Sunday, March 6, 2011

Internet for Educators Summary

Internet for Educators has been a valuable course that I have enjoyed very much this term. I've learnt many new things and expanded my Personal Learning Network in the process.

The most valuable thing I've taken from our Internet for Educators course is the importance of connecting our students with authentic learning outside the classroom. We are able to do this by using the technology that is available to us. The internet allows us to be in contact with people around the world and using tools such as Skype and blogs we are able to connect with people that may have the answers to our questions. There are millions of people worldwide that are more than happy to share their expertise and we need to tap into this resource.

I have created a Mindmeister Map that summarizes my learning in Internet for Educators. Mindmeister is neat program that allows you to create mind maps in an easy to use format. I will definitely consider using Mindmeister again.

Click on the link below to my mind map and let me know what you think.

Summative Project

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Alec Couros

Today our class had the opportunity to listen to Alec Couros. Alec is a professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina.

Alec spoke about the use of Personal Learning Networks (PLN's) to collaborate with people from all over the world. These networks allow teachers, students and parents to connect with people that they normally wouldn't have the opportunity to connect with. The most important aspect of this is the children having the opportunity to collaborate with other students and experts. Students are able to tap into the expertise of others in a way that makes the learning real and exciting. These things can be done through the use of Twitter, Youtube, Skype, Google Docs and many more.

Alec used a program called Elluminate to carry out his talk with us today. This is the first time I have seen Elluminate used and basically it is a program that allows a host to invite guests to join in on a discussion. The guest are able to message the host and other guest while the tutorial is taking place. This allows users to interact with each other and ask questions when needed. The host is also able to show tutorials and speak to them while others watch and interact. Overall I thought that this program would be good for teaching an online course.

Some other interesting sites and applications that Alec mentioned in his discussion that I would like to research further include Tweet Deck, Drop It To Me, Classroom 2.0 Ning, and Reddit.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weblogg-ed Edublog

One of the tech tasks for this class has been to follow and edublogger. I have spent numerous evenings checking out different education bloggers and one that I have been following a little closer is Weblogg-ed by Will Richardson. 

The blog is mostly dedicated to the use of audiocasts, weblogs, wikis, and other technology being used in the classroom. Will also comments on current events in the news and around the world.

I had a hard time picking one education blog to follow but this is the one I finally decided on. I'm not going to say it is an amazing blog but it offers some interesting material that gets you thinking about different issues.

Internet for Educators Presentations

This week we had the opportunity to share our presentations about various ICT issues. These presentations included topics on Internet: the good, the bad and the ugly, personal ICT devices in the classroom, filtering and blocking in schools, history of the internet, social media in school and mobile devices in the classroom.

Internet: the good, the bad and the ugly was by far the most entertaining presentation that we were treated to.  You definitely put some time and effort into your video and brought up some of the pros and cons of the internet. Good job guys!!

I found the presentation on social media also to be quite interesting as it gave us some new ideas on how to use social media. A great example is It allows you to connect with people that speak a language that you would like to learn. You can then talk to these people in your language or the language you would like to learn. Who knew this even existed? I sure didn't.

Everyone did a great job and it was just too bad that we didn't have more time ask questions and get some conversation going.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

Found this interesting article on Facebook so I thought I would share it with you all. What do ya think????

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?
     Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit!
We can get that for less than minimum wage.

     That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours).

     Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.
However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.
That's $585 X 180= $105,300
per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

     What about those special
education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an
hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
Wait a minute -- there's
something wrong here! There sure is!
The average teacher's salary
(nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days
= $277.77/per day/30
students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Last week our class had the opportunity to listen to Darren Kuropatwa speak. Darren is a former math teacher and now works for Manitoba Education as an education advisor. Darren spoke to our class about assessment of students. "How do you know if your students know something?" was the question that Darren asked. He made a great point that athletes and musicians have a stage or playing surface to showcase their talents. We know whether they are able to perform in a matter of minutes by watching a student play. But students in math, science, ELA and other subjects don't have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge. This translates into giving our students an opportunity to show their stuff. Demonstrate their knowledge for people outside of the school walls rather than demonstrate their knowledge on a test.

