Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

I understand that Saddam Hussein was not a nice man and that he was undoubtedly responsible for many horrible, unspeakable events over his years in power. I also understand the need for revenge - it's a human response. But revenge is not justice, even when it is state-sanctioned revenge.

What I do not understand is what the parties to his execution (and you all know who you are) hoped to accomplish by killing him. Yes, he had to answer for what he had done, but was this really about guilt or innocence or revenge? I think revenge may have been a more powerful motive than justice.

Otherwise - what was the big rush? Complete all of the trials pending - that would have resulted in guilty verdicts (probably) but not an execution as Saddam would have been too old under Iraqi law to have been executed. But history would have been better served. Maybe the Shiites got "justice", but what about the Kurds, Iranians, and other groups that suffered under Saddam's regime? Where is their justice?

His trial was a political showcase and history will determine if it was fair or not. From what was shown of the trial and the commentary by some legal experts (many experts did say it was fair, so even the experts cannot agree), it seems that the trial would not have stood up to scrutiny if held anywhere but Iraq.

Certainly his US defence lawyers have already commented that they felt that the trial was not fair or even legal by many standards - it was about speed and the inevitable verdict and sentence. It does not bode well for the entire Iraqi legal system. The aftermath of the trial and execution remains to be seen, but can anyone be surprised if the violence increases?

Ding dong the witch is dead, but it is not a time to celebrate, but rather to feel sad for a nation stuck in a morass with no way out.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Do I Always Need to Be Profound? NOT!!

OK, I'll admit it - I'm a terrible blogger - I always feel that I have to have something profound to say - if it's not mind-altering or at least thought provoking then it's not blog fodder. Well, at least I used to think that.

A very wise friend of mine, much more worldly in all things Web 2.0 than I, who recently pointed out the folly of my ways, does something called micro-blogs - simply post something of interest - a link, a comment, a picture - and it doesn't have to be pages in length.

What a revelation! I think even I could do that on a semi-regular basis.

OK - let's start - "Dear Diary..."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

What's Coming Up In 2007

Well here it is, almost the end of another year, time to look forward to 2007, and try to figure out what tools and technologies that I'll be adding to my my educational practice.

This past year has been one of exploring and using Web 2.0 tools and developing a presence in Second Life. In 2007, it will be time to actually use them in my learning environments.

So here are some of my predictions on what will be used by my learners and myself in 2007:

  • Second Life - I see great educational potential in Second Life as do many other educators and post-secondary institutions who are currently offering learning in Second Life. So in 2007, I will be offering a course or part of a course in Second Life.
  • Wikis - I know that I am late to the party, but I am finally starting to use wikis as a way to present, debate, discuss, and resolve issues. In 2007 I will be using wikis to collect, collate, and exchange information with learners.
  • Blogs - well, along with trying to be more diligent in keeping this blog active, I will be using blogs with learners to allow them to journal and critically reflect on their learning experiences. In 2007 learners will use blogs for presenting opinions, reflections, and maybe even problem solutions.
  • Social networking - rapidly becoming the lingua franca of digital natives (my learners), social networking tools and customs will provide learners with greater input and control over their learning environments (I hope). In 2007 my learners will begin to leverage social networking to their learning advantage.
  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL) - not new for 2007 I have been using PBL for many years with great success. In 2007 I will continue to use PBL as a powerful learning tool preparing learners for careers in the IT industry.
  • Competency-Based Assessment (CBA) - I am not a big fan of giving grades to adult learners as the focus becomes the grade, not the learning. Unfortunately learners expect, no they demand, grades (all they know), and institutions require them. However that does not stop me from using CBA tools and methods for assessing learning. I will do this more in 2007, including having learners decide their pace of deliverable submission and agreeing to how they will be assessed. My job will be to determine what competent is. In 2007 I will use competency-based assessment to a greater extent in my educational practice.
Well there you go - stay tuned and we'll see just how good a forecaster I am.