Sunday, November 15, 2009
Interesting questions raised by the article and as I respond to this my conscience is challenging me about my own non-attendance in church today, but I'll have to resolve that issue in my own conscience.
I do no give modern media any more power in the changes that are happening to people and their faith today, rather I think it is just an extension of what has been happening through the last half of the 20th century and maybe even earlier. After all, I think the Beatles can be given some credit too as they were singing about "No Religion" long before the ipod and easy access to the internet; I believe they had quite the influence on the parents and grandparents of kids today. And to just single out the Beatles is unfair because there have been many other forces in the media that have presented images and ideas that are contrary to Christian beliefs and teachings. Organized religion has been challenged by the diversity of ideas for quite some time and in our part of the world (the west) organized religion has lost its political power to punish those who question. Remember the Church once considered those who believed the world to be round to be among the worst of sinners. We have progressed as a people to be more tolerant, but it has come with some costs to those who wish to preserve insitutions as they were.
Young people are continuing to evolve in their thinking and belief systems and if it looks like teens are seeking answers and experimenting with other faiths, is it really any different than it was when I was a skeptical teen in the 70's questioning the Catholic faith that I was "forced" to attend to.
Yes people are not attending to their faith the way they once did, yet it seems to me that spirituality is alive and well. It just doesn't look like it did centuries ago; I'm not sure that's a bad thing either. I am a Catholic but as a young adult I drifted away from Church; was it I didn't believe or is it something many young people go through? I think many young people are struggling to find themselves in an increasingly complex and multi-cultural world. Should we blame technology or should we blame learning? For me it goes back to an essentially spiritual question, "What is our purpose here on earth anyway?"
As I have grown older (I'm in my 40's), I have become much more aware of my own spirituality and now I usually attend the Catholic church in my community and I regularly take a turn with doing a reading. Does it mean I am practicing the faith the way Christ intended? Does anyone really know that answer. Many believe they do, but I know the church I attend has been molded by people with their interpretations of what Christ taught based on stories that have been passed down. I am educated enough to know that man has twisted the words to meet their own perceptions and have used the words of the bible to create laws and rules that suit their own purposes. I am also educated enough to know I need spiritualism of some form; it bonds me with a community, it comforts me when my mind is tormented with the fears and apprehensions of being mortal, and it defines a way of living that does not harm my fellow man (not to be confused with the fact that the Catholic Church has had members who have done harmuful things to people in the name of God).
I think the fact that young people can find information about other religions so easily is a positive thing; it is allowing them to explore their own beliefs. I believe we can learn from other cultures and all religions which can only help eliminate some of the ignorance of others that lead to such horrific events like the Holocaust. Those who think their belief system is right and should not change are similar to the Luddites who smashed machinery during the industrial revolution. Not all change is good, but some is and change is inevitable.
Anyway, I've recorded some of my thoughts on a topic I do not normally speak out loud about because of its sensitive nature. I trust those who read these words understand that this is me making sense of the world the way I see it and in no way is it intended to be judgemental of others or the way they see the world. Thanks Joseph and Alec for taking me down this road.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I've decided to start with Suzie Vesper's Learningweb2 wiki as a starting place and follow it up with the slides below. I hope can a least spark a flicker of interest in those attending; perhaps some will be using wikis in the classrooms of Northern Lights School Division before Christmas. Without hope, where would we be?
I wonder how others would present wikispaces to beginners with only 30 minutes to work with and no computers in the hands of the learners?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I got a call from Ted Green, the principal of Edcentre.ca in La Ronge, the other day and he was inviting me to help him and his staff present at our annual teacher convention coming up this week in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I had been planning to attend the session, "Getting Connected," anyway and immediately agreed as I realize that my limited level of connectivity places me ahead of most in our school division. I also believe in the spirit of sharing that I have to credit my PLN for instilling in me which means I am obligated to share my knowledge that I have learned from others. Anyway, the call actually turned into a bit of philosophical discussion about the state of affairs of technology in our school division and the need for a Digital Learning Consultant to take our Division to the next level.
