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You Can Teach an Old Girl. . .

 Well I have just finished putting my summary together and now I have to see if I can add a voice to my movie. As I sit here writing I have spent some time reflecting on the class, what was taught and then what I actually learned. A couple of really important things come to mind. As Allan just wrote to me – SHARING!!! Very big idea. I didn’t really do much of this before as a professional. Not because I didn’t want to but rather because I didn’t think anyone would really want it. I am in such a different mindset now. It isn’t really up to us to decide if others would want it – that is up to them to decide – but I can offer. There is a great saying – what you put out there you reap 10 fold. so true. Dean Shareski shared some great quotes:

“Can I find your best work online?” Shareski

“It is no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it.” Chris Lehmann

“Sharing, and sharing online specifically, is not in addition to the work of being an educator. It is the work.” Ewan McIntosh

“”If there is no sharing there is no teaching.” David Wiley

And my favourite and mind-changing quote for me:   “If you see the internet as a place to look things up you are missing the best part.” Shareski

The second big idea is Sensemaking and Wayfinding. I love those terms. Now instead of information being packaged in nice little parcels such as books, magazines and newspapers it is fragmented on a global scale. The good news is that I have immediate access to it – if I can find it – hence the term wayfinding. Making my way through the fragments, collecting, connecting and organizing them into a logical sequence for understanding. There lies the term sensemaking. These are new skills.

If I was to pick third big idea it would have to be social media and the importance it can play in a professionals life. It can help to answer questions, provide feedback and endow knowledge. It can help us connect to peers, professionals and other academics. Social networking can indeed make you a more effective and efficient professional.

We talked about Web 2.0 tools, that was really overwhelming, yes we talked about global learning, and the role of the educator (Stephen Downes, I struggle with his presentation) and we talked about how we learn and why we teach.

I think I teach to inspire. 

I teach because I want to continually learn.

Why do you teach?



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What a Wrap

Class has just ended and it actually got quite emotional. I was surprised because none of us have met before. Oh sure we have commented on each others blogs, tweeted and commented during class but, hmmmmmm.

I sort of like the feeling that a lot of people still want to stay connected. Perhaps all this openness creates closeness.

Changing the topic, literacy is one of our divisions goals.

Digital literacy, media literacy, critical literacy, information literacy, traditional literacy, visual literacy, networking literacy are familiar literacies that many of us use to communicate, interpret, and evaluate information for understanding. They provide us a means in which to create and the ability to pose questions globally.   At the foundation of all these literacies is traditional literacy: reading, writing, speaking, listening, representing and viewing. We use the components of traditional literacy within the context of the emerging literacies. Learning has begun to be less procedural and more navigational, we immerse ourselves and delve into learning new literacies. We move through the learning process trying to find our way to an understanding in order to communicate and create.

I have found this class to be one of the most difficult classes that I have ever taken. I am such a newbie to all of these tools and literacies and it feels like I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. I often felt alone and frustrate a lot – and no one was to blame.  I like to do my learning independently. I rather enjoy the challenge of trying to figure things out on my own and find success. It’s empowering!

I think what I found so overwhelming in this class is that there was soooooo much to absorb. I just couldn’t keep up with all of the work at times. I tried to read everyone’s bloggs and was able to read several eachweek. It is difficult to do while you are also trying to figure out all of these cool tools that we have been introduced to as well as keep up with the real work stuff that I get paid to do. 🙂  I often put in 12 hour days, as do many of us. Time management is key.

I do love blogging now, but I will have to admit I ran into trouble is some of the templates and would start and stop, start and stop – delete etc. and YIKES there goes 3 weeks! I am still such a newbie, I try to remember to tweet, but I often don’t have my phone on me or I am at work and can not take the risk there I work at the Division office. Besides I am actually so busy at work I simply do not have the time. perhaps when I really need some help or advice/insight into a situation I will tweet it to see what others are thinking but that is an entirely different mindset. I wish I was there . . . but alas I am not . . . yet.

