A Word in Progress: Technology—Breaking Down is Hard to Do!

A Word in Progress: Technology—Breaking Down is Hard to Do!

It’s Sunday afternoon and Derek Rhodenizer, host of A Word in Progress, is likely getting ready for this evening’s show. It’s one of my favourite times of the week—a chance to dig a little deeper and thinking a little more critically into the language that we use in education. And, no matter where on the education landscape you hang out, you know that its a bit of truism to say that there is plenty of language that needs to be interrogated!

This evening, Derek gets ready to unpack the word technology. At first blush, it’s a strange addition to the mix. Previous explorations of words like relationship, collaboration, connection and grit have provided plenty of real estate to map. But technology? Don’t we know what we’re talking about when we talk about technology? Is there anything contentious about the word, itself.

To be sure, the effective application of technology in the classroom has received plenty of airtime. Even here on voicEd Radio, you’ll encounter entire podcasts dedicated to the topic. But that’s not really the point of Derek’s show. It’s not a show about practical applications. He’s trying to untangle the words themselves.

Well, as the chief etymologist for Word in Progress, I would like to suggest that there is plenty of reason to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty when we’re talking about the word technology.

But I’m not going to tip my hand.

instead, I’ll invite you to do a bit of pondering throughout the day and then join Derek Rhodenizer, and his special guest, Andrew Campbell on this week’s episode of A Word in Progress—9 PM EDT, Sunday—only on voicEd Radio.

And if you listen live, you’ll be able to catch it in the ON DEMAND section of voicEd.ca. Also, you can follow the twitter conversation during the show: #wordinprogress

A Word in Progress: Teach Like Gord

A Word in Progress: Teach Like Gord

On Wednesday morning, the country woke to the news that Gord Downie had passed and the ensuing outpouring has been nothing short of phenomenal. There have been stories told, songs sung and moments remembered. Even those of us who would claim only a tangential relationship with the Tragically Hip cannot help but be drawn into the emotional bond that has connected Canadians at home and abroad. For the past 2 years, Downie has allowed us into his life and death in a very special way. The final concert tour, the public appearances and the “don’t back down” commitment to a strong sense of purpose will carry us into the approaching Canadian winter with much to remember and much to ponder at this pivotal point in our history as a nation.

So, it’s no surprise that there have been members of the education community who have stepped up to leverage the power of this moment in order to engage students in a sense of story (if not history) in the making. On the one hand, Downie’s lyrics give us a way of looking at ourselves, our national history and our place in the world. On the other hand, Gord Downie’s life underlines the importance of vision, commitment and integrity.

I was thrilled when Derek Rhodenizer messaged me that on this week’s edition of A Word in Progress that he would be joined by the two teachers responsible for #teachlikeGord—a campaign to encourage educators to bring the life and lessons of Gord Downie into their classrooms in the coming week. The music, the lyrics and the legacy. Powerful teaching and powerful learning in the making.

Here’s a CTV piece that highlights the energy of Ontario music educators, Josh Geddis and Isaac Moore. Be sure to join Derek Rhodenizer and Peter Cameron as they welcome the spirit behind #teachlikegord.

The live broadcast goes up at 9:00 PM EDT and you can listen at voicEd.ca, on iTunes or on TuneIN Radio. A very special edition of A Word In Progress. Tonight. Only on voicEd Radio.

Beyond the staff Room – a rebrand (let’s keep talking)

Beyond the staff Room – a rebrand (let’s keep talking)

I have rebranded.

If you have been listening to my podcast over the last year, you have known it as “Eduthoughts.”  this is a word I made up, and it was ok, but i was never in love with it.  i simply didn’t have an idea i thought I could replace it with.   over some time and consultation with many people I have settled on, “Beyond the Staff Room.”  This name i have fallen madly in love with right away! i feel like it greatly encompasses what I am trying to do in my podcast, and what i think should be regular part in education.

The currency of education is time.  Everyone is in a rush, and no one ever has enough time.  The school day is a fixed length, and we have a lot to do.  if you are an educator then you have probably gotten into a great conversation in the staffroom.  The one where a colleague share s a small win, where resistance allows to push thinking, where you get presented with an outlook you have never thought of before.  these are so valuable.  Unfortunately, they all end with the bell stopping the flow way before the conversation runs it’s course.

