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.