Monday, June 20, 2016

Stalking Heather Stoness at #etfot4t

Before I launch into today's post, let me clarify: I'm not exactly a stalker. I don't stealthily hunt or pursue Heather. My attention towards her is neither obsessive nor unwanted. (I need to double check with her about the unwanted part, but I'm presuming it's true because she didn't run away from me at all this past weekend.) I just could not resist using this alliterative, click-bait-worthy title!

June 17-18 was the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Women's ICT Conference. You can read some of the tweets from the conference here.

It was a wonderful conference. ETFO deliberately keeps the conference cozy and intimate. About 160 women attended and over 200 were on the waiting list. My dear friend Denise Colby and I presented four times in the six available time slots. Thankfully, this still left me time to participate in two sessions and to listen to the opening keynote. It turns out that both of the workshops I chose were run by Heather Stoness from Halton District School Board.

Heather's first talk on Friday June 17 was about Genius Hour. Her slides can be found at if you want access to the suggestions and tools.

Heather's second talk on Saturday June 18 was called "Fun, Fast, Formative Assessment". Once again, her presentation notes can be found at

I liked the pacing of Heather's presentations - she provided adequate time for participants to try the task. She gave information in digestible chunks and varied the way she delivered content by including videos and interactive activities. She understood adult learning styles and made it a safe and legitimate choice during the hands-on session on Saturday to permit teachers to just go deeper with two of the four tools she offered, while sharing more for those who wanted. (Her four tools from Saturday's talk were Kahoot, Quizizz, EdPuzzle, and Plickers.) I had already heard of two of these - the French teacher at my school loves Kahoot, and Denise and I used Plickers as part of our Friday talks. (Here we are using Plickers during our first Friday session.)

The icing on the cake? Heather is a teacher-librarian, like me! Teacher-librarians are awesome. I saw many of them present at the conference, and I'm sure they'll be taking back all the tidbits they learned at this conference and sharing them with their staff members.

I want to thank Heather, her co-presenter Erin Stoness, the ETFO staff (Ruth, Bixi, Denise and the others) and all the participants who made this conference so memorable. I also have to thank Andrew Forgrave, "Terragrim" and "Phisagrim" (my kids) for being virtual guides and helping our participants play Minecraft. They built a "Teacher Training Zone" in the Gumbycraft server in less than an hour for educators who needed a more structured tutorial for game use.

In the interest of continuing to share, you can find Denise Colby's presentation at and here are the results of our PollEverywhere survey.

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