Monday, April 16, 2018

#ECOOCamp Reflections - Far From Home, Near to Learning

This past weekend, the big news was the ice storm that hit Ontario. On Saturday, April 14, 2018, I drove to Owen Sound for the first ECOO Camp. Beginning my journey at 6:00 a.m. meant that I didn't have much traffic trouble on the way there and the roads were not yet treacherous. It took a typical 2.5 hours of travel time. Going back was a different story. Despite the fact that I had to shorten my time there due to the weather, I still got a lot out of the experience.

The neat thing was that ECOO partnered with Teach Ontario for this event.
The site can be found at

Confirmation that I was a speaker here!

8:45 a.m. - Opening Keynote by Emily Fitzpatrick

Summary & 3 Key Points
  1. The future is amazing
  2. There are so many cool and exciting things to discover and explore
  3. Technology makes a lot of neat things possible

So What? Now What?

I felt like Emily's talk was supposed to be directed more to the heart than the mind. It was a feel-good way to begin the conference.

9:15 a.m. - Making Space and Time for a Maker Space in your School by Velvet Rollin

Summary and 3 Key Points
  1. Don't just think about it. Do it! (They just launched in November.)
  2. There can be a noticeable reduction in the amount of negative behaviour when students are visiting the makerspace instead of getting in trouble at recess.
  3. You don't have to buy a lot of expensive stuff for your makerspace.

So What? Now What?

I've been "doing makerspaces" in my school library for a while now, so a lot of the information was not new to me. I was quite disappointed that, although their makerspace was in the school library, there were no school library professionals (aka teacher-librarians) there to guide and support it. I can't change the amount of school library staffing there, but at least my presence reminded people about why teacher-librarians can matter.

10:15 a.m. - Making Movies by Diana Maliszewski

Love this photo of my participants snapping a shot of a slide!

Summary and 3 Key Points
  1. Making movies hits a lot of curriculum expectations as well as learning skills / global competencies.
  2. Students care about YouTube (and so do many of us) and sharing there is cool - just remember to consider privacy / media release forms / copyright and user permission levels (visual and audio).
  3. Green screen is fun because you can use any person or character with any background - just don't dress someone in green unless you want their body to be invisible!

So What? Now What?

Next time, I should put my contact information and YouTube account name on the first slide or on the bottom of all the slides, so that people don't have to ask or wait to get that data. I'm glad that we had time to tinker with the mini-green screen set-up because that was the point where I believe that people became the most excited. I was relieved that the information I shared with satisfactory to elementary and secondary teachers because there were quite a few high school representatives in the audience. (Either that, or they were too polite to say that the material was irrelevant to them!)

11:15 a.m. - There is no shushing in this library! by Julie Reay / The A-Z of Online Tools by Jen Apgar and Emily Fitzpatrick

Summary and 3 Key Points
  1. There are a lot of free tools you can use to engage your students.
  2. There are a lot of tips you can employ to make your job easier (I'm thinking the random group generator in one of the examples I forgot to write down - Flippity, maybe?)
  3. Be willing to "just try stuff", like Jen and Emily did with this presentation (wing it!) because you never know when even ninjas like Emily will learn something new.

So What? Now What?

I learned quite a few handy little tidbits from this talk that I wasn't expecting to - I had originally hoped to hear from the originally scheduled speaker but the ice storm kept her away. I also tended to stay away from the brand-name strands (ECOO Camp had a Microsoft strand, a Google strand, a pedagogy strand, and administrator strand) but maybe I should not have done so, since this was Google-focused but was still productive. I also used Twitter to take notes during this session, which was both good and bad; good for sharing, bad for occasionally missing stuff as I grabbed a photo to go along with the perfectly worded tweet.

12:15 p.m. - Lunch

Thank you cafeteria staff and Nadine Osborne! I had a quick lunch, chatted with Nadine (who teaches the ETFO Kindergarten AQ course and is a long-time friend of my beloved Lisa Noble), and then packed up with extra bowls of soup for the yucky drive home. There were so many kind people who offered me places to stay (in their hotel rooms, at their houses, or with relatives nearby) but I'm glad I spent the 4 hours slowly driving back. I'm sorry I missed Derek Tangredi's closing keynote - the tweets I saw indicated that it was a good one. I would not have applied to present at this conference had it not been for Doug Peterson, current president of ECOO and connector extraordinaire. Thanks Doug and the entire team for a great conference.


  1. Thanks for sharing Maybe I will revisit ECOO activities when I return to Canada;)

  2. So glad you went, so glad you made it home, so glad you met Nadine, so glad you blogged about it. I am walking around with an invisible T-shirt (like Larry wears in Neil Flambe) that says "Diana Maliszewski thinks I'm special!). Sounds like it was a terrific first edition of the event, and despite the weather, I'm glad it was somewhere a little bit out of the regular zone. Spreading the economic conference love is a good thing. I'm doing my first Google Summit in a couple weeks (mostly because my board is subsidizing) and I'm interested to see what my first branded event looks like.

  3. Thank you Diana! It was a privilege to meet you and participate in my first ECOO Conference/Camp. You didn't make me feel behind the times for being a wee bit tech timid. I mean I have known about green screens for a while, but knowing about something and having it modeled for you with the Backyardigans stuffies is altogether different! A short time in a workshop with you is incredible bang for your buck value :-) Feeling very inspired! Thanks for sitting with me at lunch. I can't wait for our next shared learning encounter. Nadine ps thanks to Lisa Noble for making sure our paths crossed ox