Hello Sault Ste. Marie



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Regina, SK to Sault Ste. Marie, ON

This past Friday I connected with another one of my ECMP Mentorhips!  This one is with Mike Poluk from Sault St. Marie, Ontario.  This is my only mentorship within Canada, but is by no means close to me.  Sault St. Marie is some 1500 kms away from Regina.

I quickly introduced myself to his class before they headed outside for a project.  They were quite surprised that we had snow already!

The class just created a Project Earth Homes (inspired by this blog) where they were split into groups and given half of an hour to gather 25 natural objects and build an earth home (perhaps inspired by earth houses I found on Wikipedia).  Mr. Poluk has created a video of the creations which can be seen here.

This week the class is setting up blogs and learning about blogging etiquette.  I’m excited to see what kind of blogs the students come up with.

I will also be using Skype once again to interact with the class this Friday! I can’t wait!

You call this Academic Honesty?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnorman/177882602/

Image from Flickr (click for original)

Ever since I began my university career two and a half years ago I’ve had the concept and importance of Academic Honesty pounded into my head.   We have all been threatened with grades of zero, removal from our respective programs and expulsion from university all together.  These are things all students take quite seriously and I think, for the majority of us, encourages to be academically honest.  So where am I going with this?

This past Monday I was in one of my lectures (one most of my ECMP classmates would have also attended) getting lectured about how to write essays.  Our presenter was going on and reading examples from a hand out of photocopied works.  The only way you might know where they came from would be because it was included in the photocopy.  We then moved onto the next handout he had prepared for us.   In this handout he gave us a brief background on some strategies we should try to use for our papers.  The handout continues to give three extensive examples of some of these from pieces of literature.  There was no sign of any sort of the origin of these works, although he did mention they came from a collection of works he had.

Our last handout included basic APA rules and formatting guidelines.  This wasn’t really interesting until the first paragraph ended with:

“All three [direct quotation, paraphrase, and summary] forms of reference require you to name your source.  Not to do so is plagiarism.  Plagiarism implies that you have originated all the ideas in your text yourself.” (Source intentionally withheld.)

I hope I’m not the only one who sees a problem with this. Wikipedia also defines plagiarism as  “the adoption or reproduction of ideas or words or statements of another person without due acknowledgment.”   These two definitions are essentially the same.

Is it me or is plagiarism not being clearly displayed in the first two handouts?!  After looking closer, there are at least 11 accounts of blatant plagiarism!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24905543@N00/246432530/

Image from Flickr (click for original)

Does plagiarism only apply to students?  Why are students being punished for simply paraphrasing incorrectly when someone with their Phd can do much worse without any consequences?

There is something clearly wrong here and it made me realize something; I have very rarely noticed handouts or slides that were properly acknowledged since I’ve started university.  I know that professors are very well educated but I’m quite sure that they don’t come up with everything they teach all by themselves.  Certainly, most of the content is their own thoughts or ideas, but it cannot be entirely if they’re teaching from a text book.

Has anyone else noticed this?  Now don’t get me wrong, I know some professors do acknowledge sources as they should and I know some may even mention them when they go over them.  But what about the ones who don’t?

Why should students be expected to cite perfectly (even if there is one little slip up there is usually consequences) when some of their professors don’t even put forth an effort?  Are professors held accountable for their actions like students are?  Do they get fired for such incidents like students get expelled?

I apologize for the rant, I just find it frustrating that standards aren’t consistent for everyone (or maybe I’m wrong and they are).

Hello Florida and Michigan!

Two of my student mentorships for ECMP 355 have already begun.

The First Email from a Student!

The First Email from a Student!

Over the weekend, I created this video for Ms. Ionno’s class in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida to introduce myself to her students.  I’ve had one student already email me informing me that NASCAR fans are crazier than Saskatchewan Roughrider fans.  (The video is at the bottom of this blog post)

This morning I also got up early and spoke with Michael Kaechele‘s Grade 6 Math Class and his Grade 8 Tech Class later on.  I did this through Skype, which was really neat as the students were all able to ask me questions.  The most interesting question?: “Why don’t you have a Canadian accent?”

These were both scary but exciting experiences.  It boggles my mind that 11 and 12 year olds in Florida were watching a video of me.  And talking to 6th and 8th graders in Michigan over the internet was really neat.

I can’t wait to get deeper into these mentorships and get my other two going!

Introduction Video for Ms. Ionno

An Environmentally Friendly Font?

The other day I was aimlessly browsing around the internet seeing where I would end up. I stumbled across EcoFont.

Ecofont is a new way to be environmentally conscious created by Spranq Creative Communications. It is supposed to reduce the amount of ink you use when you print; they claim 20% less! They did this by “poking holes” in the Bitstream Vera font.  This does look kind of stupid when printing large sized text but when you print in normal size text it’s not even noticeable. I tried printing a document with the font and the only noticeable different is that the text just appears a little lighter.

