Impersonating not the issue

As I glanced at the newsfeed on mysask.com this morning, I noticed an article with the title “Hurtful Comment Posted on Facebook“. I was hooked by the title, so I clicked the link and read it. I was shocked to find that the story was being written about something that was really only a very small issue in the occurrance. Someone, obviously jealous of star hockey player, Brayden Schenn, had created a Facebook account claiming to be the Blades player and made a very racist comment about aboriginal people. This wasn’t overly shocking to me, as people do strange things for entertainment. What really bothered me, though, was that the article was written about how awful this was for Schenn. Now, I am by no means saying that he wasn’t affected by the comment made using his name. I just think that it is rather interesting that the reporter chose to write the article, completely disregarding the racist comment. To me, this says that the WHL and hockey takes a much bigger presidence over the aboriginal people in our communities. I wonder when, or if, our society will be able to shift our mindsets …

Leave a comment

Technology — Great when it works!

Just a heads up, this post may be a little “rant-ish”.

During Thursday’s class of ECMP, we had a guest speaker, but watched his lecture on my computer using Elluminate. My first impression of the program was really great! And he did a really good job of introducing it to us as well. He let us play around with the whiteboard and the chat room. He also asked those of us with microphones to address the class briefly, providing a short introduction of ourselves. His slides were visible on the whiteboard portion of the screen, which added a neat element to the presentation.

About half way through, the internet started to “disagree” with my computer. There seemed to be some sort of lag, and for long stretches (30 seconds to 2 minutes) I could not hear the speaker at all. Then I glanced to the chat portion of the screen and noticed that people were adding responses to something the speaker had asked them and I hadn’t heard the question yet because my computer was so far behind. This is when it got extremely frustrating! I felt like I was falling behind in the class; it occurred to me that this is how students with Learning Disabilities, or hearing impairment, or visual impairment might feel. In that aspect, it was a really good experience. However, I do not have  Learning disability or impairment, my computer just had a poor internet connection.

This experience completely turned me off of using tools like Elluminate. It’s one of those things that are incredible  when they work, BUT, they do not always work. It was great to be exposed to the program, and to see the possibilities that are out there for educators, however, until they fix these issues, I don’t think I could use it!

1 Comment

FatBooth ???????

As I was browsing through my Facebook home page, I noticed that one of my Friends had commented on someone’s FatBooth photo. I had never seen this app before and I was absolutely shocked! People actually pay for an app that makes you look fat — and what’s even more shocking is that kids are looking at these photos and making comments like “That looks good on you”, or “I look cute this way”. What does this say about our society?!

We are working so hard in our schools and our classrooms to get students to be the best person they can be and to take care of their bodies. We also focus highly on respecting others and not having “fun” at others’ expenses. So, wouldn’t FatBooth be going completely backward from that?! Again, we are allowing the typically “beautiful” and “attractive” people to have all of the power in our society. Does an app exist to make heavy people look thin? I highly doubt it. What does this tell our adolescents about body image? Certianly nothing productive, that’s for sure!

2 Comments

Mash-ups: Criminal or Art?

After watching the film RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto, I have a new perspective on remixing music. Prior to watching the video, I really didn’t have much background knowledge on mash-ups or remix artists. I assumed that a lot went into making music in this way, but hadn’t really given it much thought. Now, however, I feel I have a rather informed opinion.

There are many arguments against mash-ups and remixing, stating that they are illegal uses of others’ work. As I watched the video I very quickly learned that there is a lot of legality issues around the use of music. Do these legalities exist among other forms of art? What about tattoos? I’m fairly certain that a lot of people have hearts, roses, skulls and pin up girls tattooed on their bodies. Why don’t people have issues with this kind of “copying”? It is human nature to take other people’s ideas and run with them, making them into bigger and better things. I’m sure authors don’t write books and portray characters that are completely and 100% authentic. That would be an impossible task! I know for a fact that in the world of sports people are becoming better atheletes by watching professional athletes succeed and trying to replicate their skills and tactics. Glenn Hall (born and raised in Humboldt, SK :P) was the first goaltender to use the “butterfly” move. Watch any NHL, semi-pro, junior or minor hockey game and you’ll find every goaltender out there dropping to their knees in attempt to keep the puck on the other side of the red line. So, then, are all goaltenders guilty of illegal activity? That would be a no, because nobody copyrighted the butterfly. Just as tattoo artists don’t copyright their work. In fact, athletes and tattoo artists would most likely encourage people to improve their own ideas. This is usually referred to as inspiration! Not criminal activity!

