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