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Greetings Wilkes Classmates!

May 10, 2010

Latté at Sandringham Beach, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

Welcome to Instructional Media or “What’s an Overhead?” Remember those? I’m doing my best to ignore the fact that I earned the nickname “Captain Overhead” in teacher’s college in 1981 at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. It seems like just yesterday that we moved from these simple technologies, to computers, to LCD projectors to Document Cameras. But actually, that technology push has taken almost 30 years, which is the number of years I have been teaching. The greatest changes have occurred in the last five years, from my perspective.
I started my career in NW Saskatchewan, moved back to S. Ontario, taught in Toronto for a few years, and then took a position teaching Middle School with the Peel District School Board in 1987, where I have been ever since. Peel is the county, now region, which lies immediately west of Toronto and is one of the largest school districts, by population, in Canada. It includes the area from Lake Ontario, to Caledon, a distance of about 75 kilometres NW and is about 25 kilometres wide. We serve a rather diverse demographic since 1 in 3 immigrants to Canada settles in the region. It makes for a very fascinating place, with many languages spoken, many cultures represented, and many points of view accepted. I wouldn’t have it any other way- it’s like, as a visiting author once quipped, “having the United Nations” in my classroom.

Map of Southern Ontario including Peel Region

In 2007 I had the great privilege of going on a teacher exchange to Australia. It’s an amazing experience, and Oz is an amazing country. Living, working, teaching, going to school, travelling, experiencing another culture is a challenging yet rewarding experience that I highly recommend to you. Exchanges have their origin in Commonwealth countries hence the large numbers of UK, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian teachers who participate. Of all the people on exchange to Victoria, Australia in 2007 with us, 10 were Canadian, 2 were from the UK and one was American. I suggest US teachers find out more about organizations that arrange exchanges for your state authority.
One of the cool things my Australian school had that my home school did not was laptops for every student. This was a great resource to be able to tap into, but I observed that the students used them more often as toys as opposed to learning tools. That slowly changed under my watch as I used Discovery Streaming there to engage them and force them to use the technology to explore resources online.
Travelling around Australia is an amazing experience too, and we (my wife and 2 teenaged boys) were able to take advantage of as many travel opportunities as possible. Here are a few highlight photos.

Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria

From Oz 2007

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

From Oz 2007

Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania

From Oz 2007

The Devil’s Marbles, Northern Territory

From Oz 2007

Sunset at Uluru, Northern Territory

From Oz 2007

Speaking of adventures, EDIM 514 marks the end of another adventure for me as this is my last Wilkes course. I am really looking forward to this one and to putting all my learning to good use at my school, with my colleagues, and beyond. I will continue teaching Grade 6 and part time in the IT Lab next year, and hope to be able to instruct teachers in their additional qualifications courses relating to technology integration next year. I am also interested in becoming an online teacher, having been an online student. Since I can retire in a little over a year (if I so choose), I am exploring new career choices for when I leave the classroom.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 12:40 pm

    Love the photos! Sounds like you’ve been on quite a journey and while the finish line is in sight, it looks like you’re treating it as the starting line for yet another adventure! I look forward to sharing this leg with you and exploring together.

    Hope you find this class to be both challenging and rewarding!

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