Master teaches Grasshopper — at least to begin with…

I have not taught or designed an online course.  I have enrolled in many.  Some for credit.  Some for enjoyment, and some to advance my personal interests.  I can tell you when I pay my hard earned money to take a course I want something out of it.  The “thing” I want may vary from course to course.  School = credit    Interest = knowledge     Professional = Network  etc.  But in the end, there has to be an exchange that takes place for my investment.

Since I would like to design online school courses the most basic “exchange” is credit.  Anything that goes beyond credit is a bonus: knowledge, interest, network, enjoyment.  In an academic online course, give me an expert in the subject and lay out the material in an easy to follow progression.  Lay out the assignment requirements, and number them so I can see how much I’ve done and what else I need to do.  If at the end of the course, I’ve accomplished all assignments give me my credit and I’ll sign up for another course.

Blackall said it best in his 2007 blog post: “Naturally a student who has enrolled in a formal course, following traditional administration channels, paying fees etc and who is of an age and professional experience that is very used to the idea of taught and instructed learning, would expect a similarly efficient, industrial strength, structured learning pathway within the course” (Blackall)

Master teaches Grasshopper.

And yet there is a learning space where knowledge is decentralized and the lines of teacher/student  expert/novice are blurred.

Further down in the same blog post, Blackall evokes David Wiley’s online education course:

“David then demonstrates facilitation practices once the participants are under way with this. He summarises their work, comments and links people’s posts to each other. It helps that he has some farely well known edu bloggers participating in his course and so the topics and discussions go further and wider than the course participants themselves” (Blackall)

Master no longer teaches Grasshopper.

Many Mega Companies are using the community learning model to save their organizations from having an official help line.  Go to any Apple or Microsoft help site and it’s a bunch of unpaid “experts” giving their advice on how to fix problems posted by questioners.   Some of the solutions work and others don’t, but in the end I can usually fix whatever problem I have.

Would I pay for this service?  No.  I use it because it’s quick (and I don’t have to wait on hold) and it works and I have a basic knowledge of what needs fixing.

So basically if I’m paying for a service I want to stand on the shoulder of the expert, I don’t want to be fumbling on the ground with the novices.  I have FaceBook for that.

Which brings me to the questions at hand:

What do you find is the single most significant difference (that actually impacts learning in either a positive or negative way) between teaching and learning online as compared to in a face-to-face environment ?

Links and Google:  Any questions that enter my mind during study I have direct access to the best answer machine: Google.  How many times I stop while reading and check up a word, a teaching philosophy, an author, and get lost in a web of links.

What is the difference between asynchronous and synchronous communication in online learning? Is one type more important than the other? As an online educator what approach or tools might you use to combine these two communication formats?

I still think the most important tool is independent study: so asynchronous tools which allow me to study on my terms.  Let’s celebrate all the benefits of DL and not bring the familiarity of the F2F classroom into online learning.

As a teacher of online courses, how do you (or would you, if you do not as yet have online teaching experience) encourage interactions between yourself and your students, as well as between students, and network building with participants outside of the “formal” course?

Taking online courses, this is the biggest challenge I’ve faced.  I’m not big on contrived interactions.  It’s the equivalent of “talk to your desk partner for one minute about the importance of Municipal Government.”

Most students fumble through a response they don’t really care about then talk about the Blue Jay’s 12th inning home run for the rest of the 50 seconds.

But then a class discussion (even if only 5 students are passionate about it) seems more genuine.

As a teacher/facilitator I’m not sure I would use wiki’s for shared discourse and I don’t think I would assign them to respond to “at least 2 other posts.”

Hopefully there would be a troll in the group that would post interesting comments that would fire up the class to respond instinctively.

And maybe that troll would be me.






Delano Ducheck’s Manifesto

Testing…testing…test 1-2-3.

I’m up and it’s working!!  Yeah!!

This is a past EDDL WordPress Blog site I used last semester, that I successfully set up to coordinate with the current EDDL 5141 Moodle site.  I feel pretty smart right now.

