Pink = Cancer Awareness?

When I was looking for some blogs to subscribe to a few days, I found a hockey related blog: On Frozen Blog.   On the blog, there was a post entitled “Should Hockey Players Wear Pink — Ever?“. You can read the original post here.   The post discusses that the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League will be wearing pink jerseys for this upcoming month for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Also, there have been a few different incidents where the entire ice surface was painted pink to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Hershey Bears Pink Jerseys

Hershey Bear's Pink Jerseys

I’m quite fine with fundraising through professional sports for charities.  However I was quite disturbed when I read this quote from the blog:

“Everyone is going pink for October, but that doesn’t necessarily mean money is being raised for cancer research. After all, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not Research Month. That means that anyone can put a cute ribbon on their products or even produce specialty pink products without actually donating anything. While this isn’t against the law or anything, many shoppers are being fooled into thinking that their purchase makes a difference.”

Pink Ice (Image from Flickr)

Pink Ice (Image from Flickr)

This quote originally came from an article entitled “When Breast Cancer Pink is a Scam“.  This particular article states that many companies are exploiting the pink ribbon for marketing purposes.  Am I the only one sickened by this?  The fact that businesses are using fake cancer awareness to turn a larger profit.  They know people are more likely to buy products where some of the proceeds go towards a good cause.  I can’t believe that companies are trying to fool people into buying their products knowing this.

I know that hockey teams or organizations that run charity nights aren’t trying to pull a fast one on us.  However much they say will be donated to these charities will likely be donated.  However, some of it will probably get lost somewhere along the way.  I think if you’re wanting to contribute to these charities, you should make a donation directly to them.

Also, on a side note, it was just announced that Team Canada will be wearing green jerseys at the World Juniors in Saskatchewan. Scott Smith, chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, said “Green is the colour … hockey is the game.”  Smart move on Hockey Canada’s part.  The green and white Riders make more money in merchandise than the rest of the CFL combined.  And, I heard this from a friend, so correct me if I’m wrong, but third most in all sports in Canada, just behind the Canadiens and Leafs.  I like it, but I bet all of Canada outside of Saskatchewan will hate it.

A Math Problem

One of my mentors, Michael Kaechele,  asked me if I could come up with some sort of problem for his math class.  His math class is currently taking a unit on perimeter, area, and volume.  I wanted to do something a bit more than just a little word problem . I decided to use a video and create a real-life problem, similar to what Dan Meyer does (although nowhere near as good).

I used the University of Regina’s Academic Green as my example and asked how far of a walk it would be to walk around the perimeter of it (assuming it is a perfect circle). I measured in steps, mostly because I didn’t have anything capable of measuring a large distance and partly because I felt it brings a real life aspect to the problem. I then took it further to incorporate an area problem and asked how big of an ice rink could I fit into the green if I wanted to do so.  To close off the video, I ask what is wrong with how I measured for problem, hoping to spark some thoughts that maybe steps isn’t the best or most consistent way to measure.  I also hope they discuss the fact that the green isn’t a perfect circle, and how that could change the problems.

Anyways, this is my final product:

Academic Green Problems

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for any future videos!

Unbelievable Social Media Count

I stumbled across this thanks to one of my mentoring teachers on Twitter, Michael Kaechele.  You can find the original post by Gary Hayes on his blog, here.  Using statistics he found across the web, this counter calculates how many social media events have happened.  It figures out how many blog posts have been made, how many tweets tweeted, how many YouTube videos watched, and it goes on and on.  Just check it out below (may not show in Google Reader).

I was really surprised by how many YouTube videos have been watched.  It’s an enormous amount!  Since I started creating this blog post, 114 seconds ago (1:54 mins), 1314812s videos have been watched (the numbers will be different for you since the count starts once you load this page).  I will never come close to watching this in my entire life!  Now at 246 seconds (4:06 mins) there has been $177359 made from global media messaging and data.  That is a lot of money in a short amount of time.

Gary also lists these stats on his page. I’ve reposted them in this post, you can see them here.

