Category Archives: Conferences

Edcamp Barrie 2016

Tree Man Silhouettehoa. I cannot believe it’s been 2 years since I posted here. I tend to use this blog as my contribution to the online professional educators discourse and to document my learning at conferences and courses.. I apparently did not blog my participation the past two years for my Librarian Part 2 certification, Edcamp Barrie 2, The Push your learning conference, the OLA super conference, two Simcoe County library symposiums, and an ETFO summer Library academy.
But here I am today.  I use this space as my backup brain so here goes:

Edcamp Barrie blog:

Edcamp Barrie Schedule


My first session Engaging Parents <– See session notes. 

There have been some great ideas for engaging and connecting with parents.

Some of the best:

  • Community clothing swap room
  • Remind APP to connect with parents directly (easy to use, GO to the parents with the form)
  • Invite parents for “Family Fridays!” last 30 minutes of the day. Build an inquiry together:)
  • # 1 It’s all about relationships… with parents, with students, with colleagues.
  • We don’t teach subjects – we teach children!

    Relationships first.

Session 2:

I hung out in the math playground and played with the stuff:

  1.   Making growing fractal cubes with business card sized pieces of cardstock.
  2. win_20161001_113505 win_20161001_113438
  3. I  had a gread discussion in the Math Playground with  a math resource teacher and a principal about putting an intentional Math focus into our STEAM activities.

Session 3:

Play Based Learning

K12 Online Conference 2014

The K12 Online Conference has been occurring annually in the fall since 2006. In 2011, I did a presentation for the conference called Sharing Stories, Becoming Storytellers about my school’s Family Literacy Day Project.

I am excited to follow along with this year’s presentations. Today, they released the Pre-conference Keynote by Wes Fryer: Igniting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Wes’ video presentation was centred around the metaphor of how do we spark creativity into a fire? Throughout the video he took the viewers through the process of building a roaring fire for a family campfire.  Guest videos about sparking learning were interspersed from children and teachers around the world.

I particularly enjoyed Amy Burvall’s segment where she described the process of innovation.

  1. spark: the initial idea
  2. curiosity: exploration
  3. curation:  gathering and providing examples of other’s work
  4. connection: finding like minded people.  – in person or online
  5. collaboration – also in person or online
  6. creation

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of innovation as a process before.  I love how Amy Burvall laid it out so clearly.



The theme of this year’s conference is Igniting Innovation. For two weeks, from Monday October 21 to Friday October 31, they will be releasing presentations each weekday at 8:00 am EDT in four strands: Stories for Learning, Games and Gamification, Passion Driven Learning, and STEAM. I am particularly interested in the Games and Gamification strand, and will likely follow it closely.

Here is the 2014 K12 Online Conference Schedule.  You can also follow them online on Twitter, Facebook and a video podcast channel in iTunesU.   The twitter hashtag is #k12online.

Oct 20, 2013

I was inspired by both of today’s presentations

6 Second Stories for Learning by Ben Wilkoff @bhwilkoff


I was awestruck that the bulk of this presentation was 103 six-second vine videos strung together.  But even more by the concept that some stories can be small– even just a moment.  This reminds me of the Small Moments stories we sometimes write in Primary grades.  See:


Game On: How Design and Play Impact Learning by Kevin Hodgson  @dogtrax


I loved how he compared his unit of creating video games as a grade 7 science unit to the time honored project of having students write their own picture books.  He also had some key slides showing how much of the curriculum is covered by creating games… not to mention developing social-collaborative skills, and problem solving skills.  He also had a key slide where he compared the writing process to the process of designing a video game and they are nearly identical.


#Gamifi_ED Networked Intergenerational Learning

This presentation described how a group of teachers and students have created an online project:  Gamified to explore how to use games in education.  The key take away is that it is an inquiry based project with collaborators from all over the world and the students and educators are all co-learners.


Digital Story Telling Through App Smashing

Caroline Doughty: @msdoughty2 is a 2nd grade teacher who uses “app smashing” to have her students create projects and inquiries.  She is doing some amazing things but it is not about “app smashing:– using more than one app to create a project.   It’s about inquiry.   App smashing is not some marvelous new thing.  We aren’t “app smashing” we have a drawing, text, and a skit in the same presentation– Just using a variety of tools.  The point for me is that whenever we are learning (or teaching) , we have an incredible palette of mediums that we can use.  I’ve been trying to impress on students and teachers that we have to foster the skill of choosing which medium (text, podcast, crayon, bitstrips, interpretive dance, etc…) is best suited for our message and our audience.


We Are All Connected

I greatly enjoyed this presentation just as a bit of documentary film making.  Tim’s video and photographs are a visual treat. He told a story of how he encountered graffiti from  a man on a fundraising walk across the US in an abandoned gas station in the Texas desert.  He took photos of the graffiti, then researched the man online.  He found his blog, from 2007, and wrote a blog post about it.  This led to the two of them connecting on line.

