The Computer in the Wall – Sugata Mitra’s Experiment

“There are places on the earth,  in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be build and good teachers cannot or do not want to go…” Sugata Mitra’s inspiration for “The Computer in the Wall Experiment.”


ENG 3U Lesson: Creating An Instructional Media Product for the School Drone

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Cardinal Léger’s DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus Drone

TASK: create an instructional media product intended to teach other members of our learning community how to fly and how to take pictures and video footage using the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus Drone.

Your media product should include the following details:

  • Basic operating features including: installing DJI Vision App onto device; preparing remote controller; powering on flight battery; calibrating compass; remote controller settings; powering the motors; flying/landing; taking photos and filming.
  • Safety and security features (return to home)
  • Camera features and specifications

Your evaluation will be based on:

  • Co-constructed success criteria of your media product looking specifically at the communication and media studies curriculum strands.
  • Your peers will decide which videos (or other media products) will be posted / published on our school’s future blog, Twitter account, website, etc.

ENG3U Curriculum Connections:


  1. Speaking to communicate: use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes: 2.1 Purpose; 2.3 Clarity and Coherence; 2.4 Diction and Devices; 2.5 Vocal Strategies; 2.7 Audio Visual Aids; 3. Reflecting on Skills and Strategies


  1. Understanding Media Texts; 2.Understanding Media Forms, Conventions and Techniques; 3. Creating Media Texts;

METACOGNITION:  Reflecting on skills and Strategies


2.(c) Presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with sensitivity to others.

2.(e) Uses and integrates the Catholic faith tradition, in the critical analysis of media, technology to enhance the quality of life.


First selfie taken by the DJI Drone in our school’s field! #LancerLearning

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place: OneNote The Digital Binder

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Teachers using their smart phones to take notes in a professional development workshop.

Sure, go ahead, take a pic of that slide with your smart phone but, then what do you do with it? How will you ever find it again amidst all those photos?! Most likely, it will get lost in your device’s camera reel, never to be viewed again.

Learners in today’s classrooms need to know how to make sense of their data files; they really do need a digital place for their school “stuff.” Our insatiable data consumption coupled with our growing cloud-based storage capacity, is making the management and the curation of our files an important skill for modern learners. The right tool can help. Enter: OneNote.

Microsoft’s digital binder, OneNote, solves so many of our modern learning collaboration and content sharing concerns. First, our school’s learners have access to 1 TB of cloud-based storage through their OneDrive accounts in Office 365. Let’s face it, having a big closet makes organization easier and OneNote is a massive walk-in with plenty of built-ins!

Within OneNote, learners can create binders and within those binders they can create tabs or sections. The digital pages within each section of the binder are unique because they’re unlimited! By this I mean that users are not hemmed in by the size of their screens or limited to standard page sizing. Information can, literally, be placed anywhere on the page.

Students who enjoy using the stylist can take advantage of a ton of draw tools which allow for markers, highlighters, pens: a bursting pencil case of tools. One of the more useful features of OneNote is the Screen clipping tool. Learns can easily import and then manipulate images/screenshots/information within a page and screen clipping also includes bibliographical information of where information was retrieved and when it was retrieved or pasted/inserted into OneNote.

Go ahead, take a pic of that slide but, this time, send it to OneNote and have it right where you need it when you need to access it!

onenote binder page

Have a look at this great video by Microsoft Innovative Educator, Matthew O’Brien: A OneNote Overview for Students. I’m sure you’ll find OneNote a great content organization, creation and curation solution for your learning community.

VLE Battlelines Drawn: #O365 vs. #GAFE

There’s a bit of a “cool’ war happening in education these days. Teachers are doing the unthinkable: they’re taking corporate sides! What was once considered selling-out, now seems to have considerable educational cache. Apple-Google-Microsoft “Certified” seems to carry more weight than even your education degree! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a very different thing, and one that takes some getting used to. Learners are living in a very different time after all and our education system should reflect this changing environment. The fact that teachers are voraciously defending their Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) of choice is one good indicator that things are moving in a progressive direction for modern learners.

Recently, I was blessed to spend an entire summer day chatting about this very thing with a group of freshly minted Ontario educators (@MsKarapici; @MsMarino; @SmithWjasmith; @MMkirsti; @EFTeacher6; @NadineTFrancoi1; @jdsouza19326; @MsMedeiros112 ) and one serious long-time educational technology guru, @AddesaAT. We looked at GAFE and O365 and here’s our working summary of the key features of each VLE. You may find this overview valuable when choosing your VLE camp! Stay tuned for updates!  I’m thinking a O365 or GAFE soccer scarf might be a necessary accessory in any future discussions!

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Amidst all this VLE chatter, it’s valuable to note that learning management systems, like D2L, are quickly becoming obsolete. The only thing that D2L has that O365 or GAFE doesn’t have (yet) is the ability to apply a Turnitin authenticity checker on student submissions. I’ll save the topic of “intellectual property” as it relates to notions of collusion versus collaboration, for another post!

When Teachers Are Afraid to Learn, Who Fails?

There has been a lot of changes in publicly funded education recently. In our Board, the biggest change has been the introduction of virtual learning environments (VLEs) like Desire2Learn and Office365 into instructional pedagogy. Some teachers are seeing the value in extending the learning experience beyond their classrooms. Teachers who have been quick to take up VLEs into their instructional style generally report the following experiences:

1. They stop tanning by the photocopier. They learn to upload.

2. They are quick to add discussion boards. They ask students probing questions.

3. They change their lessons. They flip it. They add video. They ask students to embed and to share.

4. They may even change their assessments. They start asking students to publish instead of to submit.

There are a lot of reasons why teachers deliberately opt out of this learning however. Just like our students, the reasons teachers may have not to learn new ways of teaching are legitimate and real. But, what happens when there’s never any evidence of growth and professional development over time? Can teachers fail teaching? Or, do they just fail our students?