Virtual School Meanderings

November 17, 2016

Top 10 MSL Report Canada — STEM Special Edition

One for my Canadian readers to start the day…

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November 2016

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Dear Thought Leader,

To question whether to embrace STEM or STEAM is no longer an option in education. This global movement has caught on in Canada with a storm (pun intended!).

Our Top 10 is a testament to the passion educators share across Canada in implementing STEM based learning. Brian Aspinall is a great case in point. Be sure to checkout my video interview with Brian, who is one of the most inspirational and engaging teachers I’ve ever met!

Innovation is no longer an option for provincial, district and school leaders. Career opportunities will no doubt be a driver in accelerating the pace of change in this regard. As a member of the national ICTC Education Task force, it has provided me with a deeper appreciation of the need for all of us to do our part in adopting an ‘innovator’s mindset’ to help our youth prepare for careers of tomorrow.

It’s hard to believe C21 Canada recently celebrated its 5th anniversary! Be sure to checkout the release of the C21 Spiral Playbook. It’s an honour to be a part of the organization. We’re always looking for passionate leaders from education and industry to join us!

It has never been a more exciting time to be in education in Canada. As leaders, I challenge you to inspire your colleagues, be it in education or on the industry side of the ledger, to step-up and embrace the innovative spirit that is helping nurture and engage today’s learners for a brighter future.

Watch for our December MindShare Report Special Coding Edition along with our 7th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit highlights!

Until next time, keep the digital learning curve steep!

Robert Martellacci
M.A. EdTech
Chief Digital Curator, The MindShare Learning Report™
President, MindShare Learning Technology

1. A Halloween spirited Interview with Brian Aspinall on STE(A)M, showcasing new tech and the 7th Canadian EdTech Summit


Brian is a public school teacher in Ontario, Canada on a mission to hack education by coding a classroom for students to create, communicate, think critically and collaborate and highlights his current work with Fair Chance Learning.

Follow Brian on Twitter @mraspinall

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2. Spiral Playbook Review – By Tim Gard, Chief Digital Learning Strategist

Inquiry-based learning, regardless of the flavour, abounds in Canadian schools. And there is a good reason for this. It works. It works because it meets the needs of today’s learners and teachers, and it embraces the future now. C21 presents The Spiral Playbook: Leading with an inquiring mindset in school systems and schools. If you are hoping to see a change in the way education is delivered, to empower leaders in education to have the right tools and to re-focus their leadership using solid data to meet the demands of the classroom today, and tomorrow, then a ‘playbook’ is essential. The Spiral Playbook believes, as most who have been invested in changing our system of education, that we must change our way of doing things.


We must encourage dynamic learning contexts fostered by curiosity. We must embrace more innovative ways to learn, teach and lead. It’s time to come together, to take risks, and to make every effort to change and enhance our current way of doing education.

Read More

3. From STEM to STEAM

Preparing Canadian students for the challenge of change.After 18 months of study, a panel of experts brought together by the Council of Canadian Academies published a report last year that emphasized the critical importance to Canada and Canadians of STEM skills.

Read More

4. C21 Canada Announces the release of the Spiral Playbook at MaRSDD

C21 Canada and the CEO Academy provides a national forum for education leaders to share ideas and build capacity for system-wide transformation.  The organization brings together executive leaders of school districts and knowledge-sector businesses who share the belief that 21st century competencies and innovations in learning must be scaled on an urgent basis. The Spiral Playbook: Leading with an inquiring mindset in school systems and schools points the way forward.  It describes a sustainable approach to professional inquiry that aims to transform how educators learn and lead – with teams and across networks.Read More

Order your copies of the Spiral Playbook. View the Spiral Playbook, the Quick Reference Guide or download a Slide Presentation.

Follow @C21Playbook on Twitter and #SOI to post a comment or question.

5. FreshGrade COO says the Traditional Education System is Starting to Embrace Tech

On the latest episode of The Disruptors, co-host Amber Kanwar sat down with Chris Besse, the president and COO of FreshGrade, who discussed how Kelowna-based FreshGrade is changing the status quo on how students learn and interact with teachers and parents.

Read More

6. Brexit will put new Canadian head of Cambridge University to the test

When Canadian academic Stephen Toope takes over running Cambridge University next year, he’ll face an institution grappling with some of the biggest challenges in its 807-year history.

Read More

7. Girls Who Code Launches Community-Building App for Young Female Coders

National nonprofit Girls Who Code has launched its Girls Who Code Loop app, a community for female coders to meet and get to know each other. Available on iOS and Android for free, the aps includes announcements college, jobs and internships related to coding, as well as a space for users to comment and ask questions of each other.

Read More


8. Nova Scotia teachers vote overwhelmingly in support of strike mandate

Teachers in Nova Scotia could be on strike before Christmas after 96 per cent of the 9,300 public school members voted in favour of job action Tuesday.”Public school teachers have spoken loud and clear,” said Liette Doucet, Nova Scotia Teachers Union president, in a news release sent out Tuesdaynight.

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9. The Innovator’s Mindset Blog – by George Couros

My first book, “The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity” is now available at Amazon. Below is the current table of contents which will house additional links, resources, and discussion questions for each chapter. I wanted to provide this as a space that brings the book to life, and encourage people to go deeper into what in the content, provide links and questions to guide any book chats on the topic.

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10. Canada lagging in push to teach kids computer coding

Armed with rope, pictures and elephant headbands, it looks like this group of nine-year-olds is setting up a huge game of hopscotch. But they’re really laying out the biggest thing to hit British schools in a century.

As the students direct each other through the grid they’ve built, they’re learning the basic fundamentals of computer coding, in the process moving beyond how to use computers to how computers work.

Read More

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