ManACE Seed Grant Program – 2014

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As a Manitoba K-12 educator, could you use an extra $900.00? Is there an initiative, supported by technology, that you would like to explore or enhance? If so, you would be wise to investigate the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) “Seed Grant”.

Seed Grants #1 - 400x300

The available grant categories for 2014 include:

  • Two $900 grants awarded to K-4 teachers
  • Two $900 grants awarded to grades 5-8 teachers
  • Two $900 grants awarded to grades 9-12 teachers
  • Two $900 grants awarded to school-based projects that administrators, resource, and/or teachers might apply.

If you could use funding to purchase hardware, software and/or professional development, I encourage you to explore the ManACE Seed Grant brochure and application form. The application deadline is February 21, 2014, so it gives you ample time to decide on a project and involve students in your “digital pitch” presentation which comprises 30% of your grant evaluation.

To better appreciate the creativity and innovative ideas that have been submitted by students and educators in past, investigate past Seed Grant winning proposals. These eight projects can be found by scrolling down to the 2013-dated Seed Grant video submissions.

So “plant a seed and watch it grow!”

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Larger Image: Brian Metcalfe’s Teacher Feature “photostream”
http://www.flickr.com/photos/life-long-learners/

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Teacher Feature #28 – Pay It Forward Day

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I must admit that I look forward to reading the regular Saturday’s “Random Acts of Kindness” page in our local Winnipeg Free Press newspaper. With all the drama and sensationalism, that is often dispensed through our news media, it is so refreshing to read about individuals who do good deeds for others without any thought of thanks in return.

For this month’s “Teacher Feature” remix or mashup, I thought that I’d attempt to accomplish two tasks – one to inspire and one to remind:

Teacher Feature 28 - Pay It Forward Day

Teacher Feature #28 – Aesop – April, 2013

Following the inspiring pattern that I have established in my previous 27 “Teacher Feature” remixes, I blended a powerful message with a complementary Creative Commons licensed photo, together with its Flickr address. However, I also took the liberty of including a reminder for teachers and students that, each year, the last Thursday in April is reserved as “Pay It Forward Day”. Unfortunately, due to family commitments, I have not recently been blogging as regularly as I would like. As such, I missed giving adequate warning this year of the very powerful teaching opportunity of the “Pay It Forward Day”. It is hoped that teachers will print out this image reminder, or at least mark their calendars well in advance, to take advantage of this teaching opportunity in future years. Perhaps, Aristotle said it best … “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Larger Image: Brian Metcalfe’s Teacher Feature “photostream”
http://www.flickr.com/photos/life-long-learners/

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Lip dub: A Classroom and School Approach

Activity, ETMOOC, How To, Project, Tip 4 Comments »

After reading the earlier #ETMOOC post “Lip dub: I’m havin’ a good time!” you are definitely considering exploring this innovative and engaging activity with your class. However, your enthusiasm becomes somewhat dampened when you learn more about the two lip dub innovators, Alec Couros and Dean Shareski. When you discover that Alec is a professor, currently on sabbatical, from the Faculty of Education in Regina and Dean was a learning consultant for the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, you say to yourself … “Well if I didn’t have a full-time job with a classroom of 32 needy students, I, too, could play around with technology and have fun creating lip dubs.”

Don’t give up on this activity just yet. True, Alec and Dean did an amazing job of encouraging and facilitating the collection of lip dub video clips from individuals in different geographical locations. However, I plan to demonstrate how much easier it is for a regular classroom teacher to create a lib dub activity with her/his classroom than the effort required to produce the more complex #ETMOOC lip dub.

