Exploring TAB & Technology in Art Education


My team and I are at the beginning of a new learning journey — one that is both exciting and intimidating.  I have never been more grateful to be part of a strong team, since our leadership skills are bound to be challenged and enhanced.

Our goal is to improve our own teaching methods in art education by adopting the philosophy behind TAB, which stands for Teaching for Artistic Behaviour.  Rather than providing simple skill-building opportunities for our students, we hope to emphasize the importance of creativity in response to civic and social responsibilities.  If students realize that they can take advantage of tasks to build upon their knowledge and strengths, we believe that their character and creativity will prosper.

Throughout this paradigm shift, we will be using technology as an integral tool to document our learning, to share resources with other educators and to provide several choices for our students.  These choices are not limited to creative tools, such as online editing, but include several options for capturing and sharing their learning processes:  blog posts, videos, podcasts and images will complement each task.  Ideally, by providing a strong framework for proper documentation, students will begin to assess their learning and their work will directly relate to our Ministry’s creative and critical processes.

Ideally, we will develop a platform that will become a resource for other art educators in Ontario, similar to the Portal developed by Apex art educators, Melissa Purtee and Ian Sands.  We also hope to consult with other TAB educators from whom we can gain valuable insights and knowledge:  Katherine Douglas (artist, educator and author), Jean Barnett and Julie Toole (and others).

We have a lot to learn, which means that we will need to balance pedagogy with andragogy (and maybe even heutagogy<– thank you for the resource, Brenda Sherry) because we really don’t want to keep this learning to ourselves.

If you have suggestions or advice for our team, please leave a comment for us.  Thanks.








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I am sitting on a plane, on my way back to Thunder Bay from Toronto, after #TLLP2016.  Three days devoted to learning more about our project, clarifying our thinking and working toward our goals.  I am so thankful that Lindsay and Stephen are my teammates; their strengths are already making this experience unforgettable.  They are incredibly focused on our goals and offer a multitude of perspectives to consider whenever we approach a new topic or conversation.  Their collective experiences add momentum to our growth, pushing us all to want to work to our potential.


Several educators mentioned the respect, encouragement and support they felt throughout the TLLP summit.  These conversations could be seen as anecdotal evidence for OTF and the Ministry of Education, a clear indicator of goals that have been achieved as well as momentum for the future.

We celebrated the continued success of the TLLP project by sharing a 10th Anniversary cake, which means that this year’s participants are part of  a very select group:  the tenth cohort!  I can’t imagine how wonderful it must be for those who founded such a successful project and have been able to see it flourish over the past ten years.

As I sat listening to Ann Lieberman discuss the research behind the project, I understood why she had been nicknamed “the grandmother of the TLLP”.  Her passion coupled with her sincerity, provides all participants with the encouragement that is so vital to leaders who are learning to navigate a new world.  I hope she realizes the depth of her impact, and how grateful we are for all of her hard work.

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We happened to strike up a conversation with Patty Hajdu, who we met just before boarding our flight home.  What a great opportunity to discuss our project, the TLLP process, and potential collaborations with our MP.  We were very proud to mention how the TLLP is a partnership, supporting educators from school boards across Ontario with the help of OTF and the Ministry of Education.


* A special note of thanks to my friends at OTF and the Ministry of Education, for asking me to share my experiences from a past TLLP project.  Mike was right:  I did enjoy it after all!

**A link to the 2014 TLLP Summit:  >click here<     (Lindy & Ann:  check out our picture!)

Posted in Art Education, Education, Education Reform, leadership, Ontario, TLLP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Andragogy: a New World of Learning

I hadn’t heard the term andragogy until about three weeks ago, when I was listening to a podcast from #EdChat Radio while running on the treadmill.  In this episode, Tom Whitby and Nancy Blair discuss the usefulness of Professional Development with their guest, Claire Signorello.

The distinction between pedagogy and andragogy captured my attention; because I realized that I had made an alarming assumption.  I thought that “pedagogy” simply referred to teaching methodology.  In fact, if you do a quick search on Google, the first definition that pops up is equally generic: the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.  *note: if you hop over to Wikipedia, a more elaborate definition is provided along with a reference to andragogy.

Why is this new knowledge relevant?

This year, I am learning about leadership with a group of aspiring leaders in our school board.  The experience is a humbling one; new concepts and new ways of thinking have me floundering like an awkward fledgling.  I am having to come to terms with what I don’t know in order to move forward, and my pride is feeling the effects.

As leaders-in-training, we are encouraged to think about our potential actions and how they can make an impact within our schools.  The creation of a theory of action seems simple enough, until it is time to decide what you will do, and how this will happen.

Finish the sentence: “If I (insert action here), then (insert outcome here)”

How do I make a decision that will benefit my colleagues?  How do I help them move forward while respecting the way they need to learn?

I love this #sketch by @blackbubbleblue #doodle #art

A photo posted by Colleen Rose (@colleenkr) on

Related reading:

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Green Eggs & Ham: How #SGDSBTC has me thinking “Seuss-style”

Earlier this year, I applied to be a one of our school board’s Tech Champions, and I am so glad to be a part of this dynamic group. Kudos to Stacey Wallwin, who facilitates the learning activities, organizes our meetings and presents us with opportunities to share with others. (I’m not sure how she manages it all so well!)

