International Education and Online Learning – The Necessary Networks!

Teacher Editorial | By T. A. Driedger

bolt1In the happenstance of career pathways, I was able to interrupt my decades of teaching and leading in rural Alberta with two recent international travels, one to an Alberta accredited school in Qatar (2014) and another to a BC certified campus in South Korea (2017).  Both offshore learning environments reminded me very much of my earliest years in a small Alberta school surrounded by long and seemingly empty distances – far from my colleagues and their enviable urban density.  I, like these new global educators, was eager to form collaborations, to grow a bank of professional resources and proven skill-sets. The universal need was and is to feel less isolated as a novice educator (Sleppin, 2009). My own outreach became dependent on my teamwork for Alberta Education – where I could grow my contact base and resource knowledge while conducting the contracted research.  For young academics in their cross-border adventures, I would also suggest designated time, segments fostered in a continuum of digital dialogues and framed by their own research design.

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My Faithful Right Hand

Teacher Editorial | By Tara Gauchier (BOLT student)

See how nice I can write in cursive. It took me many years to perfect my handwriting (many more to get the perfect signature). I was not allowed to print in school and so I followed the rules and adapted my printing abilities to handwriting. But increasingly students are not taught to handwrite. Slowly handwriting has fallen by the wayside and printing became more common, but the change did not stop there, technology came along (specifically word processing tools) and is now regularly used in schools. I type everything now. My handwriting (I use the term handwriting and cursive interchangeably, they mean the same to me) is not as perfect as it once was and I find it to be time consuming and, let’s face it, my hand gets tired from lack of practicing the skill. This leads me to two (seemingly) simple questions; Is the idea of teaching students to handwrite archaic? Should teachers push the use of word processing skills over the use of the hand as a writing implement?

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