lessons into experiences that would have not been possible without it. 

In terms of iPad and iPad application use, this image demonstrates some applications that reach the higher level of technology integration use. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Top 5 Favourite FREE iPad Applications for Elementary Literacy Instruction

Today I had the chance to present my research findings in a Brock BEd language arts class. During this presentation to the teacher candidates, I showed them some tips and tricks to use iPads in the classroom, my favourite applications and some lesson ideas.

Through extensive application audits, I present to you my top 5 FREE literacy applications for the elementary classroom (Grades 1 to 4). These applications directly relate to Ontario curriculum standards, and promote the idea of the 21st century literacy learner.

1. coLAR Mix - Immersing students in an interactive 3D world with their own colouring.
2. Brain Pop Jr.  - Free resources for any subject and unit, including videos and quizzes.
3. Sock Puppets - Create your own sock puppet presentation by recording your own voice and selecting your own setting.
4. Jumbled Sentences - Learning sentence structure and punctuation in an interactive game form.
5. Toon Tastic - Create your own cartoon, focusing on parts of the story.

It's important to remember that not one single application will address all your learning goals or solve your problem. You might have to use multiple applications to fulfill your lesson! 

Thanks to Dr.Jennifer Rowsell who allowed me to guest lecture in her class and to share my findings.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We're in the Brock News!

On Friday, February 7th, my EdTech internship and experience at FETC made the Brock University news. After attending Brock for the past 6 years completing my various degrees, it was truly an honour to be featured. To see the article and my closest strike with fame so far, click here. 

Thanks to Dr. Camille Rutherford for submitting this article. I hope that many other aspiring teachers in the Faculty of Education read it and begin to think of the many educational opportunities outside of the classroom. Go EdTech! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

My FETC Experience

Jason Riberio and I. 
I had the pleasure of attending the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) this past week in Orlando, Florida. I was given this opportunity from Dr.Camille Rutherford, my edtech internship advisor and was happy to be able to represent Brock University at such a large conference. I travelled to FETC with Dr. Camille Rutherford, Kyle Tuck and Jason Riberio of Brock University. Also in attendance was William Zhou from the educational technology start-up company Vetica,  with who I am completing my edtech internship.

 FETC was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Not only did this trip give us all a slight break from the cold winter in Ontario, but it also gave us the opportunity to network with passionate edtech people from across the world.  I was thankful to get the chance to engage in edtech conversations with many people and learn about the different experiences they have had with technology in education.

 The conference offered numerous concurrent sessions for the attendees to go to and there was something of interest for everyone, no matter if you were a teacher, IT specialist, business owner or administration. I focused my attendance in these sessions on the theme of iPads in the classroom and technology leadership.  It was reinforced that it is not too late to become a technology leader within your school and to embrace the possibilities edtech has to offer! To go along with my research interests, I attended sessions that discussed iPad tips and tricks, deployment projects and popular iOS applications. The biggest take away from these sessions was that it is important that teachers understand that there is not necessarily one application that will answer all your questions or solve all your problems.  You might have to use more than one at a time in your instruction! Simple K12 outlined 40 top free applications in their session which was very beneficial for my research.

 The exhibit floor hosted over 1,500 booths of technology gadgets, programs, companies, publishers and start-ups. A little overwhelming at times, I was able to engage with many companies which have created applications I have included in my research (which was really neat!). I quickly realized there is SO MANY different areas of technology and numerous companies that support those. A few of the big names on the exhibit floor was Google, Lenovo, Samsung, Pearson, SMART and Edmono. I also attended TechShare Live, a presentation of the latest and greatest technology devices, gadgets and programs – drool!

The team from Brock University had the opportunity to connect with Canadians attending the conference at the O’Canada Tweet-Up hosted by MindShare Learning. Also, we attended different events hosted by Lightspeed Systems and Remind 101. Over the week at FETC, I learned some important information to take with me to shift our thinking when it comes to technology in the classroom. Devices, like the iPad, should not drive your instruction in the classroom, but support the learning of 21st century students.

Thanks again to Dr.Camille Rutherford and Brock University for sending me to FETC, I had a blast!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

EdTech Internship

It is a true honour to be chosen to participate in the 2014 EdTech Internship under the advisement of Dr. Camille Rutherford of Brock University. 

Click here to see the description and rationale behind my internship from Dr. Rutherford's blog. 

The internship has already taught me so much about the field of educational technology. In November, I had the opportunity to attend the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE) conference in Rochester, NY. I am looking forward to my second conference experience this week - we are heading to the Florida Educational Technology Conference! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A look at Brock University's Technology Showcase

On January 24th, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend and present at Brock University's Technology Showcase which is put on by the Faculty of Education. This showcase displayed the latest technological innovations for the classroom through a vendor fair and had many hands-on workshops. Those in attendance at the showcase included hundreds of Brock teacher candidates, practising teachers from local school boards, school administers, Ministry of Education technology integration staff and university staff. It was a great experience to come together and discuss current insights and future predictions of the educational technology world.

The sessions gave a unique experience for those who attended to see educational technologies and programs hands-on. I attended the SMART technology presentation which debuted the first look at their new software program SMART Amp - the first presentation of this new product in Ontario!

During the showcase, I had the opportunity to facilitate the presentation " Start-Up Alley" with my college Jason Ribeiro.  Here, we discussed the educational technology internship we are currently completing and shared our experiences in the field of education. We were able to introduce educational start-up companies PlanboardSesame IO and Kaizena to the sessions attendees.

Thank you to the planning committee of this event - it was a great time collaborating and discussing the field of educational technology!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Welcome to EdTech Today! 

 Although fairly new to the blog world, I am a frequent blog reader and I am excited to contribute my own thoughts and ideas to the online world.  I am passionate about the effective incorporation of technology in the classroom and how it engages learners. This blog will discuss the issues, research and possibilities with using educational technology in the classroom today. It will also document my journey and the many opportunities I have been given in my Masters experience to explore my passion of educational technology. My goal is to try to better understand the educational technology world of 2014.

Thanks to Dr. Camille Rutherford for her on-going encouragement and mentorship surrounding my experiences with the educational technology world. Her advice has lead me to express my thoughts, concerns, interests and questions through this blog. 

Thanks for checking out EdTech Today - the thoughts and experiences of a MEd student!