Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Teary-Eyed Farewells

As I was looking at posts on Facebook tonight, I couldn't help but notice that some people commented on how they are going to miss Brandon after they leave. Although the feeling quite hasn't hit me but yet for some it is a reality that has struck them. I recall the first week of school in the fall of 2008, wait a minute, I just had to confirm with my spouse if I started in 2008. It's true, two quick years have passed by just like that. It just seems like yesterday that I met some new friends and got reacquainted with others. I can remember Tom Skinner saying to us in his Professional Teacher class that "in the spring of 2010 when you guys are out teaching, there are some things you should know"... although some of what he shared with us scared me I have learned that there are "do's" and "don't's" in the teaching profession. Some of the stories he shared with us were pretty extreme, but helpful. One story I remember was about liability and to always keep a watchful eye on our classrooms, because anything can happen.
The more I reflect and remember, the more I start to become melancholy or blue, whatever you want to call it. I'm sure many of us will cross paths, either through technology or within the same school divisions. So, did I have a teary-eyed farewell? No. Will I? Maybe. But I highly doubt it. Just look forward and keep the good memories alive. See you all later and good luck.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The 2 Guest Speakers from MB. Education

On Wednesday, two gentlemen came from MB. Education to speak to the class about new technology. The first speaker, must have been Darren Kuropatwa and the other gentleman was Rob C. Fisher. Darren was a very passionate speaker and it was quite evident that he must love his job and enjoy what he does. He kept the class quite interested in his presentation. I really enjoyed some of the topics that he spoke about. Among some of the things that were discussed were digital footprints, publishing student work, RSS feeds, RFID's, ugly stuff, The Story of Wolves, the Story of Russia and the Story of Sticks.
Hearing about digital footprints again was something that we must realize is an important issue for our students and us personally. Students have to be warned about the dangers of posting pictures that could haunt them for the rest of their lives. It was good that Darren showed us the 2 sides of the coin such as publishing student work that is meaningful and positive versus posting student work without their permission or even your own children's embarrasing videos.
The RFID question that Darren asked us, which was "How many know what RFID chips are?" got me curious and interested in searching more information about it, just because I saw no hands go up in the classroom. His description of them was that Wal-mart uses them to keep inventory and it is technology talking to technology. The RFID tells the other machine, "Hey I'm right here and there are this many of us." That was Darren's description as I remember it.
All in all, I enjoyed Darren's talk and stories. He said that his stories about the wolves, Russia and sticks were about technology, content and pedagogy, in that order. What he said really got me thinking that as educator's, we really have to be careful with how technology is used. Just like he said, "flood the internet with the professional and positive things that you do."
Rob C. Fisher's presentation was cool too because he showed us ipadio, which to me was just exciting. The video he showed us on the six sense was also mind-blowing. Immediately after class I just had to tell my spouse about what I learned that day. I would recommend that you check out the video through TED talks. Just search for "six sense". You'll love it. Over and out.

The Final 2 Presentations

On Monday the last 2 groups had presented to the class about their findings on Skype/Elluminate and Games. I found both presentations very interesting as they held my interest longer than other presentations had before. Skype was impressive. I never knew about Skype or how it worked but after seeing the boys do their thing it got me curious. I'll probably explore more about Skype later on.
The second presentation was on games in the classroom. I loved this presentation for a couple of reasons. First, I like playing games. I'm not a die-hard gamer or anything but to tell you the truth the last gaming system that I've owned was a Super Nintendo. Ah... sorry I was getting nostalgic there for a moment. Anyways, the second reason I enjoyed Dan & Tyler's gaming presentation was because the technology that is being developed is just incredible. I was getting excited when I saw the painting program for X-box and the interactive menus/games that they are developing. All this technology is going to be useful for teaching, I think. What about you? Let me know. Over and out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Presentations Part I

