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

ECOO Board of Directors Meeting February 2016

At the monthly meeting of the ECOO Board of Directors last night, it was decided that after each meeting a summary of items discussed would be posted on for all ECOO members to see. This is done in the hopes of both transparency and accountability for the members of ECOO.

Meeting: Online in Adobe Connect, February 1st, 2016, 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
Working with CVENT data to determine a way to put into place a method for people to become ECOO members outside of attending the yearly conference. This decision was made a few meetings ago, and is consistent with ECOO ByLaws. The question now is a technical one of how make it happen. This will likely happen very soon.

Donna discussed a possible collaboration with ECOO and different Faculties of Education around a project to help pre-service teachers become connected learners and learn effective ways of using technology.

The ECOO affiliate membership with ISTE has been renewed.

The new ECOO Treasure, Jeff Weir, is working with the old treasure on transitioning.

Discussion around website and communication with members resulted in a number of items. The Board will now post updates from each board meeting (this!). ECOO will also start to do live webchats in Google Hangouts to help communicate the good things that are happening across Ontario with ECOO members so stay tuned for that info. Additional ECOO social media presences will be added or beefed up. (Google+, Facebook, Instagram). Board members will undertake to post in the site about various topics of interest to ECOO members.

Nominations Chair for the 2016 ECOO Board of Directors Elections is currently being sought. Please contact Zoe if you have an interest in this position for ECOO.

Harry brought a short update for the BIT16 Conference. The committee is working hard and things are progressing really well. Book the dates now! November 9-11, 2016 in Niagara Falls!

Mark Chesser will attend the 2016 OTF Curriculum Forum on behalf of ECOO and will report back.

ECOO Facebook page will again start to be used, so pop over and ‘Like’ it!

Next BoD Meeting will be March 7th, 2016

ECOO Board 2015-16 Takes Office


A new ECOO Board of Directors for 2015-16 has taken office as of the conclusion of the 2015 Annual General Meeting, held November 5th, 2015 in conjunction with the #BIT15 Bring IT, Together conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Following a Call for Nominations process, nominations for the roles of President, Vice-President, Secretary, and two Directors-At-Large were received by the Nominations Committee, resulting in 5 acclamations and one remaining vacancy (Treasurer).

Mark W. Carbone has been re-acclaimed to the annually-elected role of President, Donna Miller Fry has been acclaimed to the role of Vice-President, Colin Jagoe has been acclaimed to the role of Secretary. Jaclyn Calder and Mark Chesser have each been acclaimed to two-year terms as Director-At-Large, joining Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Alana Callan who will be continuing on the Board in the second year in their two-year terms. Dan Ballantine has agreed to continue in the role of Treasurer in the interim until the new Board appoints a replacement to the role.  Harry Niezen will continue on the Board as the appointed Conference Chair.  The role of Past President on the Board remains vacant for the time being.

Biographies submitted for the 2015 nominees are provided here. The full board, together with contact information, is posted to the ECOO Board of Directors, 2015-16.

Mark W. Carbone

Mark has 34 years experience in K12 public education in Ontario through a variety of roles including teacher, ICT consultant, IT manager and CIO. In his ongoing work with OSAPAC (Ministry advisory committee), the OSSEMOOC project, and his past experience with ECOO, he is well positioned to provide leadership to the ECOO organization for the 15/16 year as ECOO continues to support moving Ontario education forward with important next steps.

Donna Miller Fry

Donna Fry has over thirty years’ experience in publicly­funded schools in Ontario as a teacher, administrative head, online instructor, alternative education teacher, vice­principal, and principal. She served as an Education Officer with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch ­ eLearning Ontario. Currently she is the Provincial Lead for Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching, on secondment from her role as a Secondary Principal with Superior­Greenstone District School Board. She is a member of OSAPAC, co­lead of OSSEMOOC and served on the ECOO Board of Directors for the 2014­15 year.

Colin Jagoe

Colin has served on the ECOO Board as a Director-­At-­Large for the past year and looks forward to continuing to serve the Ontario Education Community again. He currently teaches secondary science in Brighton, Ontario. He is an advocate for change in our school system and believes that strategic use of technology can drive our schools to change, becoming places better suited for learning for today’s learners.

Jaclyn Calder

Jaclyn has worked with the ECOO Conference Committee for a several years, spearheading a number of new initiatives that debuted at the 2013 and 2014 BringIT, Together conferences. Jaclyn highly values what ECOO has to offer to Ontario educators, having seen the benefits from engagement in work of ECOO within her teaching practice, and she is eager to give back to the organization.

Mark Chesser

Mark has been integrating technology and Web 2.0 tools into his teaching practice for several years. In 2013, he was the eLearning teacher for his Board, an opportunity which he found challenging and a real signpost of his future career. Mark looks forward to being on the Board of Directors of the ECOO so that he can help other teachers already using technology as well as help other teachers learn more about what it is we already do.

New Board Seeks Input
The new Board will be seeking input from ECOO members regarding initiatives beyond the scope of the annual conference. Members interested in participating in ECOO initiatives should contact a member of the Board to declare their interest.

Board of Directors selection process
Under the ECOO bylaw, a Nominations Committee for the 2016 process will be struck at the first meeting of the new board, and a Call for Nominations for 2016-17 will be made no later than three months prior to the next Annual General Meeting. Nominations for the annually elected roles of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and 2 Director-At-Large positions will be received up until 40 days prior to the next Annual General Meeting. Where there is more than one nominee for an elective position, an Election Process will occur. The new Board will take office at the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting.


Andrew Forgrave,
Chair, Nominations Committee