Pages

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year and special wishes to the many the world over who have been affected by last week's tsunami in Asia.

As the scope of the tragedy becomes increasingly apparent more and more aid is being sent from around the world. By all accounts, cash donations are most needed.

The gang at Google have put together a list of agencies helping those afflicted.

Visit their tsunami relief page for links and more information.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bounded Communities

Back with another reference to readings from CTL 1608.

Bounded Community: Designing and Facilitating Learning Communities in Formal Courses from the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning is a very interesting article that provides a blueprint -- for both instructors and students engaged in online learning.

Bounded Learning Communities (BLC) are: "groups that form within a structured teaching or training setting, typically a course.... Teachers contribute to BLCs by establishing a sense of teaching presence, including an atmosphere of trust and reciprocal concern." (p.1)

The authors assert that "in contrast to classic communities-of-practice formulations, substantial supports for course-based communities can and should be designed ahead of time by the instructor, anticipating the learning and collaborative needs of students. They cite the work of Ludwig-Hardman (2003) and suggest that "seven features that seem to facilitate course based communities":(p 4-7)

  1. Shared Goals

  2. Safe and Supporting Conditions

  3. Community Identity

  4. Collaboration

  5. Respectful Inclusion

  6. Progressive Discourse Toward Knowledge Building

  7. Mutual Appropriation



N.B.: Ludwig-Hardman is one of the authors of the article the first reference --Case Study: Instrcutional Design strategies that contribute to the development of online learning community -- is cited as an "unpublished doctoral disseration, University of Colorado, Denver"; however, Learner support services for online students:scaffolding for success is available online.

The authors go on to assert that a "sense of community" and the notion of closure (i.e., the end of the class/semester) are key components of BLCs (p. 15-16).

The article also includes an instrument ("not yet validated") for measuring the "sense of community" in a given instance.

It mirrors the seven characteristics listed above and is essentially a checklist for ensuring that each of the "components for success" is present. The authors indicate that the instrument is "designed for routine use in e-learning and face-to-face classes" (p.16) and point to "Roval, Lucking, and Cristol, 2001, for a more rigorous measure."

Very interesting stuff. I look forward to tracking the progress of CTL 1608 as it evolves and grows as a BLC.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Educational Blogging

Educational Blogging is the name of an article by Stephen Downes in the September/October of the Educause Review and it's also one of the readings for CTL 1608.

Regular readers of this forum will know that I'm big believer in the efficacy of blogs as a learning tool; however, I also know that most likely says more about me and how I like to learn as it does about the medium itself.

I think it's imperative that blogs be "ground up" as opposed to something that's directed "from the top" (i.e., by a teacher, or as a course assignment). That's not to say that there's anything wrong with having blogging as part of a course (after all, weekly blog entries are part of my "current" course); however, I think the point is missed unless learners/students "get it" vis a vis blogs.

I've always enjoyed writing and that, I think, is part of the reason for the longevity (nearly three years) of this blog; however, as Downes indicates, blogging is more about reading than writing (see below).

While this forum has been at times more personal and professional than academic, it really does provide an excellent interface for reflection as well as a great spot for posting links and rants ;-)

Indeed, being able to revisit posts from years ago can be very informative (as well as humbling) in terms of how "learning" has served to better inform, or change entirely, one's views.

As Downes says in his article, "the jury is still out" on blogs, but he makes the point that blogs are more about "reading" than "writing." Furthermore, it's about:
reading what is of interest to you: your culture, your community, your ideas. And it is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read -- reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reaching


Monday, December 27, 2004

Assignment #1

Back with some thoughts regarding the first assignment for CTL 1608:

What do you currently understand learning to be--for yourself and for your students if you teach?

I understand learning to be the assimilation, or synthesis of knowledge and experience within the context of social interaction and interdependence.

I think I'd call myself a "social constructivist" and would describe my view of learning as an amalgam of Constructivist/Constructivism, and Social Development. What this means for myself as a learner, and for my students, is that I understand the importance of supporting online learners (providing "scaffolds" or encouraging "zones of proximinal development" as Vygotsky calls them) and providing a "safe" environment for learning. This is especially difficult to gauge in online learners and one needs to be vigilant to ensure "inclusiveness" in online environments.

Why do you hold those views, both for yourself and for your students?

I hold these views because it seems obvious to me that learning is something that takes place in social settings, be they face-to-face or online and that "social connections" between teacher and student, and among students, is where "real learning" takes place.

What role does knowledge play in learning?

I view "knowledge" to be the "building blocks" of learning. While there's no escaping the importance of knowledge itself, I think it is something that needs to develop within the social context of the course or "thing to be learned." I believe that experience also plays a role in how "knowledge" is synthesized, or incorporated into "learning."

What role do others play in your learning

I think it is truly impossible to underestimate the importance of "others" in any learning environment. Indeed, without others I think it is impossible to effectively validate "what's been learned." Indeed, I'll go as far as to say that learning requires if not the input, at least consideration of others.

As you can see, I've got a bit of work to do before I submit this assignment to the course discussion space for next semester's section of CTL 1608. The good news is that I have until the 17th of next month to get it "ready for prime time."

As always, watch this space for details....

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Here's to a safe and happy holiday and happy, healthy and productive year in 2005!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

More School

The first assignment for CTL 1608 is to post a response that addresses all of the following:
  1. What do you currently understand learning to be?

  2. Why do you hold these views, both for yourself and your students?

  3. What role does knowledge play in learning?

  4. What role do others play in your learning (i.e., peers, teachers, etc.)?


I'm not exactly sure how I'll respond to each of these questions; however, I've "learned" that social and interpersonal relationships are KEY to learning. Indeed, I'd go as far to suggest that the "social side of learning" is more important in online environments than it is in face-to-face situations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Timing and Comm Logo Revisited

Here's another version of the logo we've been kicking around for the Timing and Communications crew of each year's World Cup races at Lake Louise.
An update of the logo for the Timing and Communications crew of each year's Winterstart World Cup Downhills at Lake Louise

Thanks to Freddie for the update and to Paulie for sending it along.

Back to School

I'm enrolled in a course at OISE/UT next semester that I'm really excited about -- CTL1608H SV CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING AND DESIGN OF ONLINE ENVIRONMENTS is looking like it'll be a lot of fun.

Dr. Clare has already provided us with access to the forum we'll be using for the class which allows us to have a look at readings and consider which week we'd like to moderate the class discussion.

A couple of the readings are presented in PDF format. One of them crashed my browser three times last night. This is a big deal when you're using a web-based interface that takes a fair bit of navigation -- after logging back on -- to get back to a specific spot in the threaded discussions that form the basis of our coursework....

To make a long story longer, I happened across this page from Jakob Nielsen's crew -- PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption -- while exploring a recent DailyLink from elearningpost.com -- Situate Follow Ups in Context.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Golf in Mexico -- Part II

Here're couple of pictures I took last week while golfing in Nuevo Vallarta:

This one of me, Lyle and our caddy Angel I took on the 2nd tee of the Nicklaus course at Vista Vallarta

Thanks to Lyle for getting me out to play this course and for Angel for taking such good care of us during our round.

As I said during the round, Angel's fee ($10.00/player) was the best money I ever spent. He'd take one look at an errant tee shot (there were a few ;-) and immediately tell us whether we were likely to find it, or should reload. He also gave us the line on our putts. This "local knowledge" was especially valuable since neither of us had played the course before.

Here's one is of the mascot at the El Tigre course in Paradise Village.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Wedding Pic

Here's a pic taken last Thursday just after Jeff and Jennifer's wedding on the beach at Riu Jalisco.

We had a marvelous time Jeff and Jennifer -- thanks for including us in your special day. It's one we'll never forget

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Golf in Mexico

Hola from Mexico.

