Virtual School Meanderings

November 25, 2021

CANeLearn November 2021 Newsletter

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:09 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

And a newsletter from our Canadian colleagues.

No images? Click here

Photo credit: Ellen Kinsel

Welcome to the November CANeLearn News.

This month those of us based in BC saw the best and worst of humanity on display again, this time cast against nature’s turbulent tapestry that is now battering the East coast.  It causes one to ponder how to expect the unexpected – pandemic, wildfire, flood, road closure, power outage, gas shortage, post-pandemic hoarding… are we ever really prepared?

Yet beauty remains.  Without experiencing the worst we can never truly appreciate the best as depicted in another elegant picture from Ellen.  Thank you for the visual reflection.  This month brings reminders and curations worth exploring (scroll down!).


  • Help us define quality for online learning – take the 10+ minutes to complete the design principles questions here (scroll down for more details) – We need your voice and help this week to build pan-Canadian quality online principles
  • Together we are stronger – consider leading or facilitating discussion at our April 6-8 symposium by adding your own proposal here – Register later for half off of the regular onsite registration – Join skill-building workshops, strategic planning and sharing discussions, and networking in a relaxed, social atmosphere – Info Here

Watch for announcements in January regarding the online program of our hybrid April 6-8 event – Proposals welcome for the online program!

In closing

We formed our network to share and learn and CANeLearn is holding steady on that track.  If you have comments or suggestions about our direction, please email me at  I am proud to serve you and our network colleagues.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter #CANeLearn, Facebook, or YouTube.

Please forward this on to others in your own networks using the tools at the bottom.

Read, watch, listen

Blended Learning: The Ultimate Resource Guide for 2021 – SMART Technologies

There are likely as many definitions of blended learning as there are education practitioners. Although there’s nothing terribly new about using technology in the classroom or pedagogical practices that promote competency-based progress, the term blended learning has gained new prominence, and it’s time for an agreed-upon definition. This guide exists to help discuss, develop, and improve K-12 education to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.

Read the full article here

How Much Do You Know About PD on Tech?

Once you complete the quiz, you can see how your score compares to your peers, get the correct answers with detailed explanations, and be provided with additional readings and resources on the topic.

Take the quiz here

#OTESSA22 Call for Proposals DUE DEC 15

The Open/Technology, Education, Scholarship and Society Association (OTESSA) is excited to announce the call for proposals for the upcoming #OTESSA22 online conferenceOTESSA 2022 will take place between May 16-19, 2022. With a theme of Critical Change, the conference encourages researchers and practitioners to share their scholarship on the complexities that technology and open educational practice raise for education, society, and scholarship, as well as to come together to build connections, collaborations, and critical conversations.

Get more information here

12 guiding principles for teaching with technology – still relevant?

In Tony Bates’ 1995 book, he suggested 12 golden rules for using technology in education and training. It should be remembered that when he first drafted these ‘rules’, three years before the book was published, the World Wide Web was not in general use in education, and there were almost no fully online courses. How many of these principles still apply today?

Read the full article here

Global Oxford University Press report reveals the most significant barrier to online learning

Oxford University Press published a new report which explored the digital divide in education following the shift to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sixty-eight percent of the teachers surveyed in this report felt that poor digital access (physical access to the internet or a device) was the most significant barrier to online learning. Another finding was that 61 percent of the teachers felt that their greatest challenge during the pandemic was engaging students in online sessions.

Read the full article here and access the report here

Kids who learned remotely felt they ‘mattered less’ than peers studying in-person, study suggests

A study of Canadian students suggests that children who learned remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic reported they felt they ‘mattered less’ than their peers who studied in person. Researchers examined students’ perceptions of mattering during the pandemic in relation to in-person versus online learning.

Read the full article here

Pandemic’s online-learning evolution spells the end of snow days

When COVID-19 shuttered classrooms, it forced the adoption of technology that allowed students to learn from home – and its successful use means the Thames Valley District school board is now doing away with the unscheduled days off that were a rite of winter for generations across the region. The change won’t be popular with students — and it’s getting a frosty reception from teachers, too.

Read the full article here

Photo by @scottgraham on Unsplash

The Future of Blended Learning: What Educators Need to Know

The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings. About two-thirds of educators are expecting their use of the approach to increase during the 2021-22 school year, according to a July survey by the EdWeek Research Center. Nearly 30 percent said they were betting it would “increase a lot.” Just 14 percent expected it to decline.

