Sunday, December 11, 2011

Do Manitoba Kids Suck at Math?

A few weeks ago, the results of the Pan Canadian Assessment Program were released. Manitoba finished second from the bottom, just before PEI, in math. What does it mean? Well, to some people, it is cause for lots of worry and consternation. How can this happen? What is the cause?

Of course, everyone trotted out their pet peeves and opinions:

  • A mathematics prof at U of Winnipeg says it is because of the dismal math requirements for K-8 teachers.  There could be some truth to this, very little math/science is needed to get into teacher education programs in Manitoba, including my faculty. Yet, if there is a group of math profs calling for Pre-Calculus as a pre-requisite for teaching (I would think Applied would be sufficient as well), then why don't they change the pre-requisites to their own courses - after all, these students must take 3-6 credit hours of math courses. Additionally, perhaps they should 'beef' up the courses education students generally take, perhaps add a lab component as well? Then again, perhaps some (not all, to be sure) should take some education courses and add some teaching strategies (other than lecture) to their repertoire.
  • Another person blamed the Math Curriculum (actually the MB curriculum is based on the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol - used across Western Canada & the North). Perhaps some blame needs to go to MB Education. With budget constraints, courses are no longer piloted. Most do not have support materials. In a similar vein, perhaps MB Education and school divisions need to offer quality, long term, mandatory professional development for new curricula/approaches.
  • Another person says it is the lack of time spent on Math in schools (might be true - but what goes?)
  • Another enlightened soul says it is Manitoba's "no fail policy" (which does not exist - although divisions and schools can set such policies)
  • Yet others say it is not the curriculum per se, but the approach - we don't drill and kill enough! It was good enough for me, it is good enough for my kids! 
- and on it goes...

Amazingly, I was surprised and somewhat pleased with the response from (I shudder to say) the Education critic for the Conservative Party - who did not jump to blame the ruling NDP government, but said we need to look in the mirror and see what we can do to improve.

Of course, very few question the tests themselves - what are they testing? What do they really tell us, if anything? How do the questions relate to our curriculum? Who wrote the test, compared to other Provinces? How accurate & reliable can the results of a one shot test be?  I found it interesting that although MB slipped in overall rank, students actually improved from the last test (see article linked in last paragraph). This quote from the web site speaks volumes as well:

Over 90 per cent of Canadian students in Grade 8 are achieving at or above their expected level of performance in mathematics, that is to say, at level 2 or above. Almost half are achieving above their expected level.

Another issue is the general view of Math in society. What other subject area do people seem to take pride in not being good at? "Oh - I was never any good at math" is used as an excuse. Parents (and others) who profess a hatred - or strong dislike - of math, who speak of it not being useful. Perhaps trying to change that image should be a priority.

One other thing the critics are missing is the complexity of the educational process. There may be something to all - or none - of the postulated reasons for the results. Picking out a single 'cause' to the results is ridiculous, many factors go into successful learning, and reactions that result in quick band aid fixes are not the answer. If we are really concerned about the apparent lack of achievement, a number of issues need to be examined. I only hope that public consternation and a vocal group does not lead to a knee-jerk, politically expedient response that appeases a few people, but does not do much to address improving education.

In this article, the President of the Manitoba Teachers Society offers up a dose of sanity. Yes, we do need to look at these results, we need to look at what they mean. We do not have to create needless anxiety and resort to knee-jerk reactions. We should always examine what we do in schools, and always strive to improve. However, we must recognize the complexity of teaching and learning, and address the root causes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

End of an era?

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011, R.I.P.
There have been many tributes to Steve Jobs over the past few days, I thought I would add my own brief one. My first brush with Apple was way back in the mid eighties. At that time the school division I worked at decided to go to Apple computers - we previously used Commodore. I remember thinking it was the wrong choice, we should be going to IBM - and MS-DOS. How wrong I was. After using the Mac Plus and Classics, I was hooked on the Mac OS. While we added some Windows machines, our main platform at the school was always Apple - and still is, even though I don't work there any more. I always enjoyed the platform, they worked well and were fun to use & work on. The predominant platform at the University is Windows, and I use it most days (I teach many of my courses in the lab). However, I have brought in a few Macs and some iPads. I also continue to use Apple products at home (an iMac, a mac mini, a Macbook, iPhones, iPods and iPads. I guess it is blind loyalty, but I have tried others and just like Apple products, a personal choice. Steve Jobs just had a knack for developing easy to use, pleasing products. I admit it, I just like their products, despite some of their policies and foibles. Steve Jobs was just a year older than me, he was taken too soon - like so many others. I hope that Apple will continue to 'Think Different', as their founder, Steve Jobs did.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ph.D. Journey: Phase II Complete ... Now the work/fun begins!

