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Posts Tagged ‘Making Meaning’

MLTI webinar May 10, 2012 – Science Session Four – Observation, Evidence and Data

Collecting plant data on a clipboard

public domain image

One of the prime advantages to using technology in the science classroom is the real-time, particpatory collection of data. Participants will be introduced to how Data Studio, Logger Pro, MyWorld, and Numbers can be used to deal with data. Vital Signs, a website from Gulf of Maine Research Institute allows students and teachers not only to interact with a database about invasive species, but also to contribute their own data and discuss results with other classes and even expert scientists. Zooniverse has a number of web-based astronomy centered databases tin which individuals can participate. Participants will examine how technology can support the collection, organization, and analysis of data for science learning and support the conversation about, communication of, and dissemination of data and evidence from and to selected scientific communities. We will also talk about alignment with the Scientific and Engineering Practices from the new Conceptual Framework.

I hope you can join us on Thursday, May 10 at 3:15pm or 7:15pm. Please click on the Webcasts tab to register. We have upgraded to a new registration system, allowing you to register directly in Adobe Connect, making the whole webinar process smoother and easier! If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson. Click on the time you wish to participate in and you will be directed to an online registration form. Please type your email address carefully as all information will be sent to that address. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with a log in link – please use that link to log into the webinar prior to the start time.

March 29 Webinar – Learning Science By Doing Science (webinar links update-March 30)

March 25th, 2012 No comments
Paul Fenwick Does Science

CC 2.0 BY Paul Fenwick http://www.flickr.com/photos/pfenwick/

Looking at the Conceptual Framework for New Science Standards K-12, one of the major changes we see is how Scientific and Engineering practices form  a third of Standards platform, along with Core Principles and Crosscutting Concepts. So we are left with the question – How can technology support the practice of science?

There is a plethora of activities and “games” designed to help students learn science, but how can a teacher decide which ones are appropriate and aligned with standards and the curriculum? This session is designed to explore some of the best. From the apps on the MLTI device (ME Explorer, Molecular Workbench, GeniQuest, and NetLogo) to models and simulations on the web, participants will be able to see what could best apply to their classrooms, and then be released to explore even further on their own. Then they will be able to establish their own criteria for choosing, provide a context, and think about the curricular implications.

LearningScience (slides from the webinar)

If you missed the webinar on Thursday, March 29 at 3:15pm or 7:15pm, you can view the recording. Scroll down to the date and click on the time of the presentation you wish to view. Adobe Connect will open up with the recording.

February 16 Webinar: Ever-Evolving Science Standards

February 11th, 2012 3 comments
Cover conceptual Framework for Science Education

National Academies Press: Conceptual Framework for Science Education

Science teachers are guided by the Maine Learning Results, AAAS Benchmarks, and the National Science Education Standards. But, in many cases, they deal with just the standards, and not the reasoning behind the standards. By utilizing the full texts and the Strand Map of Science literacy, participants will be able to look at the relationships among the specific standards they are using and how they relate to the standards for the other grades and content areas. The Strand Map also gives reference to textual and web-based resources related to various standards, and includes information about student conceptual problems. Participants will be able to access the Maine Learning Results, AAAS Benchmarks, and the National Science Education Standards, and the Strand Map online, as well as the recently released A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Participants will be able to use the web-based Strand Map of Science Literacy (based on the 2 volume Atlas of Science Literacy) to inform their science teaching through the Maine Learning Results, AAAS Benchmarks, and the National Science Education Standards. We will also examine web-based resources related to science education standards.

You can access the recordings for both sessions from Thursday, February 16 at 3:15pm or 7:15pm.   When you look at the schedule, you will see the correct date and times. Click on the time you wish to view and you will be linked to the recording. You can stop and start it as you would a movie.  If you have any questions, please contact Juanita Dickson.

Slideshow from Standards Webinar

Maine DOE SciTech Framework Blog

This is a link to the NDSL Strand Map for Science Literacy

Here are resources that were referenced in the webinar – You can read them on the web for free.

Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A guide for teaching and learning

National Science Education Standards.

Project 2061: Science for all Americans.

Maine Learning Results (Science and Technology)

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

How People Learn

How Students Learn Science in the Classroom

Ready, Set, Science!

Taking Science to School

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

 

 

New Information on Science Standards – June 9, 2011 at 3:15pm

May 7th, 2011 4 comments

Good news for administrators and other educational leaders interested in effective science curriculum!
June 9, 2011 at 3:15pm

Recently mathematics and English Language Arts standards went through national review and development leading to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the national science community is developing Next Generation Science Standards that could also be commonly adopted by states. This work will take place on an aggressive timeline. Achieve, Inc., who led the development of the CCSS, expects to deliver the new science standards sometime in the summer or fall of 2012. These standards are a natural progression from the National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and Maine Learning Results which inform our current classroom practice.

This webinar will focus on the upcoming release of the Conceptual Framework from the National Academies and the Board of Science Education.  The Conceptual Framework will redefine the vision for Science education and serve as the blueprint for Achieve’s development of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Please join us to understand the timeline for this work and understand how you can provide input into the development of the Next Generation of Science Standards.  To register, select the webcasts tab above and scroll down to June Webcasts. Click the time to be directed to online registration.

Notes for April 7 Webinar – Play, Think, Learn

April 8th, 2011 No comments

It was in the late 70’s and early 80’s when Atari came out with the Lunar Lander and Asteroids games. I was “stoked” that these games represented an environment for understanding inertia and the other laws of motion, and wondered how I could bring that into my middle school classroom. But they were…games, not lessons, so it didn’t happen. Now that so many Maine 7-12 classrooms are 1:1 and kids have very sophisticated gaming systems, that type of environment has become almost second nature to our students.

So, what is it about gaming that engages the gamer? Our own Ruben Puentadura has offered a whole bunch of podcasts available from the Maine DOE iTunes site entitled “Game and Learn.” He suggests the motivators are these:

Cause and Effect – immediate feedback for effort, seeing results of action
Long Term Winning vs Short Term Gains – Tactics, strategy and problem solving
Order from Chaos – Isolating variables
Complex Systems Behaviors – Systems thinking
Obstacles Become Motivation – Accepting challenges and taking risks

If we look over the standards and pedagogy of successful science classrooms, these same motivators are definitely learning goals, as well.

So how can we leverage the tools that we have to enhance the learning of science? And, for that matter, what tools exist on the MLTI MacBook that can apply that leverage?

To begin with, Games Launcher offers Wolfquest, which has been covered briefly in another webinar. Also, ME Explorer has been explained in a webinar and a series of iTunes podcasts. And we could consider the student interaction with Data Studio and Logger Pro to address some of the motivators mentioned above.

Two applications on the MLTI image from Concord Consortium have been included on the image this year that pack a giant science punch by incorporating the immersive environments and concretizing of abstract concepts found in the gaming world. The Concord Consortium folder may be the most powerful and underutilized resource center for science that teachers need to discover.

Geniquest starts off with a fairly simple and engaging premise of breeding dragons…yes – dragons. Students move on to investigate more and more complex genetic concepts that build an amazing learning progression that develop a deeper understanding of the big ideas of heredity.

Molecular Workbench is both a library containing hundreds of models and activities in chemistry, biology,  and physics and it is also a toolbox for building your own custom-made activities with a good how-to manual.

Another MLTI tool that has remained fairly dormant is NetLogo. It, too, has an extensive library of models that support deeper understanding of science concepts through inquiry and interactivity. The models are set up using the mathematical constructs of various phenomena, stripping away some of the fuzziness of the real world, so users can focus on the basic interactions. My personal favorite is “Wolf-Sheep Predation” that models the predator-prey relationship. Students can adjust variables like initial populations, reproduction rates and energy accumulation to see what effects become apparent. The results are displayed in pictures, graphs, and numbers, following the good practice of multiple representations.

