I took the time to write up my notes from the conference I attended in January. There was a lot of stuff on Makerspaces and Libraries that were quite useful. However, I found that the sessions I attended that, on the surface seemed to have nothing to do with my situation, were the most useful. For example, Eileen Gillette’s presentation, Talk Creative to Me explored how the library space can be adapted/evolved/utilized as a cultural hub for the community. I loved the way she broke down the different components of “space.”

I also really enjoyed the presentation from the University of Rochester and their journey in creating the izone. I learned some valuable lessons on how to engage the community and get their feedback. I also loved the idea of the library as a place to incubate new ideas. Not a new idea, but definitely re-packaged to fit this emerging, entrepreneurial culture.

Although I gave links to the descriptions of the different presentations, I did not feel comfortable sharing the links to the speaker presentations. However, most are available through the links to the actual sessions. If you do go and have a look and see something you like, please be mindful that this was someone’s hard work and treat the materials given so freely appropriately!

The notes are pretty rough and in point form, but I thought I would share anyways!


Made in Canada: STEM Resources for Canadian Schools and Libraries


This session was geared mostly toward younger kids so not so interesting to me. Though it was interesting to hear about the process of writing a non-fiction book for children.

Collaboration, Partnerships, and Innovation — how to Integrate Maker Initiatives within school curriculum


Megan Copp and Melissa Harris, Innisfil Public Library

Marci Duncan, Technology Instructional resource Instructor K-12 Simcoe County District School board


Transforming learning spaces

Green screen teacher training workshops:


  • Do ink
  • No special lighting
  • F/X Photokey/imovie

Oculus rift- do I need to buy one? Should we make them?

# Makerspaces twitter

STEM for Dummies (because we’re not all scientists)


Gayle Mercurio (teacher-librarian), Toronto District School Board

Patricial LeBlond Teacher, Toronto District School Board


  • Know more about curriculum for display purposes
    • EG.:
      • Human anatomy
      • Iran
      • physics
      • Nouvelle France
      • STEAM Activities
      • Shakespeare
  • Mostly geared towards younger kids. However, some interesting things – sphero games in the library.
  • Need to start with playing

Keynote: David Lankes



  • Obligation of innovation
  • Libraries as:
    • Marketplace for ideas
    • connecting people with great ideas to networks → access to multitudes
    • Helping innovations get the resources they need. *How does this look like?


Basically librarian love and propaganda: a call to arms to get back into the world… that we should start becoming some of the political and cultural influencers.

Talk Creative to me: Understanding Your Library’s Capital

Speaker: Eileen Gillette, Greater Victoria Public Library


What Makes a Great Place? I really like the following visual in terms of breaking down a space:

It makes me wonder how a deconstruction of the ideal school library space would look like…I think I might work on it!

Question: Where are the “NO” spaces in my library?

  • Between shelves?

Rethink→ Reframe → Remodel→ Reinforce

Culture Hack Toolkit (How to create inspiring digital events)

Prototype Equipment Design

Check out GVPL Teen Digilab

Maker Habits of Mind in High School


Pam Jeffrey: Teacher-librarian, Simcoe County District School Board

Penny Chaiko: Teacher-librarian, Simcoe County District School Board


  • Green Screen Café: Where would you rather be? What time period would you rather be?
  • Maker Monday
  • Materials suggested:
    • M-bot
    • BB8
    • Lego mindstorm
  • Get a group of students to help with Makerspace
  • Knit bracelets (macramé) (USE FOR SOFT LAUNCH OF OUR MAKERSPACE!)
  • Student-driven
  • Funding:
    • Speak up grants (Ontario only)
    • Best Buy Grants

Olita Spotlight: Avery Swartz



Hosting a Maker Fair in your Library Learning Commons

Notes: (I want to do this!)

Maker Fair: “Celebration of transdisciplinary learning.”

Start planning 3-6 months in advance

Audience? Students and staff and invite grade 6s (potential recruits)

Exhibitors (some from outside, some from in-house) 20 exhibitors

  • local community
  • fellow staff
  • administration, organization
  • provide separate space for makers
  • consider a variety of making strategies


  • Develop a budget and timeline
  • Promotion:
    • Feeder schools!
    • Passport systems (stamped at each exhibitor..)
    • Connect with teachers, librarians & colleagues – have them sign up…
    • Classes come in like Book fair..
    • STEAM coach?
    • Ice Wire makerspace
    • SOMO by Sonic Wear
    • Textile Museum of Canada
    • origami society
    • Toronto tool library (3D printer)–COULD ASK HELIOS LABS?
    • Amy project
    • Teachers: brought class projects, + teachers

Post inquiry-based questions in Fair and post around the library.

