Year: 2009

Education Trends

STAO 2009

IT Strategies for Differentiated Learning in the Science Classroom.

There is so much material and information on the topic of Differentiated Learning that I found it challenging to condense the main points and provide good, practical information at the same time.  For this reason it was very difficult to put it all together in  a one hour presentation.   

I have prepared a summary of my Differentiated Learning strategies for the Science Classroom presentation which you are most welcome to download .

Here it is: stao2009_Lista.

I hope to discuss  individually the tools and techniques presented in the above if the interest is there.

Please leave a comment and let me know.

You can also find me on Twitter at

Thank you!

Web2.0 World

Using “Jing” for 5 min Presentations

Feed your Lessons and presentations a good dose of Web 2.0 tools and they will bloom!

Today I want to talk to you about a tool I discovered recently at a conference on Student Success.

The presenter a well known author, educator and web guru, illustrated a few web 2.0 tools that could be used to enhance, and promote collaborative lessons and activities.

One of these tools is of particular interest to me because I am forever thinking of new and innovative ways of offering fast and effective in-services and workshops.

I’d rather watch a webinar, or listen to a podcast than read a manual.
Now that I have your attention because you are one of many who like myself dislike reading lengthy manuals,  you are probably wondering what this tool is.


Jing is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to capture your computer screen, record, and embed your voice and share it on a web server with anybody anywhere.  The free account offers 5 minutes of web server space.  For most intensive purposes 5 minutes is sufficient.

You can create instant podcasts of your lessons, step-by-step solutions to problems, and videos of demonstrations, post them on a web site, and send the link to your students so that they can view them from anywhere on a web browser.

It will cost you nothing, nada, zilch, niente, zippo.

Here is what you will need to do.

  1. Download Jing from
  2. Install it on your computer
  3. Once installed, you will see a little widget that looks like
  4. Create a free account with Jing as per instructions given on their web site.  You will need a valid e-mail and password
  5. Create a free account with .   These guys will host and webcast your screen captures for free.
Education Trends

Less paper, more IT in our schools

When I read this article, in The Star I thought….

Was someone reading my previous blog and decided to conduct a study to find out that our schools will most likely be text book free very soon?

Was someone listening in to my conversations with colleagues and friends and decided to see if maybe there was some truth in what was said?

kids playing computer games or surfing the netJust a coincidence, I think.

The paper released today by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association basically summarizes what I have been proposing for a long time.  Kids nowadays don’t want to read textbooks.

Here is a link to the paper  What If? Technology in the 21st Century Classroom.

 Kids don’t want more content from traditional sources. They want to create their own original digital content.  They want to be authors, movie producers, radio announcers, media gurus… get it!??”

After all they are media gurus already.  

If you don’t know it by now, try this, give them a new gadget –out of the box and within minutes, while you are still on the “How to Change the Battery” page, they will know exactly what to do with it –

And how about the content creation bit?

Here it goes… Messages are flying back and forth relentlessly. They thumb away single handed from within their pockets and purses!

They hide their gadgets between the pages of textbooks and notebooks and they write.  They write to everyone on their list, at anytime, everywhere.

And, this sort of underground communication takes place while we, unsuspecting educators and parents, are actually thinking that they are reading, or studying or doing their homework!

Do we want kids to create content behind our backs?

Or, isn’t it time we taught these kids a lesson!?

Here is a plan. We will tell them to bring their gadgets to school every day for a month.  They will be instructed to put away their text books. We will force them to use the Internet to research the same topic we were reading about yesterday.

Then they will have to produce a short YouTube style movie or podcast using some software like Movie Maker and finally we will post all their projects on a classroom blog.

That will teach them!  

Am I dreaming? 


 It’s already happening… in a very few, select classrooms and for a few very lucky kids.

Education Trends

eLearning: a shift to paperless?

School districts can no longer afford to ignore the reality that the number of students who are now taking courses on line is growing by leaps and bounds.  Statistics and trends clearly show that e-learning is becoming a major component of students’ education everywhere.

[youtube=] As a Continuing Education Principal in charge of on-line learning I have seen the number of students who opt to take courses on-line as an alternative to traditional schooling triple in just a few years.

Some sources predict that by the year 2030 all learning will be online.

