Sunday, August 31, 2008

E-learning Hangups

As a parent, I grapple with several e-learning issues

1. When I was paying residence fees, it was upsetting to have a student opt to take an e-course over attending classes on campus. The campus is beautiful, the residence is on the actual grounds, you have legs, get to class. However, I didn't say that because a parent has no way of comparing the quality of instruction happening in the classroom with the quality of instruction happening in cyberspace. You'd think actually being in the presence of a professor and classmates would be preferrable to a more impersonal method of delivery but maybe not.

2. It is also disconcerting to agree to pay for a course on campus and have the instructor say on the first day of class that he plans to teach it online. I am also not happy to pay for textbooks and then find that the texts won't be used because the actual course being taught online has nothing at all in common with the description of the course in the academic calendar but the required textbooks remained the same. On the plus side, sometimes I agree to course and find it changed into something totally different that seems too lightweight. To my amazement, it may turn out to have many useful applications and may even be the most memorable course of them all.

3. I now receive daily emails from google using the tag e-learning. Wanting to get my money's worth, I am reading everything I can find on how to get the best educational experience from e-learning. If students are choosing a hodgepodge of full-time, on campus day classes/e-learning/continuing ed adult evening courses, why isn't a explanation provided of the pros and cons of each option and how to maximize the benefits of whichever you choose and best compensate for the weaknesses. There has to be more information than "here's how to get into your blackboard account and I'm sure you'll figure out how to find your assignments and how to submit them".

4. E-learning is supposedly on a boom because it is cheaper in these days of high gas prices. In my dreams. It certainly wasn't cheaper when my daughter was living in residence on campus. And it not cheaper for my son who is living at home because he still needs my car every single day to drive to his on campus classes which are about 35 km away. On the other hand, I'd feel they were missing out if they weren't part of an actual campus experience with a library, cafeteria, an actual classroom with people in it, etc. It's a bit reassuring to think there are actually still teachers who are willing to show up in person to model that some things in the real world are worth inconveniencing yourself to experience.

5. And why didn't I make my kids pay for their own educations. Life is tough enough without beginning it in a deep financial hole. There may never be another period in their lives when they can concentrate on developing the fundamental skills and concepts to be able to learn anything they wish to learn throughout their lives. An education is one of the few gifts that can't easily be lost, discarded or stolen. Writing the cheques means I have the right to expect value for my buck from both my children and from the system both of whom benefit from knowing that I exist and if I ever get upset enough, I might give some honest, heartfelt feedback. It's pretty obvious from the application forms that many of the students are there because the government is trying to lift them out of a difficult situation. The intent is great but it is such an insignificant amount of the government budget that I am not sure the government is as passionate about quality as an actual mother who wishes she could spend a little money on herself once in awhile.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Learning Spaces

http://www.educause.edu/LearningSpaces/10569
This link takes you to a great ebook about learning spaces. Go prepared to spend a considerable amount of time surfing around. Not only did I read every single page but I also visited quite a few footnote links.
The first time I thought about the importance of creating a space conducive to achieving a particular experience was when my husband was in seminary. It was during the time when altars were coming off the wall and the limitations of the traditional Gothic design resulted in a willingness to consider more modern designs.
Our house is really one huge office because my husband and I have books and desks everywhere. When our son decided to go to college, he created a work area in his room and took over the diningroom. I'll follow any link that shows me someone's work area as ours could use more thought.

Marketing Swipe Files

When I went searching to find examples of people's swipe files, I discovered .
"A swipe file is simply a file or collection of marketing messages, headlines, techniques, etc. Essentially, whenever you see an example of great marketing you add it to your marketing collection." http://www.internet-marketing-tutor.com/swipe-file.html

As I have an interest in calligraphy, I always keep my eye out for an interesting font, an effective layout or text that could be used in a project.

My son took a marketing course last year. Leave a book lying around and I'll read it. I think the most useful tidbit I picked up was to not alienate the people who consistently support you when trying to appeal to a broader base". Good advice - don't forget who brought you to the party.

