Sunday, 25 February 2018 10:24

Further comments for Modules 4 and 5

Dear Students - I hope to clarify the relationship between the two upcoming assignments and professional learning communities (PLCs).

pme 801 w 2018

Gantt Chart of Course Timeline

You should now be working toward the next assignment: Solution Concept Written Proposal. You have already started the process for this assignment. Let me try to piece together for you the process that you are following through the course.

  • In the knowledge forum, you had a chance to post your burning questions that arose out of your concept maps, and clarify connections between your questions and others' questions. 
  • You identified one or more PLCs that you thought might be useful or offer you the support that you are looking for with your teaching. I gave you feedback on the your choices. Some were very solid choices. In other cases, I cautioned you to find a PLC that you had a reasonable chance of actually connecting with. I see that many of you have in fact connected.
  • In Module two, you posted a design brief that was based on your burning questions from your concept map. This was due last week.
    • I am not going to comment on each of these individual proposals. The point was for you to post your ideas in order to find a group of like-minded classmates with whom you can work on the above noted assignment.
    • Hopefully, you will be able to use some of the technologies highlighted in your montage to help you work with members of that community.

Now, you should be communicating with other students, reviewing each other’s design briefs.

For Module 4:

  • You will join a collaborative group (2-4 participants) to start the process of analyzing your burning questions.
  • Ideally, you will select the brief  or question(s) that have the most clarity in terms of process and the most opportunity for engagement with the PLC.
    • You questions can be broadly about how to work with a professional PLC. This could be a PLC that is created at your school or within your school board. It could be with a formal PLC that many of you have chosen. Or you could focus on a collaborative inquiry question on how to engage students in a specific K-12 setting.
  • Then you will work through your project to find / propose a solution to the burning questions.
  • The instruction from the course is:
    • “The focus of your collaboration will be to design a proposed solution to a substantive problem or dilemma in a Professional Community of your group’s choosing.” You can use any collaborative technologies (e.g. Google Docs) that you see fit, and that you have investigated in the montage. Remember that you need to include a process account of your engagement with each other so you should use a technology that leaves a ‘paper trail’.
If you have not formed a group yet, please post again on the discussion board or contact me, or both.

In your groups, you will:

  • Engage in critical review of a problem and the context in which the problem exists in a community
  • Propose solutions to a problem that are sensitive to the concerns of the stakeholders
  • Prototype versions of the solution for review by other students in the course
  • Write a Design/Problem Brief that includes 
    • Introduction: description of the problem/issue that is being addressed (300 words)
    • Literature review - scholarly connections between your burning questions and the literature (500 words)
    • The proposed solution - a discussion and ‘tangible version’ of the solution (prototype, process description, tools, etc.) (500-800 words)
    • "Process account" - a summary of the process of engagement between members of your group (Annotated copy of your interactions)
    • Reference List and citations within the body of the Design/Problem Brief. 

After this has been submitted, and concurrently, each of you will be expected to digitally communicate with a chosen PLC about the value of collaborative inquiry as it relates to an authentic problem of practice. This is why I have advised many of you to think about PLCs from whom you can realistically expect to receive a reply.

**Please note that there is no reason why your entire group cannot work with the PLC individually after the group work assignment is completed to do the Module 5 individual work**

For Module 5, you will

  • Identify a Professional Community with whom to connect
  • Starting with one of your burning questions, and quite possibly the burning question you worked on with your group, take the introduction and literature review from your group work and define a set of core ideas, related to Collaborative Inquiry and based on course content, to be shared as appropriate, with your chosen PLC.
    • As with module 4, these could be more generally about interacting with informal or formal PLCs, or it could be more about creating inquiry groups within your teaching setting.
  • Connect virtually and/or physically with the PLC and document your interactions
  • Provide evidence of a connection to the identified Professional Community
  • Where virtual and/or physical connection is not possible, you will need to create a “digital foothold” where you can communicate the set of core ideas that were identified related to Collaborative Inquiry and the particular Professional Community
    • This is the point where you will find the work better and more rewarding if you can actually connect with your PLC.
    • Create a link between your digital foothold and the course.
  • You will submit a report on your success in interacting with the PLC and their responses to your questions.

