Posts Tagged ‘Steve Cardwell’


Welcome to my final blog post of 2013 – My “Top 3″ lists for the year.  This has become a tradition with previous Top 3 lists for 2012 (here), 2011 (here) and 2010 (here).  I know we are abandoning ranking and sorting in our education system, so this is more about highlighting some of the blogs, videos and ideas that have engaged me over the last 12 months. As always with these kind of lists hopefully it will start some discussion and debate as well.

Top 3 “Culture of Yes” Blog Posts which have Generated the most Traffic this Year:

1.  What About Final Exams?

2. Dr. Shanker and Self-Regulation – Continuing the Conversation

3.  Hopes and Dreams for my Kids’ Schooling

Top 3 Used (and often overused) Quotes in Education for the Year (some are past winners):

1. We need to focus on the learning

2. It’s not about the technology

3. The 21st Century is more than 10% over (YES – people are STILL using versions of this one!)

Top 3 Growing Trends I See Continuing in the Next Year:

1. Embedding Aboriginal teachings across the curriculum — BC’s new draft curriculum is a great example

2. Devices becoming invisible — more and more kids have devices, and I am noticing them less and less

3. Rethinking of report cards — we are in the midst of a dramatic shift in reporting

Top 3 Books I have Read this Year that have Influenced My Thinking:

1.  Spirals of Inquiry by Linda Kaiser and Judy Halbert

2.  Calm, Alert, and Learning – Stuart Shanker

3.  Communicating the New – Kim Erwin

Top 3 Professional Development Events I have Attended:

1.  TEDxWestVancouverED — it has been so great to have a TEDx event in our community with so many of our staff and students involved

2.  Connect 2013 — a wonderful chance to see so many Canadians present who I have met over time through Twitter and our blogs

3.  Barbara Coloroso — the Guru of parent education was hosted by our District Parent Advisory Council

Top 3 BC Superintendent Blogs You Should Follow:

1. Jordan Tinney — Surrey

2. Steve Cardwell –Vancouver

3. Kevin Godden — Abbotsford

Top 3 Non-education New Twitter Follows:

1.  Roberto Luongo (Canucks)

2.  Gerry Dee (from Mr. D)

3.  Mr. T (of pity the fool fame)

Top 3 Jurisdictions We Are Going to Turn Into the Next Finland:

1.  British Columbia — high achievement, high diversity, high equity – lots to interest people

2.  Quebec — Just what are they doing different than the rest of Canada in math?

3. Shanghai, China — We are concerned about their methods but their results are stunning

Top 3 TEDx Videos from WestVancouverED (that I bet you haven’t seen):

I earlier wrote a post here that highlighted some of my West Vancouver colleagues, so these are some of my favourite from the non-West Vancouver staff

1.  Katy Hutchinson — an extremely powerful personal story of restorative justice

2.  David Helfand — a new approach to university leadership

3.  Dean Shareski — he has a wonderful perspective and a great way to connect with people


Top 3 Fun and Interesting Educational Videos:

1.   What Came First — the chicken or the egg?

2.  Canada and the United States — Bizarre Borders

3.  What Does Your Body Do in 30 Seconds?

Thanks to everyone who continues to engage with me on my blog and push my learning. Some of my greatest professional joy is writing, reading, engaging and learning through my blog and with all of you.   I look forward to continuing to grow and learn together in 2014.

Chris Kennedy

Read Full Post »

Announcing my Flog

It is with great excitement and anticipation I announce the birth of the Culture of Yes Flog.

We see the statistics and hear about how quickly the digital world is changing –standing still is not an option.  So, over the last few months my team at the Culture of Yes (I understand most people in our district affectionately refer to them as “Kennedy’s Yes Men”), have been hard at work designing our next project.  The project idea was put to seed just a few short months ago, when my colleague, mentor and friend, the Superintendent of Schools for the Vancouver School Board, Steve Cardwell, proffered a challenge in his interview with the Vancouver Courier, “I used to have a blog, probably ahead of most metro superintendents. I discontinued it. I find blogs to be not as useful, but I’m moving ahead of blogs. I’ll probably be the first superintendent to launch a vlog, a video blog.”  Wow! Now that sounds like a challenge. And, this is the why and how we are here today.  Mr. Cardwell, colleague, mentor and friend, I see your VLOG and raise you with the launch of my FLOG.

And, just what is a FLOG?