Creating a Swipe File

http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/2008/08/29/how-to-create-a-swipe-file-to-jump-start-your-creativity/
A Swipe File for Creativity is a bit different take on the decorating/design files that women have long been encouraged to keep. I love magazines because of that "what grabs me about this page" factor.
"Swipe files are a collection of excellent material—or cool ideas–that provide a great jumping-off point for anybody who needs to come up with lots of ideas, whether you’re a graphic designer, copywriter, author, and so on."
Instead of watching the evening news, I scroll through design, wedding, art, food sites on google reader and go to sleep with more interesting, more positive images for my subconscious to play with. Try it. You might like it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Helicopter Moms

Helicopter Moms are basically moms who closely monitor the progress of their college/university children and give feedback to the administration if they feel they are not receiving value for the tuition they are paying.

Society understands hyper-vigilance when it comes to investing in the stocks or housing market or running a business. Maybe you totally trust your broker and your real estate agent and your manager but one still protects one's investment by measuring performance against expectations.

I put my money into the education of my family. Twenty-eight years ago when I was putting hubby through, it was customary for the spouses to attend the Wednesday Eucharist Service and have lunch in the theology center. I knew all of my husband's classmates, their spouses and children and his professors. Most of the spouses proofread assignments and had a grasp of what was covered in the textbooks and discussed in the classroom.

Twenty-some years later, the women who put hubby through are now putting children through. A helicopter mom is usually giving the identical educational support to her unmarried children as a married student would receive from a spouse. This is a multi-cultural world and I doubt that I am any more involved than a Jewish mom, or a Greek mom or an Italian mom or an Islamic mom or a Chinese mom or a Japanese mom, etc., etc., etc. I doubt that I have a greater vested interest in the ultimate goal of my children getting jobs that support a comfortable lifestyle than the spouses with children investing in their futures. Most helicopter moms want their adult children to qualify for jobs that pay enough that they won't be a cash drain after graduation.

Successful people tend to have mentors and clerical support and people who free up their time so they can concentrate on what will best further their goals. The administrators who write about the lack of self-sufficiency in today's students are probably not that self sufficient themselves. I suspect that not only does the university hire support staff for them, they also hire or delegate out household and personal chores so they can churn out the papers that build their careers.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Motivation for Exercising

Here are 2 youtube links to inspire you to push away from the computer and get some exercise.

Over 10,000 people attended the funeral of Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole an amazing Hawaiian singer and musician. He died at 38 of respiratory failure. This is a tribute video to someone who clearly loved his life.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr-alr7P_qk

I love the way this video of Alive by Edmund begins and ends but I wish the middle part wasn't about extreme activities that I could only in a Second Life scenario. I wish someone would redo it changing the entire middle section to reflect more achievable ways of feel alive through physical activity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxaAfaCln8&feature=related

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Marketing to Kids

The Oreo Episode of Seventh Heaven
http://bmimedical.blogspot.com/2008/08/oreo-episode-of-7th-heaven.html
I spent a fair bit of time trying to understand marketing this year. My son was taking a marketing course and I read whatever is lying around so I found all these links and navigated myself though the marketing strategies of various companies. It was really quite fun for someone interested in what's happening with the English language. Who knew that soda pop companies refer to their products as hydrating beverages?

I don't watch Seventh Heaven because real life clergy families get into way more interesting trouble. However if you take the time to open the above link, you will get to watch an episode of Seventh Heaven build around Oreo cookies. If you get stuck in a social situation where you end up watching a movie or a tv show or a video game that is torture to watch, add a little interest to the situation by watching the product placement strategy. I want to watch the Oreo cookie episode again myself because I didn't count but some marketing guy figured out the maximum number of times one could say Oreo while still maintaining a story line.