Darren also went on to speak about how students learn best. He stressed the importance of community in the classroom and once you have established this with your class, you can get them to do almost anything. The best way for a student to achieve a true understanding of a topic if for them to teach the topic themselves. This is based on the philosophy of med school which is watch it, learn it, teach it. If students are able to learn about a topic and then they are able to teach it to someone, then they have truly gained an understanding of it.

This point goes along very well with another great point that Darren brought up in his presentation. If the teacher is working harder than the students, than there is a problem in the setup of the class. The teacher needs to work hard and model for the students that it is okay to be wrong about something and try again, but it is the students that need to be doing the majority of the work in the classroom. It is the students that need to be doing the majority of the learning and teaching to fellow classmates.

Overall, another great presentation in this class. Looking forward to the last couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

37 Interesting Ideas for a Class Blog

37 Interesting Ideas for a Class Blog

Found this link on Twitter. Yes I've been using Twitter!!!

It's a great list of ideas for your class blog. Gotta check it out.

Also, check me out on Twitter for some more great links 

Teaching As Sharing

We are taught at a very young age that sharing is the proper thing to do. Yet years later many of us have forgotten this simple rule. As teachers we ask students to share their thoughts, ideas and work for us to critique, praise and assess. As teachers we don't do a good enough job sharing our work in the classroom. I will be the first to admit that I don't have all of the best lesson plans and tricks figured out yet. Some of this can be solved through trial and error, but why would I want to spend hours and hours doing this?? The alternative is to learn from others who have traveled this road before.

I have heard the term "Don't reinvent the wheel" many times before in my early teaching career. Usually I hear this when a teacher is offering me their loads and loads of teaching resources to photocopy. This is a great way to learn from experienced teachers, but we can do better than this. The best way to teach someone is one on one interaction, but not everyone has the time for this. So what can we do? SHARE ONLINE!!! This is the best way to get ideas to others. Whether they are teacher candidates, beginners or season veterans of the profession, there will always be new ideas that can be used in the classroom.

Dean Shareski developed a video titled "Sharing: The Moral Imperative" which can be found at Dean does a good job sharing some examples of how social bookmarking, blogging and personal learning communities can spread the word. In the process, the bar is being raised on the quality of education being offered to our students and it is also saving us some long hours locked in your classroom brainstorming ideas to engage students in learning. This just makes sense to me.Don't reinvent the wheel, build it bigger and better.

George Couros & Social Media in Schools

This week we had the pleasure of Skyping with George Couros, a principal at from Stony Plain, Alberta. George is a breath of fresh air in our education world who seems to "get it." George understands that children are at home playing XBox360 on their 70" tv's  and then coming to school and trying to learn by reading out of textbooks that are older than their parents. It just doesn't make sense.

George is a huge believer in making the learning meaningful and authentic for students. The best way to do this is to allow students to tap into the social networks that exist on the internet. These networks allow us to speak directly to the experts on a topic. Why learn about an elephant in a book when a student can speak with a zookeeper or elephant specialist directly?

In today's world, we are still teaching students to put together projects on chart paper when in the real world employees are using sophisticated presentations using technology. What do you think your boss would say if you walked in to a meeting to give a presentation and you presented your information using chart paper and markers??

Mr. Couros went on to talk about the importance of students accepting responsibility for their actions online. If students are able to hide behind a fake name on the internet, what are we teaching them about accountability? For this reason his students use their first name, last initial and year of birth for their screen names. This forces students to be aware of what they are posting online. Absolutely brilliant!!

I began following George on Twitter and I am trying to look more into some of the links that he shares with his network. This is how we are going to learn as teachers. Why should I have to go out into the workforce and start from scratch when we have wonderful teachers like this that can model for us how to be a great teacher??

George has a blog that you should really check out: Another interesting site is This site is comprised of different principals around the world that share ideas and experiences.