I know I will keep blogging – because I like the anonymity of it and like to hear what others think and I don’t have to see them face to face. I am thinking hard about going back into the classroom next year and I will without a doubt create a blog for each of my students so that we can communicate back and forthand they can post thier work to a global audience. I had to do a presentation this week that looked at global learning and global citizenship which is so tied in with what I have learned in this class and I am excited to share. Sharing is key. As we heard tonight it’s not just about creating great work – we need to share it. And how many times have we heard teachers say “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

PS though I am terrified about presenting my summary to the class. I am very nervous because everyone seems so above me I am worried that I just won’t fit in. I will try to remember that this is my journey and its about my growth – which seems huge to me, but might not to someone else.

Check out my final project at The premise of my project is to showcase teachers from our division. I want to showcase 2 per month. I have written up 4 and I have 2 more that I would like to do before the end of December. Its fun to do this, teachers really appreciate having someone take the time to genuinely be interested in what they are doing and what they think. They also like the idea that they can pose a question. Let me know what you think  . . . . . . .


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Faster Than a Speeding Bullet!!!!!

Oh my Gosh!
Just finished my online class and Alec suggested we blog so I took that to mean now. My head is spinning. The opportunities that we have to engage our students is over the top outstanding! The ways in which we can differentiate our instructional practices is almost unlimited based on what I have seen tonight.

Ooops sorry there is some limit – me.

Let me think–for the last two weeks I have tried very hard to work with Presi’s. I had seen others use it and I thought why not, there had to be easy tutorials, steps to follow etc. Hmmmm! I have never been so frustrated. I like to do things fast, click, click, click. Most programs are pretty intuitive and it doesn’t take long to figure them out. But I keep running up against walls. Kids almost seem to have a 7th sense when it comes to learning and understanding the finer details of using all these new tools. 

So now my question becomes . . . who taught these kids to think like that? I am almost done my Masters of Education and I don’t think like that. These kids are 12 year olds and don’t get frustruated with the software, they just click, and–wala, presto, it works. With a few more clicks they are adding bells and whistles. How do they do this? What strategies have they learned and where did they learn them? I don’t remember teaching them this? Is it simply perseverence? I don’t think so because then they would show signs of frustration or become disengaged.

This is the part that I love about teaching. We don’t need to know. Our students can be our greatest teachers. However, right now I find myself in a situation of not having a classroom. I am a consultant that probably should be showing other teachers all these wonderful tools. This seems like it is going to take me forever because Alan showed us so many amazing tools!! If I had a class I could put them into  groups and have each group use a different tool and then I would learn so very fast. But alas . . .

Although this may sound negative, I am most definitely not. I look at this like a challenge. I can learn these things, but maybe not all and not right away. I will try some, glogster, blabberize just looks cool beyond mention, and a digital story telling tool. It’s time for me to try to find someway to present my summary of learning to keep the class engaged for 5 minutes and that actually demonstrates all that I have really learned. It’s amazing! I am blogging, which I still can’t believe. I am taking an online class MOOC actually and loving the freedom that comes with it. Not having to drive into Regina during bad weather or a long day at work is so freeing and allows me to really enjoy the class-because I am relaxed. I do wish that I had my own classroom because some of the teachers in this MOOC are doing some amazing things with their bloggs.  Thanks for the inspiration everyone.

I think the big question I want to put out there this week is what would be a good tool to use for presenting the summary effectively??? What are you going to use????


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Not My Cup of Tea

I don’t want to sound negative or too critical but I have to comment on the class with Stephen Downes. I wonder how long it has been since he was actually in a classroom? I also wonder what grade level he used to teach. I have taught grade 3-11 with a heavy stint in middle school and I am surprised that someone would say in a presentation to currently practicing teachers that it is to be expected that soon teachers will be wearing may hats!! Hmmmmm. It seems to me that his has been happening ever since I have been teaching. We are nurses, councilors, surrogate parents, referees, coaches, scientists, writers, mathematicians, artists, comedians, performers, nannies and the list goes on. Did the role of a teacher simply being a teacher ever exist? Even when I attended school in the ’60’s I don’t think it did.
Another critique I’d like to make or perhaps question I would like to pose after my comment is where Stephen suggested teaching would be going. He mentioned that it would be experts delivering the content. The example he provided was that a physicist would be teaching the physics class? Hmmmm, My question, is he kidding? Really is he kidding? The idea does sound plausible and makes sense. I can provide two very sound reasons why this would not work.