The Financial Sector

Jobs are a bit tight so it took a few months for my daughter to land her first job despite being on the Dean's list. She was hoping to work in Human Resources but was offered a job in the banking sector. My dad was a Scottish Presbyterian farmer and he divided the world into those who were straight (impeccably honest) and those who weren't. And it was generally known that the narrow, straight path led to reward and being crooked led to ruin.
The 60s broadened a whole lot of societal rules and being a person of my times, I'm much more relaxed about life than my dad. He got up at exactly the same time every day, ate by the clock, knew what day to plant and what day to harvest and read from the Book of Proverbs before falling asleep.
You think your own apple isn't falling anywhere near your father's but the words that came out of my mouth sounded like I was channeling his spirit. I heard myself saying to my daughter, a banking job offers security but if you take it you cannot deviate from being straight for even a second. Every single thing you do has to line up with generally accepted accounting principles. You are entering a world where people end up in prison because they let down their guard and made one little exception to the guidelines and it snowballed into an avalanche. If you enter that world, you must be disciplined and focused enough to walk the narrow road every minute of every day.

The Bridge Builder

I've been thinking a lot lately about this poem I learned from my mother long ago. Usually when a public figure is disgraced, it's not because of a lack of knowledge. It's usually a failure to remember at the right moment a commandment or verse they memorized as a child in Sunday School or Synogogue or mosque. Build a bridge.

The Bridge Builder
-- Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you a bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

Another Anniversary

Updated my profile. We've been married 28 years and our oldest has turned 27. We spent the night at a marina motel about an hour's drive from home. We slept through our first anniversary because we had a brand new baby and we pretty much slept through this anniversary just because we could. There's a really beautiful park with tons of flowers that we could walk through. It ended near an ice cream parlour. We'd emerge from our room, walk through the park, order a single dip of ice cream in a cup and then head back to the privacy of our rooms. Being old married couples, we'd taste one another's ice cream and over the course of the 24 hours sampled 6 different flavours. So now we know that Stephen's favourite is mango and I like picking out fresh fruit and having it blended into vanilla yoghurt. Checkout time was 11 and we couldn't make the journey home until after our 4 o'clock doctor's appointments so we decided to fill in the time at the local library. By chance, an old friend was also at the library so we got caught up to date on a choral singing group we used to belong to. Overall we had such a pleasant time that we've decided that from now on we're going to celebrate our anniverary quarterly. Both Stephen and I are healthy but our doctor thinks that now we are over 55, he should see us four times a year so that works out perfectly with our mini-anniversary plans.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Apology to Commentors

I haven't been responding to commentors because I didn't realize that I had any. In order not to be so rude in the future, I now have a feed to my igoogle homepage notifying me of any comments added to my blog.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is Beauty a Range or Fixed Point?

Here's an article that would suggest that acceptance of diversity is at an all time low. A couple of inches too tall or too short, a less than perfect smile - no matter how talented you are, you will be rendered invisible. Is this a social justice issue or just the way life works?
Is It Better To Look Good Or Sing... Well? - The New York Times 08/16/08 "The world knows now that the adorable little girl we saw warbling “Ode to the Motherland” at the Olympics opening ceremony was not really singing. She was a Potemkin performer. A Trojan tyke. Lin Miaoke, 9, was fronting for Yang Peiyi, 7, the girl with the best voice but imperfect teeth." And perhaps even more puzzling is " the 380 hostesses to the Olympics were all required to be the same height and weight."
What's happened to that Rainbow World that Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu dreamt of. Personally I've never seen a 7 year old that wasn't beautiful although I can tell if someone has damaged a child's inner spark, the belief of being a person of worth.

Blog Comments

I never know whether blog commenting is a good idea or not. According to people big on networking, blog comments draw people to your blog and build a network. How can like-minded people find each other unless people come out of the shadows and identify themselves? I don't know about you but I like googling my name periodically and seeing what comes up. Usually it's not my blog. Usually it is blog comments I can barely remember making. And sometimes my name comes up but the comment that shows belongs either to the person commenting before me or after me and isn't at all anything I would say. At the least there should be an expiry date on comments appearing in a google search. Comments are just that comments - not something one would expect to be so out there for so long.

