Saturday, February 14, 2015

The wiki for my class

The first attempt at posting information of a class online.

This is the initial plan for a class wiki. I would use this to communicate with the students. Assignments and discussions about them will had on this wiki.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Syllabus with 1:1 Classroom expectations.

This is the syllabus for a mock class I could possibly run as an after school camp with my Elementary students. As I was making the assignments I came up with some really cool ones, I think. I'll post them a bit later as I get more sleep over the weekend.

On the second page there are the Classroom expectations. I hope they don't sound too overbearing.

This is the file in google docs.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sound Recording Project

Everyone in the class is assigned a portion of a chapter to read. They record themselves and upload it to Soundcloud. A playlist of the entire chapter is made and listened to in class.

Movie Unit

This is the movie unit designed for Grade 6 elementary students as part of a final project or an after school extra curricular club. The basics of composition and and camera operation have already been taught, as well as the used of editing software.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blog 7: My thoughts on the best tool introduced in the EDUC932 course

There has been a plethora of tools introduced. Productivity tools like EverNote I have begun to use right away. I also started using f.lux the very first day I heard about it. Prezi is an exceptional presentation tool which has some very unique applications. But for me there are two things that are truly standout. Unfortunately these things have been around for a while and it's just been my stubborn apathy that has kept me from using them. Google Docs, and Twitter.

Twitter, where do I start? I thought twitter was for dim people who sought to lap up the dim musings of celebrities. Now I recognize that to only be a part of the twitter community. I've been shown that intelligent people too work hard to share and learn from from each other via this platform. For showing this to me and forcing me to start using it I am grateful.

Google Docs too seemed very elaborate and difficult to wrap my head around. I needed a crash course and a twist of the arm to really appreciate the versatility and wealth of the possibilities this software opens up. Having a smouldering resentment for the company has really hampered my uptake of their services. I'm pretty think like that.

Along with the software it seems this course has forced me to face my own senseless stubbornness when it comes to technology. It is definitely something that I have to get over. Maybe I'll twit about it. ;)

Blog 6: What are the most essential skills?

Well, in the blog post 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn, Leo Babauta compiles a pretty good list.

Leo begins by lamenting his own traditional education. An education that left many of the skills required in the world that never stops changing. He goes on to say that he and his wife are homeschooling their kids to allow them to explore their own education and not be stifled by the traditional education model.

He then spells out the 9 skills he seeks to instil in his kids, and recommends all children be taught.

Asking questions: Being able to learn on their own.

Solving problems: Being able to learn or do anything that needs learning or doing.

Tackling projects: Develop confidence and the habits of seeing large tasks thought to the end.

Finding passion: Allowing, and encouraging, the child to find and follow their interests.

Independence: Encourage independant trial end error, allow them to gain confidence through their own mistakes and accomplishments.

Being happy on their own: Make time for the child to be alone, following their interests, avoid coddling, and meddling.

Compassion: Be the example of compassion. Talk about the feelings of others, and how it is possible to help.

Tolerance: Allow for interactions with different people of different backgrounds. Encourage inclusiveness, and respect.

Dealing with change: Apreciate unpredictability, allow for adventure. Embrace whims and maintain a positive outlook on the uncertain future.

These are all quite lofty. But having read them I was struck by how few of these qualities I allow my students to express in class. To the point where I'm not even sure that they can.

I have just conceived an idea for a group project that will have them write their own dictionaries based off the reading passages in our Elementary text books. I will attempt to tackle the first 3 skills on this list with this activity.  It's a start.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Originality is synthesis.

Everything is a Remix

RiP: A Remix Manifesto

These two documentaries are a great introduction to the current issues surrounding copyright law. I particularly enjoyed RiP: A Remix Manifesto. It lays out the Remixer's Manifesto and talks about
how the protected ideas of corporations of yesterday are stifling the creative potential of companies today. The general premise is that nothing exists in a vacuum and anything new is just a novel combination of things that we already have. If we are not allowed to have access to ideas that came before there is no way to generate new and interesting ideas.

After watching these documentaries it is hard to side with the corporations and not the tiny upstarts that are making something new from old ideas. But as an artist, musician, or writer it is difficult not to feel threatened by the potential of having your images, music and books simply stolen. I feel that the copyright laws at the beginning of the 20th century had it right. Fifteen years after the death of the artist is enough time for protection of individual interests. Anything more is simply protecting the interests of a massive corporate machine at the cost of public good.

Are ideas property? I don't know. I feel that ideas are like children, they are your responsibility for the first 18 years, but after that it's unethical to keep them locked up in the basement.