Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Summative Project

After a term full of new ideas and tools to become better teachers here is a small representation of some of what I've taken from the class:

Good luck to everyone!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Though not the only edublogger I am following (a lot of us seem to be following the same people, so I thought I’d put forward someone new here), the edublogger I am writing about here is Larry Ferlazzo (  He is a edublogger  and English Language Teacher, but his blogs have relevance for any teacher, especially when you consider the rising importance of EAL in our classrooms.  
He claims to possess little tech savvy, which actually is another good reason follow him, because he is at the same level as many of us.  To quote a line from his page: “I believe that technology has its place, but also has to be kept in its place. I don’t think computers are a “magic bullet,” and though I believe they  offer a particular “value-added” benefit to English Language Learners, I’m less convinced about their advantages for non-ELL’s.”  The benefit in this view is that even though he has his doubts about the usefulness of technologies in the classroom he is still promoting it here.  So what he shares is really good stuff that is practical and easy to use, not convoluted or a sort of technology for the sake of technology at all.  
Also, a lot of what is on this site has nothing to do with technology, but is just good reads about his methods, experiences and ideas about being a good teacher.  One good example of this is his ‘What To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At School’ post (  It is fairly straightforward stuff, but it is a good reflection and got me thinking about the things I can do when things go south, as he says, in my classroom.  He hyperlinks to relevant blogs throughout any posting of his, so you can keep mining for good things along whatever topic you’re currently reading about.  
Another cool feature of his blog is that he has a listing of his most popular blog posts for all of the past months, which really makes it easy to find good postings that are relevant to the reader. He rates sites and apps monthly and yearly and shares his best posts along the sidebar.  His blog really connects you to so much great info!  I highly recommend everyone add him to your RSS or subscribe to him today!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The "Networked Teacher"

This past Tuesday we had presenter Alec Couros speak to us on the “Networked Teacher.”  He had the disadvantage of speaking to us last and many of the points he brought up we had discussed already in class.  But I found his unique slant on the moving forward with the Internet in classrooms interesting and inspiring.  

One of the ideas I found the most interesting was when he mentioned how networks are redefining our connections.  Social medias, like facebook, have apparently granted us more ‘friends’ than we may have ever dreamed of having, but that is because the definition of a facebook friend is somehow different than what we used to think of as a friend.  This then extends to several other aspects, like communities, citizenship, identity, presence, and privacy.  As teachers we need to get a handle on what this changing landscape means to better prepare our students to confront it.

Which leads me to my favourite part of his presentation.  This would be his line: “SCHOOLS SHOULD BE LIABLE FOR NOT EDUCATING THEIR STUDENTS TO THE DANGERS AND THE WAYS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES ONLINE!”  That may not be an exact quote, but I assure you the sentiment is correct.  I feel this is the attitude we should be carrying with us as educators.  And not just because it motivates us to teach our students better online practices, but because it will open the eyes of those dragging their heels administrators that block websites and limit students contact with computers and the Internet.  It is this sort of thinking that can help usher in a new attitude towards what we are teaching our kids and how we do it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Good Web 2.0 App

For my recommendation I thought I'd look for something that I could use in an ELA classroom. It is aimed at younger students, but I think it could be used at any grade with a little imagination.  I found a site called Story Jumper, which lets your students create their own story books. The online versions are free, though you have to pay for hard copies. Registration is quick and easy. Your students can create their own books from “scratch” or use one of the many templates they have.  They offer lots of easy “props” to integrate into the stories, and you can upload your own photos and type your own text. Once you’re finished, you can email the link to yourself and post it on a student/teacher blog or website.

Web-Based Courses (WBCs) Examined

Looking at the WBC Manitoba Education site there is a good number of classes.  All the core classes are well represented and a good list of elective classes for students in smaller communities where they might not be able to offer them.  I’m talking about classes like: Webdesign, Law, French, Accounting, Animation, Drafting, Computer Science and Digital Picture.  There could likely be additions made to this, but I feel it is a good base and I’m sure it will be added to further in the future.

