Friday, July 10, 2009

For the tech savvy

Living with a software developer has not always been easy. In this day and age, having someone in the house who is technologically savvy can often be regarded as a bonus. It’s nice to have someone to rely on when the technology eludes you. It’s also nice to have access to free downloaded movies, songs and TV shows that we missed. Unfortunately, keeping it simple has never been my husband’s forte. He is constantly on the search for better and better use of technology and the ease of use it provides. Easy for everyone, except me. When we first got married, my husband set out to simplify my teaching life by writing a program to keep track of my marks. Despite my repeated protests, he spent every night in front of the computer ironing out this marks program and occasionally showing me how he had created the next box or diagram or whatever. I explained that I was already using a great marks program called MARKBOOK that works really well and contains Ontario Curriculum Expectations, rubrics etc. After many nights at the computer, he eventually abandoned the task. It was a good thing since the following year, our school board mandated MARKBOOK as the only marks program that we could use.
My husband loves to, in my words, “mess” with the computer. If he could, he would have a computer in every room. As soon as I got a laptop from work, he pounced on it and found a way to network it to our computer and then hook it to the TV so we could watch our free downloaded movies or TV shows. Since he got his iphone, he has no longer needed my laptop and has been playing movies from there using a cable from China?? Don’t ask. I don’t know. He just “jailbroke “ his iphone and can now do videos, access our home computer and so many other things that are too long and crazy to mention. He now wants to mess with my phone and I said, “stay away”!! Not that I don’t want to have access to all this cool gadgetry that I will never use, but I would like to keep it simple. Simple means things don’t go wrong. Somehow, at the most crucial times in my life, the computer has always failed me. For instance, on a couple of occasions, our computer got “infected” with a “virus” and therefore I lost all my marks! No I didn’t back up. With all the “questionable” applications running on our computer, it was no wonder we got a virus. But, not to fear, my husband has discovered a new virus scanner that is superior to all others. Only problem – it takes twice as long to access anything on the internet because of its security features. Yes we do have high speed internet but what is the point?
My husband reformatted our computer recently and neglected to save any of my bookmarks and so I lost them in the shuffle.
“You don’t use GMarks?” he said.
GMARKS, schmarks – what in the world are GMARKS???? No, I use the simple, basic bookmarks that come with the computer okay! So I discovered that as a result of the reformatting, our internet is much faster, however, my WORD processing software has been upgraded and everything looks different. Now, in order to save a file, it takes 5 minutes as opposed to 30 seconds. Today I needed to open up a power point presentation for my online course, and guess what? No power point has been re-installed. Today our home phone, or should I say internet VOIP phone doesn’t work. Sure we save lots of money every year by using an internet phone and we get long distance practically free – but TODAY it doesn’t work!!
My husband’s latest project is hooking the iphone to our car stereo system and DVD player. He has also figured out how we are going to make practically free long distance calls from the States when we go to Vermont next month for our family vacation and use a roaming data plan for under $20.00. I sure hope it works.

Monday, July 6, 2009


It's a nice sounding word. Now try to say it 5 times and fast! Stuck?? Perspicacity, perspicacity, perspicacity, perspicacity, perspicacity. It reminds me of part of a poem I once wrote:
Try as we might;
To shed some light;
Clarity (or Perspicacity)
Out of
On any topic, there are always more unanswered questions than answers. On love. On life. On kids. On death. On education (yes I did throw that one in!). So this summer, I am setting out on a quest to acquire a better understanding of some of these and other areas. In terms of education, I am taking an online course - yes teachers do spend their summers thinking about the fall. Until now, I wasn't really interested in the course I had signed up for. It was simply a course that I need to take another course that I plan to do next year. A stepping stone. Much to my surprise, I am really enjoying the course because I can still make links to secondary education and my prodigies are my kids. I was never interested in primary education because I felt it wouldn't challenge me in the way that I need to be challenged. I was wrong. It is the old adage: "You never know something until you try it." The course has really been interesting in terms of deciphering what kind of learner you are and what kind of learners your students are. Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory has been poked an prodded on so many levels that now there are so many types of quizzes used to describe learning style. So here's a really good one done by the Birmingham Grid for Learning: