Posts Tagged ‘ blogs ’

Some Good Blogs

I thought I would share a few blogs I subscribe to.  I receive many good ideas from these folks, so check them out.



Remote Access

Principals Page

Tempered Radical

Van Meter


Still Learning

Here I am in the midst of my summer vacation, but I still am reading from the blogosphere and discussing education.  Is this cool or crazy!

Granted. I do know a few things in th Edtech. world, and this has significantly increased over the last six months, thanks to Alec.  However, I find I am still a neophyte in so many ways.

For example, I was just reading about CreativeCommons licenses.  Since many of the people in the tech. world have them, maybe I should too.  I feel a little more informed, but welcome any comments regarding the type of license I should get.  I hope to get some info. from the “experts,” like Dean, Alec, Jennifer, or Shawn just to name a few.  Does Lucy, Mic or Murcha still read this?  I have been somewhat dormant lately.

It astounds me at the amount of PD, etc. people continue to do over the summer.  I too was able to stream into some conference sessions.  All were interesting and a lot of fun.

Getting connected a little more each week.

BTW did anybody notice the slight name change on the blog?  Just trying to open things up a bit more.

Odds and Ends

Since the end of EC&I 831, the blog posting has slowed quite a bit from participants.  This is only natural.  Even though we all liked the course, it was still a class.  People sense the relief that another class is done.

I too am not writing as often (as predicted), but the blog continues.  I am still checking my google reader everyday and read many blogs.  So many people have such interesting ideas!

i am continuing to push myself into technology further.  Recently, I gave a short talk to my teachers about Teacher Tube and Delicious and the value of what each possesses.  I plan to follow up more with both and hopefully my staff will have accounts set up on both sites soon.  The opportunity for collaboration is increased, especially with delicious.  We’ll see where it goes from here.

I continue to try and build a wiki for my Law 30 class.  I would like each student to contribute various elements of Criminal law to the site, since this is our unit of study at this time.  Again, we will see where it goes from here.

BTW, visit the class blog, when you have a chance and leave a comment.  My students are now responsible for a weekly post.  It would be great to have other people engage in the conversation from outside our classroom.  Let them experience the influence of the blogosphere!!!  The issues posted are various and one does not need to know anything specific about Canadian Law.

Other notables:

  • Bircher’s Banter was mentioned on the Principal’s Page as a subscribed blog.  Great publicity or what!!!
  • I bought a new computer and already took back to store.  Why?  Get all hooked up and no sound.  I think they forgot to install something!

…and yes the EC&I experience, brought my Master’s program to a conclusion.  Seems kind of weird though.  I keep thinking about what I should do next?  For now, I guess just enjoy the feeling.  Not bad, I suppose, for a guy who left university once and was doubtful on ever returning, before any degrees were earned.  Will I go for three?  Not sure, but we’ll see how things go from here.

More Reflections

Recently, I thought about some of the things I learned during this class,  Granted, instead of doing a mass amount of reading from a text, there were specific articles to read, but also gaining info. from a varity of other sources, like video, podcasts, TED  talks and a couple of live/online web chats.  It really goes to show how one can gain information and become knowledgable using technology.  I suppose this is part of what connectivism is all about.

I continue to think of my digital project and my contribution to the collaborative wiki.  Was it enough?  Did I do what was required?  Yes, I have learned many new tools and ideas over the course of this semester, but was it sufficient? For me, or for Alec?  I think one of purposes of this class was how things would continiue when the class ends.  Do we still implement the ideas we have learned, maybe just not as rapidly?  Is this all going to end?  I know my digital project will continue to evolve.  For instance, I started a class wiki for my Law 30 students and connect to the course blog through it.  This was NOT part of the plan when I first started.  I find I am taking the initial project idea and am wanting to make it evolve into something better all the time.  Not because I have to but because I want too.  This reflective blog should continue as well because of the contacts I have made all over the world.

There have been side projects as well.  In addition to the wiki I just started, I have one or two teachers connecting their students with students, who are children of Cirque du Soleil performers.  I have to thank Sharon Peters for this.  I have Skyped with Clarence Fisher and gained new ideas as well.  My tech. catalyst teacher and myself are starting a school blog or wiki and will hopefully be running soon.  I hope to have all staff with Delicious acounts soon as well, so more collaboration can take place. 

Basically, I am saying that in addition to my formal projects, there are many side projects being developed now as well, even though I did not put them as part of my formal course, but I think they needed to be mentioned.  Overall, I see some good things developing in the future.

