More Technology and Gadgets

     I usually catch up on the news and what is going on in the world by checking out CTV.ca/news.  I find this much easier and convenient for me than actually watching the news on TV because I can get a quick overview of what is happening by reading the headlines, and then clicking on and reading articles of interest.  That is how I found this article that I am blogging about today.

Web pioneer Andreessen launches mobile social app is an article from CTV.ca/news that I found interesting.  As we just discussed social media and social networking in class today, I saw strong connections between class and this article.  This article talks about having the ability to share what you’re doing immediately, all from your mobile phone.  This app enables chat, photo sharing, and group event planning.  This app sounds very convenient and useful, but I think that a personal phone call would work just as well.  My question here is how reliant are we on technology and what could be the possible impacts of this dependence on technology for the future?  Will people lose the ability to have a face-to-face conversation and interact in real social environments?  Maybe moderation and balance is a possible answer here…

This article goes on to talk about this app allowing people to send virtual gifts to each other, like burgers, a heart, and a zombie sheep (I’m not sure of the purpose of this item…ideas?).  It is a nice idea to send little gifts to your friends throughout the day or on special occasions, but would this take away from people actually going out to eat a real burger or meal with a friend?  I’m wondering when and why it might be appropriate to send these gifts in place of experiencing the real thing? 

CTV closes the article with saying that there are about 90 000 paying subscribers to the company behind this app, so they must be doing something right…

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Great Resource

I came across this resource today when I was working on my group’s Major Project for this class.  This could possibly be very useful to some of my fellow university students who are in KHS or EPE classes.  It comes from Alberta Education, from the government of Alberta.  I really liked that this website offers activity ideas for all different types of environments because physical activity is extremely important to incorporate in the classroom, but access to the gym is not always possible.  Therefore, I found this website to be a great resource for offering ideas on how to bring physical activity into the classroom and still study other subjects!  Again, you can click here to view Section 3: Physical Activities from Education Alberta.

As it is obvious that the Alberta government is offering resources and suggested activities for their teachers, and really all teachers with access to the world-wide-web, it reminded me of my internship.  During these four months, there were some teachers that I talked to that were frustrated with the new curricula being put out in Saskatchewan.  More specifically, the frustrations came from a lack of resources being offered.  I looked at the Grade 5 Social Studies (2010) curriculum and the old curriculum (which my cooperating teacher had in a binder) to make comparisons.  My findings were that the new curriculum was very similar to the old.  It did use different words and have slightly different outcomes, but for the most part, a lot of the content (and updated resources) from the old curriculum could easily be transferred over. 

Are there any opinions, comments, frustrations, or celebrations on curriculum renewals and resources available?

Play-Based Learning

(This is a bulletin board that my students and I created at the beginning of the year during my internship.)

I saw a commercial on TV tonight about Ontario’s new Kindergarten program, which just started in September 2010.  This new program is called the Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten program. 

There are two things that I can see that make this new program different from the old program, or Kindergarten as I experienced and know it.  The first is that it goes the whole school day, rather than just a morning or afternoon. 

The second is that it is based on a play-based learning environment.  I remember Kindergarten as a lot of play, but still with plenty of learning- story time, learning about the weather, etc.  I tried to find the commercial to post here, but was unable to find it.  The commercial made the play-based learning environment appear to be exactly as it sounds- play and learning.  It showed big, life-size wooden blocks that children are using to build something while they are playing.  I really think that this is a great approach to teaching Kindergarten.  Also, it relates strongly to many of the ideas (like experiential learning) that I have learned about in my Education program at the University of Regina.

More about this new program can be read here on the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum.  Page 5 of the Introduction summarizes the program really well.

Homeless

Homeless Person Sleeps

 

I got the idea to write this blog post after going to Tim Hortons with a friend in Moose Jaw.  While we were sitting there, a man walked in carrying what appeared to be everything he owned.  He had just gone shopping at Wal Mart to stock up on layers of warm clothes that would see him through the night.  That was one frigid night, it got down to about -30 degrees Celsius.  I watched this man drink his coffee, put on his layers, and go out into the freezing cold night…

I couldn’t help but wonder where this man was planning to go.  Also, he did just purchase clothes and a coffee, so where did he get this money?  I don’t know this man or where he went that night, but it was sad to watch him.