Unfortunately, the music industry is so big, and makes so many people millions of dollars that some one along the line decided they’d better protect it. This may have made some sense 40 years ago. But today, with the internet and the information that is readily available to us within a mere matter of seconds, no idea is original. With programs like Garageband anyone who knows how to use a mouse and a keyboard can figure out how to create a basic song on their computer. And guess what? That basic song will probably resemble another song that someone else in our tiny little world has created; and this song can most likely be found online.

I think that we, as a society, need to re-examine the ways that corporations are trying to control our music (and, a whole other story, our movies). Isn’t there a way that we can allow people to be creative, whether it’s with a real guitar and drumset in some kid’s parents’ garage, or with the infinite number of guitar and drum sounds that are available on our computers, without claiming them to be engaging in illegal activity?! A composer is a composer, whether they do it with a pencil and paper or with their mouse and keyboard. And they both deserve credit for their talents!!!

Leave a comment

The Passion of Teaching

A couple of days ago I was shopping in Saskatoon with my mom. After an hour of fun looking through clothes and trying them on, we headed up to the till. My mom was talking about how she could wear the clothes to school, as she is an EA. The cashier said “Oh, you’re a teacher, I’m a teacher too”. She was mentioning in passing that she had something in common with my mom, yet the way she said it really struck me. She was proclaiming that she was a teacher, not just mentioning it. I was obviously caught up in the moment because I said “I’m going to be a teacher in a couple of months!” The three of us were beaming at the thought of being educators.

This little experience really reiterated the fact that teaching and education is a very special career, and very different from most others. Although I was very aware of this before, this was my first time “celebrating” it, if you will, with a stranger. It was really great to feel that connection to someone we had never met prior to walking into that store. My mom and I both left the store feeling very confident in our career choices, and knowing that someone else felt the same way as us!

Education – all aspects – is something to celebrate!!!

2 Comments

Georgia teacher loses her job for Facebook

Last night my boyfriend informed me that a dj on a  local radio station was talking about a teacher who got fired for a photo of herself holding a glass of wine on her Facebook page. I told him that I was not suprized by the story, but that there is probably more to it. So, I did a little research. I came across the story on CBS.com. To my surprize, there really wasn’t much more to the story. Ashley Payne, a high school English teacher, had posted some vacation photos on her thought-to-be private Facebook page. One of the photos were of her holding a glass of wine in one hand, and a mug of beer in the other. As I read the news story, I very quickly learned that her principal confronted her about her Facebook page after receiving a parent complaint, and said she either had to resign or she’d be suspended. Payne has now hired a lawyer to fight for her job back.

This whole story really got me thinking. I’ve always been aware that being a teacher is completely different than any other job or career. You are a teacher 24/7; you really never get to leave your job. You are a teacher at the grocery store, restaurants, on vacation, and on Facebook. So, should teachers, then, not have Facebook pages? Are they expected to live a very sheltered life so that the rest of society will never be offended and will be able to view their children’s educators as perfect humans? Obviously, this is all very unrealistic. But, at the same time, hearing these kinds of stories makes it kind of hard to feel comfortable with having a Facebook page. As private as you think your settings are, it’s still on the internet, which can potentially be very public.

This story really makes  ya think! Especially as pre-service teachers!!!!

4 Comments

Frustrated!

Tech Task #5 is such a great project, and I was able to easily create all the different parts — I found images, added captions to them, added music and recorded my voice. However, I was not able to put them all together into a video because certain programs on my computer are not compatible with each other! I could not remember that last time I felt so helpless! This all reminded me of the reason I have tended to stray away from using technology in the past. As great as it can all be, there are always things that go wrong! And I absolutely hate when technology fails me in the middle of something.

My new goal for the semester is to stay calm when technology fails me. I want to be one of those people who can navigate their way through problems, and continue with it, problem solving and not freaking out! I know that there are so many amazing things that can be done with technology in a classroom and in a school, so it is important for me to overcome my anxiety when let down by technology!

1 Comment