work area in my basement
I am pleased, and relieved, to have successfully completed the second major phase of my Ph.D. journey, the comprehensive (or candidacy) exam. I completed my course work in April (see this post), the next task was the comprehensive exam, which I began in May. There are several options for this exam process, I chose the method most choose - four questions, three months and 100 pages (excluding references - good thing since I ended up with about 28 pages of them). The exam experience was ... character building? It actually was one of the most intense and difficult things I have done. The amount of literature research and subsequent reading necessary was tremendous, then there was the writing. At times I found it hard to focus, I found myself finding other things to do - check twitter feed, check some blogs, and so on. It was to easy to find something to distract me from the task at hand. I tried a few techniques to help. I tried taking notes as I read and re-read - by hand, then I tried typing them out so I could copy and paste into my paper, and a combination of both. I also tried the pomodoro technique, which I heard about through twitter (@thesiswhisperer). Essentially this technique has you work for 25 minutes, take five, another 25, etc., with a longer break after 4 sessions. I did not use this all the time, but when focus was a bit of an issue, I used it and it seemed to help. I also set goals, trying to concentrate on one task at a time. I set three weeks per question, leaving just over a week for final edits, reference checks and so on. I managed to stick, more or less, to my timetable and submitted the exam followed by a celebration dinner out with many of my cohort friends. My committee was very prompt, thankfully, after just three days they met and I even heard the same day they met - I PASSED! A major hurdle was over. I know people who had to wait much longer, I found even this short wait excruciating - what if I did not pass? Could I bring myself to do this a second time (it is two tries and you are out)? I could not imagine a long wait. I was also fortunate because I had coffee with my advisor, and he provided feedback from the committee on areas to improve on for my proposal/dissertation. One of the toughest, if not the toughest, parts of the process was not being able to discuss the questions. We learn by social means, and in my cohort it was a key activity, we often bounced ideas off one another, shared our work, discussed. Often, even talking about an approach, idea, thinking aloud would help make sense of things, not being able to do this was difficult. This simply solidified my belief in the social aspect of learning.
exam packages ready to submit

Well, the exam is over (and has been for a while, as I am slow to get this post written) and now it is on to the next phase - the dissertation! First task - complete the proposal and defend it ... should be a challenge, and fun. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Marshall McLuhan!

poster by D. Kuropatwa (
Marshall McLuhan was born 100 years ago on July 21st. McLuhan, of course, is the famous Canadian media guru from the sixties. McLuhan pioneered the study of media and its effects on society and was famous for his aphorisms and use of metaphor. Who has not heard the phrase 'the global village', 'the medium is the message', 'we shape our tools, then they shape us' and others? McLuhan was called 'the oracle of the information age' for his commentary about media and its effects on society. He was sought after by media and celebrities, and looked down on by many in academia (after all, he dared to be popular, to use dialogue and not lecture, to examine areas outside of his own).  In the latter part of his life, his star faded. In the past decade or so, however, he has come alive again, his words seem prophetic now in our digital age. McLuhan was born in Edmonton, did undergraduate at the University of Manitoba (where I am attending now), finished his education at Cambridge, worked at Assumption University in Windsor (where I was born & grew up) and finished his career at the University of Toronto. He was one  of the first to write about advertising (The Mechanical Bride) and teach courses that foreshadowed the current emphasis on media literacy. His third book, Understanding Media was perhaps the biggest one, in it he stated the famous "the medium is the message" and discussed media as an extension of man. People misunderstood what he was saying at the time, thinking he was implying that content was unimportant, but he was trying to point out that, regardless of the actual message, the medium itself has effects on individuals and society. His book, "The Medium is the Massage" with Fiore, was remarkable in its design, with short blurbs and accompanying images. His last book, written with his son, Eric, published posthumously, was "The Laws of Media" (I recently bought a copy). In it the McLuhans lay out four 'laws', really four questions, to guide our examination of technology and its effects;
  • What does the medium enhance?
  • What does the medium make obsolete?
  • What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
  • What does the medium flip into (reverse) when pushed to extremes?
It is remarkable that when you listen to people talk and write about technology, how much is what McLuhan said over 30 years ago. Although he claimed he was not predicting the future, he certainly seemed to do just that. McLuhan was really trying to provoke and prod people to think about technology and media, to not let the tools shape them.