Post to the D2L Discussion topic, "Our Professional Communities - Making Connections" (started in Module Two).

Published in PME-801 - Winter 2018
Friday, 23 February 2018 08:18

832 - W2018 - Case Study Feedback

Hello 832 Students,

I have compiled the feedback I gave to you. I urge you to take a few minutes to read through. You may find some inspiration by benchmarking your own feedback against that which I gave to other students.

There are two sections. The first section are general comments that I leave at the end of your assignments. 

The second section are in-text comments. Some of these may seem rather obscure because they are taken out of context, but  I think you may still benefit from seeing the nature of my comments, which range from formatting and style, to content. 


Part 1


Paul comments

This is a very interesting paper and I really liked the final section where tou bring relevance to the whole activity by relating the findings to your own practice. That was a very powerful way to conclude. This is a suggestion I will forward to the course writers. It is a great addition to the activity.

You were able to be really concise and yet give a broad range of ideas and go well beyond the expectations of the assignment without going way over the word count. You are at 1159 words which is well within an acceptable excess range. I am impressed with the hard work I know you must have done to reduce this from its original length to this length and still be overflowing with great ideas.

Nicely done!


Paul comments


First, A couple of technical points – I suggest you use headings. These are APA standard and really help to separate out the sections of your paper. This greatly increases readability. Also, you have some long paragraphs – these too are harder to read through, especially when the reader (me) is stopping to make comments or write down notes and then needs to find their place again.

Overall, this was very well organized and I think you gave a clear and concise overview of the studies and approaches therein. Your opening paragraphs were excellent and you really drew out some interesting points by comparing the two studies in the way that you did,

Your suggestions for improvement might be a bit less effective although I can certainly see the appeal of these. In some cases, they seem reasonable suggestions, but you really need to think about the reality of the context and try to find suggestions that do not cost too much or require time (almost the same thing). Ideally, they would be things that are not really changes or additions, but redirections of effort. In that way, resources such as time and money might be redirected and so you would not require more.

Anyway, this might be difficult to think about if you are not familiar with the context (e.g. with trades work in Ontario). Very nice work.


 Paul comments


Thanks for your assignment. I enjoyed reading your work. It was concise and to the point. I think you captured all of the essential information and clearly demonstrated an understanding of the approaches through the examples you provided.

I will note that your writing, while error free might use a bit more editing to remove some repetitive statements and slightly round-about expressions. I note that your word count is over the limit by about 25%. That is not unusual, but you could spend 15 minutes and remove that 25% without losing any content. In fact, this would reveal the content to me more clearly. The best papers are the ones that I don’t have to reread. If you like, I would be happy to do that for you with the first 2-3 pages of this paper as an example.

Your APA formatting might need a bit of a touch up as well. For example, the in-text citations are not entirely correct. At any rate, your work is clear and I think this was a solid effort.


Paul Comments


This is a very interesting and easy to read piece of writing. Well done! You have clearly not only thought carefully about the two case studies and your tasks in writing about them, but you have carefully crafted the writing as well to deliver a very concise and thoughtful assignment.

Your suggestions are insightful and achievable, which is a key point in offering suggestions for improvement. They have to fit the project and actually be possible. It is easy, as you note, to throw money at the projects. However, then the question is, what to do with the money.

Don’t forget to address your introductory statements clearly and directly.


Paul Comments


Hi - you are obviously very passionate about these two studies. They are no doubt very inspiring and motivating. However, I fear in your enthusiasm you may have overlooked some issues. You have touched on some of the issues such as assessment, but then you espouse the other benefits so thoroughly that the issues get lost.

