The Reflection Pool

Greg Moore – #HWDSBaccelerate

Greg Moore has a long and proud history with HWDSB. I first met him when we were elementary teachers together – and there was a lot of laughing! Greg is a friendly and funny guy. He is always exploring how to use tech to improve his workflow and is eager to keep learning and growing as a leader. Greg exemplifies how tinkering with tech and trying things out can make things happen.greg

What is your role in HWDSB?

I am very proud to be the Principal at Bellmoore Elementary School in Binbrook.  [Greg is moving to Ray Lewis Elementary School in September 2016]

What led you into education?

It has been a long journey!  My mother was a teacher and really wanted me to go into teaching, but I was undecided.  During my time at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, majoring in Physical Education, I lived across the street from a public school.  On my walks home from school, I would often see PE classes going on and practices taking place for a variety of sports.  One day, I decided to stop by and offer my services.  I started to coach the boys Touch Football Team which stoked an interest in working with kids.  I began to increase my time volunteering at school and expanded my role from coaching teams to working in classrooms.  When the opportunity for an Educational Assistant position opened up at the school, the Principal approached me and asked me if I would apply.  I explained that I was still going to school full time, but he said he would work  around my schedule as the student I would be working with was quite challenging, but I had already developed a relationship with him as a coach. I accepted the role and for the last 6 months of university I worked as an EA and and educator was born!

What are you go-to pieces of tech?

I would have to say my iPhone.  But it all started out with my Palm Pilot, which led to my Palm Treo.  I thought that my Treo was irreplaceable but the iPhone has taken the personal organizer to the next level!  From calendaring, to messaging, to email and Google Drive, and not forgetting social media apps, the iPhone is such a powerful tool and always at my fingertips.  I honestly don’t know how I managed without it.  My iPhone allows me to work smarter, in a work harder environment.  The demands of the job, leading a busy elementary school, means there are more and more items on your plate.  The technology has allowed me to take on more, while maintaining efficiency.

Twitter or something else?

Twitter.  I have to confess that Twitter started for me as a short cut.  Several years back, I was getting into blogging, and to be honest, had a hard time keeping up with my blog.  Finding the time to reflect and write about my learning and what was happening at my school was tedious.  And then I found Twitter, a micro-blogging site!  140 characters, now that is something I could handle!!  I started by documenting the building of the new Bellmoore School and eventually has become a huge community engagement tool for me.  Twitter allows me to share all the amazing moments and student achievements in a quick and easy way.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I have been able to capture amazing memories, along with a short narrative, to document my journey as a leader and the amazing experiences we provide our students on a daily basis.  On top of that, I use it to remind parents of events and deadlines, and share any new learnings.  Twitter is one of my most used apps.

How has technology shifted the way you learn?

I was an early adopter of technology.  I recall doing system and staff inservices early in my career to share my passion for new technologies.  My excitement and passion for embracing these new tools has stayed with me throughout my career.  Just as I loved being a classroom teacher and sharing knowledge with students, in my role as principal,l I continue to look for opportunities to share my knowledge and learn from others.  So technology has really opened up a lot of doors for me.  The like-minded colleagues I have met have taught me so much, and inspired me to learn more.  Technology has also allowed me to create a Professional Learning Network with people from all over the world.  Twitter is also a powerful learning tool for me.  People I follow, tweets that are retweeted, open doors for new learning.  Something as simple as following TedTalks and clicking on a link to an inspirational or motivational talk is one example of how technology has shifted the way that I learn.

What’s your best piece of advice for those wondering how to use tech to accelerate their learning?
As the Nike tagline says, Just Do It!  With all the new tools, devices and apps, it can be daunting for those looking to expand your horizons and begin to learn in new ways.  Start by talking with colleagues.  Find some colleagues who are in similar stations and start to branch out to people with different interests or who are “leaders” in an area.  Find one place to start and commit.  Set some personal goals (e.g., writing a blog once a month, open a Twitter account and follow one new person a week) and see how it goes.  Once you find the right tool, run with it!  The learning that you engage in with just that one small step will lead you to other opportunities.  The learning that you engage in can be exponential once you embrace some new technologies.  

Behind this series: Inspired by the innovative and trailblazing Royan Lee and the #workflow series on his Spicy Learning BlogI’m asking connected educators around our district how they use technology to accelerate their learning.  In HWDSB, we’ve been talking about how to transform relationships, environments and learning opportunities. The driver is pedagogy, but the accelerator is technology. I’m hopeful that educators’ insights and experiences will kickstart a conversation and even spark some action.

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