Thursday, December 17, 2009

Comics like life

I enjoy reading PHD comics (Piled Higher and Deeper a grad student comic strip). Despite the fact that I am not a graduate student anymore it is still so very close to my life. Especially the last couple comic strips were right on target:
Here is the first one from the Dec 2. Let me explain...It is white and pretty outside, we are thinking about Christmas and all the fun that comes with that time of the year. But It is also the finals week, I am buried under the grading, my reviews on ratemyprofessors.com contradict each other, and all the grading is on the computer.
Well, let me show you how I feel these days...

OK, maybe it is not that bad. True, I don't have the windows in my office but thanks to the google reader, Facebook , Nasza Klasa, Twitter and other social networks I can peek what is going on in the world and with my friends. Plus, I do love my MacBook and today I started to see the light on the end of the grading tunnel :-)

The second comic strip (Dec 14) is even more self explanatory since my parents, family and some of my best friends live in Europe ...

I love Skype! I think that I may mentioned it in my previous posts :-)

Have a great holidays everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving cleaning

My very first personal website (2002) is officially off the server!
Here are a picture collages that were featured on the page devoted to family and friends. Few things changed since then. We gain new friends, there are more beautiful kids among us and we had to say final goodbye to my grandma. I am thankful for the technology advancement that allow me to keep in touch with my loved ones. I am thankful for all my family and friends and for my little girl who is running right now around house happy to see her American grandparents and the godparents. Soon we will be joined by Rob's sister and her family and we will sit down to the Thanksgiving dinner. Life is good! Well... it would be even better if we had dishwasher! It may be challenging to do the after Thanksgiving cleaning with belly full of L-Tryptophan and Carbohydrates :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!





















Now my professional website can be seen on the uni.edu/maggda and Lucy's page lucygalloway.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

Serwisy Społecznosciowe w szkolach - za czy przeciw?

Swietny pomysl i jednoczesnie zmora administratorow, niektorych rodzicow i nauczycieli. Wciaz trwa walka opinii pomiedzy latwym dostepem ucznia do internetu a limitowanym dostepem pod scisla kontrola. W wielu szkolach w moim Stanie (Iowa) serwisy spolecznosciowe jak YouTube, Facebook czy Wikipedia sa po prostu blokowane. Czy podobne obostrzenia wystepuja w polskich szkolach?

Najpopularniejsze argumeny strony opowiadajacej sie przeciwko liberalnemu dostepowi do internetu to:
  • Troska o bezpieczenstwo dziecka (propaganda, strony pornograficzne, predatorzy, cyber przemoc, ochrona danych osobowych…);
  • Bezpieczenstwo cennego komputera (wirusy, hakerzy…);
  • Utrzymywanie kontroli w klasie (sciaganie, odbieganie od tematu zajec, niemozliwosc sledzenia kazdego ucznia);
  • Obawa przed utrata twarzy, autorytetu i zaburzeniem status quo (Technologia to nie moja domena, co jesli wiem mniej niz uczniowie?, Przez 20 lat uczylam z powodzeniem w ten sposob i nie widze powodu na nagle zmiany…)

Moim zdaniem jest to kolejny nieszczesny krok poglebiajacy przepasc pomiedzy zyciem codziennym ucznia a szkola.

Oczywiscie, ze uczniowie skaczac ze strony na strone moga sie natknac na nieodpowiednie materialy! Dlatego tez uczenie krytycznego myslenia i sceptycznego oceniania informacji pochodzacych z nie sprawdzonych zrodel powinno byc mysla przewodnia w ukladaniu kazdego planu lekcji.

Trzeba tez zachowac doze zdrowego rozsadku. Tworzenie zakaznych owocow kusi od poczatku historii czlowieka. Jak mowi Zamachowski w reklamowce przewodnika dla rodzicow Bezpieczne Media: “Nic nie zastapi jednak rozmowy z dzieckiem. Hasla, kody ani inne zabezpieczenia”. Ustal zasady i granice, pokaz zaufanie, upewnij sie, ze dziecko wie gdzie sie zglosic w razie potrzeby i ze poza pomocnymi stronami jak helpline.org.pl ty tez jestes zaufanym zrodlem pomocy a nie egzekutorem kary za wpakowanie sie w klopoty.

