So it’s been far too long since I posted a blog entry and I think it’s about time that I reconnect. I’m a little ashamed of my delinquency, but at the same time I am glad that I am taking an initiative to get back involved. I have to admit I found last year that I felt like at times I was speaking into a vacuum and I wasn’t entirely sure that I was having any impact whatsoever. In fact I’m fairly certain that my impact was significantly less than I would have liked. If I think of it from a student’s perspective I had lost that feeling of authenticity. So I have been looking to recover that feeling, and I think with the help of Steve Hargadon’s presentation on the Reform Symposium (from July, I am little late listening to it, eep) I think I may have found it. He wonderfully summarized the entire experience on the web as similar to a conversation taking place inside a packed stadium. There is lots of noise but the conversation you have with someone else can help cut out the rest of that noise and that it is the most important bit of noise for you and your interlocutors.
In the end however that wasn’t the reason why I necessarily started to blog. I need to remember that this is my place to reflect on what I see. If others wish to engage me in that conversation that is fantastic, but I am going to make of it what I can. I believe there is a lot of power in doing that, and I am fairly confident that knowing that there are so many high quality educators around the world that eventually I will tweak somebody’s ear!
I also felt I had to rename (rebrand?) this website. Really it is a little thing, but I think that my new title better summarizes what I think I will be doing here.
As I come back perhaps I can stop feeling like Kramer in this clip…
Today was one of our school’s professional development days and we got to see something which just made me laugh. I believe it’s a metaphor for so much in life (at least for the first minute and a half). What happens to us when our technology gives out? I believe that many of us take the approach that the people in this commercial do, I’m pretty sure I’ve done it. This is just a friendly reminder and it will make you smile!
Thanks to Rick Oldring for bringing this to our attention
A while back I wrote about filters and the way that they have been used in schools. I ended my rant with a comment about how maybe the whole filter things might be becoming irrelevant anyway. Today gave me an example of that. A colleague of mine had to forward some information to a group of students before he talked to them about it, so he forwarded it to their e-mail accounts. Within a short while (less than 15 minutes) he went to talk to them only to discover that most of them had already read the e-mail on their phones. No need to access the school’s network to get that information. Seems to me that if we don’t get these students more access through our systems soon they’ll just go around it and that leaves me wondering how some people are going to deal with that. If you really want to see great insight into this idea you should go to David Truss’ presentation on PODs in the classroom that he did for BLC 09. It’s one of my favourites.
I found a wonderful blog extolling the merits of paperless teaching, coincidentally called TeachPaperless, and it has a great little idea for most teachers to try. Try to go paperless on Earth Day. There is a pledge to sign, and although I understand that sometimes we would just shuffle the paper to another day, maybe if we think about what we’re photocopying for one day, maybe we can make changes elsewhere. TeachPaperless outlines the estimated annual usage of paper in the United States, and I’m sure the Canadian statistics are equally dismal. I did find this interesting fact sheet that outlines some important facts regarding paper. Since some of us still work in a school environment where paper recycling is spotty at best, the only way that we can have an impact is to reduce outright our usage (not to mention that it’s a significantly smarter environmental choice).
Sometimes some of us get a little wound up teaching, I have heard of high users that are responsible for in excess of $100,000 per year. If you do the math at about 7 cents a sheets, that’s an enormous amount of photocopying an cost in resources to both the school and the planet. That might be an extreme example, but if a significant number of us cut a percentage point off our paper usage, that could be impressive.
Maybe two years ago I might not have tried hard to do this, but the more technology I’ve uncovered the more I think it’s feasible to look at our long-term use of paper. I would recommend Glogster as a good place to start, all those posters are just annoying to carry around anyway.
Just about the only thing that has worked well since my computer based course has started, is my declining use of paper. So far my count is 120 photocopies for the year. It won’t stay that low, but it’s a pretty good start.
From the November Learning Blog today I found out about an impressive suite of digital editing tools that are part of Aviary.com I decided to check it out, and have to say that I found something very impressive. I have never really got into using the suite of products produced by Adobe, except for Pagemaker/InDesign. I have certainly been aware of their massively impressive line of products like Photoshop, Illustrator and such. So in looking at Aviary.com I think that there are many things that approach some things that Adobe does. Does it do everything? No, but it is a web based product that available to anyone and who uses the Internet and it makes your work available to you wherever you wish. It’s all in the cloud. Altogether a very interesting product and well worth the investigation.