June 2021 Newsletter

Photo credit: Ellen Kinsel

All other photos, unless noted, by @rlabonte, ekinsel, or Unsplash 

Welcome to the June CANeLearn News. As we look forward to exploring outdoors, pausing to reflect on nature’s abundance, our thoughts are likely to turn to wonder how we survived a full school year managing student learning through a pandemic. 

As we consider what we learned from our experiences, what worked and what didn’t, understanding how best to embrace the affordances of both the online and classroom learning environments is key.  We thank @drtonybates and his session at DLsymp21 for the term “affordances” as a frame within which to plan online and classroom learning activities.

Several articles below speak to and expand on this notion and help us plan for active learning, not just content delivery, keeping our focus on the social and emotional needs of our learners.At CANeLearn we believe with careful planning, and learning from each other’s shared experiences, even better learning options can be offered to all students.  Check out our August 20 leadership summit to see what we have in store.

The CANeLearn board wishes you a restful summer and a return in the fall offering robust and improved learning for all students. 

CANeLearn Annual Leadership Summit

Looking Back to Look Forward:  Online Successes and Lessons Learned

Online/Virtual August 20, 2021

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

Details on our Summit Site 

Cross Canada Roundup & Building Nimble, Tech-enabled Learning

  • CANeLearn Board and our invited Leadership Panel sharing cross-Canada strategies and models
  • Facilitated discussions specific to your own circumstances to build resiliency and flexibility

 Full program posted here! 



Weekend reading, watching, and  listening


Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All

  • There are two key factors that make videoconference classrooms problematic: bandwidth and immediacy (how quickly students respond to the teacher and to each other).
  • Make courses more flexible and accessible by reducing the dependency on high bandwidth/high immediacy tools.
  • Read the full article here 


Online learning remains an option post-pandemic

  • Learning environments post-pandemic could be a mix of both online and in-person learning at all levels of education.
  • Read the full article here 


How lessons learned in delivering courses last year may affect the mode of course delivery this fall

  • While people will rush to get back to exactly the way it was before, it will be hard not to take some lessons forward with us.
  • Read the full article here 


How Does Online Learning Affect Educational Inequality

  • Education is one of the key factors in overcoming economic and social inequality. Can online learning be the silver bullet against educational inequality?
  • This article examines typical challenges to adopting online education.
  • Read the full article here 


EdTech Leadership Survey Report 2021

  • This year, IT leaders faced unique challenges due to the pandemic. Question responses and analysis provide insight into the realities of IT leaders.
  • Access the report here


Leaders & Legends of Online Learning: Dedicated to the Experts (Podcast)

  • Interviews that last approximately a half hour and include links to guest’s work.  You will encounter rich and interesting perspectives on online learning and education and links to the sort of work you ought to be reading.
  • Access to the episodes 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 


Teaching by the Medicine Wheel

  • A key question that needs to be addressed in the creation of a, culturally relevant educational process is how to create a schooling environment that reflects
  • Indigenous culture and instills traditional values while providing students with the skills they need to survive in the modern world.
  • This article explores the teachings of Medicine Wheels from an Anishinaabe cultural perspective.
  • Read the full article here 


Canadian Consortiums: Compulsion for Collaboration (YouTube)

  • Randy, LaBonte, Michael Barbour, Michael Canuel, Frank McCallum, Todd Pottle, and Bruce Weitzel talk about Canadian eLearning consortiums and Canadians’ compulsion for collaboration. Recorded presentation made for the Digital Learning Annual Conference in Austin, TX, June 2021.
  • Watch it here 


What the Pandemic Should Have Taught Us About Effective Teaching

  • Many issues endemic in online teaching also exist in classroom instruction, including
    • Engagement and interaction
    • Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
    • Social and emotional issues
    • Coverage and pacing
    • Equity
      • Learner diversity
      • Support
      • Feedback and responsiveness
      • Privacy
      • Respectful behavior
      • Assessment and maintaining academic integrity
      • Intellectual property
  • Read the full article here   



Classroom Activities Online or Face-to-Face


Photo by Zbyněk Skrčený on Unsplash 


Common Sense Education


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


Teaching Online Resources

The online teaching experience involves pedagogical methods that can be very different from those that many instructors are accustomed to using in a face-to-face environment. Fostering self-directed learning in a digital environment, conceptualizing the learning goals and methods of assessments, requires learner-centered practices and intentional instructional design.  Includes resources providing foundational support for teaching online.

Frameworks, Tools, Resources
A directory of links to resources compiled by BCcampus. Updated frequently.

Information Directory: Blogs and Opinions, Books and Videos, News, Research and Reports
An information directory created to fill the need for Canadian-based information, specifically British Columbia, on open education; however, content from many English-speaking countries is included. This is an ongoing resource that is updated as information becomes available.

Embracing Ways of Knowing
BCcampus supported the co-creation of the OER Pulling Together: A Guide for the Indigenization of Post-secondary Institutions. These resources are designed toEngage with varying audiences, including administration and educational leadership, teaching faculty, student services personnel, researchers, and instructional designers;Include resources and considerations on meaningful and authentic engagement;Supplement rather than replace training currently offered. From previous newsletters… 

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.

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. 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