Sunday, 12 October 2014

There's An App For That

I am finally getting a chance to get caught up on all of the interesting items people have posted this week. I am doing this outside on my laptop on a beautiful fall day, with some great coffee and my kids having a blast in our back yard. . This is a reminder to me about how far we have come with access. I believe it was our first class that Alec was co-running from his phone in an airport lounge somewhere. This sort of easy access into our lives is incredible! 

There are some downsides to this integration. I can't tell you how many concerts I have been to where it seems half the people are either taking pictures with their phones or tweeting about this incredible time they are having (but are actually missing). I am guilty of this for sure in the past and I do my best to experience those moments without distraction now. A perfect example of this was a few years back I was in a touring act called, "Star Wars Live". There was a touring orchestra, but they picked up a local choir to sing in each stop and I was a ringer for the choir. Anthony Daniels, who plays C3P0, was the host and we got to meet him before the show. As he was speaking to us, there was a young lady who was texting to her friends that she could not believe she was talking to Anthony Daniels. He actually had to go over to her, asked her to put her phone away and told her, "Please try to live in the moment, dear." Burn! 

Jennifer Stewart- Mitchell recently wrote in her latest blog about the ability of technology to empower. With some pretty basic hardware (an internet connection and a smartphone) anyone can access the same information and resources our class can access. We sometimes take the privilege we have of being able to communicate via the internet for granted. We have a voice while many others around the world do not. We also assume everyone we teach in our schools have similar access and this is not the case. While Jennifer's example spoke about her class connecting with student's across the globe, there are many people in Regina who could benefit from simple access such as a smartphone and an internet connection. 

Going back to Michael's presentation, I too was a little dizzy afterwards. While it was cool to watch in real time, I was a little intimidated. Sometimes the best way to learn is rather than a complicated method of wait and I will take you through each step, Michael and the class just went for it. It did show me the potential for Google apps or other similar interactive, collaborative technology. My school system has gone to an Office 365 environment and I am still trying to get my head around that. I am coming off two full days of technology presentations at teacher's institute when all I really want to do and need time for is to play around with what is out there. From Michael's introduction to Google apps I just need some time to try those apps out and see how I can use them to deliver my classes. 

In conclusion, this is an exciting time we live in. There is so much potential and I really feel the kids are ready, but the thing holding most of us back is the attitudes of the teachers. There is fear of getting outside of our comfort zones that are stopping many of us (including me) from discovering some great ways to engage in a more meaningful way with our students. It is time we take Michael's, Jennifer's and Kelly's advice and just dive in! 


  1. I understand your position when you say you just need some time to dive in! A week ago I had zero experience with any google apps, and I've heard people talk about them and I've seen some people do things in them, but until I can just muck around in it myself for a few hours, it's very intimidating. I've been playing around with google sites today and I'm on my way to constructing my own website. Very neat!

  2. I'm with you Ryan and Andrew! I am in need of play time to actually figure things out. I've gained an understanding that ECI 831 is like a sampler of the possibilities and I have to make time to truly learn those that catch my interest on my own as it'd be impossible to learn everything I need to know in an hour and a half each week. I'm amazed by the possibilities that I've been oblivious to and thankful for the opportunity to discover meaningful connections.

  3. Agreed! Every week after class my head is spinning with all the new things I should try when I'm still busy wrapping my brain around the last one (along with the many posts from classmates offering more and more things to check out and try.) It's all very overwhelming! I wish I could focus on one or two things then move on to the next. I think Tammy has it right though...this class is like a sampler of possibilities...I just hope I remember half of what the sampler plate is offering!