1. What physicist would succumb to teaching highschool physics at a teachers wage????
2. When experts teach they teach at a level well beyond the level of the learn and many if not most can not bring the level of understanding down to the learning. The expert gets quickly frustrated as to the learner shutting down the entire process. That does not mean to say that the teacher teaching physics does not have a strong understanding of the content nor does it imply that you should not bring a physicist in to talk with students.

I think what I am trying to say is there is a lot more to teaching than understanding the content. Teaching strategies, practices, knowing how, when and who to differentiate content for and reflecting of lessons in order to better provide more understanding for the learning. Importantly we are moving away from the direct teaching methods and more into an inquiry based model where teachers are facilitators guiding students to find the answers for themselves.

Something to think about. Let me know what you think. . .


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Dean Shareski shared with us his ideas of sharing and the importance of sharing as a professional, not necessarily as a teacher. Sharing builds community. In our school divisions, with parents and grand parents as well as globally.

The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation dictates teachers need:
“To work with collagues in mutually supportive ways and develop effective professioanl relationships with members of the educational community.”

Although the STF does not tell teachers how to share, I have to say taht it is  easier to share online, not have to leave your home, or you could have your feet in the sand, than to meet with people at arranged times in predetermined places. Not being able to make a meeting is really no longer an excuse.

Sharing is reciprocol. What you put out you get back. But no longer is being able to share limited to learning from those around you or what you can find in books. Knowledge come from others, at any time in any way, fram any age group, and from any walk of life. Powerful.  These connections make it possible to gather more feedback which perpetuates more learning. The downside would be filtering all the information that could come your way.

Shareski stated during an online class that before knowledte used to be filtered and then published. However now a days we publish first and then our work is filtered. In the case of most blogs they are continually a work in progress. Which is a perfect metaphor for learning.

To add my thought about blogging and online sharing. I like to share. It makes me feel needed and provides a sense of belonging. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As a learning consultant it is my job description to share what I know, as well as collaborate, with teachers. When I do this I often feel like I receive more than I gave. However when I blog and write different ideas, thoughts and share resources I do not see the effect that it has on others. I also don’t know if what I write is of value to others or if others even care. Comments are made, but not many. I am very guilty of not leaving comments. I will read someone’s blog, learn, perhaps utilize an offered resource but rarely if ever to I take the time to enter a comment. Since starting my own blog perhaps I will feel more persuaded to leave a comment and offer thanks or suggestions.

Nancy Dixon writes, “the primary driver for sharing experiential knowledge is the respect and recognition of peers.” How true. She explains that it is a peer who really understands what you are going through, recognizes the challenges and appreciates the sharing. Often superiors are unaware of what it is like in the trenches.  

Some people fear sharing what they know because they believe that what they know makes them important and valuable. They use it to increase their value in the organization. For instance there are some teachers who plain refuse to share the resources that they created. They belong to them. Others have commented on how great their resources are. This acknowlegement reinforces their value and importance. However what really ends up happening is stagnation. If ideas  and knowledge are not shared growth ceases.

As Franklin stated in the Continental Congress just before signing
the Declaration of Independence, 1776., “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Why do we all need to stick together? Why do we need to share? We share to learn. The world is changing at an accelerated rate. It is almost impossible to keep up with it by yourself. You need others. When others share they have already filtered what you don’t need to know. Time saving! The also provide their perspective, perhaps good, perhaps bad, but it is a perspective that you may not have employed. Sharing broadens us, it helps us grow.

What do we share?
Ideas (the hottest commodity in the world)
How to . . .
Thoughts and feelings
What worked and what didn’t
Your biggest Ah Ha moments.

Whether you buy into sharing what you know or what you’ve created this biggest commodity out there are ideas. The North American industry has changed. The hottest ticket in town is ideas do not amount to much unless they are acted on and shared with others where they can take root and come alive.

Do you buy into sharing?

What’s your excuse?


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Working Double Time

I feel like I have been working double time or maybe even more than that. Trying keep up with this blog, read blogs from others, research and the create the final product or and yes try to come up with something creative to share as a summary – fair warning mine is going to be very rough.

