Tag Archives: Muir Lake School

Ideas Into Action

“Organizations that can access the most brains will win. Its not what you know but how quickly you can access knowledge of others.” Liz Wiseman

There are some really awesome things happening in our schools right now and I just wanted to share some simple ideas that may spark some others.  The interesting part about the work that is happening is that many administrators are looking through social media at what is happening at other schools around the world and implementing them in some fashion within their own schools.  If these educators were not connected, I am not sure that they would be trying these out but they are all very active while also willing to share their work with others both within our division and the entire world.

1. Memorial Composite High School Facebook Page – Facebook is not necessarily an innovative idea nor new to schools, but I was extremely impressed watching the school principal, Shauna Boyce, doing all of the updating and creating of this page, as well as the Memorial Composite Twitter feed.  Now the principal doesn’t have to be the one updating this page, but I know that because of Shauna’s understanding of how this could be used she would encourage and be able to model this for her staff.  Instead of killing innovation because she is scared of “Facebook” (as outlined in this post), Shauna is modelling an effective way she can be using this technology to connect with students.

2. Muir Lake Ninja Program – Adopted from Jeff Utecht’s program that he has run with his own students and shared openly with others, Muir Lake School Assistant Principal Travis McNaughton has implemented this same initiative with the students of his school.  In a kind of a neat way to connect with students, Travis has explained the program:

“Welcome to the Google Apps Ninja Dojo! In JapaneseDojo means “place of the way”. Here you will find your way to becoming a Google Apps Ninja Master.

There are a few Google Apps categories that you must master in order to become a true Google Apps Ninja Master at Muir Lake School. In each category there are four belts to achieve in order to becoming a Master Ninja.”

Kind of neat hey?  The admin team at Muir Lake has effectively used their school blog to connect with parents and share information openly, such as their “Google Chromebooks” initiative.

3. Innovation Week Jesse McLean, as part of the amazing administration team at Greystone Centennial Middle School, is looking to host their first “Innovation Week”, an idea that has been shared by Josh Stumpenhorst and others. As this has been a first time for the school and will be implemented in late December, Jesse is actually looking to endeavour in his own innovative project before the students give it a try.  He has told me that he believes for him to be able to successfully share this with others, he will have to experience it himself to understand both the positives and negatives.  Here is a small snippet of what Jesse is sharing:

“During this week, students will be given the time, space, support and necessary materials to work on a project of their choice. Our hope is to provide students with a meaningful experience that will help develop a passion for learning by giving them the chance to pursue their own learning interests. Similar projects have been run in the United States and England and have been met with great success when it comes to student engagement and impactful learning experiences. The students will not attend their classes during this week, instead they will work in the Innovation Week area for the entirety of their school day. Staff members from our school will be supervising and assisting in the Innovation Week area all week. We are hoping every staff member will get the chance to be in the Innovation Week area for at least one school day. On the morning of final day, we will have each individual/group present their project and give a summary of their learning that occurred during the week.”

It will be great to see what the students will be creating during this week and how it is further implemented on a daily basis at Greystone school.

Although there are some great ideas here, what I am most impressed with is that these individuals and schools are openly and willingly sharing their work as the default.  They are not being asked to put their stuff out there, but are doing it because they know that they can learn from others and others can learn from them.  Innovation is not about technology, but technology does afford us the opportunity to easily and openly share ideas in a way that we were not able to before.

I will end with the quote and image listed below which was continuously stuck in my mind as I wrote this post:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by gcouros

Organizing School/Division Hashtags (Part 1)

I am currently working on a document that can help Parkland School Division share learning across the division through the effective use of hashtags.  Parkland School Division has approximately 10,000 students, therefore it is important that we continue to figure out how to best share information through social media in an organized manner.

I am hoping that along with the information below, people will share any suggestions that will help our school division use this social media site in an effective way so we can connect and learn together.  Please feel free to use any of the information below with your own schools/organizations.

If you are interested in creating a Twitter account for your school, this article I recently wrote can give you of some ideas on how you can use this tool to build a stronger learning community.  I would suggest looking at the “Tweeting for Schools” post.