Name: Delano Ducheck

This is what I look like now (minus the soul patch and plus twenty pounds).


Currently I am a TTOC for District 67.  I get to fill in for all types of teachers and see how they use technology.  I’ve been fortunate to be involved in some classes that are doing really cool things with technology.  The students love it, and have no fear, because they can always go back and delete it.  But with the technological courage also comes a dark side.  Every year our district brings in a social media expert to give the students some guidelines for using all the social media available to them.

I prided myself on being “old school” and held out on having a cell phone and laptop until a few years ago.  But with taking two EDDL courses last semester I was “forced” to open up accounts with Flickr, WordPress, Diigo, and signed up for several English specific newsletters and RSS feeds.  Now I’m amazed with all the resources educators have at their disposal.  It’s become a practice in FOCUS and LIMITING resources because it can get overwhelming.

Many of the ideas in the 2016 Online Manifesto were over my head, like “openness is neither neutral or natural, it creates and depends on closures”???!!!!! or how about this ominous warning “online courses are prone to cultures of surveillance.”

I’m in the battle field and I’m not too concerned with theoretical tactics.  Give me something tangible like:

  1. A digital assignment can live on; it can be iterative, public, risky, and multi-voiced.
  2. Assessment is an act of interpretation
  3. Online teaching should not be downgraded into “facilitation”
  4. Contact works in different ways; face time is over-valued

I’ve added some of my own Manifesto ideas in the continuation of the list:

5. Generations of digital content can be re-worked and re-edited and re-imagined

6. Interacting with digital content is a creative act of high learning

7. Keeping up with the evolution of knowledge requires a community of learners

8. Learning is not linear, but a messy process of sifting, sorting, analyzing, testing, daydreaming, stumbling upon etc. Devices are just another tool.




Technological Determinism

After reading the Adam’s argument and Vallance/Towndrow counter-argument, and again Adam’s counter-counter argument, I kept thinking these scholars must really love what they’re doing, or they couldn’t find another subject to be experts in.

I think I can speak for most employees/volunteers/teachers/coaches/professionals that we don’t put that much thought into our product usage.  If it works, we use it.  If something better is developed, we use that.

Reading these articles reminded me of the artist who hung a toilet on a wall and called it art.  Taking an everyday technology, that most of us put no thought into (unless it is clogged and overflowing) and placing it in another context does shift the perspective.  But unless you are an artist or a plumber or a product designer that’s about as far as you’ll stretch your thinking about toilets.

Same here with technologies.

I don’t plan on inventing the next greatest app, or showcasing my PP presentations as art.  I just want to use my Information and Communication Technology for what it serves best.  If it is missing some features I trust that the next hipster techie will resolve it in the next .0 adaptation.  Actually, if anything the ICT products have too many features, options, designs, styles.  Sometimes I just want to start basic, use a couple of features and close it.  I don’t need the technology to run everything in the class and give me a report on it.

I also think we’d be doing a disservice to our students if we didn’t use the more common technologies in the classroom.  If PowerPoint, Word, WordPress, Moodle, Wiki, You Tube, Google, Twitter, SnapChat have gained traction and become widespread, teachers should be enabling them to use the popular technology in class to become more of  a “digital citizen” with the new tools.  Chances are the use of technology will be one of the vital skills after the formative years in education.   It’s debatable if future students turned adults will ever use The Pythagorean Theory, Geological Formations in N.A, or Iambic Pentameter,  but it’s almost expected they will be plugged into ICT.

Assignment #3 Web Based Activity

Lesson #1 from a Unit on Exploring and Evaluating Unique Ideas (Creative Writing or Writing Unit in High School English)

Lesson #1: Preparation — Laying the ground work for finding original ideas.

Learning Outcome: Transform ideas and information to create original texts. (from BC’s New Curriculum Creative Writing)
Content: Metacognitive Strategies

Students will develop personal creative strategies, and metacognitive skills for exploring creative ideas.

Pre-Lesson Questions: Can creativity be taught? Where can you find good ideas?

