Nice one TDSB

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

Warning: This post was written in about 10 minutes with a fair bit of emotion. While I’m hoping for clarity, I’m there’s no guarantee.
Update
: The story I linked to was from 2007. Someone from the Toronto District School Board was not able to confirm if indeed this policy is now in place.  However, I’ll not retract the post as the ideas and arguments remain valid in my opinion. This is not meant so much to attack a particular school district but simply to address the larger issue of cell phone banning that exists in many jurisdictions.


These are the types of decisions that continue to promote the “us vs. them” mentality.  What incites me is the reason they give for banning cell phones:

There’s the disruptive nature of the phone ringing or vibrating during class.

Students can text message each other and send answers about exams, a high tech way to cheat.

They can also access the Internet over the phones, making it too easy to surf or find answers they’re supposed to know while class is in session.

Phones can also act as MP3 players,

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Beatrice, you’re way off!

Thanks to a tweet by Clarence, I just listened to a podcast of an angry parent upset with the Langley School District for not blocking social networking sites.

The mother, Beatrice, is conceded some authority by CBC since she has a computer science background. Unfortunately her knowledge of ports and key logging software is about all she has when it comes to her understanding of social networks. Admittedly her 12 year old daughter had been to some less than educational spaces and likely was pursuing content not fit for a 12 year old or anyone. Her reaction was to block all these sites, ban her daughter from the home computer and demand the school district to install content filtering that would prohibit any access to social networks. Craig Spence, a representative from the school division gives a very intelligent response in this interview to her complaints arguing the importance of teaching students about these spaces and recognizing these spaces will still exist outside the school. This article might indicate the school district is buckling somewhat under pressure.

This parent makes a number of comments that demonstrate a lack of understanding and fuels the fire of hysteria and in my … Read the rest

Onside parents

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

Clarence shares this article via my Shared Feed in Google Reader and it spoke to me on many levels.

Here’s a parent who, although obviously tech and internet saavy hadn’t realized the power of the internet for his own kids:

I’ve written about my kids literally hundreds of times and published dozens of photos of them. But, I’ve always drawn the line at showing their faces. Every picture I’ve posted is a shot from the back, a photo with the face turned away, a costume disguise, you name it- I’ve become a master of the private, public persona. So I have to admit, that when I saw the YouTube video and Tasha waltzing up to the camera, I was a little aghast.

But although he was “aghast” at first quickly changed his view.

But then a light bulb went off. She was excited that the video was going online and that sense of enthusiasm was evident in each of the kids as they made their presentation.

Reminds me of someone.

He goes on to write about how the author of the book connects with the student.

Where

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A teacher and soldier in Afghanistan

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Paul Park is a high school English teacher in our school division currently serving in Afghanistan. I’ve worked with Paul over the years with a variety of web tools. Just prior to Paul’s leaving last month, he volunteered to spend time in a number of our schools talking to students about his upcoming adventure. Paul wanted to provide an insight into the war from his perspective and set up a blog to facilitate this.

The Sandbox

He’s already posted a few times and is directed much of the content towards students. Here’s an email Paul sent out to our teachers yesterday:

It’s still in its infancy but I do have three posts up already that might be of interest to you and your students. I’ll try to post as often as I can but things are pretty busy here in KAF–I don’t get any days off so I have to squeeze my computer time into my evenings. I’m aiming for at least two posts a week. Maybe I’ll even try to set a routine so that you can build it into your own schedule. No promises, though, because

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This is what we are dealing with

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Last week, the CBC asked for viewer feedback on the recent ban of Toronto school boards on cellphones. I weighed with this comment:

I’m not surprised by these comments. Most parents and educators are stuck in an old model of education where the teacher is in full control of the learning and disruption is a bad thing.

Cellphones have the potential of computers. Good and bad. Good teachers understand how to use technology for learning. The cellphone is already being used in powerful learning ways. I understand most readers think of them as disruptive and in no way educational. A desktop computer is no different.

In addition to the potential for learning, the recent events in Virginia will likely prompt increased use.

To those that talk about potential of cheating….I would hope that good teachers are not spending most of their time having kids answer questions that require rote answers. Learning needs to go deeper than that.

Why are we asking kids to learn the provincial capitals when Google gives you that answer in less than 1 second? I’m not saying knowledge isn’t important but the emphasis

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