Having a great time playing in the surf, pub crawling and golfing.

Yesterday we played the Nicklaus Course @ Vista Vallarta. It's a beautiful track and we enjoyed the round. Special thanks to Angel for his great work as a caddy. It was nice to have someone with local knowledge (this proved especially valuable on the greens) of the course.

Today we're off to play el Tigre at Paradise Village.

A couple of points regarding golf in Nuevo/Puerto Vallarta:

1) Take a caddy when you play -- it'll pay off and help you better enjoy the SUBSTANTIAL investment (i.e. green fees) you've made in your round.

2) Get an early tee time if you can to beat the heat of the day.

3) See #1. Be prepared for a little "sticker shock" in terms of the price of green fees.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mexico

Tomorrow we head to Mexico for a week. On Thursday, Jeff and Jennifer are getting married and we'll be part of a group of 30 taking in the festivities at the Club Riu Jalisco; which we know from experience is a kewl resort.

I'll try to get some posts made to this forum from the 'net kiosk off the lobby of the resort (On our most recent visit to the resort, I used the kiosk's computers to participate in online courses at OISE/UT). Ideally I'll be able to post some pictures on this visit.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Logo Revisited

Here's another version of a logo for the Timing and Communications crew at World Cup, this one by Paul, John and Freddy.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rats and friends

I should preface this post with a disclaimer.

Some of my colleagues in Timing and Communications are less than enamoured with the moniker "rats" as a nickname for our crew, but I think it's kinda cool.

Here's a picture of the Timing crew (Communications is an integral part/facility of timing), and friends from SWATCH, who worked this year's Women's Downhill and Super "G" races at Lake Louise.



The chopper the gang is standing in front of is the one used by Parks Canada Wardens when they airlift injured athletes.

Here's a picture I took a couple of years ago (and posted to this blog) of a practice run with the chopper.



Thursday, December 02, 2004

Winterstart Timing and Communications Rats

There's another animal at Lake Louise.

On Murray's prompting, I've mocked-up a logo for the denizens of the Timing and Communications crew for each year's World Cup.



We've now got sleddogs and rats....

I promised Randy this morning that I'd get to work on one for his monkeys (the name of the Net Crew, aka riggers/"hire wire act" that string the "curtains" and "fishnets" you see on the CBC broadcasts.

The Net Monkeys are another of the unsung but key components of the success of each year's races.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Winterstart Discussion

Here's a link to a "Kudos and Beefs" bulletin board I've put together for the volunteers at World Cup.

I'm hoping that we get some discussion going regarding "life at the Lake." If that doesn't work, maybe the "Ask a Sleddog a Question" thread will generate some posts ;-)

As always, watch this space for details.

World Cup Winterstart -- 2004

Today we had the second training run of the Women's Downhill at Lake Louise. The temperature dropped 10 degrees over the time of the race and the track became lightning quick.

Many of the competitors (and some volunteers) had difficulties on the course today. One of the athletes injured today was Canada's Sophie Splawinski.
Get well soon Sophie. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Rip Sample Mash Share

Wired has released a CD with some open-source songs for users to: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share. with others online.

While the songs themselves aren't exactly "open-source" they do have Creative Commons "sampling" licenses which allow "ripping, sampling, mashing and sharing" with others.

Check out the link above for more information about participating artists and how the songs on the CD may be used. You can also check out the CC Mixter - The remix family tree site based on tracks with "mashes" from the CD.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Picture for Alyssa

Here's a picture from Sam and me that's an early birthday present for Alyssa.

Hope you have fun on your birthday!

Lake Louise Web Cams

Here a couple of links to the web cams they have running at Lake Louise. The first camera is located at the bottom of the mountain in the Lodge of the 10 Peaks Louise Cam 1 and the second camera is located halfway up the mountain at the Whitehorn Lodge Louise Cam 2.

Check the "Discussions" link on the left of this page over the next couple of weeks. I'm hoping that World Cup volunteers will use the space to make posts about their experiences. Everyone is welcome to use the forum to post any questions or comments they may have related to this year's races.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Home for the Holdays Ceilidh Webcast

Got an email from my buddy Dan about a gig his new band, The Freeloaders, is playing tonight in support o' the Home for the Holidays ceilidh at the Trap and Gill in Calgary.

Those of you reading this in Calgary owe it to yourself to get down to MacLeod Trail and check it out. "The Trap" is worth the price of admission on any night and tonight promises to be special.

Fortunately those of us who can't be there will be able to check out the webcast of proceedings.

Capers Away: Remembering from whence you came is an article by Dan's wife Wendy McMahon about how this annual fundraiser (this is the 5th) got started.

Things get underway in Calgary (and "virtually" all over the world ;-) this evening at 8:00 PM.

Hope you get a chance to check out the party!

Sociable!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Lake Louise

Looks like I was a day early with my report of skilouise being open for business. November 06 is when the lifts will turn this year.

Send your pictures.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

World Cup at Lake Louise

It'll soon be time to head to the Lake to participate in another World Cup. I've been checking the web cam and it's nice to see a good start to the snow we need to get the races off.

It's always a question of which crew of Ski Louise employees, along with the army of World Cup volunteer course workers, will put in longer hours: the snow makers or the groomers?

From the looks of the pics from the hill, it'll be the groomers who'll be busier this year again.

As of today, they've had 51 cm of snow. That's not quite enough yet, but it certainly is a nice early start to the season.

In fact they're open for business tomorrow, which if not the earliest opening date has to be close.

This year's races mark the first time that the races at Louise are the first of the season.

If you've yet to experience it, skiing in the Canadian Rockies is something you've got to try at least twice.

Hope those in Calgary who might be reading this are already making plans to get some runs in. If you go, send me pictures and I'll post them here.



Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Help with homework

I've started a couple of discussion forums that are linked from samlab.com

Language Arts and Mathematics are intended for elementary and high school students who need help with these (or any other for that matter) subject area.

Given my experience with the posting habits of visitors to my web pages, I'll not be holding my breath regarding a deluge of posts; however, I'll be interested to see if there are any students out there who need help.

Don't you wish you had a forum where you could have posted anonymous questions about the school work you were doing?

The answer, I suppose, may have much to do with the quality of the answer; however, I'll be so bold as to suggest that the act of asking the question itself is a valuable learning opportunity. The act of articulating a request for information, for instance, may give me a hint of the answer.

As always, you'll be subjected to updates in this space.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pigskin Prediction

Here's a link the National Public Radio story about NFL football games and their relation to presidential politics in the USA.

NPR -- Pigskin Prediction

MNF is about to feature the story on their halftime show.

Playing all the shots

Here's a snippet from the story of Vijay Singh's record-setting PGA tournament win at the Chrysler Classic, about the relative fates of Jesper Parnevik and Tommy Armour III.
Parnevik sank a 20-footer for birdie at the last and Armour missed a short par putt that tied the two. It gave Parnevik an extra $100,000 and shot him to 40th on the final money list. That gets him an invitation to Augusta National for the 2005 Masters. see full story

Just goes to show that it's never too late to keep trying. Parnevik hasn't had a very good year, but he managed to get into the Top 40 on the last putt of the season.

I think there's a lesson to be learned here.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Changes to CTL M.Ed. requirements at OISE/UT

Got an email this morning informing me that the rules have changed regarding degree requirments for my M.Ed. via the department of Curriculum Teaching and Learning at OISE/UT.

Seems as though I now have the option of completing degree requirements without having to complete a "major research project" (MRP).

When I began the degree, requirements included eight courses and the MRP. Now I hear that I have the option of opting out of the project itself and taking 10 courses.

