Monday, March 7, 2011

Final Thoughts (for now!)

The title of this post is not implying that I am finished with this blog, as I hope to continue it as I head off for student teaching, but rather signifies an end of another semester and in fact the end of another degree!
I created this blog as an assignment for the Internet for Educators course that I have been taking this term.  It has been an excellent course and I have certainly been introduced to many new ideas regarding education, technology in education, and ways to continue to learn and grow as an educator.  

Throughout the course there were some very clear themes presented to us through a variety of presentations regarding the internet and education.  The idea of creating PLN’s or Personal Learning Networks for ourselves and our students, the idea of incorporating Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Ning into the classroom and to use them as a learning tool.  We looked at ways students can learn online through virtual worlds and web-based courses, how we can incorporate mobile devices into the classroom, and use Web 2.0 tools for student assignments and learning.  As well we touched on many issues regarding using technology in classes, such as safety, blocking and filtering of sites in schools, what type of mobile device could be best suited for the classroom, and on how we need to educate students to be responsible digital citizens.  We covered A LOT in the few weeks that we have been in this course!  

When I paused and reflected on everything that we had done in this course and on what I had learned in the course for our summative assignment, I decided that I wanted to create something that could serve as a future resource to myself and others covering what we had done.  We were introduced to so many valuable resources and ideas throughout the course that I wanted to try and compile them into one resource.  This resulted in creating a LiveBinder at, titled 'Internet for Educators'.  LiveBinders was a site that I was introduced to during the course and had felt that it could be very valuable to an educator as it is an easy way to keep all resources on a particular topic in one place, and as well save some research for others working in the same subject area.  I feel that the use of LiveBinders holds some serious potential for students in our classes, especially for any research projects that they may do.

Feel free to use this binder as you like.  I attempted to put in many of the resources that we had discussed and as well find some other resources that could assist us when attempting to incorporate technology into our classes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Networked Learner

Alec Couros, who is a professor at the University of Regina, joined our class Tuesday, via Elluminate.  He discussed the idea of a networked learner with us.  Early in the course we were introduced to what a Personal Learning Network (PLN) was, and how we could create an educational online community to learn from.  This network is created through the use of social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, through individual blogging and subscribing to educational blogs, Google Docs, Flickr, and Skype, to name a few. 

The idea of a Networked Learner is when the concept of a PLN is applied with our students.  Students can create their own learning networks, using many of the same tools that we have been introduced to they then have the ability to become a networked learner.  Applying this in class would be very beneficial to students as they will discover that learning can be done in various locations and at any time, learn how to seek answers from their own personal learning community, and discover the wealth of information available to them. 

By having students create and develop their own PLN’s, and demonstrating to them how we use our own PLN’s, I think this will help instill the idea of lifelong learning in our students.  Having student’s create their own PLN’s puts them somewhat in control of their own learning, and they can discover how easily they can collaborate and help others, and learn from others.

The following video was one that we watched during the presentation.  In it a 7th grader explains to the audience how her learning network is set up, how she uses it, and how she benefits from it.

Within the idea of PLN's comes the theme of collaboration.  Alec discussed using your PLN as a method of collaborating with colleagues and experts from around the world.  The same applies with our students.  By having students create and manage their own PLN's we are providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with other students and teachers world-wide.  This in itself provides students with unique learning opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them.
Alec Couros has made many valuable resources publicly available through his “Open Thinking” blog ( and his “Open Thinking Wiki” (

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Presentation Time!

Our presenters this week were our fellow classmates, presenting on a variety of topics. Everyone did an excellent job and covered a some interesting and relevant topics. There were a couple of presentations that further interested me in the subject area.