  • 20 hours of video uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog Aug 09)
  • Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per month, 700mill & 4 mill respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
  • Twitter 18 million new users per year & 4 million tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
  • iPolicy UK – SMS messaging has a bright future (Aug 09)
  • 900 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
  • YouTube daily, 96 million videos watched, $1mill bandwidth costs (source Comscore Jul 06 !)
  • UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
  • Second Life 250k virtual goods made daily, text messages 1250 per second (source Linden Lab release Sep 09)
  • Money – $5.5 billion on virtual goods (casual & game worlds) even Facebooks gifts make $70 million annually (source Viximo Aug 09)
  • Flickr has 73 million visitors a month who upload 700 million photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
  • Mobile social network subscribers – 92.5 million at the end of 2008, by end of 2013 rising to between 641.6-873.1 million or 132 mill annually (source Informa PDF)
  • SMS – Over 2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (source Everysingleoneofus sms statistics)

These stats really blow my mind.  I knew social media was big, just not this big.  These numbers really put into perspective how big social media really is and how much it is part of our world.

How Can Facebook Threats be Handled?

From Flickr (click for original)

From Flickr (click for original)

Yesterday, I stumbled across this article by Katie Ash. It talks about two different incidents where students used Facebook to post school shooting threats.  In the first story, a student’s post went unnoticed for five months until authorities learned of it.   In the second story, a threat was made in PEI and administrators decided to keep the school open just with tighter security. Apparently, the decision to keep the school open was because there was no way to contact students and families on such short notice.  Needless to say, parents were not pleased that they were not made aware of the threat.   Katie goes on to suggest that parents are expecting schools to be able to get the message out quickly with all the available communication tools of today.

This article brought up some interesting thoughts.

How can a shooting threat go without action for 5 months?   Was it only because it was made through Facebook?  If  dangerous threats like this are occurring on Facebook, should accounts be monitored?  What if this student came a week after his post and “shot the place up”?  Should something not have been immediately when the threat was made?

Now with regards to letting parents know quickly.  We do have incredible technology capable of reaching enormous amounts of people in no time, why couldn’t it be utilized to warn students and their families of such a threat?  They certainly could make a list of cellphone numbers to text, twitter accounts to tweet, emails to email, and so on.   The radio works great, but I’m sure even less people listen to it than ever before, so more and more ways to communicate a message like this should be explored.

What do you think about these two situations?  What can be done to better handle similar situations in the future? They certainly made me think about how technology should maybe be monitored and how effectively it is currently being used.

Teaching for the Real World: Incorporating Relevant Topics and Technology

(This is an assignment I just submitted for my education class.  I’ll warn you, it’s a long post)

Just over a year ago I decided I wanted to pursue a career in education.  Since then, many people have asked me why I wanted to become a teacher.  At first, I was not entirely sure why I wanted to.  I would tell them that I wanted to make a difference, to work with children, to have as many holidays as possible, and to be able coach sports.  Don’t get me wrong, those are all things that still motivate me to become a teacher.  However, now I attribute my desire to teach to something much different:  I want to be a better teacher than my teachers ever were.  My teachers were behind in the times and did not always have the passion and enthusiasm I hoped for.  I do not feel that they prepared me to live in the world of today.  I can barely apply anything I learned in school to the real world and I am very inadequate when it comes to using technology.  My students will not suffer through an education experience similar to mine.  I will be a better teacher by using relevant, real-world problems and examples and I will incorporate the incredible tools of technology that are at my disposal.

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

For me, the most difficult aspect of school was applying what I was learning to the world I was living in.  Whenever a classmate of mine asked “Why are we learning this?” we typically got a response similar to “because it will be on your exam”.  What motivation is there for students to retain knowledge if the only reason they are learning is because it will be on their exam?  Students do not want to learn what will be on their exam, they want to know how it connects to their lives in the “real world” (Burden, 2000).   If a teacher can illustrate a purpose to a particular lesson, the students are more likely to dig deeper and expand their interest in the subject matter (Curtis, 2001).  Eventually, using this approach will encourage students to make connections to other lessons they have learned and apply a greater amount of knowledge when trying to solve a problem (Curtis, 2001).

This lack of real world applications will be addressed when I begin to teach.  If I can give my students reasons to learn, they will retain their knowledge rather than dismissing it immediately after their exam (Curtis, 2001).   I will give my students the framework to apply everything they learn within the walls of my classroom to the vast world outside of those walls.  I want my students to be able to do more than pass the final exam; I want them to connect their classroom experiences to their real-world experiences (Linking the real world, 2002).  It makes sense to say that “lessons related to real issues in a community have greater meaning to students than textbook ones” (Linking the real world, 2002, para. 17).  When students can build on their education outside of class, school will feel like less of a chore and will be more exciting.  Learning will become an everyday practice when students can start applying their school knowledge outside of school.