Notwithstanding the fact that I no longer need to complete the MRP, I think I'll go ahead with mine. Of course this is predicated on the notion that I actually come up with a project proposal and get it signed-off by my academic advisor at OISE/UT.

As always, watch this space for details.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Furl It

Here's a link to an application my buddy Russ told me about. In fact, I'll let him tell you about it...

Don't know if you've heard of this one yet. I started using it over the weekend, and so far am quite impressed. Works very well for those of us who do a lot of web research. Thought it might work well for your current weblog/education freeware initiative, as it includes options to provide rss feeds and code to insert your content into your own site or blog. Very easy to use as well.

Just go to www.furl.net for the details.

...thanks Russ, I've only just begun to check it out and it does look like a very valuable tool.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Work in progress

As some of you may have already seen, I've finally gotten something other than a referral to this blog up @ samlab.com

The site is very much a work in progress, but I'm learning a lot about eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

(Indeed, the validation process is currently giving me fits ;-)

The goal is to produce a site that is both accessible and valuable to "stakeholders" interested in open-source software development in education.

As always, watch this space for details.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Open Source Video

Here's a link to an article in The Register, BBC Open Source Codec is an interesting development to say the least.

It's a year away from a beta release, but the codec sounds like it might be the "killer app" for open source.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Call for World Cup Winterstart Volunteers

Speaking o' the Lake. Today I had an email from the Chief of Course for the men's races. Mike Kirker needs volunteers.

The work is very demanding physically and involves long hours. Getting a course into shape in the mountains in late fall/early winter is a "non-trivial task," to quote my programmer friends....

Last year we were nearly literally "snowed under" during the women's races. Other years it's been necessary to make and move tonnes of snow. At 8000 ft in late November, it'll be cold no matter how much snow's on the ground. It's a challenging environment and being part of a group "bringing it all together" each year is a great feeling.

Here's a link from the worldcupwinterstart site with some information on what we do.

If you're a strong skier, looking to pitch-in on a physically demanding task and can commit 5 to 7 days, or more, of your time in November/December, visit the Volunteer Registration page to complete an application.

Lake Louise Ram

Here's a picture I took along Upper Wiwaxy, just above Coaches Corner -- half-way down the World Cup Downhill course at Lake Louise -- on the weekend.

The Timing and Communications crew was out to do some cable work ahead of this year's races.

A picture of a ram at Lake Louise

Special thanks to Coop for egging my large friend on (he was behind me waving the proverbial red flag in front of the ram, if you will) while I was taking this picture.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

edMedia

Here's a link to the edMedia page I made last summer as coursework for CTL 1018 -- Computer Mediated Distance Education with Lynn Davie @ OISE/UT. (Best wishes to Professor Davie in his retirement!)

It borrows heavily from the webMedia page and includes a Windows Media (*.wmv) streaming video file which requires WM Player.
If you're using a Windows operating system (OS)-based computer to view this page, you'll most likely already have the WMP. Clicking on the link should take you to the WMP download page to download and install the player, if required.

This page was designed as a "point of entry" for educators and this made it important the streaming video be accessible to educators across the broadband spectrum. Video access by all users, regardless of bandwidth was the key consideration and a "proprietary solution" was chosen because of its low bandwidth requirements.
NOTE: Advances in open-source video mean it is now possible to produce streaming video without the proprietary needs of this example.

The main purpose of the page was to act as an example of a feedback page to be used to assess the capability and readiness of respondents to explore the use of "media" in education.

Tom in Ireland 2

Here's a picture of Tom: "in the 'biggest bunker in Ireland' at Royal County Down.....out the side in one...didn't tempt the 12 ft wall in front of me."
A picture of Tom Sullivan hitting a golf shot out of the 'biggest bunker in Ireland'

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Windows Security

Here's a link to an article at The Register about the latest vulnerability to viruses -- this time from *.jpg files.

The continual onslaught of Visual Basic viruses is enough to make this user seriously consider a move to an Open Source (i.e., Linux) operating system (OS).

Seems as though I'm not the only one seeing Linux in a new light... ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Island conference

Here's a modified invitation written by Bridgit:

You've been invited to join a conference using Bridgit Conferencing Software.
Click this link to join the conference automatically (when the dialog appears, click 'Open').
http://bridgit.smarttech.com/Bridgit.exe
NOTE: If cookies aren’t enabled in your Web browser, please enter this server name when prompted: bridgit.smarttech.com. Then select 'Island Greetings' from the list of active conferences.

Enter the password Victoria to join the 'Island Greetings' conference.

NOTE: Today's conference has ended -- thanks to those who participated!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

New release of conferencing software

Regular readers of this forum will know that I was employed as the Training Developer for SMART Technologies Inc. from July 2000 through February of this year. This experience taught me, among many other things, that SMART makes first-rate software and hardware.

This evening I had a chance to take the latest version (2.O.1.69) of Bridgit for a test drive with my buddy Gary--another former SMARTian--and I like what I see.

I'm especially keen on the webcam feature they've incorporated into the interface.

Visit this space tomorrow for a link to a conference featuring a webcam, my laptop, and a wireless connection from somewhere on Vancouver Island.

Wireless enabled

This is a post from my newly installed 802.11g wireless network. After weeks of "issues" with a "wired" router, I decided yesterday to seek out and install a wireless router.

I'm impressed with the range of my new Linksys wireless router and look forward to being able to roam around my new "hotspot" and being able to access my network from anywhere in, or around, the house. As always, watch this space for details.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Tom in Ireland

Here's a picture of my buddy Tom outside a pub in Ireland during a recent golf vacation on the Emerald Isle.

As I mentioned to Tom in a recent email, he'll have to make Vancouver the destination for his next island golf excursion.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Update

Nothing to report on the school front. Still not sure that I'll have a course this semester. Indeed, I just sent an email asking Dr. Smyth what's the latest that she'll be accepting students into the fall section of her course.

Notwithstanding enrolment in a course this semester, I'm still working on logistics for my "major research project." I'm determined that the project will benefit "at risk" youth in terms of "literacy" but am still struggling with how exactly to make that a reality.

As always, watch this space for details.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Thanks to Dorothy Carr, Registrar's Office, OISE/UT

Thanks once again to Dorothy Carr of the Registrar's office at OISE/UT.

She's been a godsend to me over my time at OISE.

Once again today she took care of me....

I reached out to her when another employee of UofT told me I'd be "cancelled" unless I "produced proof of payment to my Registrar by the 14th." Ms. Carr assures me that, once again, she's got my back....

I think this is the 3rd year in a row that I've had to get her to bail me out because of this or that missed deadline. She's been great to me and I wanted to say "thanks" which I'm sure she doesn't hear enough.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Back to school

"Back to school" looms one more time, if I get into Dr. Smyth's fall section of CTL 1020 H "Teaching High Ability Students," that is....

I'm on the waiting list for the course, one of this year's offerings for Fall 2004 at OISE/UT.

As always, watch this space for details.

ps

Garu--glad to hear all went well today--get well soon--from all on the Island



Saturday, September 04, 2004

Club Championship at Olympic View

Today I played the first day of the two-day club championship at Olympic View Golf Course.

Today I carded a 97 (my handicap index of 16.7 translates to 19 strokes at OV) for a net 78, six over par.

Not one of my better outings, although I did stop the really disastrous holes (...I scored a 10 on the 9th...) after the front nine.

Tomorrow's another day and my gross (no pun intended) score today means I'll have an early start tomorrow ;-)

At the risk of antagonizing the golf gods, I'll also add that were I able to somehow score an eagle on the 4-par 8th, it'd card as a 0.

Rest assured you'll hear all about it should the aforementioned deem me worthy.

NOTE: Suffice it to say that Day 2 of the tourney was only marginally better (2 strokes when all said and done) than Day 1. I did much better on the first nine than I had, but scored too many big numbers on the back.

