Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 10, 2007 Edna Dach

Inspiring! A teacher with 30 plus years of experience is a role model for me. As Edna energetically spoke of her work in Africa with teachers and students I considered the difference she has made in the lives of others. I knew about the $100.00 laptop but I was intrigued to know more. I’ve watched how the growth of wireless networking within Canada has fostered the growth of ubiquitous technology but hadn’t connected how wireless could been a determinant of growth within Africa as well. I do feel a bit unease in that basic needs are still unmet within many African nations. Providing water and food, and functional literacy I had assumed to be their greater needs. The roles of the black market and corrupt political systems also are concerns. I did appreciate Edna’s perspective that despite the obstacles putting tools into the hands of others is a first step. I liked the phrase “Here’s the tool. Let me share it with you. How can you use it?” That is sound pedagogy in a variety of learning circumstances.

Disparate practices of sharing and withholding are also important factors to consider. What are the repercussions for denying technological advances such as handheld devices with internet access? Is the first world disallowing meaningful progress to third world nations? Could an “opening of the world” assist the third world in achieving greater emancipation ? Could this lead to new agricultural methods and foster literacy? On the contrary, is the first world arrogant or capricious in its eagerness to foist highly developed technologies upon the third world? Are there consequences that have not been considered? Is the first world “tinkering” with socio-cultural norms?

As our family circumstances have changed, the role of being empty-nesters could afford new personal opportunities for international teaching. The connection of technology to global citizenship and the humanities took a new twist in today’s video conference.

July 9,2007 Dr. Stan Ruecker

The presentation on data visualization was a stretch for the mind! It was refreshing to see a cross disciplinary approach . It is powerful to see the effects of engineering, computer science and the humanities combine to produce tools. The power to manage extensive amounts of information will be necessary to manage the “info-glut” of information that is building. Visual data representation has the capability to organize and process information. It helped me further visualize the development of Web 3.0. The multiple products Stan shared- from pill identification, to task analysis in the oil field, to organizing the works of female Commonwealth writers were interesting to view. As these products develop and enter the “mainstream” culture it will be intriguing to follow their evolutionary development. Some examples within elementary education where visual data representation could be useful: Math statistics and probability units, Social Studies comparisons of data between regions, provinces and countries and Health patterns and trends.

I also was interested in the more “cognitive” aspects of the framework- organizing information and watching it move on the page . Stan’s remarks about how the human mind likes to see the information remain on the page but responds positively to rearrangement was intriguing. In web development, I’m interested in the roles colour, movement, and organization and their consequent effect on cognitive function . Being a visual learner, I positively respond to the organization of information in such a visual format. Watching the presentation did bring to mind Joy’s article from Wireless magazine “Does the Future Need Us?”- artificial intelligence takes a giant leap forward in data visualization. Where does that leave the roles of humans in a Web 3.0 world?

July 4 2007- Danny Maas

From my perspective as a gr 4/5 teacher in a mid-size urban community, the two utilities that come to mind are connecting with primary resources and virtual museum trips- perhaps Glenbow, Ukrainian Village, Alberta Provincial Museum, Alberta Legislature? In the new Social Studies curriculum, working with primary sources is an essential outcome. VC can be a conduit for connecting to primary sources. VC would be most effective if interaction is highly maximized. Linking up with perhaps an author-Cecilia Barker Lottridge or Elizabeth George Speare? Other technologies ie email, blogging would likely be more feasible .VC’s utility in connecting rural and remote areas is obvious. The influence of rural politics upon educational practice in Alberta’s political landscape could have been an impetus to the promotion and usage of VC throughout the province.

After the presentation I did some research on VC. Essential to its’ success appears to be “specialized” instruction. I concur. I’ve only been involved in two VC experiences. Although I asked for specific directions to participate in a VC, the host indicated it would be just like F2F. However, it was not! Research confirmed the unique circumstances of VC requiring training of teachers. Professional development and administrative responsibilities are other areas VC could be useful. Our district due to its size cannot always afford “big name” speakers but we could in collaboration with others participate in professional development. Also, as we continue to work with unique students with special needs, consulting among stakeholder groups becomes more common. It would be an ideal forum to receive consultative services from Stollery, the Glenrose or Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Some things to consider though are the high costs of VC infrastructure and the required technical support for optimal success. VC is considered a technology in its’ infancy. As technologies such as Skype,MSN, icHAT become more advanced and multipurpose will VC become the 80’s BETA machine in the corner?

Some things to think about..
*rural vs. urban utility
*facilitation skills
*financial justification
*connection to curriculum
*course Delivery
student engagement
-blending of technologies
-active learning
requires extra planning time
tech support required
Virtual Musuem Trip
- ie Boreal Conservation Centre for Bird Conservation
Tyrell Musueum ($200.00

Monday, July 9, 2007

Podcast: Welcome to Grade 4/5

Each fall a common question from parents is "How can I help my child succeed in school?" A short informative podcast offers some concrete suggestions and introduces the parents to our class routines.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Corporations in the Classroom Part 2

This clip focuses on "Bus Radio". What do you think?

Hi, Val

Val, I am enjoying my steep learning curve. Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I'm trying to figure this whole business out--experimenting all by my lonesome. I'm hoping someone can tell me whether or not they are getting my messages and how to invite others to my blogspot. My blog account is

This is too neat unless, of course, I'm doing it all wrong! Ha!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Corporations in the Classroom Part 1


I found this interesting series by Global on YouTube. As public educators ,it is important to converse about corporate participation in educational funding decisions.
I'll keep posting the video series. Take a look and let's talk!