Archive for September, 2009


24 Hours of Archaicnis

September 30, 2009

This post is another one for my EDSE 501 course and I have to say that it really should be against university policy to allow instructors to torture their students.  I don’t know if a formal complain is in order, but perhaps an e-mail to the dean would suffice.  In all seriousness, I have been assigned a day away from 21st century technology.  No cell phone.  No iPod.  No computer.

I was not sure how long a day was, a work day, while the sun was out, or 24 hours, so I decided to be safe and abstain from technology for 24 hours.  8 am on Friday September 25 – 8 am on Saturday September 26.  At 7:45 am on Friday, I closed my laptop and shed a small tear.  Overall, the work day was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I informed my principal and assistant principal that I was “cave-manning” it for the day and they did chuckle a bit and let me know that if anything pressing came up they would send a carrier pigeon to let me know.  The major issue was attendance.  Instead of using the ClassXP program that I am normally required to use, I sent one of my students down to the office with a sticky note that indicated that Eric was away.  I had to do some examples and notes on the white board, which was not as quick as printing them out for the students or displaying them on my SmartBoard, it did allow me to see just how much my writing slants down on the whiteboard, but also how poorly students can read handwriting.  With the advent of computers, handwriting just isn’t as important.  Our society has moved to a printing based one where cursive writing just does not have the same importance.  I magine this is mostly due to the influx of messages being written in text.  So, the notes took a little bit and the students had sore arms, but they are definitely better for it (at least I think so).

The teaching day went rather smoothly, except that I had to cheat in order to get a letter for a student that was due on the Monday.  The only copy was on my computer so I took a few minutes to print one off for her.  I promise that it only took 2 or 3 minutes and I only opened word, found the letter, printed it and then turned the computer off.

The evening was the most difficult time to be without technology.  Normally I will surf the net, or watch a movie, or do some school work on my laptop, but not this Friday night.  I did make the most of no technology and took my girls out to the park.  We had a real blast, especially petting the cute dalmatian dogs that were walking by the park.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter Novel

Darkly Dreaming Dexter Novel

After the girls were in bed, I was actually getting bored.  I decided to wash a few dishes, but got bored of that because I normally watch a movie or listed to music as I was.  That night, it was just me and the suds.  After doing the dishes, I found a good book that I had not read in a while.    The book is Darkly Dreaming Dexter and follows very closely to the first season of Dexter.  The book is quite comical in a dark way.  The time was very nice to be able to sit and relax.

I have to be honest, it was very relaxing and at about 9:30 pm (well before my bedtime) I had fallen asleep in the chair in the family room.  At around 11:00 pm, my wife woke me up and I headed for bed.

The ALARM!!! clock went off around 7:30 on Saturday and after a bowl of cereal was finished, there was only a few minutes before my life returned to normal.  I did wait until 9:30 to check my e-mail as I was watching Tree-house Television with my girls.

Overall, the experience was not a terrible one.  It gave me some time to take care of a few things that just never seem to get done.  I don’t know about completely removing technology from my life, but perhaps a day a month would not be a bad idea.

I am not making any promising at this point, but this is something that I will certainly consider for the future.


Walking – I don’t really do walking…

September 30, 2009
This is a picture of my iPod Touch.  It is an 8GB 2nd Generation iPod

This is a picture of my iPod Touch. It is an 8GB 2nd Generation iPod

As part of my course on the pedagogy of technology, I have been assigned the task of walking with my IPod.  Now, I have to admit, I am not a walker, never was, don’t know if I will be, but I gave it a try…

With my iPod in my pocket and ear buds in my ears, I took off, putting one foot in front of the other.  My destination, around my neighborhood.

I should back up a bit before I set out on my adventure, I first spend a few minutes on my computer updating the music on my iPod.  I have put a few new items on my computer and haven’t synced my iPod in a week or so.  The new items downloaded to my iPod include some new music, an audio book, and some podcasts on educational technology.  I think I will vary my listening experience as I walk…oh the dreaded walking part of this assignment.

I set off in no real planned direction, there is a Miley Cyrus song playing in my ears.  I can feel my head bopping slightly and think to myself, “if my students knew what I was listening to, I would never hear the end of it.”  By the end of the song I am a fair distance from home and haven’t really noticed the fact I am walking.  I am bopping to the music and looking at all of the houses.  My wife and I are in the process of building a house, so I am always curious to see what people do for landscaping.  Please don’t tell my wife that or that is all she will ever want to talk about.

Time for a drinkI decide that a switch to something else on the iPod is appropriate.  I find a downloaded podcast of The Teachers’ Podcast.  The episode was on Virtual Learning and the benefits of online and distance learning.  The two podcasters were very supportive of well designed virtual learning environments.  32 minutes later I had walked around 3 kilometers (I am not walking very fast at all, just enjoying the scenery) and was near the Sherwood Park mall, time for a drink.

After a white hot chocolate is purchased, I leave the store and am headed back towards home.  I podcast is over and the audiobook is playing.  It is an Alex Cross novel written by James Patterson.  It is quite good and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  This whole experience is actually quite enjoyable and I am finding that my pace has picked up.  I am not picking up the pace to finish this task sooner, but because my feet just seem to be moving faster.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so negative about this task in the first place.  I have always figured that walking is just mode of transportation, but perhaps it can be fun, too.

In retrospect, I am pretty impressed with myself.  I was able to get a 56 minute forced de-stressing experience, complete an assignment for my masters, listen to some good music, interesting professional development and a really good book.  I will definitely need to try this a bit more often.  The problem is finding the time, but next time, perhaps I can take the two older girls.  They can listen to their MP3s full of Disney music and I will listen to a book.  Some family time (at least when we stop for an Orange Julius), some exercise, and some good listening.


Plunging ahead into the technological unknown

September 23, 2009

In reflecting upon my own personal characteristics, I have discovered that I am a bit of a mad man when it comes to using technology.  I plunge full steam ahead into a new technology without the forethought of what is to come from the adventure.

This was recently the case with a web based application called Prezi.  The site was introduced to me through an instructor at the University of Alberta.

I was initially mesmerized by the slickness of the website and the tutorials.  The products were very visually appealing and I wanted to do the same thing.  My initial exuberance got the best of me and I jumped right in.  I should have brought my water wings or a flutter board because I sank like a rock.  I felt lost and scared.  I did not get this technology at all.  The ability to navigate was highly confusing.  It was difficult to see and I had trouble getting it to work.  It did not work like Microsoft products, not even a little.  Why oh why was in not like Microsoft.  I know Microsoft is the big bad evil computer company, but at least their navigation makes sense.

After a few more failed attempts, I finally determined that getting some help was in order.  I went back to the tutorials and figured out how to actually work the application.  I still don’t get all of the ins and outs of the program, but I am getting the hang of actually navigating around the screen and using the technology to add images, words, and design elements.

I know that more experience would be beneficial to me as I could hone my skills and make some beautiful presentations.

Moral: Read / view the tutorial first.


A multipurpose blog

September 10, 2009

You may have noticed that the name changed.  I am currently taking a course through Secondary Education.  The course is EDSE 501 – Pedagogy of Technology: Teachers and Students as Cyborgs.  Part of the course requirements are to have a space for a Cyborg Journal.  I figured that my space could be the blog that I created for EDES 501 earlier in the year.  The site is made and I can save some time, but more importantly, I can turn the blog into a journal of my learning experiences and activities in technology as I progress through my masters.

I am really enjoying and looking forward to this class.  I believe it will challenge how I think about technology and how I integrate it into my teaching.  I hope you continue to read as I continue to write.