By far my favorite speaker to date.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Web 2.0

Last week we had the opportunity to talk a little about web 2.0 tools. For those of you that may not be familiar with the term web 2.0, well then maybe you should look it up!! Haha Just kidding. Web 2.0 tools basically refers to information that is added by numerous authors in a collaborative manner. The best example of web 2.0 is Wikipedia. Users from anywhere in the world are able to add information, without being the site creator.

I find these different web 2.0 tools to be extremely interesting. I quite often find myself surfing from one site to another clicking, playing, and trying to figure how each site or tool works. This usually ends after a couple of hours playing around on the net and saying to myself "Where did the last 2 hours go?" One of my biggest challenges to date has been keeping track of useful sites when I find them and organizing them in a way that I will be able to find them again. I have been using Diigo with some success. I have only begun to use Twitter this year, but don't find it to be very good at organizing the sites when I find them.  Am I missing something? Any suggestions on this?

Mike posted a link to a public Google Doc that was created by Alec Curos -
This Doc has a pile of great web 2.0 tools that can be used for your own personal use or in a classroom. You have to check them out. They will keep you busy for hours. Some of the tools you will already be familiar with, but many others will be new to you. Many of these tools essentially do the same thing or are quite similar to others. The key is to find one or two tools that work for you. Keep is simple and don't try to use them all or your brain will end up like scrambled eggs.

There are literally thousands out there. Any favorites?? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Education in a Networked World

This week we had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Glen Gatin speak about education in a networked world. Glen spoke various topics such as online collaboration tools, digital pedagogy, new literacies and the use of avatars.

I would like to focus on the idea of avatars or a virtual world. Personally I think the idea of a virtual world is a little weird. But having said that, I also realize that everyone learns differently and there are millions of people out there that are very much into video games and this virtual world. If this is what it takes to get some of my students to learn, then I guess it'something I might have to look into more in the future.

What are your thoughts on the use of avatars?? Do they have a place in your classroom?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Have a Facebook and Twitter addiction?? Maybe you should head to Egypt

What does the President of Egypt and most Manitoba School Division have in common?? They have both blocked Facebook and Twitter.

As I've been watching the news the past few days I couldn't help but notice the enormous protest taking place in Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon. Egypt is becoming even more interesting now that their President has blocked social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The reason?? The President believes that if he blocks these sites the protesters will be unable to organize these large scale protests. How's that going for ya President Mubarak??

This shows you how big social networking has become in the last decade. And it doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon. Using Facebook and Twitter are great ways to allow students to network and communicate with people around the world, but there are still lots of other ways to get the job done. Just like the protesters in Egypt, we just have to get creative in how we communicate and get the message out there.There's always a solution to every problem.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education | Video on

Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education | Video on

Not sure how many of you have been introduced to Ted Talks before, but it is a great site that I have been following for about a year now. Ted conferences are held a few times a year around the world. At the conferences people are asked to speak for a maximum of twenty minutes about something that they think is worth sharing with the world. There have been hundreds of speakers participate since Ted began in 1984 and these video clips are now available as part of a Creative Commons licence that allows users to share and repost the material.

I have posted a talk by Bill Gates as an example of some of the amazing people that have participated in the Ted talks. In this talk Mr. Gates speaks a little about education that I found pretty interesting. Check it out. The whole talk is great, but the bit on education starts at about the ten minute mark of the video.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Manitoba Education - Web Based Courses

Today I took the time to take a look at some of the web based courses offered by Manitoba Education. I specifically looked closely at the grade 10 Digital Pictures 25S course. This was a course that caught my eye because I have always wanted to take a photography class. I spent a good half hour playing around and previewing the course.

I found some excellent resources and ideas for teaching a course on digital pictures or even for incorporating it into other subject areas.The course is laid out in a simple manner and it is easy to determine the course objectives and lessons. The course also has a blog of a student that has taken the course. Students are able to follow the blog and learn from the mistakes that this student has made while taking the course.

I think using the web based courses as a teaching resource or incorporating part of the web based course into the face-to-face class is a great idea. These web based courses are great tools for student teachers and first year teachers at the high school level. I wonder how many people actually know that this resource is available to them?