One of the pieces of the conversation centered on the issue of getting teachers to start using the web tools available to connect with their students, parents, and the world in general. In my world as a principal, I have been encouraging teachers to incorporate technology into their classrooms, I host interested staff at Tech Thursday sessions, and I am thrilled that a few have started (Melva, Megan, Tessa, and Sarah). Nevertheless, I am struggling with why it is so hard to get some to see that there are new things in education because of technology that can really engage a learner. In fact, I've been warning people that the day is coming when teachers will be expected to use online tools to make their classrooms available to students and parents. How long will it be before teaching jobs come with advertisements that call for teachers with the skills to use Moodle, blogs, and wikis (to name a few)?
If I could get some to read Jeff Utecht's blog titled Preparing for the worst = opportunity from September 21, 2009, they might begin to understand that increasingly it is normal for teachers to use the internet to work and communicate with their students. He also points out that there are external forces at work on schools like influenza that may make it necessary to work with students in non-traditional ways.
He says, ...I believe every classroom today, especially in the middle school and high school where students are more tech savvy should be a blended model of both classroom learning and online learning…
This is something I've been saying in my school where the problem we face is irregular attendance. We need to find ways to meet the needs of learners who do not do the traditional school day the way it was intended and an online - classroom blend may be the solution. I just need staff who are willng to try the idea with their classes.
Image from: about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wakingtiger/3156789807/"><> rel="cc:attributionURL"
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
And I've seen some progress, baby steps I guess. I have a teacher who has embraced technology and is busy incorporating our Smart Board into his teaching; this is taking off as other teachers now want a board in their room. I also have staff who have started blogs and are beginning to share; for example, there is a new teacher blogging about her experiences and an intern invited me into her digital world a couple of nights ago. Nevertheless, I am feeling somewhat disappointed; it seems like some are choosing to ignore the powerful medium that the internet offers preferring to do things the way they've always done them. Is the technology really that scary?
How many of us reluctantly gave in to the cell phone craze and now cannot live without them? What is so different about picking up a new computer application and embracing it as a new way of doing business.
Today, a teacher shared with me that people see communication as a problem within the school and feel that we need to stick to one way of sharing information. I am not so sure. I believe we need to put the information that needs to be shared in multiple places in hopes that one actually works for each individual. I know I've tried the paper memo thing in the past and failed to communicate a message, I've called meetings and failed to get everyone I needed in place, I've published newsletters that not everyone read, and I've even tried the old intercom thing but was not listened to. All methods have a place, and all in way, rely on technology in one way or another (some newer than others). I really see today's technology as offering many novel solutions; we can now seek information when we want it not just when someone is presenting it. However, we are at the mercy of the individual receivers of information and their interest in learning something new. Unfortunately, some teachers are resisting learning something new; some are modelling what frustrates them about their students (they are reluctant learners). Ironic!!!
There is hope though; the cell phone thing was not embraced enthusiastically at first by all, but when people saw a use for them, they became widely accepted. I even know retiring teachers who have learned to text; if a teacher on the way out of the business can learn new techological skills then surely there is hope for the teacher who thinks he/she does not have time to learn "another" thing! I look forward to the day when we do not have to work to peruade staff about the powerful network tools that exist; I look forward to the day when people accept that technology provides us with tools that make doing business easier!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I have to be realistic about what is in my control and what is not though. I felt things started off fairly well for me, but change has allowed me to do some new things and see some new things. I have managed to spend a few hours at the Ducharme Building and see the K-6 end of things; the differences I have seen have been an eye opener. At the k-6 level I am seeing students anxious to please adults, students who are curious and want to learn (one grade 5 boy taught me that Dandy long legs have venom), and I am seeing students who are quite cooperative. On the other end of the spectrum, I am seeing high school students who seem disconnected with the purpose of school. They challenge authority and rules, and some appear to have little interest in attending classes although they do want to be in school. What causes this change? It is too simplistic to just blame it on adolscence because there are teens who remain focused and who do want to pursue a good education. I wonder what kills the dreams of childhood of those who get lost on the journey? I wonder how do we rebuild those dreams? I wonder ... I wonder....