I invite you to take a look at final project. I thought that it would be cool to showcase teachers in our division, which I started to and then I added some professional reading, links to science resources for elementary teachers(my favourite part-just because I love science and it doesn’t feel like work)

Take a peek and let me know what you think. . . .  but remember it is a work in progress.



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Virtual Classrooms

I was searching on the internet for scholarly information for the other class that I am taking and I ran across a current article that I found interesting.  A study was conducted to see how the environment affected the success of an individual. The class was computer science, a subject still predominantly male. The study found that women reached a higher success in a virtual classroom rather than a face to face classroom because the felt a sense of belonging.


Check it out for yourself.


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Discovery Education Tool

Our school division has been licenced with Discovery Education for more than a year and our success has been documented. Late last spring a crew from the Discovery Education in Washington DC came up and created a video of you school division. They interview teachers, students and parents. We were chosen because of our high usage not just with the videos they have but more importantly the Explorations, Virtual Labs and Simulations. It’s amazing what at the depth and breadth of resources they have and most have been aligned to the Saskatchewan curriculum.

The workshop was informative and hands-on providing teachers a chance to experience the 5 E’s

1. Engage

2. Explore

3. Explain

4. Extend/Elaborate

5. Evaluate


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Fragmented Society – Really?

I just read that the world’s population hit 7 billion and that’s astounding since it wasn’t long ago people were making a big thing about the population reaching 6 billion. I wonder what effects this will bring as you know we are exponentially on our way to be 8 billion even sooner. Water, food and shelter are givens. What might be interesting though is how our ability to communicate instantly around the world could indeed help to solve some of the problems that could arise.

There are schools who use twitter, facebook, youtube etc to get the ‘word’ out there in regards to social justice issues. I know in my last post I was concerned about all the technology and tools that are out there and that I was more than a little bit intimidated by all of them. However, with this glooming world issue in front of us I think it is going to be technology that might be the answer that many of us use to help those who will be in need and give a voice to the ones who need it the most.  What do you think?


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I have been reading so many of your blogs and they are all so good. You all seem to be experienced journalists. You can go on and on weaving a story about what you are learning and how it affects you. I have never journalled. I have trouble just spilling what is in my brain onto a screen or paper for that matter. I envy you. I just finished reading Sarah blog about community and I so agree with her. She talks about having difficulty connecting and creating community. I too have been experiencing the same thing. A disconnect. Just as the article How to Foster and Sustain Engagement in Virtual Communities it seems a lot of people are having trouble fostering a sense of community-belonging.  I love face-to-face. Collaborating one on one in person. I just finished working today with a teacher who is teaching a triple grade – God Bless her. We worked out her year plan and her next year plan as well as created units that will take her to the beginning of Jan. It was such a great experience and she agreed. I can’t imagine this having happen via social media or through a blog or other 2.0 tools (see I don’t even know most of them). I love learning about all this but I still think there is a definite need to continue the face to face. What do you think. A happy medium or are we heading to living in a faceless society?


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Getting Others Involved

For several days I have been wracking my brain to come up with a final project that I could use in my professional life as well. I thought that seeing I would be putting in so much time on it I really wanted it to count. At first I wanted to create a blog that had several pages, one for each of the areas that I look after as a Learning Consultant with my school division. Ok, so maybe not all the areas, but science, First Nations and Metis, Social Studies and In-Motion were going to be my starting point.

The first bad news I received was from Alec. He said that although that might be something that would work professionally it would probably be only me posting. It would be difficult to engage others to comment and interact.

Rethink, Rethink, Rethink!

I still very much want this to be something that could create and be useful for teachers.

How to engage? How to engage? How to engage? How to engage?

I began to look at other science teacher’s blogs. What was everyone else doing? Experiments, labs, student work were posted. Teachers would talk about what they were doing in their classrooms, what worked, what didn’t. I searched so many blogs. Some were awesome, some, well let’s say they could use work.

Then I looked at how many comments they were receiving. How many people took the time to interact with these dedicated professionals.
Zero, zip! Even the awesome sites weren’t receiving comments. Then I stumbled across a site that was highlighting/showcasing teachers.
It provide a place to show what teachers were doing in their classrooms. It provided pictures of the students work and included lessonplans to share with other teachers. I loved it.
Often teachers are stuck in their own world and are not recognized for all the hard work that they do. Teachers are amazing. They create, create, create. This blog provided a place for allowing teachers to standout. To share. To have a voice.

