21st Century Competency – Learning to Learn


Learning to learn or Metacognition may be one of the greatest skill identified in the 21st Century Competency document.

Metacognitive strategies refers to methods used to help students understand the way they learn; in other words, it means processes designed for students to ‘think’ about their ‘thinking’.

As an adult learner I have found this difficult to do myself but I also know that it is crucial to being successful in school and in life. I have come to realize that I learn best when I can hear it, see it and feel it.  Auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning is what I do best.  This served me well in school and I am fortunate to be able to have three modalities of learning that tap into the main ones that teachers in schools learn to teach.

Technology can really help students tap into ways of thinking and compensate for areas that they may need help in.  The ability to play with media or various forms through technology actually play very well into this.

Most recently we have been promoting like other boards coding and robotics. These sort of tools allow student to become divergent thinkers, problem solvers and tap into learning modes beyond the visual and auditory types found in many classrooms.  Many teachers are fearful of bringing this into their classes for a few reasons.  One they did not learn this way in the past.  Second it is messy with often more than one answer to solve a problem. And third it places the control of learning in the students hands.  All three of these can require patience and teachers who have started to teacher coding and robotics need patience as both they and student struggle to learn this often very hands on type of learning.

I am certain in future blogs I will talk more about learning to learn but thought I would get the conversation rolling and invite teachers and others to talk about how we can promote this really important skill development.


Reddit – A fantastic way to follow Information on Topics of Interest



A few weeks ago my nephew Alex who is in 3rd year of an Electrical Engineering program at Niagara College came for a visit.  Alex is the perfect example of a hands on modern learner.  He voraciously scours You-tube and Reddit for new learning, jokes and interesting facts.  Now I know if you are like me you likely are thinking.  “Ok, I have heard of Youtube but what the heck is Reddit”.  If you know what Reddit is you are well ahead of me because I just learned of this great tool that blends information searching with social conversations and sharing.

I have always been amazed at the amazing details and current understanding that Alex has on a wide variety of topics.  For instance Alex asked for a “Sous vide immersion heater” for Christmas and now is cooking gourmet meals for us with precision accuracy. Where does a 21 year old boy discover Sous vide cooking?  Reddit of course!

So now that I have a “Sous vide immerion cooker” of my own I have started to use Reddit to follow news and stay current on education, politics and other topics that I am interested in.  Reddit is awesome but one suggestion I have for anyone who wants to use it is to download the app on your portable device (phone, ipad, tablet) because the website is very cluttered and not near as user friendly at the ios app.


Just to get an idea of the number of reddits topics that are collecting readers and covering topics in education I have shared a list below for your enjoyment.

General education subreddits:

  • /r/Education: A place to discuss the news and politics of education.
  • /r/EducationReform: A place to share and discuss news about education reform efforts.
  • /r/EdPsych: A place to discuss cognitive and developmental psychology, learning, pedagogy, motivation, institutions of learning, applications to curriculum and specific lessons, and special education.
  • /r/EdTech: A place to share news and sites related to educational technology
  • /r/Teachers: A place to discuss the practice of teaching, receive support from fellow teachers, and gain insight into the teaching profession.
  • /r/Teaching: A place for teachers to comment and debate about teaching methods, resources, tools, and issues whether they be controversial or typical.

Teaching resources:

  • /r/CuriousVideos: A repository of free online educational videos, 3-20 minutes in length
  • /r/OpenEd/: A place to discuss open educational resources (OERs), including free lectures, courses, course materials, and textbooks.
  • /r/TeachingResources: A great place to share and discover teaching resources, such as demos, blogs, simulations, and visual aids.

Subject-specific education subreddits:

  • /r/AdultEducation: A place for adult educators to discuss tips and tricks to engaging an adult audience.
  • /r/ArtEd: A place for art educators to discuss the importance of art education and to share and collaborate on resources.
  • /r/CSEducation: A place for computer science educators and education researchers.
  • /r/ECEProfessionals: A place for early childhood educators to learn, grow, and contribute as professionals.
  • /r/ELATeachers: A place for English teachers to share ideas and lessons and to brainstorm and collaborate on new curriculum.
  • /r/HigherEducation: A place to discuss and share articles related to higher education.
  • /r/HistoryTeachers: A place to discuss and share resources for history educators.
  • /r/LiberalArts: A place to discuss general liberal arts education.
  • /r/MathEducation: A place to discuss and share resources for math educators.
  • /r/ScienceTeachers: A place for science educators to collaborate on and contribute tips, ideas, labs, and curricula.
  • /r/SpecialEd: Where special education teachers can discuss and share resources related to the education of students with special needs.
  • /r/TEFL: Discussion of teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Four Important Hallmarks of Gameplay in the classroom.


