Virtual School Meanderings

January 22, 2022

This Week in Canadian EdTech Top 10 >>Featured Podcasts>> Dr. Julie Mueller, Laurier U on the Future Role of the Teacher, Rohan Manhimker, Co-CEO Prodigy Learning on Gaming in Education, HundredEd Report K12 Global Innovations & OECD Trends , Issue #290

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 9:06 pm
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An item from a Canadian educational technology organization.

Top 10 Issue #290, January 21, 2021                                       Back Issues click here
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This Week in Canadian EdTech MindshareTV podcast with
Dr. Julie Mueller, Laurier University, Faculty of Education on how the pandemic will impact the Future of Teaching & Learning

Dear Thought Leader,


Happy Friday! We are pleased to see the return to in-class instruction (hopefully a safe return for all!) in a number of provinces across Canada this past week.


Today we are also excited to kickoff the return of our Top 10 Learning & Technology news stories of the week! There is no shortage of insightful and inspiring news from across Canada to share! Do checkout two very fascinating podcasts with Dr. Julie Mueller, Laurier University and Rohan Mahimker, Co-Founder of Canada’s leading education gaming company, Prodigy Learning. Also of interest is the OECD’s Top Education Trends for 2022 and HundredEd’s 100 of the brightest innovations in K12 education from around the world to anyone for free; kudos to ConnectedNorth project and our friends at TakingITGlobal for their honourable mention from Canada.


As I prepare for my first in person conference next week, FETC in Orlando, I am embracing a positive and hopeful ‘mindset’ (my #oneword22 selection!) that we return to some sense of normalcy for the remainder of 2022. Watch for regular updates on our social media channels from the sunshine state!


Mindset in combination with another powerful word bantered around of late–manifest, have inspired our vision for our 2022 tagline, “Leading Innovation in Education.”


Additionally for 2022, we plan to have a greater focus on impacting the North American Learning & Technology community through our CanAM EdTech Monthly Report and strategic consulting service, given the exponential growth of EdTech and desire for Canadian companies to expand into U.S. to serve a vastly larger student market.  Our data shows that one third of our readership of the Canadian EdTech Report are based in the U.S. and several other countries around the world. Proudly our high performing education systems are of great interest our growing international readership.

I hope you enjoy this week’s Top 10 curated news stories that really provide a national and international lens and pulse for some of the incredible innovation happening across our vast Canadian landscape and beyond.


Special thanks to you, our loyal readership, our team, board of advisors and valued partners, who enable us to share and stay connected with you on a weekly basis through our growing community.


Please do connect with us to share news, suggest a MindShareTV podcast guest, or inquire about our strategic consulting services.


Until next time, stay healthy, stay safe and keep the learning curve steep!

P.S. Do plan to join us for our 23rd CanAm VIP EdTech Meetup at FETC either in person or online via our remo partnership, Thursday, January 27th, 5pm ET. Click here to register!
Robert Martellacci, M.A. EdTech
President, MindShare Learning Technology™
Chief Digital Publisher, The MindShare Learning Report™
Founder, MindShare Workspace
CEO & Co-founder, C21 Canada™

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This Week in Canadian EdTech MindShareTV Podcast with
Rohan Mahimker, Co-CEO, Prodigy Game on Gaming in Education and What’s Next game based learning 