I approached one class in the high school on Friday afternoon after I witnessed some of the students from the class arriving excessively late. I went in to talk to them about what they want from school. I tried to reason with them that to get educated you need to work at it. They have a very hard working and enthusiastic teacher in their class; I could see her frustration though as she was struggling with them to meet their responsibilities. I felt at least for a few minutes some of them were understanding that we, the staff, are not the enemy, but I have a feeling it is a lesson that will need to be re-taught and in more than one room. I really hope the staff are willing to adjust their expectations for what a student should be and learn to meet the students from where they are coming from. I dream that the staff will see the strenghts of their students, will see their humanity, and do their very best to take them in a positive direction. I know after the first week of wandering two buildings with nearly 1000 students, I am seeing many staff working very hard to make it happen. That has to be regarded as a good thing! A new week is coming with new challenges; we have to realize we won't always make the progress we dream of, but we also must realize that we have to dream or we have already failed.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I also know the realities of life and work will at times interfere with my goals and will affect others on staff in ways that will not always be in the best interests of students. Things will happen that take me and other staff members away from the school and the things that need to be done. And I wonder, .... I am seeking the right words to say to this incredible group of people that will ignite a spark that will inspire positive change in a community that has been struck by too much tragedy. In some ways, I feel inadequate or maybe a little scared that I now have the ultimate responsibility for what goes on in the school. Can I be the leader that makes the difference needed for this community? Can I be the leader that can pursuade others to follow and work to their fullest potential acting in the best interests of their students?
Man oh man what have I agreed to do? Tomorrow's 30 minutes with the staff will be a defining moment for this year and maybe for me. I'm not sure exactly what I will say, but I've decided that I can't say it better than Dalton Sherman. So tomorrow I'll play it safe; I'll share some things with staff and then , thanks to the advances in technology, I'll invite Dalton into the meeting and let him tell his story to another 100 people and just maybe a spark will ignite our teaching community to believe in our students - all of them. What more could a principal hope for from a staff?
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I discussed this over a skype call with @robwall back in June after he expressed curiousity about where the name came from. I am finding that the user name works with almost all sites that require a user name although someone beat me to it with g-mail! The nice thing with this solution is you can play around with the order of the names; in my case I used my last name, my first born, and then my second child. I could have had something different using the same plan in a different order; for example, it could have been dekico or decoki or codeki or cokied. Try it for yourself; you might find something that sounds cool,is easy for you to remember, and has not yet been taken.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
She challenged staff to change the way we looked at him. His nickname, Spinner, which he had happily responded to, was quickly dropped and we began to use his proper name. We still saw some inappropriate things from him, but we also saw something else; his humanity fell into focus. We learned about a person with feelings and questions though it was sometimes difficult to understand what he was trying to say. We began to accept some of his quirks and we got down to the business of trying to work with him. And guess what? He proved to us that he could learn, that he could stay in a classroom, that he could do some algebra! He also proved to us that he could push some buttons still and his teacher was not afraid of telling him that he had crossed a line and it was time to go home.
Some will view the alternate status as a negative no doubt, but he has grown more over the last three years than most I've known. I also saw him commit one of the greatest acts of kindness I've ever seen from a student. We had a literacy carnival in late May and he attended. He happily went around playing the various games we had set up winning tickets to buy books. When he got to my station, Yahtzee, he quickly won 12 tickets. Well he immediately turned to a little girl who was watching and who had run out of money and tickets and gave them to her saying, "Go get yourself a good book!" With that he left my station and left me convinced that he was graduate material.
Now that his time with us is coming to an end, I feel some sadness and a lot of concern. What will happen to a young man going into an adult world that does not always tolerate differences in people? What kind of future is in store for him? Ours is a small town where unemployment hovers over 60% and it is a town with huge addiction issues. He is going out into that reality and we are holding our breath. I hope he finds his way; he's earned it.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Twitter itself is not the problem. I posted one Tweet this morning; a re-Tweet of a colleague's Tweet and sent one direct message to the same colleague. The problem is I can't resist opening links that look interesting to me; here's what I found this morning.
