Author: Chris Vollum

Conversations with a Principal

I had the opportunity recently to chat with Chris Moore, principal at Indian Creek Rd. Public School in the Lambton Kent District School Board in Chatham. Chris also moderates the Ontario Principal Council’s Twitter chat, #opcchat. I had spoken at Chris’ school a few weeks prior on the benefits of social media as they apply to student’s lives and was curious as to the openness and comfort level with technology that he and others at the school demonstrated.


Principal Moore and myself

~ Chris used his iPhone for one week to become completely mobile within the walls and schoolyard of his school ~

What emerged from our conversation, above all else, was not only Chris’ absolute buy-in and adoption of technology but how to take what is available today regarding social apps, platforms and various messaging systems, and introduce, support and model their use to his school community. Suffice to say that students love it. (more…)

The Teacher Becomes the Student

I have the privilege every day to speak with schools, corporations, police, non-profits, church and support groups and other organizations about the tremendous practical benefits of social media in our lives today. image

My typical routine is to arrive at a venue, sign in and meet-and-greet at the school office, chat with the organizers and student tech teams, test my setup, watch as the students roll into the auditorium or gym and then launch into the presentation. Afterward, take some Q&A and answer questions with students wanting more specific tips and online ideas. (more…)

Je Suis Parent

Yes, it’s true. I. Am. A. Parent. I’m also a strong advocate for the use of Social Media with our children.


With two kids of my own, a mid-teenager son and a 20-something daughter, I’ve been through the social media gamut on all levels looking at selfies, duck-lip faces, food shots, clothing, the glorious and well-staged magazine-like vacations of friends, family and their friends, selfies and more selfies. But when all I see is someone’s persistent sense of self-importance and non-stop narcissistic content, I unfollow. Period. (more…)

Clarity – from an iPhone

I bought a new smartphone. That’s not a big deal in and of itself, however, the decision on which model to purchase had nothing to with the phone and everything to do with how I was living day-to-day.image

Being fully vested into the Apple ecosystem, I found the new iPhone 6 and 6-Plus to be quite appealing. Running much of my business from my phone and iPad Air as well as a significant amount of social media, web surfing, photography and reading, the promise of longer battery life on the 6-Plus was attractive. Also on the 6-Plus was the larger 5.5-inch display, in full glorious HD, no less. But the downside was also its upside; the thing is huge and pulling out it out of a pocket countless times each day to respond to notifications was inconvenient. (more…)

Back in My Day…

imageHow to alienate a tech-savvy teen in four short words; lead with “back in my day” and then proceed to invalidate each one of their preferred methods of communication, relationship management and information gathering strategies.

See, back in MY day we had a rotary dial phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen with a 25’ cord attached to the receiver. There was the inconvenience of long-toned busy signals when someone was on the phone. No call waiting. No text. No Interwebs.That was MY day. But it isn’t our kids’ day today. Students live, for the most part, online – whatever that might look like be it, good, bad or ugly. (more…)

Are Students Really Leaving Facebook?

IMG_0001I’m not a social scientist, whatever that is (heard someone describe themselves as that this week, but they couldn’t really explain it). But I know things, I hear things, and I ask about things, a lot – with the students that I teach. And having been in four different secondary schools this past week in Lakefield, Scarborough, Kitchener and Oakville, I thought I would ask all 5,100 of them; “Who still has an active Facebook account?” Most all of them do. “Who has checked into their Facebook account within the past week.” Almost everyone. “Who uses Facebook less than they used to.” About half, with most still using it regularly. But here’s the rub; students/teens are using Facebook with a more defined and specific purpose – like a utility. They login, scan their News Feed, add content when they have something to say or to apprise their friends of, contribute to their friend’s conversations and content – and move along to their other social sites, apps and activities. (more…)

BYOD and Student Reality

imageI had the opportunity recently to sit with a group of secondary school students to listen and understand how they mostly use their mobile devices and tablets. What I discovered, and quasi-knew through many conversations and student interviews this past summer, is the disparity between the reality as to how students use and prefer to use their devices and the excellent efforts put forth to embrace technology in the classroom through initiatives such as 21st Century Learning, flipped classrooms and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).