Singing with Microphone

On November 8, 2012, I attended a Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) Technology Information Night (TIN). I invested $5.00 to offset my supper costs and was rewarded with three different 30-minute classroom-based, professional development sessions shared by Manitoba educators. The one learning opportunity that really resonated with me was presented by Christin Mackay, a Grade 4/5 teacher from Stevenson-Britannia School. In her presentation, “Creativity & Collaboration – Making Video Mashups”, Christin showed her engaging lip dub video that she and her 26 students created. Not only was her class’ lip dup video inspiring, Christin’s “behind the scenes” strategies in this classroom-based collaborative effort, were equally important. To help other classroom teachers, I’ll share Christin’s week-long lip dub activity tips below:

  • First, she selected a Sesame Street song which was popular with her students. The “What I Am” YouTube video, in which “Will.i.am” from “The Black Eyes Peas” sings with the various Sesame Street characters, was played for the class. This would become the audio track for the students’ collaborative lip dub video.
  • Lyrics for the song were prepared. For example, the YouTube video “What I am by Will.i.am – Lyrics (Sesame Street)” is a good resource.
  • Lyrics were displayed on a screen.
  • The song was played in class while the students viewed the lyrics and sang along together.
  • Students learned the song and were invited to sing along with a partner.
  • A student, who was reluctant to sing, was accommodated by allowing him to demonstrate his “air drum” technique.
  • Six computers were used on the day of the actual video recording.
  • Christin stressed that it is very important that the “frame per second” ratio is set to the same value on all computers being used.
  • The camera was positioned behind the lyric display screen.
  • Students, in pairs, came up to sing the whole song which was captured as a video clip.
  • After the 13 student-pair songs were recorded, Christin selected an “extended” video clip which best displayed the actions of each pair of students. Each “extended” video clip contained extra frames preceding and following the complete line of the song.
  • During the compilation process, it is important to ensure that every line of the complete song is represented by a student-pair “extended” video clip.
  • The individual audio tracks were removed from each student-pair “extended” video clip.
  • Although other movie-making applications would work, iMovie was used to edit and arrange the clips into the lip dub video.
  • Assemble all 13 “extended silent clips” into the new lip dub video timeline in the appropriate order.
  • Add the “What I Am” audio track to the video project.
  • Trim and “tweak” each of the 13 “extended silent clips” so that each video clip synchronized best with the particular “What I Am” audio track segment.
  • Add a title and credits to the video and save the resulting movie with a backup.
  • Share the final lip dub with students and celebrate. However, in order to protect the privacy of your students, do not transfer this lip dub video creation to an Internet video sharing service like YouTube or Vimeo unless you have appropriate parental approval.

Christin’s tips and strategies helped me better understand the lip dub process from a teacher’s point of view. Although there exist lip dub videos created by older students and adults, Christin shared important steps that demonstrate how younger elementary students can also be engaged in this fun, collaborative, learning adventure.

When comparing Christin’s classroom lip dub with Alec’s more ambitious #ETMOOC project, there are several factors which will appeal to those who might consider creating a class or school lip dub. Some of these important differences include:

  • Christin did not need to formally pool her students and engage a survey service to rate which songs were most popular with her students.
  • Her students sang the entire song so Christin had much more freedom in selecting a video segment that best showcased each student-pair. In addition, she had much more latitude in trimming video clips since each student-pair sang the entire song rather than the more restrictive single line.
  • Classroom or school lip dub activities have much more consistency with regard to video capture hardware and software. Alec had no control over the application or device used to capture the individual participants’ video clip. Nor did he have control over the video image size, resolution, or portrait or landscape formats. Christin, on the other hand, could ensure that all student-pair’ videos were captured in a consistent landscape format avoiding the dreaded “Vertical Video Syndrome” as demonstrated in this comical Public Service Announcement (PSA).
  • To accommodate collecting individual video clips (from Smart phones or web cameras on Macintosh and Windows-based computers), Alec had to set up a process for participants, from around the world, to send video files to him and the video editor. On the other hand, classroom teachers need only save consistently formatted student videos to a local computer or server.
  • With consistent video format, resolution, and layout, the classroom/school video editor need only extract an “extended” video clip showcasing each pair of students and save them in lyrical line order.
  • Based on the large number of video file contributions, Alec had to develop a file-naming convention so that each #ETMOOC video clip could be easily matched with the particular line of song lyrics. In Christin’s case, she did not need to establish a rigid file naming convention because she was working with a more manageable number of video files. Her main concern was to make certain that all student-pair video clips represented all the lyrics and music in the original song.
  • Undoubtedly the #ETMOOC video editor had to manipulate a large number of video clips in a wide variety of file formats, resolutions and layout sizes. Compiling and editing such diverse raw video clips required a highly talented video editor familiar with the advanced capabilities of a fairly powerful video editing tool like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro or Pinnacle Studio. On the other hand, it would be possible for a classroom lip dub to be easily edited and arranged on an iMovie or Windows Movie Maker-like applications with its more limited number of audio and video tracks.