The first presentation was on what type of mobile device would be best suited for the classroom and learning. The guys compared smart phones, iPads, and laptops. They developed a whole list of criteria and method of rating each device. I found this interesting, as part of this class we are able to use an iPad for a couple of weeks (I'm currently writing my first ever blog post using the iPad!) and due this I have become much more interested in the possibilities that the use of an iPad in class present for learning and students. As I was scrolling through my twitter feed this morning I discovered an interesting presentation on 47 different ways to use an iPad in class. There are certainly some great and interesting ideas presented here. The presentation can be found on the EDTE.CH blog under 'Interesting Ways' located at You can also find various other resources and ideas for using technology in the classroom.

The other presentation that really caught my attention was the one on social networking in the classroom. Now when I think of social networking my mind automatically jumps to facebook or twitter, what I did not realize was the wide variety of social networking sites available based on interests. One in particular this group mentioned was italkie, a site where people can connect to learn new languages. The other aspect of this presentation that I liked was how the group used screenr to present. Screenr allows a person to make a video of the screen they are looking at and add a voice recording on how to use the site. This tool alone could be very effective in teaching students about a particular website or for the students to create videos on how to use certain websites.

Overall the presentations were very well done, and once again I was introduced to a variety of ideas to consider!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Can We Do Now?

In Thursday’s class we were fortunate enough to have yet another inspirational speaker present to our class.  Darren Kuropatwa, who is the Conseiller pédagogique for the Bureau de l'éducation française, spoke to our class about how we are assessing students.  He pointed out to us that schools do an excellent job of providing real audiences for the school’s athletes, and the school’s musicians, and for drama productions.  As soon as an audience is provided for students it adds another element, as students want to be sure they do a great job in front of this audience.  However when we are assessing students in EAL, Science, Math, Social Studies, etc. we do not provide the students with an audience to display to what they have learned.  If we could provide some sort of audience to showcase the student’s learning to, would this not be more beneficial to student learning and would it not make assessment and learning more realistic for the students?

During the presentation Darren showed us a video from YouTube of a Grade 5 class singing ‘Landslide’ by Stevie Nicks.  He went on to tell us a story behind the video – apparently the class teacher made a habit of recording his students performing and posting the videos to his blog and to YouTube for the student’s friends and family to view.  The story goes that Stevie Nick’s manager came across the video and showed it to Stevie.  She was so impressed and touched by the video that she invited the class to her sound check when she was performing in New York’s Madison Square Gardens.  The class had the opportunity to perform their rendition of ‘Landslide’ to Stevie Nicks and she spoke with each child after the performance.  Now talk about providing an audience to showcase what you have learned!  I thought this story was phenomenal and just illustrated how the Internet can not only connect us but provide us with some amazing opportunities.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could provide more opportunities like this for our students?  I think the first step in doing so, is allowing students to publish their work and their thoughts to the Internet whether it be a video that they make, a performance, through blogging, or social networking, and seeing what kind of learning opportunities this publishing of work can provide to the students.

Darren also discussed with us how he has incorporated the use of Flickr into his Math classes.  I found this very interesting.  Darren would create assignments for the students to apply what they were learning in math class to real life situations, and through the use of Flickr he was able to provide them with a place to publish their learning and comment on each other’s learning.  For an example, Darren asked his class to take a picture of quadratic functions that they encounter in their daily life.  They would then post this image and tag it with notes, explaining the quadratic functions.  Brilliant! This idea of using Flickr to demonstrate and apply learning could be adapted and used in so many different subject areas.

Darren provided us with a few more examples of how we can use the internet to increase student learning and how we can provide an audience for assessing student’s work, rather than relying on pencil and paper tests and assignments.  I believe that it would be beneficial to students if we can provide them with more opportunities like the ones Darren mentioned.  However some of these opportunities will be dependent on the school division or school that you may work in.  I think Darren’s presentation and ideas are yet another reason to be advocating for more computers and internet resources to be available to both teachers and students in the classroom.  We need to make learning as interactive and engaging as possible for our students and technology provides us with endless possibilities to do so, effectively.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Technology for Teachers

Now who doesn’t like the sound of that?! It’s actually the name of the blog that I have been following via RSS feeds.  The blog itself is created and updated by Richard Bryne who is a full time high school social studies teacher in Maine and a Google certified teacher.  As well he does presentations and professional development workshops for various organizations and schools.  The blog can be found at: 

Personally I decided to follow this blog because I thought it sounded interesting and that I would be able to somehow benefit from reading it and I have certainly not been disappointed with those expectations!  Not only does Bryne put out several weekly posts, but his blog is full of valuable resources including tutorials for using a large number of the tech tools he discusses.  There are video creation resources, Google tutorials for using the Google tools and apps, information on developing blogs and websites, and information on creating an online PLN.

