ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Breaking Down Silos: How Our District Helped Schools Share Its Innovative Practices

Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 40

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, June 27, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
Location: Posters; Level 3, Skyline Ballroom Pre-function, Table 40

Jen Giffen   Kim Pollishuke  
Initiatives are often housed in silos. Last year, The York Region DSB held its first Modern Learning on Air (MLonAir) event. It was a day of YouTube Live broadcasts with teachers and students sharing innovative practices and highlighting what they learned and the impact on their schools, communities and even the world.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Professional learning
Topic: Best practices for using the ISTE Standards
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community.
For Educators:
  • Use collaborative tools to expand students' authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
For Administrators:
Visionary Leadership
  • Inspire and facilitate among all stakeholders a shared vision of purposeful change that maximizes use of digital age resources to meet and exceed learning goals, support effective instructional practice, and maximize performance of district and school leaders.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Our purpose is to show other educators how they can replicate the event in their own district.

We intend on sharing our procedures and learnings in the following areas.

Educational & Infrastructure Challenges & Situations
- The step-by-step procedures we followed to launch the initiative including connections we made with our IT, Communications, and Learning Resource Services departments as well as In-House Media Specialists
- How we addressed unforeseen challenges
- How we ensured equitable access to devices for the event
- How we obtained permission from all stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators, and community members) to secure participant privacy and be digitally responsible
- How we marketed the initiative for maximum district buy-in (including leveraging district meetings, provincial contacts, and social media campaigns)

Technology Needs & Learning
- How to organize training for teachers to use YouTube Live
- How to create the Google Site to showcase each segment
- How to use Google Forms for registration
- How to use Autocrat to facilitate system communications
- How to strategically schedule events in YouTube Live

Models Employed
- How we differentiated involvement based on school team readiness
- How we supported schools so they felt empowered to participate and encouraged system leaders to take part
- How we facilitated the participation of schools that were not presenting

Evidence of Impact & Success
- Our vision for scaling the event to the next level
- How we monitored and are continuing to monitor impact


- Large banner with the MLonAir Logo and our District Logo
- A variety of devices showcasing the MLonAir promo video as well as school segments showcasing student innovation
- A couple of laptops for the purpose of demonstrating how to use some of the tools we employed in our process (YouTube Live, Google Sites, Google Forms, Google Sheets/autoCrat, Tweetdeck, etc.)
- QR Codes for those who want quick access to tutorials and detailed event planning procedures
- A Google Form for attendees to access so they can pose questions to us as they arise, following the conference

Supporting research

“Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” by: Tony Wagner.

“Observation Checklist for High-Quality Professional Development Training” by: Thomas R. Guskey ( and

“Does It Make a Difference? Evaluating Professional Development” by: Thomas Guskey (

"21st Century Competencies: Foundation Document for Discussion" (

"9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should 'Unsettle' Us" by: Will Richardson. (

"Google Education on Air"

“The Voice of the Active Learner - Education From a Digital Native's Perspective” by: Blackboard Inc. (

More [+]


Jen Giffen, York Region District School Board

Jen Giffen, formerly a secondary English and Math teacher, currently works as a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher with the York Region District School Board just north of Toronto, Canada. She is a Sketchnoter and Google for Education Certified Innovator (#WDC17). Her teaching passions centre around EdTech and finding ways to reach struggling students. She can be found on all over social media @virtualgiff and on her website

Kim Pollishuke, York Region District School Board

Kim is a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher in Ontario, Canada, a Google for Education Certified Innovator, Trainer and Educator and a keynote speaker. She is also a contributing author of Creating the Dynamic Classroom: A Handbook For Teachers. Her goal is to help educators understand the power technology can have in giving a platform for student voice, connecting students to the wider global community and ultimately creating confident, innovative, digital citizens for the 21st century.

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