@shelleydeck suggested I check out a site that is a check list for Foundational Digital Literacy skills - http://tommarch.com/files/ict.htm.
@jackiegerstein suggested a site that encourages communities and groups to host their own Ted Talks - http://www.ted.com/tedx.
@AngelaMaiers suggested a site that professes to be a place for professional development for teachers and librarians. She sold it as "a great resource for tech and literay" - http://eduscapes.com/tap/index.htm.
And I can't remember who Tweeted this one out - http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/Tools+at+a+glance.
I also read a blog from @wfryer that gave me an interesting idea as a way to run a public meeting -http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2009/04/23/advice-and-wisdom-on-school-public-relations/.
In just 30 minutes of reading microblogs on Twitter; I have more professional resources collected than I collected from an entire school year last year before I heard of Twitter!
Now Twitter I'm turning you off and turning back to my work; curse you for being so useful!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Part 5: Reflections on EC&I 831
I decided to submit an E-portfolio as my major digital project for the EC&I 831 class with Dr. Alec Couros for several reasons. It is a compilation of my learning over the last three months, as well as, a venue to house 2 of the 3 parts of my project. The first part is actually a Moodle Class, Career Ed. 7, that I created to use with a group of Grade 7 students I teach. Part 2 is a Wikispace that I have created for the benefit of the staff of La Loche Community School; it includes scheduling, important dates, and numerous links that teachers will find beneficial. It is not complete; it is a space that will continue to be developed and improved upon. The next phase of the site will be to develop teacher video tutorials using Jing for school programs like MAT (mark and attendance program). Finally, the third part of the project was to learn about WordPress for the purpose of teaching e-portfolios to High School students. I decided that to make the experience meaningful I would make my own portfolio; this WordPress blog pulls together the other parts of my major digital project and it includes aspects of almost all of my learning through the EC&I 831 class.
I hope those who visit my major digital project find at least one thing in it that they can learn from; it was my pleasure sharing my thoughts and learnings with you. And the next time I blog, it will be done entirely on the belief that I am not being evaluated and simply because I had something to share. Thanks to all who have helped me get to this point!
The sad part is I have over 300 unread blogs in my Reader account; how many more gems have I missed because of time? I guess though in a way this is the power of EC&I 831; it forced my to learn a lot, but in doing so made me realize there is so much more that I do not know! Nevertheless, it has given me the tools to learn more and independently. I am a better educator as a result!
Source of Confucius Quote: Inspirational and Motivational Quotes @ http://quotations.about.com/cs/inspirationquotes/a/Knowledge4.htm
Friday, April 10, 2009
My Major Digital Project is now nearing completion, at least as far as evaluation is concerned, and I am ready to share it with my colleagues and the world. I just have one piece left to add (my final thoughts on the class) and I hope to have it in place either today or tomorrow.
If you would like to see what I've been working on over the last three months, you can visit the site by clicking on the link here. You can also hear more about it by watching the YouTube video below that I produced using Jing Pro.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
My first home computer was the beautiful, MacIntosh Classic, with an astonishing 40 MBs of memory on the hard drive! I was in heaven as I had the option of saving on the hard drive and backing up with 3.5" disks. I never imagined that I would ever need more computer. And with a printer, my purchase of the classic only set me back $2200 (tax included). It still works today and I refuse to get rid of it because it has files on it that I no longer have access to with the technology I possess.
My current work computer is an Inspiron 9400 with 120GB of memory and I never dreamed that I would need that much memory. I refer to it as my portable filing cabinet! Sound familiar? Well I've been making noises in my office that I NEED a better machine. It needs to be faster.