My Retirement Plan

Found this poem written by Grace Paley in an Oprah magazine way back when. Decided to put it on my blog as it pretty much sums up how I envision my retirement.

HERE
Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt granchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips
--Grace Paley

Friday, August 15, 2008

37 Days

http://37days.typepad.com/
Thirty-seven days challenges people to live as if they had 37 days left to live or to at least examine their priorities or maybe just be a little kinder. It's one of those sites that reminds you life isn't to be squandered.
I suppose I stumbled across it because I had my doctor on my mind. I never and I mean never voluntarily visit his office (even though I think he's the greatest) but I do come in if his office phones. I've finally figured out why I can't slip through the cracks - some Ontario computer somewhere keeps track of cancer screening tests and alerts your doctor that even though he never sees you, you haven't been seeing anyone else. It works quite well as I figure if I have to go, my husband should have to go as well so we both are assessed annually thanks to our government health care tracking system. While you would think that the government would be thinking there are too many aging baby boomers around, there seems to be a commitment to keeping us alive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Personal Internet History

I began when we entered our 3rd parish in 1995.
4 Big Determinants:
1. The government and Diocese were in agreement that the purchase of a computer could come out of my husband's continuing education fund.
2. There were 6 people in our family and I was on the bottom of the tv remote control hierarchy. My husband was at the top and then the sons in order from the oldest to the youngest followed by our daughter and well I was so far down that I switched games. I definitely had the most to gain by switching to the internet. Eventually my daughter joined me but she was young and cute and social and very much into her real life so we weren't competing for online time.
3. My husband and the bishops would decide our moves and it didn't seem to dawn on anyone that wherever we had moved, I had slowly and painstakingly built a meaningful life for myself. Every move was the death of a lifestyle - a lifestyle I had grown to love. The computer was something that I could unplug in one community and reconnect to in the next community. If I build an online life, it could follow me. I could have some continuity and control in my life.
4. In our first parish and later in our third parish, I had contacted the church hierarchy and asked for information and wasn't permitted access. The first time was to see a public discussion paper on homosexuality and the second time was asking verification of a retirement that I had heard being discussed at a Christmas party. Access to information on a Diocesian level was identical to access to the remote control on the family level. Google was the greatest thing to ever happen to my sense of self - I didn't have to beg for access for information and be told that someone else would decide what I needed to know or didn't need to know. Access to information could no longer be a commodity like the square footage of office space assigned in a company.

Slideshare

I signed up for Slideshare and am watching the presentations given by Stephen Downes and George Siemens because life always gets busier in September so I want to have a handle on Connectivism in August when theoretically we're on vacation. Slideshare is a site where people can make available to the general public their powerpoint presentations. For housewives like myself without a continuing education or travel budget, it is like rain in the desert. If you don't need accreditation/continuing ed points or contacts/networking, this is a very efficient way of finding out what happened at a conference.
http://www.slideshare.net/

We Didn't Start the Fire

I hope this link works for you because the slides are great - a quick review of why the baby boomers are having such a tough time moving from being 60s rebels to assuming the authority that comes with being at the top of one's game.
http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html If this link doesn't work, it will be complicated. The way I found it was to go to Slideshare and open an free account, then search Stephen Downes and download his presentation on Personal Learning and the link is on the bottom of the second slide "Prologue: How do you teach if you no longer have power over the students?" As the biological clock keeps on ticking, I'm still waiting to see that better world we thought we'd create. Billy Joel is singing We Didn't Start the Fire but it has the karioke words underneath so you can sing/dance along. There are 120 images that reflect the lyrics. When I was a kid we used to play a game in Explorers where they'd pass along pictures of figures of importance and we'd have to identify them. I was totally non-athletic so this was my game to win.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Zaidlearn

Zaid Ali Alsagoff is in Malaysia and is an e-learning researcher. He has an ebook which you can either download or read on his blog for free called "69 Learning Adventures in 6 Galaxies". Reading it will increase your vocabulary of current jargon used in educational circles and you will quickly develop a list of the big names in e-learning. His 2 hedgehog goals for 2008 were to write a book on e-learning and enroll in a doctorate program. Here's the link to his book which grew out of his blog http://zaidlearn.blogspot.com/ It is divided into 4 sections: Learning, Teaching, Stories and Free e-learning tools. This is a great find for someone like myself who is interested in e-learning but is outside the educational community.