I've definitely left myself some room for improvement for next year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Evolution of the web

Google used a "Dutch Auction IPO" to release it's shares last week. I think they hit the street near $80 USD and were somewhere in the $100 USD range last evening.

Notwithstanding the fortunes of this particular stock, it's significant that the auction took place. Following the burst of the "tech bubble" in 2000. More on IPO from the contributors of @ wikipedia.org

It's also significant in that Larry and Sergey were able to take Google from a concept to a popularly used verb (not to mention a company worth ~ 35 billion) in six years.

Speaks to power of ideas and the web as a medium.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Here's hoping that you don't suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia; otherwise, you're not having a good day....

At the risk of jinxing myself, I've always had reasonable luck on Friday the 13th.

Guess I should go buy a lottery ticket ;-)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Fullerton Rosborough Wedding

Yesterday I had the privilege to act as emcee for a wedding in Vancouver. Thank you Jennifer and Gary for the opportunity to contribute to a beautiful wedding -- we met a lot of wonderful people and had a great time. Special thanks to Barbie and Michael Fullerton for their superb hospitality.

The ceremony itself took place on the pool deck patio at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, as did the dinner and receptions. The mother of the bride and the staff at the Four Seasons had done a marvelous job in terms of logistics and preparation, and all I had to do was try to not mess up too badly.

Here’s a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Rosborough – just after they’d exchanged vows – taken by my wife Martha.

A picture of Gary and Jennifer moments after their rooftop wedding

Thanks too to the Concierge staff for the freshly baked dog-biscuits (replete with recipe :) and the imported bottled water they delivered -- on a silver platter no less -- for Sam.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

M.Ed. Major Research Project

Of course a major aspect of any interaction is the human or social component. I'm particularly interested in the tipping point where technology and interpersonal relationships interact:

  • Who -- in this case all stakeholders -- from instructional designers and curriculum developers, through coaches, educators, facilitators, instructors, teachers and professors to learners, students and trainees...
  • What helps ensure that "newbies" will stick with it through the "trials and tribulations" common to all new users of technology? I think the buddy system, or extremely low teacher-student ratios are important to ensure early success. It's also imperative that "students" are prepared for the challenges which await. Indeed, a willingness to "roll with the punches" technology will throw is key to success in any information and communications technology (ICT)-based education.
  • When do the characteristics of an "online knowledge-building community" which is self-supporting, sustainable and viable show?
  • Where do participants find the resources to make all this happen? There's no question in my mind that LAMP is the only way to go. Linux; Apache; MySQL; PHP provides a comprehensive set of tools for making and posting web sites. The M and the P of the acronym ensure posted pages may be interactive.
  • Why this approach? I've tried to come up with a way whereby students and educators can make objects or artifacts in media of their choosing for sharing and trading with others with similar interests the world over. The use of "free" or "open" tools means that no one is economically precluded. This ties back to a notion of sharing and the philosophy that the only true way to learn anything is to try and teach it to others. Such an approach also works to engender empathy between educator and student as all stakeholders work to implement media in online education.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Back to the Island

Thanks to Marc for hosting this year's Philgrimage, Ray for the great shirt and all in attendance for a great time.
The "Philgrimage" is a quasi-annual get-together that we have among a group of friends who went to high school together and have kept in touch over the years. There's been a couple of guest attendees over the years, and they've become regulars.... Once you've been it's hard to stay away.

Also had a chance to spend time with family across the province. It's especially good to see nieces and nephews and chart their growth. I miss seeing the kids as they grow up and there's never enough time to get around and see everyone, or do all the things I'd like -- guess that's the hallmark of a successful vacation. 

Here's a low res version of a panoramic photo I made from stitching together a series of pics I took standing on the dock at my mother's cottage on the Madawaska River near Burnstown, ON. 
 




Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Vacation

Greetings from Almonte, ON. 

I'm making this post just prior to heading to the airport to make the trek to Victoria via Calgary on WestJet.

It's been a great couple of weeks with lots of golf and visiting with family and friends all over Ontario.  Hope to have a couple of pictures of the vacation posted here in the next few days....

Friday, July 02, 2004

Canada Day Golf

Here's a picture of myself and my buddy Phil 'bout to head out for a round at Olympic View on Canada Day. Thanks to Wily for taking our photo on the first tee.
Picture of Phil and Doug on the first tee at Olympic View Golf Course

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Samuel Edwin Sager

Here's a picture of me, my dog and the latest addition to our family -- Samuel Edwin Sager
Picture of Doug, Samuel and Sam

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sisters

Here's a lowres version of a picture I took today, of my sisters in the Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens.
A picture of my sisters in the Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens
Again, thanks to those who've expressed interest/concern regarding the recent lack of posts. I'm not taking any summer courses, so there may not be a whole lot o' activity until the fall, but I'll try to make some posts between now and Labour Day.

Monday, June 14, 2004

RVing

Back with a post. Took me a while to get over the Flames losing the Cup to the Lightning ;-)

I liked the fact that the Flames had 30,000 show up in Olympic Plaza to celebrate this year's accomplishments. Here's hoping there's a new NHL season in the fall, although it's looking less likely all the time.

I learned a couple of RV-related things over the weekend, including:
  • Alldrive Canada offers first-rate quality service and vehicles. We've rented vehicles from them five times -- primarily in Calgary and most recently out of their Vancouver (Langley) BC location -- I can HIGHLY recommend visiting either location for your next vacation in the Calgary or Vancouver areas.

  • Hazelmere is a beautiful RV park in White Rock/Surrey BC with "8 golf courses within 15 min." If you're looking for a full hookup RV site, grab spot #121 if you can get it -- there're also some nice electric/water-only hookup and tent sites in the 100-120 range -- right beside the Little Campbell River

Monday, June 07, 2004

Blogs and Learning

The Daily Links from elearningpost continue to offer a wealth of practical information and knowledge. I'd been a subscriber for years and had let mine lapse when I left SMART. I signed-up for the links again over the weekend and today's again offered gold, including:

HOW TO USE WEBLOGS TO CREATE ENGAGING LEARNING EXPERIENCES
In this article for the Australian Flexible Learning Community, [Maish] describe[s] a simple method for using blogs in a corporate learning situation. The method uses the 3 important aspects of blogs: 1) personal point of view, 2) chronological nature and 3) byte-sized posts.
HOW TO USE WEBLOGS TO CREATE ENGAGING LEARNING EXPERIENCES


Minutes to go until the start of Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Here's hoping the boyz from the YYC can bring home the hardware. GO FLAMES GO

Friday, June 04, 2004

Canadian Content

One more game! A tip o' the hat to the Calgary Flames on their win in Tampa Bay last night. Unfortunately I'll not be able to attend this week's game in the YYC. Too bad, rest assured, the party will be LARGE should they be able to hoist Stanley after 6 -- the Red Mile'll be a zoo.

In more Canadian content, there are a couple of Canucks--"good Canadian boys"--on the list of bloggers on the Best of Blogs page at CETIS.

...more yet: The Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto (KMDI) has met the June deadline for the open-source release of their ePresence webcasting application. Visit this blog for more information.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Desire


I think the Flames want the Cup as much as ...
Sam wanted the biscuit it took to take this picture.
Sam with his Calgary Flames jersey ahead of Game 5 of the 04 Stanley Cup Final

I know some will say, "The Flames want it more."
Those who've been around Labs and food know that's not possible.

GO FLAMES GO

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Phil and Friends

Thanks to Phil for getting us tickets, I attended Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final at the Saddledome.