Uczniowie musza nie tylko byc zapoznani z ogolnymi zasadami bezpieczenstwa w cyberprzestrzenieni i netykiety. Strony jak bezpiecznyinternet.org czy broszura wydana przez Ministerstwo Infrastruktury swietnie w tym pomagaja. Rzecz w tym, ze mlodzi ludzie tez musza to "czuc". Co innego uczyc sie o zagrozeniach a co innego rozumiec konsekwencje i samodzielnie, bez kontroli czy grozby kary podejmowac odpowiednie decyzje. Tak sie moze stac tylko jesli czlowiek nie czuje sie sterowany czy zmuszany i moze sie sam wyobrazic w podobnej sytuacji. 

Jak na razie nie znalazlam naprawde dobrego polskiego filmiku przemawiajacego do mlodego czlowieka i wzbudzajcego empatie tak potrzebna do zrozumienia problemu. Ponizej podaje adresy do kilku moich ulubionych filmow w jezyku angielskim:

Think U know (Myslisz ze wiesz) – pokazujacy konsekwencje umawiania sie z nieznajomym poznanym w internecine i jak latwo mozna temu zapobiec

Think Before You Post (Pomysl zanim wyslesz) – uswiadamiajacy, ze wszystko co umieszczamy na swojej stronie jest dostepne dla kazdego , niekoniecznie przyjaciela.

Talent Show (Pokaz talentow). Przewrotny sposob na wzbudzenie empatii. Slowa bola. Jesli nie nadaja sie do powiedzenia komus prosto w twarz, dlaczego mialyby byc dobre w cyberprzestrzeni? Wykasuj cyberprzemoc. Nie tworz jej, Nie przesylaj dalej.

A co do niepewnosci i obawy przed zmianami? Jak mawia moj przyjaciel Martajek "Kto nie maszeruje ten ginie". Praca nauczyciela to ciagla nauka. Jesli nie lubisz sie uczyc to moze pora pomyslec o zmianie kariery. Wyobrazasz sobie chirurga ktory praktykuje jedynie metody i technologie ktore poznal w szkole medycznej 30 lat temu? Zmiany nalezy przyjac jako nieuniknione. Mlodsze pokolenie zawsze ma lepsze pojecie o technologii niz my. My tez kiedys pomagalismy nauczycielowi wlozyc tasme do video :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pokolenie Y

Niedawno natknelam sie na dobry artkul na edunews.pl podpowiadajacy wspolczesnemu nauczycielowi co zrobic zeby dogonic XXI wiek i dotrzec lepiej do nowego pokolenia uczniow czy studentow.

Wiekszosc nauczycieli (bez wzgledu na kontynent) wciaz tkwi w realiach stworzonych przez pokolenie X . Tymczasem nie jest tajemnica, ze nowe pokolenie, generacja Y zwana tez pokoleniem milenijnym albo generacja WE (MY) widzi swiat przez zupelnie inne okulary. Nie powinno byc tajemnica, ze stare metody nauczania nie sa juz tak skuteczne a rodzaje informacji juz nie tak kluczowe do osiagniecia sukcesu jak byly kilka dekad temu . Swiat sie zmiena i zadaniem nauczyciela jest przygotowanie mlodego czlowieka do zycia w nowym swiecie otwartch granic, globalnej komunikacji, wspolpracy i wspolzawodnictwa.

To pokolenie urodzone w latach osiemdziesiatych i dziewiecdziesiatych ma inna etyke i inne struktury myslenia. Dzieci z generacji Y wychowane sa zazwyczaj przez niezwykle kochajacych i poblazliwych rodzicow. Od mlodosci wpaja im sie poczucie wlasnej wartosci, sukcesu ale tez czesto przymyka sie oko na niekonsewencje i brak dyscypliny. To dzieci multimedialne wychowane z technologia za pan brat, potrafiace poruszac sie po cyber przestrzeni, biorace udzial w globalnej wymianie informacji, nie tylko czerpiac pelnymi garsciami z intenetowych zrodel ale tez dodajac wlane materialy (filmiki na YouTube , blogi, wiki, strony internetowe…) To pokolenie nie obawiajace sie otwartosci w wyrazaniu uczuc, stawiajace na prace w zespole, kolaboracje, smiala wymiane mysli i opinii. Na codzien komunikuje sie uzywajac serwisow spolecznosciowch i sms-ow (e-mail to dla nich relikt). Wideo-konferencja z kims z innego kraju nie stanowi dla nich problemu.