This is quite long at over 1600 words for a 1000-word assignment. I think you could really shorten it by focusing on the academic element. You do mention the approaches, benefits, issues and suggestions, but they are lost somewhat in the effusive descriptions of the projects.

I think you might benefit, for the next assignment to really focus on the question and concentrate your enthusiasm for the projects. This enthusiasm is great, but it has the effect of clouding your own judgment on what to include in your writing. That is why you have gone so far over the word count.


Paul – Comments


This is a wonderful piece of writing. The writing itself is very clear and succinct. However, you have shown great thought and care in putting this together. You clearly have demonstrated a deep understanding the approaches and how to realize them in the classroom. Your suggestions for improvements are grounded, realistic and I can imagine you actually doing some of these changes.

I hope you get to actually try some of these. I think the art approach as a medium of expression, especially for young students, but also for immigrant and ESL students is excellent and very achievable.


Paul Comments


Thanks for this work. I think it has a lot of potential and you have clearly given it a lot of thought. However, my first reaction is that you have written it as a conversation piece perhaps when what is needed here is a concise piece of academic writing. So, you are at about 1750 words for a 1000-word piece.

The problem then becomes that longer pieces of writing have a tendency to repeat themselves and give a lot of detail, which may or may not be supported.

In your case, you have given lots of details, some of which flow logically from your argument, but others which are just sitting there with no basis or support from the surrounding argument.

For your next assignment, you need to try and really organize your writing and your thoughts. This is where a concept map of sorts might be useful. You can then use each paragraph as a thought and then you can compare the thoughts to see of they are coherent, concise, only one or two examples and not repeated.

I was not clear on your point about the approaches. You seem to suggest that connected learning is the overarching approach and that the other approaches you discuss are part of connected learning. This may be perhaps, but I am not sure you have support this argument.


Paul Comments:


You seem to have touched on the relevant points in these studies, but you have done so in a rather round-about way. That tells me that perhaps you are not as familiar with the approaches. Some of your comments as well may indicate that you could read more widely on case studies before selecting these. Alternatively, you need to read more widely to appreciate these two more.

I think your points are all valid but I also think that you could organize this much better to really highlight your points and by doing so, remove some repetition and thus have more of your 1000 words to express your ideas more thoroughly.


Paul Comments


This was a pleasure to read. It was well written, concise and to the point. You were able to highlight a number of excellent key points and ones that were tailored the specific examples.

I also loved your discussions about barriers and suggestions. Combining these around a discussion of the learning approaches instead of the specific case studies was great. You then brought the case studies back in with a discussion of suggestions that ties the approaches to the case studies. This is a wonderful piece of writing!

FYI - as a style point, if you do not indent new paragraphs, you need to add a line space. I prefer this style rather than indenting because it is much easier to read.


Paul – Comments


Thanks for your paper. From a strictly formatting point of view, I think you would do well to reformat and try to find a style that adheres to a more formal style such as APA. The point of these styles guides is to help you prepare paper that is easier to read and easier for you to write.

I think you have two interesting studies, but I do think you have glossed over some of the important pieces and missed an opportunity to really present a coherent comparison of the two and then be able to give solid suggestions that offer better, more holistic approaches to the studies.

You have picked out some highly relevant points and presented them clearly. However, I think you might be able to see and discuss the connections between the two more clearly.