It’s a small world.  I myself have had dozens of this kind of small-world encounters over the past decade as a blogger, podcaster, audio book narrator, etc…   How can we provide this kind of connections for our students?

His core message was that with the internet we are all connected.  We need to reach out online and find the like minded educators.  I remember that at my first Podcamp in 2007, I was invited to perform at the evening concert- looking down at the audience full of podcasters, nerds, and geeks, I declared.  “I have finally found my tribe.”  As professionals, we need to find our place in a community of educators– in our school buildings, and in the world beyond.

Tim said, “We can choose to drive down the road by ourselves, or we can drive with our friends.  We are all connected. … I hope that you choose to connect- not only yourself, but your students and teaching.  I guarantee it’s worth the trip”.



EdCamp Barrie

I am a big fan of Edcamps so I was thrilled that one was organized just 1/2 an hour from my home.   Here we are on September 27 on a Saturday having some great participant-driven conversations about education at EdCamp Barrie.

As usual, I’m posting here to have all my musings and learning from this event in one place.


Live Edcamp Barrie Schedule

Edcamp Barrie Conversation on Twitter


Here is Deb McCallum’s storify wrapup of Edcamp Barrie



My 10:30 session:  

Session Shared Notes: Session 1.181  iPads  

My key learning:

I liked how this conversation focused on How to use and manage ipads to best differentiate learning and to have the students create rather than consume content.

From the shared doc:

Ipads in schools:  It’s not about installing any old app they can play with at home.  It’s about using these powerful tools to create rich learning.

Ask the kids how they want to use them.

The integration with Google apps is really the ‘secret sauce’  It allows sharing, use anywhere, etc…


  My 11:15 Session: Session Shared Notes: Session 2.163 Game-Based Learning

My Key Learning:  This conversation seemed to centre on using minecraft and other games to enhance and enrich learning.  There was also some mention of specific gameish educational sites and apps.   I was hoping to bring up the concept of gamification but time ran out.


Lunch:  I sat with Melissa Jensen @mjtbarrie, our boards library consultant, and several other teachers.  We discussed how to overcome some of the challenges we are having with the new iPad rollout in our schools, and Melissa gave me some tips for using our computerized catalogue tool in our libraries.

1:00 Coding Session Shared Notes: Session 3.165 Coding

My Key Learning:

Diana Boulanger  @mcd_boulanger gave us an amazing demonstration on how she uses coding with hopscotch in her grade 3/4 and FSL programs. 

1:45: BYOD:  Session Shared Notes:  Session 4.163

My Key Learning:  Some great suggestions for the practicalities of BYOD and how to teach students when and how to use and not to use your devices.

2:45 Wrap-Up SLAM

1: Use Google forms and mapping addon to mass source map data. 

2: Louise’s mood check form– connected it to a QR code.  

3:  Scott


Podcamp London 2012: Enough Talking… Let’s Make a Podcast

Let’s do it. Over the course of the day I’m going to ask people to share 1-2 min stories about their favorite place via email, phone (705 540 7023) , or in person. At the session, we will use audacity to produce a short podcast combining the stories, and add some music. We will also discuss different tools and methods for producing a podcast.



Here is our finished podcast .




My school’s Family Literacy Day website and podcast where families and classes share their favoritebook via a free voicemail hotline from


Presentation slides and resources:



Sean McGaughey – @Sean_McGaughey –

 Educational Alchemy:  My blog for discussing education and my reflections from conferences and PD activities.

Catholic Roundup Podcast For the Sake of the Song Podcast and my Music

Email me

My Brain is Bent by #k12online

November 29  Day 2 K12 Online Conference Reflections.


It’s only the second day of the K12 online conference and already I feel like my brain has been bent by all the fantastic ideas in the presentations I have watched.

I prepared a 5 minute podcast ramblecast of some of my reflections from the presentations so far.


Listen Here.


You can follow along with the conversation on twitter using the hastag: #k12online  and be sure to also check out My #K12 Online blog and twitter list.

My #K12 Online blog and twitter list

In late 2006, in the months leading up to the first Podcamp Toronto, its blog was quite neglected. Because Podcamp is a user organized kind of event (much like k12 online), I volunteered to make regular blogposts in the month leading up to the event. The results were great. Attendees were much better informed about what to expect at the event, and it helped create a buzz. But for me the benefits were also great, it served as a great introduction to the organizing team and to the people at the conference room (Which led to one of the organizers booking me to as a performer at the Podcamp evening concert (which was a huge thrill for me)). When I walked into that conference, I was not just one of 300 attendees,… I was ‘ductapeguy, the Podcamp Toronto blogger’. My prior work with the blog allowed me to get a head start on getting to know the people at the conference and also introduced me to them before we ever entered the building.

