Back Seat Conversation

On our recent driving vacation, it was quite interesting to listen to the back seat discussion from two teenagers – my daughter and a long time close family friend. As one might expect, there was lots to share, and the conversation easily wandered from topic to topic without ever missing a beat. I was interested in how various aspects of technology wove through the discussion.

This past year, each of the girls took at least one elearning course. Things they liked about the elearning environment were:

  • flexibility
  • scheduling your own time
  • independence
  • enjoy working online (not paper based)
  • work with students with similar abilities (profiles of online learning candidates)

These girls live in a connected world. They talked about being connected, in a good way. They can barely remember not being connected. I note their keen ability to find free wifi networks to connect to. Both girls read and follow blogs. Both write their own blogs based on their own individual interests. One has a tumblr based photography blog to track and share photography of interest. The other reads and writes fan fiction, and uses other social media tools to develop an audience.  Without any prompting from me, they talked about finding people with like interests, sharing and developing a “real audience” to share their interests and passions.

I couldn’t help but take note of their their ongoing but subtle search for wifi – not because they didn’t enjoy the vacation activities, but because they are passionate about this aspect of their lives. They are used to being connected with wifi at home and school. Being online is simply part of their lives.

Classroom activities need to tap student passions. I encourage all teachers to find way ways to use and leverage online sharing and collaboration tools to help capture student passion for learning.

~Mark

Advertisements

A little nature, tech and creativity

While on vacation this summer, we took some time to visit the Hopewell Rocks. We have been there before, and certainly looked forward to the return visit as it is an amazing place. On this particular day, we arrive about 2:00 p.m. to observe the water at high tide, then returned at 6:00 p.m. to explore during the low tide time of evening. I am still astounded at the 41 foot vertical difference in the high tide, low tide water heights.

High Tide

Low Tide

 

While walking around, a number of us noted a bird screeching from high up one of the rock cliffs. It turned out that the bird was a baby Peregrine Falcon, almost old enough to fly. Unfortunately, I did not have a high powered camera with me, and the lighting was somewhat on the dark side, so it was time to get creative.

The following 3 pictures were taken using an iPod touch ‘looking’ through a set of binoculars. Considering the distance, lighting and make shift approach I was able to get some interesting shots.

Falcon 1

Falcon 2

Falcon 3

~Mark

CASA Chat: Social Media in the School Community

CASA Conference Presentation Resources

Overview: This presentation covered the use of social media tools in the Waterloo Region District School Board as things are now. Time was also spent talking about the journey and the challenges.

Video Samples from the presentation:

Twitter
Facebook
Edmodo
Student Perspective
Student Trustee
Teacher Perspective
Principal Perspective

Comments from Twitter

Q&A from Today’s Meet backchannel (originally hosted at http://www.todaysmeet.com/casachat)

Q1: Do teachers friend students?
Yes and no, some do, others don’t. Generally teachers use Facebook groups or fan pages, but
certain functions need the ‘friend’ function to work properly. In these cases, teachers set their
security and privacy settings appropriately and follow professional code of conduct expectations.

Q2: What effort is required by teachers to monitor online content related to classroom use?
This will vary depending on the context, but is done according to our Responsible Use Procedure.

Q3: Who pays for increasing bandwidth needs?
Staff in IT Services monitor usage and need on an ongoing basis. Each year this is factored into our
budget process in the IT area.

Q4: What social media content is searchable?
This depends on particular social media tool. For example, Tweets (Twiiter) are searchable, private
Facebook content is not.

Q5: Is the LMS redundant technology?
No, the LMS provides a course structure and both collaboration and social media tools are used in
conjunction to support student learning.

Q6: How does Quest Radio 1-24 work?
This Internet radio station is hosted at Caster.fm A live encoder
is needed to send personally owned content or content used with permission to the station.

Related Resources

Canadian Association of School Administrators (CASA) conference.

Social Media Drive By

Quest Radio 1-24  Programming Info Watch here for announcements regarding additional broadcasts of this session.

Join a live broadcast on Quest Radio 1-24.

Ed Doadt and Mark W. Carbone

~Mark and Ed