Wracajac, do wpomnianego na poczatku arykulu, autor, Marcin Polak oferuje dziesiec podpowiedzi dla edukatora epoki cyfrowej. W nastepnym wpisie postaram sie dodac do jego podpowiedzi moje konkretne przyklady i narzedzia Web2.0

Image: The Missouri School of Journalism

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New girl, new challenge, new joy!

My great friends just become the parents. Their beautiful and so much awaited daughter was born on June 19 after almost 24 hours of labor. She is absolutely adorable! (6 lbs 9 oz (2990 grams) and 19.5 inches (50cm)). The C-section saved her all the blotchiness from squishing and pulling related to the traditional delivery.

The only wrinkle in the whole event is that she was born with a Down syndrome.

The news was delivered to the parents at the birth and in a split second turned their world up side down. Initially we were all shocked and felt sorry for them, but as the hours went by, and we learned that girl’s heart is healthy, and that besides a little jaundice all seem to be good, everything started to look in better colors. There are worse things in the world that are happening to parents and to children. When my daughter was born with the clubfeet I was crying my eyes out. Then we went to the Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Clinic in Iowa City and we saw all the kids with variety of disabilities much, MUCH worse than treatable condition of Lucy’s feet. We saw kids in the full body casts, kids permanently unable to walk, incapable of lifting their head up, or without limbs. That put our “tragedy” in to the right perspective.

People with Down syndrome are able to fully function and participate in the social life. Kids are growing and reaching all the stages of cuteness and annoyance just like any other kids are. They are able to attend regular school, have friends, hobbies, work, contribute to the society… well you got a picture.

How about all the dreams for the girl, the lofty bright future that her parents were planning during the pregnancy?
The great Janusz Korczak once said :
"Feelings that have no outlet become daydreams. And daydreams become the internal script of life. If we knew how to interpret them, we would find they come true. But not always in the way we expect."
Not too long ago I was reading in educatednation.com interesting article about overachieving parents. The basic idea was that parents should “let it go”. Kids are not here to make their parents look good. Their job is to be happy and to grow in to themselves. I also stumbled upon a nice quote by Hodding Carter, Jr.
"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings".
Welcome to this world little girl. Be healthy and be happy. And with parents like yours, with all your family and friends, I am certain that your roots will be strong and your wings will spread wide. Oh, and remember, you will always have an aunt to support you. Just clap your hands… or dial the number :-)

image 2003-2009 www.clipart.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reality has become a commodity

I just stumble upon one of the older "Words" from ingenious Stephen Colbert . Stephen has a long history of making fun of Wikipedia, he even created spoof version of Wikipedia, Wikiality.
Wikiality.com, the Truthiness Encyclopedia. The new place to be on The Internets. Unlike Wikipedia, entries here are judged on their truthiness; if it feels right it's probably truthy.
One more time Colbert in his twisted way is reminding us that we have to be critical consumers and don't believe everything that is pushed upon us via mass-media. Use your brain people! But enough from me, just listen to the master :-)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Wikilobbying
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

BTW: There is still no definition of wikilobbying in the Wikipedia, but the term found it's place in the Urban Dictionary

O, and there is no Colbert proposed Wikipedia entry under Reality :-(

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Panta rei- never more true Mr.Heraclitus

Ah it was so nice to escape for a day form university and... well visit another university haha. I guess my private universe revolves around the universities :-)

Yesterday we went to Iowa State University to attend Get Connected: ComETS Spring 2009 Symposium. ComETS stands for Community of Educational Technology Support. Mission of this new group, is bring together all ISU people interested in technology, and to promote dialog focused on technology in learning & teaching . We were invited by Travis Kramer as a guests.

Morning workshop was led by George Siemens from the University of Manitoba. Siemens is a scholar, writes and international speaker and consultant, assisting organizations to develop integrated learning structures and changes that they must make in order to address the challenges of an increasingly complex and overload with information world. Workshops were filled with interesting academic discussions traditionally not leading to any bigger conclusions. As much as I enjoyed listening to Siemens presentation and my colleagues exchange of thoughts, I could also see it being held in the nice bar with beers in our hands :-) But I had fun even sans beer :-)

Siemens was also a keynote speaker opening afternoon events. His presentation "The Impact of Connectivism and Networked Learning" was really interesting. His main idea was based on the fact that learning is a social process and knowledge is based on creating connections, the meanings between various external sources of information and our own knowledge base. This preached by Siemens idea of connectivism have four major principals:
1. Knowledge is networked and distributed.
2. The experience of learning is one of forming new neural, conceptual, and external networks.
3. Occurs in complex, chaotic, shifting spaces.
4 Increasingly aided by technology

The symposium was toped with "Lightning Strikes"- a ten minute presentations about emerging technologies and its usefulness in academia. I really enjoyed the Scott McLeod's (on a picture) presentation about Twitter. Hi presented the case for Twitter in academics in series of captured Twits.