Featured Book of the Week
Better EdTech Buying for Educators  
Based on interviews with experts in the field, this booklet offers real-world examples of how educators can become active players in the procurement decision-making process.
Frontline educators have a unique and invaluable perspective on adoption of edtech solutions that no other stakeholders have.
They know what learning goals are difficult to achieve, have “on-the-ground” knowledge of what is age- and task-appropriate and know what tools students are more or less likely to use. Educators also have their own requirements for edtech solutions, for example, ease of use and accessible data to help them make informed decisions.
K-12 Top News Stories
1. Canadian parents share relief, concern as several provinces send kids back to school, January 17, 2022
Elementary and high school students in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Nunavut are poised to return to classrooms this week.
The Omicron wave has had an outsized impact on COVID-19 case management across the country, and several provinces are eschewing traditional case counts as a metric for the spread of the coronavirus in schools, which has led to difficult decisions for parents worried both about the safety of their children as well as the impact of virtual learning on their education and mental health.
2. HundrED Global Collection: 2022 highlights 100 of the brightest innovations in K12 education from around the world to anyone for free, January 19, 2022
3. Alberta educators ‘disappointed’ with new e-tutoring website, January 18, 2022
The Alberta government’s new e-tutoring hub launched as a resource to help students who may have fallen behind amid COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, but it’s receiving lacklustre support from educators.
Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange announced details of the website on Jan. 5 and it launched on Jan. 11 with six, pre-recorded videos meant for students in Grades 4 to 9 to strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills.
4. OECD Trends Shaping Education 2022, January 18, 2022
Did you ever wonder what the impact of climate change will be on our educational institutions in the next decade? What does it mean for schools that our societies are becoming more individualistic and diverse? Trends Shaping Education is a triennial report examining major economic, political, social and technological trends affecting education.
5. Canada-based edtech partners with Saudi’s Tetco to drive digital education initiatives December 26, 2021
Now that remote schooling has become part of our everyday vocabulary, the role of technology in driving best teaching practices has been significantly emphasised.
Smart Technologies, a Canada-based edtech software company, has capitalised on that by signing a multiyear agreement with Tatweer Educational Technologies (Tetco), the technology arm of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education, to drive the kingdom’s educational technology (edtech) transformation agenda.
Post-Secondary Top News
6. Alberta launches international program to recruit tech labour January 13, 2022
Alberta is taking steps to fill labour deficits in the tech industry through international recruitment. The Accelerated Tech Pathway, announced Thursday, will target sector-specific skill sets through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program in an effort to help staff a rapidly expanding industry.
7. Waterloo launches sustainable flight school competition for students, January 19, 2022
The University of Waterloo is launching a student competition that seeks net-zero energy and carbon-neutral performance designs for a sustainable flight school of the future.
Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA) is partnering with the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC), Alsim Flight Training Solutions, and the Region of Waterloo International Airport to host the competition.
8. Bell Let’s Talk announces $1M in funding for post-secondary student mental health programs, January 12, 2022
MONTRÉAL, Jan. 12, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell Let’s Talk today announced that $1 million in grants from the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund have been awarded to 16 Canadian colleges, universities and cégeps to support them in implementing initiatives that align with the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students (the Standard) or the Québec Action Plan on Student Mental Health for Higher Education (Québec Action Plan).
For a second time, Niagara College and its partners will play virtual host to female high school students across Niagara who will explore careers in trades and technology. Exploring Your Future – Dream It, Believe It, Do It is a partnership between NC, the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), Niagara Catholic District School Board (Niagara Catholic), Skills Ontario and event sponsor Ontario Power Generation (OPG), to make female students aware of the many lucrative career pathways that exist in industries they may not have traditionally considered.
10. Free program helps Edmonton-area small businesses succeed in the digital economy January 19, 2022
A group of students led out of the University of Alberta School of Business has been charged with helping the Capital Region’s small businesses get ahead of the pandemic-induced warp-speed retail overhaul that is pushing customers online in droves.
The students are at the heart of the new Digital Economy Program (DEP), a free initiative that sees a team of U of A students help build the online presence of small businesses in the Edmonton area, whether that’s adding e-commerce, creating a social media plan or even designing a website.
FETC Conference
January 25-28, 2022
ICTC-CTIC Horizon: 2022 Digital Future Summit
February 1-2, 2022
CB&A Expert Series: Top EdTech Trends in North America for 2022
February 2, 2022 @1pm CT
DELL Technologies Virtual Education Roadshow
February 17, 2022
Cosn 2022
April 11-13, 2022
ISTE Live 2022: Empowering Educators. Elevating Equity.
June 26-29, 2022

Parent Corner

Parent Teaching Resources 
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2. Media Smarts Parent Resources 
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3. Samsung Interactive Classroom
Create a more collaborative and engaging teaching and learning experience with Samsung Digital Signage for Education and OKTOPUS software.

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The MindShare Learning Report team is made up of the following individuals:

Robert Martellacci, M.A. Ed Tech., Chief Digital Publisher

Dr. Ron Owston, PhD., Research Associate, University Professor Emeritus, Former Dean of Faculty, York University
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Timothy Gard, B.Ed., OCT, M.A, Chief Learning Strategist
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The MindShare Report is grateful for the guidance and support provided by our esteemed advisory board. Members include:

Laurent Burman, M.B.A., Chief Commercial Officer, Sound Commerce
Kevin Custer, Founding Principal, Arc Capital Development
Chip Fesko, Principal, Chip Fesko & Associates
Ian Fogarty, Educator, Riverview High School | MindShare National Video Challenge Award Winner
Dr. GuyTetrault, Award Winning Sun West School Division, Director & CEO  (Retired)
Michael Furdyk, Co-Founder, TakingItGlobal
Dr. Eric Hamilton, Associate Dean of Education, Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Maxim Jean-Louis, CEO, Contact North/Contact Nord,
Gary Kern, Principal, St. George’s School
Dr. Susanne Lajoie, Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University
David Marsi, Senior Manager Training Initiatives, ScotiaMcLeod
Mirella Rossi, Superintendent of Education, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
Sandra Chow, Award Winning Teacher, Toronto District School Board (On Leave serving as a Director of Technology & Instruction at a School in China
Ron Sedran, MD, Equity Capital Markets, Canaccord Adams

About The MindShare Learning Report™   Canada’s Learning & Technology eMagazine.

