Learning and Failure

  Failure can be very unproductive. It can stem from a lack of effort, resources, support, knowledge, and reflection. Failure can also be an amazing tool for learning, and perhaps one that every student should experience before graduation. Stephen Whiffin, who conceptualized the Inquiry Hub, suggested that every student should have ‘My Epic Failure’ as part of their high school portfolio. Every student should try something audaciously big, and meaningful beyond the classroom walls. Even … Continue reading

New Perspective


At this time of year, I’m often absorbed in reading about the year that was and the year ahead. Goals, predictions, and nostalgic reviews are read, tweeted and shared in many places like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and here on this blog. However, this year I headed into the Chistmas break feeling rather unplugged, and that has continued through to tonight. I’m currently on a ski holiday and other than posting a few photos online … Continue reading

a meaningful shift

Before: There was a built in validity (not necessarily accuracy) in opening up and reading the information in an encyclopedia. And now: Can the same be said of a web search? Whose job is it to check validity and accuracy now? Before: We watched along as our teachers played dry, (usually humourless) documentaries as we filled in the blanks on our worksheets. And now: Students find, and create, their own videos. Before: We tried to … Continue reading

Be Creative – Grad Speech 2011

Here is my speech to my Grade 9 Graduates this year: Last year I was much briefer, but for this speech I wanted to highlight student work and really show students and parents how our laptop program makes the educational experience different. The applause at the beginning was after my ‘Thank You’s’ to everyone for coming and to the teachers for organizing this event, which I didn’t think was needed for the video. I left … Continue reading

The complete guide to building a digital footprint

1. Pick a site that YOU WANT TO join. 2. Sign-up. 3. Take the time to seek out interesting people. 4. Friend them, follow them, add them to your network, join their network, favorite what you like, read them, talk to them, and link to them. 5. Share thoughtfully, openly, generously, bravely and in a variety of places. 6. Enjoy what others share with you. 7. Go back to step 1, repeat. In a couple … Continue reading

An expectation of openness

On a recent post about empowering students, Gary Kern asked me a question in his comment: What are your thoughts on the structures and changes needed for teachers, especially at the older grades, to be able to foster higher levels of participation in their learning? What we really need are structures that both develop (and keep) GOOD TEACHERS! Teachers that are co-learners rather than information pushers. Let’s just admit that the greatest influence in schools … Continue reading

Leadership in the digital age

This was sent to me by a good friend and mentor, (and a leader in his district). It refers to news about my school moving to a BYO Laptop program. The humour in it is that he lives in Canada and I’m in China… beyond that it speaks volumes about how important school level leadership is in creating a current, meaningful, learning environment in a school. Dear Mr. Truss, I was pleased to see your … Continue reading

Bring Your Own Laptop to School

Background In the past two weeks I’ve moved from a school with just 3 projectors in a 4 floor, (no wireless), school to a school with: • Projectors in every classroom (that we will be using next school year). • Netbooks for every teacher. • Wireless in key rooms and common areas. AND… • Beginning next September our Grades 7-9’s will be bringing their own laptops to school! The pitch Sometime soon I’ll share the … Continue reading

Product You

I won’t bore you with the stats, we all know that we are bombarded with advertising everywhere we look. We also know that we are being targeted better and better by advertisers wanting to part us from our money. When I was on Yahoo Mail, I was always targeted by my last name: Truss… So, I got advertising about bridge and bra supports. Google knows I’m an educator and targets me a bit better. Now … Continue reading

Olympic and Blogging Fever

For me it is a little bit difficult to think about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics right now… I’m in a car outside of Hanoi, Vietnam heading to Ha Long Bay for an overnight boat cruise. The car ride is about 3.5 hours long and so I thought I’d use this time to plug a great project happening on the other side of the globe. If, (unlike me), you are at a school that is … Continue reading