Welcome to the Candian Mashup group. Introduce yourself here. You can also leave a question about something you'd like to know more about or get help with ... someone in the community will jump in and give you a hand.

My name is Darren Kuropatwa. I teach senior mathematics in Winnipeg, Canada although I'm really a transplanted Montrealer. ;-)

My professional blog is called A Difference.

Cheers from The Great White North!

Tags: Introductions, Welcome

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I'm also a high school teacher here in Winnipeg at Linden Christian. I focus mainly on History/Social Studies at the high school end, though I've been known to handle French and Bible courses from time to time, often in the junior high, and lately I've been picking up some computer courses.

I'm a transplanted Edmontonian so I was familiar with chilly winters before I got to Winterpeg.

My blog is Befuddled.
HI James -- welcome to the Mashup!

I'd like to take a moment to respond to your blog: "I’ve seen my students, and my niece and nephews do similar things routinely as they chat on one instant message program, listen to music, e-mail a friend, and work on their homework all the while watching T.V. They seem to absorb everything when you ask them about it. I, by contrast, just ended up with a headache. Depressingly, even my younger brother can watch 3 T.V. channels at once while I, five years older, can handle only one at a time."

I'm not sure that absorbing is in the same league with trying to process and integrate the flow of ideas and contributions to people involved in a sharing session/debate and do meaningful marking (i.e. process what the students were communicating in their work) at the same time.

Bloom's taxomony is still useful here. I think it's important for us not to mistake taking in a lot of snippets of information with the higher order skills of working with the ideas, forging links, and anticipating how to put ideas into action. While kids may be good at multi-tasking at the information level, they may not be as good at learning deeply.

I think it's the teacher's role to get them to stretch their facility with juggling devices and conversation snippets and learn to turn focus their attention on higher order processes -- undisrupted by outside distractions. They may winge and complain, but I think we have to get them to live outside their devices, because although they think they are living large with their instant connectedness, they often do very little with what they absorb. They may be good managers, but that alone doesn't make them strong learners. I believe there is still a role for 'old school' teacher leadership and modeling of higher order learning skills in classrooms.
Hi Sandy --

I've been doing a lot of writing about involving reluctant teachers in using Web 2.0 in their classes. I think the issues come at several levels:
a) personal reluctance -- stemming from feelings of being overwhelmed and just plain fear
b) district IT limitations and boundaries that are anti-creative and discourage innovation
c) lack of hardware and bandwidth problems that strangle attempts to innovate

I can work with colleagues on (a) but (b) & (c) are the big stumbling blocks. No matter how much great sharing there is among teachers, if we can't get the IT people to support classroom creativity without there always being a 'but', progress will be slowed by their preference for standardization, standardization, standardization. I think standardization and creative innovation are simply antithetical. It's time to stop 'soldiering on' with what we have. What we have is simply not good enough.

My school just paid to have Adobe Premier Elements 2 installed on several machines-- vs 7 is due out soon, but it's not on the approved list. A lot of online programs will not work on IE6 any more and they will not upgrade us to IE7. Using Firefox is out of the question! We can't get Java or Adobe flash updated because they aren't on the list! We can't replace a stolen modem with a $50 one from the local computer store because it isn't the approved hardware which costs $200-400 and takes months to arrive. If we do and there's a problem, the IT department will charge the school $400 to come out and look at it -- if they even respond to the call.

Most days it takes 15 minutes or more to load an online video in our school, & you can't get fully functioning websites much after 8:15 am. On good days when we can get access, if several students are streaming video or podcasts, all the administrative functions slow down so much so much that we're told to keep them offline.

It's really hard to offer colleagues the promise of great things, to coax them out of hiding, and try to engage them in the passion of these activities when the hardware often doesn't work and we are all expected to use the same software.Why bother to sign up for a 2 week integration project? After that the computers will be gone and the situation back to 20thC normal again. No one in our district can even use their own laptops or other devices to go online in a school because they're all blocked.

When the leaders begin to conceive of their role as truly enabling teachers to be innovative, the excitement will catch like wildfire. How will this initiative be evaluated? By the number of wonderful and unique classroom changes or by how many schools they got to use the same old tired stuff.