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The PD You Need Now Is 30% Off!

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:04 pm
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An item from the folks at ISTE.

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Standards In Practice: NSQ Online Programs

An item from this “national standards” initiative.

Standard Highlight:  Online Programs

Standard L: Faculty and Staff Support
L1:   The program provides and encourages participation in induction and mentoring programs.
L2:  Teachers are provided regular feedback regarding their performance and student achievement/progress.
L3:  The program provides a wide variety of professional development opportunities to faculty and staff, which are aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.
L4:  The program provides professional development opportunities to guide staff focused on student needs unique to online learning and the network of services available to support online learning.

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Short description:   Teacher evaluation and professional development, when done effectively, should support each other. The evaluation process identifies areas in which the teacher can grow, and professional development provides an opportunity for the teacher to grow. The evaluation process then gives the teacher additional feedback to guide their growth and their continued growth in the profession. Using both together well can help you avoid your next performance review from becoming an Awkward Performance Review.

In This Issue: Access the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA) resource to learn more about how IDLA structures professional development to help provide both required and individualized professional development opportunities to teachers.

Helpful Hints for putting standard into practice

  • Align teams. If Supervision and Professional Development responsibilities lie with different team members, connect teams and team members as much as possible. The evaluation and professional development cycle is ongoing and regular. Consistent communication will ensure each team is informing the other so they can support the needs of their teachers.

  • Create the cycle. Empower principals to use individual professional learning plans within the annual teacher evaluation cycle. Consider building a calendar for regular check-ins between principal and teacher for conversations reviewing progress toward the teacher’s annual growth goal.

  • Resources! Utilize veteran teachers and principals in a coaching role, if possible. Provide both teachers and principals with the resources (people, information, and learning opportunities) they need in order to meet their specific goals.

  • Create a culture of growth. Teachers working in an environment where evaluation is a hammer will not feel safe working with their principal to identify areas of growth. Teacher and principal conversations need to be a safe space where teachers can be open about their needs without fear of being penalized on their next evaluation.
  • Align to standards. Align both teacher evaluation instruments and organization PD opportunities to the NSQ Standards. Conduct annual review of evaluation to determine possible gaps within professional development in the organization. The alignment to standards ensures the conversation, both with evaluation and PD, is in the same language.
  • Choice. Provide teachers an opportunity to target specific professional growth needs as part of their annual professional development.

Resources to support standard use

Author/Organization Bio 

Jeff Simmons is the Director of Supervision and Instruction for the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA). Jeff holds an MA in Education Leadership from the University of Idaho, and a BA in Social Studies and English Education from Northwest Nazarene University. Jeff has worked in public education since 2001 and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Idaho.

Erin McCracken serves as the Professional Development Lead at Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA). She has a MA in Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix and a BA in Communication from Boise State University.

Check out the NSQ Professional Learning Portal and NSQ Website for more resources at

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Student centered teaching in hybrid schools

An item from the folks at the Digital Learning Collaborative.  Now I normally agree with John on most items, but there are a number of issues I would take with this entry.

The first is with the title.  If learning has occurred, how is that not student-centered?  I know the idea is to contrast a teacher who is lecturing, compared to some other form of instruction – which is often presented in a way that lecturing is bad.  But this notion of teacher-centered vs. student-centered is great education lingo, but when you actually examine it is kind of meaningless.    It is the same thing with sage on the stage vs. guide on the side – which is also presented that one is good and one is bad.  It is somewhat magical that anyone learned anything prior to the 1980s-90s, when these notions were first discussed and all of these “bad” practices were finally identified and appropriately shamed.  It also implies that the role of the teacher is minimum in this so-called student centered learning, like we can just do group work or have a discussion or let students become makers and it’ll magically happen without significant teacher planning and – even (heaven forbid) – direct teacher involvement!

The second is this notion that focusing on making sure that students learn how student learn best.  I’d love for someone to point me to the instrument or tool that identifies how each of the students in my class – or any class – learns best, so that I can use it, accurately identify every single student, and then provide only the type of instruction that the student requires and nothing else.  I think you all see the problem here – and I know that this is not exactly what John is suggesting, but the reality is that this language or edu-speak was born out of this notion of individual student learning styles (which has been found to be junk science, but – unfortunately – is still regularly used).

