Connectedness – Highlights from #CanConnectEd15


CanConnectEd was not your typical edtech conference. Of course there were sessions on tools, apps and such. But the big idea around the “connected” conference was, well, the idea of being connected.

Tom Whitby and Steve Anderson shared the notion of irrelevant teachers. What they mean is that teachers have a choice to seek out PD and those who don’t are quickly falling behind. I wonder about schools too. Could it be possible that some schools are not connected at the system level and are missing out on what is being shared on social media?


My big takeaway was simple, yet powerful:

In the case of those “app” sessions – it was more about the pedagogy and less focus on the tool.

My Principal, Chris Moore, shared his thoughts on leading a student lead school.


I was thrilled to give my first #igniteDEN talk on Thursday night if front of some highly respected and highly connected global educators. The ignite format was new to me. You get five minutes and must have 20 slides. Each slide advances after fifteen seconds. I spoke about teacher lead passion projects. More specifically, our school arcade machine.

Andrew Campbell was inspirational! He spoke about a former student who had committed suicide and how he took it so personally. He spoke about the feelings he had at the time and about wishing he had done more. He spoke about his reflections on the situation and that we must remember it’s not what we don’t do for students, but rather that we do! RIP Fraser.

Zoe Branigan-Pipe talked about living on the fringe. I admire and respect her for making decisions based on the best interest of her students. She manages to find a way to get stuff done that may not always follow the same path as everyone else.

I caught up with some old friends and even made some new ones. Jamie Weir is someone I have known digitally for quite some time. I have even FaceTimed with her students. We have crossed paths before, but never chatted f2f until this week.

I also met Mario Stamegna who is a very humbling individual. His passion came through in our conversations. Thanks for the conversations, friend!

I also met James Gill who was the Walking Dead. Over 40 hours without sleep but eager and energized to share his #igniteDEN story.


As I reflect on the idea of irrelevancy, I think about “blinders”. I like to joke about “blinders” in that sometimes we think we are doing something right because we don’t have a perspective. Sometimes we only see one point of view. With the notion of not becoming irrelevant I wonder about “blinders” at the classroom level, school level and board level. As educators, we have the opportunity to not only see what colleagues are doing in our own school, but colleagues in other schools within our own school boards. As educators, we have the opportunity to see beyond our backyard and connect with others at the Provincial level. As educators, we have the opportunity to see beyond our Provincial level and look globally. It’s time to remove the “blinders”, there are some really cool things happening all over the world.

If you were unable to catch my keynote, it was archived to YouTube.

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2 Responses for this post

  1. Erin Little
    Erin Little
    | |

    Hi Brian, I was very sad to miss ConnectEd and OAME this past weekend. I did tweet how disconnected I feel sometimes up here in the north. I only ever got to conferences when I used my TLLP funds a few years ago or in the summer when I used my own time and money. Frankly, right now I feel defeated again (this has happened to me several times in the past ten years) because I do pursue PD on my own constantly, to the point my own children get upset with me (guilt) but I get absolutely no support from my employers. In fact, they don’t acknowledge it at all and I did not even get an interview for the iPad coach jobs (some people who did have way less experience – nepotism runs rampant here). I’m not sure what my point is except that it’s really, really hard for some of us to stay connected and it’s really hard to implement what I learn in classes of 30 kids.

    I wonder about teacher blogs also, I find they are mostly rah, rah without discussion of issues that need to be addressed. I sometimes find this discouraging because it seems to do what many admins do, put all the blame for issues in the system on the teachers backs. “If only you were a better teacher, all your kids would be engaged all the time and they would be meeting provincial standards in spite of the fact there are 30 studnets and 10 IEPs in your class with no EA”. Do you know what I mean?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love teacher blogs and I learn a lot from them.

  2. Brian
    | |

    This conference slipped right past my eyes. When I saw all the tweets I thought, “I’ve missed a good one!” Thankfully, Twitter allowed the discussions to transcend our walls. Thanks, everyone, who tweeted new learnings, and thanks, Brian, for sharing the keynote.


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