In a recent article of Eschool news I read about the benefits of gameplay to learning.  Thought I would share 4 hallmarks of gameplay from article and the article itself.

1. Games and gameplay allow learning to be self-directed

Self-directed learning means that students get to ask their own questions, figure out what’s happening, “and then the learning that you do is that much more valuable because you’ve learned it for yourself,” Chamberlin said. Minecraft is an example of a self-directed game due to its sandbox nature and completely open-ended building environment. Players set their own goals and engage in inquiry-based activities.

2. Gameplay can provide screen time

“When people place an emphasis on screen time, they lose the emphasis on what screen time can be—what is screen time anymore? Is it time on a phone? On a console? With an eBook? What counts as screen time? Unless your concerns are strictly about the light that enters the eye from a lit background, screen time may not matter,” Chamberlin said.

3. Gameplay changes things

Gameplay can help young children learn skills in more relatable ways, using technology and devices that these young students have grown up with. Games and technology also help keep people connected.

“It’s not the technology that makes us antisocial—it’s how we use it and integrate with it,” Chamberlin said. “It’s crucial to help students learn how to use it today.”

4. Gameplay facilitates teaching

The challenge of teaching is reaching each learner where he or she is, and gameplay meets that challenge by enabling guided exploration and individualized learning as learners investigate that which they are interested in, Chamberlin said.

Students can learn in classrooms as much as they want, but if they are immersed in a game and must learn a concept or arrive at an answer to move forward in the game, they have learned at a time and place that is important to their progress, thus making that learning more impactful and lasting, she said.

“Games in the classroom are especially powerful when there’s a teacher there to guide,” Chamberlin said. “If you’re using games in the classroom, that’s not the time to sit and get caught up—you’re still the facilitator of the learning that happens during that gameplay.”

From <http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/08/04/games-ok-play-239/2/>

#OSSEMOOC Online Classes in June


A terrific line up of guests sharing learning through #OSSEMOOC over the next few weeks.  If you like George Couros you might want to check out the session this Tuesday at 9 pm.

1. Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 8 p.m. EDT – Jaclyn Calder shares her inquiry work in science, including taking her biology students to Fiji!  Check out her latest project here: Seventh Fire Student Artwork http://seventhfire.culturalspot.org/home Jaclyn has a wide repertoire of experience doing amazing projects with youth.  We will send the link to join her live event shortly.

2. Tuesday, June 10, 2014 9 p.m. EDT – Join our #dcmooc friends in Saskatchewan to discuss Digital Citizenship (more info: http://dcmooc.ca/) here:


3.  Monday,  June 16, 4 p.m. EDT – Join Manitoba’s Darren Kuropatwa (spotlight speaker at Connect 2014) to dig into Digital Storytelling for Education Leaders.  Darren’s work is engaging and fun.  He has so much to share about digital storytelling!  Darren will also be joining Alan Levine (@cogdog) to host a major event for OSSEMOOC in the fall.  The link to the online class on June 16 will be available by email and on the ossemooc.wordpress.com site before the meeting.

4. Tuesday, June 17, 8 p.m. EDT – Join Stephen Hurley (CEA, Keynote OTRK12 2014) to explore questions about schools and learning.  We will send more details about the topic of conversation as the date approaches, but put this on your calendar right now

5. Tuesday, June 24, 8 p.m. EDT – We end our Tuesday conversations for the school year with our Digital Citizenship theme and our well-known speaker on this topic, Chris Vollum.  Chris works with students throughout Ontario and beyond in helping them understand the impact of their online activities.  We are very excited to have Chris with us to explore this topic further.  Don’t miss it!

We will mail out meeting links before all events, and the links will be on the ossemooc. wordpress.com website as well.

Don’t forget to read the “Pic and Post” quick sharing on the site this month.  Comments are welcome, and if you see something this week that resonates with you, take a screen shot and send your thoughts with the image to this email address (ossemooc@gmail.com)

Keep connecting and sharing!


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It is Not only Ok to Be Wrong but Important to Learn How to be Wrong!


Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? “Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.  Watch this great Tedtalks and then think about how this  impacts teaching in your classes.  What impact does our perceptions and beliefs of being right have on our relationships with principals, teachers, parents and our students?