I’ve found this blog to be a wealth of information and would recommend that you follow it as well!  Richard Bryne is also on twitter @rmbryne.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Using Web-Based Courses from Manitoba Education

Earlier in the term I discussed the idea of using Web-Based Courses and some of the benefits of using them.  Since then I have spent some time exploring the Web-Based Courses offered through Manitoba Education using the online Blackboard Learning System.  There are a large variety of courses offered including Applied, Consumer, and PreCalc Math, Physics, Biology, Science, Digital Pictures, Drafting, Computer Science, Agriculture, ELA, French, Social Studies, and Physical Education/Health Education, to highlight the main ones.  Not every course is offered at every grade, it varies.  Now of this list of courses the one that I personally find most interesting is the PE/HE course (probably because I have a PE background!).  So I began exploring the Web-Based Course for Grade 12 PE/HE.

To assist students with becoming familiar with the Blackboard Learning System, there is an online orientation complete with screen shots to explain the different tools to students.  I think it would be important to have your students complete this orientation so that they do become familiar and comfortable with the system. 

The course itself is nicely broken down into its modules, as per outlined in the curriculum, and from there manageably broken down into lessons for students.  I can honestly say I am surprised at how the course really only uses writing to convey information to the students.  I was somewhat expecting that there would at least be links to valuable videos or presentations, or videos or podcasts embedded within the course to give it some variety for students.  I feel that a student who does not excel at learning through reading and writing, would find this web-based course particularly challenging.

I was also surprised at how little interaction there is within the course.  I do realize that I was just demoing it, and that a student actually taking one of these courses would still have an instructor, so I suppose that may make it more interactive. 

Something to keep in mind I guess is that the PE/HE Web-Based Course is really for the health side of the course.  Students are required to do and record a certain amount of hours of physical activity on their own as well.

I did like how none of the assignments were posted.  Obviously done for several reasons, but I think it is beneficial for students so as not to overwhelm them with all their assignments at once.  Posting them as they come up would make the course more realistic and manageable for the students.

Overall I like the set-up of the course, very straightforward and easy to follow. I would most likely use this as an additional resource in prepping for my own lessons.  I am not sure that I would have my students use it, given the choice; I just feel they would not find it interactive or stimulating enough.   However I would like to see the course develop to become more interactive and dynamic for students.  With all the resources and tools available on the web, I think that with some creative thinking and time (and probably some funding…) that this could be successfully done.

Glogster in 90 seconds

Here's another video, a little less in depth than the previous!


So I literally stumbled upon this site tonight (without the help of StumbleUpon!)  I was browsing through some of the links Mike has on is ICT at BU site, and going through some of the real-life examples provided.  I took a look at Mrs. Cassidy’s Class site, where I saw that they were going to be using Glogster.  The name itself catches your attention, so I instantly wanted to find out what this site was all about and how Mrs. Cassidy could be using it in her Early Years classes.  I see that Glogster has been around for a few years now; however I personally have never come across it or heard of it.

