ECOO StoryBytes!

There are so many incredible stories and projects happening across Ontario, Canada and beyond. Why wait until the Bring it Together Conference to learn about them?

Over the next several months, members of the ECOO board will be seeking out Educators and Leaders for a brief online interview.

We would like to post these interviews as regular features on the Bring it Together blog. Even better, we would like to add your StoryByte to your profile when you register for the conference.

Do you have a story to share?

  • Will you share a summary of what you plan on sharing at the Bring it Together Conference?
  • Will you share something about your position that is unique or different or that others might not know.
  • Will you share a project or initiative that you have been working on at the school level?
  • Will you share what you plan on “getting” while at the Bring it Together Conference?
  • Will you share an experience that you have had at a Bring it Together Conference?

Check out ECOO’s first StoryByte, where Jaclyn interviews Zoe Branigan-Pipe about Makerspaces.

Here you will see this is informal so there is no need to prepare or worry, just share something that means a lot to you! We would appreciate any feedback from members about the StoryBytes project so that ECOO can continue to develop this initiative in the future.

Do you have any recommendations of who we could interview? Please let us know here and we will get in contact.

Google Form Links:

ECOO Board of Directors Meeting – March 7, 2016

Meeting: Online in Adobe Connect, 9:00 PM

Attended by Mark Carbone, Donna Fry, Colin Jagoe, Harry Niezen, Jaclyn Calder, Mark Chesser, Jeff Weir, and Zoe Branigan-Pipe

Items Discussed and Decisions Made

Discussion about the logistics around how to enable a person to join ECOO outside of the annual BIT conference. The conference registration site CVENT will be used to allow this to happen. Outside of the regular timeframes for registering for the Conferences, individuals will be able to join ECOO for a $25 yearly membership fee. This link will be added to once the logistics are finalized.

Discussion about the blog postings that have been made by Board members so far, and discussion about when and who will be making the next ones.

Elections Chair – Board members expressed concern that we’ve had trouble finding an individual ECOO member to serve as Nominations Chair for the next Board of Directors election in November. People are being contacted to find someone.

Communications: Discussion around ongoing Communication and Social Media efforts to share good things that are happening with ECOO members across the province. Soon will have information about a new video series to be posted to the Youtube channel featuring stories from around the province.

BIT16 Update: Things are moving well, and Conference Chair is happy with pace and progress towards BIT16 in Niagara Falls in November. Call for proposals has gone out, and proposals are now being accepted. Discussion around an ‘evergreen’ MOU with OASBO ICT that would make it simpler to continue with the partnership between organizations for BIT conferences. The MOU was reviewed, and the motion carried to accept it.

Discussion about and the ECOO computer science contest that runs on a yearly basis.

Discussion about budget and the transition paperwork for the incoming Treasurer being completed.

Meeting adjourned at 10:28 PM


First Impressions of ECOO

By Jeff Weir (New ECOO Treasurer)

I joined the ECOO Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2016.  Having only been involved for a short period of time, I thought I would share some initial impressions.  In my own career, I am in finance and accounting, so the area of education is very different for me.  My wife, however, is a high school educator with a passion for learning, teaching, and technology integration, so I do have some familiarity with the world of education and technology.   I am also a proponent of keeping up with technology and continuous learning, and I look forward to the learning experience that I know this role will provide.

Before joining, I often heard the terms “ECOO” and “BIT” around the house, and knew there was an annual conference that my wife attended.  At the time, I didn’t know what these terms meant or what was involved, thinking only that she enjoyed getting out of the house for a few days in the fall to learn and network with colleagues.

Since joining, I have learned the primary tasks of the organization include hosting the annual Bring-IT Together conference, partnering with other educational organizations, and liaising with the Ministry of Education, all with the goal of enhancing the learning experience for students, and enabling knowledge sharing amongst educators.  I’ve discovered that the BIT conference itself, is a year-long planning process with a significant amount of behind-the-scenes work, and is very well attended by educators and administrators from all across Ontario. Through ECOO, I can see that there is a strong commitment to ensuring the conference is a successful and rewarding experience for attendees.

