2010-2011: Reflections on the infinite power of change and hope alive in education

To open my eyes and wake up alive in the world
To open my eyes and fully arrive in the world

With its beauty and its cruelty
With its heartbreak and its joy
With it constantly giving birth to life and to forces that destroy
And the infinite power of change
Alive in the world

Jackson Browne – Alive in the World

I continue to be inspired by the infinite power of change and hope alive in the many people I serve with at the Waterloo Catholic district school board and in those people who serve in school districts throughout the province, country and around the world.

As the sun begins to set on another school year, I would be remiss if I did not publicly acknowledge a number of the wonderful people, teams and events that made this another incredible year of rich, memorable learning experiences.



This relatively new team is headed by our director of education and includes representatives from OECTA (unit president), school administrators and teachers. The main focus of the team is to facilitate the effective communication of Catholic education throughout the system and local community – eg. Catholic Education Week and the 175th Anniversary of Catholic Education in Waterloo Region as well as the hope and good news embodied at each school site throughout the system.

Learning Services

The dedication of the members of this team is realized every day in the creative, energizing and inspiring work they do to support our front line teachers and school administrators.

LS admin team leaders, assistants, consultants, SERTS and dozens of other selfless individuals truly embody Catholic education as articulated in the principle of subsidiarity espoused and modeled by our associate director of education and our vision: “Our Catholic Schools: heart of the community – success for each, a place for all.”

Elementary & Secondary Computer Resources / IT Services / IT Policy, eLearning, Site Administrators, Special Education Technology

Working with members of IT Services, our elementary Site Administrators, reps from the Computer Resources and system eLearning committees during the past five years – has given me a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the amazing work they do.

Simply put, the computer network infrastructure and many pilot programs would come to a grinding halt across they entire system without their continued commitment, professionalism and support.

The new BrightLink interactive projector pilot / initiative is the most recent shining example of how IT, Facility and Learning Services along with school administrators have collaborated to oversee and support the installation of a BrightLink interactive projector in every classroom in the system. The buzz of excitement this visionary initiative has created continues to resound and resonate among staff and students throughout the system and beyond.

Other exhilarating system pilots many of the aforementioned groups support and have supported include: eLearning credit recovery and EWC4U eCourse, iPod touch/iPad (See: When Faith Meets Technology) and Audiobooks to name a few.

Waterloo Region Technological Skills Elementary Competition

A collaborative effort by the Waterloo Region and Waterloo Catholic District School boards – the Technological Skills Elementary Competition takes place over two amazing days and involves over 5oo students competing in five different Skills challenges: Lego Mechanics, Lego Robotics, Technology Design & Build, Construction and Video Production. This stellar event would not happen were it not for teachers who volunteer their precious time as co-chairs to create the various Skills challenges, prep students and oversee the challenge competitions during the two-day event.

My Twitter PLN (Professional Learning Network)

I make it a point during my presentations to tell as many educators as possible that, thanks to the marvelous social networking tool called Twitter, I have shared more education-related resources in the last 3 years than during 21 years in the traditional classroom, . The Ontario-Educator’s Daily allows me to aggregate and capture some of the countless remarkable resources that educators share via their own PLNs every single day.

(COCA/CCC-ICT/ECOO/London Region eLearning Partnership)

Many of my colleagues on these committees/organizations are also part of my Twitter PLN. The sharing during our precious meetings and conferences is always authentic and rich. The annual COCA / RCAC / ECOO, DeLC (District eLearning contact) Forum and  eLearning conferences, meetings and events facilitate a unique form of collegiality and collaboration among the members that continues to deepen and expand my own professional learning.

Some of the new and captivating digital technologies and initiatives on my radar in 2010-2011 and beyond include:

  • eLearning (our 1st ever eCourse and move to offer 10 eCourses in 2011-2012)
  • BrightLink Interactive Projector
  • Livescribe / Echo Pen
  • Google in Education
  • Mobile devices in Education
  • QR Codes
  • Social media in education
  • Evernote
  • Animoto
  • Bitstripsforschools
  • Ethical & Responsible Use of ICT

To those colleagues who are returning in the same capacity in 2011-2012 or beginning a new phase in their life journey (eg. retirement, reassignment, relocation etc.), thank you for your years of faithful service and for the many gifts you have shared and will continue to share in your immediate and outer circles of influence.

Photo Credit: Here we go again by Iragerich