After that experience, I started using Google reader, Facebook and Twitter to make lists and directories for my Catholic Roundup website, and for other conferences I attend. Making these lists and reviewing the blogs of other conference attendees allows me to start to get to know the other people in the room, before we ever get to the room.

On that note here are my blog and twitter lists for the 2011 K12 Online Conference Presenters and Organizers.

What are ways you can prepare for the K12 online conference to get the most out of the virtual conference?


Here is the completed list as it grows, or download as an Excel spreadsheet.

I have also used Google Reader to make a Google Bundle of all the blogs of k12 Online presenters and organizers

Here is the live chat of the conference using the #k12online hashtag.

I also made a twitter list of people participating in the#K12 Online Conference Presenters and Organizers.

How Can We Bring the K12 Online Conference to an Offline World?

The K12 Online Conference is an international conference for teachers that takes place entirely online.   This year’s Conference is taking place from November 21 to December 12, with a keynote address posted on November 21, Multiple talks posted daily from November 28 to December 9 and a closing live conversation and webcast on December 12.  The theme of this yearès conference is Purposeful Play and this is further broken up into 4 strands entitled: Storytime, Team Captains, Sandbox Play and Level Up. I am quite excited that my talk, Sharing Stories, Becoming Storytellers has been selected for the Storytime strand of the conference.

The way it works, is that all the talks will be pre recorded and 4 a day will be posted on the The K12 Online Conference  during the weeks of November 28 to December 9. Teachers can view the videos at their convenience and join the conversation about the talks by commenting on the blog post for the presentation or on twitter using the #k12online hashtag, Full details about the schedule can be found here.

I’ll let conference organizer, Wes Fryer explain a little bit more about the conference.

I have been talking with a colleague about how to get the most of this virtual conference.  We are planning to invite other staff members at our school to meet with us after school a few times during the  conference to watch conference talks together and have our own discussions about the talks.

What are some ways that you can bring this opportunity for online professional learning into your offline workplace?


Drop your ideas into the comments.


My #EdcampTO blog and twitter list

Here is the completed list as it grows, or download as an Excel spreadsheet.

Here is my Edcamp Toronto Blogroll as a google bundle.

Here is the live chat of the conference using the #edcampto hashtag.

I also made a twitter list of people participating in the#edcampto chat, both online and in the room.

Edcamp TO, Here I Go…

Tomorrow is Edcamp Toronto.  I’m packed and ready to go.  Here are my:

Top 10 Things to Bring To Edcamp Toronto

1.  Sleeping Bag

2.  Favorite stick for roasting marshmallows and making smores…  Mmmm, smores.

Wait…   It’s not that kind of camp?


…   Oh, it’s a gathering of educators and people interested in education gathering for an unconference to ask questions, share their experiences, and enrich their understanding of teaching and learning.

In that case, I think I will leave the canoe and snorkel at home.

3.  Freshly minted business cards with my blogsite, twitter handle and email on them to give to new aquaintances.

4)  A desire to find other teachers interested in online collaboration with my class and my students.

5)  An open mind.

6)  A willingness to reach out and introduce myself to other educators.

7)  A bunch of questions.


Oops.  That’s only 7.  But I do know from several years of organizing and attending Podcamp Toronto and other unconferences, that Edcamp will be unlike many other PD activities you have attended.

  • No set agenda.  The agenda will be determined by the participants according to the questions we bring to the opening session.
  •  The Knowlege is in the room.  We are not coming to hear high priced speakers from overseas.  We are all professionals each with our own strengths to share.

The Podcamp Foundation Wiki lists just a few rules for podcamps.  The first 4 have a direct bearing on our experience at Edcamp Toronto tomorrow.

  1. All attendees must be treated equally. Everyone is a rockstar.
  2. All content created must be released under a Creative Commons license:
  3. All attendees must be allowed to participate. (subject to limitations of physical space, of course)
  4. All sessions must obey the Law of 2 Feet – if you’re not getting what you want out of the session, you can and should walk out and do something else. It’s not like you have to get your money’s worth!


This is what makes an unconference different than a traditional PD model.  The participants are in charge of the agenda. Each participant is responsible to make the most out of their own experience.  Offer to share your experiences in a session, gather into small groups in the halls for conversation, use twitter, flickr and blogs to continue the conversation online using the #edcampto hastag.  What we get out of edcamp is largely determined by what we put into it.

I hope to meet you tomorrow.


Bonus unconference tip:  Put your twitter handle on your nametag along with your name so people can find you online.  You can find me on twitter as @Sean_McGaughey