Part 2


  • nice touch to discuss the choice of the studies
  • I would like to know if this is clearly delineated in the documentation. What are these competencies?
  • This term is often used in a negative sense. I am not clear if this is good or bad.
  • Interesting but is it practical? Would they trample the vegetables?
  • This is a nice conclusion, but I think you could shorten some other sections and put a bit more ‘conclusive’ writing into this.
  • Careful of your wording – they are not benefiting from the theory but from the practices enacted through the project. The theory just provides guidelines that help the educators get the most out of their activity.        
  • Great examples – I see the connection to the skills in the previous paragraph, but further clarity might emerge from combining these two paragraphs
  • Ha – money solves a lot of issues.
  • This is a great summary of the programs. I think you have really captured the essence of the programs. I might suggest that you try to bring in the approaches more closely, either in a concluding paragraph, or throughout the section.
  • Nevertheless, this is very clear and quite well done!
  • Absolutely – teachers need help to let go, and often for good reason – the school boards need to give teachers permission to let go a bit.
  • You could combine this with the barriers to provide clear connections between the barriers and sources of improvement, but nevertheless, this is very interesting
  • Art teachers? Aboriginal artists? Immigrant and refugee artists? E.g.,
  • Careful, this might not be true
  • Careful with such exclusive claims
  • Very nice, but this makes me ask about the assessment and focused learning? Who is managing that? These places are just places. Who is giving the focus and guiding inquiry to the activities?
  • I think that at this point, you are repeating or reiterating certain points and so this is where you need to think about reorganizing this paper. You are way over the word count of 1000 words.
  • You have a tendency to use a lot of colloquial expressions. This is fine in discussion boards, but for an academic paper, you need to really cut out idioms and colloquialisms as much as possible.
  • This is all interesting, but I feel you are bouncing around the point, and not quite getting to it. What do you want me to know about this project?
  • Can you elaborate? This is precisely why we take them out of the classroom.
  • Great opening paragraph – concise and very descriptive
  • Wonderful
  • Very much – key point
  • True, but an element of experiential learning is longitudinal – they need to spend time doing this.
  • Very concise!
  • Nice point – this is a behaviourist model as opposed to a cognitive model
  • This is actually much more exciting for students than many teachers realize.
  • Nice idea – they could do drafts in the discussion boards but submit final reflections privately to instructors.
  • This also is valuable feedback to the instructors which is often overlooked. Teachers often do not take advantage of feedback to themselves on how well students learned the content.
  • Are you sure? All schools? I have seen classrooms that do not look like this.
Published in PME 832 - Winter 2018
Thursday, 31 August 2017 17:14

PME 832 - Syllabus - Fall 2017

PME 832: The Connected Classroom

Instructor: Dr. Paul Leslie

  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Queens University
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Course designed by Dr. Holly Ogden & Judy Wearing

Below you will find attached a PDF of this page plus a PDF of the entire course outline.

Discussion board posts (6 X 6% each for 35%)

For each discussion board, please post your own comment and then respond meaningfully and respectfully to the post of two classmates. Discussion board posts should be between 350 and 500 words in length and connect to the required readings.  Responses do not have a required length but should be crafted to further learning in a meaningful and respectful manner.

  1. “Making Connections” Please share three statements, two truths and a lie about yourself. Read and respond to the post of EVERY member of the class, by guessing which is the lie.
  2. My Connections” Share your annotated concept map, showing as many meaningful and authentic connections as you can imagine for students in your current practice. Provide a description of the connections you’ve mapped, referencing some of the readings and/or the video.
  3. “Top Two”. Cite related research and scholarship to make strong connections between two pedagogical approaches and the Mind Map you posted in Module 1.
  4. “Sharing Case Studies” Share a brief description of the second Case Study that you examined and provide a link for your peers to find more information about the program. Then, describe what you found to be the most significant “take-away” from the two examples of connected learning you researched.
  5. “Technological Tools” Share a brief description of three examples of how educators effectively used the same technological tool. Rank them in order of effectiveness, and explain why you ranked them in the order you did. Also explain how you would use this tool in your own practice.
  6. “Technological Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher” Consider your current practice. What are your strengths and next steps as you strive to offer technology-enabled connected learning for your students? Make reference to at least one framework and connect your thinking to November’s ideas.
Examining Theory in Practice—Case Studies (30%)

In this assignment, you will examine two, present-day examples of Connected Learning. You will investigate two case studies (one from a provided list, and one that you have found on your own) using the guiding questions below.