EcoFont (sizes 48 down to 12)

EcoFont (sizes 48 down to 12)

I have always tried to reduce the amount of paper I wasted, but I never thought to reduce the amount of ink I print when I actually use paper. I absolutely hate when I run out of ink (which is quite often) and have to spend the money on a new cartridge. As a current student, there is a lot of printing involved so I go through ink like it’s nothing. This could be a great way to save myself some money over the next few years of school. It may be a hassle to convert professor’s files to the font, but if the word gets around about it maybe more and more people can use it.

Also, as a future teacher I know this could make a huge difference. I vividly recall getting handout after handout in high school. That is a lot of ink being used when printing for an entire school!    We can certainly try to reduce the amount of paper we use and waste but when we do need to use it, why not try to reduce the ink we use? We will save our school money and hopefully encourage our students to be more environmentally conscious by setting a good example.

I hope that Spranq make more fonts of this style to give everyone some more variety and encourage more and more people to use it!

Try it out!  You can download it here and the instructions on how to install are on the same page.  Once you install it and try it out in a program it will be called “Spranq eco sans”.

Let me know what you think!

The Wonderful Picasa

Recently,  after being immersed in the wonders of Google I found out I could upload my pictures to a Google site called Picasa (much like you can with Flickr).  I then got into it and noticed that it was taking forever to upload them through my browser and noticed that I could download a program that would upload them for me.  After downloading the Google Picasa program I quickly realized what a discovery I had made!
It was really easy to use right from the start.  It automatically started importing all the images on my computer into it and organizing them into different albums.  This took a little while, but saved me the hassle of doing it myself.   I noticed I could “Sync to Web” where it would upload my pictures to my online account and every time I changed the album, it would update them automatically.  It also had the really cool option to “Create a Collage” which would throw all my pictures from specified albums into a collage that I could rearrange any way I liked.  You can create really cool borders this way.  There is also a “Create a Movie Presentation” option that I haven’t tried out yet.  It will also let you do all sorts of photo fixes (contrast, redeye, retouch, etc).  If you have Google Earth installed also, you can tag on a map exactly where the photos were taken; I haven’t used this yet but I intend to once I find some time.
The most impressive feature I found is that it will recognize all the faces in your pictures and once you start tagging a few people it will automatically start detecting who people are in photos!  It blew me away and made going through all my photos to tag people an effortless process.
The best part of all?  IT’S FREE! (Can you tell I’m a poor student?)
I would definately recommend everyone to check this out.  I’m not sure how well it works on Macs since I’m on a PC, but I imagine it would work just as well!  If you want more information before downloading take a look at the Learn More page or watch this video!
Screen Shot from My Picasa

Screen Shot from My Picasa

Recently,  after being immersed in the wonders of Google I found out I could upload my pictures to a Google site called Picasa (much like you can with Flickr).  I then got into it and noticed that it was taking forever to upload them through my browser and noticed that I could download a program that would upload them for me.  After downloading the Google Picasa program I quickly realized what a discovery I had made!

It was really easy to use right from the start.  It automatically started importing all the images on my computer into it and organizing them into different albums.  This took a little while, but saved me the hassle of doing it myself.   I noticed I could “Sync to Web” where it would upload my pictures to my online account and every time I changed the album, it would update them automatically.  It also had the really cool option to “Create a Collage” which would throw all my pictures from specified albums into a collage that I could rearrange any way I liked.  You can create really cool borders this way.  There is also a “Create a Movie Presentation” option that I haven’t tried out yet.  It will also let you do all sorts of photo fixes (contrast, redeye, retouch, etc).  If you have Google Earth installed also, you can tag on a map exactly where the photos were taken; I haven’t used this yet but I intend to once I find some time.

The most impressive feature I found is that it will recognize all the faces in your pictures and once you start tagging a few people it will automatically start detecting who people are in photos!   Find out more here.  It blew me away and made going through all my photos to tag people an effortless process.

The best part of all?  It’s FREE! (Can you tell I’m a poor student?)

I would definately recommend everyone to check this out.  I’m not sure how well it works on Macs since I’m on a PC, but I imagine it would work just as well!  If you want more information before downloading take a look at the Learn More page or watch this video!  (The video is talking about Picasa 3.0, I have 3.5 which has the face/name tags)



Introducting Picasa 3

I think Picasso would have used Picasa. Let me know if you find it as handy as I did!

MyGoogle

Screenshot of my iGoogle Page (click to enlarge)

Screenshot of my iGoogle Page (click to enlarge)

After Lisa Thumann introduced my ECMP 355 class to iGoogle, our class went out and started exploring it.  After playing with it for quite a while I  created a page that included pictures from my Google Picasa Web Photos, my Google Reader, a to-do list,  a Google Scholar search box, my Google Docs, my Delicious bookmarks, the Environment Canada Weather for Regina, as well as some news feeds (Edublogs – teacher and student blogs, Educational Technology, and TechLEARNING.com).

iGoogle is now my new homepage as it has everyone I need right in there!  I like that I am able to change the theme if I’d like.  It’s so handy to have everything I regularly use all in one spot that I can customize myself!  I hope to explore iGoogle more and let me know if there are any great gadgets that I’m missing out on!

Edublogs – teacher and student blogs