Some websites about Marshall McLuhan;
Spark (CBC) podcast series in May 2011 on McLuhan's laws (also a 'tour' of locations he frequented in Toronto).
Marshall McLuhan (official site)
McLuhan Galaxy
Marshall McLuhan Speaks (lots of video clips)
McLuhan Archives on CBC
Video McLuhan
McLuhan 100 (University of Toronto)
The McLuhan Project (ABC Radio)

A few good books about McLuhan;
Digital McLuhan by P. Levinson
Marshall McLuhan (Biography) by Douglas Coupland
and many more ... and be sure to watch the NFB documentary McLuhan's Wake

Thanks to Dr. D. Hlynka, a McLuhan scholar at U of M who made me more aware of McLuhan and his importance.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ICEL 2011: Reflections

On June 27-28 I attended the 6th Annual International Conference on E-Learning (ICEL), along with a friend/colleague with whom I collaborate on various projects. The conference was held at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Okanogan campus in Kelwona. First off, the campus is beautiful - as you can see from the photos below. You can see our poster & handout by visiting this other blog. (this post is cross-posted there as well)

flying over mountains.
Conference opens

UBC, Kelowna Campus
on campus
Some reflections:


Walking up/down hills

View from my room in res.

Walking up and down hills certainly uses muscle not used on the flat prairie, my calf muscles were sore, but it was good exercise!

At first, my colleague and I were not sure to attend to present a poster, kind of like 'second place', however, we decided to do it. Making and presenting a poster was new for both of us (I did do one for a course in my Ph.D. program, so it wasn't completely new for me). Well, I am glad we did this. The posters were up through the first day, then in the morning of the second we stood at the posters and  we conversed with many people - one on one. In this way we could answer the questions the person had, discuss areas they found of interest. I would certainly do another poster. We made great contacts, including a possible future collaboration with some people from the UK. We also found that the keynote speaker, Susan Crichton, was very interested in our work. All in all, great conversations. As a bonus, our presentation was chosen as the 'best poster presentation' - not sure what that really means, but it is nice to have your peers think highly of your work.

This conference is called 'international', and it certainly is. I would guess that at least half of the delegates were from outside Canada and the U.S.. In all 37 countries were represented.It is fascinating to meet and hear about what is going on in so many areas of the world.

from the Eldorado Restaurant
I met so many great, smart and nice people. Several are now twitter &/or LinkedIn friends. I have already exchanged emails with a few. This connecting was probably the highlight for me. On the second day, a person we met who taught at Kelowna took Glenn and I on a quick winery tour, we visited 2 wineries, tasted some fine wine, and we each bought a few bottles to take home! The school bus trip into Kelowna to the restaurant on the lake, the conversation and fun during the meal, and the wine/beer with conversation out in the beautiful night air in Kelowna when we returned to the residence was fantastic. I met people from all over, but especially enjoyed new friends and acquaintances from elsewhere in Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Scotland, U.K.

What can I say, people try, there were some very well done presentations, but powerpoint is still not always used very well! That aside, there were many good presentations and posters. As I said earlier, it is neat to hear what is going on elsewhere. It is also interesting to know that issues and innovations here are also often innovations or issues elsewhere, the infrastructure, language and customs may differ, but we are all part of this Earth and have more in common than we have differences.

Leaving Kelowna

Final words
This conference was not at the best time for me, I am currently writing my Ph.D. candidacy exam, however, the few days off (I did take and do some reading!) was worth it, for the connections made and the knowledge and ideas gained.

Monday, June 27, 2011

International Conference on E-Learning (ICEL)

( originally posted on ICTology, imported in September/15)

Glenn & Mike presented a poster at ICEL 2011, in Kelowna, B.C. on June 27-28.

Our poster and the accompanying handouts are here (also on SCRIBD). We are excited to add that our poster was chosen as the 'best poster presentation' at the conference.

