Showing posts from 2015

#DigiWriMo: Visual Writing

The second week (yes - this is written in the third week) of digital writing month focused on the visual. In the Manitoba ELA Curriculum documents, the six language arts are described: Listening & Speaking, Reading & Writing, and Viewing & Representing. In my experience (as a teacher, principal, teacher educator) it is clear we value reading and writing above the others. No doubt all are dealt with in schools, perhaps more in some schools than in others, and in higher education it is clear that reading and writing dominate. The visual has always been important, but increasingly so in the digital world. The visual surrounds us and images can convey powerful ideas and emotions. I am currently reading the book Learning and the E-generation and in the chapter on visual literacy the author's state, "relying on traditional print as a means for literacy instruction can often restrict and marginalize learners." In my 'Using ICT in Education' course, we spend …

#DigiWriMo: Setting Goals

So, my goals for #DigiWriMo. As I said in my unofficial CV post, I signed up to take part in this event so that I could expand my writing, and explore new ideas. I am not really comfortable as a writer, so this should be a good process. But, I have to revise my goals a bit, it seems I have several more traditional pieces of writing to do as well. These include: revising a book chapter (with a colleague), revising an article submission (I have to add more of me into it - hmmm, who am i?), a conference proposal, and I have [finally] just started a journal article based on my dissertation research. Ahh, sabbatical is great.

I will try to respond to various prompts and will definitely be reading others' work. I admit I have always been a little hesitant to put stuff out there, although I am a firm believer in "teaching is sharing" to paraphrase David Wiley. Alas, I must change, and I am getting there. I do like playing with and using a visual approach, I enjoy creating sl…

#DigiWriMo: "Unofficial CV"

So, I have signed up for Digital Writing Month. During the month of November various digital writing challenges will be given. It sounds like fun, and I would love to play with some other ways of writing, and improve in this area. The first task is to create an unofficial CV. I considered a way to be a little creative, and decided to make an infographic. I have my students make them to explore ways they can be used in the classroom, so I  thought I should give it a try as well. I used Piktochart - it was fun to do and here it is:

Grades, Revisited

Recently a few items have popped up about grades, grading, and assessment. A few years ago, I also wrote a post about my going to - what our university calls a pass-fail system. Basically, I view it as a growth model and a 'mastery' model. In some cases I want to simply have students explore a topic or try something they have not tried before. I have had more than a few comment that they like the comfort to try things without fear of a poor grade. In a few recent classes, where I had reverted to the usual letter grade system, the students asked me to reconsider - which I happily did. A few weeks ago grading and assessment came up in conversation with a participant in one of my research projects. This high school teacher was talking about how he 'knew' where students were at and did not need a bunch of tests to tell him. We talked about formative assessment and outcome based assessment. It was an interesting discussion, but he still has to give a grade. Also recently a

Professional & Personal Accounts ... or just one?

At one of the sessions at the Social Media & Society conference in July, a presenter asked the audience about our use of SoMe - do we have personal and professional accounts or just one? My answer was that I use one, while another participant expressed that he used two. A short discussion ensued as to our reasons. I understand and respect the separate account perspective - whatever works for you! Most people do that, it seems, so that the personal and professional are kept separate. Often it is expressed that some of the personal is not appropriate for the professional setting. Fair enough. I also understand why some K-12 teachers keep separate social media accounts. I certainly understand that inappropriate use can have repercussions, we see examples of that all the time, but that goes beyond having two account.

My use of one account for each medium is based on a few premises. I believe that the 'online me' is - well, me. Sure, I try not to use profanity online, but I do …

Teaching about Teaching Science

Way back, my first degree was in science - I then taught science in grades 8-12 for many years. Over time, my main interest turned to educational technology and I moved on in my career. As my role changed to administration and then into teacher education, my interest (passion?) for science faded, but was always in the background. A few events in the past few years and some reminiscing brought my interest in science back to the forefront. This past term I taught a Science Methods course. While I admit I was a bit rusty on some details, it was enjoyable. I concentrated on teaching process - inquiry, design - I have witnessed too many science courses taught as 'read the chapter and answer questions' - that is not science. When I return from sabbatical I will be moving into teaching science methods (as well as my main area of ed tech) - while I have some work to do to get back up to speed and planning my program, I am looking forward to the challenge with excitement. During my sa…

Conference Season

Over the past few months I have been busy on the conference scene. Starting back at the end of March was the National Congress on Rural Education held yearly in Saskatoon. I was involved in two presentations related to research in a rural Manitoba School Division. In April was AERA in Chicago - the biggest education conference in the world. This year was my first attending. In June it was CSSE at the University of Ottawa. Presentations at the last two conferences also centred on the aforementioned research - part of BU's SSHRC funded VOICE project. Finally, last week I attended the Social Media and Society Conference at Ryerson University in Toronto. The last conference I presented a poster (on my dissertation work) and another poster with a colleague about our self-study work concerning using SoMe in teacher education. While I enjoy doing posters, the main reason for that was that I did not hear of the conference until paper deadlines were past. By the way, most of my presentatio…

Not Teaching for Over a Year (i.e. on sabbatical)

My sabbatical is fast approaching, and I am looking forward to it. It is not that I don't love teaching, if I didn't I would not have stayed in the career for 37 years. That said, this will be the first year I am not in a classroom of some sort since my first teaching job all those years ago. In this new career though, I have also been involved with field focused research, so this year will be devoted to those pursuits - not to mention being away from 'service' work on campus - that means very few meetings! (hurray!)

So what will I be up to? I have several projects on the go, and have been fortunate to be awarded several small grants to help the work, as well I will continue working with our large SSHRC-CURA grant called VOICE. I work, along with a colleague and a grad student, with a rural school division a little north of Winnipeg. Our main tasks are working with teachers doing community based action research and studying system change in the division. I am excited t…