Glogster in the simplest terms is an online poster.  But not just any poster – you can easily add links, text, graphics, images, videos, recordings, and music!  Basically you add anything you want to your Glog!  You can use your own images, videos, & podcasts, or you can search the web and copy and paste the URL of the images or videos you would like and that image or video appears in your Glog!  Seems like there would be endless possibilities and that students could express their creativity and have fun doing so!  Glogster is easy enough to use that students as young as Grade 1 are successfully using it.  This link will take to an example of a Glog focused on Egypt:

There is also the GlogsterEDU specifically designed for teachers - yay for us!  The cool part about GlogsterEDU is that the teacher creates the account and specifies how many students will be using it (can support up to 200 students per teacher).  Glogster then generates a username and password for each student that the teacher gives out.  The really cool thing is then the teacher easily has access to each student’s Glog assignments.  No need to hand anything in or print anything off! 

Posters are a common assignment for students in various classes.  I think this site provides a fresh approach to a classic assignment and applies the technologies that are now available to us.  Students will be able to develop a very interactive poster or Glog that pulls information from a variety of sources or they can make it highly personal by using all their own photos and creating their own podcasts and video to embed within their Glogs.

I briefly played around with Glogster and it certainly is easy and quick to use.  You can play around and try creating Glogs without registering.  To check it out, explore, and create your very first Glog visit  Oh and did I mention it is free??  

Detailed Tutorial on Glogster EDU - Online teaching and learning tool

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sharing: The Moral Imperative

I recently watched a video by Dean Shareski all about educators and sharing.  Dean strongly believes that it is absolutely necessary for educators to be sharing with each other as a means to share resources to save time and a way to learn from one another.  He states that it is our ethical responsibility as teachers to be sharing.  Sharing ideas is an excellent form of teaching and learning, and we routinely ask our students to share with each other, so we as teachers need to be sharing as well. Especially when sharing is a way to share resources and ideas to save us time!

Dean commented that the easiest step into sharing is via social bookmarking by using sites such as Diigo.  Personally, this was my first step into educational sharing, and it certainly is an easy and beneficial first step.  Not only do social bookmarking sites allow you to keep track of resourceful websites, but you can share these websites with others and find valuable websites from other’s bookmarks.  More recently I have signed up on Twitter.  To begin with I certainly did not understand all the benefits that could be experienced from using Twitter.  It has certainly proved to be an effective way to connect with other educators (from around the world) and to share resources with each other.

Blogging is another effective means for both teachers and students to share (and another activity that I was unaware of how valuable it could be!).  It is mentioned in the video that blogging is a cheap and risk-free way to invest in your own career.  Blogging can be used as a reflective tool, a way to connect with other educators, a way for you to share ideas and resources and get feedback on, and an excellent way to introduce students to online sharing and learning.

Dean strongly promotes the culture of sharing in the video, and it is easy to see why.  Both we and our students, as well as our schools, can experience direct benefits from us sharing online.  Sharing also needs to happen with the teacher’s right in our schools and divisions, and does not necessarily need to be online in these cases, but online sharing is the most effective form of sharing in a global sense and allows you to connect with the best educators around the globe.  The question really is why isn’t every teacher sharing as much as they can?

The Principal of Change

Last Tuesday our class was fortunate enough to have George Couros Skype in.  George is a principal in Alberta, and in particular is a principal who absolutely embraces technology.   The use of computers and the internet for learning is very prominent within his school-early years students even use blogging as a tool to learn, share, and reflect!  Very impressive if not amazing that this school is so on board with the technological movement and have the support of their parental community.   

George’s presentation to our class was both refreshing and inspiring.  It was so great to hear about a school that is using technology to their advantage and for the benefit of their students.  Too often this is not the case and you hear (and experience) how schools and divisions block many sites that can prove to be beneficial to learning.  At George’s school they prefer to allow students and teachers access to these sites and to focus on teaching students how to appropriately use the internet and social media.  As part of this process students have an online presence and identity, using their first name, last initial and date of birth.  Now many people would automatically think that it is not safe to use your real name online, especially for students.  However this school believes that students need to become responsible digital citizens and need to realize that they can be held accountable for their online actions.  This is fantastic!  Schools spend so much time preparing their students to be good citizens, now with digital age I believe schools should also be preparing their students to be responsible and accountable digital citizens.

Blogging is an activity that the school does whole-heartedly-teachers, students, and even parents become part of the blogging process and the learning that is associated with the blogging.  Students as young as grade three (I believe) participate in blogging for their classes.  With blogging the classroom and learning is suddenly accessible anytime and anywhere. This is ideal for educators, as we want to encourage students to actively participate in their education and especially to participate outside of school hours.

I think it would be wonderful for our students if more schools would embrace technology the way George’s schools has.  Students are using these technologies outside of school so we should using them in school to keep learning relevant and interesting for our students, as well as to prepare them for life outside of school.  The world is becoming increasingly technologically advanced and shows no signs of slowing down its use of technology, so we as educators need to prepare students the best we can to be successful in this ever-changing world of technology.  And to do this we need to be using technology as a means to teach and to reach our students.   

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shape Collage

This week our instructor showed us a bunch of different, useful and cool sites.  He showed us how we could use Evernote, Slideshare, Livebinders, Animoto, BlipFM, and Shape Collage, just to name a few-all free resources available on the web and could easily be incorporated into lessons and assignments or simply for personal use.

I thought Shape Collage looked pretty cool, so I downloaded it.  It saves to your computer and allows you to customize a variety of collages using your own photos.  You can specify how many photos you want in the collage, how large you want the photos, and what shape you would like the collage to be in.  When you are happy with the collage you have created you simply save it to your computer (or wherever you like to save your work!).  I think Shape Collage grabbed my attention because I have a lot of photos that I can play with and I thought it could be an excellent touch to projects or assignments to give students (or yet another great way to procrastinate from doing actual homework...)

Here is a quick collage I created (sticking with the New Zealand theme!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand

The Internet-Making us Smarter or Dumber??

There is an on-going debate about whether the Internet is making us as a society smarter or in fact dumber?  As with every societal issue there are pros and cons to both sides along with some interesting points. 

The Internet provides users with a wealth of instantly accessible information and an abundance of creative freedoms.  Of course a percentage of this information available is rubbish but there is plenty of information and videos accessible via the web that can be very beneficial to learning.  Videos are become ever-more popular, but the majority of information available is still provided through written text.  Users must read the information in order to benefit from reading it.  TV, another popular media, requires minimal, minimal reading and it could be easily argued that the TV has far less benefits than the Internet, but that would be a whole other debate. 

The Internet has also brought a whole new meaning to the word collaboration.  People from all around the world can easily collaborate and work together through the Internet.  A prime example of this is Wikipedia.  People have worked together to create and edit this online encyclopedia that has become a starting point for research in many student projects.  The increasing use of wikis in general for course work and interest, demonstrate ongoing collaboration, people learning from one another.  How can we argue that this is making us stupider when it seems obvious that it is making us smarter?

On the flip side there are the groups who would argue that yes in fact the Internet is making us dumber, and they would argue that they can demonstrate this through research that has been conducted.  They argue that evidence demonstrates that the constant and numerous distractions on webpage’s are turning us into very scattered thinkers.  They also argue that people who frequent the web comprehend less of what they read, that they are less creative and less productive, and have poor concentration skills.

The main argument for the idea that the Internet is making us dumber revolves around attention.  The constant distraction on the internet such as links, advertisements, and trying to multi-task several things, is affecting people’s ability to concentrate and focus their attention in on one thing.

I am not sure if saying a person is more distracted is saying the same as they are becoming dumber.  I believe there are pros and cons to the incredible use of the Internet, but that the pros easily outweigh the cons.  We have instant access to news and information, and an incredible easel with an audience for creativity, and the development of new skills.  However I think it is still beneficial for people to perform tasks that require their undivided attention, as these types of exercises (e.g reading a full book, etc) can be greatly beneficial to the brain. 

Following the lines of this debate, Matthew Nisbit a communications professor discusses if the Internet is making us smarter or dumber, addresses some of the positive changes and as well some of the negative consequences @

Does the Internet Make You Smarter?
Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Social Networking and Education

Social Networking holds some enormous potential for education, as Dr. Glen Gatin pointed out in class on Thursday.  Wikis, blogs, Skype, Moodle, virtual worlds, and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can all be integrated successfully into the educational system and students can benefit from the use of these tools.

I can clearly see the benefits of using a class wiki – all assignments and homework can be posted, parents and students can remain updated with the class, and students can always have access to course material at any time.  Moodle can provide similar benefits, and I know I certainly enjoy that I can access course material and information at anytime of day through Brandon University’s Moodle site.  I only wish every professor and instructor would use it and post all of the course work and have us students submit all of the course work via Moodle!   I can also clearly see benefits of using class and personal blogs as demonstrated to me through the use of personal blogs in this course.  Our students could experience the same benefits of collaboration and sharing of opinions/thoughts through the use of their own blogs for a class.  Skype is a favorite of mine as it is great for staying in touch with friends and family who live far away, but I think it also has many benefits for education.  It would be so easy to have guest lecturers or presenters through the use of Skype and create more engaging learning environments for our students. 

Now where Dr. Gatin kind of lost me was when he started discussing virtual worlds and the enormous potential that they hold for education.  I certainly have never been exposed to a virtual world such as Second Life except for in Dr. Gatin’s presentation and therefore still do not truly see the benefits that it can have on education.   So I did a quick Google search and came across this article Another Life: Virtual Worlds as Tools for Learning located at  It certainly gives you some things to think about with using a virtual world as a learning tool.  It discusses Second Life, what people do in virtual worlds, how corporations are already using virtual worlds for their employees learning, and where we are headed with the idea of virtual worlds.  Also interesting was this article - Educational Frontiers: Learning in a Virtual World at .  This article is written by a Professor of Computer Science at Colorado Technical University and discusses how to successfully incorporate a virtual world as a learning tool and the benefits that these virtual worlds can provide to students.   I am personally not completely sold on the benefits of using a virtual world as a learning tool as I think face-to-face learning has many benefits for students, but I can see the possibilities that these virtual worlds possess.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Social Media in the Classroom

This week’s topic in class was “Social Media in the Classroom” and John Finch (MB Ed, LwICT) came to class to present on the topic to us.  There are plenty of examples of social media that are readily available and could be successfully integrated into the classroom.  Examples would include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  One of the first things we discussed with John was the use of Facebook by schools and schools divisions.  He informed us that Pembina Trails School Division had recently joined Facebook.  He also informed us that Facebook is currently blocked in all of the division’s schools!  It seems a bit ridiculous to acknowledge the potential of Facebook to be used positively by having the division join, but to not be able to access Facebook in the schools.  So then we started researching to web to see what other examples we could find of teachers or schools using social media in the classroom.
As we were searching I stumbled across an interesting blog describing how Facebook was being used in a First Grade Classroom.  In the blog they had used Prezi (online presentation tool) to create a valuable presentation on how they were using Facebook in the classroom and how positive it is.  This particular class was using Facebook as an educational tool by having the class update the status about what they learned in that particular class, to easily communicate with parents through the use of private messages and notes (rather than sending paper notes home which generally get lost!), and to post photos of samples of student work, just to name a few uses.  To check out the full Prezi presentation on how and why this First Grade Class is using Facebook check out:
Now when most people think of Social Media and specifically using Social Media in a Classroom, safety and privacy are two concerns that jump to many people’s minds.  These are valid concerns and teachers and schools do need to exercise caution when using Social Media.  I found an interesting article outlining guidelines that one particular School District uses when using Facebook as a communication tool.  This article can be found at:
Social Media in the Classroom, offers a fresh way to keep students engaged in their own learning, and is very relevant to their personal lives.  Students are all familiar with the various Social Medias available, and many students and parents already use Social Medias for personal use, so why not use them for educational purposes?  I think as educators we need to keep what we are teaching students and how we are teaching students as relevant as possible to the student’s lives to keep them engaged and excited in learning.  It would seem that many schools and school divisions are hesitant to use Social Medias as an educational tool as many divisions have these sites blocked.  How much more engaged do students become when you can show them a YouTube video as an example of what you are learning?  But how frustrating is it when you cannot access this at school?  I think schools need to be actively exploring the possibilities these Social Medias can provide to schools, teachers, and students in class and I think more school divisions need to take a step forward like Pembina Trails has and join some of these sites and begin to actively use them in a positive manner.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Web-Based Courses

This past Thursday Howard Griffith (MB Ed, Web Based Learning) was the presenter and Web-Based Courses were the topic…sounds interesting and unfortunately I was not available to make it to class.  So in lieu of attending the presentation I have been doing my homework and doing some reading about Web-Based Courses, and specifically about the program and the courses offered here in Manitoba to students.  The MB Government’s Education website has proved to be very valuable and you can read all about Web-Based Courses here in MB @ 
Web-Based Courses seem to me to be a natural progression in education from traditional Distance Ed learning courses, where students were sent a large package of course materials via snail mail and were required to send all assignments in via snail mail.  In today’s digital age it makes sense to me that Distance Ed learning be done through the use of the internet, as it is so much quicker and resources for help are far more accessible.
I believe that Web-Based Courses are an excellent opportunity for students in a small rural or northern school where subjects that they are interested in may not always be offered, or are never offered due to limited numbers of students interested in the subject or to not having a teacher available with the necessary background knowledge/training to teach the course.  This way these students can still have numerous options available to them and select courses that they need for their post-secondary education or for their own interest. 
Manitoba is currently offering a variety of courses that are Web-Based to students from Grade 9-12.  There are more courses available in each grade, with the most amount of choice at the Grade 12 level.  While browsing through the list of courses while in Blackboard Learning System that is utilized for these courses, it caught my attention that Phys-Ed is offered to both the Grade 11 & 12’s. This may seem strange to some people, as most people would think it absolutely necessary for phys-ed to be taught in a gymnasium, however I find it interesting.  The curriculum at this level is designed to encourage healthy lifestyle practices and students are responsible for a designated amount of activity hours outside of class.  The implementation of the Grade 11 & 12 PE/HE curriculum has been said to be difficult for some schools, as space can be an issue when timetabling.  A Web-Based Course could be the solution for some schools.  I began to do some searching in the area of online phys-ed courses and discovered that in places in the US it has been offered this way for a few years.  An interesting article on the topic can be located @
I think that Web-Based Courses provide a lot of potential for education and for students.  And they are certainly a great way to provide opportunities to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to take a specific course.  I also think that they provide great opportunities for some schools as Web-Based Courses could provide solutions for certain difficulties that are reality for a lot of schools.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In our very first class of Internet for Educators we were fortunate to have John Evans (Professional Learning Consultant, MB Education) present with us.  The focus of his presentation to the class was on PLN’s.  Now as I was sitting there in class and wondering what the heck a PLN was, John very clearly demonstrated to us not only what a PLN was, but what steps we can take into creating our own PLN.
So, what is a PLN??  Well it is a Personal Learning Network, which is created by the learner and uses tools available on the internet to expand their personal learning.  It is a network that the learner creates using tools such as social networking sites and social bookmarking sites to build a community that will allow the learner to communicate with and learn from a variety of people around the globe.  Seems interesting…at least that’s what I thought!  I like this idea of building an online community to assist you in sharing information, expanding your horizons, and learning from various people in various locations.  And with technology today your PLN is constantly expanding and easily accessible.
This seems like a natural step in the learning progression for teachers.  Using the resources available to them through blogs, wikis, social networking, rss, podcasts, etc a teachers learning can continue anywhere at anytime.  And this personal network of learning provides the teacher with a community to help them find answers and provide them with creative new ideas!
During the presentation and since, I have taken the first (baby!) steps in creating and developing my own PLN.  It is something I want to further explore and develop as I can see it being very useful and beneficial to both my own learning and my teaching.