Here's a picture of the concourse -- the "C of Red" -- about the time Grapes and Ron were on.
A picture of the 'C of Red' in the Concourse during the First intermission

One of Phil and celebrants outside the Saddledome following Calgary's 3-0 hammering of TB.
image of Phil and other happy fans following Saturday night's game

Another of Phil and one of Calgary's finest along the mile.
image of Phil and one of Calgary's finest

Friday, May 28, 2004

Dare to Dream

Off to Calgary later today to take in some of the excitement.

Last night's game was what one might expect of a team that had been out-played in Game One. Tampa didn't get to the finals without more than a little ability and pride and it showed in Game Two.

I'm not sure how likely it is that I'll be able to get a ticket to Saturday night's game, but as the Ranger says in a "beer out here" commercial, I'm going to "dare to dream."

On a related note, I saw during last night's HNIC telecast that the same commercial had been edited, since I'd seen it last, to include a call for the Flames to do likewise.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Calgary Flames: Stanley Cup Finalist 2004

Less than an hour until Game Two. The Flames really played well in Game One.

Kipper continues to sparkle in net and Jerome Iginla is one of those players who come along every so often who can single-handedly change the outcome of a game.

Grapes was saying the other night that TB would do well not to rile the Flames' captain and compared him to Cam Neely, another guy who could "take charge" of a game.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Calgary Flames Advance to Stanley Cup Final

Well they did it! The Flames beat San Jose for a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The good news is that the Lightning and the Flyers are going to beat up on one another in a Game 7 while Iggy and the boyz get a couple of well deserved days of R 'n' R.

!!!GO FLAMES GO!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Flames Fan

Here's a pic sent to me by my buddy Dan ahead of Monday night's game in San Jose, which the Flames took 3 - 0.
A picture of Bubbles with his Calgary Flames helmet

As I write this, the Sharks have just scored to break Kipper's shut out.

Bubs and myself are hoping that the Flames can get the "home ice monkey" off their backs and win one @ home.

It's 2-1 Flames after 40 minutes -- twenty minutes to the Cup final and another "Gong Show" on 17th Ave in Calgary -- GO FLAMES GO!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Lake Louise and the Flames

This link is to a panoramic picture I took of the Bow Valley a little over a year ago while skiing @ Lake Louise.

As nice as Vancouver Island is, I miss Calgary and the Rocky Mountains.

Speaking o' same, it's 'bout time the Flames woke up and got on with business. The "pivotal game 5 in the series" with San Jose goes in a couple of hours, and both teams find themselves "with their backs against the wall." Cliches notwithstanding it's time for the Flames to "kick it up a notch" (to borrow one from cooking ;-) and take the next step on the road to Lord Stanley's Cup.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Coursework

I was doing some exploring of some of the things I've posted as coursework at OISE/UT and thought I'd refer to a couple of pages here. As much to have ready access to some fairly convoluted URLs, as anything else.

I made a series of tutorials last summer on how to produce multimedia files. Each of these sites has links to step-by-step screen caps of how to make videos.

Each link leads to a site with a "tutorial" for the application named: Adobe Premier, Helix Producer and Windows Media Encoder.

The reason for all of this, was a desire to provide a resource for educators who wanted to use these software applications to create and post files in each of the three types of files (Quick Time, Real, and Window Media) for audiences in the name of accessibility.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Cyborg Luddite

Last evening's closing keynote for the KMDI's Open Source Conference was a blast. It was especially cool to have the "professor's-eye view" of the proceedings in Toronto from my monitor in Victoria, B.C. You'll be able to see what I mean in a few weeks when the archives of the conference webcasts, including the closing keynote by Dr. Steve Mann are made available.

NOTE: Ron Baecker and Gale Moore, Peter Wolf and Kelly Rankin and the entire team of staff and volunteers of the conference did a marvelous job of presenting content and involving this "information and communication technology (ICT)"-based conference participant.

Special thanks as well to the conference moderators for their most able efforts on behalf of online participants over the three days.

Professor Mann is a pioneer in the field of wearable/implantable computers. He wrote a book, with my buddy Hal Niedzviecki, Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer. Visit this link for an interview with more on Hal's thoughts on "culture."

At one point in his presentation Professor Mann mentioned that he'd recently installed a windmill on the roof of his lab and joked that this had led to thinking about "disconnecting from the network" as some type of "cyborg luddite."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Open Source Software -- Day 3

Another very interesting day of webcasts from the KMDI.

As I said during the 'cast, I'm especially impressed with how the technology has evolved over the course of the past few years.

It really is impressive that participants from across North America and around the world are able to "be" in Toronto to attend the conference via ePresence.

On a related note, I added myself to the list of "Attenders" at a wiki setup by one of the face-to-face participants of the conference, Daniel Allen

Monday, May 10, 2004

Open Source Software -- Day 2

Today again attending the webcast from the KMDI. This morning's talks have been on Open Source and business models.

Contrary to what you might intially think, there seems to be money made in businesses based on open source software. Indeed, it may be a competitive advantage.

New Interface

Blogger has put together a great new interface. You can't see it, but the interface used to make this post has evolved dramatically -- "over night."

Of course it wasn't instantaneous for those behind the scenes, but it was for the users of the interface when it was put on the servers over the weekend. Great stuff.

Because of the new interface, I know that this is the 345th post to this blog ;-)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Open Source Conference

Today I'm attending the Open Source Confererence hosted by the KMDI @ the U of Toronto. It's being webcast and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend remotely.

The conference runs through Tuesday afternoon and first session has me very excited. I'll try to get my take on the highlights posted here.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Grapes' pending departure

Sounds like CBC and Don Cherry are gonna call it quits after this season.

Say what you want about Cherry, he does elicit strong reactions from his audiences.

Love him or hate him, it's hard not to have an opinion about his rants and patter with Ron McLean during Coach's Corner segments.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Gmail

Just signed-up for an email account at Gmail, by Google.

The same kind folks who also run this forum.

Equitable Stroke Control

Today I golfed a 95 at my new home course -- Olympicview.

I need to adjust my score before inputting it as data used to calculate my handicap index.

Under the auspicies of something called Equitable Stroke Control (ESC)--which in my case means I can take no worse than a double-bogey (i.e.., 2-over par) on each hole -- I'll enter a score of 92.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Test of RSS

Working on adding really simple syndication (RSS) to this blog.
"Syndicating" or publishing work ties-in nicely with objects and their use by educators.

Here's what Dave Winer, founder of userLand software, and Berkman Fellow of the Law Faculty at Harvard, has to say about version 2.0 of the specification.

Wikipedia offers this definition and description.

RSS allows individual practitioners and contributors to syndicate and leverage collective effort and focus on a given problem or topic.

I hope to have the "feed" for this blog running shortly.

As always, watch this space for updates.

Monday, April 05, 2004

It's official, our project is completed.

Ahead of schedule and under budget; as it turned out ;-)

The Mar 31 post to this forum has details and links....


Thursday, April 01, 2004

Here's what was to have been the background for my video contribution to our term project for CTL1922H. Was all set to go and my laptop died--broke my heart--and along with it my ability to make a video from Saxe Point

A picture from the park at Saxe Point in Victoria, BC

map

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Work on our model continues. There is still some work to be done, but we're certainly getting there.

Visit Multimedia Technology and Online Collaboration in Education to see the latest version of our project.

Visit this page for a "look behind the scences" at the development of our model.

NOTE: when revisiting either page, press F5 (Refresh) to ensure you're seeing the latest version

We welcome any comment or suggestion you'd care to make.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

One of the longer lags between entries for this blog. For those of you who've phoned to complain, sorry for the lack of posts and thanks for your interest.

It's been a busy nearly three-weeks.... School continues to keep me busy. I'm ecstatic about the fact we're using SMART Ideas(R)software to collaborate on our group project this semester at OISE/UT. I'm really enjoying working with Lori and Hafeeza on our project and Ideas continues to be a great collaborative tool for us.