I chose to focus in on ELA since that is the field I am most comfortable and where I hope to teach.  The classes here cover all the options a high school would offer (Literary focus, Transactional, and Comprehensive – and gives solid explanation of each of these sections of ELA) and for each grade.  There is a lot of room for creativity in the assignments and good sequencing and structure to the overall classes.  I can’t judge on how well it works, but there seems to be plenty of support for students through WebCT , where you can contact an actual teacher if the student runs into trouble.  There are extensive explanations and directions available for the student to read about how the course works and what is expected, as well as explaining how the student can make this course as much about themselves as a person as they wish.  This is a great idea, ELA is particularly malleable regardless of the grade, section, or even unit, which makes it a nice match for Web-based learning.  The assignments seem straight forward and the rubrics give a comprehensive description of what the expectations are for the assignments.

My criticism of the ELA courses is that there does not seem to be much effort to make these classes exciting for the students.  It seems very bland, and though I realize reading is an important part of ELA, there is too much cold reading of how this course works to realistically expect all but the most motivated students to complete or excel here.  There does not appear to be a move to incorporate any of the exciting online tools we have been learning about in our class into these courses, which seems like a real missed opportunity.  I think the ELA classes are fine for self-motivated and confident students, but I feel that many students would be uninspired to complete an ELA course with this method.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Smartphones and Laptops Up, iPads Down! (Presentations Blog)

In a class where I don’t think we had a bad presentation, the best I thought was 'The Personal ICT Devices in the Classroom' presentation.  Personally, I don’t have much experience with many of these devices (except the laptop) and this was a very informative and useful presentation that will help colour my opinion of these devices for quite a while.  I really liked the way the criteria was broken down (accessibility, authentic & engaging, features, production, research and community) because it covers all the bases that I would want to know about as a teacher before I picked one out for my class to use (if I was so lucky!).  
After having seen the presentation and digested its info, I am moved from my newly acquired belief that iPads were the future of classrooms.  Having seen the scores in this presentation, though not a wide variance, it is enough to convince me that Smartphones and Laptops are the future of classrooms.  The reason is not simply the scores, but as one of the articles linked in this presentation reveals, Smartphones and laptops are everywhere.  There is less need to worry about the financial burden of bringing these tools into the classroom when everyone already owns them.  I believe the word used in the article was ‘ubiquitous.’   I enjoyed my time with the iPad, but I was annoyed with its typing feature and often clicked on things by mistake when I was trying to scroll.  That along with this great presentation have given me a firm conviction for Smartphones and/or laptops in the classroom. Great job Shaun and Tim! 
Now to find a job in that classroom!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Smart or Dumber: The Internet? It Seems Clear to Me!

My opinion of whether the Internet made us smarter or dumber was unmoved after reading each these articles.  I see the Internet as another link in the chain of development of human connectedness and knowledge that began with the first humans (or primates or whatever you believe) began to talk, then pass on stories.  The printing press, telegraph, telephone, and television have all been links in this chain and the Internet just continues the evolution.  
I found many of the points made in the “Does The Internet Make You Dumber?” article unconvincing.  Quotes like, “What we seem to be sacrificing in all our surfing and searching is our capacity to engage in the quieter, attentive modes of thought that underpin contemplation, reflection and introspection. The Web never encourages us to slow down. It keeps us in a state of perpetual mental locomotion”  seem to be missing the point.  Our minds will always have a place for that quiet contemplation, reflection and introspection, it will just happen when we are not online.  The Internet could be developing a new gear in in our brains, one that allows us to process information at a never before experienced level.  
Another point the “Dumber” article made that I found hard to swallow was, “Reading a long sequence of pages helps us develop a rare kind of mental discipline. The innate bias of the human brain, after all, is to be distracted. Our predisposition is to be aware of as much of what's going on around us as possible. Our fast-paced, reflexive shifts in focus were once crucial to our survival. They reduced the odds that a predator would take us by surprise or that we'd overlook a nearby source of food.”  This point seems to undercut itself.  If reading long passages is an unnatural state for our minds, and the Internet allows us to return to our intended state of “fast-paced reflexive shifts” then is that not a good thing?  Are we not then going with the grain of our minds, instead of against it?  As it stands how many books does the average person read a year?  Of the world population, how many people go years between reading books?  And in addition, books are still there and to be read, so now we have the best of both worlds.  Books for those that would be reading them anyways, and the Internet for them as well, but also for everyone else!
To me, the Internet is still in its beginning stages.  We are just now understanding the possibilities it can allow.  As we have learned in this class the educational applications that the Internet allows alone disprove the “Dumber” argument.  Is everything on the Internet for the betterment of our minds?  No, but neither was every book, or most of TV, or any of the other various forms we had that lead us here.  The Internet is not making us dumber for the simple fact that it is too busy making us smarter.  Today we have so much information and new perspectives at our finger tips that we are seeing the world in a wholly different way.  We can look at Twitter as a fad in meaningless self-expression, or we can look at it as an evolutionary leap that jumped forward from where human biology could not go.  It is, in a way, mental telepathy.  Our thoughts are now made known across the globe instantaneously.  We can know what others are thinking without any guess work.  Plus with the trends function we can see what the global buzz is at any moment.  This allows for a shared collective consciousness that was nowhere on the horizon even five years ago.
The Internet is not making us dumber.  The Internet is taking us to new places, increasing our collective and individual knowledge bases, and best of all it is only just beginning.
Now to totally contradict myself.  Check out this piece entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid” from the July/August issue of The Atlantic: the very least it dissuades the point about the Internet not engaging us in long-form!