I am now thinking that that is what I will do with my final project. I would like to showcase 2 teachers a month, provide a brief biography, talk about what they are working on in science as well as ask questions pertaining to their pedagogy. I would end with posing a question to other teachers that the teacher I was showcased would ask.

I thought that once I had finished blogging about a teacher I would put it out on twitter and the email the teachers in the division to have a look, get involved, comment.

Let me know what you think – please. And if you have any ideas how to generate interaction from other teachers please let me know.


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I Am Learning Sooooo Much From All Of You!!!

Tactic knowledge, transactional trust, social capital, positive defiance  are just some of the new terms and knowledge I am beginning to understand as I read through our classrooms blogs. PHEW!

 When I posted my previous post I still was coming to grips with the whole virtual environment, the time consumption and putting myself out there. (Where ever out there is).

As I sit at my computer, having turned off the disgusting Rider game (40 -3 what the heck is that????) I realize that I can participate if I want. I can learn  anothers tactic knowledge and comment or not. The important thing I find is that if I comment on what is being said I internalize the knowledge. It begins to make better sense to me. Much different than reading and article and then writing a paper because this is more casual, but to me carry’s more/deeper meaning somehow because I am constructing it for myself.

I think as a educator it is becoming apparent that we need to offer both environments for students to learn. This is their world now. We need to use it to our advantage.

I just commented on a blog where there was a cell phone incident in the hallways of a school. Kids were purposely provoking a student in order to record and then post the incident on YouTube. At first thought I would have taken the cell phone away and wholeheartedly agreed with banning them. However as I stated in my reply, as educators we need to teach these students how to use technology appropriately. That is why they are doing what they are doing with it, because no one has shown them the right way or the more thoughtful appropriate way to use technology.

I may be wrong and I know that a lot of teachers and parents don’t think that cells phones should be allowed in school, in the classroom and be used during class. Maybe not to text their friend but … what do you think? Do you think that this is managable ?  I waiver but I don’t think we are left with much choice. Let me know what you think – I really would like to know.


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Social Media Pros and Cons

Today I was researching into the pros and cons of social media usage in school,  work and for personal enjoyment. I really have to wonder a few things. First how does one keep up with this fast pace ever changing world? Is it common for people to continually jump from one media to another as the new and better service hits the airwaves? Or are people more loyal than that?

I have read about people being fired, loosing loved ones and being  totally humiliated by what was posted using varieties of social media. For instance the person whose friend, only in the interest of having fun, posts a picture of them having a really good time but is deemed inappropriate by their employer thus  bring about ramifications that were beyond comprehension of the person who posted the picture.

The conclusion that I finally came to was think twice before posting: everything is public; privacy does not exist in the world of social media. It is easy to become too casual, too personal, to disclose too much personal information, to receive too much information and to cross boundaries into relationships that might be perceived as inappropriate.

Is this a too cynical way to see things or should I be looking at this from a different angle????


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I Think I’ve Finally Got It!


I think this video is so amazing – and astonding to see where we’ve come from and where we are going!

Thanks for all of your help I have finally figured out how easy it is to insert a video. It seems instead of copying the url address from the web browser I was using the sharing address below the video. So thanks again.


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So Much Fun

Last night I spent about 3 hours going through some of the class readings and again felt a little like a fish out of water. From what I read you need to network, collaborate offer others your advice/opinion. I really am a work-by-myself type of person when it comes to school work. I get the assignment, I figure it out and create. This seems a bit out of my realm. I also am not one to journal in fact I don’t so this sort of feels painful. However with that said . . .  I have discovered how to use wordpress and can see a great, huge, gigantic tool that I can use to reach teachers, students and parents with up to date information as well as some pretty cool ideas. I can showcase the lastest science and technology. I can also offer resources for teachers to integrate First Nations and Metis ways of knowing into their pedagogy. I can see now the only limitation is my imagination.

I also now understand why a blog is so useful, because there are virtually millions of ideas out there from people who are just waiting to share. So from there I would like to ask how do I attach a You Tube video to my blog that includes a screen shot if that is even possible. If you know could you please send me the instructions I would really like to include some science videos on my blog . . .


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