Ideas has fit the bill for our collaboration because it acts as a respository for any attachments we care to add. Our due date is next Saturday (03 April 04) and we are getting close in terms of the model itself. SMART Ideas(R) has allowed each of use to put our stamp on the project, and we're now working out details in terms of formatting and presentation of our content.

We certainly hope to be able to include more multimedia files, for instance, between now that next Saturday.

Visit Multimedia Technology and Online Collaboration in Education to see the latest.
NOTE: if you're revisiting the page press F5 (Refresh) to ensure you're seeing the latest version

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Here's an email I got today from the executive of my "CTL Students-Association" at OISE/UT. Our project team in CTL1922 (Hafeeza, Lori and me) is working on video-conferencing as a collaborative learning tool and it's too bad Friday's session--see below--isn't going to be 'cast to an online audience.

I know I'd benefit from being able to follow along from my office on the Island.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 2:09 PM -0500

From: CTL Students-Association

Subject: Important Information - Please Read!
To: @oise.utoronto.ca

Bcc: Doug Symington

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS FROM THE CURRICULUM, TEACHING AND LEARNING
STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION (CTLSA):

Dear Students,

This is a reminder about the faculty and student development workshop that
will take place this Friday, March 12th from 10am - 12pm. in room 11-164.
The workshop this week will include information on the following:

Developing an MRP and thesis study.

The distinction between the MRP, QRP and thesis.

The ethical review process.

Thesis writing and strategies for productive committee work, including a
successful defense.

CTLSA urges all students to attend this workshop. The information that
was given out last Friday at a similar workshop was extremely helpful and
important information on how to make your way successfully through OISE/UT.

Last week at the workshop, a packet of important information and forms was
given out to both faculty and students. The packet contains information
on supervision responsibilites for faculty and students, time lines for
the completion of degrees, and the forms needed to move through the
program. CTLSA has copies of this packet in our office (room 10-269).
Please stop by and pick one up!

Lastly, a message was sent out earlier this week about the Graduate
Students' Association conference fund. To clarify: the forms for this
conference fund can be found in the GSA office (room 8-105) or on their
website: http://www1.oise.utoronto.ca/gsa/.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the
CTLSA by email (ctlsa@oise.utoronto.ca), phone (416-923-6641 ext 2433) or
in person (room 10-269).

Sincerely,

The CTLSA Executive Officers


*****************************
The Executive Officers
of CTLSA
(Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Students' Association)
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
252 Bloor St. West. Toronto ON M5S 1V6
Ph: 416-923-6641 x2433 Office: 10 - 269

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Quick post with a reference to an article by Patricia Duebel I highly recommend for anyone who'd like to know more about Instructional Design (ID) for online-based learning environments.

An Investigation of Behaviorist and Cognitive Approaches to Instructional Multimedia Design
Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia v. 12 no. 1 (2003) p. 63 90

Thanks to Chris Teplovs for including this reading in this semester's section of CTL1922 at OISE/UT.

The paper FULL of great research and offers practical design and implementation "scaffolds" and examples.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

A missive from the Island.

Been working hard on school this week. I'm really enjoying the course I'm taking this semester and considering the issues associated with the use of "technology" for educational purposes.

This week we're due to submit a progress report on our project and I used SMART Ideas(TM) software to map out my portion of our deliverable.

Being able to map out a concept allows me to ensure I've covered the angles and it's also very valuable in terms of considering the relationships within the model itself. It also informs my impression(s) as I work on it. This kinesthetic and visual learner enjoys being able to manipulate and work on a graphical representation of the problem or concept at hand.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Greetings from the Big Apple.

Special thanks to Eric and Susan for all their help in ensuring the success of the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard training sessions conducted the last two days in SMART's NYC office.

I get a charge out of being in New York -- it really is a distinctive place--not quite like anywhere else I've ever been.

I'll definitely miss working for SMART, the travel I've done on their behalf, and the opportunities I've enjoyed in my time as a SMARTian.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A post from 37,000 feet on an Air Canada jet bound for Toronto. Have a connecting flight to Laguardia in NYC. Making the trek to the Big Apple ahead of training sessions for the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday in our offices in Manhattan.

This marks the last trip that I'll make on behalf of SMART Technologies Inc. We've moved to Victoria where my wife has accepted a job. Had hoped to be able to continue working for SMART from the Island, but we weren't able to make that work. Too bad, I'll miss the people, technology, and travel; however, I'm really looking forward to NOT flying Canada's "national airline" for a while.

I can't imagine how long AC would be in business without government help. I read in the paper this morning that AC had successfully lobbied to keep Westjet out of the new terminal at Pearson in Toronto. From my experience, they'd be farther ahead to focus on customer-service training for their staff, and running their own business.... That said, I can certainly understand why they'd like to avoid comparisons to Westjet.

Notwithstanding the mode of transportation, I'm looking forward to a return to the Big Apple.



Monday, February 23, 2004

Here's a link that was one of today's DailyLinks from elearningpost.com -- the link points to a Calvin and Hobbes comicstrip from September 21, 1993 about "the more you know...."

While at elearningpost to get it's URL, I happened across a link to a great "open-source" resource from Athabasca University and Dr. Terry Anderson. Regular readers will remember frequent references to Dr. Anderson's work in this blog.

The Theory and Practice of OnLine Learning is published under a Creative Commons license and a resource I highly-recommend for anyone interested in learning more about the topic.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Here's a picture of Sam and me on the Gorge in Victoria, BC.
Photograph by Martha of Sam and Doug paddling on the Gorge--Victoria, BC

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Technologically, this week has proven extremely challenging. Being without a phone or a connection to the 'net was particularly trying in that much of what I'd planned to do this week related to school and work was dependent on at least a dialup connection. Once we left the Sandman hotel last Saturday, I was without a connection until late Wednesday evening.

I find it especially daunting to get "back to speed" in terms of communication following an "extended absence." Four days may not sound to "extended" to many, but I can assure you it is a considerable amount of time in the world of 'net-based discussion. Timely contributions are necessary to ensure a "critical mass" in terms of communication.

This is especially pertinent in terms of deadlines. My apologies to all colleagues in CTL1922 for blowing my deadline for my peer-review of Ron's project. I'll get my thoughts posted by tomorrow noon and make an effort to do better with future deadlines.

I was particularly interested by my reaction to being away from "technology" this week. For years now, I've being on a computer on a nearly daily-basis. Even when not posting to this blog, or making school-related posts, I've at least been working on documents and checking e-mail. This week I did a bit of computer-based work, but was nearly completely out of touch due to a lack of a 'net connection. A dead e-mail account only added to challenges this time....

By Wednesday I borrowed Martha's cell phone (actually she insisted I take it ;-), but wasn't missing a lack of e-mail by that point. Indeed, it felt good to have a break from the machine! I know that part of this "sense of freedom" comes from avoidance due to what awaits when finally re-connected. The technology is only the first step....

The apologies to make, catching up to do, and trust to restore all make "social reconnection" with one's on-line colleagues a difficult process. Of course it's MUCH better advised to stay current in the first place, but "issues" will arise. Anyone who has worked with computers for any length of time, no matter the operating system, will tell you that you'd best be prepared for a "work around" -- what's the plan when this or that "goes South" (i.e., "stops working") on you?

Again, this week surprised me in terms of my reaction to being offline. For the first two days I was extremely agitated at not being able to connect. By Day 4 I wasn't nearly as agitated, but feeling very guilty for letting down school and work colleagues by not having contributed deliverables.

At least with work colleagues I had the option of a toll-free number as well as access to a calling card. Academic and personal business were more limited although I did have web-access to my school e-mail, but didn't get in to check it until finally connected at home.