  • eg. “What is the difference between making and manufacturing?”
  • eg. “Can making improve social conditions?”

Ask participants for feedback:

  • What was the last thing you made?
  • What was the last thing you bought? Why did you buy it and not make it?

The IL incubator: Exploring Information Literacy Skill Gaps in Secondary School Curricula and Postsecondary Research Expectations


Colleen Burgess

Gordana Vitez


This was an interesting discussion about the gap between secondary expectations and post-secondary expectations on students. It seems like a big part of the problem is that it is easy to forget that when you know how to do research, that it is a skill you have to learn.

I also came away with the impression that we at Traf are doing okay in this area. We address many of the issues below even in our science classes, which does not seem to be the case with a lot of schools apparently. Most of our teachers require students cite their sources, that they know where to look and have a variety of sources to contrast and compare the information.

Problem: students are not feeling prepared to go into post-secondary research

Gross & Latham → research on this issue:

  • 2005→ students don’t even know they have a problem
  • 2011 → found that studies focused on behaviour not skills
  • 2012→ students don’t know they don’t know

ALA Listserv ILI → info lit listserv


  • Citation & bib method
  • Difference between scholarly Vs. General reading
  • Difference between google and library database
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Ability to critically evaluate information in building their own arguments or ideas.

I found my dream job but it’s not in the library


June Avila, Hannah Loshak, Emily Porta


I went to this presentation because I have been finding lately that I need to go out of my own profession for inspiration with the new projects I would like to start. And I don’t think I am the only one- a lot of the presentations I attended were about adapting/customizing/re-creating the library space to accommodate the needs of young people aspiring to become creative cogs in the knowledge economy. This means taking inspiration from Start-ups mainly, with their innovative take on communal space, the flexible, collaborative, creative model of these new workplaces. I thought it was important to understand the perspective of librarians embedded so to speak in these new environments.

They also provide a new perspective on how to view, relate and serve our population. Because they are in the private sector, they necessarily have to be fiercely client-centered. user experience is prioritized and I think libraries can (and already are) learning huge lessons from this sector.

Secrets- Seven Authors Share their Collaborative Writing Project

Speakers: Teresa Toten, Eric Walters, Kelley Armstron, Vicki Grant, Marthe Jocelyn, Norah McClintock.


It’s 1964 and life is about to change for seven orphan girls. On their own for the first time in their lives, the girls each embark on a journey of discovery, aching for the families they never had and experiencing the world in ways they never imagined.

Bestselling authors Kelley Armstrong, Vicki Grant, Marthe Jocelyn, Kathy Kacer, Norah McClintock, Teresa Toten and Eric Walters team up for the Secrets, a brand new series of linked YA novels that will be published simultaneously. Each author brings their distinct style to this project and will discuss the process of writing collaboratively.

Visit http://www.readthesecrets.com for more information.

OLA Exhibition Hall

Interesting stuff I found:


izone: Imagination, Ideas, Innovation – Learning Space for the 21st century


Matthew Swift, Senior Strategist, brightspot strategy

Mary Anne Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Dean, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester


  • Ask students: What kind of space do you need?
  • “provide platform for exploration of ideas not actualization of ideas”
  • All 1 thing:
    • space planning
    • service design
    • organizational change

ASIDE: What is up with the word ‘robust? figured prominently in many of the presentations…

  1. Use madlibs as prompt for user surveys (WANT TO USE THIS!!!)
    • How do you use the space?
    • How would you like to use the space?
  2. Then: storyboarding → how those activities would look like?
  3. Prompt participants then have a conversation.
  • Portfolio of offerings:
    • Who wants to use the library?
    • Have a work meeting re: rethinking the library…
  • Pilots and prototypes:
    • Read throughs
    • walk throughs
    • dress rehearsals
    • Pilot
  • Not developing a space but a program → the space is enabling it.

Making Spaces for “Makerspaces” in your school library/Learning Commons


Sheila Morgan, Teacher Librarian, Kortright Hills Public School, Upper Grand District School Board

Carla Warnholtz, Teacher Librarian, Westwood Public School, Upper Grand District School Board


  • Rug! I need a rug!
  • Giant Paper Puzzles: eg. Giant Sudoku
  • Purchase materials and equipment  through Wintergreen
  • Google CS first
  • Implementing student inquiry…

Train home!