Well, I recently got back from a quick medical trip to Saskatoon with a short stop at London Drugs to purchase a portable hard drive. This is my second drive. My first drive was a Maxtor 80GB drive and about 10 days ago, it informed my (rather rudely I thought) that it was full! How could that be? I was only backing up documents and music and pictures; oh yeah, and video clips, but could it really be that much stuff?
My new drive is even more beautiful than the last; it has a small plastic stand and it compliments the silver of my Inspiron in a way that makes me think they were meant to be together! It is an iomega 500GB Prestige Desktop Hard Drive; I can't imagine that .... no forget that thought. The salesman almost had me with the terabite model, but I resisted the temptation.
I'm now reflecting on the changes that have occurred in less than two decades. I entered the teaching profession in a time when gestetners were still in use and I did not know anyone, but my technologically gifted and rich oil industry employed brother who even owned a computer. Few teachers knew how to make the Apple IIe's do their magic. Today, we are in an age where we are storing tremendous amounts of information on our computers, largely because of digital photography, digital video and digital music, but we are also in a time when we can store the information we need on servers accessible through the world wide web. I wonder if the day is coming when our own personal need for memory on our business machines will decline as we gain trust in storing and retrieving information from the internet. Three months ago I would have thought no way; today, I see the possibility and from experience I know the things I know are constantly in a state of change and if it is possible, it will happen.
Nevertheless, we are not at the point yet, and I know I will have a terabite one day soon. I won't have a choice.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Up until today, I've had very positive experiences with social networking, but my first foray into an EdtechTalk show did not leave me thirsting for more. I listened in on Teachers Teaching Teachers this evening @http://www.edtechtalk.com/live, but found myself confused. Like a good student I tried to get in a little early, but heard nothing. A quick Skype call with Darren revealed that he was having the same problem, so I re-tried and nothing. I tried several times using several different buttons and nothing but a black screen with the words [no video] (see top photo). Finally, I heard sound, but I'd missed the introductions in my back and forth stuff. Then I could not figure out how to do the back channel chat because all I had was a black screen (see picture) and the panel was making reference to the chat and links they were inserting. I knew I was doing something wrong, but with no previous experience, I was floundering. I even turned to Twitter for some help from a classmate, but alas she was not on! I finally tried to open a 2nd window to the techtalk (see photo) and I was finally able to participate in the back channel chat and hear the discussion. However, because I missed a bit I did not feel connected and felt almost unnoticed. I was very frustrated with the lack of clarity in connecting!
I had Skype capabilities, but no one explained how that feature worked or what needed to be done so I essentially was voiceless. To make matters worse, the audio seemed to break up at times and I missed chunks of the conversation; I'm not sure if others had the problem, but it was very frustrating to be listening for something only to lose a portion of the point being made.
I also felt somewhat of a disconnect from the content because I did not have prior knowledge of what we would be doing and there was no agenda to follow as near as I could tell. Fortunately, it was not all a bad experience as there were things being talked about that were leading me on in my quest to understand more about practial applications of technology in school. This session was lead by what sounded like English teachers (at least originally) who were using technology to engage kids. They spoke confidently about the connections being made between literacy and technology. Much of the discussion revolved around what are the qualities we look for in a learner? I felt totally unprepared to answer this question, but the responses made me realize they were speaking from the point of view of the learner in a tech. environment. I did grasp that the leaders Paul Allison, Susan Ettenheim, and Gail Desler talked about all students needing to be teachers, learners, people who share, and people who publish. Allison sounded like he had some cool things going on with kids and social networking.
They also spoke of digital storytelling and publishing. 'Sprout' (see photo) was mentioned, but I had no idea what it was and the leaders assumed this was a known application by the listeners. I now know it is a "quick and easy way for anyone to build, publish, and manage widgets, mini-sites, mashups, banners and more. Any size, any number of pages. Include video, audio, images and newsfeeds and choose from dozens of pre-built components and web services." I also know it is a site I will want to return to.