Blogs, Wikis and New Media

"Blogs, Wikis and New Media" is an open course from the Utah University taught by Associate Professor David Wiley.
http://newmediaocw.wordpress.com/
I've been scouting around for links that would be useful before taking the Connectivism Course from the University of Manitoba.
My daughter's boyfriend is going to Nascar this weekend so she's coming here for a visit. I have a bunch of stuff I want her to teach me while she's here. I recently bought a digital camera and am especially interesting in the various ways to share pictures.

Top 10 Psychology Videos

PsychCentral has posted its list of the ten best psychology videos available on the web. When I was in Grade 13, I thought I wanted to become a psychologist and I took as many psychology courses as I did English Literature courses but opted for the English degree because I was more interested in how people construct their lives than in mice experiments. Then I entered nursing school partly to acquire some discipline like a guy joining the army and partly because of hormones and my social group. It was during my Psychiatric nursing rotation that I realized that the mid-life women who were hospitalized for depression had every reason in the world to think their husbands were toads rather than princes and their children were no prizes either. But you can't say, "If I had your life, I'd want to kill myself too", so immediately after graduating and passing my RN exams, I switched to business and started working in Human Resources for General Motors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Visual Thinking

My husband is very much a visual thinker. He thinks in terms of pictures. Tonight I found a slide presentation called 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking. It is the lost chapter from a book The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam. In it he lists the 6 basic questions when trying to draw a solution and suggests what to draw to represent each question. For example, a when problem needs a timeline whereas a where problem needs a map.
http://www.changethis.com:81/pdf/44.03.TenCommandments.pdf

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Freedom Writers

I bought the dvd of Freedom Writers but no one would watch it with me because they thought it would be like Dangerous Minds. Freedom Writers begins a bit slowly but then it hooks you in. I found the breakdown of her marriage especially interesting. Is it possible for a woman to be intensely passionate and committed to her work and have that commitment supported by her husband? The problem wasn't the time or the expense or even just plain not being there. Although he never did anything wifely, he left because he couldn't be the wife. What would have happened if he had driven a carload of kids or if he had joined them at the restaurant? What would have happened if they communicated with each other rather than making their decisions independently? Would choosing to be an active participant in her vision make them a dream team with a transcendant purpose? Would pursuing his own passion have created a sense of equality and mutual self respect? What would have happened if their characters had been reversed - would she have walked out if he had been obsessed with his work? Were their priorities wrong? What were we supposed to feel? In the plot summary on Wiki, there is no mention of her marriage whatsoever. Did he unilaterally end the relationship or had the relationship ended earlier in the movie or was it a premature ending - was there still a spark of life in the relationship that could have been fanned? The movie didn't remind me of Dangerous Minds but it did make me think of The Way We Were.

Pre-Marital Counselling

To be honest, Stephen and I didn't have pre-marital counselling. I phoned the clergyman who was marrying us and asked if we should meet before the wedding. He said, "I know Stephen and that's enough." At the time I thought I might actually be a factor in the success or failure of the marriage but the truth is Stephen could have married anyone and not waivered.
You can do a google search and pick your favourite bloggers on just about any topic - finance, communication, relationships, healthy living, etc., etc. Nobody believes that clergy have any more general knowledge about marriage than anyone else. The statistics for clergy marriages surviving are no better than that of the general population.
The only area that clergy know a bit more about is the theology of marriage but head knowledge without heart knowledge is straw not gold.
Do you know what a sacrament is? Do you know what a covenant is? Do you believe that God made you to be a blessing to each other and to the world? Will you both remain faithful to your vows? If either of you know of any reason why you should not marry, will you honestly state why the vows shouldn't be taken? Can you forgive and reconcile? Do you both want this marriage more than all the temptations and addictions with the power destroy it? Is your love greater than your personal ambition - if life gets too full and something has to go, will you keep the marriage and the children? Will you seek marital advise from the old and the wise rather than your peers? There will be a day when you stop fighting about the little things and start focusing on keeping each other alive because that person has become your life.