Check out our (Brody, Dave, and my) website we made on the history of the Internet and how it works.  It was a big topic and we tried to cover a lot of it.  We picked out some really great articles and videos to help explain and give a good overview of this fascinating and ever-expanding entity.  Let us know what you think.  Find it here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Me and My, Me and My... iPad

To be honest, my 2 and half weeks with the iPad wasn’t what I expected.  I was very excited to get it, but once I got it it seemed like my laptop stripped down.  Yes, it travelled better, but mostly I reach for my computer when I’m at home, so that wasn’t a big selling point for me.  In fact, I was reminding myself to use my iPad only because I knew I was giving it back shortly.  

This seemed like I was not taking full advantage of the iPad.

So after giving it back I looked into ways that it could affect the classroom, both good and bad.  Partly to get more out of my possibly missed opportunity while I had it, and partly because their seems to be a real movement in Ed. to incorporate these devices right now, which to me seems like a frenzy of being in vogue with new technology.

The first thing I found was that the ease of travel with the iPad is indeed a major reason for this frenzy.  Students can unpack their heavy backpacks and just carry a 680 gram tablet.  Their whole school life can be encapsulated in this one place.  The iPad becomes their textbooks, novels, notebooks, homework, and maybe soon tests.  This I knew already and the trouble I was having was that all I was seeing was one thing replacing several things... and that one thing seemed a lot more expensive then the aggregate of rest (at least for one school year).  What I was missing was what this allowed for, which is a constant connection to classmates, teachers and the extinction of the 3:30pm bell that ends classes for the day and therefore learning.

With the iPad students can follow their interests, enhance the community aspect of their classroom, and become teachers in their own right as they find new and interesting things to share with the class.  The iPad in itself is not the revolution, but instead the means that allows the movement of connecting student to school in a 24/7 way.  This makes the Internet not just something happening outside of or to the side of school, but incorporates it in a vital way with real purpose.  

I remember going to computer class in high school to learn about computers and the Internet.  What I don’t remember is what I learned there.  Now the Internet is a major aspect of our lives and having it as a teaching and learning tool not only seems appropriate, it seems necessary.  With the iPad the horizon for teaching and learning is exponentially broaden.  And that seems to me to be reason enough for the iPad frenzy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Look What I Can Do Now! No More Tests!!!

In Darren Kuropatwa’s presentation “Look What I Can Do Now!” we were posed with the question: How do we know what our students know?  This was a question of assessment.  Darren framed this in a way I had never really thought of before, we give our student-athletes and fine arts students great stages where they can show a real audience what they have learned and what they can do.  But in our classes we don’t give them a real stage and there really isn’t much of an audience for them to perform for.  To better reach our students, we need to figure out ways to give them real world applications for their assessments (not necessarily a new idea) and provide a real stage for them to show what they’ve learned to an audience.  This means no more, or at least a lot less, pencil and paper tests, and more interactive activities where the student teach to each other.  

He talked about the principles of learning, which are:
Students’ Errors and Misconceptions Based on Previous Learning - Teachers must engage student’s preconceptions
Knowledge networks - knowledge isn’t in our heads, it’s shared between us.
Learning facilitated though meta-cognitive approach - he used an example of geese fly in a V so they help each other out and different geese take the lead at different times. Students should learn in the same way.  Sometimes they are leading the class, other times they might be further back getting helped by others in the class.  But it has to be OK for students in your class to be wrong or make a mistake.  There needs to be a sense of community in the classroom, so that when mistakes are made it is seen as a learning opportunity.

