Google’s Highly Open Participation Contest

Google’s Highly Open Participation Contest was announced today at the Open Source Developers’ Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

Following on from the success of the Google Summer of Code program, Google is pleased to announce this new effort to get young people involved in open source development. We’ve teamed up with the open source projects listed here to give student contestants the opportunity to learn more about and contribute to all aspects of open source software development, from writing code and documentation to preparing training materials and conducting user experience research.

If you’re a student age 13 or older who has not yet begun university studies, we’d love to see you help out these projects. In return, you’ll learn more about all aspects of developing software – not just programming – and you’ll be eligible to win cash prizes and the all important t-shirt! You will, of course, need your parent or guardian’s permission to participate where applicable.

Almost any initiative the exposes students to collaboration and sharing while helping them build technical skill is all right by me.

More information.

Rider Pride in Taiwan

With our Riders going into the playoffs this Sunday, it’s great to see the extent of “Rider Pride” across the world.

Here are the words for anyone wanting to sing along:

Green is the Color
Football is the Game
We’re all together
and Winning is our aim
So Cheer us on through the sun and rain
Saskatchewan Roughriders is our name

Go Riders Go! Go Riders Go!

Saskatchewan University Strike Continues

CUPE members at our two provinces’ Universities (University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina) have been on strike for five days now. The CUPE employees represent all support staff (e.g., caretakers, secretarial staff, food services, clerical, technicians, heating plant, etc.), positions that are essential to the mission of any University.

The Star Phoenix (Saskatoon’s Newspaper) put up an online article, “Sound off: How is the CUPE Strike … Affecting You?“. There are now dozens of emotional responses either supporting the workers, or not, and it is easy to see how much debate and emotion this issue has raised.

My reaction to all of this is simple, and I want to echo one particular comment. “To my friends and coworkers on the picket line: I have nothing but praise for your skill, knowledge, and dedication; You are very much appreciated and very much missed.”

I hope to see a quick and fair resolution to this sad situation.

Educon 2.0 – January 25-27/08, Philadelphia

Educon 2.0 looks like a must-attend event, I really like the axioms/guiding principles of the event.

The Axioms / Guiding Principles of EduCon 2.0:
1) Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members.
2) Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen
3) Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.
4) Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
5) Learning can — and must — be networked.

Learn more and register at: http://educon20.wikispaces.com

K12 Online Conference

I’m sure that the majority of my readers know about this, but I am quite sure there are many than don’t.

This is a conference by educators for educators around the world interested in integrating emerging technologies into classroom practice. A goal of the conference is to help educators make sense of and meet the needs of a continually changing learning landscape.

It’s good to know that there is free registration, and that all sessions will be downloadable. I am sure there will be some amazing presentations and I’m really looking forward to participating in the sessions.

K12 Online Conference Poster

A Full Plate of Exciting Projects

It’s already an incredibly busy semester. Here are a few of the projects underway.

ECMP 355: I regularly teach an undergraduate course to preservice teachers focused on the integration of technology in teaching and learning. I’ve taught it since 1999, and I can’t believe how much it has changed. Originally, we focused so much on user-centric apps, presentation tools, MS Office productivity tools and flat HTML web resources. Today, the social/semantic web is a key focus. I promote the plethora of free, open and social tools available to students. Students are able to collaborate with others, and with each other. Blogs, wikis, podcasts are common resources.

Some things haven’t changed much though. Electronic portfolios have always been an important part of the course. Only the methods in which they are created has changed. The same goes for digital storytelling, a mainstay in my course from the beginning. And most importantly, critical technology and media literacy remains a common theme that binds the entire course.

This year, I’m happy to announce plans to collaborate with Darren Kuropatwa’s highschool students. Mentoring and collaborating with high schools students from a distance will be an incredibly powerful and meaningful activity for my preservice teachers.

If anyone’s interested in checking out the ECMP Moodle site, go here, but you’ll need to get the passphrase from me.

EC & I  831 Graduate Course – Open, Connected & Social in Education:
I am currently developing an online Graduate course to be offered Winter 2008. The course will focus on the open and social technologies in the classroom and appropriate pedagogies in the connected age. Rob Wall will be helping me develop this course, and I’m already excited to have his input. He’s got some great ideas, and I think this course will be the best I’ve offered. I’m excited. If there are people out there that would like to be a part of this experience, I’d love to have you participate. I know I am going to rely on the edublogosphere a great deal for this course to be a success.

Digital Internship Project: We have chosen 34 interns this year to be “digital interns”. These students are provided with a laptop, other special equipment, edtech-related professional development and specialized support during their internship. The students are part of a Ning virtual community, and have just begun to share their stories and successes. I’m looking forward to seeing these students become excellent teachers and gain wisdom in the use of technology in teaching and learning. We hope that this experience will allow these individuals to become educational leaders in their future schools.

If you would like to see what’s going on, or join us, come to digitalinterns.ca.

Good Spirit School Division EdTech Projects: I’m also working with the teachers of Good Spirit School Division. There is a very keen interest in improving educational outcomes in the division, and educational technology is one of many thrusts to achieve this. This project is in its infancy, but good things are beginning to happen.

aTEPnet: There are many aboriginal teacher education programs in Canada. These programs are doing wonderful things for aboriginal education, but there is not much of a connection between these programs. The Canadian Council on Learning has funded us to help develop an online social network (aTEPnet) that will connect ideas and individuals across these programs.

Web-Based Learning Resource Development Evaluation: Saskatchewan Learning has funded the WBLRD project in the province since 2000. This project has given teachers time to develop rich web-based resources for the benefit of themselves and other educators in the province. We have been contracted to evaluate these resources, the value of the process and provide direction for the future funding of similar projects. Stay tuned for the results later this year.

Looking at this list makes me a bit overwhelmed. Yet, I’m realizing how much the “network” comes into play into just about everything I am doing these days. This is the biggest change to me, and the change that has made the most difference to me in my own learning, my teaching and my educational philosophy.

Saskatchewan! Connected

This post will likely only appeal to those living in my home province, Saskatchewan.

Residents and visitors to the downtown business districts and post-secondary institutions of Saskatchewan’s four largest centres will soon be able to access the country’s largest wireless Internet network, free-of-charge. Premier Lorne Calvert and Minister responsible for Information Technology Andrew Thomson made the announcement today in Saskatoon.

The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative will offer users basic Internet service in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina, and Moose Jaw via a wireless Wi-Fi network to be operated by the government Information Technology Office, SaskTel and other partners. The service will also be available in select business districts in close proximity to downtown Saskatoon and Regina.

This should be interesting. More information here.