Wednesday Session: Makerspace@Traf

In case you missed today’s presentation, here are the slides:

We discussed our vision of the Makerspace concept at Traf, which has three components to it:

  • Curricular
  • Co-curricular
  • Tinker stations

The meeting today was to get some ideas for all three components, but mainly for the tinker tables we would like to make available through out the school on a regular basis.

First though, we asked Staff to write down what kind of “Making” they engage in. Here’s a snapshot of the post-its they put up:


Responses ranged from cooking to ceramic painting, from lego to quilting. So many hidden skills!

Then we asked the staff to think of a skill they would like to learn:


Again the responses were very diverse from knitting to robotics, from learning how to draw to how to make a spice rack.

Luckily the Makerspace concept has room for all of this!

Then we asked the teachers to gather in their departments and think of three ideas for tinker tables in their department. We asked them to use Padlet, a virtual corkboard – very easy to use and gives a nice visual. Here is a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 3.04.50 PM

Sone great ideas came out of today’s discussion – a lot of which I will follow up with in the coming weeks!


Wednesday Sessions: Organizational Skills @ Traf Rountable

This morning we had a very productive discussion that focused on how we can promote effective organization skills with a few simple, school-wide strategies.

Here was our goal:

To leave the meeting with 3 core  practical, realistic, and common classroom strategies to help embed effective organizational skills (OS) for students @ Traf!

I am very pleased to say that we did it!

Here are my slides for the presentation:

Although we had a lively discussion which can be seen in the pics below, staff also had a chance to use our backchannel, a basic google doc formatted in sections that corresponded with our slides. A staff volunteer took notes during the whole meeting and populated the backchannel with the staff’s comments. (Thanks so much Annie!)


The strategies emerged from practices that most teachers were already doing. However, it was a good reminder that certain simple strategies practiced consistently had a lot of effect on rates of timely homework submission and general preparedness. As well, though we did not emphasize this, when speaking of their strategies teachers also mentioned that practicing them lowered level of stress and anxiety in their students. They had time to write down what was going on and consequently were less worried about what they had to do.

Here are our 3 strategies ( I thought they deserved to be prettied up!)


Last but not least:


QSLIN: Remix ED Camp

I just received this in my inbox from the QSLIN blog:

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.32.40 AM

Read more…

It is free to register and you get free food! Here is what is on offer,( besides free breakfast, lunch and prizes):

emix Ed is more than just an ed camp. We want you to come and share your voice, your experience, and your expertise with everyone. We’re also bringing in some amazing speakers to talk about things that can make a difference in your classroom, right now. It’s not just theory, or socializing (although there will be plenty of that, too). We have LEARN Quebec, Learning Bird, an all-day maker space, and sessions on both Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365, and even more! Here’s a preview of what kind of sessions you’ll find:
  • Community Learning Centres
  • Kids Code
  • PD 24/7
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • How to create digital lessons
  • Get Homework done with Learning Bird (kid friendly session)
  • Data-driven Teaching and Learning
  • Robotics
  • Programming
  • Textiles
  • Low tech making (e.g. cardboard)

Sign me up! Any other takers?

Pay it Forward: This Year’s Tech PD Theme

Welcome back! We already had our first iPad PD session yesterday morning. Last year our theme was “The Building Blocks of Learning“. This year, we are going to take what we learned individually and pay it forward.

Here are the slides, for your perusal, though the session was very interactive so they are pretty minimal.

I divided the session into three parts.

Part I: What do you want to learn? How can you be a resource?

The first thing we did was get a visual of our skills and goals, in keeping with our theme, “Pay it Forward.”

The green post-its are what the teachers would like to learn using the iPad this year. The pink ones are skills they have which they could be a resource for:


I divided the tasks loosely into the following categories: Content Creation, Accessibility, Assessment, Collaboration and Other.

I was gratified to see that the green and pink post-its were pretty balanced!

Now my job will be to match a pink post-it with a green one – stay tuned as I have some ideas of how I can do that while also developing my own skill set…(I know so deliciously vague, aren’t I?)

Part II: Model Teacher-led session using Adobe Voice

In this part, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and lead the first “teacher-led” workshops.The feedback from last year’s presentations was pretty consistent: teachers wanted more time to play with the app/skill/feature being demonstrated. Keeping that in mind, I developed some parameters for our regular iPad PD sessions:

  • Presentation must be very brief (under 15 minutes), which would allow at least 40 minutes for play.
  • Stick to one concept and only concept.
  • The day before the presentation email the staff with:
    • the equipment/apps they will need.
    • if possible, a quick introductory/explainer video of what they will be talking about.

