7 Things

Yes, it’s meme time again.  A meme, according to wikipedia, “comprises a unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices; such units or elements transmit from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena.”  In other words, it’s a way to help spread a culture.

The blogosphere occasionally sends these memes around as a way to spread this culture of online community… sort of like a “getting to know you” exercise that you might do with students on the first day of class.  A topic is chosen, people respond to it and then pass the meme along to others to contribute to.  By tagging others like this, the meme spreads quickly.

I was tagged a couple of days ago in a meme called 7 Things You Don’t Need To Know About Me, by a PE teacher in Victoria named Jarrod Robinson, or mrrobbo to those that know him.  He was tagged by Rodd Lucier from Canada, otherwise known as thecleversheep.  (I find it interesting that Rodd lives in Ontario Canada, where I happen to be at the moment, so in two hops, this meme has gone from one side of the planet to the other.  Such is the nature of our online world…)

So here you go, 7 things you (really) don’t need to know about me…

  1. I liked school when I was a kid, did reasonably well at it, but didn’t take it at all seriously.  During the 4 weeks of study time before the HSC I went surfing every day.  Did ok in the HSC, but really improved my forehand bottom turns.
  2. I used to surf when I was a kid, but mainly I used to skateboard.  Unlike school, I took skateboarding very seriously and spent most weekends trekking across Sydney looking for unused pipes or empty swimming pools.
  3. I like dogs, but usually find the work required to own one too much work.  Feeding, walking and cleaning up after a dog can often outweigh the joys of owning one.  Despite this, I’ve still had several dogs over the years.  Don’t even get me started on cats.
  4. Despite learning the piano when I was a kid, I cannot play one at all now. However, I taught myself to play the bass guitar in my teens, and played in several bands when I was at art school, including this one.
  5. I’m a terrible dancer. Nothing much more to add to that, I just am.
  6. I allegedly snore. I’ve never heard myself doing it, but apparently I do. I’ve discovered Breathe Right strips recently and (I’m told) things are much better now.
  7. When I was 25 years old, my tax return listed my official occupation as a Professional Rally Driver. I drove a car in the Wynns Australian Safari that year and thanks to a generous sponsorship arrangement, I actually made the bulk of my income that year as a rally driver. 

That’ll do.

I now pass this meme along to…

Happy Blog Day!

It’s August 31st, so here’s wishing you Happy Blog Day 2008!

Got a blog? Want to take part? You can find more info at the official Blog Day website, where you’ll find the full story about what it’s all about.

Essentially, here’s what you do…

  1. Find 5 Blogs that you find interesting.
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
  5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link:
    http://technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2008 and a link to the BlogDay web site.

http://danielfelice.com – I used to teach Daniel back in the late 90s. He was an amazing kid, super smart and very web savvy. I know I learned lots more from Daniel than he ever learned from me! He currently lives in Ireland with his partner, works in the technology business, and is always looking for new ways to monetise his blogging.

http://lindajoh.wordpress.com – This blog, which chronicles the adventures of a Canadian gone Down Under, is actually my girlfriend’s blog. Linda started this about a year ago as a way to keep her family and friends back in Canada updated on her new life in Australia. It’s developed into a very nice blog, getting regular traffic and building a good collection of interesting posts.

http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk – I found this blog about interactive whiteboards while I was doing a whole lot of IWB research recently and think it is one of the best IWB resources I’ve found. Danny Nicholson has a really deep understanding of the technical and pedagogical issues surrounding the use of IWBs and I always manage to get some new insight into the technology when i read his blog.

http://moodleman.edublogs.org – There’s no doubt that Julian Ridden is onee of the most knowledgeable Moodle guys around, and his blog The MoodleMan Blog, is full of amazing gems for anyone who uses Moodle in their work. With homemade video tutorials, excellent tips and tricks and plenty of useful info, it’s a blog worth reading.

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com – For anyone interested in how the brain works, this blog has tons of really interesting information and insights into current brain research. Often containing useful tips for educators interested in how people learn, this blog is worth a read.

Till next year!

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Meme: Passion Quilt

Another meme is doing the rounds of the edublogosphere at the moment, called the Passion Quilt meme.

I was tagged to contribute by Woody Delauer, a teacher from Maryland in the US, and asked to keep this meme going. (I think I was tagged by this a few weeks ago by someone else but we were in the middle of moving house at the time so it slipped through the cracks – sorry!)

The Passion Quilt meme works like this…

  1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students
  2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons (or even find one marked as copyright but then write to the owner to ask permission).  You can also make/take your own of course.  This picture should capture the quality that YOU are most passionate for kids to learn.
  3. Give your picture a short title.
  4. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to the blog entry that tagged you.
  5. Include further links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

For me, the thing I am most passionate about is getting students to develop their sense of curiosity about the world.  The idea that I might be able to to stimulate a kid’s sense of curiosity and wonder about the world, to build their sense of needing to know more about how and why the world works the way it does, to provoke their need to ask questions and find the answers… that’s what makes it worth going to work every day.

Curiosity makes the need to teach almost redundant.  Kids who are curious don’t need to be taught – they are too busy learning.  They question, they play, they wonder, they discover. They want to know how things work, and why.  They like to change things that make no sense to them, and in the process they can end up changing the world itself.  Students who are curious about why things are the way they are, and who question things endlessly, are the ones who are most likely to be able to change the future.  These kids don’t need teachers, they need wise guidance.

Yes, my passion is to give my students a sense of curiosity.  I liked the photo by gigglejuice, because I thought it captured that sense of discovery, of reaching out to touch new things, of crossing boundaries.  I’m going to title it, simply, “Discovery”.

So, what’s YOUR passion in education?

To keep the meme going, I’ll tag the following people…

Yes I know that’s 6 people, not 5, but I wanted to balance the guys with the girls…

Over to you!