As I was revising this post, I was delighted to receive an email from Paul Stewart – a Computer Technolgy teacher from Garden City Collegiate. Paul had just read my previous post entitled “Lip dub: I’m havin’ a good time!” and wanted to share with me the invigorating experience that his high school students had as they organized a school-wide lip dub. The following two videos were shot in “one take” and showcase how such a lip dub activity can enhance school spirit:

After viewing both of these videos, I was so impressed with the steadiness from the camera’s point of view. I emailed Paul and asked if the students used a tripod, on a moveable dolly, to capture the video. Paul indicated that in the 2011 lip dub the camera was hand-held by a student for the total duration of the “one-take” lip dub. However in the 2012 lip dub video, students made a home-made steadicam to help stabilize the shots. Paul even checked with the students to find out that they built the steadicam after watching the instructional YouTube video entitled  “Awesome Directors Project : $15 DIY steadicamin 15 minutes!”. This “do it yourself” project is one that students, who are engaged in making videos, might like to attempt. Undoubtedly the resulting steadicam device can be used to make more professional looking videos.

In closing, I will list a variety of different innovative lip dub YouTube videos to motivate students and their teachers:

I trust that the information presented by both Christin and Paul will help motivate you to engage the students in your classroom or school to demonstrate their creativity through a lip dub activity. Should you become engaged in your own lip dub learning adventure, I encourage you “pay forward” your tips, resources, and experiences by leaving comments at the end of this post to help motivate and encourage other students and educators.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credits: – Flickr – Creative Commons image “singing” by Anthony Kelly
– http://www.flickr.com/photos/62337512@N00/4319350283/

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ManACE Seed Grants Deadline – March 15th

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Eight $900.00 educational grants are available to help fund innovative students and teachers in Manitoba’s K-12 schools. The Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) has allocated $7200.00 to be awarded to Manitoba K-12 teachers and school-based projects during 2013. However, the March 15, 2013 deadline is fast approaching.

ManACE2I encourage educators to visit the ManACE web site at www.manace.ca to view the 2013 SEED Grant Brochure and complete the three step application process. So why not give some serious thought on how you and your students can demonstrate the creative use of technology? Perhaps your passionate digital story will be the innovative spark that illustrates how technology can be creatively used in your school. Imagine how your teaching might change if you were awarded one of these $900.00 grants!

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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Without an “O”, we can’t s_lve pr_blems!

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The purpose of this post is to discuss problem solving, the “Oh” moment, and to request help from readers to identify additional examples of K-12 problem solving activities/projects that engage students.

The Back Story
“What prompted this focus on problem solving?”, you ask. This past Christmas, my wife received an iPad as a gift. One of the first free apps that we installed was “Draw Something“. This problem-solving activity asks participants to draw representations of one of three different words. In our case, the drawing was then shared online with a particular family member. The recipient watches a short video of the drawing being created, together with clues as to the number of letters in the word as well as a variety of letters that may, or may not, be part of the word.

For example, our older son sent us the following picture which represented a seven character word which might be considered as a “university activity”.

DrawSomethingPuzzle

Now both my wife and I attended university but struggled to figure out what the person was holding. We utilized a popular problem solving strategy in which we dialogued and thought “out loud”. Our conversation went something like this …

Wife: Do you think it’s a coil ring binder?
Me: No there is not a “B” as one of the 7 letters.
Wife: Maybe it’s a sheet of music held by a choir member?
Me: Well if I had drawn the picture of a person singing, I’d have included musical notes.
Me: I know. It’s a beer tankard.
Wife: Well there are two “E”s, but no “B”.
Me: I note that there are two “E”s and two “O”s. Perhaps they are double letters as in “beer” or “food”. What do you think?
Wife: With only seven letters in the word, both double “E”s and “O”s cannot be included together.
Me: Well … we’ve successfully solved the previous 19 games so I hate to give up.
Wife: Why don’t we press the “crossed-arrows” button (on the right) to rearrange the 12 letters in a different format? Perhaps we will see a new letter pattern.

