May 2021 Newsletter

Photo credit: Ellen Kinsel


Dandelions are a perennial spring symbol, the joy of young children, and the bane of gardeners (thank you No Mow May for starting to change that!).  Their yellow flowers resemble the sun, ball of seeds the moon, and their dispersing seeds (guilty of helping that happen!) the stars. 

According to A to Z Flowers, dandelions remind us of the happiness and joy of youth, but they also represent perseverance, endurance, and determination.  Dandelions symbolize our transition out of pandemic, and May 2021 marked the turning point.  What we learned during our experience and active use of online learning environments must not be forgotten.  It is critical that we not abandon learning online and continue to address the equity gaps that finally became impossible to ignore.  Digital learning spaces are mainstream and should remain so to ensure continuity of learning for all students.


CANeLearn Annual Leadership Summit

Looking Back to Look Forward:

Online Successes and Lessons Learned

Online/Virtual June 29, August 20, October 8, 2021

Join us as we share pandemic experiences and insights from Canadian education leaders

Details on our Summit Site



Photos, unless otherwise noted, by @rlabonte, ekinsel, or Unsplash


Featured Events

Featured Events

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Mark the dates: Upcoming Events



Weekend reading


With summer vacation looming, educators worry about lasting fallout of pandemic schooling

With just weeks to go before summer vacation, many Canadian educators are worried about longer-term impacts on student learning after an unpredictable and anxious first full school year under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article here


73% of Students Prefer Some Courses be Fully Online Post-Pandemic

In a recent post-secondary survey, nearly three-quarters of students said they would prefer to take some of their courses fully online post-pandemic. However, only half of the faculty (53 percent) felt the same about teaching online.

Read the full article here


Topic: Schooling Under Stress

Links to articles from across Canada on the topic of schools under stress. How are educators and families coping?

Access links here


Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash


E-learning is here to stay, but it won’t look anything like what COVID has created, experts say

Families with children have learned during the pandemic the challenges of living in a world where there are no boundaries between work, school, and home.  COVID-19 has brought to the forefront a debate about the role of technology in the classroom that has long simmered in the background. But will e-learning be the new normal when the pandemic is over?

Read the full article here


Must-Read Books on Online Learning

Browse through a growing list of 173 books on online learning selected, reviewed, and recommended by Contact North | Contact Nord’s team of experts.

Access the website here


Classroom Activities

Online or Face-to-Face


Common Sense Education

Free advice, articles, and tips   Access the website here


The Cobblestone Collective – Take an Adventure with Us

The Cobblestone Collective team joined thousands of classes across Canada through a co-taught lesson series. They explored Sustainable Development Goals, the Design Thinking Process, digital citizenship, mindfulness, and gratitude.  Students coded in CS First and Minecraft, looked at using PowerPoint as an art canvas, Sway as a storytelling platform, and Google Sites as a new resume!

Lessons are either 60 or 90 minutes and recorded so you can still use them with your students at any time. These lessons are great whether you’re teaching in-person (project on your screen) or virtually (send the link directly to your students).  Each YouTube video’s description provides any instructions you may need.

Access lessons here (click images in graphic)          More Cobblestone Collective info


Resources for the Digital Classroom


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash


Conferencing Tools for teaching & learning: Best practices
Included are considerations for general etiquette, hosting virtual office hours, facilitating group work and presentations, lecturing, showing videos, hosting external presenters, and managing the space. Additionally, theoretical frameworks to support best practices when teaching online are provided.  

A UK program of professional learning by and for teachers to support the pedagogy of blended learning. BlendEd helps teachers, school leaders, and other educators design effective teaching and learning that makes the most of digital technologies – in the classroom and from home, live and self-paced, in-person and online.

Creating and Using Rubrics for Assessment
Useful ideas for creating and using rubrics with guidelines for assessing a wide variety of activities, including e-portfolios, video and multimedia projects, teamwork, and research process.

From previous newsletters… 

Tips to Make Your LMS Content Accessible
While focused on Moodle, the information contained in this post can be applied to any LMS.

Designing for Accessibility (PDF posters) 
Includes tips for designing content for accessibility for special needs such as autism, dyslexia, users of screen readers, low vision, physical or motor disabilities, deaf or hard of hearing, and anxiety,


An Important Distance Learning Resource for Teachers, Students, and Parents

Wide Open School offers free learning activities for all grades. Students can browse activities related to various subjects including social studies, emotional wellbeing, reading and writing, math, arts, music, science, English language learning, digital citizenship, and more. Within each of these activities, you can search for materials by grade level or search label. You can for instance search for activities that include videos, worksheets, lessons, etc. Some of these activities offer free downloadable materials. You can also share them to Google Classroom.

Tools for Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning, or PBL, challenges students to design and engage in more authentic, extended, and complex learning. But while PBL is a trusted strategy for increasing student engagement and learning, it’s not easy to orchestrate. There are tons of moving pieces, and if you’re doing it right, students will be engaging in a variety of interest-driven projects all with various needs and on different schedules. So how do you manage it all? Tech can be a huge help. This list gathers some useful productivity and organization tools that can help both teachers and students keep track of, finish, and assess projects. There are also a few tools designed specifically for PBL, as well as plug-and-play PBL experiences. Learn about these tools here

Rough Guide for Spotting Bad Science

Being able to evaluate the evidence behind a scientific claim is important. Being able to recognize bad science reporting, or faults in scientific studies is equally important. Includes 12 points to help separate the science from the pseudoscience. Download the PDF here

ABC Learning Design 

Spreadsheet template to facilitate the collaborative design of learning scenarios. Check it out here

CANeLearn’s Emergency Remote Teaching Resources, Tools, Ideas 

  • CANeLearn has published a page with a collection of resources from other organizations, emerging tools, and ideas about pivoting to remote teaching
  • Check it out here


Adventures in Archives


Check out links to past CANeLearn events

Featured Event

  • CANeLearn researched what K-12 school districts across Canada have offered in the way of programming and supports during the pandemic.  Check out the research project website for reports, recordings, and slide decks.

All archives here