Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Leaving the Flock

Over the past two years, I've had the opportunity to build relationships with e-learning colleagues that span my home province of Ontario. While I've greatly enjoyed working with online teachers and their support teams, it is in collaborating with provincial colleagues who share my role, that I've experienced the most insightful personal and professional growth.

Although we gathered in person only 10 times over the past 24 months, the Region e-Learning Contacts (ReLCs) took great advantage of modern communications technologies to build relationships and to collaborate in support of provincial school boards and school authorities.

As a testament to how close we've become, the ReLCs will be with me FORE a long time, thanks to a perfectly appropriate 'going away' gift!

In preparing for the challenges of my next professional role, I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with local colleagues. Only time will tell if we will be able to leverage professional networks as effectively as my ReLC colleagues and I have proven possible.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Web vs The Cloud

It's still very early after the launch of Opera Unite, but already, I'm seeing some logic to the idea of saving your personal documents and media files locally, instead of 'in the cloud'.

While it's always been possible to share files from your home computer through remote management tools, the engagement of a web browser as the conduit, may well bring content sharing to the masses. By installing and activating the Opera browser, anyone can host a meeting, publish resources, or share media files.

As the open source development community begins to imagine new applications for this browser, consider a future where any mobile device might have direct access to the files and programs on any other computer. Mobile, hyper-networked computing, might completely re-wire the nervous system of today's World Wide Web.

The brief overview provided to TechCrunch tells the opening chapter of what promises to be an ongoing story.

Questions to consider
Might traditional 'cloud computing' become less popular?
Can software be accessed and run through this browsing technology?
Why might we want to access our home files from handheld devices?
How secure will the unshared files on my computer be?
Will loopholes allow hackers to leverage our computers as drones?

And the big question on everyone's mind:
Will 'Opera-tives' really pursue facial gestures as hinted on April 1st? ;-)


The potential of social media is being realized in telling the story of the election in Iran. Citizen journalists are using the tag #iranelection to create a historic blip on the World Wide Web. And by following the story, our trend-setting is telling the media which news is most important.

Related Links:
The Big Picture (photos from
Tweeting from Tehran
Tweets from Tehran
Iran's Day of Destiny (as witnessed by Robert Fisk)
Extraordinary Scenes (more first hand reporting by Robert Fisk)
Twitter Reschedules Maintenance for Iranians
Open Letter to the World (a plea from Iranian Artists in Exile)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The HOME Project

What is the most important thing we teach?

HOME, is a beautiful film of the upmost importance, whose poignant message concludes with great optimism. Is there a better way to end the school year?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Origins of Grading

Have you ever wondered why we as educators have to assign grades to students and their work? Take a listen, and learn how William Farish has had a lasting impact on the work we do with learners.

Related Links:
William Farish: The World's Most Famous Lazy Teacher
William Farish (Wikipedia)
Grading Systems (Wikipedia)
Senior Wrangler (Wikipedia)

Is grading a practice that has more benefits or more detriments?

Image Credit: superia85

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reading Aloud Allowed

Wouldn't it be neat if we could create a space for children to share recordings of themselves reading their favourite books?

Children could hear voices young and old, in accents and languages from far away, as familiar words from picture books and novels were brought to life.

Listeners might read with unseen companions...

Performers might gain an audience...

Non-readers might experience the wonders of the written word...

Parents might volunteer to record their childhood favourites...

Boys & girls might learn from both male & female voices...

Reading might become more than decoding...

Teachers might subscribe to storybook podcasts...

iPods might be recognized as learning tools...

Reading buddies could get together any day or time...

Learners might discover voices inside themselves yearning to tell stories yet unwritten...

If such a site already exists, tell me about it; otherwise, I'll put it on my to-to list and start looking for collaborators!

Photo Credit: Jay Ryness

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Five Years New

Earlier today, this tweet proved to be a thoughtful way to start the day...

The responses that trickled in through the morning lifted my spirits as I came to realize that a wide range of teachers do get it! I only wish more folks had been able to see the wide variety of posts that followed. Alas, Twitter's new 'replies policy' restricted live views to the few who are lucky enough to be following many of these Twitterers AND myself.

Next time, we'll use a #hashtag; until then, I hope you'll find these responses as uplifting as I do:

These are the types of classroom teachers I'd love to work with! At least, we can follow the continued learning of these round-the-world colleagues on Twitter.

If you missed out on the chance to respond in 140 characters, feel free to add your response below. Alternatively, you might choose to respond to the provoking followup questions contributed by @lmockford and @biggmaxx.