We repeatedly clicked on the “crossed arrows” and no matter how those twelve letters were re-arranged, we did not get any inspiration or clues as to the nature of the drawing.

The critical “Oh” or “Aha moment” occurred for me when I turned off the iPad (by holding down Wake/Sleep button) and restarted it. When I selected the “Draw Something” game, the same “university activity” challenge picture was still displayed and the following 12 letters were offered up as clues.

1ST Letter Grid

However, the important clue was that they were not just the original 12 characters, in a new, scrambled layout format as generated by the  “crossed arrows” button. Rather, this new set of 12 characters were different from the ones presented in the original drawing shown above.

This revelation was a problem solving break-through! I wrote down the above 12 characters and repeated the process. Each time the game was re-booted, I wrote down the new 12 character display and repeated this five more times.

My wife and I wrote down the six sets of 12 character clusters as shown below:

RED Letter Grids

Our next step was to identify which characters were common to all six sets. To illustrate this process, I have coloured in red the seven common letters that appear in all of these 12 character clusters. We finally were making headway as we identified the following seven letters that needed to be unscrambled to solve the picture:

U   L   O   O   S   P   C

My wife and I looked back at our son’s drawing and started to rearrange these seven characters. I finally thought that perhaps the last three letters might be “C U P” and suggested that perhaps there was a Norwegian trophy known as the “O S L O C U P. Unfortunately, when we dragged the seven letters into the available spaces, the application prompted us with “guess again!” My wife took over and after several minutes, she dragged and arranged the letters to spell the word “S O L O C U P”. The “Draw Something” app congratulated us and my wife and I looked at each other with a dumfounded amazement. While we share a total of 11 years of university, we were never exposed to this activity. In fact, I had to search Google to find out what the term “SOLOCUP” meant.

However, the challenge of this “Draw Something” activity got me thinking about the different ways that people, and in particular students, solve problems and how we, as teachers, might foster thinking “outside the box”.

How does this relate to the classroom?
As a former Mathematics and Computer Science teacher, I have always been passionate about puzzles and problem solving. In fact, I still maintain that my high school Computer Science students focused not so much on proper syntax of the Fortran programming language but more importantly on the task of problem solving. In the early 70′s, my students had only one “run” a day (as I took their punched card programs to the university each night), so they focused on attention to detail and the art of problem solving.

Is there a way that K-12 teachers today can introduce engaging, problem solving activities/projects into their teaching. I admit that we all require some rote, lower-level thinking and learning. However, if today’s  Kindergarten students are going to be successful when they graduate from high school in 12 years, they must acquire critical, higher order thinking and problem solving skills. Certainly we cannot imagine what new technologies and jobs will be created and evolve over the next decade. However, I think that we can be quite confident that graduates that have practiced and honed their problem solving skills will be much more successful.

Audience Participation
Here is where I ask my readers to help me. I will list below a series of problem solving activities that I think educators should adopt/adapt for their classrooms. To enhance each entry, I’ll provide a hyperlink to more adequately describe the problem solving endeavour. I encourage readers to add their favourite problem solving activity/project, together with a descriptive link, in the comment area so that this post can benefit others through our collaborative actions:

aTdHvAaNnKcSe for sharing, in the comment area, other favourite problem solving activities/projects with an appropriate hyperlink.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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DS106 Tasks: You Snooze – You Lose!

Activity, DS106, How To, Reflection, Tip 2 Comments »

I’m having fun learning how to create animated GIFs with frames extracted from digital video. In fact, with practice, and the support and feedback of my DS106 learning community, I think I am getting better!

I created this animated GIF and then chose my title. The message combination resonates with me on two levels: the primary one which I’ll address now and the more subtle, subliminal suggestion (which I hope you can figure out), I’ll share at the end of this post.

Zorro as an animated GIF

DS106 Task Tips
This post’s title warning “You Snooze – You Lose!”, with its animated GIF, is a reminder to both DS106 participants (and me) to begin work early Monday morning on the current week’s “Daily Creates” and/or assignments. Those who wait until Sunday to complete the majority of projects assigned during that week will be not only frustrated but will miss out on many positive support and learning opportunities.

As the Digital Storytelling DS106 course moves into more participant-selected assignments and projects, I’d recommend the following:

  1. Plan out your upcoming week’s work early.
  2. Select your first weekly assignment carefully. Pick one that you feel you can accomplish in the least amount of time and, if necessary, with little time spent learning new applications or techniques. Once you have completed your first weekly assignment, you will be motivated and inspired to continue with others.
  3. In your blog posts, document your learning journey. Where possible, provide hyperlinks to tips and resources that showcase how you “tweaked” or made the assignment “your own”. Indicate, what you might do differently if you were to attempt this assignment again.
  4. Choose your “Daily Creates” with care. As an example, if you are instructed, as a minimum, to “do three ‘Daily Creates’ this week”, do not wait until Friday, Saturday and Sunday to tackle this task. Also, if you are weak using Photoshop (as I am), I might be tempted to bypass the Wednesday challenge asking me to “Design a poster of an action movie starring Julia Child” because I know it will require me to spend more than 20 minutes. However, don’t skip a “Daily Create” hoping that the next one will be easier. In reality, the “Daily Creates” are designed to stimulate your creativity and engage you in your learning adventure. No one appreciates this endeavour better than Norm Wright (from the Spring 2012 DS106 course) who shares more than a year’s worth of each days’ creativity in “All My Daily Creates”.
  5. Leave some “percolation time”. In order to be innovative in completing or designing your own assignments, you will need “think time” to explore all aspects of the endeavour before jumping into the task at hand.
  6. Investigate the DS106 Handbook for ideas and tips to help you progress, with fewer hassles. The associated links have been compiled from previous DS106 courses and represent the best resources.
  7. Invoke Google Reader’s RSS feeds in order to keep up-to-date with blog posts and resources shared by the DS106 learning community.
  8. Read other student’s blog posts and provide positive, constructive comments.
  9. Connect with other DS106 students (face-to-face or online) so that you have an idea of whom you might like to work with should a collaborative project be assigned.
  10. Sign up for Twitter so that you can monitor and reply to DS106-related tweets, which can be filtered, using the hashtags like #ds106, #dailycreate or specific iindividuals like #cogdog. I personally like to use TweetDeck, to organize Twitter feeds, as I can setup individual columns for “All Friends”; “Mentions”; “Search: #ds106″; “Search: #dailycreate”; “Favorites”; etc.
  11. Take time to send 140 character tweets (with the #ds106 and/or #dailycreate hashtags) to share your accomplishments. You will be surprised how many of your DS106 colleagues will check out your creativity and provide you with motivational comments.
  12. Faithfully read CogDog’s Blog posts and Twitter feeds (@cogdog) so that you are kept up-to-date on the many facets of the DS106 course.
  13. Always be generous when scheduling each project’s time estimate. Remember that when using technology, Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” If you have completed a DS106 assignment in less time than you previously estimated, then you are “laughing” :-)
  14. If you leave projects to the weekend you will miss out on the valuable aspect of reading colleagues’ blog posts and commenting. This important step helps build a productive and caring learning community.

Creating My Animated GIF
Without repeating myself, I worked through the basic tasks that I have already documented in my post entitled “The eyes are the windows into the soul. In fact, as someone who does not easily internalize processes, I find that if I document the steps in my learning journey, I can go back to that post whenever I need to repeat the process. In summary, I used these steps:

  1. I began, by selecting the YouTube movie trailer “The Mask of Zorro – Trailer”
  2. Since I am using an older Windows computer running the XP operating system, I used the PWN YouTube bookmarklet process for downloading the trailer and saved it as a High Quality MP4 file. 
  3. Next I used MPEG Streamclip to extract only the clip showing Zorro’s “sword play” near the start of the trailer. I was careful determining the “In ” and “Out” points along the timeline by using my arrow keys to move one frame at a time. Ideally, I wanted the final sword slash to end at a position near where the initial slash began. Such positioning would promote a cleaner, cyclic animated GIF. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video footage where Zorro uses his rapier in repeated, distinctive “Z” slashing moves, so I did the best that I could in selecting the start and end points of this trimmed video clip.
  4. I extracted 16 frames that I imported into GIMP as separate layers. I then followed the detailed steps in the DS106 Handbook link “Creating Animated GIFs with (free) Open Source Software”.