Some Reflections

I think it is about time that I discuss my digital project a little, so here we go.

1.  My Law 30 class blog.  For my digital project, I chose to start a blog for my grade 12 Law class.  The purpose for starting this blog was to:

  • promote dialogue between class members.
  • provide the opportunity to discuss legal and or political issues in a “global forum.”
  • Use blogging as a medium to incorporate and promote literacy, including media.
  • Use blogging as a medium to incorporate technology at a high school level.
  • Learn a new social tool (s)

To date, I constructed the blog site http:\\, and have embedded a few widgets in the sidebars.  I also, changed the theme part way through.  None of this stuff, had I ever done before.  I briefly started a blog a year ago, but have not extended myself like I have with this, or my personal learning blog (http:\\  Even little tools like voki’s and You Tube videos have been embedded.

I thought about having students create their own blogs, but I feel more steps on internet safety and protocol need to be taken first.  The Al Upton issue and my own reservations have caused this.  So far, I have the students commenting on various issues (using nicknames) and their comments are getting better.  I hope to incorporate Voicethread and/or Animoto soon with students.  Maybe something will show before the end of this course!

Since I do not have students creating their own blogs (yet), I have found a new route.  I think the class setup would be enhanced by a wiki space.  This can be used for the online tools portion of the Law course, with the blog used as a discussion forum.  I got this idea from one of my classmates (Dean) and I could see the value of it.  This may to be created before the end of the course.

In retrospect, I now am glad I satrted with just a blog and not the wiki at first.  My first plan was to create a whole online unit for the course.  I would have been swamped!!!  It has taken a while to learn the nuances of blogging, reading classmates blogs, commenting on them and in the Blogosphere.  The number of tools we have learned and now are incorporating also added to the time comittment.  Since I srted with the blog first, I now see future steps pretty clearly.  I do not think I would have if I started with a much larger project.  I think the ‘ol “I should have done this…” thought would have been more prevalent.

Onward and upward.!

Thoughts on Al Upton

The issue of Al Upton and his classroom blog being closed down by education authorities, has been a popular topic of conversation among the ECI 831 group. In fact, this seems to be a known issue amongst technology people all over the globe. I thought I would take this opportunity to note some of my thoughts .

At first I thought he blog was shut down because something bad happened. I soon realized this did not seem to be the case. Many thoughts and opinions seemed to be that authorities in Australia were flexing some administrative muscle for no reason. Maybe they just did not understand the whole “techie” thing. Basically, I kept thinking that there has to be some valid reason for the blog shutdown that has not been made public.

I figured that there must be some kind of safety issue. Why else would authorities shut the blog down?

However, the details are still somewhat murky. As I read Dean’s blog, he commented on the issue as well. I think we both felt that the mini-legends blog could not have been shut down w/o reason. Was this a case where an educator used bad judgment and put students at risk? I needed to know more.

I then found a recorded broadcast that recently discussed this issue with none other than Al Upton himself. You can access it here. Basically, Al says he is not totally sure why the blog was shut down either. Authorities are possibly concerned about the level of world contact the students have made with others around the world. They each have their own blogs, use their real first name and pics, but do not use surnames. He has students partnered with others around the world who act as mentors in learning. Even though students have their own blogs, Al himself moderates all emails, posts, etc. The blog is basically an evolution over a four year period.

Al reports that no irate parents have come forward with concerns or students. In fact, he says he found out about this through his principal. Basically, all the communication from the authorities have come through his principal, nothing direct with Al himself. It kind of sounds like this issue involving employees at the SSBA, that is, regarding communication.

Also, the actual lockdown of the blog was done by Al. He states, that he did it basically in the interests of students and through mutual discussion with his principal, who seems to support him. No official order was given. From the broadcast, I got the feeling that AL felt it was best to do this until the issue was resolved. He personally has gone through the blogs and their content since, and could not find anything problematic (in his opinion).

Since I started a class blog, for this course, I have been interested in this development. I hope I am providing the proper amount of security for my students, as well as a unique learning opportunity. But if someone does not like the internet (eg. a parent), does having a blog provide enough evidence for a parent to complain and get it shut down? Clarence Fisher comments on the Upton case and others (as stated previously) in this post.

We all are concerned about safety of students as educators. We do not want to see events arise such as this one. As an administrator, we want to provide the opportunity for educators to implement new ideas and initiatives, without having making it so difficult that the educator eventually abandons the idea. However, guidelines are important.

Internet safety, educator freedom, cutting edge teaching, valuable student learning?

Please leave your thought(s) in the comment area.