SALTISE Community Newsletter
Vol. 1 No.5, May 2013
Member’s photo: Tulips in Dawson’s Peace Garden, Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec.


Dear Member,

We can hardly believe it’s already the middle of May. While the days have been getting longer, the month has seemed shorter, which is probably due to the fact that our Conference Committee has been hard at work planning for our June 10th & 11th events.

We’re very excited about the conference and hope to see you there. The line-up of speakers and presentations has surpassed our expectations, with representation from colleges and universities across Quebec, including Champlain, Concordia, Dawson, John Abbott,  Lanaudière, U Laval, McGill, UdeM, UQAM, and Vanier.

This month’s newsletter feature is a sneak peak at what’s in store. As well, it will hopefully help you to organize your conference attendance, with the many interesting sessions planned detailed for you below.

You can still take advantage of the FREE registration for the conference (deadline: May 24th), if you become a SALTISE member. Note that membership can be obtained (or renewed) within the conference registration form itself, but is not a requirement. More details can be found in the conference registration form. To register go to:

What does membership mean? As you probably know, SALTISE is the product of an infrastructure grant given by the Ministry of Education, formerly known as Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS). As we move forward, SALTISE wishes to continue growing and offering events, such as the upcoming conference. By becoming a member you demonstrate the need for this organization and provide us with the encouragement to continue building this pedagogical community. Join us and engage in the excitement that comes with discussion around pedagogical issues.

Best wishes,
The SALTISE team


SALTISE 2013 Conference Updates

June 10 & 11, Dawson College, Montreal

June 10th Workshop Day

8:30 – 9:00 light breakfast provided

Morning Sessions (9:00-12:15)
1. Designing for Productive Failure
Manu Kapur – Head of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education of Singapore

2. Confidence Builder: Designing basic active learning activities
Rob Cassidy – Pedagogical Counsellor in the Office of Instructional Development, Dawson College
Anna-Liisa Aunio –Sociology professor, Dawson College
Selma Hamdani – Psychology professor, Dawson College

12:30 – 13:30 lunch provided

Afternoon Sessions (13:45-17:00)
1. Classroom Orchestration: Creating effective scenarios for active learning
Yannis Dimitriadis – GSIC/EMIC research group, University of Valladolid, Spain
Jim Slotta – Canada Research Chair in Education & Technology, Department for curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE
Chris Whittaker – Science Program Coordinator Dawson College, co-coordinator Active Learning Classroom project

2. Inquiry-based Science: Creating your own active learning lessons
Murray Bronet – Chemistry professor, John Abbott College
Sean Hughes –Chemistry professor, John Abbott College

17:00 – 18:00 wine & cheese reception, Warren Flowers Gallery

June 11th Conference Day

Opening remarks & Plenary Session: Manu Kapur, “Changing the Practice of Teaching” Location: Dawson Theatre

Session 1
1.1 Best Practices of the Dawson ALC Teachers 
Suzanne Kunicki (Dawson) – Collaborative knowledge building
Chris Roderick (Dawson) – Knowledge visualization using the SMART board
Chris Whittaker (Dawson)  – Bringing “active engagement” to active learning

1.2 Active Learning Initiatives at the University Level
Terry Lin & Alice Cherestes (McGill) – The Use of Peer Learning Facilitators 
Claire Trottier & Sylvie Fournier (McGill) – More thinking, less cookbook: redesigning an undergraduate immunology lab course
Melanie Wilson & Neil Price (McGill) – TBA

1.3 The Great Debate: What do we need to know about using technology in Education?
(Invited speakers)
Vivek Venkatesh (Concordia)
Bob Bernard (Concordia)
Manu Kapur (National Institute of Education of Singapore) – Discussant

1.4 Developing Web-based Tools to Promote Active Learning
Ahmed Ibrahim (McGill) – ALERTS project: Implementations of Inquiry-based instruction
Joe Dent (McGill) – Web-based tools for learning Cell & Molecular biology
Nick Morfopos (McGraw Hill) – Learn Smart, an adaptive learning tool

Session 2
2.1 Designing Activities for Active Learning [presentations in French]
Jean-François Brière (Dawson) – Distributed problem solving
Yann Brouillette (Dawson) – Making chemistry experiments come alive
Mylene Saucier (Dawson) – TBA

2.2 Preparing Your Students to Learn: Techniques that support active learning pedagogies
Michael Lautman (John Abbott) – Connecting the Dots
Roberta Silerova (John Abbott) – Starting with the basics: Using clickers to facilitate peer instruction
Maria Bannert (University of Wuerzburg, Germany) – Promoting learning through student’s self-created metacognitive scaffolds

