#ECOO13: What a Rush!


I’m sitting at home, after a 2-day adventure at #ECOO13 (The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario‘s 2013 Conference, “Bring IT Together“), trying to process all of the fantastic learning from crazy-good keynotes, an amazing variety of sessions, and fun times with educators who I had the chance to meet “f2f”.


Partners in educational crime…

Before going any further, I must take the time to thank Jenni Scott-Marciski, who agreed to present with me.  It was such a pleasure to experience #ecoo13 with a great friend and colleague!  Our session, “Breaking the Mold: Using Technology to Help Introverts Share Their Thoughts in School“, was our way of helping others to understand the needs of those who think & work differently than the extraverted norm.  If you are curious, please follow the link, explore, and feel free to comment.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 10.19.39 AM

*An additional thank-you to those who attended our session.  You were an incredible audience — your participation and feedback helped to encourage and motivate us.  To the lady who we met later that evening & said “Hey! It’s the introverts!”, not only did you make us laugh, but you provided us with a great way to remember our day.

Fantastic photo by @pbeens!

Fantastic photo by @pbeens!

Amber MacArthur provided a fantastic keynote on Thursday morning.  Her enthusiasm for using technology and social media was both entertaining and educational — take a look at her tips:

A: Adapt quickly
B: Be Responsive (think about real-time social media)
C: Create Value (it’s one thing to use technology, but think about what you’re *doing* with it)

As Jenni & I began attending a variety of sessions on Thursday, we quickly realized how overwhelming this kind of conference can be.  There were simply so many great sessions, and it was difficult to choose just one to attend at a time.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 11.06.28 AM

Grant Hutchison provided some helpful tips for educators who wish to experiment with MIT’s App Inventor.  I’ll admit, I’m still wrapping my head around this material, but it is my goal to create my own app one day — if only to help my students analyze art works with a bit more ease.

Just after lunch, it was time to absorb some of the thought-provoking ideas presented by Dean Shareski, John Malloy, and Brian Harrison.  I truly appreciate some of the points raised, that encouraged educators to extend beyond their comfort zones while keeping web wisdom in mind.

Some points to ponder:

– what have we tried, and it “didn’t take”?

– where did we go wrong, what mistakes have we seen?

– “Sometimes those who are most skilled, scare me” (John Malloy) How do we provide a culture where we create better conditions within schools & learning environments?  How much risk is allowed to be taken?

#ECOO13 Photowalk Group Shot

Thanks to @pbeens for this group photo!

Thursday night’s Photowalk was so much fun!  We bundled up and enjoyed an evening stroll along the falls, learning photography tips from each other and playing with a variety of camera settings and apps.



Take a look at this fabulous falls photo by Peter Beens:

American and Canadian Niagara Falls at Night #9430

Jaime Casap challenged Friday morning’s crowd to question our use of technology.  Is it time to take a step back and get a better sense of that which we may take for granted?

Education disrupts poverty.  It can change a family’s destiny in one generation.”  ~ Jaime Casap

Jaime did not focus on technology.  He emphasized the importance of education. Technology is a tool to help us educate our students.  We’ve been relying on the promises of new technology to revolutionize education.  But we have to be the ones to revolutionize education.  If we rely on technology to do the hard work, it will be empty, change won’t occur, and we’ll keep hoping someone/something else will do what we need to have done.

Our kids don’t recognize technology in the same way that we don’t recognize electricity. We don’t walk into a room & say “oh wow, look at these lights!”

If we are going to change education, we should change our expectations for ourselves as well.  If change is going to occur, we can’t be guaranteed to have success with each step we make.  Jaime encouraged us to focus on iteration, which might be more useful than our recent emphasis on the importance of failure to learn.  Think of golf: does each shot reflect failure, or a step closer to our goal?  (well, my game might reflect a bit more failure than most…)


Donald Trump can’t compare to Peter Skillen and his friends, who performed “The-Edu Apprentice”

Peter Skillen, Brenda Sherry, Kim Gill, Euen OConnor and Jeff Pelich prepared a hilarious performance called “The Edu-Apprentice“.  Not only did the session serve to entertain, but the actors and actresses helped the audience realize the importance of collaboration as well as the proper use of technology in our classrooms.  Bravo!

