Monthly Archives: March 2013

Having Fun Playing with WordPress

As I mentioned in my first post, one of my goals with this site is to teach myself a little bit about WordPress. I have been hearing more and more about this platform as a great blogging tool this past year. I have created websites with a variety of tools over the years, starting with NotePad in 1996, then moving on to the tools found in Netscape Navigator, on to Microsoft’s FrontPage, Dreamweaver CS4 and CS5, and then throwing in a few cloud based services such as Wikispaces, and Google Sites – whew.

theme screen shot

I am curious about all the themes, plugins, tools and other add-ons to add functionality to a blog. Well, the past couple of weeks have been fun. I think I have tried seven different themes in the past few days to explore the different features and looks that they all have to offer. I suppose I will have to settle on one soon. My current choice is Twenty Eleven, as I like the larger spacing for content and one side bar layout. [Still playing – you will now notice that I am experimenting with the Twenty Twelve theme as is seems to load quicker with my current configuration]

It was important for me to learn how to remove the banner graphic portion of many themes until I have an opportunity to create just the right header graphic. As one of my students stated, “It burns my eyes“. Part of the learning process – to be able to accept constructive feedback.

I would appreciate any of your feedback about the functionality of this site. I am trying to find the right balance of widgets and other tools to share EdTech resources that I hope you find useful.

Back to exploring 🙂

Phil

Thank You

So many people over the years have shared their expertise and passion for teaching with me. Too many to list I am afraid. I am also certain that I would leave out some great contributors to my learning if I tried to list them all. In this post, I would like to take the time to thank four individuals who have inspired me to start this blogging journey.

 

life long learners.comThe first thank you is to a long time friend and valued member of my PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network), Brian Metcalfe. Brian was one of the first educators to provide me with support as I began my journey learning about educational technology strategies, back in my early days in the 80’s and 90’s – yikes, the last century 🙂

Brian has been and continues to be an active promoter of edtech use, way before it was even referred to in that manner. His motto “Take care & keep smiling” has always resonated with me. Now that Brian has “retired” from Winnipeg School Division, he has a bit more time to work on his blog “Life Long Learners”. And a life long learner he certainly is. Be sure to review all the wonderful learning and sharing on Brian’s site.

Thank you @bkmetcalfe

 

John Evans

John’s Scoop.it sites

I recall first meeting John at a ManACE TIN (Technology Information Night) session. He was sharing his expertise on the use of wikis. At that time, “Web 2.0” tools were just starting to be used by some educators. I was fascinated with how John used these tools to create a school website – creating in the cloud, which so unique to me at that time. I was using FrontPage to create sites at that time.

A few years have passed from those days and John has since changed careers. His current job with Manitoba Education, as a Web Technologies consultant – is an excellent hire by the province. It was John who first introduced me to the power of Diigo, an amazing social bookmarking tool. As I mention in my Sharing Space page in this site, Diigo was my first step in learning how to use collaborative sharing tools. I encourage you to explore the collection of links found in John’s Literacy with ICT Diigo Group.

At some point I will have to try my hand with Scoop.it – the latest tool John seems to be exploring and curating resources with. Here is a link to two of John’s publications – great sharing spaces.

Thank you @joevans

 

mckiel.ca

Andy McKiel

The third thank you goes out to the current President of ManACE – Andy McKiel. His passion for sharing and using various educational tools and strategies to deepen the learning of students is infectious. Andy has been the President of ManACE twice. Hopefully we can convince him to go for a third term in a few years.

Andy has varied talents, ranging from photography to creating works of art with his custom pens (I am the proud owner of one). Be sure to visit his site, mckiel.ca to learn more about Andy. He is one of the first educators that I know of who set up a domain to share his passions.

Our face to face and virtual conversations regarding various approaches of using EdTech tools and   the upcoming trends in education are invaluable to me. It is from Andy that I first began to understand the value of Twitter. The teachers in St. James-Assiniboia School Division benefit from his expertise, where he works as a K-12 Curriculum Coordinator.

Thank you @amckiel

 

 

Ms. Bee

Ms. Bee’s Buzz

The final thank you in this post goes to Sherri Burroughs, who happens to be my wife. That is not the reason for the inclusion in this list. Sherri is a very passionate math educator who has been using technology in her teaching for many years. Although she will claim that she is just a newbie, she has been at the forefront of using a large variety of ICT tools to support her students’ learning at our school – long before she met me.

Sherri has amazing Moodle sites to provide 24/7 resources for students. These sites are tied into our student account system, so I can not link to an example – but you will enjoy exploring her Weebly sites: Ms. Bee’s Buzz and Ms. Bee’s Project Jump Site. In these sites and the linked Google Sites, you will find lots of great ideas for math projects and great examples of how technology is infused into her subject area. Be sure to explore the “Show Me ” videos her students created using iPads.

You will see from the time stamp of her first blog post in the screen shot above, Sherri beat me to the punch in having a public reflection and sharing blog. Thank you for inspiring me to finally take the blogging plunge. As you have noted, the first posts feel like the scariest.

Thank you @SherriBurroughs

 

All four of these individuals share a number of common traits. They are selfless and passionate about the craft of teaching. They believe in the power of giving and sharing. In the end, they all keep what is most important in mind – the student – as they model life long learning. All in their own special ways – inspiring.

Thank you all,

Phil

 

 

 

First Contact

As I begin this blog, a lot of ideas and thoughts have been running through my head. My first instinct was to write about my early days using technology. My second though was to start with a thank you post – thanking the many people who have inspired and encouraged me in my journey. I have decided that I will start with my history with technology as it may take a while to compile my thank you list.

A little bit about me. Being a left handed male, I was very proud to receive a prize for penmanship in Grade 2. Sadly, my hand writing skills have gone down hill from that point in time. Writing has always been a challenge, and the thought of editing my scribble was not one I cherished. It wasn’t until my early days in university that I saw my first computer in the library at Mount Allison University.

Apple II

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_II_tranparent_800.png

There it was, the magical Apple II computer I had heard about, but had never seen. And left in the wide open for all to use. There were a few hand written instructions about inserting a disc, and how to turn on the computer. I was soon to discover the meaning of syntax error. And so began my journey with technology  ….

 

 

 

Hello world! …. and Welcome

Welcome to my first posting on my new WordPress powered blog site. It is finally time for me to take the plunge into the world of blogging. In the past I have shared many resources via wikis, Diigo tools, Twitter, and Google Sites. I hope to use this site to highlight Educational Technology resources that I have found useful in my teaching and to teach myself how to use a tool such as WordPress to blog.

Wish me luck on my journey 😉

All the best,

Phil