2.3 How Research Can Inform Practice & Design of learning environments
(Invited speakers)
Roger Azevedo (McGill) – Using Advanced Learning Technologies to Enhance 21st Century Skills: Promises and Pitfalls
Susanne Lajoie (McGill) – Teaching and Learning through Technology Rich Learning Environments

2.4 Designing and Using Videos in Active Learning
Roxane Millette (John Abbott)  – Creating short tutorials using a Smartboard
Elizabeth Janik (Champlain) –  Producing videos as instructional strategies
Greg Mulcair (John Abbott) – An easy start to blended learning with video lessons

12:30 – 13:30 lunch provided

13:45 -14:45
Afternoon Plenary Session: Jim Slotta (OISE) & Yannis Dimitriadis (GSIC/EMIC), “An international perspective on new models of learning and teaching
Location: Dawson Theatre

15:00 -16:00
Session 3
3.1 Supporting Active Learning Communities
Kathy Morrison (Dawson) – The role of community in transforming teaching
Adam Finklestein (McGill) – Teaching and learning experiences in ALCs
Jim Sparks (Champlain) – Building awareness of active learning among college instructors

3.2 Using Public & Private Spaces for Learning
Murray Bronet & Suzanne Black (John Abbott) –  Whiteboard Project at JAC
Kevin Lenton (Vanier) – Using Tablets in the ALC
Silvia d’Apollonia (Dawson) –  Connected Science

3.3 Moving beyond the content: What does it take to design for learning [presentations in French]
L’École de technologie supérieure (ETS, UQAM) – L’apprentissage des extérieur de la classe
Alain Breuleux (McGill) – Building Community through Telecollaboration (BCT)
Samuel Bernard (Cégep Lanaudière) & Bruno Poellhuber (UdeM) – Lancement du projet: les conditions d’utilisation des classes d’apprentissage actif ayant un effet sur la motivation, l’engagement cognitive et l’apprentissage

3.4 New Solutions for Teaching Science
Michael Dugdale (John Abbott) & Sameer Bhatnagar (Dawson) – DALITE: Designing an online learning environment
Mike Hilke (McGill) – iOLM
Jim Slotta (OISE) & Yannis Dimitriadis (GSIC/EMIC) Discussants

Closing Keynote Session: Thérèse Laferrière (Université Laval) & Laurent Poliquin (UQAM), “The Quebec Experience with large scale Pedagogical initiative/ the future of Technopedagogie
Location: TBA

17:00 – 18:00 wine & cheese closing reception (with formal poster session)

Other Upcoming Conferences 

May 30 CAP Conference

SALTISE Day at the CAP-DPE Conference (Canadian Association of Physicists-Division of Physics Education) will be held at the Université de Montréal. Featured talks by David Meltzer, Edward (Joe) Redish, and many others, including several SALTISE members.
June 4-6
AQPC Annual Conference (aimed at college teachers, professionals and administrators), at the Centre Sheraton, Montreal. This year featuring several members of our SALTISE family. See the complete program here.

June 15-16
Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) conference, at the University of Madison, Madison, Wisconsin. Our SALTISE community will be represented in both a pre-conference workshop and presentations. More details can be found here.

July 1–3
EDULEARN13, the 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, in Barcelona, Spain. This year’s theme is: New Technologies in Education, E-learning and methodologies applied to Education and Research. More information and registration is available here.

July 9–10
Western Conference on Science Education 2013, Western University, London, ON. More details can be found here.

Our Borders

The PhET initiative at University of Colorado, Boulder, is busy working on two big Initiatives. Initiative #1: Designing a new “Teach with PhET” website which will be using PhET in Lecture: Going Beyond Demos (video link)

Initiative #2: Creating Next-Generation PhET Simulations. The team behind the PhET project is asking for your support with individual donations to bring science to students both in North America and around the world. Donations start as low as $15

Members’ News

Chris Whittaker (Dawson) has won the C21 Shifting Minds Award, a national award offered in recognition to Canadians who are providing leadership in the area of 21st century learning. Nominated by Kimberleigh Doyle of SMART Technology for his efforts and vision for the Dawson active learning classroom (ALC) project, Chris, physics professor, coordinator of the Science Program and physics education researcher, was selected as the winner of this award by the Board of C21 Canada. The award will be presented at the SALTISE Conference on June 11th.

Conference Presentations
Marielle Beauchemin (Vanier) played an active role in the week-long AFIRSE 2013 conference – Colloque international de l’AFIRSE 2013 was held at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) from May 13-15. She moderated the ITC workshops, as well as presented the work of Liz Charles, Nathaniel Lasry & Chris Whittaker: « Si nous les construisons… : Est-ce que les salles de classe d’apprentissage actif peuvent mettre de l’avant des changements dans la pratique de l’enseignement? ». Thanks to Marielle, this research has been shared with our Francophone colleagues at the university level.

