Showing posts from 2014

Lessons Learned - the hard way (or, don't drop your phone!)

This post will contain a sad story and some free advice. One evening as my wife and I started our walk, I had my iPhone in hand to turn on Run Keeper. Then it happened, I fumbled it and it fell, face down on the cement driveway. I picked it up with trepidation and ... it was working, but the
screen was a cracked up mess! (see photo). I was very angry at myself, I knew it was an accident, but I felt like an idiot! After some checking online and phoning the Apple Store in Winnipeg. I made an appointment and they agreed (not their policy) to hold a replacement for me since I was driving in - a 3 hour trip each way. Well, the helpful and understanding 'genius' replaced my 3 month old iPhone 5S with another of the exact model and got it set up from my iCloud backup. The glass on an iPhone 5S can't be replaced due to the fingerprint technology, they simply replace the phone with the same model ... for $270, unless you had purchased Apple Care, then it is only $79! Well, I guess…

A Journey Completed ... Another Continues

I am very pleased to announce that on June 27, 2014, I successfully defended my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Manitoba. I have many people to thank for their support and assistance along the way, most of all my advisor, Dr. O. Cap, my committee, Dr. M. Atleo, Dr. D. Hlynka, Dr. D. Mann and external, Dr. K. King. Having Dr. King as external was exciting since she has written so much about transformative learning and technology so her input was meaningful and impacted the final product. Others were also important (my wife & family to be sure!), but also several colleagues at BU and my cohort friends throughout the program. I will leave a reflection of the entire process for another post, however, I will include the slides I used in the defense, and the abstract. A link to the final dissertation will be added once it clears the submission system at the UM. For now ... I am done! Mike Nantais, Ph.D. - who would have guessed?

Ph.D. Oral Defense presentation from Mike Nantais


COSMOS - then and now

Neil De Grasse Tyson's remake/update of Cosmos is now over, and it was certainly well done. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Tyson in person at the University of Manitoba a few months back. This was his first public lecture in Canada and the hall was packed. (see & hear the talk here). He is an entertaining speaker and obviously an intelligent, thoughtful person. The series was wonderfully done, making science interesting, understandable, and providing a great message. The Cosmos series brought back memories of the original with the great Carl Sagan. I remember watching it intently in my early years as a teacher. This renewal of Cosmos, along with some other events, have acted to rekindle an interest in science, and especially astrophysics. My first degree (long ago) was in Chemistry and Physics and much of my teaching career was teaching sciences. My attention has shifted, but an interest in science was always in the background, these events have really made me miss that de…

Light at the end of the Tunnel?

Well, the end is in sight ... hopefully. My dissertation, titled "Teaching With Social Media: A Multiple Case Study Approach", has made it through both the internal examining committee and now the external. I have a few revisions to make, then it is on to the oral defense at the end of the month!

A few weeks ago, I came across a tweet by GradSchoolElitist (@GradEletisim) with an attached image. I can't locate the original so I can't give proper credit, however, the cartoon is on the right. Anyway, the process sometimes does feel like running a gauntlet. The thing to keep in mind is that your advisor, committee, and the external are (usually - at least this is true in my case) on your side. I have learned much from these academics, they have prompted and pushed me to think and grow as a scholar, and I thank them for it. Of course, I will thank them even more if (when) I pass the defense!

For fun I have also included a video about defending the thesis, hope I don't…

Awakening Possibilities 2014

On April 16 and 17, I was fortunate to attend and present at the Manitoba Teachers' Society's educational technology conference called "Awakening Possibilities". This conference was geared toward K-12 educators, in the past 6 years most of the conferences I attend are usually academic ones or ones with a more mixed audience. I was asked to present on my dissertation research, the organizers wanted some sessions based on research. My slide deck was very similar to the one I used at the National Congress on Rural Education a few weeks earlier - it is embedded in that post, so I won't embed the new one here. It can be found on my slideshare page if interested. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people attending my session, but the topic was about using social media in the classroom - from the teacher's perspective. It went well, I think. Near the beginning I ask "What is social media?" the very definition is a confounding factor in…

Nineteenth National Congress on Rural Education

On March 30 - April 1, I once again attended the National Congress on Rural Education, held in Saskatoon, SK. I always enjoy this conference since it is an eclectic gathering that includes teachers, pre-service teachers, school and division administrators, trustees, and post-secondary educators. This year I was involved in two presentations. The first was along with a colleague and the senior administration of the Lakeshore School Division. My colleague (Dr. J. Kirk) and I have been working with Lakeshore School Division in a supportive research capacity during their efforts to renew education in their division through a project they call Re-Imagine Lakeshore. Brandon University is supporting these efforts through the SSHRC-CURA funded VOICE project. Exciting things are happening in this division! This presentation was well attended and the Superintendent, J. Martel was engaged answering many questions after the session.

The second session was just me - I presented about my Ph.D. thes…

The Internet!

What is the Internet? A pretty abstract concept. In light of recent talk about Internet neutrality & other attacks on Internet freedom, here is an amusing take on what is the Internet. How fragile is it? This segment is from a UK comedy, The IT Crowd. Behold the Internet! Funny. Enjoy!

Experience vs Youth?

Once again this year, I have been having a series of guest speakers come into my classroom of education students, both in person and via technology. Most of the presenters have a wealth of experience in their area and I am always amazed at how easily they give their time to freely share, pass on their learning, and interact with soon to be teachers. This past week saw the always thought provoking and entertaining Dean Shareski join us via a google hangout - we even got to see & hear his dogs. This week was a bit of a change of pace. I invited three young, new to the profession teachers (2 in their first year and 1 in her 3rd) to come and talk to my students about the things they were doing with technology in the classroom, as well as sharing stories of their challenges, frustrations, and solutions. These three shared some fascinating ideas, interesting and creative initiatives, and some great solutions to problems that arose due to a lack of Internet access, hardware, and other re…

Academic Writing: Take 2.

A few posts back, I wrote about (ranted about?) publishing as an academic researcher. It seems others have been struggling with the traditional approach as well. I came across a few posts on this topic in the past few weeks. Check them out:

Bon Stewart wrote a post about her reflections on writing as an academic. To quote a short section:
 I’ve been trying to be both networked scholar and proper academic, whatever that is. I’ve been trying to wear two entirely separate hats and engage in two entirely separate identity economies and…well, it’s a mug’s game. And I don’t want to do it anymore. But. I’m not sure, frankly, which parts to drop.  I shared some of the same thoughts - although certainly not as eloquently as Bonnie, whose writing is so very good. My post was more about how highly valued publishing in major international peer reviewed journals as opposed to the value of other work done by those in higher education. A week or so later, I noticed a tweet linked to a post by Wesley…