Hi folks, well you probably remember that this past week was presentation week for Mike Nantais's Internet for Educators class. From what I recall from this past weeks presentations were one of the topics called "CyberBullying" as presented by Jennalee Burch, Durga DeSilva, Laura Tully, Tannis Hart and Dani Coti. One highlight that I remember is the test we had to take in the beginning of the class that helped us determine whether we are cyberbullies ourselves. As it turns out, I found out that I'm a cybersaint, according to the test we took. That was good to know.
The other presentation was brought to you by my group including Joaney Lockhart and Katie Jensen, or as Nantais referred to us as, "Katie & Friends". If you don't recall, we talked about the History of the Internet. Later on, I think it was Wednesday, Tony, Dan M., Kelsey & Justin talked about "Filtering web-sites". I found there information useful because I didn't know that there are websites available for getting around Firewalls & restrictions placed on Servers being used in most school divisions. This was good to know because it'll mean being able to keep your eyes and ears open when using computer technology within the classroom. I remember in my first placement that the School Division had filters and a website blocker software.
Finally, I am looking forward to hearing more of the presentations this week. I'll fill you guys in the days to come. Over and out.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Day With Mr. Nantais

This past week we spent a day with Mr. Nantais, no one else. No guest speakers, just Nantais himself. Well actually that's not true, I almost forgot that Dr. Gatin popped in for the last half an hour to demonstrate the Second Life website and most of it's capabilities. I wanted to ask him a question but chickened out, because I thought I knew the answer. Want to know what I was going to ask? I was going to ask Dr. Gatin if Avatar's in Second Life can fight each other. Kind of silly right? Well, yeah but on that website Nantais asked us to read about Second life, some of the terms of that contract stated that if anyone was abusive or doing abusive things to other Avatars, then their Avatar can be removed. I suppose it means like verbal abuse. I guess I just wanted to know if Avatars can fight in Second Life.
Another question I had was if Avatars have occupations. For example, Second Life I find is similar to The Sims, but the Sims characters have jobs and stuff. Is it the same in Second Life? Let's say that an Avatar in Second Life has an occupation as a Mixed Martial arts fighter and so is there a fighting feature built into Second Life? I dunno. I should've just been a man and asked the question.
Finally, in closing, I wanted to get back into Mr. Nantais assignment. He had us check out the Web-Based Course from the Province. Dan Stepanik and I found the course very useful because everything is laid out for us to use, probably. Apart from the layout of the webpage, the content is very useful. I'll use it as a resource. The end.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Howard & Donald come to BU (not Stern or Duck)

Howard Griffith & Donald Girourard came to our class on Feb. 1. I remembered to write my comments about these guys. What I enjoyed about their presentation was the activities that they gave us. For one activity we were asked to brainstorm about what sort of people can take Distant Education. Among some of our lists, some groups responded that students who dropped out, and/or got expelled, pregnant or incarcerated would be potential candidates.
I was surprised to find out that the province does provide distant education in 3 forms and for free (I think). The first was I.S.O, (Independent Study Optional) where the student works at their own pace but has 12 months to complete the course. The second was T.M.O., which stands for Teacher Mediated Option, where the student phones, (yes phones) an instructor and asks questions or support for the material. The third option is W.B.C., and this stands for Web-Based Course option. Learning must take place online through a virtual classroom.
In Sherry Peden's class, "Teaching Aboriginal Studies", this woman from the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Center (MFNERC) gave a presentation about the services that they provide and she mentioned that they are developing virtual classrooms for distant education delivery. I thought that this was a neat idea. As an educator, with this knowledge, I can assist some students in this path or tell them about it if they drop-out or whatever their circumstance. It was a good presentation and useful to learn about.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shawn "The Google Apps Guy" Kleebaum comes to Internet Education class

Shawn Kleebaum was our guest speaker on Feb 1. He spoke about Google Apps. and gave us an overview of how it works. He also gave us a Prezi tutorial. I did not realize that Google Apps also have a Google Education application. Most School Divisions block things. Google Ed. is "sneaky" way to get a Google Apps. account. Shawn also said that data is stored in the US and If somebody would say things that bash the US, the border control can stop them from entering the US.
Mr.Kleebaum also said that some Google Gadgets are inappropriate for students, and as educators we have to be aware of this. That is something that I didn't know about too. With Google Docs You can export files onto Word. Shawn also should us some course Wikis for Boissevaine School. He said he has a gmail account for the school, and if one time he erased data from their school calendar from his Blackberry and only realized later that it showed up on the school website. Ha! Shawn also did surveys for the school and received alot of feedback. Finally, he spoke about Picassa and showed us the extent of producing fully fledged high-def pictures through Picassa.
Shawn's presentation was useful for me because it showed me what I can do with Google Applications. There was tons of ideas for using it in the classroom and school. One idea that I can do in the future is develop a website so that my students can find classroom information on there. I can also get them to do their own blogs too. Very well done Mr. Kleebaum.