I mention both of these things as issues because while I doubt John is intending to suggest that lecturing is bad or that students’ individual learning styles exist and/or can be accurately measured, but the reality is that if we continue to use the same language it both confounds the issue and gives oxygen to those things that we may not be supporting.

Basically, language matters and too often in education we use terms without thinking about the larger connotations of what those words mean and how they are often used to support a particular kind of narrative.

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Student centered teaching in hybrid schools


The last blog post ended with this observation:

Too much of public education is clinging to practices that don’t serve students. Instead, we need to create more spaces, for more students, to learn in the ways they learn best.

The examples exist.

Two additions to that final line: 1) the examples are often in schools that are using technology to eliminate time and space barriers, and 2) many mainstream observers are apparently unaware of these online and hybrid schools.

As an example, let’s look at “student centered teaching.” “Student-centered” is a popular and commonly used term. But many descriptions, while useful in some ways, don’t go very far in terms of providing actionable implementation suggestions. In addition, many such characterizations overlook the innovative hybrid schools in which student-centered instruction is not only happening, but is built into the core pedagogical approach of the school.

For example, a Larry Cuban’s recent blog post describes student-centered learning using two photos that he describes as follows:

“The dead-give-aways in these photos, however, are the furniture arrangement (e.g., no rows of desks) and the small group activity (e.g., students talk and work with one another). Those two clues are often sufficient to describe the lesson–at least what is captured in a snapshot–as student-centered.”

Cuban then goes on to describe the history of student-centered teaching:

“As with any set of teaching practices, there is a history to the tradition of student-centered instruction…student-centered lessons go back to the mid-19th century but gained most prominence during the early decades of the 20th century with the progressive education movement…”


“the student-centered tradition of instruction refers to classrooms where students exercise a substantial degree of responsibility for what is taught and how it is learned. Teachers see children as more than brains; they bring to school an array of physical, psychological, emotional, and intellectual needs plus experiences that require both nurturing and prodding.”

Finally, he notes that such schools still exist but are uncommon:

“scattered public and private schools still committed to child-centered instruction exist in public schools such as Prairie Creek Community School in Northfield (MN), Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston (MA), and Camarillo Academy of Progressive Education in Camarillo (CA).”

This is where he, and other mainstream education observers, get it wrong—because they miss all the hybrid schools that are built around this type if instruction.

(Online schools are also often student-centered, but their practices are so different from traditional schools that a direct comparison is difficult within the confines of a blog post.)

How do we know that hybrid schools are built around student-centered teaching? Because we’ve seen such teaching in action. For example, here are three pictures from Elevation, a hybrid school in the Cherry Creek district in Colorado:

These pictures clearly show the two markers that Larry Cuban mentioned: small group activities and “furniture arrangements” that facilitate student-centered teaching, which is a core element of the instructional approach at Elevation.

Elevation is an outlier in the world of public education, but not an outlier in the much smaller niche of hybrid schools. Just in Colorado we have Springs StudioPoudre Global AcademyThe Village High School, and others. Crossroads FLEX serves students in North Carolina, Taos Academy in New Mexico, Oasis in California, Valor Prep in Arizona…the list goes on.

Still, I have to wonder: If a reporter called the districts, county offices, or states that host and/or authorize these schools, asking about the best examples of student-centered teaching and learning, would these schools be offered up? Are they top of mind for people outside of our relatively small world?

I don’t think so. There is lots of work to be done in 2022 and beyond, to share these stories.

Thanks to Elevation and Principal Kristy Hart for hosting a visit, and for providing these pictures!
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Mitigating the Impact of Pandemic-Disrupted Learning

This webinar may be of interest to some readers.

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Finding New Ways to Mitigate the Impact
of Pandemic-Disrupted Learning


Every student deserves the opportunity to get back on track and feel confident in their learning. In this session, education leaders will share student success stories from various nonprofit partnerships, like The NROC Project, and how they have implemented proven measures to help fill student knowledge gaps.

Among the panelists will be Dr. Samuel West, District P-16 Director at Houston Community College, where he provides leadership for all K-12 programs in the seven public school districts throughout the greater Houston area. We will also explore Ivy Tech’s Knowledge Assessment Initiative, an award-winning program implemented in 2020 under the direction of Gwenn Eldridge, who will be our other panelist for this session.

The NROC Project is a national nonprofit organization collaborating with secondary, postsecondary, and adult education leaders to develop digital courses and web-based tools that improve college readiness, retention, and success.

Meet students where they are.

The NROC Project | PO Box 222156 Carmel, CA 93922

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