Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Babcia Irenka

Dzisiaj rano zmarla babcia Irenka. Moja babcia.

Przez moja glowe przelatuja obrazy i wspomnienia babci przy Singerowskiej maszynie do szycia, przy kuchni (oh babciu byle nie lane kluski!), na jagodach (zawsze liczyla jagody przy zbieraniu), prowadzaca obladowany pakunkami rower, cerujaca w misterna kratke rajstopy albo dziadka narzute na lozko (narzuta miala wiecej cerowania niz oryginalnego materialu ale babcia uparcie ja ratowala), spiewajaca albo opowiadajaca nam piekne historie, tulaca i kolyszaca mnie przez cale godziny kiedy mialam nocne koszmary... Babcia byla kopalnia piosenek, wierszykow i opowiastek. Jako sierota, wychowala sie u cioci mieszkajacej przy przedszkolu co dalo jej niesamowita wiedze.

Wraz z moim kuzynostwem co roku spedzalismy u babci w Minsku wspaniale wakacje. Babcia wychowana w innych czasach nie obawiala sie nadmiernie o nasze bezpieczenstwo czy higiene, dla niej najwazniesze byly nasze pelne zoladki i szczescie. Buszowalismy wiec smialo po okolicznych laskach i polach, zwiedzalismy na rowerach miasto i okoliczne wioseczki, bawilismy sie godzinami w haldach zoltego piachu przywiezionego specjalnie dla nas na babci podworko przez wujka Nunka. Eela, Maaadzia, Piotrus, Macius, Daaarek!!! Kolaaacja!!! Piekne czasy...

Wszystkie najwazniesze swieta i rodzinne wydarzenia mialy miejsce w Minsku u babci. Chrzty, komunie, gwiazdki, swietowalismy u dziakow. Po smierci dziadka babcia byla glowa naszej rodziny. Strazniczka naszego gniazda. Uparta kobitka chyba przekazala mi w genach troche charakterku ;-) Babciu, gdzie my sie bedziemy teraz spotykac? Kto opowie mojej corce o Dzieciach Pana Majstra? Kto zaspiewa "Hopela, hopela, hopela hop, pan wachmistrz puscil sie w galop... " Oczywiscie, ze postaram sie przekazac twoja spuscizne ale to juz nie to samo....

Tak naprawde babcia poddala sie kilka lat wczesniej. Nalezala do grupy pracoholikow, Syzyfow codziennosci, ktorzy nie potrafia zyc bezczynnie. Dziadek umarl 15 lat temu. Wraz z wiekiem babcia przestala szyc torby (prywatny biznes stworzony wraz z dziadkiem, ktory stanowil zrodlo dobrego utrzymania dla nich, ich dzieci i wnukow przez wiele lat), potem wraz z pogarszajacym sie zdrowiem stracila mozliwosc pracy w ogrodku, i... chyba przestala widziec powod do zycia. Szkoda. Babciu musimy sie uczyc na twoich bledach. Musimy dbac o nasze zdrowie, znalezc sobie wygodne hobby i zabezpieczyc swoja przyszlosc zeby na starosc nie martwic sie o finanse i zawsze miec "pelne rece roboty". W dzisiejszych czasach chyba bedzie nam latwiej.

Oh babciu babciu (dziura w kapciu), pozdrow dziadka i... do zobaczenia

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ED in '08

Just came back from one of the "Distinguished Lecture Series" at UNI, where former governor of Colorado Roy Romer was making case for stronger education in the US.
Romer is a speaker for Strong American School's ED in '08 Campaign, a nonpartisan campaign promoting sound education policies for all Americans. See the Romer's blog "Roy's blog on schools"

Here are some notes from the presentation:
  • When comparing US elementary students' proficiency in math and language with the other 35 developed countries US in both cases is on the far, lower end of the chart.
  • Lowering the standards to make students successful is not the way to create educated generation
  • A strong America depends on strong schools
  • Aim high, analyze what works in the countries from the top of the chart (Finland, South Korea, Singapore)
  • Let's get our expectations correct - students ARE able to reach higher standards. Did you ever see the teenager playing a video game? The skills and ambitions are there we just need to appeal to them.
  • In South Korea only top 5-7% are in the privileged group that gets admitted to the elementary teachers' college. It is more difficult tho get admitted there than to the law school.
  • In Singapore - students are getting payed regular salary once they are admitted to the College of Education!
  • We could improve our education by increasing the quality of instructions in the schools, and by being more restrictive who gets admitted to the College of Ed.
  • We need to elevate a Profession of Teaching
  • As Educators we have to find in ourselves the way to live on the cutting edge of curiosity.
  • Technology can help us to level between our skills and what is needed to be efficient educator.
  • It is never to late for education. Remember about late bloomers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ITEC'08

ITEC conference is over and now I need more time to organize fresh info and play with all the cool apps...

First day was somehow disappointing. Besides the keynotes speaker, Hall Davidson, the presentations were not so good , or I was not able to get in to more interesting ones due to limited space.

Everything was overshadowed by luck of reliable internet access. It was a nightmare for presenters and annoyances for the quite geeky audience. Thank goodness that I had Internet during my entire presentation. I had quite a lot web based examples and all data from my students' survey was on Google docs. Without the Internet it would be a disaster!
The Second day was MUCH better and the Keynote speaker Allan November was just great!

We had set-up UNI IT exhibit booth to advertise our division and new Instructional Technology Facilitator Certificate. Robin set up Twitter account for the ITEC conference. We were projecting the life twitts from conference attendees on the screen in our display wall. It was pretty impressive thing (while internet was working), and I see that people are still using this account today to exchange thoughts .

This is how my presentation was described in the catalog
"Cyber Citizenry - Are you on board? A look at 14-25 year olds’ involvement in cyberspace. Discuss dilemmas of ignoring vs. guiding vs. policing their online presence. Examine challenges and opportunities of Cyber Citizenry. Students are growing up online. It’s your choice to participate in their development!"
Apparently pretty catchy description because I presented to a over-flowing room :-) I had good audience and quite a lot of discussion and exchange of ideas. Thanks to all participants!

On the picture, Rob during his "Using Flock to Streamline Web 2.0" presentation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't Vote?



Watch this brilliant commercial. Hollywood stars like Dustin Hoffman, Lenardo Di Caprio, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Aniston, Sara Silverman and tone of others are trying to mobilize Americans to register to vote. But not in the typical way... check yourself.

Go to the http://www.declareyourself.com/ for more info and to register if you still didn’t. Do it for me! I can’t vote. I am just a permanent resident with a hope for the great life for my daughter.