Not a lot of links were provided at this particular session,but they did mention Clarence Fisher, and I felt good that I knew who they were talking about. I even pasted a link to his website. The links mentioned were: http://www.needleworkspictures.com/ocr/blog/?p=439 which is a blog site by Matthew Needleman called Creating Life Long Learners, a link to something called Youth Voices that I could not get to connect to during the talk, edtechtalk.com, and teachersteachingteachers.org.
In conclusion, I would have to say I was not adequately prepared for my first Edtechtalk; I won't say it is the last time I will visit, but I think I would like to be better prepared for the technical struggles so that my experience is not tainted by my own lack of familiarity with the process. I have added two of the speakers to my Twitter account as people to follow because I realize these people have a lot of worthwhile things to share with people who are willing to take the steps to learn more about their craft!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I was introduced to Ning this weekend by Shelley Deck, a teacher at LLCS. She has set up a Ning network for our school and invited me to join. Ning is a social networking program with a difference. It allows you to control membership by invitation! Why is that a positive feature? I think the power is that for those who are reluctant to participate in a forum where everyone can see what you are doing, it provides a forum where only those invited can participate. It also allows you to customize the site to include a variety of widgets to suit the purposes of the network.
I like what I see of it so far, but wonder if there are disadvantages to the site. Nevertheless, in the spirit of learning as much as I can, I have established a site for the Community Based Master's Program - La Ronge cohort in hopes that our class can remain connected even after our program is completed.
For anyone in the class that has not yet received an invitation (and there are some whose E-mail addresses I am missing), please contact me through Webct and share your e-mail address.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Anthony gave us a lot to think about as far as changing the culture of schools goes. The main thing is that he establishes the idea that there are things that can be done to turn schools around even in situations where it may not feel like it is possible. It is a hopeful presentation, but a presentation that forces educators to consider their own role in the failure of students; I would be lying if I didn't admit that the message forces you to recognize that what you may consider to be enough of an effort is not good enough when you have students failing. I know I will be reflecting on his message in the weeks and months ahead.
Anyway, I really wanted to blog about a new tool (at least to me) I discovered last night accidently as usual. The program is called MindMeister; it allows the user to make a web of their thoughts. It would be a great tool for English teachers teaching essay writing, it would be a great tool for students to use while preparing material for an essay, debate, or presentation of some sort, and it is a tool I will use for organizing my thoughts about this class for my final blog. For now, I have done a quick example of some of the things I have done with my AR project to give you an idea of its power (sorry the quality is not great for the space provided by the blog). I have to confess I actually considered not sharing this find as the evil competitive side of my nature reared its ugly head. Fortunately, because of the good example set by so many on Twitter, through blogs, and comments on blogs, I realized the right thing to do was share the resource with others. I hope it is something you think you can use.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I've been browsing the web and trying things here and there, but this was truly a fun application for me to experiment with.
Atom Smasher allows you to change the text on signs as I have done in the picture. I have always complained about the road in north west Saskatchewan for its many potholes especially between Buffalo Narrows and La Loche. I frequently make the comment to my family when we see a sign that says caution rough road ahead that they really should have a sign that says, "Caution paved sections ahead." Well this application allowed my to make my commment visual! What sign have you always wanted to see? Give it a try!
I have found out about many different applications that I have tried as a result of blogging and microblogging (Twitter). I am also getting comments from people who are thanking me for sharing what I've learned from others which leaves me with "warm fuzzies" by the way! I am being entertained and educated at the same time. I have found the experience of reading and reacting to what I read in a public manner to be a huge step in my own thinking. Ironically, I think I am becoming a more positive person as a result of being a critical reader and responder. I now have a better understanding of what it takes to put yourself out there in print and even if I don't agree fully with what I read, I find myself reacting positively. I share my thoughts on the topic and compliment the writer for stimulating discussion.
On the down side of blogging, it can be hard on the ego. You strive to put something in print that you hope others will see and react to, but often you end up with only a few comments and in some cases no comments (and sometimes after spending hours drafting your blog). The reverse is true as well; sometimes you get a comment from someone you don't know and you realize there are people paying attention and reflecting on your words.