I'd like to hear more about the Ministry initiative you spoke of. Do I live in a rural area with little service? No I teach in one of the largest districts in the province -- Surrey.
thanks for the invite to the Canadian Mashup discussion Sue. Good to see so many Canadians active. I'm here more to listen and learn as our company is focusing on building online social networking communities for school districts, colleges and universities so it's great to be able to learn from those in the trenches to see what's been working well in the integration of social media, technology and education. :)
Hi Glenn and welcome -- It would be interesting to have a Canadian Commons where districts that are in the forefront of providing resources to their staffs can share what they're doing with teachers across the country. In the US district personnel are doing a lot of work to get great resources into the hands of classroom personnel, but unless you go looking state by state and even district by district, there's no way to find out what's been posted by in other jurisdictions. I sometimes feel quite isolated here in BC and am constantly surprised by the amount of activity going on in other areas.
Hey Sue, Thanks here as well for the invite to Canadian Mashup!!
I am one of those "IT" Guys that makes teachers lives hell!!!!
Actually I am one of the IT Guys that is looking to break down those barriers between the IT department and our teachers.

I am all for social media in the classroom and I myself use it at and outside of the work environment.
I would have to say that C is the biggest issue that most school boards would face, hardware and bandwidth. I know that B (the big bad IT and the ivory tower, board office) think more on the business side of things and less on the creative and imaginative learning aspect of computers.

This year I was invited by one of our grade 5 teachers to work in her classroom once a week for about 2 hours a week. I go in and help the kids with some digital storyboards (using photostory 3) as well as digital photography and soon we will be working with wikis. I have to say it has been an eye opener for me to see how some teachers are trying to embrace technology in the classrooms but as an IT department we have been more concerned with security and standardization.
I put a challenge out there to any IT administration to go and work in a classroom once a week for a semester just so you can "get a feel" of the frustrations that the teachers are faced with each day.

Anyway I am looking forward to keeping updated on the future of the classroom and where technology and the students are taking us !!!!!!
Hi Nathan -- that's a great challenge. I'm working on a volunteer basis with a woman teaching Math 8 who says her school's tech person is like you -- doing his best to support what's going on in classrooms, but she says that he just isn't familiar with curriculum integration and web 2.0 tools. He's more IT than Instructional Media. I'm personally looking for a position as a tech coach (preferably on a contract for services basis) somewhere so I can keep working in classrooms after I retire (coming this spring I think) but also so that I can help some of the IT people out there move in the direction you're taking.
Hi all! My name is Cindy Martin. I am a teacher-librarian at a French Immersion/English school in Pr. George, BC. I am a transplanted Manitobian hailing from Churchill! :p

I have two blogs: blogjunkie
the book bin
Cheers from the BC's Northern Gateway
Hi Cindy -- welcome to the Mashup. I know a woman who is teaching in the TLITE program here in Surrey & I'm getting ready to start an online Masters (at 57) with Wilkes. Your blog comment about not doing things in a small way really struck home with me! I never thought I'd be heading back to school 3 years from retirement. I may be contacting you for help with my homework when I get started in March.
My name is Pat Cook, and I am a Grade 7 teacher in rural New Brunswick. This is my first year teaching, and I'm fairly new to technology as well. I have a 1-to-1 laptop classroom, and we use the computers daily - usually in LA, but in Math, Science, and Social Studies as well.

I'm wondering about collaborating with another classroom somewhere across Canada, in various ways. We can use wikis, blogs, Voicethread, and so on. Again, I'm not overly tech-savvy,

If anyone would be open to some kind of a collaboration, let me know.
Welcome to the MashUp Pat. ;-)

Hi Pat,

I teach Gr. 7 and 8 at a school in Waterloo, Ontario. I've been teaching for 20 years and use quite a bit of technology with my students. I teach Gr. 7/8 History, Gr. 8 English, Gr. 7/8 French, and Music (Strings). We'd love to collaborate with your students and would be willing to work with any of the tools you  mentioned.

Take care,

Tina Giannopoulos.

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