I am currently working on my paper to go with my Master’s Project for my M.ED at VIU. I am interested in the topic. I am teaching the course that I am writing about (FNFS 103. Succeeding Online: Tools and Technology for Learning) in September. Thus my Masters will really prepare me for my students in September. The problem? The weather is beautiful, things need doing, the ocean is calling, Facebook is distracting…. In short everything and nothing.

Heck, right now I am updating my blog rather than working on my Masters…..

What are you procrastinating doing?

BYOD Seminar

Evidence: BYOD Seminar Website

OLTD Learning Outcomes:

  • Research and identify emerging technologies with educational applications not yet adopted by mainstream education or in early adoption phases.
  • Consider potential implementation opportunities and challenges of emerging technologies.

Charlene Stewart, Stephanie Boychuk and I facilitated a seminar on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) where we asked our participants to examine the pros and cons to students bringing and using their own devices in class. Allowing students to bring their own devices to class, and use them, is an example of disruptive innovation in education.  With any new innovation there are both benefits and challenges.

One challenge that I had about this topic was I knew very little about it myself! As we planned the seminar (our planning document can be seen on the website) we quickly learned about the topic. Thankfully, one our cohort was familiar with the topic and and allowed us to interview him (full interview can be read on the website).

Over all I am please with how the seminar went. We asked participants to update the website themselves. We also asked them to cross post in our Google + community so the rest of our cohort could participate if they wished. If I were to do a similar seminar, I would have a place on the website for participates to list there pros & cons about the topic, as well as the rest of the activities.

My opinion on BYOD? I love the idea. I love letting students take more control over their learning. I love the idea of students all working on the same document (without using a blackboard, really, who loves chalk all over their hands, and few like writing at the front of the room) at the same time. Having personal access to the knowledge of the world is a game-changer in education. The thought of going paperless as students could access all materials, texts, PowerPoints etc brings joy to me.

My difficulty is I teach in Adult Basic Education at Vancouver Island University. Most students (71%) taking upgrading courses live under the poverty line despite working while attending school. Not all of my students have or can afford their own device. Unlike the forestry department, I do not feel that I can make having a device mandatory. Students can borrow a textbook. It is unlikely that we will have a device-borrowing system soon (though it would be wonderful). Requiring a device would be a huge barrier to some.

Technology in the classroom

When I first started working at VIU, there were signs on the door of every classroom asking students to turn off their cell phone. People discussed ways to get students to keep the phones put away or turned off (on vibrate IF there was a pressing reason). I, following the culture, asked students to keep their phones and laptops out of the classroom. Only students with special permission were able to use their laptops. About a year or so later, I started to question this concept. I realized that I did not know everything about a topic and students can ask challenging questions that I may not know the answer to. I began to remove the ‘no cell phones’ signs from the doors. I began to ask students to find out and look up information that they did not know. I am only one source of information for students.

(Siemens& Tittenberger, 2009, pg. 10)
(Siemens, 2009, pg. 10)

They need to be able to make sense of a world where information can come to them from many different places. It is part of my job to help them to build their own personal learning network. By allowing technology in the class, I am helping them to “make sense of, and manage, the incessant waves generated by an increasing sea of information” (Siemens& Tittenberger, 2009, pg. 10).

When other instructors ask about cell phones and computers in the classroom I tell them that I am o.k.with it! Sure, I get Candy Crush sometimes, but in all fairness, those students would probably not be paying attention to me anyways. I need to help students learn how to focus “while undergoing a deluge of distractions” (Siemens & Tittenberger, 2009, pg. 28). If too many are distracted, I need to asses what I am doing, or perhaps call awareness to it. With technology students themselves can find out more details about the topic. Usually they share the information with the class, enriching the learning environment.

It has been a slow, silent, very personal initiative to encourage technology in our building. It is still a work in progress. The signs are almost entirely gone. I have shared my beliefs with many colleagues. While a number do not agree with me, it feels like I am gradually getting somewhere.
Siemens, G. & Tittenberger, P. (2009). Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning


I teach in a blended class. The first day in-person after the first on-line class, like many other semesters, were full of excuses as to why the assignment could not be completed. Most were about computer troubles and connectivity issues. My standard response is to students that they can complete the assignments in the university library as there is twenty-four hour access, seven days a week. The readings of this topic has challenged some of my thinking. I was unaware that there were such large gaps in technology access, a digital-divide between have and have-nots, in Canada (Harris, 2013), especially among Aboriginal peoples (Taylor, 2011).

While on average, 86 per cent of people in BC have internet access (Statistics Canada, 2013), a person is more likely to use the internet if they have a higher income bracket and have some university. Those that have the lowest income or are lacking a high school diploma are among the least likely to use the internet (Harris, 2013). Thus the internet is still, to some extent, for the privileged. As I teach Adult Basic Education (ABE) this presents a challenge for me as many of my students have not completed high school and many are low income suggesting that they have potential connectivity issues and may not be as digitally fluent.

While Aboriginal learners are graduating from high school in greater numbers, “only 54 per cent of Aboriginal learners in the public system graduate from high school … compared to 83 per cent of non-Aboriginal learners” (British Columbia, 2012, pg. 6) thus tend to be over represented in ABE (British Columbia, 2012). One solution is to increase the amount of blended and on-line courses which would allow them to remain in their community (British Columbia, 2012) but the three main reasons for the digital divide “poverty, low levels of income and broadband” (Taylor, 2011, pg. 29) still persist and would need to be addressed.