Christian the Lion

This video is so amazing. In the church, clergy are encouraged to leave a parish and not retain emotional bonds as it is consider an interference to the parish bonding with the new rector. Transferring never gets easier and in talking to clergy wives it actually gets much harder with each move. It's impossible to do ministry if you don't give your heart away and it's unethical to form deep emotional bonds with people you know you will be expected to dump a few years down the road. The reason it gets harder the older you get is you can't create a lifestory you are proud of if all you have are fragments of a life. It's like viewing a video where there is damage to the images at predictable intervals. Right when you get to a really great part there's distorted images and then a new storyline without a transition that makes emotional sense. This youtube clip makes me cry because this Lion has more freedom and depth of expression than I do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adYbFQFXG0U

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Indaba Groups

Following the story of Lambeth Conference was mesmorizing. Who was going to control the conference agenda - the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Presiding Bishop of the United States. The U.S. bloggers complained about a medieval, undemocratic administration ignoring the fact the representation by number of parishioners attending service on an average Sunday would enhance Africa's power and decrease American representation. No we weren't talking about democracy, we were talking "He who can pay the piper, gets to call the tune" which I am sure is an even older concept than feudalism.
The Indaba Groups gave all the Bishops a chance to tell their story and be respectfully listened to. It also assumed that all Bishops had some vital truth to contribute that all could learn from.
And then there is the Millenieum Goals - a commitment to the rights of even the poorest children of the world to a chance for survival, a chance for an education.
And so to the Archbishop of Canterbury, I say that far from being a medieval fuddy duddy, you are a revolutionary and so here's a link to Tracy Chapman's song "We're Talking About a Revolution". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rZbvi6Tj6E

Entertaining Song

One of my dear friends always responds to someone of importance who announces the desire to visit for a week or so with "I'll bake you a cake". I knew it was a reference to a song but I didn't know the lyrics until today. I can see how singing the peppy tune and doing a little vaudeville tap dance number in your head would create the perfect degree of graciousness in one's response. She had a large family and her husband's job required doing a lot of cross-cultural entertaining of people who think conversation is a man thing and serving is a woman thing. If you find yourself in such a situation, here's the song to keep your morale up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1gfZwejPv8&feature=related

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Will Survive - Pesach

Finally - a song to house clean by
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOe2gWCuENI&feature=related
The only problem for me is that there never was help. Tell me - is it a spiritual discipline if someone else does the actual work? Anyway I'm going to do a little research into cleaning for Pesach to try to take this whole thing to a more spiritual level. Do you get credit for the violent acts you didn't commit when incredibly awful things happened when you cleaned - for example, someone donating 3 truckloads of dirt to be dumped by both the front and back doors of the rectory the week of Stephen's ordination to the priesthood. Paula was a month old, Peter was 20 months old, David was 3 years old and all the priests were robing in our house. It rained that morning and the first priest to arrive not only decided to walk through all that mud instead of on the boards Stephen laid out, he also decided that he was too important to take his very muddy shoes off and proceeded to walk through every single room. That was just the beginning of a rapidly deteriorating experience. By the time the service began, I was singing "I Will Survive" in my head to the whole group of clergy and the Bishop leading them in prayer.
http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfG5kfzxKu0&feature=related