One of the lines that really struck a cord with me was, “If the teacher is working harder than the students, then something is wrong in that classroom.”  As teachers, we shouldn’t be the ones doing all the heavy lifting in the classroom.  The link to how doctors learn in med school was made and it seems like a solid way to teach a class: watch it, do it, teach it.  Those 3 steps ensure learning.  And what is best is that it allows for students to make errors, because the classroom will have that sense of community where mistakes are OK, and a student can always get help from another student, and knowledge gained from mistakes can be shared.

As a hopeful future ELA teacher, I know I will not give pencil and paper tests.  I will have students write essays, but I will find ways to make writing a more communal activity, through blogs.  Also, I will find ways to incorporate the other language arts into shared class experience with cool ways to demonstrate learning through representing and speaking.  I want my students to have a real audience to show what they’ve learned.  We were presented with some ways we can make that learning interactive and I think that can make school work a lot more engaging for students, and really motivate them to do great work.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sharing: The Moral Imperative

In the video entitled “Sharing: The Moral Imperative” Dean Shareski talks about the importance of sharing and the ease to which today’s technology allows teachers to share with each other.  He even goes so far as to say, “Protecting our work makes us the antithesis of a teacher... sharing is the teachers role.  Teachers love to share!”  The video goes on to show that teachers do indeed love to share and we can see the impact this sharing can have and the reach we as teachers can have through technology today.  

One of the main points I took down during this video was that teachers share resources that could be package and sold to them, so that teachers help one another instead of profiting off each other.  This sort of thing strikes me as really cool, because as teachers so much of what we can do in the classroom is limited by the resources we have access to in our schools.  Through sharing we can gain free access to new resources, try out new ideas, and even share ways to stretch classroom budgets.

It occurred to me that Dean Shareski was right with his proclamation about teachers loving to share.  Yes, we share knowledge with our students.  But we also learn to be teachers from the student-teaching experience where teachers take us under their wing and show us all their tricks and give us the benefit of their experience.  Then we continue that by doing it in the future for the next generation of teachers.  And finally we share with each other through PDs on an ongoing basis throughout our careers.  Using blogs, social bookmarking, PLNs, etc. is just an extension of what has long been established as a part of being a professional teacher.  When Dean Shareski  says, “Sharing allows us to do our job as teachers better and more broadly.  If learning shouldn’t be confined to the 4 walls of your classroom, should teaching?  Why would we hoard good teaching and learning?  There is something very unethical about that.  I believe that good ideas and great work should be shared with as many people as possible” I have to agreed.  A culture of sharing in education would make us all better teachers and result in strong learners in our students.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blogging in the Classroom

In today’s presentation George Couros spoke to us via a skype feed on the innovations he has made in his school using IT and the Internet.  This was a real eye opener, because he has really seized on the advantages IT and the Internet can bring to the classroom.  He mentioned that just today his school had given out laptops to all his 5th and 6th graders, so obviously computers play an important role in his school.  One of the main advantages that he pointed out to us was the ‘anywhere, anytime classroom’ that is available through blogs, message board discussions, etc because they are online.  Not only does this give students the chance to extend their learning past the classroom, but it also helps parents and teachers to track student learning and have more of a hand in encouraging and assisting that learning.  
The line that stuck out the most to me was when he mentioned something to the effect of “the world has been constantly changing, but our schools have remained relatively unchanged.”  I thought that was a really great point.  In my teaching placements, I’ve noticed that computers are in the classrooms now and students do get to use them, but there are only a handful of computers (rough 1 computer for every 5 or 6 students), there is no connection between the classroom (mostly due to all the social networks being blocked out (including email), and teachers seem to think that IT integration means spending a few minutes a week online... and mostly just using the computer as a word processor.  When I think about how much the world has changed in the last 10-15 years it seems absurd that we wouldn’t be striving to reflect that change more in our classrooms.  After all, isn’t the point of education to prepare students for the world?
Mr. Couros made a good point about the hype-concern over students being online as themselves.  He made a nice parallel to the park where kids play and yell out each others’ names and how that is a much bigger danger than posting something online with their real name.  And yet you never hear a mother tell her son not to use his name at the park.  I thought that was a really good point.  Plus if we want kids to be good online citizens, they have to learn to actually be online and that includes managing the risks and learning the ways to protect themselves.  
It seems clear that schools are moving to a more online-centric classroom.  Mr. Couros has his school at the forefront of this movement, and - to me -  it looks like a very good place for the rest of us to catch up to.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Animoto and