Overview: So you want to write a unique and interesting piece of writing? It all starts with a seed idea. From opinion pieces (essays), to short stories, to screenplays and novels, it all starts with an unstructured idea that then gets worked and re-worked into a final and complete work.

Let’s see how various published authors speak about their seed ideas:

Gish Jen: “It’s not like you have one flash and the whole story appears.”

Marie Arana: “It was a feeling first.”

Micheal Cunningham: “I always start with a character.”

E.L. Doctorow: “Many of my stories and books come out of an image in my mind that I find evocative.”

(Burns 2008)

Read them again.  Not one is like the other.  They have all found their personal creative process.  And now you will take a step in discovering yours.

The Creative Process

Even though each writer has their unique creative process they all share some common steps.  Graham Wallas unpacked the creative process into 4 steps he calls The Model of the Four Stages of Creativity

  1. Preparation:  The individual takes the conscious first step of preparing the mind to think creatively.
  2. Incubation: The subconscious and unconscious needs time to work through the problem.
  3. Illumination: The conscious self gets insight into the new possibilities of the idea.
  4. Verification: Testing the idea and perfecting it.

This week we will be working in the first stage Preparation.


For the next week you will be “sowing the seeds” for future stories.  Explore the strategies and techniques that work for you.  Adopt them or discard them as you wish, but the main thing is that you, the writer, asks the question, “Does this work for me?”  A utilitarian approach is best for writing, because there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to creativity.

Seed Ideas

I’m not looking (and neither should you) for plot points and summaries.  A short 2-3 words, up to a sentence seed idea is enough.  Just something that captures the idea.  We will be expanding on it in future lessons.


Party animal gets serious when he falls in love.

The End of the World Defense Team 

Dead people talking from their graves

The toddler who knew everything

You don’t have to commit to any of these ideas, so take it easy on yourself, don’t judge, and just list out ideas that interest you or evoke emotion.  Remember we are preparing and “sowing the seeds” for our unconscious mind to work out some of these ideas.


  1. Create a list of story ideas to work with.Generate a list of 5 possible story ideas from EACH of the SIX Story Source Strategies below.   It’s better to work with one Story Source Strategy per day then to cram all six Story Source Strategies into one massive creative session.  By the end you should have around 30 story ideas.
  2. After you’ve assembled your list of 30 story ideas, write a blog entry discussing which Story Source Strategy worked best for you?  Worst?   And any other creative breakthroughs you experienced while working with these strategies.  If you’d like share your favourite story idea with the class.


Select 6 of the following strategies or come up with your own.

  1. Explore your own life. What’s the most interesting, hilarious, scary thing that has happened to you. Could you write about it?Type “interesting story” in Google and follow any links that peak your curiosity
  2. Explore pictures in Flickr’s Galleries.  Does any visual images evoke some ideas?
  3. Explore Random Story Generators like The Brainstormer 2.0  to randomly land on story ideas.
  4. Dream Exploration.  Make your list as soon as you wake up and are in half sleep state.  Or check out iDream app part journal part dream interpreter.
  5. Listen to your favourite band.  What story ideas come from their songs?
  6. Watch movie trailers on YouTube.  Could you use them as a springboard for your own story?
  7. Talk to somebody you trust.  Is there a story they’ve wanted to read but never found?  Are there ideas you can come up with together?
  8. Flip through Print Media: Newspapers, Magazines, Books.  Anything jump out at you?
  9. Look through old photographs or census reports at the library.  Are there any untold stories buried in them?


Week 8.1 HTML Task

Checking in with my Classmates

Since we have an open topic this week I thought I’d check in with my classmates and see how they are enjoying the course, and hopefully get some technological tips. Me personally am learning tons and have uncovered and discovered some fantastic tech tools that I have already implemented in some of my lessons. This HTML coding will not be one of them


  1. What would be the single most important Tech tip or Tech tool you could pass on to the class? Either a time saver, network site, or an organizational saver
  2. What is the Tech tool or website you would most likely not recommend? The learning curve is too steep, or the time saving, organizational advantages are not worth the time investment.
  3. For the budding tech entrepreneur, any tech ideas or gadget inventions you wish existed to make your life easier?