Rhys Adams, Kevin Lenton & Helena Dedic (the recently retired, accomplished researcher) also presenting at AFIRSE. Their paper on ICT and impact on motivation is entitled: “L’utilisation des TIC favorise l’apprentissage actif et améliore la motivation des étudiants en physique” was well received. Early reports on the conference suggests that it was a great event and with inspirational talks.

Roger Azevedo (McGill), Susanne Lajoie (McGill), Allyson Hadwin (University of Victoria); chairs Elizabeth Charles (Dawson) & Mariel Miller (University of Victoria) have organized a pre-conference workshop at the upcoming CSCL conference in Madison, WI. Workshop title Designing for Distributed Regulatory Processes in CSCL will explore ideas of co-regulation, which is an important new question that comes about because of collaborative learning activities that are a big part of active learning pedagogies.

Research Grants
Rhys Adams (Vanier) has not only been busy with pedagogical projects, but has also been conducting pure and applied physics research. His photonics project, part of a FRQNT research grant for college researchers, is a collaboration with inter-level and international team, including Jia Li (McGill PhD), Zehra Sarac (Bulent Ecevit University, Turkey), David Berardo (Vanier student) and Lawrence R. Chen (McGill Prof).

Rhys presented this project at the ARC day at ACFAS – “Une approche photonique pour filtrer des signaux micro-onde.”  And at the Photonics North conference – “A Reconfigurable Microwave Photonic Filter based on Four Wave Mixing in a Silicon Nanophotonic Waveguide.”  And, will be presented at the Canadian Association of Physics (CAP) congress at the end of May, in Montreal – “Integrating Photonics and Research in the College Physics Classroom.”

As if this wasn’t enough, Rhys has been involved with an international education project and developed a new complementary course that included a week long travel component. This project will be presented at the upcoming AQPC conference – “Internationaliser la salle de cours – littéralement!” presented by Sevak Manjikian, Mike Besner and Rhys Adams (all Vanier). Come check it out on June 4th at the AQPC!

Murray Bronet (John Abbott College), has been awarded a Entente Canada-Québec (ECQ) grant for his project proposal “Mise en place d’un laboratoire de chimie collaborative.” The ECQ is part of the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (MESRST). The project is a collaboration between John Abbott College and the CEGEP de la Gaspesie (in the Gaspe). It will involving students from both institutions creating Problem Based Learning (PBL) laboratory experiments in an on-line environment. This year-long project will begin this fall with development in a Chemistry of Solutions (NYB) course. Implementation is planned for Winter 2014.

Bob Bracewell is congratulated for his recent publication in the Revue Internationale de CRIRES.

Charles, Lasry & Whittaker’s had their research published in Pédagogie Collégiale.

  • Charles, Lasry & Whittaker (2013). l’adoption d’environnements sociotechnologiques comme moteur de changement pédagogique. Pédagogie Collégiale, 26 (3), 4-11.

To obtain copies of these articles please contact the authors. And, if you have any news to share, please e-mail us at

Editorial – Kevin Lenton’s report on AFIRSE conference

One of the presentations that was particularly notable at the AFIRSE conference was “Technologie, recherche et enseignement : apports et limites du numérique en éducation” by Enrique Ruiz-Velasco Sànchez, Stéphane Villeneuve and Martin Riopel. Note that  Professor Enrique Sanchez from UNAM, Mexico City has worked frequently with our own Marielle Beauchemin and has collaborated with Kevin Lenton and Rhys Adams on several occasions.

Kevin’s report on this session:
It turned out to be super interesting because it touched on several themes that we have been discussing amongst ourselves, particularly the role and the impact of technology in the classroom. Many studies, including our own, show that technology increases motivation and engagement in students. But demonstrating increased learning is much more difficult. The panel discussed why this is, with the main conclusion being that technology may not be used correctly in the classroom. That is to say the technology has to be structured and designed for increased pedagogy, particularly the individualization of the learning experience. Too often, however, it is used haphazardly.

The panel went on to talk about the teacher-researcher role. These teachers constantly reflect on their pedagogy and designing mini-experiments (with controls): what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Most of us use technology as a tool to enhance pedagogy. But maybe the technology carries value just in itself; “the medium is the message”, so to speak. ICT is a process, not a tool or end-product, and reflects our 21st century society.

For more information on this editorial, contact Kevin Lenton (Vanier).