Although I have only been involved on the Board for a handful of meetings to this point, I can see a group of volunteers who dedicate their time to planning, to collaborating with others, to sharing diverse learning experiences, and to helping foster the integration of technology in education.   As a parent to two young children, it’s great to see so many people working together on their own time to share ideas, and to ultimately better the classroom experience for students.  As the technological world around us continues to rapidly change, the classroom, and how we educate our children, cannot be left behind.  It is uplifting to see the kind of collaboration that an organization such as ECOO brings to education in Ontario. I hope that ECOO continues to grow and can make a positive impact on educators, administrators and students.

Thanks for welcoming me to the organization, and I look forward to working with everyone involved.

Call for Proposals is Open! #BIT16

The Call for Proposals is now open for BringIT,Together 2016 (BIT16), the technology-enabled education conference sponsored by ECOO and OASBO/ICT.  The conference will take place November 9-11, 2016, and will once again be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. This is the largest conference of its kind in Ontario and it brings together educators from across the province and beyond, providing an excellent opportunity for you to share your learning and to learn from other exemplary educators. The Call for Proposals can be found at, our conference web-site.
Whatever your role may be in our education system, if you have an interesting experience or perspective to share, we encourage you to consider presenting a session at the conference. Wednesday’s sessions will be hands-on workshop style sessions, while Thursday and Friday will consist of the usual 50 minute presentations. Last year we introduced Innovation Stations and we are happy to announce that we are offering them again this year. More information on the various kinds of sessions can be found in the Call for Proposals message on the conference web-site.

There are three separate forms for submitting proposals: one for educators and non-profit educational organizations, one for vendors and one for education technology start-ups. Links to the form can be found on our conference web-site: A link to the Call for Proposals can be found on the left side of the web page. The deadline for submission of proposals is March 31, 2016.

Something new this year on our website is the BIT Blog. Over the coming months there will be a series of blog posts (currently there is one entitled “Social Media and #BIT16” by Peter McAsh) and we encourage you to revisit the site regularly for new blog posts and updates on the conference, including information on the keynote speakers. In particular, there is an upcoming blog post by Doug Peterson on how to write a successful proposal, which you will want to read before submitting your proposal. The number of proposals we receive usually greatly exceeds the number of sessions we can offer at the conference; so a well-written proposal is a must.

We hope to make BIT16 the best conference yet and we encourage you to help us do so by submitting a session proposal. And, of course, we look forward to seeing you at the conference in November.

Thank You from your Conference Chairs,

Harry Niezen and Cathy Thier

Learning Opportunities in Ontario

Professional Learning Opportunities in Ontario

Here are some of the upcoming self-directed professional learning opportunities available to Ontario educators:

The Innovator’s Mindset Book Club

A wonderful group of Ontario educators from across the province have organized a multi-media two-month-long book study of “The Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros.  Sign up for regular email updates of all of the learning events here:

The Innovator’s Mindset Voxer Group

Educators worldwide are having an ongoing conversation about the book on Voxer.  Please join in!

The Innovator’s Mindset Blog Hop

Each week, a question is posed and educators respond on Twitter using the #ossemooc and/or #innovatorsmindset hashtags, by commenting on the blog, or by posting a response on their own blog and adding it to the reading list here:



February 27, 2016 EdCamp Waterloo Region:


April 2, 2016 EdCamp Southwestern Ontario:


Hashtags to follow for learning:

February 9: The Ontario 21st Century Teaching and Learning Roundtable: #ON21CLearn

February 9: The Innovator’s Mindset Book Study (Live)

#OSSEMOOC #InnovatorsMindset

February 9, 10, 11: The Ontario Education Research Symposium:


February: #ECOO16 and #BIT16 for updates from ECOO and from the conference committee.


If you know of more open, self-directed learning opportunities for Ontario educators, please tweet us @ECOOWeb