OK, those are a few of the tools on the MLTI image. What about teachers searching the web for appropriate standards-based activities that are appropriate for their curricula? There are a couple of websites that collect and review science resources and align them with learning goals, National Science Education Standards and Project 2061 Benchmarks. One of the is PRISMS from Maine Math and Science Alliance. Another is the National Science Digital Library Science Literacy Strand Map.

A visit to PRISMS gives the user a choice of science topics. A click will take you to a page that lists a set of Learning Goals. Pick one, and you will see the review that covers  information that parallels lesson planning, and a link to the resource. You get to see the strengths and weakness and suggestions for the teacher to integrate the activity into a lesson. I would promote PRISMS as a way for middle school science teachers to construct well crafted, technology-rich units that offer deeper understanding than textbooks alone.

The NSDL Science Literacy Strand Map uses the maps from the AAAS – Project 2061 Atlas of Science Literacy. The Atlas was designed to map out the ideas and skills that lead to literacy in science, mathematics, and technology might develop from kindergarten through 12th grade. NSDL has made the Atlas intereactive, allowing users to choose a major content area, pick a subtopic, and focus in on a particular content topic. Then the map is shown on the screen, with lines linking the specific 9-12 standards, showing the relationship among them and the progression from K to 12 of the content topic. If you click on one of the boxes, you get a list of links to resources about it, as well as references from NSES and Benchmarks. Also included on the map is a tab that opens up to explain the various student misconceptions about the chosen topic. Science teachers and departments would benefit greatly from using the Strand Map to design curriculum that aligns with standards and is sensitive to K-12 learning progressions.

Second Life (SL) and other virtual worlds deserve a good look, too. Scilands in SL offers a area that has islands devoted to NASA, NOAA, Exploratorium, genetics, astronomy, and many other science related themes. In many cases, the environment offers novel and interesting ways to interact with science concepts, like walking through an animal cell and learning about the different organelles. EduSim and Science Sim are a couple of other virtual worlds.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention PhET as a great resource for ready made, interactive science activities. Users can choose from an amazing number of java applets that can be accessed on the web, or downloaded to be included in NoteShare notebooks or teacher web pages. All of the resources are great, and many include a full lesson plan that can be adapted to individual lessons and units.

Good classroom practice demands that any of these resources need to exist in an appropriate learning context. As a teacher, you are responsible for addressing a number of factors to ensure that learning is taking place. Think of the questions you ask in a lesson plan:

What standards are being taught/learned?
What are the prerequisites needed?
How can the activity be differentiated appropriately?
Will this be part of an introduction, practice, homework, extension, or elaboration?
Will the students engage as individuals, small groups, or whole class?
What is your role as a teacher, facilitator, or Socratic coach?
How will the learning be assessed?

April 7 Webinar: Think, Play, Learn – Games, Models, and Simulations for Science

April 4th, 2011 No comments

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Generic by factoryjoe

Seymour Papert once said that learning should be “hard fun.” Teachers now have the opportunity to integrate games, models and simulations into their science curriculum, while implementing the 5 E’s (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate.) This webinar includes demos of GeniQuest and Molecular Workbench and review other important apps on the MLTI image. In addition, the PRISMS website from MMSA, and the interactive Science Literacy Strand Map from the National Digital Science Library will be shown as valuable platforms for finding relevant web resources aligned with standards. The renewed emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) challenges teachers from all grade levels to examine ways to foster learning and understanding of esential science concepts. Join us as we investigate new avenues to the development of important science skills and content using the integration of technology.

Please join us at 3:15pm or 7:15pm on April 7th!  To register for this webinar, select the Webcasts tab at the top of the http://maine121.org page and select the time desired to be directed to online registration.

March 17 Webinar: Multimodal Strategies for Communication and Expression

March 14th, 2011 No comments
Cartoon image of left brain-right brain concept

Image by vaXzine, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license

Multimodal strategies can be used by teachers and students alike to convey information, ideas, and concepts, as well as to express knowledge and understanding. Because each individual student effectively responds to unique inputs, such as text, audio, and visual (among others), combinations are essential to successful teaching and learning experiences.  In this webinar, we’ll review the research behind the need for multiple modes (multimodal) learning, as well as examine applications on the MLTI MacBooks that support related strategies. Comic Life, Freemind, GarageBand, iPhoto, OmniGraffle, and Photo Booth will be featured.

