Comments on Ontario Ministry of Education Modernizing Classrooms

In a press briefing on March 15, 2019, the Ontario Minister of Education announced a plan for Modernizing Classrooms.  The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) is not a political organization and looks forward to successful negotiations between the Teacher Federations and the Ministry of Education in their collective efforts to create their modern classrooms.

ECOO, as the subject association for computer using educators in the province and a member of the Ontario Teachers Federation Curriculum Forum, is pleased to see the priority given to the use of technology in the Minister’s announcement.  ECOO has always led the way in providing guidance and professional learning opportunities for Ontario educators and looks forward to continuing to lead the way under this initiative.

ECOO’s Annual Conference has addressed the use of broadband and internet technologies from its early days.  

Best practices in this area address areas of equity, music creation, movie production, web content creation, digital communities of practice, development of professional learning networks

eLearning

eLearning has been a common topic addressed at ECOO Conferences since the very beginning of Ontario eLearning Consortium and the Ontario Catholic eLearning Consortium. eLearning teachers have used the ECOO and Bring IT, Together! Conferences as an opportunity to gather and share resources and ideas face to face.

ECOO supports the work of the consortiums over the years in ensuring that a credit earned online is equivalent to one obtained in traditional face to face environments and not a glorified correspondence course.  This includes equity of access to technology and the internet, supportive teachers and places to turn for assistance, including 24/7 technical support.

Cellphones

Cellphones, tablets, and other Bring Your Own Devices have had a profound impact on the use of technology in Ontario classrooms.  Ontario Educators regularly share their best practices, lessons, and resources through ECOO’s Bring IT, Together! Conference.

The ability to meet students “where they are” has always been a primary focus for the computer using educator.  The patterns described by the Minister above are exemplary uses of these forms of technology. Support and sharing of resources will make for successful use in education.

Educators know that that technology use doesn’t end at the conclusion of the school day.  Homework and research are richer with the appropriate use of technology.

WHAT ECOO IS DOING

Bring, IT Together! Conference

  • This conference is held annually in partnership with the ICT branch of the Ontario Association of School Board Officials.  Three days of intense learning devoted exclusively to computer and technology use lay the path for the best use of computers in the classroom.  This year’s conference is November 6-8, 2019 bringitogether.ca  Highlights of 2018 conference can be found here  

#ECOOcamp Owen Sound

  • An #ECOOcamp is a unique offering of computer professional learning sessions localized for teachers.  In its second year, #ECOOcamp Owen Sound is offered on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Information can be found on TeachOntario – ecoo.org/ecoocamp

Special Interest Groups in TeachOntario

  • ECOO has partnered with TeachOntario to provide Special Interest Group space on the TeachOntario site.  Any teacher in the province can participate simply by logging in and joining a SIG. At present, there are SIGs for Elementary, Secondary, and Computer Security – ecoo.org/sigs

Coding

  • On its website, ECOO has provided deep research into the use of coding and what it can do in classrooms – ECOO Codes

Equity

  • ECOO is devoted to equity for all educators in the province.  Recently, the website was translated so that resources are available in both English and French.  A position and official statement of equity was developed last year and are available on the ECOO website – ECOO Equity Statement

Collaborating

  • ECOO provides meeting space at the Bring IT, Together! Conference for groups promoting the effective use of computers in the classroom.

WHAT TEACHERS CAN DO

Join ECOO – it’s free

Plan to attend ECOOcamp Owen Sound

Plan to attend the Bring IT, Together! Conference

Connect with TeachOntario via your school district email address

Consider assisting with ECOO’s mission by submitting session proposals for conferences

For further information, contact the ECOO President at president@ecoo.org