Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Back to School, ECC Style!

Well, school here in BC is in the third week of classes already! The year is off to a great start and I had to share the excellent beginning we have had in the ECC!

Two of the novels we decided on for the first round of
online literature circles starting in October.

In the last post, which I wrote the day before our first collaboration planning day, I was full of questions, not a surprising state to be in the week before school starts! I have to say that the collaboration planning day was wonderful and by the end of the day I was super excited and thankful to be working with such a great team of people this year! We talked about everything from novels toconferencing to community gatherings that day. Once they get settled into the ECC, I'm sure you'll see posts here by our newest team members, Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Patterson, introducing themselves in this space.

There is a huge amount of effort and many, many people involved in making the ECC start up each year. We need to have a combined effort involving the teachers, the admin at each school, the district tech team, many district staff at the board office and sometimes other departments in the school district such as the carpenters/electricians. Many, many people contribute to the amazing learning environment for the ECC students.

This year, I was amazed, proud, and thankful, that the ECC completed start-up as planned because this summer, the entire district went through, and continues to go through, a major technology overhaul. Some of the overhaul included new laptops throughout the district, new wireless ports and wiring to those ports, a new image on the computer and exciting new ways to use the computers. That's a HUGE undertaking! And in the midst of it all, we needed our new addition to the ECC, a classroom at Cache Creek Elementary, outfitted with video conferencing equipment, in addition to making sure that the video conferencing and desktop sharing systems were all up and running in the other three rooms.

All four Elementary Connected Classrooms connected
via video conferencing for our first lesson together!
Well, the tech department and many, many others, came through for the kids. The ECC started as planned with four separate video conferenced teacher and classroom introduction lessons. I have to say, when I first saw all four classrooms on that screen together, I almost cried! I admit to being filled with all sorts of emotions when that first connection worked. It really did feel like a new beginning of something really amazing.

My lasting impression of that moment when I saw all four classrooms connected together on that screen was that I was overwhelmed with excitement for the students. I was excited for all 100 kids, my class...our class, who get to learn in such a cool, innovative, student-focused way. Nobody else does exactly what we do here in SD74 with Connected Learning, and I'm thrilled that I can be a part of something so great for kids.

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