peter skillen

I am currently Manager of Professional Learning with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Over 40 years of experience in the teaching profession includes 13 years as an elementary school teachers and 18 years as a Computers in Education consultant with Toronto District Schools. I was also privileged to be a founding teacher and manager at the YMCA Academy – a secondary school serving youth who prefer an alternative approach. From 2000-2003 a well-known constructivist educational software company contracted me as Lead Designer of Journal Zone - a collaborative online journal. I have been involved in project-based telecommunications since the early 1980s and continue to explore deep applications of the latest Web 2.0 technologies. iEARN-Canada – a network that connects youth around the world for the purpose of social action – has graciously accommodated me on their Board of Directors. I also serve as a member of the International Committee and as ambassador with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In Ontario, we have an organization for teachers interested in effectively integrating technologies into their classroom practice. The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) is in its 31st year and I have been active in planning its conferences for most of that time. My passion for educational change is greatly influenced by observing the ways in which people learn in 'out of school' environments. Love…rock-climbing, motorcycles, mountains, oceans…yeah, adventures – even at my age!!
peter skillen has written 8 posts for Cooperative Catalyst

“It’s not about the tool” – a naïve myth.

“It’s not about the tool – it’s about the learning.” – a naïve myth. I think I understand the intent of these kinds of statements. I believe it is a reaction that arises because some teachers and kids are focusing on the skills required to use the tool rather than on the ‘subject-matter’ at hand. … Continue reading

Education or Subjugation – Power & Empowerment in Schools

;-) (Note: ‘subjugation’!?  Sorry, I just had to use that word. It rhymes!) I have been thinking, once again, about empowerment and what it means- both theoretically and practically. You will think about the term and its ramifications quite differently depending on the lens you are using (your upbringing, your values and beliefs, your profession, your … Continue reading

Connecting from the Heart

@dougpete, in a post called, An Idea that Just Keeps Growing describes a powerful use of Google Street View for ‘storytelling’.  Megan Palevich (@mrspal) wrote A Walk Down Memory Lane which got me started on this little adventure. Ok, I have to tell you.  This has sparked something for me.  I mean, I have used Google Street … Continue reading

Metaphoria – the Pecha Kucha Version!

Alright, time for me to switch it up a bit. I know much of what I write here has been in rather a formal voice – some might say wordy or stodgy!  :-)  So I thought I’d pop in this small post which is similar in theme to this previous post. This Pecha Kucha presentation … Continue reading

Why Should Students Collaborate?

Introduction So I just started taking the Connectivism and Connected Learning course – and I shall struggle to see how it differentiates itself as a ‘learning theory’. George Siemens is developing this theory along with Stephen Downes. George outlines it here in Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. The first analysis I wish … Continue reading

Journal Writing – just another ‘worksheet’?

Writing has been known through the centuries as a tool for introspection (Britton, 1970). Forms of writing frequently used to enhance thinking include journal writing, autobiography, formal paper, or learning log (notes from class). However, I can not be so naive as to think that these techniques – or any techniques for that matter – … Continue reading

‘Metaphoria’ and Digital Literacy

The Internet has changed the way we read.  There is no doubt about it. Nicholas Carr, in his book What is the Internet Doing to Our Brains? The Shallows says, “Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Some … Continue reading

PBL – Who IS in Charge? What Tools can Help?

What tools support a socio-constructivist approach to Project-based Learning? Assumptions We believe in kids.  That’s why we are in this ‘business’ of education in the first place.  Yet, much of what we must face relegates us, and the students, to roles and responsibilities that are in discord with this belief.  Further to that, I believe … Continue reading

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