British Columbia. (2012). Aboriginal post-secondary education and training policy framework and action plan: 2020 Vision for the future. Victoria, B.C.: Ministry of Advanced Education

Harris, M. (2013, March 21). Digital divide persists in Canada, both in access and Internet fluency. Financial Post. Retrieved from

Statistics Canada. (2013). “Canadian internet use survey, 2012”. The Daily. November 26. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 11-011-X.

Taylor, A. (2011). Social media as a tool for inclusion: Final research report. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Retrieved from

Digital Footprint

In teacher training, I learned about professional standards and how teachers were held to a higher standard than the average person. We studied about appropriate behaviour in and out of the workplace and how the morals of a community would affect your teaching career. Recently I deepened my understanding on this topic. Supreme Court Judge Justice Bouck (as cited in Covert, 1993) ruled “that teacher conduct should be judged by the standards recognized in the community where the teachers are employed” and “teachers must not only be competent, they are expected to lead by example” (pg. 441). Thus appropriate behaviour, as deemed by the community or school, should be expected at all times, even when the teacher is not at work (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2014).

My teacher training occurred when the internet was at its infancy. Today educators must not only consider their actions in and out of school also their on-line presence. I am fortunate that my exposure to social networking platforms happened as an adult rather than as a child or teen. Young people generally lack developed reasoning skills and have “started posting when their impulse control, long range projections and overall mature thought processes were barely emerging” (Hengstler, 2010, para 3). This can have unfortunate implications for today’s youth as the misdeeds of today can have digital permanency affecting them in the future (Kuehn, 2010).

One aspect of my digital footprint that I had not considered is that I may be judged based on the friends I have or groups to which I belong. Hengstler (2012) calls this the “birds of a feather effect” (slide 32), in which the character of my friends is seen to be a reflection of my own character. What I write may be perfectly appropriate but what my on-line community says may not. People could then form an opinion about my character based on comments or images of which I am unaware (Kuehn, 2010). Being held to a higher, professional standard in the community requires awareness of online behavior and connections, not just in-person.


British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2014). Standards for education, competence, and professional conduct of educators in BC. Retrieved from:

Covert, J. (1993). Creating a professional standard of moral conduct for Canadian teachers: a work in progress. Canadian Journal of Education, 18(4) 429-445. Retrieved from:

Hengstler, J. (2010, October 28). “Fleas in a bottle? Will social networking stymie personal development of youth?’ [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Hengstler, J. (2012). Digital professionalism and digital footprints [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:

Kuehn, L. (2010). “Manage your digital footprint”. Teacher Newsmagazine (23)3. Retrieved from

Family Time in Korea

Someone who I am in Korea with observed that Sunday is definitely family day in here. I reflected on why this may be the case. Here is what I came up with:

I notice that I see moms & dads (separately or together) with little wee ones all the time through the week, but not with school age children. Only on Sunday are they seen together. I think this is due to the high time demands of work and school in Korea. A person is expected to work 14+ hours a day. Many women stop working after having a child because of the high demands. Students, especially those in high school, routinely do not come home from school until 9 – 10 pm as they are in additional study classes after school. Elementary students come home on a sliding scale, quite early when young, later when older. There is no opportunity to have time with family during the week because of work and school..

That leaves Saturday and Sunday. If you are in high school, you attend additional classes to prepare for the very difficult university entrance tests – without an amazing score you will not be attending a ‘good’ university. Elementary students have the day filled with group activities, such as going to the museum or other outing (these places get quite packed on Saturdays I noticed). Parents also often work on Saturday’s.

Now, we are left with one day, Sunday, for family time. Why Sunday? Well, the religion with the largest number of followers is Christianity (Buddhism is second). Sunday is the traditional day of rest and worship for Christians.

When I think about my family, and the family time of friends, we spread out together time. Sometimes we go out for dinner on a Wednesday or Friday. Maybe we go to the beach on Saturday. And yes, sometimes we visit family on Sunday. We eat dinner together most nights. We can do this because school does not have the same demands on time in Canada as Korea.  When I spoke about this with Korean university students, they said in high school they ate dinner at school and saw their parents very little during the week.

Which is better, one concentrated day of family time or spread out togetherness? I know what I prefer, but I would be intrigued to hear from others.

Education Divide

Looking at the recent history of South Korea, after the Japanese occupation, I noticed some interesting things about how education was divided amongst the haves & have nots.

Initially the divide was gender based. While everyone had access to basic education “Young Factory Girls” would go work long hours in factories so their brothers would have access to further education. Working conditions were not great, health and beauty were sacrificed. (Beauty is very important for the marital prospects of Korean women, most do/did not work after marriage.)

This gradually changed, women have equal access to further education. The divide has shifted though. Now it is becoming a class divide. Those who can afford it, pay for private tutors & send their children to expensive universities. Those parents who cannot afford this means their children are not getting the same education. As Dr. Hun Joo Park stated: what happens if the next great idea is in the head of a poor child? If children of the poor are not educated as well, then we are losing the child’s potential?

As in many countries, the middle class is shrinking. I do not think the rich/poor divide is unique but there are no government safety nets here – none. If you do not educate your populous fully, if there is not equal access to education, the potential of your peoples is lost.

I will have to think on this further….

links: General:


Class divide: