Saturday, January 02, 2016

A New Year - Endings, Beginnings, and Other Things...

Here we are at the beginning of another year - out with the old, in with the new, a time to look back and to look forward at what's going to be.

It's nice to be back back writing and a quick look back at 2015 tells me it was  pretty good year, everyone happy and healthy and despite an ever increasingly crazy and angry World, my corner of it is pretty good, happy, warm, and safe.

The biggest event for me from the past year was our federal election in October - with the majority win of the Trudeau-led Liberals bringing fresh air and vitality into the political scene, I feel more Canadian than I have in years. The previous Harper government was doing its utmost to create an American presidency in Canada and thankfully they didn't succeed. Interestingly enough with the defeat of the provincial Conservative government in Newfoundland and Labrador by the Liberals, there is now not one single conservative government at the provincial level (although the Saskatchewan Party and premier Brad Wall are definitely conservative in philosophy) - the broom swept well. It will be interesting to see where Canada is at the end of 2016...

As 2016 unfolds I'm looking forward to less of a Winter than last year (not sure it can get worse - there can't be that much snow left!!), better organizing my time to do things - read, blog, exercise and be happy :-) (these aren't resolutions, but an attempt to be better at doing what makes me happy). I want to spend more time with my dog Max, who is such an amazing, loving, giving animal and deserves that from me, with close friends and family, and all in all focus on enjoying life!!

Here are some of the other events that I'll be watching in 2016:

  • The presidential election in the US - election night is 8 November, my birthday - not sure if that is a present or not - feels more like watching the decline of the American Empire - specially if Donald Trump is a legitimate candidate...
  • Summer Olympics in Brazil - maybe the last big Olympics? Venues not finished or scaled back, and enough pollution to be a serious health hazard - I hope it goes well and all are safe
  • Chaos in the World - refugees, terrorism, ISIL, will be interesting to see where we are at the end of the year - all I know is that the World is fundamentally changed
And then there is the biggest event of the year, my 60th birthday - bring on those senior discounts!!

Hmmmm...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

With apologies to  Edward Pola and George Wyle and to Andy Williams, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year - now is, at least it is here at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). It is convocation time at NSCC - as a pan-provincial community college with 13 campuses across Nova Scotia, from Yarmouth to Sydney, we have 17 convocation ceremonies over the next two weeks. A total of 4719 graduates will cross the stage at their campus ceremonies to receive their diplomas or certificates from our president.

As a dean of the College, I have the honour and great pleasure of attending the convocation ceremonies. As an educator, parent, employer, legislator, friend, or acquaintance, if you have ever doubted the transformational power of education, run, don't walk to the convocation ceremony nearest you - you will see happy, joyful graduates, families, friends and communities, but more importantly you will see confident, assured adults ready to take on the World in their chosen professions, to be successes, to have changed their lives and the lives of their families and communities.

As an educator, if you have ever doubted that what you do matters, all it takes is one little girl's voice echoing across the stage "Way to go Daddy" as her father accepts his credential - that is why we do what we do! It really is the most wonderful time of the year...


Monday, September 26, 2011

Back To Blogging... and Slogging!!

I'm baaack!! With a little push from my friend bitdepth (check out his blog it's very cool!). Seems like forever since I have posted anything and turns out it has - no real excuse, I haven't run out of things to say or thoughts that make me go hmmm..., just never seemed to get around to it. Plus there were those whole Twitter and Facebook distractions - but I'm back - really, I am!...

So tonight thought I'd post about something I've been up to - as I sit here dripping on to the keyboard - I'm just in from what I affectionately call (well, not so affectionately when I'm actually doing it...) slogging - think of it as periods of walking interrupted by periods of very slow jogging (slow + jog = slog- elementary!! :-)). The good news is that I slog now more than I walk and I'm out about 45-60 minutes a slog - my city is a good one for slogging - pretty, with lots of hills and flat bits (I'm really good at finding the flat bits and downhills). I feel great and I know I'm fitter, so I'll keep it up until the snow flies and then I'll head to the gym for the winter...

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A new feature here is that I plan on ending with a link or site that I find useful or interesting or one that just makes me go Hmmm.... Today's site is Ron Berks's - Ron is Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics and Measurement at The John Hopkins University and a master of the use of humour in the classroom and of all things PowerPoint - check him out at LinkedIn too. Ron is amazing and very generous with amazing stuff (stuff is a technical term) and lots of wisdom for educators and presenters. Hmmm...

Friday, April 01, 2011

No More Anonymity...

Hi folks - I love your feedback, but I've turned off Anonymous comments because of all of the spam - getting tired of people and sites posting unrelated, irrelevant, and frankly unsavoury feedback on a blog that is supposed to be about things that make me go Hmmm..., not Yuck!......

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sugata Mitra - the Child Driven Education

This is from TED.com and is an amazing presentation from Sugata Mitra, on experiments and studies he has done on children in remote areas teaching themselves to use computers with NO assistance - amazing stuff and proof that children will learn what children want to learn - something as educators we can all keep in mind...



Hmmm...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back Up Out Of The Twitter Rabbit Hole And Other Musings...

Hard to believe that it has been almost six months since my last blog post - I truly did fall down the Twitter rabbit hole - was (and is) to type out that quick and witty (well I think they are witty) 140 charcter stream of consciousness than it was to sit down and think of something almost sensible to say...

Another advantage of Twitter is that with TweetDeck, I could kill two birds with one stone - tweet and post to Facebook (in fact other than Birthday greetings, I have not used the Facebook interface since I installed TweetDeck almost a year ago...).

While I find Twitter a good way to stay in touch and to get info - depending on who you follow it's almost a "headline" RSS feed - there is still very much room in my life for a blog and for other folk's blogs too (although I must confess I have not looked at Netvibes in months either - something I must get back too.

We're nearing the end of another full and busy academic year here at the College - convocation is next week and we are already in next year mode - seeing prospective students, looking at enrollment numbers (ours are great!), and all in all getting sorted out for another academic year - there is no longer any "down" time...

The two big pieces of tech news for me over the last few months are all Apple related - the release of the iPad and today's announcement of the new iPhone 4 - there is definiteky an iPhone 4 in my relatively immediate future, as for the iPad we have oredered some to try as teaching and learning platforms and to become more informed about their capabilities as we know students will strat showing up with them this fall.

I see the iPad as primarily a consumption machine, not a creation machine - Ira David Socol on his SpeEd Change blog has an interesting post on the iPad - check it out. I think the jury is still out on if the iPad can be successfully used as a learning tool in PSE - I suspect that in some programs it can and in some it cannot. I plan on using one this summer and fall as my " go to meetings" machine - note taking, file retrieval etc. I'll post on how it goes.

My cross Canada virtual trek continues - I think I'm somewhere in Saskatchewan I'll be updating those posts shortly - I did the Bluenose Marathon 5 KM walk/run this year for the third time - my goal was sub 50 minutes and I finished in a chip tine of 50:07.9 (shouldn't have tweetd at the 1 Km mark :-)). You can see my hard-earned medal above...

Well it is so good to be back up from deep in the Twitterverse - I've really missed that 141st character and all the ones that follow. Time to think and muse on what will be here next. Hmmm...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking Back 2009 - Looking Forward 2010...

So here we are - the end of one year and the beginning of another - time to look back and look forward - the adventures and opportunities of the year past and the adventures and opportunities of the year ahead...

2009 was a full and busy year - I began a regular gym routine which has morphed into a six-day a week routine - I'm in much better shape now than I was a year ago and fully expect to be in even better shape by the end of 2010. My virtual cross Canada trek from Halifax to Vancouver has me somewhere around Winnipeg right now (more posts to follow on that) - I hope to be in Vancouver by October or November 2010. The gym and fitness has become part of my life - a big lifestyle change for me. In 2010 I plan on running (well slogging - slow jogging) the Bluenose 5K - I've walked it the last two years. Also plan on playing more golf in 2010 than I did in 2009, but that will be u to the Golf Gods...

On the technology front 2009 was the year where Twitter became my most used Web 2.0 tool and Facebook declined in use - in fact if it were not for the ability of TweetDeck to simultaneously post to Twitter and Facebook, I might never use Facebook - although it is still my preferred tool for tracking Birthdays etc. As it is I use Greasemonkey scripts to customize facebook and get rid of a lot of the superfluous stuff that seems to spring up all over Facebook these days.

I also blogged less in 2009 but plan on doing more in 2010 - Twitter took a lot of what I wanted to say, but some days I just need more than 140 characters. Twitter changed the way we look at and get news - look at the uprisings in Iran and the Haiti earthquake - Twitter got the news out to the world...

I'm still looking for that killer Web 2.0 app that will tie all these social media sites together - if you create it, you will make a fortune. I thnk in 2010 the desktop and operating sytems will become less relevant and the move to the cloud will continue. I wonder what impact that Google's Chrome OS will have? Google's influence will continue t0 grow - it will be a noun, verb, adjective, and who knows maybe even a preposition bythe end of 2010.

Devices will continue to shrink - more and more folks will use smartphones an netbooks to connect - I can't wait to see what Apple does with their tablet (iSlate, iTablet or who knows the Newton II?).

All in all 2009 was a great year and I'm looking forward to what 2010 brings. Hmmm...