Friday, September 05, 2003

Today I prepared for a trip to Kentucky, Morehead University specifically, for a full week of "SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard Master's sessions" with faculty, graduates, staff and students of the school.

I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to dialog with such a diverse group for an extended period of time. Being able to spend some time with users in their "natural habitat" is extremely valuable to me as I look for ways to connect with learners.

The reason I find this exposure is so valuable is that it permits the opportunity to "tweak" the curriculum. I'm really lucky to work for SMART Technologies Inc. We've got some really neat products for educators and I couldn't have better exposure to customers using our hardware and software.

I've got to thank Professor Lynn Davie for a great course this semester. I especially like what he has to say about active learning and constructivism. Whenever I can get learners to "buy in" I try to encourage them to implement both of these concepts.

We considered the role of the instructor as part of our learning this semester. To wit, what is the proper degree of "engagement" on the part of the instructor. Needs of learners to feel connected and supported as a member of a learning community versus the necessity to challenge them and encourage them to engage in the self-direction and discovery constructivist learning requires.

I submit that Dr. Davie has done an admirable job of balancing the course of CTL1611--Summer2003. I learned a ton this summer. I said I'd learn a lot about CGI scripts and Perl and I did. Also learned that I may be dyslexic where UNIX is concerned ;-)

The chats I had w/ colleagues James and Simone left the biggest impression on me. It was great to be on an academic project team that met synchronously daily. This might not be significant for most students, but it certainly was for this part-time graduate student who participated in these on-line chats over dialup connections all over North America. Doing what was necessary to "get connected" no matter where or what I was doing, or how slow the dialup connection was, gave me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Over the Labour Day weekend I had a summerMaple Bridgit conference running which included a live video from a webcam, a *.wmv movie playing on a loop, and an electronic "sign in" sheet. I'll have to check with the software developers for the definitive word, but I don't think my "multimedia experiment" qualifies as "streaming"; nonetheless, it does approximate it. The future of computing is conferencing. Synchronous communication is king.

Thanks to those who took the time to sign-in during the summerMaple conference and to whomever erased all the names on Friday evening:

"What up with that?"

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Yesterday I had the good fortune to work with staff from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, AB. Staff from the museum made the trip from Drumheller to our offices in Calgary for training on the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard. It was great to work with the group from the museum and to see what it is that they're doing with our hardware and software.