ICEL poster: Are we overgeneralizing the competencies of the Millenial Generation

ICEL 2011 Handout Pg1-2

ICEL 2011 Handout Pg2-2

An article based on our results is in the future (nearer we hope, however, a few pressing items need to be dealt with first). After our pilot study, we did have an article published in Volume 3 (starting on page 50) of the MERN Journal, found on the MERN web site as a pdf download.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

MADLaT ~ May 6. 2011

( originally posted on ICTology, imported in September/15)

On May 6, 2011, five members of the ICT Committee of the Faculty of Education gave a presentation at MADLaT (Manitoba Association for Distributed Learning & Training) at College universitaire de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg. The Prezi used is below. A great discussion took place during the session.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ph.D. Journey - Phase I Complete!

Well, last week I completed the course work portion of my Ph.D. program at the University of Manitoba, last assignment submitted! It was a demanding, but very educational and interesting ride. Seven courses in 18 months. I must say the program so far has lived up to its title: Transformative Teaching, Learning & Leading, or TTLL. This was truly a growth process, I know some people question the value of higher education, now this is part of my career choice, however, the growth goes way beyond a mere job - but that is for another post, perhaps.

I was extremely fortunate to be part of a cohort experience, I strongly suggest this for anyone embarking on such a journey, if it is possible. I have heard other cohort experiences are not all good, however, the TTLL cohort became like a family, sharing, supporting through good times and bad. Just like a good PLN, it is all about the people , the connecting, the discussing, a person to talk to, to give strength when things looked bleak - and believe me, at times they did. I think everyone of us at one time or another had second thoughts. To illustrate the sense of family, for our last weekend class, we held class at Danielle's beautiful home, shared a meal, a few drinks and more learning, what a great way to have a class! We often met outside class hours in various size groups, at Degrees (restaurant at the U of M) after Saturday class, for coffee, a meal, to talk. We shared flurries of emails, created a Ning group - until it went to a paid format - shared writing & feedback, news from our lives, resources - I fully expect this activity will continue!
my work area for final course assignment

The people in this cohort are varied in background, interests and learning styles, this variety added much to the mix, and broadened our thinking (at least for me!). I have been very lucky to come to know these fine people. And, though the journey is not over, we will probably see less of one another, but we will keep in touch and continue to support one another.  I want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT and thanks to my cohort friends; Natalie, Jen, Cathy, Danielle, Lark, Pam, Margaret - and new member for this past year, Candy and for the last course, Heather and Duane! You are tremendous, caring, talented people, good luck to all of you in the rest of your program!

I would be remiss if I did not mention the great Profs I had at the U of M as well, all were excellent, but I will mention the cohort 'four';  Dr. Francine Morin, Dr. Thomas Falkenberg, Dr. Clea Schmidt and Dr. Wayne Seribrin. They exemplified the ideal that the process was about growth and learning and provided us with a challenging environment - and even though we often threw their careful plans out the window, allowed us our voice.

Now comes the next phase - the candidacy exam. At U of M, it is three months of ... terror? stress? hard work? learning? satisfaction? The exam (mine anyway) consists of four questions, 100 pages of writing and stacks of reading. My summer is spoken for, I don't know if I am ready, but, here it comes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Ride Home: Salmon & other things!

salmon swimmingphoto © 2008 Russell Bernice | more info (via: Wylio)
note: This post is not about digital technology. 

Wednesday (I did start this post last Thursday - another priority since then) , on my ride home from class in Winnipeg, I listed to the radio program Ideas on CBC - I tuned in a little late, but caught most of the show. The episode was called Saving Salmon (you can hear it by clicking if you missed it!) and it featured a story - pretty well a monologue - by biologist Alexandra Morton (click to go to her web site). Now you might say "salmon - they are tasty, but an hour of someone talking about salmon??", and I might have thought that too, but what I heard was a very passionate advocate for the planet Earth and all its life, including humans. This was not a raving 'tree-hugger' - not that there is anything wrong with that. She is a biologist who lives in B.C. and spent years studying Orcas. So what do Salmon have to do with Orcas? Well, they eat them, so when Salmon suffer, Orcas suffer. On her web site , she writes:
"After 26 years in the wilderness of coastal British Columbia I have learned that wild salmon are one of those generous species that feed the world. As a biologist and mother I have taken a stand for these fish because we need them."
Ms. Morton speaks passionately about the environment, how all living things are connected, how we should be able to live with nature. At one point she pointed to the fact that 'we' fence off areas of wilderness in order to protect it - from 'us'. She also is not very complimentary about politicians and corporations - and I say good for her!  The almighty dollar has way to much influence! This episode is worth a listen, a wonderful portrait of the importance of the natural world!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Social Media in Education: National Rural Education Congress

( originally posted on ICTology, imported in September/15)

On March 28 we presented at the National Congress on Rural Education, held is Saskatoon, SK. Our session looked at social media & education. We started by asking "What is Social Media?" and proceeded to why use it, then into our journey & experiments at BU. After this we transitioned to ask; What about in K-12, and tried to give reasons to use social media and gave several examples of real classrooms and schools who make positive use of social media for learning.

