Monthly Archives: May 2008

"Txt is gr8"

Recently I began following Ewan McIntosh on del.icio.us. I came across an interesting article that he bookmarked, “Expert says txt is gr8 for 4 language.” In the article, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University, David Crystal states that text does not hamper language rather it “enriches language.” Crystal also states that in his research he has found that students don’t tend to use a lot of abbreviations in their work. This article is from Wales and I am curious as to whether research done in North America would be similar. It also makes me wonder if abbreviations will be/are ever accepted in schools as part of assignments? Are abbreviations such a bad thing? Does it depend on the context in which they are used?

I have to apologize to anyone viewing my blog using mozilla firefox as there appears to be some formatting errors that I have not figured out how to fix yet.  

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Multiculturalism, networking and even a little technology

Recently I was fortunate to attend the ACTIVATE! 2008 National Youth Leadership Conference on Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. It was an amazing experience and I was able to meet some extraordinary people from across the country. Learning about the different cultures from across Canada was one of the most interesting things. Within my room I had a very diverse group, one roommate was from St. John’s, Newfoundland, the other from Iqaluit, Nunavut, and the third from Norman Wells, North West Territories. It’s amazing how different but also how similar some of the cultures within Canada are. One of the most memorable things was learning about the Arctic Winter Games (See video below) and some of the traditional events such as the two foot high kick. I can’t wait to try and incorporate some of this new cultural knowledge into my teaching if I have the opportunity. I believe it would be very beneficial for students to learn about the northern cultures and very fun to try out some of these events.

At the conference one of the big themes was networking. My professor, Alec Couros, continuously demonstrates how powerful ones network can be and it has motivated me to strengthen and build my own. Thus, at this conference I was able to learn more about networking as well as expand my own network. I was able to meet with people/organizations from various sporting and physical activity fields, get to know other pre-service teachers and most importantly build relationships with 40 people from all parts of the country. It’s nice to get the perspectives of people in different places and to see what type of things are being done there. I was blown away by the list of things some young people have already accomplished in their lives, they really fit the category of “making a difference.”

Lastly, technology was also incorporated. As part of the conference, all of the delegates created an action plan with ways to help improve sport, recreation and physical activity in their communities. These action plans were then added to a site where each delegate has their own profile and page explaining their goals and activities. There is also the option of posting resources, deadlines and each person can edit their own information or plan as it changes and grows. It was nice to see technology incorporated in this conference and it is helpful to view other projects/action plans.

Overall it was a great experience and below is a video of Rick Mercer giving an in-depth look at the Arctic Winter Games.

Ustream.tv

Recently my ECMP 355 class used ustream.tv to view a presentation our professor streamed to us from the 2008 TLt Summit in Saskatoon, SK. The keynote presenter was George Siemens and his presentation was entitles Education: An ecology of connections. George’s presentation was very interesting but rather than talking about the presentation I am going to talk about the tool we used to view the presentation.

This was my first time using Ustream and it was very user friendly. The professor of my class was using a webcam and his laptop to stream the presentation he was at to our entire class. We all logged onto Ustream and were able to view the presentation and chat to one another while we were viewing it. It was great to be able to discuss topics during a presentation through the chat application as opposed to being at a presentation and sitting silently without sharing our thoughts.

After using Ustream I began to think of ways I could use this amazing tool as a teacher. Similar to what my class used it for, I could use it to record presentations by my students or for my students. I think it would be amazing to share presentations with other schools in another city, province or even country who are studying the same subject. There are many possibilities for ways to use this tool. It would be great to stream school sporting events such as basketball or volleyball games so that parents or community members who could not be there in person are able to watch. This could also be used for drama or theatre productions and even school assemblies. There are so many possibilities.

Response to Digital Learning in Prairie South School Division

This post is in response to the youtube video Digital Learning in Prairie South 2008. This video was very informative and opened my eyes as to how well technology is being utilized in certain areas of Saskatchewan. It’s amazing how well some teachers in the Prairie South School Division are doing at incorporating technology into teaching and learning as opposed to banning certain certain technologies.

One instance in this video that really struck me was how a school in Craik uses cellphones to enhance the learning of their students. I found this very interesting because I have heard a lot about schools trying to crack down on students who are misusing cellphones in class. I think it’s great that the school in Craik was able to take a negative situation and turn it into a positive learning experience for the students. This relates to a quote from the second video that I watched (Learning to change). One of the educators said, “Every turned off device is potentially a turned off child.” This emphasizes that educating a child can be much easier or powerful if we make it more relative to them and the things they are doing/using.

Another very interesting thing I saw in the Prairie South video was the physical educator who had his students doing a dance that was being projected on to a large screen in the gymnasium. This was an excellent example of the teacher being a facilitator and it allows for the teacher to move around the class/gym and help students without disrupting everyone else. It’s nice to see technology being used in physical education as it often seems as though physical activity and computing technologies don’t always go hand in hand.

These videos were both very inspiring and I hope to be able to incorporate technologies such as those shown in the videos when I am teaching. The only thing that worries me is making sure that I am up to date with the latest technologies, it is something that I am going to do my best to stay on top of so that I can give my students the best opportunity to learn.

About Me

Hello, my name is Jordan McFarlen and I am currently a student at the University of Regina. I am a Secondary Education student with a major in Business Education and a minor in Physical Education. I have just finished my second year in the faculty and I am very excited to one day become a teacher. Aside from school I stay very busy working, volunteering, and playing basketball as a member of the University of Regina Cougar Men’s Basketball Team. Physical activity is a big part of my life and I enjoy being active in my community.

I have a fairly general background with technology and computers. I am proficient with Microsoft Office and I am aware of blogs such as this, wikis and social bookmarking but I haven’t personally used any of them. I believe that they can be very beneficial when used correctly for both personal and professional reasons and that is part of why I enrolled in this course. I want to incorporate these tools into my personal and professional life.

In terms of schooling I believe that computing technology can be very beneficial. It opens up unlimited opportunities for allowing students to learn but at the same time there are also negative aspects such as cyber-bullying. This is where I think it is important for teachers to be up to date with the latest computing technologies so that they can help prevent things like cyber-bullying. Another issue with computing technology from the perspective of a teacher is the balance between personal and professional use with things such as facebook. These are all issues that I hope to learn more about in this course. I am very interested in the content of this course and I believe I will gain some very beneficial knowledge for teaching.