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

Having real life applications to schoolwork will unquestionably motivate students to learn.  Elliot Solloway, a University of Michigan professor, suggests that motivation can also be increased when technology is implemented into lessons (Kiedrowski, Smale, & Gounko, 2009). Tools like the internet can be used to link students to the real world (Linking the real world, 2002).  These tools make teaching more effective and interesting by better illustrating concepts and help appeal to the imagination and creative minds of students.

Technology is a bigger part of the world than it has ever been in the past.  In the 2004-2005 school year, there was over $7-billion spent on technology in the United States (Leonard & Leonard, 2006).  However, most technology still sits and collects dust (Leonard & Leonard, 2006).  When I was a high school student, technology was a large part of my everyday life, but never a part of my education.   Perhaps my teachers weren’t confident or educated well enough to effectively use the tools available to them.  According to Leonard and Leonard, many teachers have struggled to advance past the initial stages of using technology and ultimately have difficulty seeing its potential to boost their teachings (2006).

Some people argue that technology is not needed in education.  Some say the best teachers use very little technology while others argue that it disrupts the classroom environment (Leonard & Leonard, 2006; Kiedrowsk et al., 2009).  This may be true; however, technology is here to stay and is currently transforming our world (Leonard & Leonard, 2006).   Should education not reflect this worldwide trend?  Teachers need to begin finding ways to use technology for educational gains instead of ignorantly banning it (Kiedrowsk et al., 2009).  New technology needs to be used to its full potential because students will be using it for the rest of their lives (Leonard & Leonard, 2006).  For example, if a student is capable to accurately and professionally T9 text message a colleague in the future, they will have one more essential workplace skill than a peer who did not have the opportunity to learn this skill in their education (Kiedrowsk et al., 2009).

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

From Flickr (click to enlarge)

As a teacher, I plan to utilize technology to its full extent.  I do not intend for it to compensate for my shortcomings, but rather for it to complement my abilities.   It will be my responsibility to use technology appropriately and to ensure that my students are educated on how to use it safely and effectively (Kiedrowsk et al., 2009).  In the United States, the Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment believes that integrating technology into classrooms is the most important step for developing students to live in the future (Leonard & Leonard, 2006).   If a class can be made more exciting through the use of multimedia or projects made more fun with technology, why not use it to do so?  Teachers should be doing everything in their power to make learning more exciting and interesting for students.

I do not want my students to have a discouraging education experience like I did.  I want to make their schooling fun, exciting and practical.   My students will be prepared to live in the real world outside the walls of my classroom.  By encouraging my students to connect what they have learned in my class to their real life, they will be better prepared to handle real world problems on their own.  I will give my students the tools to succeed by exposing them to the incredible technology of the world and encourage them to use it in a safe, effective, and creative manner for their entire lives.   I want to be the teacher who makes school relevant to the real world.


Burden, P. (2000). Powerful classroom management strategies: motivating students to learn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Inc.

Curtis, D. (2001, 11 1). Real-World Issues Motivate Students. Retrieved October 18, 2009, from Edutopia:

Kiedrowski, J., Smale, W., & Gounko, T. (2009). Cellular Phones in Canadian Schools: A Legal Framework. Education Law Journal , 19 (1), 41-62.

Leonard, L. J., & Leonard, P. E. (2006). Leadership for Technology Integration: Computing the Reality. Alberta Journal of Educational Research , 52 (4), 212-224.

Linking the real world to the classroom. (2002). Retrieved October 15, 2009, from Teaching Today:

The Zoo

I decided randomly on two tools to use from Alan Levine‘s list of Fifty Tools. I decided to use Vuvox Collage and Animoto.

Using Animoto didn’t require much work.  It basically did it all for me once I uploaded my videos and pictures. However, I wasn’t thrilled about the 30 second limit (I could get more time if I paid). I would have liked to include many more photos. You can view it below or here.

Using Vuvox Collage was really neat. I think some really amazing stuff could be made with this tool. It was really easy to upload and use my photos and videos and adding text was really easy. You can see my creation below or here. I really wish I would have given myself more time to play with this tool.

I hope to explore more of the tools listed and find some more great ones!

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