Block 8 – Sandbox Celebrations!

March 15 - 31

Flickr CC: vubui
There are many things to celebrate during these two weeks! Visit the celebration page to see!

As you look back on the last few months you have spent “in the sandbox” I hope you can see that you have made fresh and lasting prints in the sand. These prints are the tracks you have left online that reflect your learning, your communication and your collaboration in our class sandbox and beyond. Many of you have taken opportunities to reach out to new sandboxes and make fresh prints. I hope that as the class concludes, you continue on this learning journey, reading professionally from the many wonderful online resources, building and playing and creating new spaces for you and your students or colleagues to meet, interact and learn together.
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Objectives of this Block

  • To continue to help you examine the challenges of education in a changing world
  • To showcase your major project for this class
  • To receive feedback on your project from a critical friend
  • To provide critical friend feedback to a colleague in this class on their project
  • To reflect on your own learning in this class
  • To celebrate with all participants the learning journey not only in this class but also throughout your whole masters program

1.) The Internet and Curriculum Integration

During this class, we have looked at who your learners are (students or adults), their contexts, the changing world in which our learners are growing up, and new opportunities provided by emerging Internet technologies that can support learning in a 21st century learning environment. During this class, your varied contexts have revealed a variety of challenges (and sometimes roadblocks) created by the humans within your educational landscapes. Sometimes these challenges are such that they prevent you from, or create challenges for, doing the job you need to do. Sometimes these challenges emerge as a result of narrow thinking, lack of information or pure fear.

During this class, many of you have taken on the challenge of trying to promote change within your context. I salute you for engaging others in those necessary conversations and hope that you can continue to make "footprints in the sand" in this area.

Viki Davis, author of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, writes, “Technology is not the enemy -- ignorance is. I am concerned that we need to intentionally teach students the technology skills they need to know. They do not get it automatically nor do they learn it at home.” Viki’s video, Technology Fear Factor, reinforces the shifting landscape for our learners. I hope this video encourages many of you to continue to hold those challenging conversations so that educators make Internet related decisions that are based on what is best for our learners and their future.

Those of you that are following Wesley Fryer's Blog "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" may have read his posts from conference sessions at The Consortium for School Networking. Again the Internet and blogging allows many of us to glean key ideas (albiet interpreted through another's lens) from presentations that we otherwise would not be able to attend. His posting on 12th March Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (CoSN 2009 closing keynote) covered the keynote of the book I had mentioned in an earlier block . Lots of food for thought for those of us in education if we want to think about change, how technology can disrupt traditional educational delivery, and our roles in this disruption.

Flickr CC: erikmeldrum
Celebrate Your Powerful Footprints in the Sand

During this class many of you have shared stories about the challenges you have faced in attempting to integrate technology in your context. Some of those stories have brought tears to my eyes either through a good laugh with you as I relate similar distressing situations, or through the frustrations you have faced and the perseverance you have shown to work through the challenges. Division blocking, technical issues, Internet service, neglected computers and the list goes on. These are all barriers that have a huge impact on your success and ability to integrate technology. However, as Jim stated in one of his podcasts, if you can persevere (and I know, sometimes it is hard) and look beyond to see the big picture in terms of your learning and your students’ learning, there will be gains down the road.

I commend all of you for your efforts at trying things out, taking risks and challenging yourself to learn in another environment where things don’t always go according to the plan. And to do it all through an online class! I really appreciate your dedication to learning and want to tell you all how proud I am of your accomplishments. Your blogs are a tremendous testament to the wonderful insights and accomplishments you have made. It has been a pleasure and an honour to be part of your journey.

2.) Showcasing and Celebrating Your Sandcastles

Flickr CC: 55454498@N00

This block is about showcasing your learning, and celebrating your learning and the learning of others in this class as you look back on your tremendous accomplishments.

a.) Post your final project to the wiki -Final Projects
b.) Partner up to be critical friends with another student. Indicate your partner in the chart on the project page.
  • Read the critical friend protocol to familiarize yourself with your role.
  • Examine your partner's project making note of questions for clarification and points for discussion. Keep in mind the criteria for the projects as outlined in the Major ICT Project rubric.
  • Share critical friend feedback through a Google Doc, an email or through a Skype conversation. The choice is yours. Whatever you choose, share a copy with Marnie through web CT email or Google Doc sharing ( to indicate what discussed and the feedback you provided.
  • This should be completed by March 31st . There are a few folks that require the additional week due to circumstances – just let me know if you need this time. There are no problems if that time is needed - just let me know.
c.) In order to share your project with the whole class, begin a discussion thread in the Block 8 wiki page titled with your first name and project.
  • In this posting, share a brief summary of your project and what you learned from developing it and from your initial implementation of the project.
  • Provide a link to your project just for ease for those who will visit it from this location.
d.) Explore all the project summaries in the Block 8 discussion tabs.
  • Choose 1 - 2 to explore in further detail by visiting the actual projects.
  • Enter into discussion on the wiki discussion tabs for the individual projects.

3.) Reflection on Learning

Flickr CC: articnomad
Personal Reflection
Submit a 1 page reflection of your learning within this class to Marnie through WebCT email. Alternatively, you may also do this in your blog, if you choose. Just let me know if you choose this.
1.) What significant footprints have you made in the sand as a result of this class?
What are you now aware of and familiar with that was not a part of your sandbox prior to this class?
What achievement/progress/insight are your most proud of?
2.) As you move forward from this class, what new possibilities are guiding your thinking?
What new opportunities related to the Internet and your work do you want to pursue?
3.) Who will be walking along side you or playing along side you as you move ahead?
(Will it be students, administrators, colleagues, other educators in cyberspace, bloggers etc.?)

Course Evaluation - In a few days I will email you a link to the online course evaluation form. I look forward to your comments about this class so that I can improve the format or content for another offering.
Please note: Your online, anonymous evaluations will be automatically submitted to the Associate Dean’s office and I will NOT be permitted to view them until after all marks for this course are submitted and approved.

4.) And Don't Forget To Take Time To Laugh

A friend of mine is at the ASCD Conference in Florida this weekend and she sent me this YouTube that Jay McTighe, author of Understanding By Design, used in his presentation. Enjoy! And by the way, if any of you are interested in following some of the preceedings at this conference, there are some blogs, write-ups and if you register for the live feeds, you can watch Sir Kenneth Robinson's presentation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative
Monday, 10:30 AM EDT; Duration: 1 Hour 30 Minutes. (I believe this is 8:30 A.M. our time)

5. Conclusion

Make sure you have:

  • posted your project to the final project page
  • familiarized yourself with your role as critical friend
  • provided your critical friend feedback
  • shared your feedback for you critical friend with Marnie by March 31st
  • created a Block 8 discussion posting providing a brief summary of your project and what you learned from developing it and from your initial implementation of the project
  • explored all the project summaries in the Block 8 discussion tabs
  • explored 1-2 projects in further detail by visiting the actual projects
  • participated in discussion for the 1 - 2 individual projects you visited
  • submitted a 1 page reflection of your learning within this class to Marnie
  • completed the confidential course evaluation form
  • took time to laugh and celebrate your learning!