Why 289?

This blog was started as part of a University PLN course. I’ve since continued it’s use, because I find that the wealth of information present on the ol’ triple dub is too much to contain to a selfish bookmark list on a browser. If any colleagues out there (you) can find use from even one of these blog posts, then this blog’s existence is justified.

I explained the use of the online persona on anything Web 2.0 to my professor of the aforementioned course in the following manner:

  • I think of the online personality of 289CID as a brand
  • Being a brand, it reminds me that my responsibilities and actions towards posts must always be made in the professional nature of a teacher. I even try to limit my Tweets as 289CID to three categories only, education, comic-books, and running.
  • I can set security settings on all my Web 2.0 activities, but I acknowledge that they will never be secure. I consider the anonymity of 289CID as an “outside the box” security setting (I acknowledge it’s still not 100% secure).

As a final note, the 289 title was chosen for two reasons: 1) I intend to ‘retire’ after 289 links to beneficial web sites, and 2) the Cubic Inch Displacement of my 1965 Mustang is Two Hundred and Eighty-nine.


Being well, well said

BSD held it’s division wide “Wellness Day” yesterday. Employees were required to attend a morning seminar that discussed two topics, “Harassment in the Workplace, and Professional Online Awareness” (not sure if those were the exact titles, but I’m summarizing the content provided). Employees were also required to sign up for a Wellness activity of choice in the afternoon.

I absolutely, wholeheartedly approve of the efforts that The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) provides for it’s members. Having read about The unions in Ontario or B.C., I love being a teacher in Manitoba. I know our union always has it’s members’ interests at the forefront, and MTS diligently fosters a productive relationship with the Manitoba Government to achieve this.

Having said that, I don’t wish for my following comments to be perceived as trivial or petty. In my career as a teacher, I’ve walked paths in both subject areas of the seminar’s discussion, so I watched the presentation from more of an analytical viewpoint. Two pieces of constructive criticism for the obviously well-constructed, information-rich morning sessions are:

  1. individuals in Canada can not “file charges” against other individuals. Under Canadian law, individuals can only file a complaint, and then the responsibility lies with the law enforcement agency to file charges,
  2. I truly believe that educators who aren’t familiar with the digital aspects of Web 2.0 need to be encouraged not only to be aware, but also encouraged to be involved** in responsible use of Web 2.0.

In the afternoon, I simply chose the Art Session at a local high school, and worked on a project of choice. So I put my grading responsibilities aside, set my University homework aside, and placed my pencil in front of a canvas and started drawing.

It was a perfect choice, well made.

**update: I would be remiss If I didn’t mention MTS’s efforts to encourage members of CoSL to adopt Twitter usage

33. Comics in education, from theory to practice

I love the the Speigelman quote at the end of this article. It reminds me of the phrase I’ve heard before: “Students first learn to read, so they can read to learn”. I am pleased to see that Toon-books.com is implementing learning from reading, according to levels and the use of comic books. As a teacher, it’s nice to see available lesson plans, posters and guides.

“Cyber” is outdated and problematic when discussing moral culpability

I facilitated a “Cyberbullying” seminar for the Teacher Action Cohorts (TAC) of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society last week. It’s the first seminar that I’ve taken the lead on, and the “case of the nerves” have subsided somewhat. It’s one thing to engage students, but entirely another creature when realizing one is in the same room with professional colleagues. I’m grateful to my fellow TAC presenters for their assist.

I approached the presentation as an open dialogue. As a personal preference in any seminar that I attend, I like to be acknowledged as a participant, and not talked “to”.  I have a hard time not questioning anybody in a position of authority (perceived or real)… but that’s just me. That being said, I hoped the participants learned something from the information presented, and from the great dialogues that occurred.

I’ve had a few days to think about the content of the presentation, as I received a lot of great input from the participants. Three things I must change are:

  1. The term “Cyberbullying”. Bullying is bullying, anything based on use of electronic hardware and/or use of Web 2.0 should acknowledge digital devices/sites as just tools. I perceive the use of the term “Cyberbullying” issues a false perception as both a single-cause problem, and as a corollary, that a panacea is somehow available to teachers that would magically “cure” the issue.
  2. State the above fact at the beginning of the presentation. It is 2013, technology is here to stay, and educators have a moral responsibility to provide the best information possible as part of a responsible “in loco parentis” that our profession subscribes to.
  3. Continue to add sites that are available for educators to learn about and implement the emerging technologies available to Web 2.0. Speak the language of the digital native, and help create solutions.

I know you meant well Mr. Belsey, by coining a term for the use of digital applications in the social influences of group dynamics. However, I believe a single term is problematic due to reason #1 mentioned beforehand.

It’s my perception that the issue runs deep down to our anthropological roots. People have always wanted to be part of a group dynamic, they just have to be taught what is acceptable according to their respective societal norms. Including the proper acceptance and use of technology in a western culture, circa 2013. Those who are teaching, should be prepared.

32: Watch your online back

Through professional dialogue with a fellow colleague, I was informed about Google Alerts. In an age where people can assume online identities, Google Alerts is a simple service that allows the user to enter a name, or term of choice, and then Google provides a listing result of every link available on the net that has mentioned the name, or term.

Also worthy of note is the site DNS stuff. This site is a little less intuitive to navigate, but provides a similar service.

31: Why didn’t I think of this cartoon site?

Again, interests of mine collide: Howtoons.com is a site that offers educational lessons and games in a sequential art format. I’ve read a few examples offered on the site, and I have to give it approval. Usually, comics for educational purposes suffer in  quality of illustration at the expense of content. From the three or four examples I’ve read so far, I actually like the fluid artwork. It’s almost as if the person drawing the comics has a—*gasp*—affinity for comics!

30: Brain Tricks

Absolutely wonderful video on why attention can be/is diverted. I’ll remember to be a little more patient whenever I have to repeat myself explaining concepts to classes…and I’ll quit doing card tricks during the explanations.