I came across this article and video, from CTV.ca, Myths about Canada’s poor endure, report finds, and found it to be thought provoking.  The video shows a teenage girl that is homeless.  This caused me to ask questions like:  Where is her family?  Why is she homeless?  How did this happen to her? 

The article discusses some of the public’s opinions on homeless people.  Overall, the report shows that the public believes homeless people are “lazy” and “have low moral values.” 

I know that I have seen people standing outside restaurants and on street meridians and holding cardboard signs asking for money.  I also know that I’m not the only one who has seen these people. 

I’m curious to know what are some opinions on why and how people become homeless, reasons for and/or against giving  money to homeless on the streets, and any attitudes or beliefs that cause these reactions???

Oscars

I had a short discussion just the other with a friend of mine about the Oscars.  Of course, this conversation was brought on by the Oscars taking place on Sunday evening (February 27, 2011).  We were both wondering what exactly makes a movie eligible to be nominated and receive an Oscar, and who decides?

One answer that I found is that the only criteria for a movie to be nominated is that it has to be shown in a movie theatre for at least one week.  That’s all fine, but I’m still curious about what happens after that to move the movie along to actually being nominated.  Is it based on box office earnings?  Ratings of critics? 

While I was attempting to do more research into my above questions, I stumbled upon a Teacher’s Guide, that offers many ideas about teaching movies and related topics.  This could be a great resource that connects to several subject areas at once- possibly Drama and Science can be incorporated into one unit. 

This Teacher’s Guide has lesson plans and activities in the following areas:   Animation, Film Editing,  Art Direction, Media Literacy,  Cinematography, Screenwriting, Costumes and Makeup, Sound and MusicDocumentaries, and Visual Effects.

This appears to be a really great resource that could inspire many different lessons and units, check it out!

Photoshop

Team Saskatchewan Wins Scotties Tournament of Hearts!

The New Champions (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Did you hear?  Saskatchewan won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts!  But that’s actually not the focus of my thoughts for this post…

I watched the live game that had Saskatchewan win the tournament, (TSN for video clips and updates), which meant that I also saw the moment when the above picture was taken.  The picture that was taken (as TV showed it) included a man (from the curling association, most of his face was covered by the silver part of the trophy), the team’s coach, and the team’s fifth standing right behind the trophy.  Knowing how this picture originally looked, I can’t help but think that this photo was photoshopped… Of course this photo could have easily been cropped or, even more probable, several different photos and groupings of people were taken.  However, this got me to thinking about photoshop.

I even tried doing my own kind of photoshop, trying to crop myself into a picture that a friend of mine took on her travels overseas.  Despite my efforts, I couldn’t complete a photoshopped picture that even looked remotely real (or fake).

This lead me to thinking of the information (through all different mediums) that we present to students in a classroom, but also any videos and pictures that students (and adults) see online and on TV.  It’s definitely important to do extra research and look at things with a critical eye, to make sure that we aren’t simply believing everything that we see and are told.  For example, look at the following video…

Real or not?

Welcome!

Hi there, and welcome to my blog!  I’ve created this blog as part of my class, ECMP 355.  I’m new to blogging and keeping a web page up to date, so this will be a learning experience for me!

For the last couple of days I have been working on my teaching resume and researching school divisions.  I’ve been doing both of these things on the computer.  This got me to wondering, how did teachers research schools and school divisions before the internet?

I have been looking up everything from what area a school division covers, what grades the school includes, and what the school’s values and beliefs are.  I’m really glad that schools are now so accessible via the internet.  With just a few clicks you can know the main events going on at the school, learn how to get in touch with the staff, and what the school is all about- very important things to know if you are considering to apply with that school.

I have been heavily relying on the internet and each school division’s website to provide me with background information so that I can decide if I would like to work for them.  But really, how did teachers gather enough information about a school and/or school division to make an informed decision before the internet?