Top 10 Hopes for 2009

hopehope3hope110. That the Israeli government officials and Palestinian leaders read and implement the values contained in the 10 things I learned in kindergarten.

9. That all teachers read and internalize the noble ideas expressed in Clark Molenhoff’s poem In Honor of Teachers.

8. That more people like the irate Iraqi journalist upset with President George W. Bush – would choose to fire shoes instead of bullets at their enemies.

7. For Crackberry, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter and other hi-tech-gadget addicts/users to seek immediate help for their debilitating disease.

6. That more people turn to renowned Canadian author and environmental
activist David Suzuki rather than Prime Minister Stephen Harper for
advice on the environment.

5. That RIM co-founder Jim Balsille finally gets his wish to own an NHL
franchise – especially if it is located close to Waterloo Region.

4. For more Canadians to get involved in the political process – that is – by
actually taking the time to inform themselves of who their local and
federal candidates are, which party they represent and then actually

3. That Canadians also take the time to learn the various meanings of the
word ‘eh’ as well as other things that are uniquely Canadian.

2. That unless he orders all drive-thrus closed effective immediately – the
ghost of Tim Horton will visit the donut chain’s current CEO and warn him
he will be visited by 3 spirits in the New Year.

1. For American gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps to become a Canadian
citizen sometime before the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Photo Courtesy: just.luc’s photostream


Christmas Presence

Any birth, let alone the one that changed human history over two thousand years ago, is a miracle.

The fact that Mary’s boy child also survived a king’s edict to slaughter all children under two years of age is particularly miraculous.

The late Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that human life is the penultimate gift –

“The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life.”

We need not plumb the holy pages of scripture to find evidence of miracles. Today we see the miracle of life embedded in the daily headlines. In the joyous face of the husband whose wife who lay buried for 72 hours under 60 centimetres of snow.

Or the Windsor woman who police thought had been assaulted – found holding a new-born and then minutes later giving  birth on the street to the second of twins.

The greatest gift we can give back to God is to defend and promote the precious gift of life. We do this whenever we defend the defenseless – stand up on behalf of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the alienated, the lonely or the unborn.

The best gifts, whether packaged in a cold stable, on a frozen field or on a busy metropolitan street are both priceless and timeless.

Photo Courtesy: Marie Rose Ferron

Through the looking glass – darkly

Like Alice, educators today are teetering on the edge of a bottomless rabbit hole.

By refusing to adapt our teacher-centred 19th century learning environments to meet the needs of students immersed in today’s interactive collaborative technologies – governments and educational institutions, from school districts to faculties of education, set them up for failure.
By refusing to try and understand what it means to be literate in a digital world – we rob our children of opportunities to expand and enrich their own personal learning networks.
Fortunately we have visionaries like David Warlick and Amber MacArther and learning opportunities like the recent RCAC Symposium to remind educators that by embracing and using new technologies in the classroom, they help prepare their students for a future that even the most clairvoyant teachers cannot clearly describe.
Teachers who use wikis, blogs, podcasts, video games and other collaborative technologies are changing the learning landscape in their classrooms and engaging their students in rich learning experiences.
Like the eco-warriors who struggle to construct a new power grid based on clean, renewable energy – today’s educational leaders must strive to construct a bold new ‘power grid of the mind’ that harnesses synergy and and favors collaboration over domination.

The educational visionaries who spoke and presented at today’s symposium will at least help ease the fall into the rabbit hole and reveal a little more of what lies beyond the looking glass.

Photo: M. Redfearn
Tags: flat, classroom, work, technology