Monday, November 29, 2010

What's Wrong With Our Food System?

11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food -- far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Getting Organized with Google Calendar

Go Riders!

There is a lot of Rider Pride in Saskatchewan as the Grey Cup will be played on Sunday. If you go to youtube you will find a number of Rider Songs. My favorite is still "Green is the Color", but here is a new one. You can also read an article about one of my favorite Riders, Mike McCullough. It shows that you can be a winner on and off the field. Go Riders!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bibliotherapy (Book Therapy)

How to Set and Keep Personal Boundaries

Everyone can benefit from reading books especially books that help you to become a more self-confident, balanced, healthy person. The books below are great to read if you have trouble keeping the "bad" out of your life. Often people will just try to avoid others or build "walls" to protect themselves. This works for awhile but eventually we suffer because these walls also keep the "good" out. We want to be able to let as much "good" into our lives as possible. The answer: Learn how to set personal boundaries and let others know what they are clearly, respectfully, and assertively. Also healthy boundaries have clear consequences that must be enforced if others overstep them. The examples given in the books show how people who were manipulated, controlled, and abused at a young age have trouble setting and keeping boundaries as adults. The books also look at the different types of boundaries such as boundaries with parents, children, internet, food, drugs/alcohol, marriage, etc. It is helpful to read conversations in the books that show one person trying to keep focused on the boundary while the other person tries to manipulate, abuse, or control. I hope you read these smart straightforward common sense books or others like them. They will definitely help you to take "good" care of yourself.


Edcentre visits Saskatoon Public Online Centre


I recently had a chance to visit another online learning provider in Saskatoon, SK. The Saskatoon Public School Division's Online Learning Centre is located in Room 6 of the Evan Hardy Collegiate on Saskatoon's east side. They provide online learning opportunities to staff and students from K-12. Donna Veale leads the project and a staff of approximately 12 full and part-time teachers and developers.

 It was interesting to observe the various similarities and differences between the OLC and edcentre.ca. We are similar in the way we provide alternative learning opportunities for students; online delivery of courses and the ability to work at a pace chosen by the learner rather than the teacher. The use, and the limits, of technology are shared. Like edcentre.ca, the OLC  tries to reduce the amount of paper used during the learning process, especially in the math courses. In these instances students fax their completed assignments to the instructor, and with upwards of 30 students per class, the amount of paper used can be substantial.

The differences between the two online learning providers were varied. Saskatoon Public's Online Learning Centre uses the Blackboard learning management system, whereas, edcentre.ca uses an open-source web program called Moodle. They are essentially both learning management systems but have different capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages. Another difference to note is the enrollment of students; edcentre.ca continually enrolls new students in courses throughout the year, however; the OLC has registration deadlines and population limits. These are the two predominant differences and the others vary in scope.

Professional development is key to stay relevant in an increasingly changing education environment and the opportunity to collaborate with fellow distance ed. teachers was a great learning experience. I have made some new contacts and look forward to incorporating new ideas and perspectives into my practice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Live Talk Session a Success

On Nov. 17th edcentre.ca hosted its monthly Live Talk session (assembly). It was well attended by an energetic group of students from across Saskatchewan. The theme was Your Digital Footprint. You can view the recording if you like by clicking here. A video from the session is shared below. Thanks again to all who attended!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Edcentre goes South...end


On November 3, 2010 five Edcentre staff went on a site visit to Southend.

Picture (left to right):
Rita Lowenburg (Literacy)
Elizabeth Hill (Plato)
Jason Murfin (Math 20)
Kona Byson (Native Studies 20)

Behind the camera:
Nadia Persaud (GED)




We took a pit stop at the Churchill River. Some of us even braved walking on the bridge. As you could see, I didn't even make it off the shore...
video





And what is road trip without any car troubles. Here Kona and Jason answered the aged old question: How many instructors does it take to lock in a car seat?

video
Once at Southend, we were greeted with a handful of community members eager to learn about the Edcentre and all it has to offer. The afternoon was packed with presentations, prizes, and even a mini writing lesson was squeezed in for one of the lucky students.




We spent the rest of the afternoon meeting the community and setting up their learning centre with PLATO and other online tools.






As we left Southend, we were pleased that we were able to connect with some of our students (and for Kona, even sneak in a lesson or two). Our visit allowed students to finally put a face to the talking screen they hear in their lessons. But most importantly, by seeing all the educational courses and tools Edcentre has to offer, we hope our visit allowed them to realize that location is no longer a factor when wanting to purse ones education.



The Memory Project

This nationwide bilingual project will create a record of Canada’s participation in the Second World War as seen through the eyes of thousands of veterans. The Memory Project will provide every living Second World War veteran with the opportunity to share their memories through oral interviews and digitized artifacts and memorabilia. These stories and artifacts will be available on this site for teachers, students and the general public.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kelly @ Sciematics

I went to a great session this morning by Stephanie Pipke-Painchaud on Differentiated Instruction. She is a teacher in Tisdale and her presentation is shared on her website.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Teaching Machines


Teacher is a robot

“It’s a typical classroom scene: Students working at their desks as the teacher calls out instructions,” CNN.com reports. “But, unlike your average teacher, this one is made of plastic and computer circuits. This isn’t a sci-fi movie; it’s an English-language class taught by Engkey, a robot teacher, in the coastal city of Masan in South Korea. Part of a pilot program launched by the South Korean government, students in two elementary schools in the city are being taught English by robot teachers. In high-tech South Korea, robots serve a variety of educational purposes and the government is pressing ahead with plans to expand its robot learning, or ‘R-learning,’ program.”

Read More

Navigating Through WorldWideWeb Waters is Tricky

Just came across a little study (1) (2) conducted by an academic at the U of Connecticut that demonstrated the lack of skills youth have online, especially in deciphering between valid websites and fakes. I have a lesson early on in my science class that replicates this and the majority of my students believe the "pacific tree octopus" is real just from looking at the website(the website states their natural predator is the Sasquatch!)

Check out the websites and see for yourself.
Pacific Tree Octopus
Dog Island

I have introduced them to a tool that helps them tell if a website is legit or a hoax. http://www.easywhois.com/

It was a neat eye-opener to see how the internet can be very "saavy".