What has been happening

There has been an upheaval to Caramat Teacher’s life since I last wrote. That is part of the reason for the delay.

To wit: I am no longer Caramat Teacher! <Gasp!> I am now the IEC Data Management Coordinator.

This simple fact has changed a lot of everything. The family is no longer isolated in Northern Ontario. Instead it finds itself living in balmy (no snow in October!) London, ON.

The kids are no longer the only students in their school. They are now in a regular school with one grade in each classroom.

We are able to attend movies, go swimming, go shopping, visit real libraries and most important…go to Chapters! when we want to.

I am going to make it a habit to blog on a weekly basis. After reading my entries from the summer I have realized how important it is to put my thoughts onto a webpage. There were many ideas from three months ago that I had forgotten that were semi-important.

I had an idea this week for what to work on for a dissertation. Allow classes of first nation students the opportunity to develop adventures within the maze’s holodecks. The adventures will be curriculum based but examining what it means to be a first nation student in a non first nation world. I am thinking Papert, Freire, and Dewey will be the major theorists that I will use. Comments?

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Modified Research Question

Okay…Ihave been thinking about the feedback from my last research question and have incorporated these ideas with some of the terms that I have come across in the readings. From these merged ideas I have developed 3 different potential research questions and would be interested in what my peers think of them.

1. This paper will examine how students’ utilization of educational technology develops their social education by altering their understanding of community and society.

2. This paper will examine whether individuals’ utilization of educational technology alters their social education by modifying their values and beliefs.

3. This paper will examine whether utilization of educationla technology in a faciliatated learning environment alters participants’ values and beliefs.

Thanks for the extra feedback.

Grassroots Video and Thought Development

I think that everyone can agree that grassroots is very liberating for collections of people that before did not have a voice. The easy access to technology and the internet allow people from all locations to record their ideas, thoughts, opinions about anything from any place. As Barb says on her post “we are increasingly experiencing a shift from researcher or individual control to shared control, where the audience, spectator, participant or community at large has significant influence and voice on the impact of narrative…” (Brown, 2009).

Walter Cronkite’s death this past week brings forward some interesting questions about the community having influence of narrative. Cronkite was the man who told the US that John Kennedy had been killed. This was such a seminal moment that even I have seen that video multiple times and I am Canadian and was born 11 years after it happened.

But that is exactly my point. With everyone learning this news from the same source it was a shared experience.

Imagine if Kennedy had died during the time of grassroots video. Would the moment have been as powerful at the time or even historically?

I wonder if we can use Michael Jackson’s death as a comparison? It was as sudden and unexpected. Both individuals were cultural icons. Yes, Jackson’s death spurred a sudden retrospective of his best work, yet the country didn’t stop like it did with Kennedy and I don’t think it will resonate historically. Is this becuase news was fractured coming from multiple media sources? I would argue yes.

What I worry about is what happens to our community (not our class’ but city’s or country’s) conversation when media is so fractured. When there is no common dialogue how do we get different groups to communicate? Does it create a possibility of Balkanization with different ideological groups nodding in each agreement with their own thoughts while yelling that people that think differently are idiots? Look to our cable media and our governments for a possible answer. 

As teachers how can we fight though this? What can we do in our classrooms or institutions to make sure that our students learn to create their own message, but also learn to listen to competing ideas?

When you figure it out, please let me know.

Random Sunday Night Thoughts

Okay, it’s been a week. How come I haven’t changed the world yet?

I must say that I have a much better appreciation for the breadth educational technology than I did two weeks ago.

As much fun as I had the past week, Disney World the week before was still better.

It’s going to be interesting to see how I juggle all my other responsibilities with course work when I go home.

I’ve had lots of fun finding time with different classmates to just sit and talk and get to know them better.

My daughter can’t wait ’til I get home so I can tickle and kiss her.

Calgary seems a lot bigger north to south than east to west.

Not only am I learning about strategies for using technology, I am finding lots of new technologies to use with my students.

You MUST read this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19friedman.html?_r=1&em

I’m kinda’ upset that I didn’t get to watch one minute of this year’s British Open.

I guess I have to get used to sacrifices of all kinds.

I find it interesting how almost everyone I have talked to this week has expressed some doubt in their ability.

It makes me wonder what my students are really thinking in the classroom when I give them different assignments.

For not reason at all: A grasshopper hops into a bar and onto a stool. The bartender comes over and says “You know we got a drink named for you here.” And the grasshopper says “Really!? You have a drink named Steve?”

I am looking forward to the excitment of this next week.

I am really excited about the next four years.

Rabbits and Technology

Okay, I tend not to think in pictures…I prefer metaphors (or in this case similies).

I was walking through the campus yesterday and I caught another sight of those huge rabbits that live on campus. At the time I was thinking about how a lot of people had been feeling intimidated with the course work and the concepts that have been presented this past week.  Seeing the rabbits at that moment made me connect the two and I suddenly realized that the rabbits (to me anyway) represented the content that that had been presented to me during the last week.

Back home I have used technology and I have worked in a classroom and I had even worked with technology in a classroom. I thought I had good ideas about what I needed to know about technology in the classroom, especially in my context. However I come here and in the last week all these new ideas and pconcepts have been presented to me, ideas that are bigger, fatter and hairier then anything I would have contemplated before concerning technology in the classroom.

Now to the rabbits. Back home we have rabbits. But they are tiny, skinny rabbits. For six months of the year there is snow on the ground, we don’t get a chinook in February so the rabbits have to learn to exist on a very lean diet. When I came here and saw the rabbits they were twice the size. I actually couldn’t believe I was looking at rabbits. The size of the rabbits forced my to redesign in my head my concept of rabbits. But I now I have a better defintion of rabbits in my head and I’m not taken aback when I see these small kangaroos jumping across campus.

For technology, it will take a little longer, it will take a lot of reading, discussion and contemplation, but eventaully I will develop a bigger, better and much more robust understanding of education technology, but I will be a better educator for it and I won’t believe that at one point point I considered it such a big fat hairy deal.

My Research Focus – I Think

I would like to research how access to technology in the classroom changes people’s traditions, values, communities, and how they live which when combined I call culture.

A Manifesto on Learning

Okay, here’s the deal.

In 8 days we are going to be leaving this lovely city (well most of us anyway) and returning to our homes and places of work. Once we leave we will be playing many more roles then we currently are…myself I will become a teacher, principal, father, husband, son and many other titles that don’t immediately come to mind.

Right now I am a student of educational technology, that is it, just a student. (Not that being just a student is a bad thing. In fact I am loving having limited responsibilites right now.)

When we leave we will have the computer to connect us a group…and that is about it. Why aren’t we trying harder to get together in the evening and talk about what we learned in class. Why are we trying to get to know each other better by going to Chapters, grocery shopping, downtown together? Why hasn’t anyone discussed a group chipping in and going to visit Banff or Drumheller one day this weekend?

I know we all have work to do. I have the same readings as you and the same obligations to post…but let me ask you a question…Think back to high school…take your time…I’ll wait…Ok, you there yet…no?…now?…good. Think about your favourite memory from high school. Hold that thought and let me predict something.

YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY DOES NOT TAKE PLACE IN A CLASS OR WHILE YOU ARE DOING HOMEWORK!!!!!

A very wise educator once told me that there are three types of learning that a person must balance book learning, spiritual learning and social learning. I feel we are missing a glorious opportunity to advance our social learning by focusing on our suggested readings as we are. When we know each other better we can have deeper and richer conversations about our readings on-line…when we are all home.

My students that I have Caramat got to take a trip to Edmonton last year. We were on the train for two nights each way, each kid got in trouble a couple of times and by the end everyone was glad that it was over. BUT…this past year it was all those students seemed to remember from last year. And by knowing each other better they were able to work better in class and were able to develop better finished products on their assignments.

So, who’s with me?

I’ll go back to my side of the room now.

Yes, I know I promised to have my definition of education technology tonight. I promise it will be there sometime.