Many on line courses deliver content through web based infrastructures known as CMS (Content Management Systems) or LMS (Learning Management Systems).  The idea behind these “depositories of knowledge” or content tanks is that the courses are already on-line.  The teachers can use these courses as they are or easily modify them as they need and deliver them to the students.   Textbooks are most often not necessary and sometimes just quoted for reference purposes only and all work is exchanged electronically.

Assignments, research, threaded discussions, chats and problem sets are all done online.  Some courses make use of audio labs and others have simulations and demonstrations built right into the LMS.

Are we moving towards a totally paperless delivery of content? 

In The News

ICT for health care

Communication Technology in Health Care
Communication Technology in Health Care

An area where Communication Technology is slowly making head ways is Health.  For years now there have been voices advocating the creation of a national central database of Health Records.

The Canada Health Infoway, a group sponsored by the Government of Canada, is working towards making this a reality.  Check their excellent website

Once this is in place it will be easy for a patient to log on and retrieve his or her personal health records. 

It’s already possible in some countries for some elderly patients or those with chronic illnesses to use “text-messaging” to access a health Care Specialist and ask for  and receive advice or help. 

Wireless health care – a thing of the future, you may think – is already happening in countries such as England.

Wireless devices connected to computers can constantly monitor a patient’s vital signs and report them immediately to health care professionals who can  respond accordingly and  efficiently in the event of  an emergency.

Source: The Toronto Star

In The News

Does texting hurt kids’ ability to write formally

texting - Courtesy of

A recent study by Symantec (Norton Antivirus) was released a few days ago.  Over 75% of parents in different countries feel that the use of e-mail and other electronic forms of written communication such as posting on social networking sites, text messaging, and blogging does not help young students develop (formal) written communication skills.  Read the full article in Today’s Star

Another study published in the March 2009 issue of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology confirms the exact opposite.   “Kids who use “textisms” on mobile phones tend to have a better grasp of (normal) word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness, even when controlled for age, memory, and how long they have owned a phone.”

I can only share my personal observations as a learner and parent.

 I have two teenage daughters who use texting and messaging extensively and like most teenagers post on  Facebook , chat on MSN,  and use Twitter.  I use these communication tools with them on a regular basis.

One daughter is at Mac Master University (Science and French), the other is at the Academy of the Arts and doing well in French, History, English — she wants to become a writer.

Since they were little tots my wife and I read to them on a regular basis and encouraged them to read as much as possible.  We sent them to French School and taught them Italian at home.  They also picked up some Spanish along the way.

Texting, blogging, and so on is another form of written communication.  Another expression of  language.  If children are taught the value of reading, communicating, speaking, and writing at an early age they will do well in any communication form and forum. 

Getting kids to  love language and appreciate fluent communication has to start at home.  We can’t  relinquish this important cultural and intellectual development stage exclusively to the  school.

Certainly banning texting and blogging and whatever else kids use to communicate in writing could in some cases, eliminate the only form of written communication that they engage in.

Education Trends

IT makes a Difference

Information Technology can make a difference
Differentiated Instruction can be easily implemented using the very same tools of communication that students so readily use outside the classroom: cell phones, video cameras, iPods, iPhones.
Collaboration and sharing can be easily achieved using tools such as Smart Boards, Search Engines (Google), Wikis, Blogs, Web 2.0 interactive pages, online games, virtual reality sites, podcasts, videoconferencing.
We don’t suggest that whatever we have done in traditional teaching/learning be dispensed and replaced with these new “cool” methods. Traditional strategies can work extremely well alongside these IT tools.

Education Trends

On Line Learning – The Future Now

Just finished registering students for the Spring Term 2009 of our online learning sessions at TCDSB.
This was an amazing turnout of 1200 kids. The constant ringing of our phones due to calls today from many other kids who, for whatever reason, missed the registration deadlines is an indication of where we stand on this fairly new mode of curriculum delivery.

Education Trends

Today’s Children Learn Differently

Children learn differently and in differentiated ways.
Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Individual Education Plan, Assistive Technology, Modifications, Accommodations, Success for All, Education for All, Growing Success. I have mentioned but just a few strategies and programs that are used in our classrooms on a daily basis and not just for Special Education purposes but for all students.

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