Monday, May 5, 2014

Global Voices - Universal Vision

Back in March, I had the great fortune to attend the Microsoft Global Forum, a conference that brought together educators from around the world.  While there, we shared projects from our home countries and collaborated in the creation of new projects like One World.  While the work was meaningful, it was through side conversations I had with educators from across our planet where I came to realize how common the experience of teaching really is.

The prompts:

Who are you?
What do you see as the most significant barrier to learning?
What advice would you give to teachers today?


My hope is that as CEA continues to host regional "What's Standing in the Way of Change" workshops, that my Canadian colleagues will come to realize that we are playing active roles in a global movement to reimagine education.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

25 People Who Influenced My Thinking On Assessment

A few months ago, I had the privilege to share some of my ideas about assessment with an audience that is very data savvy.  Without realizing it, teachers are the product of interactions with present colleagues, former teachers and past students.  Beyond the ideas I've shared, I hope this presentation inspires you to think about who has had the greatest impact in your teaching.

In the original talk for MISA, I shared stories highlighting 50 people who have influenced my thinking on the topic of assessment and evaluation. I'm really happy with the look of the original slidedeck which is available below, but it's difficult to argue with the nice editing job the creatives did with the presentation.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Western Active Learning Space

Five years ago, I hosted a conversation with my colleagues at RMC about what the classrooms of tomorrow might look like.  Since that time, I've led a handful of workshops at conferences where design ​thinking has similarly led eductors to envision the future. Yesterday I went on a professional development field trip to the Western Active Learning Space at the Weldon Library on the Western University campus where many of the ideas my colleagues dreamt up, have become real.   

To add context to the video, you should know that this is the prelimary test of concept space, in the next few weeks, the full scale WALS, consisting of seven learning pods will be opening in as new research classroom on campus.  The final design will see the teacher's work station moved to the centre of the room, with each pod moved slightly from the touch sensitive projection screens to more easily facilitate multi-user access.

Each collaborative pod can be accessed by a wide range of mobile devices that connect via Internet to a specific IP address. While each pod has been provided with a notebook computer, any device with the freely downloadable Crestron app, can access any of the seven sub-networks. To foster collaboration, each screen can host simultaneous projections from up to four unique devices.

There are two mounted cameras in the space either of which can be fed to the pod screens. One captures the entire room in 360° and is intended to track student engagement and participation by researchers, the other is a remote controlled camera that can focus on particular area, to record or share the work of any pod or individual. 

It's an expensive venture and one that will continue to evolve.  From my perspective, I'm content knowing that Western University has found a way to promote active collaborative learning among large groups of students.  If the vision proves productive, new classrooms at the university can be built using this prototype as a template.​​​

Sunday, March 16, 2014

One World

Still feeling the effects of jet lag upon my return from the Microsoft Global Summit, I have taken some early morning hours to draft an open letter to the team that organized the event.

One World
A number of hours ago, my learn-a-thon group made a pitch with an inquiry project called 'One World'.  Evocative of the 'one' branding that Microsoft has recently undertaken, I believe this project holds incredible potential.  For the purposes of the project, an open and social hub was created for this project at

Student Inquiry focused on Millennium Development Goals
Many believe that the Millennium Development Goals are a natural fit for the Microsoft Global Summit, and that these goals, tethered to student projects hold the key to realizing Microsoft's stated goal to "Empower people and businesses to reach their full potential".  I personally believe that the 'One World' project has the potential for ensuring that the rich cross-cultural conversations I witnessed at the forum, continue year-round, not only among teachers, but among the true global change agents: our students.  If you have yet to see our pitch, please take the time to consider our work.  It will take ten minutes of your time, but may well hold the key to the future of the Microsoft Global Summit.  I have posted our pitch online at

One World in Canada
In order to ensure that the hard work of my team does not fade away, I have shared the details of the One World project with my brother Todd who runs Northern Edge Algonquin, a Canadian retreat centre.  If financial support can be found, Todd is willing to assist in hosting a regional summit of educators and students, where One World projects can be shared. 