What I took from that all day event? The main change in the perception of education is to realize that teacher is no longer be a gatekeeper to the information and with the information overload and complexity of the fast changing world it is impossible to be an expert in everything. Often students have more knowledge in some aspects (i.e. technology) than a teacher and a teacher must be prepared to embrace that and use it to support students learning (making connections). The concept of the teacher as a facilitator rather than disseminator is not new, but changing the models of teaching-learning never felt so urgent. These days we are getting knew knowledge from many resources we are creating our personal learning networks (PLN) that may include peers, parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, but also not-human resources like blogs, websites, TV, radio, books, magazines... It is important to realize how we choose elements of information to connect them to create meaning for ourselves. How to critically sort through all the information? We are constructing our knowledge through the matrix of our own experience, hence we are more receptive to see connections with something that we already know. Since teacher theoretically should has larger knowledge base than student, his or her role is to help students to make the connections with knew information.

Panta rei - Everything is in a state of flux, said famously Heraclitus the Ephesian some two and a half thousand years ago. World is changing, technology is changing, deal with it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Twitter experiment

I am a co writer of the next best selling novel! OK, maybe not quite the best selling and not quite a novel yet :-) Let me start from the beginning:

Twitter user dcannell announced:
Feel like helping, we need your next 140 characters, your creativity, together writing the next best seller http://bit.ly/14lBrK
A story built 140 characters at a time. If you are a twitter users...log on and add your line...add a hashmark #tothesky and I will add your line to the story.
So I did :-)
In case you have no idea what I am writing about, Twitter is another form of social networking and micro-blogging that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Here you can find a great video explaining it in "plain English" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o

Are you ready to pick up the challenge? Hop on Twitter and add your 140 words to the story.

See below the Twitter challenge announced via YouTube video. I think that this kind of fun, collective and creative writing could be a cool activity in the classroom.



PS. To better see all the people I follow on Twitter I am using Twitterrific, twitter app for Mac OS, iPhone and iPod touch. You can download it here: http://iconfactory.com/software/twitterrific

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Raising the bilingual kid

Lucy is now 21 months old and she is raised in the bilingual household. Operating with more than one language does not confuse her. She follows the request expressed by me in Polish, as well as spoken in English by her dad. She speaks less than her one-month younger friend Kennedy and I am not sure if it is related to the bilingualism or not. But what I am mostly amazed by is Lucy’s ability to translate! This is definitely a higher order thinking skill!

Naturally as a first time parent I would like to see more immediate reward and hear Lucy speaking in both languages without mixing them or without picking the word according to its simplicity not the language. Sometimes I feel like I am loosing the battle because majority of people around us speak English, TV is in English, and, well, English is easier tongue than Polish. How to compete with box when in Polish it is pudełko, ball vs. piłka, more vs. jeszcze, or please vs. proszę?

I talk to Lucy in Polish, we have Polish songs and books (although not as many as in English). But most importantly we have Skype! Thanks to Skype Lulu is able to talk with grandparents in Poland as much as she wants. I think that this real necessity to speak Polish in order to communicate will be Lucy's biggest motivation in the future. As Lucy will be growing up I am hoping to introduce her via Skype to more of her Polish family and hooked her up with kids of my friends in Poland. Although, they may want to use this opportunity to expose their kids to native speaker and to make them practice the art of conversation in English :-)


I love to read. I have so many great Polish books. I dream that one day I will be able to discuss them with my daughter. Will she be able to read Polish? Or, most importantly, will she like to read at all? I guess the time will show.

It is well know fact that bilingual kids have certain advantages over the monolingual ones. Speaking in two tongues improves creativity, abstract thinking, flexibility, literacy skills and also better cross -cultural understanding and self confidence. Who wouldn't want it for the child?!

Do you have interesting resources about rising bilingual child or cool ideas of how to boost the opportunities to speak in the minority language?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Best wishes to all women & girls!

