Archive for September, 2011

Delicious.com is sweet!

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Some readers of this post may be familiar with delicious.com and the ability to connect with others using this social bookmarking site.  If so, you may want to skip this post as the information I am about to share may be somewhat basic for the experienced delicious.com user.

During the eci831 Sept. 20th session, the class was presented with some of the essential web tools that will be used during this course.  I have been working on my blogging skills using Word Press and so far I have been able to put together a relatively basic and functional blog.  With some level of comfort in this, I moved onto the next tool, delicious.com. Why use delicious.com? There has to be a reason why this is an essential course tool for eci831.  I started by watching a few YouTube videos (this video uses the old delicious.com address) and then with a basic understanding, weighed the pros and cons of learning another web-tool. I thought “Why do I need to log onto this site to access bookmarks that I already have saved in my favorites?”  Simply put, delicious.com allows me to access my bookmarks if I am not at my own computer.  Makes sense right?  Yes, but as I activated an account and started exploring the tool, I realized that the benefit for me (and I assume others) is much more than the ability to simply add bookmarks and bundle them.  For me the power and usefulness of delicious.com is the ability to connect and network when exploring the bookmarks of other delicious.com users. It’s a pretty simple process of adding bookmarks and tagging them which allows you to then see how many other delicious.com users have tagged and bookmarked similar sites. For example, I am teaching Social Studies 9 and am currently researching Ancient Mesopotamia.  I found a relevant site, added it to my bookmarks, tagged it “mesopotamia.” That completed, I saw that 122 other delicious.com users have bookmarked this site. I can then check out their bookmarks and any other bookmarks associated with the tag “mesopotamia.” Very quickly, my resource file of any and all things “mesopotamia” grew very rapidly.  The next phase of my learning and use of delicous.com is to determine how to feed this information back to me with (I am assuming) a RSS feed.  I would appreciate any advice on this and welcome all tips and suggestions associated with delicious.com . Tomorrow, my grade 8/9 social class begins using delicious.com and I am sure they will find it as useful and as engaging as I do.  Having said this, I am sure that most of them are already using it and as usual I have now caught up to my students!

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To continue from my last post regarding staff and student participation in extracurricular activities, I have begun some research on the topic.  More specifically, the benefits of these activities on student performance at school.  One of the first articles I found was in Regina’s daily newspaper, the Leader-Post, August 24th, 2011.  This article provides a basic summary of the benefits of extracurricular activities for students.  Although I believe it is widely accepted that these activities are beneficial for students, this article does provide some information that may be useful to staff, students and parents/caregivers.  I welcome all discussion and feedback on this topic and more specifically this article. Extracurricular activities could help improve school performance

As an avid rugby fan, coach and former player, I am thoroughly enjoying watching the Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand this fall. Although the time difference can make it a bit inconvenient to watch live games, the invention of the PVR makes the life of the die-hard fan much easier. Team Canada played their opening match against Tonga on Sept. 14th, 2011. Being a proud Canadian and a bit of a purist, I had to watch the game live and became quite caught up in the match as Canada went up, down and up again to secure a win. The fan in me cheered, agonized and hoped for a victory. The player in me imagined the crunch of the tackles and remembered the force of a scrum. The teacher and coach in me analyzed tackle positions, critiqued set piece formations and identified fundamental ball handling skills. After the game and upon reflection a day or more after, I also began to reminisce on my days as a high school coach that started in Saskatchewan and carried on into rural Alberta. The connections made with the players I coached and the educators I coached with provided me with some of the most valuable professional development I have ever experienced. Teaching skills, overcoming adversity, winning, losing and connecting with students on another level outside of the classroom will surely be counted as some of the highlights of my teaching career. Having said this, how does an educator balance the demands of self, family, teaching with countless hours on the pitch…or the basketball court, or the stage, or whatever? Although the benefits of coaching and leading in extra-curricular events is without a doubt, in my opinion, beneficial to both teacher and student, where is the balance and can there indeed be balance? I welcome discussion and perspective on this topic and will close this post by leaving a link of the Canada/Tonga match highlights and well wishes to Team Canada as they prepare to play France on Sunday.

Well, here we are!

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Tonight I begin with my first post in my first blog. With this post I begin my journey into the world of graduate education. Technologically speaking, I am an educator who has experienced hand written report cards, using email when it was a novelty, teaching at an online school, moving back to a traditional classroom and school environment and now beginning the next phase of my education with an online course.  As many teachers of my vintage may attest, this journey has been fast-paced, at times frustrating, rewarding and always with a glimpse to future possibilities.  Possibilities that may lead to increased learning opporunities for the students I serve as well as my personal growth and development as an educator. I look forward to the journey ahead in EC & 831 and the skills, knowledge and connections I will gain in the process.