I am a big Ray Kurzweil and Kaku fan who constantly explore the possibilities of the future. Kaku is a lot easier to read than Kurzweil, and he explores the general possibilities of the future in layman terms. In his book Physics of the Future Kaku presents a future of Education that primarily revolves around Intelligent Agents. Many of his ideas are based upon Moore’s Law that transistor per square inch doubles every year. On that projection, Kaku estimates by 2100 computers will be as smart as humans (right now they are about as intelligent as insects), and will have the ability to learn and feel emotions. Intelligent Agent Computers (robots?) will be able to adjust the curriculum with input (observation?) they receive from the student. The new wifi teachers will be able to develop the lesson to keep the students in the Zone of Proximal Learning.


Taken from “e-learning Industry

Layout of the Classroom Adaptable: moving walls, desks, wifi networks, workstations, blended classrooms
Virtual Learning – Augmentation 3D Landscape, Virtual tours of geographical locations, learning centers
Flexible Assignments demonstrate “proof of competency” via multiple platforms or media
MOOC Courses Networked Learning courses for motivated High School students-exposed to University courses and professors

Not sure why the author placed Flexible assignments in changes for the future. That one can be done with today’s technology.

Feel free to reply in either “Text or Visual”

Week 7 Assignment

I didn’t read the “complete either A or B” of the week 7 assignment and ended up doing both.  This is highly unusual for me to go above and beyond the call of duty so I thought I would post my plagiarism assignment (part B) since I thought it was a good one.


Plagiarism- Lesson


OUTCOME: Make an Impression on students regarding plagiarism and academic integrity.


Grade 9-10 class — traditional or blended.


  • 2 min: Show YouTube plagiarism link:
  • 5 min: Use Plagiarism app like to show students how easy it is to check work. BIG MESSAGE: Plagiarism will not be tolerated and you will be checking. Read School Policy regarding plagiarism.
  • 25 min: Partner Writes:
    • Teacher Prep: Cut out 1-2 sentences with specific stats, facts, or opinions on a specific subject – ex. Bieber vs. Swift – “Who’s more popular?” On the bottom of the sheet is the source information in APA format.
    • Students mingle with 3-6 other students to share their info sheet, making notes of the information that they would like to use for their own paragraph and copying the source information
  • 45 min: Students write a one paragraph opinion paper, using atleast 3 facts, and citing information

Variation: Students could prep their own facts about a subject, searching online, taking the most relevant information, and citing the source with APA

7.2 Flickr

Having some issues embedding the video into the blog as a slideshow.  The best I can do is link to my Favourite’s Page with all my creative commons photos I wanted to use in my slideshow.

I do not get the “Share” logo on my album when it is running in slideshow.  I only see it for individual photos.  I think my Mac computer and software upgrades are preventing me from using the Flash features needed to embed the album.



7.1 Emerging Tech in the Classroom

For a Middle School or High School English class, the obvious routes would be the content creating technologies.  Implementing Digital Story Telling or Broadcasting in either vodcasts or podcasts would have creative learning with (hopefully) meaningful outcomes since the final product can be shared online.  The projects could be tied into a novel study, or a themed unit and be a final project worth a big chunk of marks.   And I was going to write “it’s only a matter of time before someone invents a Shakespeare Online game” then I thought I better google “Shakespeare online games” and of course I found one.  It’s based on Romeo and Juliet at It’s not good but they’re only going to get better.  An MMOGs site for online gamers using Shakespeare’s world and language to introduce students to the times.

But on a smaller scale, and, for me a more interesting route, would be analyzing the typecasts that social websites try to pigeonhole individuals for advertisement purposes.  I listened to a podcast called “Slate’s Trumpcast — episode Oct 24th, 2016” where they interviewed BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman who looked at Social Media sites like FaceBook to determine which American Political topics were getting shared the most.  The episode went into detail about Trump and Clinton supporters and which ones are more emotionally charged (I’ll let you figure that one out), but the interesting take was Silverman’s comments about FaceBook and other Intelligent Searching websites.  According to Silverman, Intelligent Searching sites make a profile of the searcher and feed them more of the same topics (or products, services) they are already interested in.   For example, if you “like” or “forward” a certain article about Donald Trump, FaceBook will send you more news articles about him.  Silverman argues that viewers end up in their own world of interests and are not exposed to the “other side”.