I am now trying to learn more about the things that make a blog something worth reading. On Tuesday, March 10, my class was lead by Will Richardson who has been blogging since 2002 and is known for being a "trendsetter in Education."I asked him what does he consider to be the qualities of a good blog. First of all he did not define a good blog; he answered the question by giving the qualities of blogs that he likes to read. This is roughly what he said, " I like to read people who are willing to test their ideas who are not coming out saying this is the way the world is..., people who write well, who read widely and who have a certain amount of passion in their voice ..., people who are asking questions and engaging people in conversations, who make it about ideas..., people who provoke thinking and conversations ..." To hear Will himself you can visit the Elluminate session here. I liked his response; despite his experiences blogging, he framed his answer from his own perception and did not pretend to represent all readers of blogs. His humility is remarkable considering his achievements.
I often feel like I take more than I give online. However, when you consider the wealth of information available, I suppose we all take more than we give. Blogging is changing me into a contributer though, and I am enjoying writing in way I've never experienced before.
Update March 21, 2009
I found this blog on what makes a blog good and thought I would add it to this posting. It also includes a good activity for student bloggers. Thanks to Clarence Fisher for the excellent ideas.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I had always wanted to experiment with a animated type program and thought why not. I'm glad I did; it is simple to use and allows you to embed a cartoon you create into your blog as I have above. I can see using the program myself to illustrate concepts and I can see using it with students to allow them to express themselves in a more creative way. It is also a forgiving program; you can go back and edit it if you chose and it can be edited by others as well. You can also publish it so that all can see, you can keep it private, or you can share it with friends by sending it to their e-mails.
I expect I will make some cartoons using Toondoo that I will use when it is time to present my project in May. If there is a negative with the program, it would be the time it takes to launch it. I know there are other programs out there and I'd be interested in hearing from others about their favourite cartoon making programs. Be careful though, once you start playing with it, it is hard to quit.
Friday, March 6, 2009
With this success under my belt so easily, I decided I would tackle the issue of moving the resources around. I quickly learned how to move the tasks to the right but I struggled with moving them up or down. I finally noticed a button I had not tried when editing and my problem was solved.
Update: If you visited this site earlier, you would have realized you needed a password to hear my reading of "I'm a success." It turned out to be a very tricky operation to link Vocaroo to my blog once I had a password. For some reason, Vocaroo would not let me copy the full HTML link and post it in the blog even when I was not logged in. I wonder if others have had a similar experience; I have not had a problem posting it into moodle and have done so successfully on two occasions, but now I wonder if others can listen or will they too need a password. If others will need a password, I will need to be setting up a different account just for Vocaroo. Simple to record using it though!
I am a Success. Click on the play button to hear recording.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Where is the hope? These communities have been ravaged by the long lasting negative effects of colonialism and to this day continue to be victimized by a society that appears not to care. These kids that are killing themselves are/were loved; in fact, were good people. Yet, the conditions that bring them to the brink are being largely ignored by mainstream society. Aboriginal people in this country continue to be the most disadvantaged people in our society and yet politically it appears to be o-kay with most Canadians as there is no outcry that things need to change.
As Canadians, we need to look at our shameful past, we need to acknowledge the wrongs that were done to our aboriginal peoples, and we need to empower aboriginal communities to work with their youth to give them hope. It won't be cheap; services need to be brought to the communities, and healing has to happen on so many levels. We have to do something or the history books will be painting us no better than that of our ancestors who at times deliberately infected aboriginal communities with the smallpox virsus causing dramatic reductions in aboriginal populations.
To find out more about aboriginal suicide visit:
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
For example, when I tweeted out that I was looking for a program that would convert shock wave flash videos to mpegs, @plind suggested http://www.zamzar.com/. It did not do what I wanted it to, but I learned if I wanted to convert a gif image to a jpeg I could with Zamzar. Zamzar does many conversions and I suggest if you are trying to convert a file that you try it first; it may save you a lot of time. I would also suggest that if you haven't used twitter to solve a problem, try it; there are a lot of helpful people willing to share.