As I would really like to incorporate aspects of the Flipped Classroom in my PD, I decided to make the first explainer video on Adobe Voice. The day before, as per my own instructions, I sent the staff the following email:

Hi Everyone,

I am excited to announce a busy PD session tomorrow! I know, I know. I can hear your groans from here. But no! It will be fun! I promise!
2. PAY IT FORWARD: First lesson given by me! (because one should always put their money where their mouth is, my mother told me)
  • Your iPad
  • To download Adobe Voice on your iPad (it is free!)
  • You will need to create an Adobe ID if you don’t already have one. This is the ID you use to sign in to any of Adobe’s products. Give yourself a minute to figure this out.
  • Please make sure you have the Socrative student app as well. This is different from the Teacher version. Once again it is free!
BEFORE OUR SESSION YOU WILL NEED TO: (this will take you about five minutes. I swear).
  • Watch this brief tutorial on Adobe Voice(about 3.30 minutes)
  • Log in to my classroom on Socrative Student to answer two brief questions. Room #55667 (less than a minute unless you have a lot to say) – I am trying something new here, so it may or may not work – let me know if it doesn’t)
  • Watch my finished product(57 seconds)
Here is the video:

About 3/4 of the staff actually watched the video beforehand and filled in the Socrative quiz, which was a great way to see who watched the video.I also included my finished version of my Adobe Voice movie on Email Etiquette.

The feedback was interesting. I was not expecting the teachers to try the app as they went  through my video- it was meant only as a quick introduction to the app so that we could try it together in the iPad session. Also, one teacher told me that she had to pause and rewind several times as my screens did not match what she was seeing. As well, I didn’t use a script so it is a little choppy and, admittedly, it was kind of weird to use a whiteboard app (Explain Everything) to demonstrate a storytelling app. But I thought using Adobe voice to demonstrate Adobe Voice was just way too meta for me.

However, none of that really mattered. Those who felt like they had enough information to go try it on their own found a quiet place to work on their story. Those who felt like they needed a little more support stayed in class and we went through it step by step with me.

I had scheduled about 40 minutes for this activity – we went a little over, but not much. We even had time to share some of the teachers’ stories!

Part III: What Makes a Good Flipped Video

As Flipping the classroom is increasingly becoming a strategy many teachers are using, a critique of random flipped classroom videos by subject seemed in order. I found one flipped high school video per subject (6 in total) and loaded them on 6 of the iPads from our iPad lab to avoid wasting time finding and clicking on links…

This was the criteria with which the teachers were supposed to rate their videos:

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.37.44 PM

Although we had a little less time for this (I wanted a half hour, but we had twenty minutes left), the feedback from the teachers was very intriguing. They commented on how distracting it was to see the teacher in the videos, or weird verbal/physical tics, and recognized that they themselves have those kind of tics and how important it is to be aware of when you are recording yourself. In some videos the sound quality was not up to par. In others, they really liked how the teacher zoomed in to emphasize certain areas of their subject.

All in all, it was a full but productive morning and I can’t wait to see what the teachers teach us this year!

My Tech Goals for 2015-2016

While I was following up on our Staff personal tech goals last week, I realized that I completely forgot to make my own for this last year. Well, I think it might be time to put my money where my mouth is and actually make my own goals for this coming year.

Please take the time during the summer to think about what you would like to accomplish in terms of integrating technology in your classroom next year! They don’t need to be huge goals – in fact the smaller, more specific, the better! Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

So here I go, trying to take my own advice.

  1. RETHINKING IPADYOUPAD: I am feeling uninspired with this blog. I would like to post more original content, but that takes time. I think next year I will limit my posts to once a week but take the time to explore either an app or a concept in more depth.
  2. MORE FOLLOW-UP WITH PD: I am great at implementing ideas and strategies but I feel like I stumble with my follow through. I would like to have a simple PD plan that involves individual tech goals and where I will check-in after a certain period to see how it is going. These check-in times will be integrated into our Tech PD curriculum.
  3. DEVELOP OUR DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP DIALOGUES WITH THE STUDENTS: This year saw some very rich discussion with the students in terms of privacy and cyber-violence, as well as the more basic aspects of mindful use of technology. I want to continue this work, but more importantly the conversation around all the issues society must think about in terms of living much of their life online:
    1. Privacy (from personal settings to corporate appropriation of one’s data)
    2. Misogyny online
    3. Mindful use and ergonomic aspects
    4. Explore the use of educational game creation to explore these topics
    5. Social Justice online

These topics will be either integrated into relevant topics already in the curriculum, or be stand alone sessions or be led by guest speakers/facilitators. They should happen at least once a term.

That’s all I can think of right now. I am sure as the summer wears on I will think of more!