Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just Another Day

We woke up this morning, made coffee, had breakfast, read the papers, just another day right? But it isn't is it? The first day of a new year is so much more than that because it holds promise. It's like the human version of pressing the refresh button. We wake up excited to clean the slate, learn from the mistakes of last year and commit to achieving new goals. The prospect of new adventures, new opportunities and life taking us in a new direction makes waking up today downright exciting!

Professionally I'm excited about three new adventures. Next weekend I'll be helping to facilitate a Moodle course called Authentic Global Collaboration. I was invited to participate by Phil Macoun, a technology teacher at Aspengrove School on Vancouver Island. I met Phil at the World Future Conference in Vancouver last summer and despite the fact that we spent a very short time together I learned so much from him and he became my Twitter Tutor, opening up a whole new world of learning for me. He continues to push and expand my thinking by inviting me to take part in this class. This is a whole new territory for me and while I'm nervous and unsure about what I can offer, I 'm also exhilarated by the challenge of it and the learning opportunities it will provide.

I was lucky enough to receive an iPad just before Winter break and have been invited to take part in some action research to determine the value of educational applications. Once again, I'm exploring a whole new landscape. Being part Luddite the Land of Apps is new to me and I've been reading and learning throughout the break to get a feel for where to begin. Education researcher Michelle Riconscente, a USC professor, conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of Motion Math with 122 fifth-graders. Her findings were very positive, reporting an improvement in test scores , attitudes and confidence. The full study can be found at Being given the opportunity to take part in a similar kind of action research project that may result in useful and meaningful data other teachers can use is exciting for me.

I also want to try and get more exercise in my life in 2012-well, technically in my classroom. I saw Dr. John Medina in Redmond, Seattle last summer. He is the author of Brain Rules, a wonderful collection of stories that demonstrate how the brain works and how physical activity can get your brain working at it's best. One of the most outstanding stories he shared in Redmond was the impact of exercise on mathematical ability. The studies he referred to showed that just twenty minutes of aerobic activity each day can result in a huge improvement in mathematical reasoning. As a math teacher this obviously fascinated me and I've been trying to figure out how to make this work in my classroom. After attending the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum and seeing the work that many great educators are doing with Kinect, my aim for the year is to try and get Kinect into my classroom . I haven't figured out all of the details yet but have heightened my chances of success by enlisting the help of some fabulous people I am proud to know and now call friends: Lou Zulli, Johnny Kissko and Doug Bergman.

When I woke up on January 1st 2011 I was equally as excited as I was this morning. I could never have envisioned the year that followed ,the many marvelous people I would meet and places I would go. That's what 's so thrilling-the not knowing what lies ahead. I hope 2012 brings you joy. Look out for new opportunities and new adventures-if you want to ride shotgun with me for a while please jump on board!


  1. Hi Pauline,

    Thanks for mentioning my course. You are doing so many cool things in your classroom I know that you will have a lot to share with the course participants.

    I have had John Medina on my iPod for about a year now and periodically read a bit more. He is a great story teller and I find that a lot of what he says is very relevant to education. I am fascinated by your Kinect project and look forward to hearing more.

  2. I am right there with you, partner. I know that 2012 will bring you amazement and wonder. You have transformed yourself in mighty powerful ways in the short time that I have known you. It is your destiny to learn and grow daily.