The biggest surprise for me was how quickly, in relative terms, I got used to being "disconnected."

Friday, February 20, 2004

Getting settled in Victoria. It really is a beautiful part of the world and we're looking forward to exploring more of the Island. Yesterday we got a canoe for splashing around in the Gorge with the dog.

It's a nice bright red Mad River canoe and I'm looking forward to playing around in it.

We're quite close to the water and we're looking forward to taking advantage of it.
So is Sam ;-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Here's a picture that wasn't posted on the 14th due to technical difficulties. A picture of our new home in Victoria

Friday, February 13, 2004

Here's a picture I took today while waiting in Victoria for work colleagues in Calgary to join a web conference.
A picture of my new Trailer Park Boys hoodie

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A post from a 'net kiosk at Pearson International Airport. Here on a (6hr!) layover on my way home from Philadelphia. Connections to Vancouver Island can prove challenging.

Have to compliment Air Canada staff for the level of service and professionalism on today' flight from Philly to TO. I have to admit that good ol' AC is one of my least favourite airlines, but I was pleasantly surprised today--well done!

Monday, February 09, 2004

Greetings from Philadelphia, PA.

Here ahead of a couple of training sessions in the next couple of days. Travelled via Toronto today. Had the good fortune to run into my friend Blair who works at Pearson for Canada Customs. It was good to see Blair--always nice to see a friendly face, especially when travelling:
  • through Pearson
  • via Air Canada

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Currently unable to do school and work-related research due to the fact that several websites I need to access are 404. I'm assuming this is due to "mydoom" wreaking havoc, but who knows.

That's one thing for certain 'bout the 'net. It's "all your eggs in one basket" -- (i.e., when it's offline so are you) -- model makes it difficult at times. As with any endeavour, contingencies and "work arounds" may help, but it's still a pain.

Given that "technical difficulties" are precluding the contribution of 'net-based research to this space at this time, let me tell you about a movie I saw last night.

Butterfly Effect, with Ashton Kutcher.

Have to say I was very impressed with the movie. It's one of the most original (even more so, given it's "Hollywood" pedigree) I've seen in a long while and the performances -- especially Kutcher's -- are first-rate.

It offers a new twist on the "change the past, change the future" theme, and I thought it was extremely well done and highly recommend it as something to do while/if you've some time to kill.

For instance, while you're waiting for your webserver to come back online ;-)

Monday, February 02, 2004

This week I'm charged with leading the discussion for CTL 1922H @ OISE/UT.
My focus is on "learning (or 'education' as I like to call mine ;-) objects" and ancillary issues:
  • Definition ("semantics and syntax") of objects themselves
  • Copyright and intellectual property concerns (see CreativeCommons for the antidote)
  • Reusability, Standards and Specifications
  • Repositories

As I checked in, via the 'net, on the "usual, object-theorist/practictioner, suspects" (David Wiley, Terry Anderson, Stephen Downes and Norm Friesen) in preparation for this week's discussion, I was really excited to see how much the "conversation" has matured in the time I've been following it.

The conversation, and the tools for recording it -- specifically blogs: repositories of knowledge themselves -- seem to now have a purpose and practicality which makes it more relevant to both knowledge-building and performance improvement efforts.

The development of the Creative Commons -- since I first referred to it here last spring -- is a very good case in point.

Compare the movies here for a "then and now" look at CreativeCommons

The CC has legs -- you can tell by visiting the site, it has an energy and excitement which constitutes the "critical mass" I referenced as a key determinant of success in my OSOSS-based model for the SMART Education Object (SMARTeo).

Unless and until "the inmates are running the institution" in terms of the production of the "tools" (i.e., objects) of learning -- it won't work. It's obvious to my eye that CC is working.

Don't believe me? Check out -=:[EletroBel]:=-

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Greetings from Terminal C of the Seattle/Tacoma airport. Here on a lay-over on the way home from Tucson, AZ. Definitely a case of extremes -- from dry to wet in terms of climate. Have 'bout another hour to wait until my connection to Victoria leaves.

Thanks again to my buddy Phil for the wireless card which enables me to connect while hangin' in airports all over N. America (unfortunately Tucson doesn't support wireless connectivity).

My connection to the 'net (along with allowing this post) also permits me to put the finishing touches on a presentation for CTL 1922. Each week through the remainder of the term, one of the students in our class will lead the discussion on a topic of their choosing. I've signed-up for this week.

I intend to lead a discussion on Open source, reusability and objects in education.

I'm still finalizing the details of the proposed discussion, but it will focus on Learning Objects, repositories, copyright and intellectual property, and repositories. I'm looking forward to a lively discussion with peers.

As always, watch this space for details.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Greetings from Sierra Vista, AZ.

I'm here ahead of a Master's Session for the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard for faculty and staff of Buena High School.

I'm looking forward to working with this group of teachers and am especially happy to be in Arizona as opposed to some other less temperate location!

I can tell you that while the temperature is about the same here today as it is in my new home in Victoria, but it's much dryer ;-) Today I went from near-tropical to near-desert in terms of climate.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Looks like we picked a good time to get out of Calgary.

Seems like the rest of the country, for that matter, is in the throes of a deep-freeze at present.

Makes the rain I see out my window here in Victoria not as much of an issue ;-)

Here's a picture, taken a little over a week ago, of the "new Islanders" in front of the "Mile 0" sign of the TransCanada highway. Note the green grass and trees in the middle of January.

Notwithstanding the challenges Island life will undoubtedly present, I'm loving the climate!

A picture of Martha, Doug and Sam in front of the TransCanada 'Mile 0' sign in Victoria, BC

Saturday, January 24, 2004

A post from a snowy Calgary, AB.

I'm in at the office taking care of some last minute arrangements before my move to Victoria in the morning. I have mixed feelings about the impending move -- for one I'm really going to miss the interaction I've enjoyed with colleagues here in the Calgary offices of SMART Technologies Inc.

The good news is that I'll be able to continue to work for SMART while based in Victoria. Thanks to my employer for their flexibility in accommodating my situation with this arrangement. Travel to and from Victoria will be a little more difficult, in terms of connections and such, than it is from Calgary, but I'm hoping it doesn't prove too onerous.

One thing I won't miss is shovelling snow, although not having the mountains an hour away for skiing and 'boarding might be a bit of an issue.

All in all I think the move will be a good thing. I didn't realize how much I missed being around water until I was close to it again over the last couple of weeks while in Victoria. As always, watch this space for updates.

NOTE: Special thanks to all those in attendance for last night's send-off -- had a great time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Off to LA ahead of a training session tomorrow in Garden Grove, CA for faculty and staff at the Lincoln Educational Center.

I'm really looking forward to the trip to California and working with this group of adult educators on how they can use SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboards to make a positive impact in their classrooms.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Salut from the Island....

Wasn't supposed to be here for a little over a week, but the weather in YYC yesterday provided an opportunity to make a dash to Victoria.

I'd already boarded a flight to YYC in SLC, but staff told us that inclement at our destination precluded making the journey. I was able to catch a flight to SEA and then buy a ticket to YYJ.

I was impressed with the level of service provided by the employees of three airlines -- Delta, Horizon and Westjet.

Head to YYC this evening and then off LAX for a couple of days and back to YYC at the end of the week.

On top of two real estate deals in two provinces which close the middle of next month, I've got all of 13 days to come up with a project proposal for CTL1922. Timely in that I need a Major Research Project, and one more course, to complete my M.Ed. degree at OISE/UT.

I'm keen to test the limits of the SMART Education Object (SMARTeo). A scaffold to support learning. Follow these steps to gain a better understanding of a particular topic or task.

