Category Archives: Athabasca University

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?

What do I mean by Word Processing?

Word processing is software that “allows production and revision of text-based information but also allows adding many kinds of graphic elements to text products” (Roblyer, 2016). Using word processing tools has made my life as a teacher easier. Without them writing this blog would take forever! My corrections and changes would lead to several revisions, which again would take me (insert whiney teenager voice over here) forever to complete a final draft. The more inefficient my writing mode is the more frustrated I get, which leads me to be highly unproductive (and cranky).

In my classroom, I can see the same thing going on with my students. They have grown up with technology and most of them want to use it for everything. When I was young (many moons ago) my downtime was spent reading or colouring with actual books made from paper.

Abel. "Child with colouring book."
Abel. “Child with colouring book.”

Technology has now given children the option to do both without any paper involved! I think it is safe to say that times have changed, but is it for the better?

Continue reading My Faithful Right Hand

The Butterfly Effect: K-12 OER and Open Learning

Doctoral Student & Technology for Learning Specialist Editorial | By Verena Roberts

I was asked to work with Dr Connie Blomgren as a subject matter expert (SME) for the ABOER grant, Multiplying Open Educational Resources (OER) Impact: Building In-service Teacher OER Capacity for Graduate Credit. The goal of Butterfly Effectthe project was to create digital content in the form of podcasts and videos to support Athabasca University’s BOLT program. I was excited to be asked to contribute to such a project because of my passion around open learning. As an open learner, I strive to promote the sharing of ideas and resources to promote access to learning for all and to build knowledge around the world.

Lorenz’s butterfly effect about organizational leadership’s chaos theory asks, “‘Does the flap of a butterfly wing in Tokyo, affect a tornado in Texas (or a thunderstorm in New York)?” (Wheatley, 1992, p.117) I am intrigued with the idea that something as small and as fragile as a butterfly can have such a huge impact on the world. Continue reading The Butterfly Effect: K-12 OER and Open Learning