  • What pedagogical approaches from Module 2 relate most closely with each case?
  • What important skills are the students developing in each case study that may not be as readily developed in a traditional classroom setting?
  • What are the biggest three challenges or barriers to providing this kind of connected learning opportunity for all learners?  What are possible solutions to overcome these challenges/barriers?
  • Can you think of one or more suggestions to increase connectedness or enhance student learning in each?

Share your analysis of both cases in a written document (1000 words - double spaced). Post this document in the Theory in Practice DROPBOX for your instructor to evaluate using a checklist.

Leadership in Professional Learning—Designing a Technologically-Enhanced Connected Learning Experience (35%)

This culminating task will help you to bring together your learning from all five modules in this course. For this final project, you will envision what connected learning could look like in your professional context. As a culminating task, you will individually design a connected classroom project that you could use with your students and present it to your peers. You may choose to present your design as a project or unit plan or in another format (e.g., powerpoint, prezi, youtube video, etc.) with the goal of inspiring others to foster and create connections in their own teaching and learning. 

A successful connected classroom project or program will include:

  • Strong and authentic connection
  • Rich learning that uncovers the curriculum
  • Ongoing learning– not a one-time thing
  • Theoretically-supported pedagogy, Technology-enhanced opportunities, Feasible design.

Along with your connected classroom program/project, please write a rationale ( 600 words MAXIMUM, double spaced) detailing:

  • How the program relates to pedagogical approaches (cite scholarly work);
  • How you decided which digital technologies to incorporate;
  • Who you could share this work with and how you might share it; and,
  • Why you chose this approach and how it shows professional growth from your previous teaching and/or planning.
Formative Assessments

There are also two formative assessments in which you will reflect on your progress to date. These are not graded, but are mandatory assignments. They provide you an opportunity to speak frankly to the instructor about your thoughts and comments on the course, how the course is serving your needs, and your performance.


Course Syllabus






Week 1

Sept. 18th -24th

Welcome to PME 832

1 week


Discussion Board Post:

  • Making Connections

DUE: END OF WEEK 1 – Sept. 24th

Module 1

Week 2

Sept. 25th – Oct 1st

What is a Connected Classroom?

1 week 

Discussion Board Post:

  • My Connections

DUE: END OF WEEK 2 – Oct 1st  

Reading week

Week 3 – Oct. 2nd - 9th (Thanksgiving)

Read ahead or catch up. Late assignments may be considered if posted during reading week

Module 2

Week 4

Oct. 10th  - 15th   


Pedagogical Approaches that Support Connected Classrooms


1 week 


Discussion Board Post:

  • Top Two

Mid-course formative assessment

  • Reflection

DUE: END OF WEEK 4 – Oct. 22nd  

Module 3

Weeks 5 & 6

Oct. 16th – 29th   

Theory in Practice: Examining Case Studies

2 Weeks

Discussion Board Posts:

  • Sharing Case Studies

DropBox Assignment:

  • Examining theory in practice – case studies

DUE: END OF WEEK 6 – Oct. 29th

Module 4

Week 7

Oct. 30th  – Nov 5th

Technological Tools for Connected Learning

1 Week

Discussion Board Posts:

  • Technology Tools

DUE: END OF WEEK 7 – Nov. 5th  

Module 5

Week 8

Nov. 6th – 12th

Technologically-Enhanced Learning Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher

1 week 


Discussion Board Posts:

  • ·        Technological Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher

DUE: END OF WEEK 8 – Nov. 12th

Reading Week

Week 9, Nov. 13th - 19th

Read ahead or catch up. Late assignments may be considered if posted during reading week.

Course Closure

Week 10

Nov. 20th – 26th

Leadership in Professional Learning and Reflecting on PME 832

1 week

DropBox Assignment

  • ·        Leadership in Professional Learning—Designing a Technologically-Enhanced Connected Learning Experience (35%)

Final Formative Assessment

  • ·        Reflection

DUE: END OF WEEK 10 – Nov. 26th

Published in PME 832 - Fall 2017