1 – Tech in a Rink, Come on?

One-to-One Technologies, Collaboration, Sharing Knowledge, Project-Based Learning

Our little learning community was tasked with implementing a one-to-one device program at a high performance hockey clinic in July of 2004. We took on our little project and by  using 21st Century learning skills and techniques we were able to successfully implement our program. Collaboration, sharing knowledge, project-based learning, learning communities and students as experts were some of the 21st Century techniques we drew upon to ensure success.


July 25th, 2004


I remember being nervously excited that morning walking into the rink. This was my first Elite level camp instruction time, I mean sure, I was just a simple demonstrator but I got an extra three bucks an hour and my brothers were extremely jealous.

A win/win in my books.

I worked my summer months with several hockey schools in the Atlantic Provinces and New England States. It was great work for a teenage kid who dreamt about putting his skates back on the moment he had to take them off. We were essentially glorified puck retrievers. We’d set up pylons, moved nets, help kids tie their skates and demonstrate skills (sometimes effectively.)

Anyway, back to the excitement: The afternoon before I saw the Purolator man drop off several pristinely wrapped boxes in our gear room. Typically there’s nothing too unusual about that sort of thing, we’re always loading up on equipment for upcoming skills camps or bringing in new supplies to stock the canteen shelves. What excited me was the logo adorning the sides of those lovely white boxes – an apple. There had been a rumour going around for the last couple summers about this so-called “video technology” and how it was supposed to massively help campers who were struggling to fine-tune their mechanics.

Before I go any further let me paint a picture of what a typical hockey camp coaching group consists of:

Mark – The Vet – Been around forever, does things his way, likes it like that, the end.

Favourite quote: “Well, that drill worked for me so we’re gonna keep doing it.”

Christian – The Up and Comer – New to the scene, spews ideas, a bit overbearing, will probably burn out.

Favourite quote: “Let’s just see how it works out.”

Stephen – The Bosses Brother – Good ol’ family ties makes him the on-ice baron. His word is law.

Favourite quote: “I don’t care, just get it done.”

The Pylons – Myself and the three other demonstrators.

Favourite quotes: “Yes, we’ll do it” “Sorry, it won’t happen again” “I swear it’s my stick, I can always do this drill!”

Anyway, back to the shiny new Apple boxes.

The Vet walks in – pre coffee pick-me-up, looking like I’m not going to want to cross him today:

“What are these?” He groaned to no one in particular

“Uhh, I believe we have a few dozen iPads and a couple of cameras, pretty freakin’ sweet if you ask me” replied one of the other pylons enthusiastically.

“Isn’t that stuff just for games?”

“They can be used for games but they have about a million different uses. You can edit videos, design programs, crea-”

“Andddd, what does this have to do with hockey? I thought I told the boss to stop wasting money on this crap. We’re a hockey school, I never had any of this stuff growing up and I played pro for a decade, a decade! This game is getting so-”

The door opened abruptly thankfully cutting Mark’s oh-so-positive-sermon in half.

In walked Christian, Stephen and the rest of the pylons. Mark let out a small grunt, grabbed his coffee and made his way to his seat. All seven of us were packed into the tiny referees changing room as we were before the start of every work day. We would go over what skills we were hoping to cover, how we were going to to it and what everyones responsibilities would be for the day.

Just as Stephen was about to go over the day plan he stopped, tilted his head and looked curiously at the corner.

“What the hell are those?” he said while motioning to the iPads.

“Useless junk, they’re just game machines” Mark flatly replied.

“Umm, they’re for our elite level video sessions” I said meekly.

“Huh, well, does anyone know how to use them?” asked Stephen

– Silence –

“Um, has anyone seen one before?”

– Silence –

“Hmm, has anyone even looked at them yet? Have you guys opened a box?!”

– Silence –

“Well, sh-” thankfully Stephen was cut off by one of the other pylons:

“We can figure it out! It can’t be that hard! I have one at home I use everyday to play Bejewel-“

“See! What did I say! This stuff is for kids and games – why are we even considering brining this on the ice. What’s the point! I just don’t see how this can make someone a better hockey player.”

Mark was mad, which wasn’t all that unusual.

He liked things done a particular way, his way.

He wasn’t a bad guy by any means. He was a great instructor and although he didn’t outwardly show it often, he cared about the campers and wanted to make sure each and every one of them improved. That’s how he measured his personal success, by how much each individual improved. That meant that everything we did on the ice had to direct correlate to skills development. If Mark didn’t see how something could benefit a campers skill set then you can bet your butt it wasn’t coming on the ice.

Mark got up, grabbed his ever-cooling coffee and grumbled some inaudible mumblings about nuking something. I hoped he was talking about the coffee and not one of us.

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks
Mark’s inner spirit animal – Torts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s