Please join Cynthia Curry and Ann Marie Quirion Hutton on Thursday, March 17, at 3:15 or 7:15 PM. To register, click on the Webcasts tab at the top of this page and navigate to the calendar of webinars.

 

Notes for 2/17/2011 Webinar – Visual Literacy – Seeing Meaning

February 21st, 2011 No comments
greeneyes

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greeneyes.jpg - licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.

Consider this Part 2 of:

March 18 – Perceiving Reality: Visualization
Recordings: 3:15pm WebCast | 7:15pm WebCast

When we try to define Visual Literacy, there are many factors to consider. Here are four definitions that have been proposed by others:

“Visual Literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development of these competencies is fundamental to normal human learning. When developed, they enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols, natural or man-made, that he encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is able to communicate with others. Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks of visual communication.” source

Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Images and visual media may include photographs, illustrations, drawings, maps, diagrams, advertisements, and other visual messages and representations, both still and moving.” source

C.”Visual literacy stems from the notion of images and symbols that can be read. Meaning is communicated through image more readily than print, which makes visual literacy a powerful teaching tool.” source

D.”Visual literacy includes such areas as facial expressions, body language, drawing, painting, sculpture, hand signs, street signs, international symbols, layout of the pictures and words in a textbook, the clarity of type fonts, computer images, pupils producing still pictures, sequences, movies or video, user-friendly equipment design and critical analysis of television advertisements.” source
Any one of these serves as a teachable definition. But where does visual literacy fit into commonly accepted educational standards? The last webinar on Visualization talked about Maine Learning Results and 21st Century skills, but now we have Common Core for both ELA and Mathematics. Not surprisingly, there are many references to visual skills included in the many standards. In ELA, for both Literature and Information, strand 7 has many references to those skills. For Literature, strand 6 also includes many pointers to visual skills.
An example standard from ELA:

Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

Say, for instance, you wanted to have students understand Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. You could use YouTube video, text, audio or even a Wordle to see it from different perspectives.

In Math, you can see that visuals are important in both Data and Statistics. So, we can feel pretty good that we don’t have to “add” Visual Literacy to an already burgeoning set of standards.

There are some simple strategies that teachers can use to bolster the visual skills of students. At the eduscapes website, they outline five in particular:

Reading Visuals – Seeing what is there
Interpreting Visuals – Looking for meaning in the image
Using Visuals – Constructing meaning by collecting and organizing images
Reconstructing Visuals – Making mashups of images to create new meaning
Making Visuals – Creating your own images

http://eduscapes.com/sessions/digital/digital1.htm

Fortunately, for each of the strategies we have technological resources available to us.

Reading images – the Internet, iPhoto, PhotoBooth, online book illustrations, etc.
Interpreting images – the Internet, iPhoto, PhotoBooth, online book illustrations, etc.
Using images – the Internet, iPhoto, PhotoBooth, online book illustrations, Comic Life, Keynote, OmniGraffle, etc.
Reconstructing Images – iPhoto, PhotoBooth, Comic Life, Acorn, internet resources like JibJab’s Elf Yourself. etc.
Making images – SketchUp, iPhoto, PhotoBooth, Numbers, OmniGraffle, NoteShare’s SketchPad, Acorn, Data Studio, Logger Pro, Grapher, Keynote, etc.

Here are some online resources with lessons and suggestions for incorporating Visual Literacy into different curricula:

What Could America’s Top Models Be Thinking?

Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons

Teaching Visual Literacy to Students

Visual Literacy Home

Smithsonian Education – Every Picture Has a Story

Visual literacy K-8

"Seeing," Self-Realization and Social Networking – More on Making Meaning

July 15th, 2010 No comments
Who Am I? from licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license (http://www.flickr.com/photos/paurian/3707187124/)

Who Am I? licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/paurian/3707187124/

Two conversations I have had lately have really made me think about students, teaching, technology and 21st Century skills. Added to that, a number of my former students have friended me on Facebook and have talked about what they remember about my class. Basically, my thoughts have been directed to the difference between what we, as teachers, want them to remember, and what they actually remember. Then, I am led to ponder how that melds with the specific memories that lead to success in their lives. Deep, huh? So, once again, I am on the trail of making meaning.

The first conversation occurred in a grocery store with a private college math professor with whom I collaborated with in the 90’s, helping teachers understand more about fractals, chaos, and dynamical systems. We talked about how students are coming into class more prepared to visualize complex concepts, and how a few of his graduates have made a business out of creating incredible visualizations. One example he shared with me was based on the confluence of Obama’s inauguration and cell phones. The first, simple visualization dealt with looking at the national map and a kind of dynamic graph that showed the number of outgoing cell phone calls at any particular time. The map had all these jiggling little points that were cool to look at, and then the “bloom” of calls being made from the Washington D.C. area over the days of the inauguration. Pretty neat, and the results were all to be expected. Then his eyes twinkled as he described the second visualization – the same national map, but the little jiggly points represented the destination localities of those same cell phone calls. Wouldn’t that animation have been valuable to Political Action Committees and lobbyists! I thought about this as an example of how our students may “see” beyond our ken, and how we need to recognize that visual literacy is crucial part of literacy in general in the 21st Century.

The second conversation was during a family gathering talking about all our children as young adults and how they have found their niches. Not all of them enjoyed school, feeling as if they were overlooked because they weren’t necessarily the kids who were good at “doing school.” Conversely, many of their teachers were not skilled at recognizing students as individuals with different interests, talents, and abilities. But these kids grew up, found jobs, and raised families in spite of the way they were taught. When we tried to analyze their successes, we came to the conclusion that they were able to look at problems in a methodical way, and they were mostly self-taught. Yes, learning to read and do math were important – don’t get me wrong. But we agreed that their scores on common assessments generally made less difference to their success than their experiences in authentic learning. To them, learning how to learn made all the difference, and they love to learn in their own milieu. What helped them the most was their ability to adapt – a very important skill in the world of today and the future. I have yet to be convinced that most of the assessments given nowadays to gauge student achievement actually measure the skills needed in the world they will inherit. I thought about this as an example of how universal design and the ability of technology to individualize will help today’s students to show their interests and talents in a way that was not readily available last generation and prepare them for their roles in the 21st Century.

Then, there have been my Facebook conversations with former students as “friends.” I would agree that it has been a small, self-selected sample, but it has been both a pleasant and provocative experience to “hear” them. They have shared a bit of their journeys through life and I can’t help feeling a little pride in having had a small part in their successes. When I think back to my interaction with most of them and their classes, I realize that usually they had “permission” to be themselves and they took full advantage of it. Then I recognized that Facebook actually promotes a similar kind of self-realization. Web 2.0 social networking can educe personality and individualism in ways that old-school education often couldn’t. What users choose to reveal about themselves is a reflection of what they think about themselves. This kind of reflection and connection with others can lead to a higher level of personal interaction that has the potential of enhancing learning as individuals and in groups. So, finally, I thought about this as another example of how we, as teachers, need to appreciate how the world outside of school has changed, and how we need to adjust our practice accordingly to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

So, to take all these random thoughts and apply them to making memories and meaning, let’s try to consolidate them. 1) This generation of students can visualize in ways we might not have appreciated before, so we can try to take advantage of that “open door” to their learning to help them remember what we think is important. 2) Our students are definitely distinct individuals, with different experiences, talents and learning styles. Providing them with relevant avenues for learning and assessment will allow for better retention of processes and content. 3) The potential for self-realization that social networking provides is important to include in the 21st Century classroom as another avenue for constructionist teaching and learning.

