03 Sep

Back to School

If you're new to my website or my blog, welcome. I use this space to talk about teaching and learning, and to reflect on my professional practice. Tonight, #K12Media (an educational chat on Twitter that I co-moderate) will be all about "Back to School". We hope to share ideas, lessons and resources to start the year. 

One key concept for my grade 11 classes is Representation. We spend a good deal of time in the course talking about how people, places and things are represented in media (which includes literature). My idea for this year: why not pick your favourite "Back to School" commercial and put it in the media triangle? This simple activity can fit into a shortened period and allows students to see how we're going to analyse a variety of media works. Teachers can have students vote on which commercial to use, then use YouTube or the company's website to find the commercial. Alternatively, you can browse around and select a sample. 

06 Jun

Today the Education Community has Lost a Giant

Photograph courtesy of John Pungente

I am sad to report that today, the education community in Ontario and beyond has lost a giant. Barry Duncan passed away this morning and today my deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and students. He was my teacher, mentor and friend, and I miss him already. 

I will think of him every time I hear this song: 

Below you can read an overview of Barry Duncan's life and career (my deepest thanks to Neil Andersen and John Pungente for allowing me to post it here):

03 May

Video Games and the Construction of Reality

The "official" trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was just released and it is an amazing piece of advertising. Take a look:

In #K12Media and again at The Association for Media Literacy's 21st Century Literacies conference, we looked at The Hunger Games and the social media marketing/advertising of that film (you can see a short promo about the campaign here). The above trailer (and I'm certain there will be more to come in the months before the game is released) is another great example of a social media campaign that already is creating a good bit of buzz.

09 Apr

Media Literacy Conference!

If you're wondering why I haven't blogged in a while, it's because things have been a bit busy... 

On April 21, you are invited to join us for a great day at York University! Register here.

Coffee and lunch will be included. 

If you're not yet an AML member, head over and join now. It's free! 

We look forward to seeing you there.

03 Mar

TO Book Club: Welcome!

Last week, I tweeted a thought I had about starting a book club, and later that day TO Book Club was born. I'm looking forward to engaging with others who are passionate about literature. Reading a book is a decidedly solitary activity. We need time to absorb the words, to allow the text to move us, to allow our imaginations to interact with the text creating an intimate and individual experience every time it is read. At the same time, there is a unique pleasure in the shared experience of going on that journey with others, having a multitude of parallel experiences that intersect at a moment in the text or engage in a vibrant debate/discussion/analysis of the work. It's those experiences that I hope to have reading with you.

To that end, I have set up the @TOBookClub account on Twitter. The vision of what this book club could be isn't fully formed yet. Right now, I have the rough idea of reading the book and meeting at some point after, likely toward the end of March to discuss the novel. You don't have to live in or near Toronto to do so, as I have started the hashtag #TOBookClub and will likely explore having a meeting via Twitter and Google + or other video/chat service for a larger group discussion (depending on how many people are interested in attending). If you have any ideas or suggestions, please add them in the comments or tweet me, I'd love to hear them!

The first book selected is Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan. 

I'm about half way in and it is really difficult to put down. I have been tweeting quotes from the novel that (I hope) will give you a taste of the beauty of the narrative. Today I listened to a short podcast from the Man Booker Prize (the novel was a finalist). At the 7:30 mark is a lovely reading from the novel, a teaser that reveals just how easy it is to be drawn in by the gorgeous economy of words: