Another Piece of the Technology in Education Conversation – Inquiry Blog #4

My father-in-law was a computer geek long before that was a thing. He was with a phone company as they were looking into delivering things other than voices through their telephone lines and was a part of the crew than installed the first, 1.5-megabyte memory system at SFU that was basically a metal rod suspended in a vat of baseball sized magnets.

Before his passing 10 years ago, he was looking into the idea of Linux and getting excited about school districts perhaps looking into that operating system and alleviating some of the financial pressures that were coming along with Microsoft and Apple. Part of this was his research into the One Laptop Per Child initiative that was coming out of MIT. He adhered to the philosophy regarding the necessity of having a tool that was internet compatible and able to operate all over the world. The biggest areas at risk of loosing out were the developing world and the poorer areas of the developed world, creating a technology austerity.

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Leading the Horses – Inquiry Blog #3

There seems to have been a lot more winding up this June then winding down. There have been some pretty big changes proposed for next year, and staff have been asked to come together for input. There has also been the creation of the school calendar, where all staff members have been asked for input. The latter has affected me more, as the Pro-D chair, the committee has the responsibility to propose dates for the two school-based professional development days. These things have created quite a learning experience for me. Namely, that even with all our tools of communication, having a majority of people offer their opinion and input in a timely way seems to be impossible.

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Pursuing My Professional Inquiry

As I have been moving through the Teacher-Librarian diploma course, my professional curiosity has certainly undergone a sort of rekindling and metamorphosis. I have always been interesting in pedagogy, educational philosophy and ideas that would help me make my classroom better. At the beginning of this journey, I was worried about becoming overwhelmed with the information that would come with applying these considerations to the school library learning commons, a place that is responsible for supporting all curricular areas. What I have found is that while there is a plethora of information available, I have had an easier time processing what would be useful to me as it seems to be rooted more in place, all of this information is centered on the learning commons, not floating through the theoretical. Continue reading

Warren’s Story

This year, I’ve tried to make more of an effort to model assignments in the classroom, particularly the presentation style assignments. As comfortable as the majority of my seniors are with presenting in front of each other, they have developed the safe and true method of speaking in front of a slide presentation. This has them relying on an oral essay style delivery with slides that are there to give the half interested members of the audience someplace other than the presenter to look.

With a bit of creativity, presenters can say more with some well crafted implications than they would otherwise be able through plain language. What’s more is that for the IB students, providing a creative outlet should be seen as therapeutic, giving them a break from straight up academics. Continue reading

Fostering Reading Cultures in Schools

I have been at the profession for a lot of years and I sometimes feel that I am no closer to figuring out how to get kids to read than when I started. What I do feel is that I have developed a better sense and explanation as to why we should read, especially as I let go of my snobby notion that only certain types of literature constitute viable reading material.

It was on the hunt of trying to communicate the answer to the question “why do we have to take English?” inevitably posed by a frustrated student, that I came across this video series hosted by John Greene, yes that John Greene. Though aimed at the study of literature, the reasons behind reading can certainly be more broadly applied. Continue reading

LIBE 477 – Reading Review Part B

The point of this post is to collect and present resources that could help investigate the topics that came up in Part A. I have to admit that in going back and forth with the criteria and considering the course outline, I started to doubt if I was on the write track. The main source for my doubt was the use of “keywords” in the Part A criteria.

Now, this has no reflection on the clarity of the instructor’s write-up or the course, it has everything to so with my own self-doubt. See, while writing my previous post regarding Part A, I was less concerned about discovering a “something,” such as an application, methodology or technique, so when re-reading it, I started wondering if I had missed the point. Continue reading

LIBE 477 – Reading Review Part A

It has been a number of years since I have tried to put so many aspects of technology together in a functional manner. In the classroom, I could try a Kahoot here, a backchannel discussion through TodaysMeet there, the occasional professional tweet, homework through RemindEdublogs (duh, English teacher), but my biggest experiment remains the implementation of Moodle. All met with various degrees of success and student buy in. Much of it was novelty I’m sure and, in a twist of technological irony, the easier technology and the more students accessed it, the less they seemed willing to participate in my experiments. The learning of and adapting lessons to incorporate technology became less rewarding and was not getting the results I was hoping for, so I used it less frequently.

Being off of the grid for a while was refreshing Continue reading

Well, I’m Back

In writing this I am in utter disbelief that it has been over five years since my last, true post. The shock was so much, in fact, that I pulled a couple of book reviews that I pasted up on another site that I was contributing to.

I am encouraged to turn a corner with this blog and incorporate more of my professional life into it. Well, through the schooling I’m doing, I am encouraged to bring my professional life into this blog. Currently, I am enrolled in UBC’s teacher-librarian diploma program and while our instructor has is desirous of use utilizing a blog to reflect upon and communicate our thoughts and learning of the material, it is probably about time that I admit what I have known for a while now; I love thinking, talking and writing about aspects about my profession. I feel as though I have lost myself in efforts to separate personal from professional in cyberspace by spreading the applications to thin and loosing focus between multiple forums, blogs, tweets and accounts in an attempt to facilitate my multifaceted personality. Continue reading

School Library Learning Commons as Venues for Social Justice

The following is the response to a discussion prompt from LLED 467 of the UBC Teacher-Librarian Diploma. The prompt was to provide examples of social justice from online content and if of how yo might integrate it into your program.

I am submitting two examples of online content that provides examples of social justice. The first was found a couple of years ago and left quite an impact on me. The second was accidental, surprising and quite timely.

The first is a video that was released in India a year after the gang-rape of a girl on a bus in New Delhi. This incident sparked a public outcry and official reaction toward the treatment of women in Indian culture. As the father of two daughters and as a human being interested in advocating for equality, this video raises both an immediate awareness and a piece to reflect upon.

The video shows men staring at women, then having their looks reflected back at them suddenly through various reflective surfaces. It also shows their surprise and guilty reactions as they have the opportunity to see their predatory expressions turned back at them. Continue reading

Knifing Through the Water

I picked up The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi because I loved his award winning 2009 novel, The Windup Girl. Both have to do with a dystopian future where resources are scarce and hoarded by the few.Image result for the water knife cover

In the case of The Water Knife, the south-western United States is going through an incredible and destructive water shortage. To make matters worse, water is being hoarded by corporations who claim water rights on rivers and lakes, thereby owning the water and making it difficult for the majority of the population to access unless they are willing to pay large sums of money for it. The novel focuses on three characters; Angel, a mercenary-type character who works for the corporation running Nevada’s water supply, Lucy, a journalist that takes on the plight of the people, and Maria, a poor woman who is looking to escape the Phoenix “thirst” she has grown up in.

While it had many elements that I enjoyed in reading The Windup Girl, I had difficulty in becoming as immersed in the world he was creating. I found the description of the setting minimal and, perhaps because I have never been to that area of the world, found understanding the geography that made water so hard to come by outside of my grasp. Continue reading