One of the highlights of the conference was the student Journalists who produced video and print reports of the conference.

Our Prezi and associated links are below;

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Note of Thanks! (Power of a PLN)

This past term, one of the courses I taught was Internet for Educators. This course is an elective course in Brandon University's after degree B.Ed. program. The students are in their last year & last term of their program and are generally in the middle years or senior years stream, they have a variety of teachable areas. This is the second year I have used an approach using ideas I have 'borrowed' from members of my PLN, in particular Alec Couros and Dean Shareski. The major assignment for the course is to keep a blog, there are required weekly posts, based on the topic of the week, usually presented by a special guest speaker. The students explore the idea, bring in own experiences and reflections. I started this last year, and grew and refined the idea this year. From both my perspective - and from the students, it was a huge success. The responsibility for learning was theirs, while I set the general topics, along with the speakers I invited, the learning took the direction the students wanted to take it. Many added extra posts, sharing resources, ideas and commenting on each others blogs. I want to publicly acknowledge the invited speakers - members of my PLN - who took time and effort to join us, in person and digitally. I learned as much from the presentations and interactions as my students did. The presenters were:

John Evans (@joevans) - a former Principal and now a consultant with Manitoba Education, presented on PLNs - and on the first day of classes. What a great way to start. John got us off with a bang talking about the power of a PLN and demonstrating some tools for building a PLN. John shared his wiki on PLNs.

Howard Griffith (@HowardCDN) - Howard is one of two educators who coordinate & develop Web Based Courses for Manitoba. Howard led a discussion about the whys of online learning and showed the resources and courses available in Manitoba. Student teachers are able to sign up for courses so they may use the materials as resources and to explore.

John Finch (@jfinch)  - a former teacher and Technology Consultant, John is also with Manitoba Education and is on the Literacy with ICT team. John led a hands on session looking at using social media in the classroom, sharing ideas and issues.

Glen Gatin (@ggatin) - was next, Glen is an ed tech researcher and delivers a graduate level course for Brandon University, and other Universities. Glen presented a session looking at learning in a networked world. In particular he looked at various learning theories, including constructivism, constructionism and connectivism. He also discussed MOOCs and MUVES (second life). He finished with some good advice for beginning teachers.

George Couros (@gcouros) - Principal of Forest Green School in Stoney Plain, AB skyped in from his school. This was a treat as a Principal in the field talked about "Unintended Benefits" and shared his experiences as his school embraced social media. Here is a Principal with an amazing philosophy who lives what he says. He also gave advice for beginning teachers seeking their first teaching job. His presentation is embedded below, with his permission.

Darren Kuropatwa (@dkuropatwa) - Darren is a high school Math teacher on secondment to Manitoba Education (in the  Literacy with ICT - French language side). Darren is a very sought after speaker and presents around the world. He presented on "What can we do now?". Darren talked about how people learn and talked about assessment and illustrated many ways to use technology in the classroom. His presentation is below.

Dean Shareski (@shareski) - well, we did not actually have Dean speak to us directly, however, I assigned his great K-12 Conference keynote "Sharing - The Moral Imperative" for viewing. His presentation sparked some great blog posts. I thank Dean for reading & commenting on a few of the posts.

Alec Couros (@courosa) - having the famous Dr. Couros, University of Regina, join us via elluminate is always a treat. Alec truly lives his 'open doctrine'. As busy as he is, Alec joined us for an hour right after his own class finished at U of R. Alec was a perfect final speaker and he summed up his thoughts on 'Open Learning in a Connected World' and spent about fifteen minutes answering questions and discussing ideas. Just the week before, I had the honour of introducing Alec on his first foray into Manitoba when he delivered a keynote to WestCAST - an annual conference for pre-service teachers, held this year at Brandon University. His slidedeck is below:

Of course, I did hold a few classes myself ;-) and we spent the last class together discussing and pulling together the themes from the course & speakers. The student blogs were amazing, and their final reflections were outstanding. Links to their blogs, including the reflections, are on this wiki - so please take a look & comment! These folks will make fine, thoughtful teachers (anyone hiring?). It is also gratifying to see a few of them continue posting to their blogs in the few weeks since classes finished.