A FLOG is a fax-blog and combines the innovation of the blog with the safety and security of the facsimile machine.  While some see fax machines as the near-dead technology of the early 1990s, like many things that have enjoyed a renaissance revival, I think the technology is about to make a comeback, and I want to be on the front-end of  that edge with my flog. Once a week, I will be putting pen to paper, editing my work, reprinting it and then sharing it with the world through the power of faxing an exact copy.  If you are willing to share your fax number with me, once a week, I will fax you my latest thinking directly into your fax machine, letter tray.  And if you like my flog, please feel free to share it with others.  As an added value to this innovative service, I will also be encouraging re-flogging.  I hope you will consider sending my flog to others with employing the new old technology —  it IS all very exciting.

Further, in the spirit of Twitter, I will also send a Big Fax of the Day.  I will handwrite the most interesting thing I hear each day, and again fax it directly to you.  Again, please feel free to re-fax to your fax network.

We have lonely fax machines in all of our schools just waiting for this revival, and the hoarding mentality in all of us as educators will ensure we need never (or dare) discard our fax machines, so we ARE ready for this day.  As this movement grows, I can also see engaging others and hosting public flogging sessions. I think there would be real power in seeing all our educators engaged in flogging in all our schools and in the community – how thrilling it would be to be part of a flogathon.

Storing your favourite faxes would be simple — no longer would you need to struggle with saving files on a computer, simply take the printouts from the fax machine and store them in a binder for easy reference.  What better way to display your engagement in the digital era than with more binders sitting on your office shelf.

Now, I know some of you have not used your fax machine in quite a while, so let’s review some fax etiquette.  Always include a cover sheet when you send a fax.  If you would like to subscribe to the Culture of Yes Flog, indicate this on one sheet, and then add a cover sheet with the message “Page 1 of 2 – See other Page”.  If you hear a busy signal,  don’t leave — just wait a couple of minutes and then try your fax again.  Once you hear the dial-up modem tone – you know your fax has been sent  — but just to be certain, be sure to print a confirmation sheet for further reference.  And yes, long-distance charges will apply.

It has been a pleasure engaging with you on my blog over the last few years, hopefully, my flog will take our relationship to a new level and will save the fax machine.  Finally, I hope your first day of April is as good as mine.

Read Full Post »


Sometimes I feel like we are the only district or province talking about school system design, and it can be a lonely conversation. After all, why change? We already have an extremely successful system. Every now and then, however, the topic is front and centre as was the case following the release of B.C.’s Education Plan last week.

In addition, I have the opportunity from time to time to participate in projects which remind me that discussions about how to move our education system forward are taking places in all corners of the country, albeit often quietly. The following five-minute video, Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: A Canadian Perspective (recently released by the Pearson Foundation) in which I — along with my BC colleagues, Mike McKay of Surrey and Steve Cardwell of Vancouver, and colleagues from across the country — was asked to
share our thoughts about the changes that need to take place. In seeing the video, I realize that we are saying some very similar things right across the country.

Nor are Canadians the only ones asking questions. The video was modelled after one created by an international group of educators who offered their reflections on education:

Stephen Hempel’s statement at the end of that presentation is one that really sticks with me. “It’s the death of education and the dawn of learning,” he stated, “which makes me very

These are exciting times to be part of this profession.

Read Full Post »

Tonight, I have the opportunity to speak at the Phi Delta Kappa – UBC Chapter dinner meeting on the topic of “Internet Connectivity, Personalization, and Engagement in Learning”.  The format has each of the three presenters speaking for between seven and 10 minutes with questions and discussion to follow.  I am on a great panel, with Steve Cardwell, Superintendent of Schools in Vancouver, and Jan Unwin, Superintendent of Schools in Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows (I didn’t realize she was blogging).

It is a very broad topic, but I am going to focus on five key ideas, considering their impact on both adult and student learning.  These ideas come in large part from my experiences with StudentsLive!, and subsequent dialogue with the students since the program ended.  It is a remix of several other presentations I have recently given.

My “big 5” messages:

mobile technology can change learning

good writing still matters but video is changing the game

using social media needs to be taught

networks are essential

the real world is addictive

The five themes speak to both student learning, and our learning as educators. In fact, I find all five themes are dramatically changing how I learn.

Here is my complete slide deck:

I will update this later with the main ideas from Steve and Jan.

Read Full Post »