Read the full article here

Hybrid and Blended Learning: Poor Planning and Rising Opportunities in Uncertain Times

The 2021-22 school year is already turning into a bumpy ride for many schools as misplaced early-summer optimism and the sometimes-rigid priorities limited the ability of educators to put in place flexible plans for teaching and learning and the use of educational technology. Yet some schools and districts did take a more forward-thinking and flexible approach for this school year. This report examines the role of digital learning to help schools face the rising challenges of this school year and experiment with new instructional approaches.

Read the full article here

Oregon Middle School Returns to Online Learning After Fights

A middle school in Oregon will return to online learning this week, but not because of COVID-19. Reynolds Middle School says it will cancel in-person learning for three weeks to develop safety protocols to address student fights and other inappropriate behaviour. The school returned to in-person learning this fall but that return has been interrupted by COVID-19 cases among students and staff and the resulting quarantines. Students are “struggling with socialization skills” after such turmoil and need more social and emotional support.

Read the full article here

Many teens still struggling with condensed school schedules, but relief is coming — for some

To keep students in cohorts and minimize contacts, pandemic-altered schedules have them learn fewer subjects at one time, but spend much longer in each class daily. Yet students must also progress quickly through those subjects before moving onto different courses since they’re expected to take the same total number of courses across the school year overall. These condensed schedules are taking a toll, say both students and school staff. Though some regions are planning to resume more normal timetables based on local public health advice, others are sticking with the modified ones for the rest of the school year.

Read the full article here

Québec tried to keep schools open during the pandemic. Here’s what high school students experienced

Ever since schools closed in March 2020, COVID-19 brought a new reality into our lives. For adolescents, daily routines were transformed as schools closed, and students faced drastic changes in the way they learned. Research has shown that at least three aspects of teenagers’ lives are important for the development of their identity: feeling assured they have parental support, feeling competent, and being able to adopt a self-reflective attitude regarding the future. These aspects are developed through positive, secure, and stable relationships at school or at home, which in turn are an important asset for resiliency. The study examined adolescents’ perceptions of their adjustment, routines, state of mind, and relationships with friends, teachers, and families.

Read the full article here

Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

Taking the pulse of online learning in Canada

CANeLearn continues to build on its past research of online and blended learning and is embarking on building a base for quality in online pedagogy (see more about the design principles study here).

What we have published:

For a more recent description of pandemic pedagogy, check out our research site here:

Photo by @eugenechystiakov on Unsplash

Upcoming Studies & CANeLearn Research

Remote Learning – how did we fare?

  • A study of selected jurisdictions across Canada during the pandemic;
  • Successful practices; and
  • Where gaps and challenges occurred.

Post-pandemic policy and practice – implications for online learning’s future

  • A publication analyzing pandemic policy and impacts.

Add your voice to defining quality online

CANeLearn is using design principles to inform quality for online learning and champion effective practices for blended, online, remote, and hybrid learning models that have emerged during the pandemic.  if you have not completed our questionnaire, please take the time now to help us meet this challenge.

Please help us contribute to this effort!  It only takes 10-15 minutes of your time.

Click here to complete the CANeLearn Questionnaire

The survey is open for a limited time, complete it today!

Learn with us – Share with us

2022 Digital Learning Symposium!

April 6-8, 2022

Present, Facilitate, Share

Save 50% on registration

Call for proposals

Book your hotel room at the 2020 rate – $185!

Rate available before & after event


Classroom Activities

Online or Face-to-Face


Photo by Zbyněk Skrčený on Unsplash

Child Friendly Calls to Action

PDF booklet is a youth-friendly guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 94 Calls to Action.

Resources for the Digital Classroom


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

From previous newsletters…

WEBSITES you didn’t know you NEEDED to know!!

A collection of video resources of websites you did not know you need! This is the winner from Jen Giffen’s BlendEd BC Demo Slam

Back to School 2021-2022: Create a plan that leverages tech effectively and supports students’ digital well-being

Identify the best teaching tools for your classroom. Engage students and families around positive tech use. Support students’ emotional development as they use media for learning and for life. Links to resources.

Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All
When we try to replicate classroom experiences in an online environment, it’s easy to think of video conferencing as our go-to tool for all sorts of learning objectives—and for good reason. Most of us have participated in a video conference at work or had a video chat with friends or family at some point. We like the idea of being able to see and hear our students while interacting with them in real time just like we do when teaching face to face. But there are two key factors that make this approach problematic.