Once again, I want to thank all these educators for their contribution to the development of these new teachers. I met & got to know some of these people on twitter, and they did not hesitate to take part. This success shows the power of a PLN (or whatever term you want to use)! This experience was valuable to both my students and to me - and I hope for these fine presenters as well - I know some have some new twitter followers and blog readers from this class!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering Challenger: January 28, 1986

It was 25 years ago today that the Challenger shuttle mission carrying Christa McAuliffe, the 'teacher in space' and six other astronauts, lifted off from the Cape. Only 73 seconds in, the shuttle exploded in a fireball, killing all seven astronauts aboard. (see information about the mission and crew, including a video tribute at the NASA web site ) I was always interested in astronomy and space exploration, I remember watching with excitement as Armstrong stepped on the moon, experiencing the Apollo 13 incident with the world and other discoveries and missions. In 1986, I had been a teacher for almost 8 years and the space program still held my interest. I remember that fateful day, I was  excited about this mission and Christa was a hero, imagine a teacher actually going into space! In the school I taught at, we had a television hooked into cable, in the staff room in the far corner of the school, I was able to get to the staff room and watch. It was one of those moments that sticks out in time - like 9/11, like JFK's assassination ... I remember the shock, even a tear as I watched the incident unfold before me. I did not know these people, loss of life is always tragic, the loss of all these brave men and women was a deep loss, but Christa was one of us, a teacher. The quote in the image I put together above is one of my favorite quotes about teaching, it is my tribute to the Challenger crew and Christa McAuliffe - she continues to 'touch the future'.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reflections on a Year of Blogging

What no one ever tells you about bloggingphoto © 2007 Andy Piper | more info (via: Wylio)

Almost one year ago, I started my first blog (this one). At the time, I had just decided to have students in my Internet for Educators class (pre-service teacher education at Brandon University) keep a blog for the course. I had seen the great results that Alec Couros and Dean Shareski had using blogging with their classes at the University of Regina, so I thought I would give it a try. In a twist of fate, I was also starting a course (Seminar in Educational Technology) as part of my Ph.D. program at the University of Manitoba and, you guessed it, the professor used blogs as a major component of the course. I had to practice what I was preaching, and it afforded a good chance to start, since I had little choice.

Now, a year later, I have five blogs (links to all are on this blog site). The second was for another course and explored learning as a social & cultural phenomenon, I was going to keep it up, but I have now retired it. Two others are collaborative efforts, one with members of the ICT Committee I chair at the Faculty of Education, the other explores ideas of Equity in Education. The last (Notta Stuff)  is the one I keep updated the most. I use Posterous for it, since it is very easy to post to.  I use this blog to excerpt sections of blogs or news articles I’m reading and then comment on them.

At first writing blog posts was rather difficult, not necessarily in terms of writing it, but in actually making my work public. I wondered if I had anything of value to share and if anyone would really care anyways. I have come to the realization that the process of writing the blog allows me to reflect on my own learning and come to my own understandings. If someone else finds it of value, then so much the better. I have discovered many other interesting blogs that I follow using RSS in twitter. All of these have become important parts of my PLN.

I certainly do not blog as much as I want to. Everyone is busy these days and I do not want to make excuses, we all have to set our own priorities or make choices. Currently my priorities must lie with my teaching, my research projects and presentations, and my work on my PhD program. One thing I try to impress on my students is to come to some sort of balance in their life, I am still searching for this balance myself. It is a learning process. 

I continue to jot down ideas for blog posts and will hopefully write them someday. In the meantime my new career continues to keep me engaged, learning, curious and very busy. Through building a PLN, by blogging, but mostly through other networking  media like twitter, I have made many connections, shared and received many resources and advice, made new friends, and have grown professionally and personally. As Dean Shareski has said, every teacher (educator at any level actually) should blog - it is a wonderful way to reflect, make meaning and learn.

And now I will head into my second year as a blogger. Thanks, Dr. Hlynka for starting me on this journey!