I admit that I do not understand the complexities of GIMP and follow the instructions blindly. However,  having a link to these important instructional documents, always helps me in the future. I know that if I enter “animated GIF” (without quotes) into my right-hand “Search L-L-L Blog” field on my blog, I will find posts explaining how to create animated GIFs. I know that if I scan each post for hyperlinks, I’ll find valuable resources to help me create another animated GIF.

I’ll always like to ask myself … “If you were to repeat this assignment/project, what would you do differently?”. For this activity, I’d like to follow up on Alan Levine’s suggestion to try and reduce the size of animated GIFs. To do so, I would like to see if I could delete some of the 16 frames that I extracted without diminishing the visual appeal of the sword play.

Did you find the subliminal message?
At the start of this post, I suggested that the title “You Snooze – You Lose!” and Zorro’s distinctive, three stroke rapier cut “Z mark”, shared a subtle, subliminal message. One might suggest that the animated GIF, that I created, produces a repetitive pattern of “Z Z Z Z …”. In the English language, the symbol of repeated Zs often means that an individual is snoozing or snoring. Thus Zorro, with his distinctive sword-play, is subtly reinforcing the title message that snoozing or snoring during the DS106 term not only causes the individual to lose out, but perhaps equally important, the DS106 learning and support community loses an important contributing component … You!

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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Free Motivational Educational Posters

Activity, DS106, ETMOOC, Food for Thought, Info, Tip 6 Comments »

An old adage states that “a picture is worth 1000 words”. Based on this premise, what teacher would not want access to an innovative resource of educational posters worth 207,000 words?

Recently, I serendipitously chanced upon Krissy Venosdale’s amazing resource of free, motivational posters. To help my readers appreciate her talents, I have included a sample of nine of Krissy’s 207 posters. Readers are encouraged to click on each thumbnail to view a larger version of the following posters:

Teamwork Internet Quotes
Science Isn't Cool? Think Again. collaboration
A Good Book Instead of
difference Today

In Our Classroom

Teacher’s wishing to peruse Krissy’s wealth of posters, should check out her “Free on Flickr!” Classroom Posters site. Here she advises readers of an efficient way to browse through her collection and offers how to download free posters in a variety of sizes for school use. I recommend readers also view Krissy’s “{Free}Posters” post to gain some important tips on the “crop ratio” when printing poster enlargements. Furthermore, I’d strongly recommend that you take poster images, on a memory thumb-drive/stick, to Costco, Staples, or your local camera shops printing and/or enlargement. Realize that many of the posters have a solid black or coloured background. If you choose to print such posters on a school printer, be prepared to spend your year’s allotment for toner or colour cartridge(s) in one poster “run”. Furthermore, you don’t want your administer referring to you as the school’s “poster boy/girl” ;-)

Krissy has not placed any stipulations on the free download of her posters or images that she has created and shared through her blog. However, as a professionals, I think educators who download images created by Krissy should consider adapting the Freemium model. Wikipedia defines Freemium as:

Freemium is a business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods. The word “freemium” is a portmanteau combining the two aspects of the business model: “free” and “premium”.

Krissy VenosdaleCertainly Krissy’s poster downloads are “free” (with no strings attached). However, I’d like to suggest that if we download a poster, we consider that our “premium” obligation is to send her a tweet to:[(at)ktvee] or email to: [Krissy(dot)Venosdale(at)gmail.com]
thanking her for creating and sharing these posters. To me this is a very small, optional “fee” to gain such a wealth of educational posters. However, as a recipient of comments to various blog posts, I know how motivating it can be to know that you have helped out a fellow teacher. I  feel confident that Krissy would appreciate receiving such feedback as to how her poster(s) will be used in your school or classroom.