I’m a little slow putting this up, sorry.  I made one in class and thought I’d just mess around with it a little more before posting it to my blog.  This is obviously a bit of a goof, but I think this application has some really fun classroom uses.  As an English teacher I think it could be useful in inspiring kids to do self-presentations.  They could make the video, play with the format, and then present it to the class and tell us a bit about what they are showing us.  That alone hits about 10-20 of the ELA outcomes.  I think Animoto would be seen as something fun to do by the kids, and they could really get into it. 

Create your own video slideshow at

I also have gotten into quite a bit.  I’m not yet sure how I’d apply it to my classroom, but I have been blipping songs all week and sending them out through my facebook page and twitter.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Education in a Connected World

In our last class’ presentation, Dr. Glen Gatin ‘s "Education in a Connected World" many interesting ideas were brought up.  We discussed the following terms:
1)  Constructivism - building on what we already know with new knowledge to construct our new reality.  Scaffolding is the role of the teacher in this model.  Our goal here is to foster independent learning.
2)  Constructionism - learning occurs when you actually make something.  This can be as simple as writing notes, as long as the act has meaning and anchors the learning. Our blog posts are, therefore, artifacts of our learning.
3)  Connectivism - the learning doesn’t just happen in the constructions you make, but also in the connections you make: twitter, PLNs, etc.  You can get an answer from your network.
Connectivism is the idea I thought was really interesting, because today we have so much information available to us that it can become white noise.  It is also hard to know what sources you can trust.  And you know that if we are having difficulty with this then our students will be even more overwhelmed.  Then there is the issue of how that connectedness is a double edge sword and how we need to protect students and teach our students how to protect themselves from the dangers that exist from us all being so easily accessible online today.  
With that in mind the two most relevant skills of the moment are filtering (finding and evaluating online information) and figuring out how to connect to the right people.  Today information’s quality ranks somewhere behind how fast it is put out and how easily it is found.  Rumours get reported with no thought to their truthfulness, and once something is out there and people have consumed it, it takes on a life of its own.  
What we can do as teachers is gently lead them into the murky waters of the Internet and through scaffolding and modeling teacher critical skills and online etiquette.  Some ways we can do this is small online groups for the class where assignments can be posted and uploaded, as well as discussion boards to continue learning outside the class.  Another thing I picked up from the presentation was ‘asynchronous classes’ which are classes that happen at different times(not occurring at the same time).  His class happens online through wikis because many of the students live far out of town and cannot make it into a classroom regularly.  So there is no physical classroom, just the online classroom he and his students have created.  This would not work in a grade school setting, but elements of this could really enhance student learning if the boundaries of the classroom where extended in a similar way for the students.  In this way, students could follow their interests and share what they learn with the class in a way that is both novel for the students and easy for the teacher, especially since it wouldn’t take up any class time.
I also liked the analogy that the Internet is a fire hose, spraying information.  There is good, bad, and dangerous information coming out of it and it is our responsibility as teachers to pass on tools and skills so our students can navigate the Internet.  Glen mentioned that too much of what is put out today is, as he called it, FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  These are the marketing tools for everything from underarm deodorant to political candidates.   We don’t want our students to be led by those that produce fear, but rather to become thinking students with a critical eye.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social Media in the Classroom

In today’s presentation we talked about social media in the classroom.  This is interesting because it seems like social media is everywhere today, but how can we, as teachers, take advantage of the benefits available with social media, without subjecting our classes to the evils of it.  The idea that we could use something like facebook or twitter to have a constant connection with our students, and them to each other, would be greatly beneficial.  Students would not only pool their resources by using these social medias, but also learn an important skill: collaboration.  I found a link that discusses how social media was used at a university in the US, with positive results:

While this is at the university level, I think the same results could easily be achieved in any high school.  Kids are online anyways, we might as well provide them with some productive outlets online there.
I liked the point our presenter made about how using twitter can help with writing, because with only 140 characters at their disposal, students will be forced to focus in on exactly what they want to say in order to express it in the most concise way possible.

An ancillary benefit of social media in the classroom could be teaching students online etiquette as I think we can all recognize the need for that in today’s online world.  As teachers we could patrol and give feedback to re-enforce good online behaviour and properly deal with bad online behaviour.