Someone once told me, you can always make time for the things you value.  I think these low pressure rambling conversations are valuable.  i think they need to happen.  this podcast is my tiny little contribution, to keep the conversation going, to allow educators a space to work through things they didn’t even know they needed to work through.  As guests on my podcast know, I do not prepare questions ion advance, or even themes.  We meet, turn on the mics and talk.  That might sound intimidating, but let me tell you, I don’t think i have had any dead air yet.  Educators need a space to talk, and this is one of them.

Thank you to everyone who has been listening to “Eduthoughts,” and I hope you continue to listen to, “Beyond the Staff Room,” and let’s keep the conversation rolling!






M.A.D – P.D

Make A Difference – Professional Development

Peter Cameron and I hatched this brain child over the last few months, maybe even longer, and we are excited to get it going!

Welcome to the online conference that will change your life and the way you teach! Share and/or learn the tools, tips, resources and ideas that have proven to be game changers for educators. You will be able to collect ideas from educators all around the world during an exciting day of sharing, without travel or any cost. Presentations will be happen via YOUTube Live on May 7th 2017 from 8am-8pm EST.

Educators are challenged to share the one teaching strategy/tool/idea that has helped make a difference in their teaching practice and/or for their students. Each presenter will share their idea over a 15 minute time period and explain how it’s made a difference. A 15 minute for question period from the participating audience will follow. All videos will then be archived and shared with the greater education community.
Educators, preservice teachers and all others are invited to take part.

We are currently accepting educators interested in presenting their innovative idea that have made a difference. If you would like to present please fill out this form.

You can also check out a podcast of peter and I discussing the details of this event:



As teachers we have these little thoughts all the time.  We reflect on the day, a technique, a concept, maybe a paradigm.  voicEd Radio is all about hearing your voice, and this is how our new show is going to help.  EduRants, are just that, a quick rant about education, from educators.  This is your time to reflect, what have you been thinking about lately in class, what epiphany has recently happened, what is important to you?

This show is a unique one.  Instead of running a complete hour, we are going to sprinkle these rants throughout the programming of voicEd Radio.

How do you prepare an EduRant?

  • Have an idea that you want to talk about
  • Record your rant (you can use your computer, a USB mic, or even your phone will work fine! (voice memo on iphone is a good one.))
    1. Please try not to pre-write this rant
    2. Take a minute and let it come out, this is when true radio magic happens
    3. Be sure to introduce yourself, who you are, what your role in education is and where you are from
    4. Don’t go over 5 mins
  • Choose a song to play after your rant that should relate to your rant
  • Drop your rant here
  • In the file name include: your name and the song name

There you have it, super easy! These little nuggets are very important to get out there and will help enrich the Voiced Radio stream.  Take a moment and record a rant, maybe challenge co-workers, do a rant each at a staff meeting, let’s get creative folks!


Let’s change the way we talk about education

Reflecting on this Radio Channel

Reflecting on this Radio Channel

This radio channel is pretty special.  I can’t believe that over the winter holiday I bumped into Stephen Hurley online and he let me in on this very exciting project. How we educate, and how we learn is so much about stories and collaboration and that is what the radio station is all about.  You can tune in a hear a wide variety of programming from educators, student teachers, students and more.

I run a few different shows on Voiced Radio, and Stephen has graciously given the moniker of co-founder, but there is one aspect of this project that gets me excited every time I do it.  On Fridays at 2pm my office at school become a radio booth.  I take a few mintues to line up some pre-recorded material, a few good songs and I plug in the mics.  Then the students from JK to grade 8 at my school who have something to share come into my office and do just that.  We create live radio together, just like that.  I flip on Nice Cast, press a button and we have taken over the airwaves!  It’s real, live radio, with it’s challenges, and beautiful moments, completely in the raw.  It is a truly authentic way from my students to publish, using a medium they don’t normally get to use, as well as a chance for the families at my school to tune and hear what is happening in their school.  It really is radio magic every time.

This is a good project, and you should get involved.  Having a radio show coming out of your school really is that easy.  Reach out, let’s talk, we want to hear what you have to say.