Do wszystkich wspanialych kobitek i dziewczynek w moim zyciu: Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji Dnia Kobiet! Buziaki, usciski i uklony w strone wszystkich cioc, corek, siostr, matek, zon, kochanek i ich kolezanek :-)

March 8 is The International Women's Day (international day, not the international woman :-) ) This is a global event devoted to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women of past, present and future.
Hugs, kisses and tip of the hat to all extraordinary ladies and girls I know!

(-: ɟןǝs-ןɐɯɹou ɹnoʎ oʇ ʞɔɐq noʎ ןıʇun ɹıɐɥ ɹnoʎ pןoɥ ʎןʇuǝƃ ןןıʍ ɹo ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd ǝɥʇ uıɐƃ noʎ dןǝɥ ןןıʍ ʇɐɥʇ uɐɯoʍ ɐ sʎɐʍןɐ sı ǝɹǝɥʇ 'uʍop ǝpısdn sı ƃuıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ uǝɥʍ
Read about some interesting statistic related to women.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love IS all around - Happy Valentines!

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends... When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually IS all around". Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) in Love Actually (2003)




Ah, all the love scenes. Some of them cheesy and soapy, some sexy, kinky and daring, other hart breaking, and sobering, plain weird or straight from the fairytale. Everyone has a favorite one, even though not everyone is ready to admit it ;-)

Here are some links straight from my YouTube Favorites list:

You need to be kiss badly… 
& Stop it! 

Rhett and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind (1939)

First "dance"
Baby and Johnny in
Dirty Dancing (1987) with awesome Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me" song on the background. I love the way Patrick Swayze throwing away Grey's shirt with one wrist move. Unfortunately this scene is deleted in may US versions aired on TV.

Sensual food scene
John and Elizabeth in 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
BTW, what happened to sexy Mickey
Rourke!? Did you see his face lately? Scary!

"Phone" talk
Celine and Jesse, two strangers in Vienna from Before Sunrise (1995)

Best striptease ever
9 1/2 Weeks again, Kim
Basinger's striptease to Joe Cocker's "You Can leave Your Hat on".

All You Need is Love
This time the Wedding scene form Love Actually (2003)


Rhett and Scarlett
Tribute to all time romance,
Gone With the Wind, with great Etta James singing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Vision of the president. How else to spice up the future?

I wonder what vision of future president will be created in Sci-fi movies to come. In the past, to better differentiate the future form the present status quo, some filmmakers envisioned the president of USA as a black man. (Tommy Lister in The Fifth Element (1997) -image below; Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact (1998); Denis Haysbert in 24 (2001-2006)).
But seeing powerful black person no longer surprises anyone. We actually have black president, elected by great majority of US citizens; We watched enigmatic captain Morpheus being able to raise above The Matrix and devote his life to saving human kind (Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix, 1999 -image below). We even watched Morgan Freeman as GOD! (Bruce Almighty (2003)).
So the question is what next? How else add spice to the vision of the future?
Female president? Nah, we were very close to electing Hillary Clinton for president and we had a chance admiring Geena Davis as a female president in Commander and Chief (2005 - image below). There is nothing shocking about women in power.
President of USA giving his very first formal television interview to Arab TV network? Well, it just happened.
How about Mr. President and… first gentlemen? A gay couple, exemplary citizens with adopted children? That would be something! Message: In the future world we will be tolerant enough or enlighten enough to see past the sexual preferences!Can you think about different, more surprising option?
Image above: Putin and Bush at Asia Pacific Economic summit in Hanoi, Vietnam (AP)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The inauguration of Barack Obama as America's 44th president

Best Wishes Mr. President. Great speech!
I wonder if he is an author of the speech or it is rather collective effort of many writers. Anyway, the message was strong and greatly delivered. I really want to see him succeed. I cannot help to think that despite the biggest effort and willingness to change the world, the president can do only so much. I really want to believe him. I am hoping that there is more to it than just brilliant rhetoric. I am happy to see Joe Biden being VP and I am extremely happy that Hillary Clinton will be next Secretary of State. There is no doubt in my mind that she will measure up to standards set by the greatest Madeleine Albright. Good luck to all of them. What a great times to be alive!
Image: Famous now Obama's poster created by Shepard Fairey.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We were lucky to celebrate the new year with our friends in Poland. After seeing all the family and friends this new year of our existence have to be great! Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!