How can individual -- or groups of -- learners use technology to create "objects" or "artifacts" to be catalogued or meta-tagged for sustainable knowledge-building activities within a given community of learning?

For example, encourage learners to use the model and a "do-it-yourself" approach with SMART Recorder and SMART Video Player to make "how-to" movies on topics that meet their needs in a way that makes sense to them.

NOTE: I've tried a couple of times to post a movie -- inline -- in this space, but have been unable to get it to work. Haven't been able to get the movie embedded as an object in our knowledge forum interface at school today either. It's a WMV file and I'll have to see if I have better luck with a ASX version.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Greetings from Macon, GA.

I'm here ahead of a "Train-the-trainer" session on the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard for faculty and staff of Stratford Academy.

Today I learned that 20 minutes isn't enough time to make a connection in Atlanta when landing in Terminal A and departing from Terminal D -- it was close, but they'd "just closed the door" when I got to the gate (10 minutes ahead of scheduled departure), and there was no way they were letting me on the plane.

The good news is that it's not that far a drive from Atlanta to Macon, and my good friends @ Budget had a one-way rental for me ;-)

On the school front I'm really enjoying the readings and discussions in CTL 1922, this semester's course at OISE/UT. This week's readings relate to research design methodologies, communities of practice and knowledge-building environments. The foundations for the rest of the course and fascinating stuff.

Also busy on the home front.... We've made a conditional offer on a residence in Victoria which has been accepted.

As always, watch this space for updates.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Greetings from Victoria.

As Martha's been telling those on the mainland all day: "We're now Islanders."

We had a chance today to explore some parts of the city and check on real estate. There are some nice places for sale in the city, and the distances don't seem very daunting when compared to what one'll typically travel to and fro in YYC. Also pleased to report that Sam had a chance to take a dip in the Juan De Fuca Strait.

Ventured up to the top o' Bear Mountain today. It's a beautiful place, but I don't think that commuting is something I'd like to do from there. Of course if all I'm concerned about in the way of business is my tee time, then it'd be a done deal.

And while I may be ready for semi-retirement, my "significant Islander" isn't quite.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Back to YYC to a chinook. About 25 degrees, celsius, warmer than Monday.

Speaking o' "same hotel I'm staying at" -- special thanks to my hosts (friends, if I may) @ Cleveland Corporate Services for the accommodations, amenities and atmosphere. We had a great time in the sessions over the past two days.

Fantastic ownership and staff and guests, and I thank them each for their hospitality.

Had the opportunity to work with a number of colleagues fellow SMARTians if I may -- Messrs. DeHaven, Sage, and Williams [and special thanks to JudyM via Bridgit] for their support over the past two days.

Thanks to each of you. Greatly appreciated. I learned a lot from interacting with these intelligent and effective individuals in both "face-to-face" F2F and CMC "computer mediated communication" environments. A most enjoyable and educational experience. I look forward to exploring how to archive the 'net-based interaction we had today as components of educational "how-to" SMARTeo

Had the opportunity to check back with the gang at Halfbakedsoftware.com -- I've made reference to their HotPotatoes software from the first post of this blog -- the first time they'd ever been mentioned in a weblog, I was told at the time.

Version 6 of the software released in Dec/03.

I also see that they now offer an application called Quandry for building Web-based Action Mazes: Tutorial Examples.

This one I thought was particularly well done.

Quandry looks to me like an offshoot of the JMatch interface. I believe I made a couple of JMatch quizzes which contained pics related to the sign-on procedure for the First Class interface we use @ school (in some courses).

This semester I look forward to using the hotpotatoes line and its cousins it to produce "multimedia" to one's audience without alienating/overwhelming neither the technically nor technologically challenged in my audience.

A worthy challenge, I'd say. The "hook" comes from the fact that these applications are being developed at The Humanities Media and Computing Centre (HCMC), in Victoria, BC.

We're moving to Victoria in the morning -- how good is that?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Greetings from Independence (Cleveland), OH. Arrived safe and sound following the ~250 mile drive from Cincinnati.

Happy to report that cold winds were as bad as it got in terms of weather, no snow, so far; however, the forecast is for some flurries over the next couple of days.

The good news is the training sessions I'll be involved in over the next couple of days take place in the same hotel I'm staying at. Be nice to not have to worry about weather conditions and traffic in the morning ;-)

Monday, January 05, 2004

Greetings from Erlanger, KY.

I'm here over night ahead of a session tomorrow for the US Army Corps of Engineers in Cincinnati. Following that it's off to Cleveland for a couple of days to work with staff from Cleveland Corporate Services, one of our resellers.

It's snowing in Northern Kentucky tonight. Flurries that I'm hoping don't amount to much. Can't imagine what rush hour is like around here with anything in the way of snow accumulations. The roads are bad enough in Calgary in terms of "bumper cars" when it snows, and we're supposed to be used to it ;) As always, watch this space for updates.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

School starts up again for me tomorrow.

I've secured a seat in a Ph.D.-level seminar CTL1922H (Instructional Technology: Seminar in Interactive Video/Graphics with Chris Teplovs) which has me excited.

I'd like to use the course explore use of the SMART Education Object (SMARTeo) model as a template for building "do-it-yourself" interactive video/graphics-based objects with the tools of choice. These "tools" need to be free or shareware, at least to educators -- Windows Media Encoder is an example of such a tool.

The goal is to have a model anyone can use to make an "object" -- "tutorial" if you prefer -- on any topic. Special emphasis to be placed on the production of "accessible" and "usable" objects, especially in terms of bandwidth and "minimum system requirements."

Tomorrow also marks the second anniversary of this 'blog and I look forward to using it over the coming months to track progress on: metatagged, reusable "educational objects" [SMART Education Object -- SMARTeo] and "webMedia" ['net or web-based audiovisual media].

Friday, January 02, 2004

The move is afoot. We're off to Victoria, BC in a week.

I got really excited about the impending move last night when I happened across this URL-- http://www.bearmountaingolf.com/news/news_nov26_2003.html--whilst looking at local real estate on the web.

I sent it to myself by email RE: What I did on my winter vacation

I'd bet it's one of the few times you've seen a 19 hole golf course, the 'house here must be referred to as the "20th".

I think "the Golden Bear's" concept is brilliant given the 3-Par 11th hole's island green. When deemed appropriate due to conditions or skill-levels of participants, skip the 12th and play the rest (of course the 19th is also a 3-Par) for your round of 18.

Click here for a hole-by-hole view of the course at the Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club.

Before heading to Victoria, I've got the following "to do" list:

  • Tomorrow head to Montana with my buddy Phil in the morning to pick up my 4Runner in Kalispell, MT -- home Sunday
  • Monday fly to Cinci, then drive to Cleveland for gigs through noon on the 9th
  • Same day we drive to the coast: Victoria -- BC, that is.... :)
Here's a picture of Kalin and Martha, taken over Christmas in Whitefish, MT, during a rousing reading of Walter the Farting Dog.

A picture of Kalina and Martha enjoying a reading of 'Walter'

Thursday, January 01, 2004

The learning continues....

Yesterday I learned about "buckle" or "Torus" fractures in children. I had my two of my nieces out snowboarding with me and one fell and broke BOTH of her wrists.

We all had our helmets on and I'd made the mistaken assumption that we all had our wrist guards on as well, but....

See Figure 2 on this page for a picture of a Torus fracture.

The good news, if there is such a thing in such a circumstance, is that these types of fractures heal relatively quickly (the prognosis is for 4 weeks) and that "this is a stable, nondisplaced fracture."

As someone who spent months in a cast at one point as a direct result of not protecting my wrists while snowboarding, I'd also STRONGLY recommend that those out 'boarding WEAR HELMETS AND WRIST GUARDS.