Thursday, July 12, 2007

Edna's Inspiring VC

The Video Conference with Edna Dach was a WONDERFUL experience. Not only did it inspire me to want to be a better teacher, but also a better person, better humanitarian and more involved in the education of the world. I was fascinated by the move towards making technology more accessible to the third world populations. The Nova, 100 $ Laptops and other mobile/connected technologies are very interesting to me. WHAT CAN I DO TO GET INVOLVED?

Edna Dach also made it clear to me that the role of IT Leader is valuable to a district. I see that the diversity of the role is unlike other positions. You have a chance to guide and influence the path a district takes. You have to be a leader in technology, but you can also be a leader in your actions outside the IT department. You are not limited in your actions by the confines of classroom walls. She is a great example.

Her presentation also inspired me to begin to appreciate the role I have here. We are so lucky to be in a place like Alberta. We need to not take life for granted. We have so much and expect so much more. If I were a Teacher in Congo, my expectations would be very different. I need to change my ideas of what I deserve and start to appreciate what I have. I need to start using the software I have at my disposal and stop complaining about not having the software I want. Darn you Edna…

Monday, July 9, 2007

Stan's the Man - Exploring Exploring - Rich Prospect Browsing

Like finding a needle in a haystack, identifying a pill on a floor is just as daunting. The visual browser that Stan's group created takes the daunting task of searching for a pill much more manageable. The generalizibility of this technology is wonderful. Imagine walking into a hardware store and asking for a bolt for my lawnmower. That would create a problem that would waste time and energy. Using this type of browser would eliminate the problem. Something about this is familiar. Perhaps the boolean technologies are lurking in the shadows. This is a definite extension of the technologies that came before it.

I wonder if making these "SuperBrowsers" is really a necessary effort? Does the benefit of having these browsers justify the amount of time it takes to develop these browsers? Who will use them on a regular basis (Devil's Advocate Question)? Does all the information out there need to be classified as a specific 'type' of information? I think the interface is COMPLEX. I, as a person who is somewhat tech savvy, got a little scared. Is Mandala Search able to be used widely? Who sets the data sets? Are the data sets able to be manipulated? Does nefarious possibilities exist by this technologies abilities? Can a Mandala Browser exist that can mine all data available on the net? "Infotopia", by ? (sorry Phil, missed the writer) will be on my read in August list.

Management of Social Capital? Don't get me started...I see the problems here as people suddenly being used as impersonal resources. We are already cattle to the worlds retail ventures, this creates a more complex and personal cattle situation. What if we are suddenly mined as specific, more personal, targets? Why advertise to 100000 people with a .01% success rate when you can identify and target 1000 people, at a lower cost, with a 10% purchase rate? Overall, I see these RPB's as a great tool. I hope it is actually a safe tool?

Video Killed the Teaching Star

July 7, 2007 - Video Conferencing - The problem with videoconferencing is not the technology, cost or user skill. The problem is people’s perceptions. I am sure that the fear of replacement still plays a part of people not using the technology. I also think that people are afraid to experiment, fail and revise their thinking. Danny made a great point when he talked about the need for all stakeholders sharing the responsibility and working together to have the technology work. Teachers do not always play well with others. Perhaps it’s the fear again of being exposed as being less than perfect. The technology is not about the teacher; it’s about the student. When does this technology work best? Simply answered, when teachers and other stakeholder set aside their fears and allow the technology to enhance and provide rather than replace.

On a different note, the growth of videoconferencing is necessary to reach rural students or bring the experts to you. Having the ability to bring people into a classroom from a distance is brilliant. Consider the "Gore" possibilities as well. Rather than use the energy to bring the expert across the distance, we can use the videoconferencing to bring the expert to the student without having to use a single gram of fossil fuel. Not greenhouse gases, no time restraints and no pollution concerns. Environmentally conscious reasons to use videoconferencing.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Kool Picture Jas

Hey, Jas. You look funny! Thanks for the invite to your blog. I am experimenting. I hope you get this message. I'm not sure how all this works--steep learning curve, but I love it.

How do I invite you to my blog. My blog account is


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Kelly's World

The future is limitless. Kelly saw a future that was several years away. I believe its here NOW. Realistically, if you look at the advancements and the speed by which they are advancing, you cannot deny that the future is no longer creeping upon us, rather, it is about to pounce and we cannot run or hide. We need to embrace the future by opening up our minds and accepting the inevitable.

Kelly claims that openness is key to the successful transition into a world of immersion of technology. I agree. I think that rather than find ways to hold on to the old ways, lets all throw down our books and pens and embrace the laptop classroom. (I don't really feel this way!) When I am unthawed from my cryogenic sleep in the year 2300, I will be the one looking for a paperback to sit back and read in the fake sun that will be erected in the stratosphere after our sun gets blocked by the pollution.