Showing posts from June, 2011

Building Fences

Well, the time arrived to replace my fence.  I’ve been putting it off for a few years but got a good start on it this weekend.  I am thankful for my three sons, they were a huge help in digging post holes, putting up panels, and cleaning up the mess.  It’s a lot of work to disassemble an old fence and take all the old boards, posts, concrete, rocks, clay, and dirt to the dump.  We’re on a corner lot and it’s a weird feeling to take your fence down – you kind-of feel a little exposed in your back yard! There is another type of fence that teachers, schools, and Districts are required to build with technology – walled gardens so to speak.  We need digital places behind “fences” that are safe, secure, under our control, etc. where students can store their work, communicate with each other and their teachers, write and comment on each others work, etc.  Teacher’s also need digital spaces that have similar attributes so that the work they ask their students to do using digital tools is f

Are You a Learner?

Eric Hoffer’s quote really resonates with me… "In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." I connected for breakfast the other morning with twitter colleague and learner, Chris Wejr ( @mrwejr ).  Chris is a principal in an elementary school in a fairly remote school district.  He talked about the power of social media, in particular twitter and blogging, to facilitate his learning.  It is amazing how titles and hierarchies of the bricks and mortar world seem to disappear in the digital realm.  We talked about how we connect and learn along side teachers, principals, superintendents, and renowned speakers.  Last week Chris and another twitter colleague David Wees ( @davidwees ) facilitated a tweet-up learning event with the BC Minister of Education George Abbott ( @georgeabbottbc ).  Chris shares his learning freely, shares others learning and ideas freely, and connec

Is the Internet Killing the Planet?

A colleague of mine recently forwarded an article in the Vancouver Sun “ Could the Net be killing the planet one web search at a time? ” to which he responded “if there is a shred of accuracy to this article, the internet is an environmental nightmare of unprecedented proportions”.  I think it really depends on how you look at it… Do you ever think about what happens when you type a few words into a Google or Bing search and click the Search button?  I know I don’t.  But a lot happens behind the scenes 24 x 7 to make that amazing service work and quickly.  Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and now Apple have built enormous data centres around the world to deliver an amazing array of online services.  According to the article I referenced, our Internet search example caused 1-10 grams of carbon to be released into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.  You might think “1-10 grams”, who cares.  But when you add up the billions of searches, Facebook status updates,

The Future of Books

When you look back at the history of books, the story is revolutionary.  Before books and the ability to economically reproduce them, information and human knowledge was not easily shared.  There is a direct correlation between poverty and a lack of books or prosperity and access to books.  Books have had a multi-hundred year exponentially successful run! Enter the “e” book (eBook).  eBooks have some pretty compelling properties that differentiate them from traditional paper-based books.  Note that you will need to ignore copyright constraints for the moment to accept all these properties – I believe the copyright “problem” will solve itself in time.  eBooks don’t weigh anything, they don’t wear out, you can take hundreds or thousands with you on a simple low powered slate or tablet device, and eBooks are (will be) easily shared with others.  They don’t take up shelf space in a bricks and mortar store or library.  You can buy them while sitting on your couch at home, they are alway