If you want to check out the Web Based Courses from Manitoba Education check out the link to preview the courses available   When asked for the login and password just enter "demo" in both text boxes.

I decided to actually request the digital pictures course so that I can take a closer look. My application is currently pending, but I am sure it shouldn't take too long to gain access to the course. If you would like to request a course for your student teaching placement or when you have your own classroom, you can check out the WBC requests link at Perhaps I will have a little more to blog about when I gain access into the course.

Until next time... Keep fit and have fun.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social Networking in the Classroom - John Finch

Today we had the opportunity to listen to John Finch speak about social networking in the classroom. John works for Manitoba Education as a project leader dealing with ICT Literacy. This is the third time I've had an opportunity to listen to John speak; the first opportunity to hear him talk specifically about social networking in the classroom.

John brought up the ironic point that Pembina Trails School Division has a link to Facebook and Twitter on their homepage for parents, but blocks these sites in their schools. I found this to be rather humorous.

What I liked about John's presentation was that he put us to work finding different social networking sites that can be used in the classroom. It is always easy to talk about ways that social networking can be used, but it is even better to actually search for sites and list them in a class wiki. Again, rather than just listing them on the board or in a word processor, we were put to work using a social networking tool - Google Documents.

Overall, I enjoyed this presentation and it makes me wonder what the social networking policies will be in the school that I find employment with next year. Hopefully I will .have some leniency when working online with my students. I believe that students can be quite creative if given the chance and the trust to work responsibly

Friday, January 14, 2011

Web Based Courses

This past Thursday we had the opportunity to listen to Howard Griffith from Manitoba Education speak about Web Based Courses in Manitoba. I was aware that there were web based courses in Manitoba but I had never really given it much thought.

I found a couple of things quite interesting about Mr. Griffith's presentation. I never thought about the idea of teachers using web based courses as a resource to help teach their class. I also never thought about teachers using the web based courses as a supplement to their class. These are great resources that can be used by teachers that are just beginning their careers or a little uncomfortable with a certain subject. This resource is also available to student teachers as well, which can be a big help for those students who are trying to plan lessons during student teaching.

Mr. Griffith stated that a blended learning system has been found to work the best over a face-to-face classroom setting or the web based learning format. I can totally understand this. I have taken web based courses and they can allow a student to procrastinate till the cows come home. Using blended learning will allow the students to get their feet wet using a web based approach, but still provide them the structure of a classroom.

I will definitely be looking more into web based courses and if I ever teach high school in the future I will consider using a WBC.

Feel free to check out the site:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Personal Learning Networks

So unfortunately I was unable to attend the presentation on PLN's last week as I was sitting on the beach in Cuba smoking a Cohiba and sipping rums. I must admit, I don't feel guilty about it one bit. But it still would have been nice to attend the presentation and I have since been doing a little homework on PLN's.

Personal Learning Networks are an interesting topic that I knew nothing about until last year. I had no idea that I was already developing my PLN. I spent an hour or two playing around with the different PLN links that Mike provided for us and I found that there are a TON of sites out there that can be used to expand your PLN.

Some of the sites that I really enjoy are Diigo, TED Talks and Google Reader. These sites/podcasts/vodcasts/applications are great ways to learn about new ideas, innovations and concepts regarding education around the world. Forget about driving the 2 hours to Winnipeg to go to a SAG conference, I think you can get more out of sitting on your computer and watching some videos on TEDTalks.

That's all for now....


Well this is officially my first time blogging. I would like to welcome you to my blog and also invite you to follow me on Twitter @blair_adamson. I am looking forward to blogging but I am still a little unsure about the Twitter concept. I guess the main reason I am unsure about Twitter is that so many people use it for dumb reasons. I don't care who just cut you off in traffic or how your hairdresser messed up your hair. But I am sure it can be used in a productive manner and I am going to try my best to give it my full attention.

I look forward to hearing from some of you about my ideas about internet and technology in education.