Interview with John Vaillant

I had such a treat this week to interview author John Vaillant about the book that we are currently reading in TVO’s TeachOntario. The questions were developed in conjunction with the book club’s participants.

Usually when I have interviewed people in the past, I have simply used Google Hangouts on Air and hit record.  This time I needed to adapt to the new Livestream option inside YouTube (which is just like Google Hangouts on Air but hidden) and I had the marvelous Matthew O’Mara to school me on a few production tips.  I hope you’ll enjoy the interview and to be encouraged to pick up this timely and treacherous adventure.  For my review of this book, please go to The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant

#BIT15Reads: Interview with author Jose Luis Vilson

Bright and early Sunday morning at 10 am EST (we changed the clocks back an hour in Ontario), author Jose Luis Vilson joins me to talk about his book This is not a test: A new narrative on race, class and education.

Taking a moment to reflect on Jose’s work and how he described it in person this morning here are some of my takeaways:

  • public education as it exists now is a band-aid approach.  We need to get better at predicting inequities and solving them before they happen
  • blogging is an amazing tool for personal and professional reflection….the act of formalizing my thoughts has lead me to experiment in greater ways….it was nice hearing that Jose’s approach to writing began as writing for himself and to connect to his community for support
  • the internet is amplifying inequities rather than solving them. This is a constant source of disappointment and frustration for me.
  • our students may struggle with digital literacies long term but the immediate need is to solve inequities through strong pedagogy first
  • the government, across North America, needs to invest in equity and renew efforts to see students as change agents by giving them voice and agency

If you’re following along, you’ll know that Jose and I just lost our connection.  I had to start a fresh hangout.  Here it is now:

I will make an effort soon to edit that together to make it less disjointed.

#BIT15Reads: Interview with author Clive Veroni

Today at 5:00 pm ET Clive Veroni joins me to discuss his book Spin

Veroni’s book Spin revolves around the idea that modern media marketing has completely changed politics and business practices from autocratic to democratic….much the same way that education is moving.

There are so many things that Clive said that both reaffirm and challenge by beliefs in what I try to do in school each day.  In the book and the interview I tried to get Clive to talk about his own creative process and he shockingly says he doesn’t have a process!  In fact approaching each challenge in his marketing work with a fresh perspective is a strength which he uses all the time.  As I suspected through Clive’s own writing, he has a deep relationship with literature, art and beauty which helps him in non-linear problem solving.  It is refreshing to hear how much his arts education background has helped him with the empathy-building and narrative-constructing that he requires on a daily basis.

Final words, dear reader:  You need to read this book.

#BIT15Reads: Interview with author Rosemary Lehman

Author Rosemary Lehman joins me today to talk about her book Motivating and Retaining Online Students

As you can see in my video, there are a lot of stickies on my copy of her book!  It was a genuine thrill to speak with her today and being able to ask her questions deepened my understanding of her strategies and gave me lots of new ideas to go forward.  Here are some of them:

  • make your technology experiences sensory….what senses can we heighten with the technology experiences we provide our students in online and blended classrooms?
  • allow for as much interaction and varied types of interaction as possible
  • provide a reliable structure to experiment/play within
  • fill your course with discovery…this is key for school-aged children but for all students as well
  • use electronic office hours to build relationships; evaluate the participation in electronic office hours as an extrinsic motivator to connect with all students in a virtual face-to-face way
  • MORE visuals!  All sorts!

Here is a link to the livestream video.

She also shared some slides with us which you can find here:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1QD_umoDK2zMx1MIXiLFXJEt5I7dRHNpfTPiGCvhrqlI/edit?usp=sharing