Monthly Archives: September 2009

An overdue update – A teacher’s role in non-formal education

I was finally able to get caught up on viewing the Elluminate recording of this week’s EC&I 831 session that I had to miss due to previous commitments. Yes, another wild and woolly Saturday night, but it was good to get one more item checked off the ever expanding to-do list. The fact that I have come to view learning opportunities such as this as items on my to-do list is disconcerting, but I guess that is a topic to address at another time…

Alec presented us with a key question based on this week’s session: what is our role in non-formal learning? This is an interesting question for me to attempt to address. I am gainfully employed in the world of formal education and I am provided with professional development and other learning opportunities as a result. I am investing a lot of money in the world of formal education as I struggle to keep my head above water in year two of my graduate studies.  Yet I learn more about teaching through the people I follow on Twitter than I have in ten years of pro-d workshops and a year of graduate courses. I think this is largely due to the fact that I can pick and choose who I want to learn from and what I want to learn about. I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine many of my students feel the same way about non-formal vs. formal learning. If students are able to expand their knowledge by following their true interests through non-formal learning they should be encouraged to do so. While I am not aware of sites such as this in my subject areas, I would be thrilled with my students using resources such as the Khan Academy if I was a science or math teacher. I know many teachers would feel threatened by seeing their students rely on non-formal learning opportunities such as this, but I would feel like a hypocrite to not encourage my students to learn in a way that has served me so well.

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EC&I 831: Another course, another Couros…

The first week of classes are now but a memory. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down for my first Tuesday evening EC&I 831 class with Alec Couros, and now it is Monday and I haven’t done my “homework” for tomorrow’s session. Oh, the joys of life as a full-time teacher attempting to complete his graduate studies with two small boys under the age of three…

One of the topics Alec suggested we write about in our first class post was our perceived skill and knowledge level when it came to using social media. I must admit I thought I felt pretty good about my skills in this area until I took part in our first Elluminate session and couldn’t even get my microphone to work. Fortunately, I did manage to get my webcam up and running in the middle of Alec’s intro to the course which apparently wasn’t supposed to happen. Clearly I have a couple things to work on, though I am fortunate to have taken part in Alec’s crash course on social networking earlier this summer. I can appreciate the concerns many of my “classmates” expressed at the end of our first session regarding the technological overload they were dealing with. All I can say to them is that they are in good hands and that, though their brains will be hurting at the end of each class, it is a good kind of hurting. Looking forward to another great class tomorrow…

And so it begins…

On Thursday I received the long-awaited seal of approval from my district’s superintendent regarding my plan to pilot Google Apps. Strangely enough she had more important things to deal with but I’m thankful she found the time to review my proposal. However, the week I lost while awaiting her reply is going to complicate my implementation plan as I hope to have everything up and running by September 14th or so. Dare to dream I guess…

With that out of the way I embarked on my first attempt to register a domain name.  I thought this would be a relatively simple process and found a suitable domain name (kalamalkasecondary.ca) at domainsatcost.ca. Registration was easy enough, but I got hung up at the checkout as I kept getting errors saying I hadn’t set registered my domain with CIRA yet, even though I had. After spending about an hour getting nowhere (while in a summer masters course no less) I pulled the plug in order to resist the urge to throw my laptop through a window. That evening help arrived in the form of Peter Vogel, a valued member of my growing Twitter PLN. Peter spent some time offering tips and helped me get my domain name processed and paid for.

With my domain name registered and paid for I was FINALLY able to sign up for my Google Apps account.  My domain name synced up easily enough but now I have yet another hurdle to hop over. After registering I noticed my account was for Google Apps Standard Edition, not Education Edition.  I referred to Scott Meech’s blog for pointers and filled out Google’s request form for the switch from Standard to Education Edition and now I am playing the waiting game once more.

While I wait for Google to switch me to Google Apps Education Edition I intend to start creating student email addresses, class calendars, tomorrow. I am hopeful that all of this work will carry over in the eventual transfer to Education Edition and that I can begin to make serious progress in the next couple of days.