Monday, August 4, 2008

30 Day Declutter Challenge - Discovery

Guess what? I'm not a declutterer. Wherever I go in my house to declutter, I see what I need to buy. I'm not a shopper and I've never spent the money to set up efficient systems. The biggest discovery is that we turn every room into an office so wherever you go, you see massive amounts of information you haven't looked at. We have 3 bookcases in our bedroom, 2 bookcases in the hallway, 2 bookcases in the spare room, 1 bookcase in our son's room, 5 bookcases in the livingroom, 1 bookcase in the diningroom, a wall of bookcases in Stephen's office, 6 bookcases in the living room, crates of books in the upstairs laundry room and boxes of books in the basement and we've left behind way more books than we've moved over the years. And not only are there books in all those rooms - there's also mini offices in all those rooms. When you add satellite dish tv, movies, music and fast speed internet to the mix, the picking up and tossing never seems as urgent as the information waiting to be processed and synthesized and needed to accomplish whatever. I'm not decluttering - just tossing the totally shabby and updating.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lambeth Conference Update

Being a God, Queen, Country and Family type person, I just couldn't get enough of Lambeth Conference. Maybe because I'm such a disorganized person myself, order and good governance are pretty high values in my life. And maybe what I like best of all is that Canada is part of many families - Commonweath countries, French language countries, indigenous people living north of 60, the worldwide Anglican communion, etc., etc. Everything to Canadians is a family reunion - a gathering of adult brothers and sisters in a place where all have an emotional connection. I just can't process why the Episcopalians have so much angst about the Archbishop of Canterbury being the first amongst equals. Watch the movie Down Periscope starring Kelsey Grammer. Reality is that leaders and crews can be gloriously eccentric and still function effectively in reaching an impossible target.

Free Course in Connectivism

This course is free unless you want to receive credit for it from the University of Manitoba.
Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. George Siemens and Stephen Downes – the two leading figures on connectivism and connective knowledge - will co-facilitate this innovative and timely course. http://ltc.umanitoba.ca:83/wiki/Connectivism
Week 1: (September 7-13) What is Connectivism?
Week 2: (September 14-20) Rethinking epistemology: Connective knowledge
Week 3: (September 21-27) Properties of Networks
Week 4: (September 28-October 4) History of networked learning
Week 5: (October 5-11) Connectives and Collectives: Distinctions between networks and groups
Week 6: (October 12-18) Complexity, Chaos and Research
Week 7: (October 18-25) Instructional design and connectivism
Week 8: (October 26-November 1) Power, control, validity, and authority in distributed environments
Week 9: (November 2-8) What becomes of the teacher? New roles for educators
Week 10: (November 9-15) Openness: social change and future directions
Week 11: (November 16-22) Systemic change: How do institutions respond?
Week 12: (November 23-29) The Future of Connectivism

30 Day Declutter Challenge - Day 2

Today I'm working on the middle shelves in my bathroom closet. It's crowded but I don't know what's in there - mostly stuff that I moved from the bathroom in our last house 3 years ago. I want to have 2 of the things I actually use - one in use and one in reserve and liberate the space of stuff that isn't in use. For example, I can't imagine I'll be needing those little bottles of solution that kids use for blowing bubbles but my husband's gorilla mask and my butterfly wings are useful for come in costume events.
When I get better with my first digital camera, I'll post pictures. I've got the pictures - I just haven't downloaded.

30 Day Declutter Challenge - Day 1

I'm taking the August 30 day declutter challenge. The rules are here: http://www.mysimplerlife.com/blog/?p=1187
Day 1: I threw out 2 pairs of jeans that I loved so much that they had totally lost their shape, had faded to almost white on the upper thighs and had become so thin that the material was starting to split. Fortunately I had recently bought an identical pair but my thought at the time was that I'd save the new jeans for running errands and look grunge around the house.
Actually what I really need is a wardrobe that looks less like what a 5 year old boy would wear - jeans, t-shirts and running shoes, and pick up something more tailored and coordinated. I'm looking to the navy for inspiration.