I realize that this was given in class(, but I thought I’d highlight a couple of the points I thought were the most interesting to me (as an aspiring English teacher):
#1 - Make literature real. Have students create a Facebook page for a character from literature you are studying
I really liked this idea because it allows students with a lot of license for creativity and is a fun option to typical essays and tests.

#6 - Connect with other classrooms. Collaborate with another classroom, no matter where they are in the world, to expand learning opportunities.
This could really open the class up to new ideas, and expand any lesson in a multitude of ways.

#18 - Tweet famous conversations. Have students tweet imagined conversations between famous literary figures such as Romeo and Juliet, Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or Dante and Beatrice.
Again, this breaks through the norm and gives students a fun alternative.

#26 - Use Twitter to teach journalism. Have students use Twitter to report news in 140 characters or less to practice communicating important information succinctly.
I mentioned this one near the top and I think it could really help student evolve as writers.

#27 - Answer questions. Be available for answering students’ questions via a Facebook page or Twitter feed.
This is a good option because you could have the whole class helping each other out.

#40 - Post homework. Teachers can post homework assignments through Facebook to provide easy access for students and to put the assignment and due date in writing.
With this there could never be any excuses over misunderstood or forgotten homework.

#41 - Classmate connections. No matter the size of your class, having all the students on a social media outlet brings them all together.
The benefit here is that students wouldn’t be tied to there regular clinics and could develop productive working relationships with classmates they aren’t usually eager to spend time with.

#51 - Share book reviews. Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read on a class Facebook page, or try tweeting a 140-character book review on Twitter.
With this everyone could help improve students work by offering productive feedback.

#53 - Poll the class. Use polls as an interactive teaching tool in class using the Poll app for Facebook or PollDaddy for Twitter.
In an English class you could take the temperature of the class as to how interested they are in a particular novel, and in that way judge if it is something you want to continue teaching in the future.  And you could have fun with it, having students vote on scenarios from the novel or about characters.

#65 - Blog. Create a community blog and share it on Facebook to tell what your class is learning and doing.
Just as we are doing in this class, students could use blogs as journals to accompany the work they are doing in class.  We all love reflections!

I think it is pretty apparent that this is where classes are headed, and I say all the better.  Students will be more attentive, involved, and enthusiastic for our classes when we can incorporate social medias into the classroom.  Not only will this help them to learn, but it should make our jobs easier as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Web-Based Courses (WBCs)

Last class we had another speaker come in, this time to speak to us about Web-Based Courses (WBCs).  We learned that there is a variety of way a class can be conducted:
- face to face teaching (f2f)
- IITV or Web Conferencing - 2 way video and audio (modified f2f)
- Web-Based Course Option (WBC) - teacher guided - cannot see students
- Teacher Mediated Option
- Independent Study Option (ISO) - tutor marker - no teacher interaction
But the best models tend to use blended approaches (absolute best: f2f combined with online instruction - allows for both types of learning styles to happen)

The history about how these Web-Based Courses began in Manitoba is that smaller rural schools couldn’t always offer the classes that their students wanted to take, so to help fix this schools began what is called ‘seat sharing.’  Which is basically swapping students from one school to another, for a class that is not available at their regular school.  Add the technological advancements and the affordability of the technology and you have the birth WBCs.

Currently in Manitoba three learning options are supported: WBC, Teacher Mediated option, and ISO.  

We were asked to brainstorm on two questions:
Who needs web based courses? and How might they be used to support student learning?
Some of the answers for the first one, who needs WBC?, were:
- Athletes - missing a lot of school
- Advanced Placement students - courses not offered
- rural students - courses/teachers not available
- students with exceptionalities

For the second question, How might they be used to support student learning?, we got:
- students interested in alternative methods of learning and earning credits
- resolve timetabling issues/provide flexibility
- implementation of new curricula/courses
- students use WBCs to fill in some gaps  -> enrichment or remedial
- preparing students for lifelong learning
- teacher availability, especially in specialized areas

Overall, we learned a lot about how this is an ever evolving section of Manitoba’s educational plan.  These courses have come a long way, and still likely have a ways to go.  But they are here to stay and should be embraced by teachers as they will really help students to get the learning they require and help fill in the gaps that the ridged face-to-face classroom setting can’t always cover in a satisfying way.