Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm Back!!

I've taken a long hiatus from reading blogs and especially posting, commenting, etc. Seems life takes us in different directions and it isn't always planned. I was away for a good part of the summer, visiting the east coast of Canada, then getting my son off to his first university experience, and then I took the leap and finally enrolled in a university course to begin master's work! My first course is most interesting and it has me thinking in the direction of getting staff involved with technology.

I'm embarking on a paper that involves developing literature around ICT literacy and the needs for teachers to keep up with our 'digital native' generation.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Using Web 2.0 in the Math Classroom

I'm sitting in my hotel room after a busy couple of days at the ETCATA conference in Edmonton, Alberta. My presentation was on using Web 2.0 in the Math Classroom. My husband and I head back to Winnipeg tomorrow. It's been wonderful to meet and network with teachers here in Alberta.

The focus of the presentation was on using Web 2.0 tools to extend learning beyond the classroom walls. Thanks to Chris Harbeck for inspiring me to try new things with my kids and it has been such a neat experience. I can't wait to start the new school year next year - and I haven't even ended this one yet!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Power Searching With Google

Ever feel overwhelmed when using Google to search for a topic? This is a PowerPoint I put together for my students. Try a few of the tricks listed and lessen your frustration when searching!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Slideshare and Powerpoint

I am constantly on the lookout for Web 2.0 applications that my students can use. Recently my Grade 6's were given an assignment by their homeroom teacher to research a Canadian Prime Minister and put their information into a presentation. It's great to see students use an application like PowerPoint in a different way:

We used Slideshare to upload the PowerPoint and it gave us both the HTML to use in a blog as well as the URL. Cool stuff!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Web 2.0 for the Classroom Teacher

WOW! I just found a wonderful list of Web 2.0 tools for classroom teachers. Created by S. Summerford, Web 2.0 for the Classroom Teacher. The links are categorized for use by K-12 teachers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I had to chuckle when I saw this one..... I just had a conversation today about Wikipedia with my Grade 6's.

The Whole Internet Truth

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Web 2.0 in Under 5 Minutes

I was reading a post from Alan Levine today that had an embedded video that shows the evolution of Web 2.0 so well. This video was put together by Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Response to the Ethics Question

In response to David Warlick's post Ethics Challenges & Information I have two areas that cause me the most concern as I think about the question:

“What is your greatest challenge in teaching appropriate, ethical use of web-based media to your students?”

1. Determining information reliability - Teaching kids to weed through information sources to determine context, perspective, bias, and/or motive is one of the most challenging things for me as a teacher. Look for the author. When was the site updated? How do you know it is true? Is it an opinion or a fact? Leading kids down to road to begin thinking critically about the information is a 'lesson within a lesson' every day.

2. Intellectual property rights - Teaching kids that things on the web did not just "appear," that someone put them there and many times designed and produced the materials themselves is a constant part of my day. Part of my j0b in reinforcing ethics and responsibility is teaching them to recognize the need to acknowledge authorship of intellectual property. It's so hard to move a step beyond "it's there so I will use it" to "it's there but can I use it?"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are we producing students who are globally competitive?

On my way to school this morning I listened to a short Alan November podcast that talks about the importance of students becoming lifelong learners. Alan give three essential skills that are necessary to ensure this.

1. Students need to have "phenomenal capacity to deal with overwhelming amounts of information." They need to be able to access it, organize it, produce it, make meaning of it, add value to it, and publish it.

2. Global Communication - Students need to understand social protocols, different points of view, and have skills in teamwork and collaboration.

3. As educators, we must provide students with a culture of learning that leads them to be self-directed. Students need to be self-motivated (this is a tough one for me), self-assessing, have a sense of interdependency and be team builders. We need to move away from the old model of teaching kids how to be taught to teaching kids how to learn.

This podcast really resounded for me as I am redirecting my thinking as a teacher. The third one is almost overwhelming for me as I can see a cultural shift will have to take place before this can happen.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"The Ten Forces that Flattened the World" Post #1

I had these grandeur thoughts that I would read half of The World is Flat while I was in Mexico during Christmas holidays, but it just didn't happen. I did manage to get some reading done both to and from on the plane. This first post is going to highlight some of the things that grabbed my attention in the first bit of the novel.

Flattener #1 (The New Age of Creativity: When the Walls Came Down and the Windows Came Up) was interesting as it had never occurred to me to think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the debut of Windows happening during the same time period. While the wall was up, it was difficult to think about the world in a global sense; it was difficult to think of the world as a whole. Windows 3.0 shipped only 6 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the fall of the wall eliminated a physical & geographical barrier which kept information from passing, Windows offered a common operating system that would become a standard. PC's started to rise in popularity and enabled individuals to create, gather, collect and manipulate information in digital form on a global scale.

Then came dial-up modems which ushered in CompuServe & AmericaOnline. My very first internet connection was with AOL and I thought it was the "cat's meow" the first time I went online. Now when I visit my mother in rural Oklahoma and check my email with her dial-up and AOL it is pure torture to wait for the pages to load. We've come a long way in a short time! More to come.....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Time to Set Some Goals

I woke up this morning - earlier than I would have liked to on a Sunday morning - with ideas swimming in my head. Not that this is anything new for me, but I feel some things coming into focus.

I started this blog a few months ago and to date it has been a chore to post things and I finally figured out why. The blog lacked purpose and focus when I began. I think when I first put it up it was because I was so impressed with what other educators were doing and I can see tremendous personal & professional growth opportunities. But, I am going about it all wrong. I need a PURPOSE! So....

I am going to change my focus for awhile and truly use this space as a journal and hope it will turn into a collaboration. Over Christmas break I started reading Friedman's The World is Flat. Thanks to my principal, our school obtained 2 copies and we are going to read it at the same time and share thoughts. I am also going to be reflecting about what I read and post my thoughts about the book here. This will be a professional learning goal for me - independent study, reflection and hopefully collaboration with other educators. I am excited!