The Fear of Change

In Media awareness, Professional Learning on October 5, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , , , , ,

– by Randy Lyseng

Change is all around us.  In the words of Karl Fisch, Shift Happens!  (see the latest Did You Know video on YouTube.  But how do we respond to teachers who grapple with technology change in the classroom?

On the ISTE Connects Blog this morning, I found a great post about Dennis Baron’s new book  A Better Pencil. Here’s an excerpt of the post:

His new book takes a look at people’s fear of computers having a negative impact on various aspects of human interaction, including common complaints that instant messaging (IM) is ruining the English language and that Facebook is causing us to be anti-social. Baron argues that we don’t need to be concerned. He feels computers are improving writing and actually making us more social. And what I found to be most interesting is his view that this fear of ‘changing technology’ is nothing new.

And it’s true…it is nothing new.  In the final phase of my student teaching, my cooperating teacher used the Gestetner printer and refused to use the photocopier. I preferred using Mechanical pencils in University vs. the standard HB.  I was able to use a calculator in my grade 12 diploma exam…this first year it was allowed (1985).  Some teachers are petrified of using the new SMARTBoard in their class and prefer to use the overhead and project it on their SMARTBoard instead.

Megan Dolman, the author of the post on ISTE Connects provides us with some great advice for working these hesitant teachers:

When you come up against people that are hesitant to implement technology it may be a good idea to remember what Baron is saying: this fear of new communication tools is as old as the pencil. Reassure them that just as the telephone didn’t lessen the need or desire for face-to-face conversations, Facebook and other social media won’t either!

The times…well they are always changing.



Do Interactive Whiteboards create interactive students?

In Tools on September 24, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: ,

— by Randy Lyseng

Just read a very compelling article from Wesley Fryer talking about the “lure” of technology in the classroom and the myth that tools such as Interactive Whiteboards will keep students engaged and entertained in the classroom. His article is based on a conversation he had recently had with a parent and this parents’ belief that such technologies would be so beneficial for her child.

This is a great reminder that it’s not the tool that will engage the student, it’s how the teacher will use a variety of tools and strategies  to engage the student.  This picture shows a great example of how it could be interactive.

Here’s Fryer’s blog post appropriately called  Interactive technology access does not guarantee good teaching and learning.

Via the Speed of Creativity blog.

Update (October 20, 2009):  In a similar vein, see the latest post from Fryer:  No, just having IWBs does not make learning engaging

Even better, see Dr. Jon Becker’s five part “Peer-review of Marzano’s IWB Study” from this summer: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.


Articles student portal hits schools

In Tools on September 22, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: ,

Six district schools are currently using the student portal, which provides student at those sites with access to the same group of Share (Google) Apps tools that teachers have had access to for the last year.  While staff use Staffzone to get to their Share content, students will use to access these collaborative tools.  A move towards cloud computing and away from desktop applications (such as MS Office) will allow for greater flexibility with devices (e.g. Mac, iPod, Linux, etc.) and with where students can access their online tools.  For an overview of the project, visit the Share HELP site – this provides an overview of the Share (Google) Apps for staff and students.



AISI Cycle 4: TIPS participate

In Media awareness, Professional Learning on September 21, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged:

ilearnAs an active participant in the AISI Leadership Team (ALT), TIPS members will be reporting on issues in technology planning that relate to the AISI project.  One of the roles defined for members of the ALT is that they “…engage in the communication/knowledge dissemination of the AISI Cycle 4…”.  As such we will be using this blog from time to time to relate information that has been  presented to members of the ALT or appears on the AISI Cycle IV website.

An ezine article on 21st literacies is referenced in the above website.  The article begins on page 4 of the issue.


Alberta’s International Space Station Event

In Media awareness on September 17, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , ,

Alberta’s International Space Station Event is set to take place on September 23 at 9:25 AM.


To ensure that all Alberta students have the opportunity to share in the experience, the question and answer session between students in Palliser Regional Schools and astronauts aboard the International Space Station will be available by live streaming and broadcast on Shaw Cable.  Everyone is encouraged to share in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

To access the live streaming feed, please click here.

To test the site in your school or district please visit

Read More »


SMART Exchange website for teachers.

In Professional Learning, Tools on September 17, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , ,

The website contains SMART’s education content, community forums and teacher-support networks. Previously in different locations, the content and community services that educators want from SMART are now all in one place. It also includes the Galleries and about 25,000 resources.  Please visit:

Press release


Notebook Interactive Viewer

In Tools on September 17, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , , ,

Smart has released Notebook Interactive Viewer which allows teachers to upload their files on Share and have students viewing it.  As far as we understand this is NOT  the Notebook Express version which will be released later.       

Notebook interactive viewer makes it easy to share the digital content and lessons you create with Notebook software. The viewer allows you to exchange Notebook files with any of your colleagues, even if they don’t have access to the full version of Notebook software. You can also view your content created in Notebook software on any computer and present the material using any brand of interactive whiteboard.

There is an open license for Notebook interactive viewer, which means the software can be installed on every computer in your school. The download is simple and can be done on individual computers, or the software can be installed on your school network.