An Elephant in the Room
My project team invested many hours in a project that took but minutes to be judged according to a rubric.  We invested our time, talent, emotions and intellect, yet to date, we have received no feedback on our work.  We have no way of knowing the project was successful or where it fell short from the judges' perspective.  Although our project did not win any of the awards in the poverty category for which it was produced, we are very proud of our work and believe it deserves a larger audience. I believe that all participants, including those who showcased their individual projects, are justified in expecting some kind of feedback other than 'you didn't win'.  Any efforts to rectify this gap in this or any future forum events, would be much appreciated.

Continuing the Conversation
The true measure of the value of a project is whether or not it can live in the real world. I welcome any opportunity to discuss the potential of breathing life into the One World project.  Please feel free to contact me through email, or through Link or Skype.  (My Skype ID is r.lucier, and you can also find me at Skype in the Classroom).  

My days in Barcelona will be remembered for the rest of my life. Here's hoping that the full potential of the Microsoft Global Summit will continue to impact teachers and students from around the world.  One student project at a time, we can be One World.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pulling the Plug

As summer approaches, it's often the best time to reflect not only on the accomplishments of the passing school year, but to consider what it is that really matters most.  The UnPlug'd experience has always been about connecting in meaningful ways with co-learning teachers embroiled in a common lifelong mission as learner and leader.  And as much as that connecting with others does matter a whole lot, lately I've come to recognize the importance of connecting with my immediate world.

In the adrenalin rush that comes from being noticed, or from being invited to hang with the cool kids, or from having one's idea valued by others, we sometimes forget the reality that there are other people in our lives that are more important than those we may strive to impress with a witty tweet or an artful photograph, or a compelling blog post.  And even as surely as we treasure our daily lives with immediate family members, we won't be able to add full value to their lives, if we don't take care of ourselves first.

So, as summer approaches, I'm sensing the need to unplug... to go deeper, and to once again figure out who I am, and what I want to be when I grow up.  Seriously, having recently turned the page on 50 years, I can't help but wonder what else it is that I'm supposed to be doing, now that retirement from teaching is approaching like that stop sign just a few miles down the road.

It so happens that I'm also dealing with a mostly minor health issue that calls for me to 'stay out of the sun'.  As you might have guessed, I see hiding in the shade as a metaphor of sorts.  It will be a rare treat to be free from teaching online this summer, one that is calling me to be quiet on the social media front as well.  As one who commonly seeks distraction from distant folks I'm happy to call my friends, it will be no small feat.  Ironically, some of my shade will come from the withdrawal of what had been planned as this summer's UnPlugd13 summit.

In lieu of organizing an opportunity for others to forge deeper connections through, I'll be taking that time and attention to truly focus on my personal needs.  I'm going to spend a few months being still.  I will relish reading, in place of tweeting; thinking in lieu of blogging; meeting face to face instead of gathering in virtual spaces.

Before I take leave to my shaded hammock, I wonder:
What's your plan for rejuvenation this summer?

Friday, April 26, 2013

UnPlugd13: Fuel Your Passion

Who: Educators and their families
What: A summit for educators interested in making meaningful connections with colleagues while pursuing a wide range of creative and recreational pursuits.
When: August 5-8, 2013
Where: Northern Edge Algonquin
Why: Because we’re worth it!

Over four days and three nights, you will interact with kindred spirits who long to share stories and ideas amidst the natural splendor of Algonquin park.  You’ll be amazed at the meaningful connections you can make in an off-the-grid setting.

Whether your yearn to engage in rich conversation; to dive into uniquely Canadian recreation; or to dine on nutritious and delicious meals, you’re sure to find the unplugd13 experience to be rejuvenating in ways you’ve never imagined.

UnPlugd13 is limited to the first 40 participants, so if you are at all inclined to join us, visit the registration page while space is still available.

Learn More:
·       If you’re not yet familiar with the concept of learning and relaxing in an unplugged setting, consider visiting, or review photos and reflections of recent participants.
·       Follow past participants via #unplugd11 or #unplugd12.
·       Feel free to connect with me via phone, email or video conference.
·       Join in on the pre-event conference call for registrants.