Making Meaning – Critiquing Reality Using Web 2.0 to Foster Critical Thinking

June 17th, 2010 No comments

This webinar explored the underpinnings of critical thinking, asking three questions:

Is it developmental?
How do we know when we see it?
Can it be measured?

A website that provides perspective about the developmental aspect is Kids on the Net: Critical Thinking Skills for Web Literacy – An Analysis of What Kids Should Know about Cyberspace. This site explains the development of cognitive, emotional, moral, and psychological issues of different children’s age groups. Their resources show that learning critical thinking should address these issues in a developmental way, building skills step by step.

There are quite a few different models/definitions/attributes of critical thinking that attempt to make it possible to observe it in action. Every description depended on the discipline it came from, i.e. psychology, philosophy, educational theory, etc. Here are some of the exemplary websites:

Discussion and Model of Critical Thinking from Ed Psyc Interactive
Model of Information Seeking and Critical Thinking from Baltimore County Public Schools
Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Critical Thinking

How are we to deal with the issue of standardized testing and the teaching of critical thinking? In an ERIC abstract (ED312622) of “Literacy and Critical Thinking: The NAEP Literacy Studies and What We Are Not Teaching about ‘Higher Reasoning Skills,” by Craig Walton (1989,) the author states that the elements of synthesis or summary, analysis or problem solving, argumentation, and experimentation are skills that seem to be lacking in students. He sees a correlation of that lack with educators’ ignorance of those higher skills and how to teach them. That was quite an indictment, and worth challenging.

Socratic questioning is a way of helping students face the issue of critical thinking. The questioning can be used first by the teacher, and as the students start to become more aware of  how the questions help their thinking, the students can begin questioning each other and themselves. This website from Northern Illinois University Consortium for Problem-Based Learning provides the foundational precepts and a matrix of exemplary questions.

Web 2.0 has been called the Read/Write Web. That is because you become an active participant, not just a passive viewer – You interact with the information. How does this help critical thinking? By the fact that people make comments. All of the following websites provide examples of ways that teachers can provide students examples of commenting that they can see, critique and respond to.

Comments about places to stay:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/

A “safe” current event website that kids can practice making comments:
http://tweentribune.com/

International Movie DataBase – using movie reviews and forums as examples of critique:
http://www.imdb.com/

Going beyond the Wikipedia articles and looking at the discussion and history of the content:
http://www.wikipedia.org/

Responding to visual examples:
http://www.flickr.com/

Commenting both textually and visually:
http://voicethread.com/#home

Finally, any blog or wiki could be used to help kids learn and practice discourse and critique, as well as the Gallery, Discussion and Chat in Studywiz.

Measuring critical thinking can be a wicked problem, depending on what you are looking for. Perhaps you can develop small rubrics based on your deconstruction of pertinent elements of critical thinking. In that manner students could review or make comments based on individual aspects of critical thinking skills on which they are focused. Here is a higher education rubric for critical thinking that can be used as a reference for ideal goals. And here is another that has been used for higher education and business with a rationale as well. An accompanying document from Insight Assessment proposes that there are dispositions as well as skills involved in critical thinking and provides self-reflective questions.

Just to be provocative, here is a quote from a recent article to think about:


“DEMOCRATIC THINKING REQUIRES THE PURSUIT OF MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES

Much as Darwin’s theory of natural selection depends on genetic variation, any
theory of democracy depends on a multiplicity of ideas. It is the responsibility of
the citizenry, the media, and the schools to safeguard the expression of those
ideas. Schools have particular responsibilities in this regard. Healthy critical
analysis is one hallmark of a mature democracy, and educators have a responsi-
bility to create learning environments that help to realize these ideals. There are
many varied and powerful ways to teach children and young adults to engage
critically – to think about social policy issues, participate in authentic debate
over matters of importance, and understand that intelligent adults can have
different opinions. Indeed, democratic progress depends on these differences.”

“No Child Left Thinking: Democracy at Risk in Canadian Schools,” Joel Westheimer; CANADIAN EDUC ATION , Spring 2010; Canada Education Association; p 5-8