Episode 21: Tomorrowland


In this episode we interview Susan Adamthwaite who is the Student Success Coordinator 7-12 in Peel. She shares how part of her jobs is to help expand the Learning Environment to include experiences outside of the classroom walls for students. She hopes to create authentic opportunities for students that challenge them and allow them to become global citizens. She shares how she views Empowering Modern Learners as a blueprint to becoming a life-long learner.

What’s New in the World of EML

Jim shared a discussion he had with a teacher about apps and the SAMR model. She had printed out a chart off a website that seemed to show which apps are to be used within certain tiers of the SAMR model:


The problem with charts like this one (and there are many others online), as well intentioned as they are, is that educators who view them often infer that, for example, if they use Explain Everything (which is classified as a ‘redefinition app’ in this chart) then they will be integrating technology at the Redefinition level. However, the SAMR model was not designed to classify technology. It was created by Ruben Puentedura as a reflection tool for individual teachers to use as they improve their teaching practice by integrated technology to make learning more powerful for students. In fact, any of the apps listed in the chart above could be used at any of the SAMR levels depending on how they are being used in relation to the original task. A few years ago, Jim assembled a few ideas/examples of how the SAMR model could be used to bring some structure our reflections about how the use of different technologies might make a learning task more powerful.

Amit shared he has been doing with the Business teachers at Castlebrooke Secondary School who are hoping to move toward a Feedback Based Assessment Model in September. Their principal, Q Hoppie, was featured in Episode 14: Inside Out, where he shared the school’s vision around Project Based Learning, and it connects to the work that is also being done at Mayfield Secondary School and the information that Jim Kardash shared in Episode 4: Rogue One. He talked about the work they are doing around Informative Assessment and how being a co-learner is such a rewarding process.

Links from the Interview with Susan Adamthwaite

Susan shared a couple of books:

You can reach Susan on Twitter or on email at susan.adamthwaite@peelsb.com.

Shares for the Week

Jim shared an inspiring TEDx talk called Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching by Dan Finkel. We promise that it will be 15 minutes of your time well used:

Here are the 5 principles he outlines in the video:

  1. Start from questions
  2. Students need time to struggle
  3. You are not the answer key
  4. Say yes to your students’ ideas
  5. Play!

The ideas are exciting, inspiring, and completely align with PDSB’s EngageMath initiative and the Empowering Modern Learners vision. What Jim loves most about the principles is that the core of all the principles is thinking. The goal of mathematics education is not rote training to solve problems; the goal is to engender and encourage students to become very adept at mathematical thinking.  As Dan says in the video, if they are just  memorizing the steps of how to solve a math problem, there is no real thinking going on.

Amit shared a clip from the Jimmy Fallon Show where he and Chadwick Boseman listen to people who share how they have been inspired by The Black Panther movie.

Amit talked about how if we are trying to create empathetic, global citizens, that we need to expose our learners to more than just a Euro-Centric view of the world. He mentioned that learners can only feel truly empowered when they see themselves in their learning, and when they see that they too can be heroes. Part of empowering students means helping them see that ALL of our students have a place in this world.

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