Friday, April 27, 2012

Still here...

... but always busy, it seems.  Will write more soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1:1 Netbook

Finally got report cards done, so had some time to read background material for 1:1 Netbooks today. Will share with staff:

1. Chatterous (
As a group chat / backchatter tool, I'm trying this tomorrow with my InfoPro students, as a "Tech Help" idea.

2. Advantages/Disadvantages of Netbooks (
A good summary to share with the staff. Especially found the link to "Doug Belshaw's Google Preso" near the bottom to be good to share!

3. (maybe) Middle Years Math Review at TutPup (
Students can improve their math skills, and compete with others around the world.

4. Need to follow Dean Groom (
Good ideas, especially "Wiki Tag" as a way to start the year off by 'building community'.

5. Subscribe to 'Best Content in Teaching with Netbooks' (

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Successful iSITS Day

It's always good to meet up with everybody on this committee. I find that many others are in the 'same boat' as I am... looking to incorporate as much as possible, in meaningful ways.

I'll need to share with my staff some of the Database information I got today; the ability to download articles should help out some of my teachers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IT Summit - Databases for Educators and Students

What are the 21st Century Skills Students Need?
- at center, 'core subjects'; integrated within those are the '21st Century Themes' (what our curriculum calls cross-curricular competencies (thinkning, identiy, literacies, social responsibility)
- on the outside of the circle are life/career skills, learning/innovation skills, technology/media/information skills
- focus of this session is the technology/media/information skills

Our Challenge: Targeting Reliable Information!! (not just 'googling')


Newspapers and magazine databases
Encyclopedias and e-books
Directories (subject directories)
Search engines

Multitype Database Licensing Program
- allows schools to have a number of newspapers/special libraries/journals

Various Databases to try:
KidsInfoBits (Gale Databases)
- good for differentiated learning (different reading levels)
- some magazines are even spoken aloud for the students, or download in PDF

Discovery Collection
- only contains reference books
- multimedia link in the collection contains audio files, podcasts, radio broadcasts, etc

- Canadian content the focus
- click the "limit results to documents with full text" so that brief abstracts don't show up
- the 'Related Subjects' on the left side may help students

Gale Virtual Reference Library
- the suite of e-books, organized by subject area
- good site! (make sure to use the boolean operators AND, OR)

- contains all the Canadian newspapers and daily/weekly newspapers. Current, local information. Is available with a 2-day turnaround.
- more for grades 7+
- good for teachers: CBCA Education database
- again, make sure to look at 'full text documents only'

Britannica Online
- organizes the articles by elementary / middle / high school levels (and teacher resources, too)
- current health informaiton at "Health and Wellness Resource Center"

These databases are available from home... they are available through the public library (as long as you have a library card)

David Warlick... 'Video Games as Learning Engines'

Games with educational potential... good idea. I've used a chemistry "game" in my Chemistry 20 class called "Mixed Reception" ( with good success. It does work.

I have to disagree, however, with a point Mr. Warlick made about (to the effect) that the environment is not as important as the 'problem solving' aspect ("playing tag, more than the military aspect"). I think environment is far more influential in students' minds... I'd hate to desensitize students to the long-term effects of some actions by highlighting short-term (entertainment) benefits.

I'll need to check out these links: and for more info...

Use (demonstrated) and

How to use the qualities of games that students enjoy in the classroom:

Native Information Experience:

  • Is responsive
  • Provokes communication
  • Is fueled by questions
  • Values personal experience and identity
  • Demands personal investment
  • Values safely made mistakes
  • Measures accomplishment
  • Rewards with audience and attention

"Plugging It In".... Identify role of teacher and role of students. (Good strategy: "I'm having trouble... can YOU (students) make a movie trailer to excite next year's students?"). Students solve problems in this way...

David Warlick... 'Personal Learning Networks'

As I was listening to David's polished presentation about Personal Learning Networks, I was struck by two main ideas: 1. there are a lot of tools out there, and 2. does this recreate the definition of the word 'content'?

1. There ARE a lot of tools. Thank you for showing some of the increased ways to incorporate this into my classroom.

2. My fear? Teachers begin to think that as PLN's in the classroom increase, content gets shuffled to the side; creating more connected-to-one-another students, but less-connected-to-the-issues students. The phrase 'bring today into the classroom' was a great concept I appreciated, to help teachers who have these concerns appreciate the value of incorporating (even in small ways) on-demand information into their classrooms.

I'm glad I attended.

IT Summit, Day 1 Reflections

Wow... what a day. I was tired at the end of it, b/c of so many new ideas.

As I reflect on yesterday's sessions, I wondered what place 'content' plays in the technology of it all. I appreciated Darren Kuropatwa's thoughts about having students write the notes/text. That's a good idea.

As a chemistry teacher, I always struggle with the time it takes to use technology with the time required to teach the substance. I'm pretty sure that I've got the balance close to OK... students need the 'substance' before they can successfully network in scientific ways; otherwise, they're just chatting and 'off-topic'.

I'm looking forward to David Warlick's presentation; I've heard a lot about him...