As this is a comprehensive document, I am going to share it in two parts along with the final Google Document when it is completed.  I encourage you to share your thoughts and suggestions on anything that I have shared.  These are meant to be guidelines and suggestions within our own school division.


As Parkland School Division continues to build its social media presence to connect and learn with stakeholders, we wanted to give some suggestions on how to effectively use Twitter hashtags to connect and share our learning within our organization, as well as within schools.  If you have an effective plan in the building, it can alleviate a lot of confusion later on as you try to change procedures in an attempt to be more effective.  Here are some ideas that will help bring our learning together.

School/School Division Tweets

Whenever there is a tweet from a school Twitter account, it would be beneficial if it would use not only the hashtag for the school to help develop a presence within its own school community, but it would also be helpful to share the information with Parkland School Division so we can also learn alongside the school, as well as share some of the amazing things that are happening in schools with others in our learning community, as well as globally.  Here is an example of a tweet from a school account.  I will use Muir Lake School as an example:

Example tweets from @MuirLake:

Thank you to all of the parents that have helped #MuirLake school this year.  Glad you could come to the volunteer tea!  #psd70

Or to share learning with your school community and all of Parkland School Division:

Great article regarding the #criticalthinking project: My Favorite Liar http://bit.ly/KIu3ls #muirlake #psd70

In the last tweet, you can see the use of 3 hashtags: #criticalthinkingproject, #muirlake, and #psd70.  This enables you to share with anyone watching or searching for information under each hashtag which is beneficial to so many people.  Sending the same link out simply in an email will never reach the audience that a tweet can.  Not only can this be sent out from the @MuirLake account, but it is probable that this will be retweeted by others, including the @psd_70 twitter account.  See the example below:

Tweet from @psd_70:

RT @muirlake Great article regarding the #criticalthinking project: My Favorite Liar http://bit.ly/KIu3ls #muirlake #psd70

Although the @MuirLake account is fairly new and has fewer followers, through retweeting and sharing information, it is more likely to get the information out while creating a larger network.

Of course, tweets are always subject to the number of characters that are being used, so if it is not possible to use the school and division hashtag, that is totally acceptable.  It is however usually  beneficial to try to keep tweets as short as possible.  They are more likely to get retweeted if they have 120 characters or less which gives them room for people to retweet with their twitter user handle contained in the tweet.

Thoughts and Considerations

As there are many initiatives within Parkland School Division,  we want to be thoughtful in how we can share information with both a large audience, as well as others looking for specific information.

For example, if you wanted to have something that is specific to administrators within the school division, you can simply add to the existing hashtag.  #psd70 which could become #psd70_lead.  The nice thing about this is that if you use a service such as Tweetdeck, you will see any hashtags that start with the #psd70 or you can choose to specifically follow #psd70_lead.  Sending an email to only administrators in the school division would ensure that we could get information out to all of them, but we believe in building capacity and if we share information to other staff in our division that are interested in leadership, they can specifically follow the hashtag #psd70_lead as well.  The more we can share, the better we are.  With that being said, we want to be thoughtful in the process so that information is easy to find within our own organization.

Here is an example of a tweet:

Social Media For Administrators (Blog Posts) #psd70_lead #cpchat http://t.co/DopFaHF0

This can be done with other initiatives as well, again by adding to the current #psd70 hashtag.  Our ‘Critical Thinking’ project hashtag could become #psd70_ct, which makes it easy for all those following the #psd70 hashtag to see the information shared on Critical Thinking, as well as the participants can use other ‘general’ hashtags on the topic to ensure a larger audience sees the information as well.  The #CriticalThinking hashtag is one that is highly used and those within our school division would benefit not only from following this hahstag, but sharing to it as well.

Here is another example of a tweet:

Great post for #criticalthinking project. My Favorite Liar | Zen Moments http://t.co/7wlYA3s6 #psd70_ct

As many hashtags can be created through this process, it is important that you have a document that is easily shared and findable to your school division as well as the general public.  This can be shared on any school division websites, or more specifically, as a link on your school division Twitter account.

In the next post, I will be sharing the process of developing hashtags for a school to easily organize across classrooms.  I will share by the end of the week.  I will also be sharing the entire Google Document where the entire article is written.