In closing, I want to thank Krissy on behalf of my readers for her inspirational poster resources. When I found Krissy’s descriptive “venspired” image (shown above) and read her mission statement, I was so impressed with her passion for teaching and learning. Not only does this lady have engaged students; this lady has class!

Thanks Krissy for caring and sharing.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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ManACE Annual General Meeting – May 29th

Food for Thought, Info, LwICT, Professional Development, Social Networking, Tip No Comments »

The Executive of the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) are to be congratulated. They have arranged for Dean Shareski and Alec Couros to present “Learning in Public” at their AGM. As outstanding educators, this “dynamic duo” from Saskatchewan plan to “look at creating & sharing digital content & online collaboration”.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and connect in Winnipeg with other technology-using educators on May 29th at 7:00 pm at the King’s Head Pub at 120 King Street. Additional information can be found on the ManACE Memos blog.

All our welcome to this free educational experience. All that is requested is that you please REGISTER ONLINE to help the planning committee better organize this event.

Please view and/or print this ManACE AGM Poster and share it with your staff and other educators so that all that may be interested can attend.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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Under the Influence – Shaping History

Activity, Application or Web App, Info, Tip No Comments »

Teachers of History or Social Studies may find the following “Famous People Painting” to be a unique way of engaging students. If one clicks on the hyper-link or the image below, one will be presented with a much larger picture painted by the Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An. However, when one mouses over an individual on this web site, a tag identifies the person by name, whereas clicking automatically transfers one to an appropriate Wikipedia resource.

(Click the above image to transfer to the interactive site)

I encourage educators to share this resource with their students. Who knows, such interaction may engage students and help them appreciate how these individuals impacted society.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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Pay It Forward & The Power of a PLN

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All educators need to belong to a Personal Learning Network (or PLN). I am so much richer because I am able to connect, either in person or online, with like-minded colleagues who so willingly share and/or provide constructive feedback.

The power of the PLN was reinforced again last week. Although I am retired, I still enjoy attending regular meetings of the Manitoba Association of Educational Technology Leaders (MAETL). I was attending a meeting last Thursday when I took advantage of the collective knowledge of this professional group.

Knowing that I was in the process of writing a blog post about the upcoming “Pay It Forward Day” on April 26th, I needed to find a video that demonstrated the power of the pay it forward process. Six months ago, someone had sent me a link to a YouTube video suggesting that I might enjoy its message. I recall that it started with a young boy who falls off a skateboard onto the sidewalk. A construction worker takes the time to see if the young lad is injured before continuing on his way. The boy appreciates the caring gesture and pays it forward by helping carry groceries across the street for an elderly woman. This woman passes alongside someone who is looking for change to put into a parking meter and she provides the coins, and this “good deed” process continues throughout the video. Each recipient of these small acts of kindness pays it forward in turn. Unfortunately at the time, I did not bookmark the video or save this YouTube URL for later use.

As I started writing the former blog post, I remembered that I had seen a YouTube video that would be a great resource to stimulate class discussion on the pay it forward process. However, no matter what search terms I used to try to retrieve this video, I was unsuccessful.

However, at the end of our formal MAETL meeting, we have a “Short Snappers” agenda item, where anyone can share quick tips or web site resources that might benefit others in the group.

During “Short Snappers”, I used a process call “crowd sourcing” when I described the video that I was hoping to find to members in my professional learning network.

Some of my colleagues had seen the video and thought that it might have been part of a commercial.

However, within three minutes Joan Badger, a Curriculum Coordinator with St. James-Assiniboia School Division, had searched YouTube and had located the following powerful “pay it forward” video. I urge readers to follow this link to see how they might incorporate this powerful YouTube video into their “Pay It Forward” activities:

 

Watch this….
You will definitely share this……mp4

 

 

 

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credits: Thanks to Justin Tarte for granting me permission to use the above Professional Learning Network image from his June 27, 2011 blog post entitled “The value of a PLN …

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