Friday afternoon’s keynote with Kevin Honeycutt had to be one of the most emotionally-charged presentations I have ever heard.  I was so enthralled by his personal stories and the relevance of good teachers that I had to force myself to try to keep the occasional note.  More than once, I was moved to tears.

“Stop being secret geniuses. Live out loud.” ~ Kevin Honeycutt

What are we doing to support our students?  How do we nurture their creativity?  How do we encourage them to realize their strength and potential?  Do they know how important they are?

Emotion cements learning. How do your students feel with you?

Share the joy of learning with your students.  Open up new worlds for them.  Support them on their way there.


Coolest way to end the best conference ever.


Thank you so much to those who organized this fabulous event.  #ECOO13 encouraged hundreds of educators to challenge their thinking, to improve their practice and to broaden their horizons, all for the sake of the students who learn from us.  

A few extra pics I don’t want to lose:

Me & JacCalder

Photo courtesy of @cgill2010

Me & Karen

Photo courtesy of @KLirenman

Taking NWO to Niagara

Photo courtesy of Advanced Education

This entry was posted in Ed tech, Education, Education Reform, Ontario and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to #ECOO13: What a Rush!

  1. dougpete says:

    It was a real pleasure to finally meet you, Colleen. Thanks so much for stepping up and being a captain for the Photowalk. It was great to walk the Falls with you.

    • colleenkr says:

      Doug, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of the Photowalk. If you hadn’t asked, I might not have enjoyed the #ecoo13 as much as I did. You and Cyndie really did manage to create a wonderful experience for so many people — thank you!

  2. Colin Jagoei says:

    Great reflective post! It was great to meet you for the brief chat we had at lunch,

  3. Hi Colleen,
    What a great summary of your takeaways! Thank you! Glad you enjoyed your learning at #ecoo13 – See you next year!!

    • colleenkr says:

      Thanks Brenda! I really did enjoy the conference, and I truly hope that I can come next year. What an amazing learning opportunity (and chance to meet wonderful people)!

  4. Peter McAsh says:

    When we first met outside your session it felt like we knew each other. It was a zen moment. I’m looking forward to ongoing interaction with you and will add your blog to my reading list. You will rock the PhotoBooth for #ecoo14!

    • colleenkr says:

      Peter, we have to think of making a special shirt for you next year. I will start thinking of logos & designs, so that everyone knows that you’re willing to be a friend… especially to newbies like me! 🙂 If I get the chance to go to next year’s conference, I’ll do everything I can to create a great “F2F Photobooth” for everyone at #ecoo14!

      • lisamnoble says:

        Oh, please do this! Then I can have photos to take home to the small boys, and they’ll have faces for all the names they know from Mommy’s tweeting!

  5. SStewart says:

    Thanks for this “window” in, Colleen. I enjoyed it! I like that idea of “iteration”. Thanks for sharing some highlights and photos! I am happy that you were there.

    • colleenkr says:

      You’re welcome — I like the idea of ‘iteration’ too. There is something to be said for new perspectives when it comes to learning, and changing the negative philosophy behind failure.

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  8. Wow Colleen I read everything you have learned and I like the fact that you use technology to provide a channel for those students who are not comfortable with direct conversations.

  9. Erin says:

    Sounds like you had a great time. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

    • colleenkr says:

      It was fabulous. Jenni & I learned so much — it was difficult to summarize everything, because the conference left us with thousands of things to think about! We’ll definitely chat over coffee. 🙂

  10. Keeley Stewart says:

    Hi Colleen,
    I’m posting on this entry but I actually got sucked in and enjoyed reading a bunch of your posts today! It’s funny we both ended up as teachers 🙂 I love seeing what a great art program you have at Niprock – I even decided to follow your blog, and that’s a big deal – I only follow two other blogs!

  11. colleenkr says:

    Keeley, thanks so much for reading (& following)! I often smile when I see the posts & thoughts you share re: teaching on FB, because all teachers seem to have so many joys & struggles in common. Even though we’re far away, tech helps us put our heads together, which I appreciate.

  12. salometam says:

    so great to read about and learn from your reflection from the other side of the world! it looked like an amazing time of connecting and growing. thanks for sharing.

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