The lesson topics from this idea are varied and may be a good introduction into a novel theme of individualism/conformism.  Books like Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 541 and Ender’s Game share themes that may benefit from an introductory lesson like these:

Supposedly there is a profile page that lists what FaceBook users are interested in (created by the user but also adapted by the individual’s searches).  How revealing would it be to get the students to write a profile about themselves (before doing a FaceBook search) then comparing it to the profile established on their own FaceBook page.  Or getting students to type the first few letters of a word in google and see what suggestions pop up — are they the same for each individual site, or do they change depending on previous searches?   The lesson could continue with searching for balanced content.  Give one example of a biased website, and ask the students to search and find for the polar opposite website on the same subject.

Part of Cybersafety is making the students aware that the websites they use — social, banking, news, shopping– are gathering information about them and assigning profiles of who they are.

6.1 Cybersafety Policing

I don’t, and I haven’t, worried about cybersafety in any of the school settings, but I am a TOC and haven’t had to design a unit of study, so I will be writing from mostly a theoretical position.

In general, SD 67 has all the P.I.E.S. standards in place.

P – policy + practice = It’s in all the handbooks and mandated from the district.  Of course the interpretation of the practice vary from school to school and teacher to teacher, but in general their is a similar line of reasoning through all the schools

I — Infrastructure = Every classroom in the district is set up with computers against the wall facing inward.  A technology expert sets up the network, installs security software, and sets the restrictions for blocking websites.   The teacher does not have to make any infrastructure decisions.

E — Education = I have been TOCing during a cybersafety talk that is presented by the D.A.R.E program (RCMP early intervention) and other social services.  Some programs are dry PowerPoint, and others are over the top scare-you-straight performances.

S — Standards + Inspection = Up to the teachers in my district.  If they find digital abuse (plagiarism, cyberbullying, content searches) students usually get sent to administration.

In terms of digital technology uses for classroom activities I am not worried about cybersafety.  Enough measures are put in place that technology use in the classroom is tightly monitored.

However, personal device use can not be monitored by teachers and that is where any cybersafety problems will occur.  Phones, tablets, laptop usage in class is left to the individual schools and sometimes teachers.   The best practice for Elementary (k-5) and Middle School (6-8) is a no device at school rule.  I’ve been in schools that have a relaxed policy and schools that have a strict no device rule, and it is much easier to gain the students’ attention without the distraction of a digital screen.

In High School, the game changes, and teachers are left with their own classroom policy regarding personal screens, which I adopt as the TOC coming in.  Personally I have a difficult time with students on personal devices during class time.  I can’t multi-task, and eventhough I know the new millennial generation can, if drives me nuts to see them working, listening to music, texting, and on FaceBook, all at the same time.

But I do notice that there is a lot of social currency (mostly in High School) with “Likes” in FaceBook and “Followers” in Instagram or SnapChat.  And there is an entire social procedure for “liking” a post or picture — the reply has to be immediate or the sender might think you don’t like it.

One of the biggest issue in High School I can foresee is sexual content or contact shared on personal devices.   It’s difficult enough navigating through all the confusing emotions, identity, and physical changes.  Now add a cell phone to that and a pubescent mistake now is digitally saved for posterity.  I don’t envy this generation at all.

The best cybersafety presentation I saw, the presenter had “followed” a high school boy on FaceBook posing as a High School girl from another city.  They were messaging back and forth the entire week and they had made plans to “hook up”.  At the presentation he called out the boys name, who stood, then he revealed he was actually the girl on FaceBook.  After the laughter, he got his point across.  You can be anyone online.

5.1 TEC-variety and SAMR Evaluation of two assignments

Assignment:  grade 8 Students were assigned an i-pad, and used an app (I’ve emailed the teacher to see what app it was) that displayed a musical/visual storyboard, of maybe 10 pixar quality — fairy talesque pictures in chronological order.  Students were tasked with creating a narrative story, in French, to go along with the pictures.
Tone/Climate: Psychological Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging:  safe, rated G story, imaginative and open ended.
Encouragement: Feedback, Responsiveness, Praise, Supports — other than teacher encouragement, there was no built in encouragement from the app, or intelligent agent that modified the story contents as work was being submitted.
Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns  — The pictures revealed story details when you scrolled over certain parts of them.  For example, pressing on the music box in the picture would play music, or pressing on the curtain would cause it to open and reveal what’s outside.
Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy — High novelty and fun to find all the hidden items in each picture.
Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities — Other than exploring the pictures and filling out the story text there was no other control options.  No flexibility (other than changing the content of the story), but that may have been a function of the app to keep students focused on the creative writing task at hand
Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting  — No relevance to current affairs.   Barely authentic because all students were using the same 10 photos.  Meaningful?  Maybe in the Humanist way students may embed their own meaning in the creation of story.
Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community  — The students did work in partners but I’m not sure if the final story could be uploaded and viewed/collaborated/edited  by other groups.
Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment  — Needed creative energy (highest form on Blooms Taxonomy of learning skills), effort varied by group’s involvement
Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy — Not much tension.  There was no challenge to current thinking or controversial elements to the story.  The dissonance was created by finding chronological story elements to create a cohesive final product.
Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership — Ownership YES.  Other than finishing the task, it wasn’t goal driven or purposeful.
SAMR Evaluation
SUBSTITUTION: YES substitute ipad images for photocopied pictures
AUGMENTATION:  YES, pictures were interactive and contained audio music to help set the tone of the story
MODIFICATION: NO, Not the way this task was set up. It could still be performed with pen and pictures
RE DEFINITION: PERHAPS, maybe there were features that allowed for editing/collaborating/shared viewing but we did not use them
Digital Literacy — Invoking meaning
1. Use an applet like this one Digital Literacy that allows students to use, explore, analyze, how an image changes with different soundscapes, moving parts or a follow up image.  Students create their own soundscape by exploring the website and noting how an image changes with the addition of media.
2. Students find a “neutral” image online that poses no reaction from a general viewer.
3.  Students create meaning to the “neutral” image by adding sound, a follow up image, or a moving image — the meaning must be either positive or negative but it must change.  They can use apps like VidLab, iMovie, or Magisto to edit images.
4.  Students post their assignments on a course wiki and they are all displayed during class.  Observing students fill out a chart noting image, enhancement, positive or negative reaction
5.  Follow up: what advertisement images are “doctored” and how are they manipulated to reach certain audiences.  Show commercials (moving media or print media) and explore how advertisers target their messages.
Tone/Climate: Psychological Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging:  exploratory, project
Encouragement: Feedback, Responsiveness, Praise, Supports — Self feedback analyzing how different media enhancements changes the original image.
Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns  —  Manipulating digital images, may not be new to millennials, but they will have creative freedom and can choose the editor app.
Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy —  Novel and Fun project based assignment.  Using a Progressive Teaching philosophy: situational, problem solving, experimental, social reform.
Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities —  After the initial exploration, students have autonomy and choice for fulfilling the assignment requirements.
Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting  — Relevant, especially with follow up task.  Marketers target them in their advertisements.  Is it working?  Are they persuade one way or the other?
Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community  —  Posted online, class analyzes co-dependently
Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment  — Needed creative energy (highest form on Blooms Taxonomy of learning skills), effort varied by group’s involvement
Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy —  Could be controversy with negative spins to neutral images.
Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership — Ownership YES.   Purposeful?  It does tie into current affairs and learning of digital skills.  Being conscious of how media is created allows for exploring POV, author’s purpose, author’s intention.
SAMR:  Project rises to the top rung of the SAMR ladder, because the new product created re-defines the task.  The technological tools are used to create new meaning.