Above all else, I have noticed a shift in attitudes toward technology-enabled learning and teaching. When the focus of our practice does not dwell on technology for technology’s sake, excitement builds because of the real opportunities that are presented to us in our learning environments.

On the weekend of April 16th & 17th, I attended the first-ever #gafesummit in Thunder Bay along with my fellow tech champs and other people who also volunteered their time. What a whirlwind of intense learning together!

I think it’s important to consider what opportunities can offer to us. For someone like me, attending a #gafesummit is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve enjoyed using technology for about five years, especially because I have found a way to share my voice and connect with others. My students have also been presented with various opportunities and tools that have enabled them to learn and create in new ways. I hesitate to use a word as dramatic as empowerment, but I can’t deny some of the mind-blowing experiences in our classroom. Take a look at just one digital portfolio.

*The picture below provides a link to a wonderful story (or Storify) created by Dave Binette — I loved reading through his experiences at the #gafesummit, but even more, I was excited to see that he is finding ways to use technology to enhance his teaching and learning.

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The thing is, everyone isn’t like me, or even like my #sgdsbtc friends. Some people may not feel like they want to use technology in their class because it isn’t their thing. How can we support people who haven’t been provided with the opportunities they need to move forward?

Some people openly state that “isolation is a choice”, when speaking of educators who don’t embrace technology. I don’t agree. It isn’t as simple as this.

I don’t have the answers but I think that, by examining the questions together, we have a way to move forward. At the very least, open and transparent conversations might provide an invitation for all educators to discuss possibilities for new learning together.






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School vs. Learning


  • the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding  ~ dictionary.com 
  • the act or process of doing what you have been asked or ordered to do ~ merriam-webster
  • the act of complying with a wish, request, or demand; acquiescence ~ the free dictionary


The Huffington Post’s parent-child interview series, #TalkToMe, includes a video with Richard Branson and his son, Sam.  (see the video here)  Richard discusses a variety of topics with his son, but his appreciation of learning captured my attention.  How did he nurture his love of learning?  Outside of school.

“I love learning. I did not like learning at school at all, which is why I left school at 15,” Richard said. “I just love learning about life. And the best way to learn about something is to immerse yourself in it.” ~ Richard Branson


Similarly, John Spencer recently wrote “about things that [he] once hated in school and now love[s]”.  It’s interesting to note how his perspective has allowed him to develop an appreciation for activities like group work & note-taking.  Why the shift?

So, maybe a part of the solution is to give students more agency in their learning. ~ John Spencer


John also mentions his hatred for a certain activity because it was compliance-driven.

School vs. learning.  Compliance vs. agency.

Many of our students struggle — not because of academic rigor, but because they know they would flourish in a different environment.  This will not apply to every situation, but consider the students who challenge their teachers and administration, who don’t participate in class activities, who attend class when it suits them…  Are we quick to judge them because they need to learn how to obey rules, or do they see school as a system that doesn’t meet their needs?

What else do we have to offer students who do not thrive in our school environment?  What needs to change?  How do we appreciate their perceptive qualities (any student who sees school as a system has some serious leadership traits) while they spend a few years learning with us?  What is agency and how do we provide this opportunity?

…or do we accept defeat and remain silent?


*Related reading:  9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us

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Permission to Play

While browsing through Twitter today, I stumbled upon a post shared by John Spencer…

I would have continued to scroll, but I value John’s opinions and I noticed that he mentioned Amy Burvall.  That was all I needed to convince me to click on the link and I’m glad I did.

Amy’s post, “#rawthought: And Our Tools Shape Us“, made me forget all about scrolling through Twitter.  This is the kind of stuff you search for.

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fyi: I’m thankful for Amy’s suggestion to use Medium — …and you can do a lot more than highlighting text.

She was bold enough to gracefully counter the altruistic notion that learning is paramount to technology.  She has guts.  The bonus is that she feeds our hesitant hopes with a few what if possibilities.  Those possibilities hold a lot of potential ~ and this is the territory where innovation flourishes.  The vast unknown.  Unchartered territory.  Projects with no exemplar…

It is time to look for more what if moments.  Fear and routine are lovely little things, but they can take a back seat while you drive. (#BigMagic)

A little dash of magic:  using our green screen & Do Ink, to understand size relationships while studying perspective.

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Let’s Welcome @Dorion8765 to Twitter

It was so great to see a new Twitter account yesterday, especially from my little hometown.  Dave Binette (@djb192) teaches a great group of learners at Dorion Public School, and they are taking a big jump into social media!

My students were excited to see their work yesterday, and wanted to support these young learners by encouraging them with some feedback.


We hope that Mr. Binette’s class will see our post and know that we appreciate their artwork as well as their willingness to share it with the world!  Please consider giving them some support as well, as they begin their journey into a “new world”.

Posted in Art Education, Education, NorthWestern Ontario, Ontario | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments