Archive for October, 2011

As we rocket through this course and the speed of technological development incrementally increases, I have become increasingly aware of the idea of “bringing your own device.”  I have read a comment or two in our eci831 chat room and most recently heard a Senior Administrator discuss the concept at a recent meeting. In my own classroom, students have asked me why they cannot access the wireless network at our school with their individual electronic devices. At a school I know of, the senior high book club started using electronic book readers but were unable to access the wireless server to download new books. The teacher supervisor was taking the readers home, downloading the books and then bringing them back to school. The situation was rectified, however, this specific issue does beg the question; can we open up our classrooms to all electronic devices or are we opening ourselves up to a host of issues we aren’t prepared to deal with appropriately?

During our time as educators, we are all probably familiar with people opening notebooks (the coiled kind) or turning on voice recording devices and perhaps using laptops in classroom settings and business meetings.  The idea of “bringing your own device” allows people to bring in their own device, possibly access a wireless network and then contribute. People can use their own technology, it is familiar to them and they feel comfortable using it. The students in this video understand this.

The concept of allowing people to bring their own wireless devices into a classroom setting and then, if need be, accessing a wireless network is a very revolutionary concept in my experience. Allowing these devices poses many questions regarding security, accessibility for those who cannot afford the technology as well as whether or not the technology is being used appropriately. If the technology needs IT support, who looks after that?

I’ve focused on this topic this weekend and have found some links of interest regarding this topic. I’d be interested in hearing how this trend is being viewed in your school or organization. What are the benefits and risks?

I have linked some of my reading below. Have a great week!

1) What if students cannot afford the technology? I’m not really sure if I like the title of this post, however, some practical ideas are offered.

2) How does a “BYOD” program work? Readers must subscribe to read the entire article.

3) A very informative article on some of the ins-and-outs of a “BYOD” program.

4) A really cool web tool that I would like to explore. Wiffiti.com looks like the ideal web tool to allow people to easily use their own devices to contribute in most settings.

I recently presented with a colleague to a group of parents regarding school goal setting.  We discussed and presented the process of goal setting and then looked at how this process can possibly and hopefully develop between the community and school.  As many of you know, in Saskatchewan, the parent/community councils that work with schools are now known as the School Community Council (SCC).  Our presentation focused on ways that the SCC can become actively engaged and part of the school goal setting process. In the opening, contextual piece of the presentation we challenged our session participants to think of the school that they attended and then to think of the ideal school they would like their child to attend.  What should students learn in school today to become productive and contributing members to our ever-changing world?  As part of our presentation, we shared the following video. The video is not really that new, however, every time I watch it a tidbit or two stands out for me and reminds me of some of the personal goals I have as part of my own professional development.  Have a great week everyone!!

To date, my journey through eci831 can be described as informative and eye-opening to say the least. Right now, I would rate myself as being at the “messy” stage of learning in the course. I’m trying to figure it all out, learn everything, read everything and have it all done by yesterday. As I work through all of our course material, blogs and tweets, I am in a constant state of learning new things and as mentioned above, trying to figure it all out. I am following Mark McGuire’s blog – http://markmcguire.net/ and ran across a fun diversion from all of my deep thinking. His post is called “Five Card Stories” and refers to a post by Alan Levine in his blog, CogDogBlog. As I experimented with what I thought was going to be an amusing way to spend some time and procrastinate, I found the process of creating my 5 Card Flickr Story a great way to start formulating my final reflection and summary of learning in #eci831.

Check out Mark or Alan’s post for more information on the process.  After a bit of experimentation, I found my way in this new (to me) way of story telling. I love the educational opportunities the 5 card story presents.  Anyhow, here goes…


Five Card Story: #eci831 – My Five Card Flickr Story

a Five Card Flickr story created by Dean Schwebius


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by Serenae

With eyes wide open I start this journey that will take us down similar and different paths. This journey will lead us to new and exciting places, connect us with others and open up the world of education in a way that I have never experienced.


All the best, take care and see you in the chat room on Tuesday! If you live in Saskatchewan, have a great Education Week!

In 1999 I was teaching in a relatively “traditional” classroom environment. By traditional, I mean that students walked through the school doors each morning, sat at desks, opened books, ate lunch, and did all of the regular things that students did in traditional schools. At the end of that school year, I moved to Alberta and began teaching at an online school. When I was hired, I questioned my employer’s hiring of me for the job. I had little, if any, technological training and skills, I had only begun using email in the third year of my undergraduate degree and wasn’t quite sure what an attachment was! My new Principal assured me that she had not, in fact, made a mistake by hiring me and that everything I needed to know would be taught to me by experienced teachers at the school. The mentorship relationship that developed between me and several teachers at the school was my first experience of community building in the virtual world. Some colleagues I saw everyday and some I saw twice a year. The revolutionary concept for me at the time was that in spite of this, I was in touch with my staff community everyday and that everyday we as a staff had the opportunity to connect without seeing each other.

My classroom was my computer, a cubicle and class lists of students with their corresponding email addresses. In the weeks, months and three years that followed, I got to know my students by posting lessons online, sending them morning email messages, responding to their work, answering their questions by email and telephone and using a program similar to the one we use for eci831 for extra-help sessions. In this way, I experienced a second way that communities could be built in a virtual environment.

At the time, the concept and operation of such schools was relatively new and in many ways as a staff we shared a common belief that in some ways we were pioneers. We knew how to teach, however, other than the day-to-day contact through email and telephone, we did not have a set course on how to build and foster community. As such, our Administration and division office senior administrators allowed us the freedom to develop classroom and school-wide communities in a variety of ways. The school year opened with a meet and greet BBQ. Throughout the school year there were opportunities for students to participate on sports teams, perform in a talent show, attend parent-teacher interviews and graduate in a grade 12 graduation ceremony. Not all students could attend, however, those that could were able to extend their virtual education into another setting. These live, in-person interactions became the third and very powerful way in which I experienced being part of a community in the virtual world.

The concept of online, distance education is common today and most traditional schools have students that take these courses as well as the regular “classroom” courses offered. Taking time to reflect on these experiences has given me a chance to see where my personal journey into online education started and is continuing today.

Please feel free to share your online educational experiences and if possible, please describe how community was built or not. As always I thank you for your responses and look forward to hearing from you.