My Blogging Experience

January 27, 2010

My Diigo Experience

Filed under: Diigo — Tags: , , — debyj @ 2:06 pm

For the month of February I am going to explore something I have never explored before….Diigo!  I really do not know too much about it yet.  It is a social bookmarking site that might be similar to delicious (although I am not 100% sure yet).

So far this is what I have done:

1. visited the site and signed up for an account (that was easy!)

2. logged in (there was an option to sign in using facebook, twitter and some other social networks…I am not sure what that is about yet).

3. added the tool bar (diigo recommended it so I installed it! I am not sure that it worked…)

4. watched a video overview of diigo

From the video, I learned about the three main services Diigo provides:

1. research

2. highlight (and post-it)

3. bookmark & archive

My next step was to search for videos on YouTube and a found A LOT of videos on Diigo!  I think I will be returning back to YouTube for help understanding this website over the next month.

Here is my favorite introductory Diigo YouTube video I found:

I am now feeling a little overwhelmed by everything I just learned about Diigo!  My next step will be to add some of my own bookmarks and practice using the highlight and post-it features.  Once I get familiar with that, maybe I can explore the “social” aspect of this social bookmarking site!

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January 24, 2010

Old and New ways of teaching

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , , — debyj @ 2:29 pm

Reflecting on University classes….

Bad Learning Experiences:

– 3 hour lectures

Unfortunately, most professors choose to give students a 3 hour lecture each week in which they participate only by frantically writing notes. Some professors thankfully choose to give students the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways such as group activities and discussions. This student – centered classroom is more realistic because it is very difficult for us to focus our brains on one particular event for three hours. I came across an article called quick brains that discusses how the brain has changed along with technology. We process information much more quickly then we used to and we have a very short attention span as a result. Teachers (including professors!) must realize this and change or alter their teaching styles if they want their students to succeed.

– motivation

Sometimes it is very difficult to be motivated in University classes. There are many many times when I have wondered what exactly I was learning in class that would be relevant to my career after I complete my degree. Sometimes professors forget to learn about their students. They should be teaching to educate the students in a way that best prepares them for their career! Unfortunately, many professors are teaching because they have to, not because they love to.

Good Learning Experiences:

– Elluminate

I participated in an online class presentation last week featuring Karl Fisch. It was a new experience for me and I really enjoyed it. It is amazing how technology has advanced in a way that allows a number of people from all over the world to meet together and discuss education without leaving their homes.

– Wolfram Alpha

Karl Fisch talked about a relatively new (May 2009) search engine called Wolfram Alpha. It is very neat and definitely worth trying out. For educators, especially in the Math and Science area, this new tool may pose some problems. Wolfram Alpha can calculate easy to advanced equations for you. Will it be allowed in schools or will it be a blocked website?

If you want to find out more about it, here is a short video tutorial:

Wolfram Alpha introductory movie

– You Tube

In his presentation, Karl Fisch stated that he disagreed with schools for prohibiting the use of You Tube in classrooms. Why not? He argued that we trust our teenagers to drive vehicles yet we do not trust them to use a video website. You Tube has some very valuable resources that are excellent learning opportunities. Not only that, but imagine if we could have the opportunity to teach our students how to use You Tube effectively. We can teach them how to understand the difference between a good and bad video. We can also help them understand the risks involved in posting their own videos; what they should or should not post. I agree with Karl. Lets stop banning websites and start helping our students make effective use of the internet! You Tube is not something to be ashamed of!

I never realized it until now, but my best experiences in University have been those when my teachers have used as many resources as possible (including technology) to best educate me. Technology is becoming such a great tool for teaching (as long as we know how to use it properly). If you are teaching and you are not using it, I think you are making a big mistake.

Another neat video I just found that I think is very relevant to this topic:

digital students @ analog schools

January 20, 2010

Nutrition in Schools

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , — debyj @ 9:25 pm

I have a part time/summer job delivering chips for a snack food company. Today I was working in some small towns and had to make a stop at one small-town k-12 school. We deliver chips to a lot of schools all over the country so that they can sell chips in their canteens/cafeterias and make profit for various school activities/upgrades.

The secretary at this particular school informed me that the school division is requiring that principals create nutrition programs for their schools which they will implement in fall 2010. She was very upset that she would not be able to sell chips at the canteen as of fall 2010. She expressed her frustrations in that she had tried to sell a variety of health foods to the students (such as yogurt, fruits, veggies and dip) and had no success. The food expired and went to waste and they made no money for their school. Her argument is that a bag of chips each day really is not a big deal, so why set all of these regulations? Instead of staying at school during lunch, they are now just going to walk to the nearest convenience store to buy their chips and chocolate bars.

This viewpoint really made me think about what we are doing to change the current health crisis that is effecting people all over the world and especially effecting children. It made me think about smoking, alcohol, gambling, and other major health problems. Somehow my thoughts always ended up resolving to money and crisis. Why don’t we just ban tobacco altogether when we know that it has no health benefits and is contributing to the destruction of our environment? well…the answer is largely money. Why not ban the production of plastic now that we know it is destroying our world? Well, we do not believe we could survive without it…and there is a lot of money in that.

Check out this video on plastic and you will see what I mean:

Is our economy so dependent on health-destructive products and services that it would actually crumble if we tried to stop it? At some point, we may realize that a temporarily destroyed economy might have been better than a permanently destroyed Earth.

When an alcoholic goes to rehab, the alcoholic is not allowed to drink alcohol. In fact, it is typically completely unavailable to that person. After several intense weeks (and sometimes months) of training, the alcoholic returns to the real world “trained” to avoid alcohol and begin a new life. Unfortunately, even after all of that most alcoholics rebound at least once. So my question is: How do we take chips, pop and other non-nutritional foods out of schools when there is a convenience store next door or a pantry of goodies at home? Although not as extreme, this is similar to telling an alcoholic to stop drinking while handing them a beer. We can try to train our students to avoid these nasty foods, to avoid gambling, to avoid smoking, but when they are surrounded by it, what kind of chances do they have? It is nearly impossible to separate them from these things, to “train” them, to help some with “rehab”. We do not have the resources in schools, so should it really be the responsibility of schools? Should it be the responsibility of parents? Nutrition is becoming a major issue for both adults and children. If the large majority of parents are having this problem too, how can we expect them to be leaders in the situation? That is like asking an addict to help another addict recover! So who’s responsibility is it??? How do we stop this cycle of self-destruction?

These principals that are developing nutritional programs have quite the job to do and a whole lot to think about. It will be very interesting to see how their plans come into action in the next few years.

The following is a great article on this issue. Be sure to read the very last line of the article, a comment from a concerned parent: CBC kids health

January 18, 2010

About me

Filed under: Uncategorized — debyj @ 10:25 pm

Check out my video…a little bit about me:

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