Teaching Online Resources
The online teaching experience involves pedagogical methods that can be very different from those that many instructors are accustomed to using in a face-to-face environment. Fostering self-directed learning in a digital environment, conceptualizing the learning goals and methods of assessments, requires learner-centered practices and intentional instructional design.  Includes resources providing foundational support for teaching online.

Frameworks, Tools, Resources
A directory of links to resources compiled by BCcampus. Updated frequently.

Information Directory: Blogs and Opinions, Books and Videos, News, Research and Reports
An information directory created to fill the need for Canadian-based information, specifically British Columbia, on open education; however, content from many English-speaking countries is included. This is an ongoing resource that is updated as information becomes available.

Embracing Ways of Knowing
BCcampus supported the co-creation of the OER Pulling Together: A Guide for the Indigenization of Post-secondary Institutions. These resources are designed to

  • Engage with varying audiences, including administration and educational leadership, teaching faculty, student services personnel, researchers, and instructional designers;
  • Include resources and considerations on meaningful and authentic engagement;
  • Supplement rather than replace training currently offered.


Conferencing Tools for teaching & learning: Best practices
Included are considerations for general etiquette, hosting virtual office hours, facilitating group work and presentations, lecturing, showing videos, hosting external presenters, and managing the space. Additionally, theoretical frameworks to support best practices when teaching online are provided.

A UK program of professional learning by and for teachers to support the pedagogy of blended learning. BlendEd helps teachers, school leaders, and other educators design effective teaching and learning that makes the most of digital technologies – in the classroom and from home, live and self-paced, in-person and online.

Creating and Using Rubrics for Assessment
Useful ideas for creating and using rubrics with guidelines for assessing a wide variety of activities, including e-portfolios, video and multimedia projects, teamwork, and research process.

Tips to Make Your LMS Content Accessible
While focused on Moodle, the information contained in this post can be applied to any LMS.

Designing for Accessibility (PDF posters) 
Includes tips for designing content for accessibility for special needs such as autism, dyslexia, users of screen readers, low vision, physical or motor disabilities, deaf or hard of hearing, and anxiety.

An Important Distance Learning Resource for Teachers, Students, and Parents

Wide Open School offers free learning activities for all grades. Students can browse activities related to various subjects including social studies, emotional wellbeing, reading and writing, math, arts, music, science, English language learning, digital citizenship, and more. Within each of these activities, you can search for materials by grade level or search label. You can for instance search for activities that include videos, worksheets, lessons, etc. Some of these activities offer free downloadable materials. You can also share them to Google Classroom.

Tools for Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning, or PBL, challenges students to design and engage in more authentic, extended, and complex learning. But while PBL is a trusted strategy for increasing student engagement and learning, it’s not easy to orchestrate. If you’re doing it right, students will be engaging in a variety of interest-driven projects all with various needs and on different schedules. So how do you manage it all? Tech can be a huge help. This list gathers some useful productivity and organization tools that can help both teachers and students keep track of, finish, and assess projects. There are also a few tools designed specifically for PBL, as well as plug-and-play PBL experiences. Learn about these tools here

Rough Guide for Spotting Bad Science

Being able to evaluate the evidence behind a scientific claim is important. Being able to recognize bad science reporting, or faults in scientific studies is equally important. Includes 12 points to help separate the science from the pseudoscience. Download the PDF here

ABC Learning Design 

Spreadsheet template to facilitate the collaborative design of learning scenarios. Check it out here

CANeLearn’s Emergency Remote Teaching Resources, Tools, Ideas 

  • CANeLearn has published a page with a collection of resources from other organizations, emerging tools, and ideas about pivoting to remote teaching
  • Check it out here

Adventures in Archives

Check out links to past CANeLearn events

Featured Event

  • CANeLearn researched what K-12 school districts across Canada have offered in the way of programming and supports during the pandemic.  Check out the research project website for reports, recordings, and slide decks.

All archives here

Stay Connected!

  • Use #CANeLearn to stream specific items of interest to members. Join the conversation!
  • Follow @CANeLearn, “like” us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel
  • Check out our Members’ Site
  • Join CANeLearn – only $50 for associate membership!

The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) is a Canadian registered not-for-profit society with a vision to be the leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning.  CANeLearn provides members with networking, collaboration, and research opportunities..

CANeLearn promotes effective practice in online and blended learning; fosters community and facilitates interaction among online and blended learning educators; and connects educators to online and blended learning organizations.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: