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Monday, February 28, 2011

Classroom Technology

I am the first one to admit that I am not up on all the technology that is available these days to use in the education of students. Whether it be the Ipad, Iphone, Skype, Livescribe, IWB, the list is endless. There are a few quotes that come to mind about the use of technology in the classroom: "The medium is the Message.", "Are the tools enhancing the learning process or just fluff?", "Don't use technology for the sack of technology." ,  "Technology Enhances but Never Substitutes" No, I am not against using technology in the classroom. I am just concerned that it is being used effectively. I am not in the classroom, I have used (at times even understand) very little of the technology. Someday maybe I will visit @hdurnin while she Skypes in her classroom or read & comment to one of @Grade1 's classroom blogs, watch a @Nunavut_Teacher 's Prezi, read @dougpete 's 'The Best of Ontario's Educators', be provoked by a @courosa or @gcouros or @joe_bower blog article, the examples can go on. As you can see education is not just for those in the classroom.

Monday, February 14, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I have become quite the Tweep. I do compose my own tweets, retweet those of others, follow people and am followed. However, it is the unlimited amount of information that goes by in a day that has got me hooked on Twitter. Daily you will read tweets and blogs advocating the use of twitter. To each their own. @kevcreutz says it nicely. I do admit that I do not tweet much and I retweet frequently. I am still developing and gaining confidence in my views to post them. In the mean time I follow people that I can gain knowledge and confidence from by reading their tweets and posts. I am privileged to have followers and appreciate their encouragement and support. We all started at zero tweets, followers and following. Some of us just take longer to catch on and get going. The same can be said for blogging. @NMHS_Principal & @dougpete have some great thoughts  about blogging. People will convert and connect in time. The Personal Learning Network and the resources that I am developing from belonging to Twitter have and will take me a long way. Thanks to all the Tweeps out there.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Whole Child

The Ministry of Education is seeking consultation on its next step of the 'Whole Child Initiative'. In Helping Kids Get A Stronger Start , the Ministry is consulting on its Early Childhood/Best Start Child and Family Centres. This is the beginning of the moving/merging different parts or Ministries into the Ministry of Education. I am waiting to see how all this plays out. Yes, the Government has increased Education funding but is it an increase or just a transfer of money along with other responsibilities. Streamlining within  and amongst Ministries is good. Read Dr. Pascal's Report Our Best Future: Early Learning in Ontario to see where things are heading. As Parents and as Educators we have the right to participate.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Role

Attending the Ontario Public School Board Association's (OPSBA) Public Education Symposium answered many questions, muddied others and poised new ones. Everyone seems to have different takes on the roles of Trustees.

Bill 177 the 'Education Act' and the Student Achievement and School Board Governance Act' may have tidied up the Education Act but with clarity also comes interpretation.  If may take awhile for a person to interpret, learn, understand, function and accustom oneself to the role of Trustee. Should one be continually questioning the Trustee's role and thus their own role? Sometimes the public's view of a Trustee can make things interesting. What do you actually do?  Are Trustees managers or leaders? Do we have all the responsibilities but no powers. Some people refer to Trustees as 'rubber stampers'. Are we the Spokesperson for the Board or the Public Relations Officer? You are 'My' Trustee.

Trustees set the Policy and the Staff produces and implements the Procedures. The dynamics, the interaction and  the relationship between Trustees and Staff to accomplish the Board's Policy can vary between Boards. If it works, it works. To each their own. I admit it may take a little while for me to come to terms with my role as Trustee however my learning is also those of the other Trustees. A new Trustee, a new Board, a new Perspective.

Although this article by Chris Kennedy is written from the viewpoint of a Superintendent most also applies to performing as a Trustee. 'Coaching In & Out of the Classroom' The Opportunity of a Lifetime and 'Thinking About Leadership' Personalized Learning as a Change Initiative, are again from a Superintendent's point of view but nevertheless are quite informative. I hope to be able to adopt and carry some of these traits with me as a Trustee. I am sure there will be a The Role Part II and even Part III & IV.