Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bona fide Googlefied.

After a very non-scientific sampling of various hosted wikis (pbwiki, Wikispaces amongst the larger services, the former JotSpot, to name a few), and extensive reading about the merits of various wikis (free and hosted, vs. every other possible permutation), I decided to go with Google Sites. The decision to stay with Google was mainly because I wanted the most shiny, sparkly, simple wysiwyg interface and a fairly painless user experience, as this tool is targeted at group collaboration amongst users with varying degrees of tech savyness. However, I am a little bit concerned about the 'Googlefication' of my life. How did I get sucked in to the apparent black hole that is Google? Is this a good thing?

It all started in Asia, where Friendster had been hot for a little while, and was still going strong... I don't know if Orkut had been on the scene yet, otherwise I might have been over there (who am I kidding - I don't speak enough Portuguese). Unhappy with (shudder) my uni hotmail account (I know, I am still repenting) and its mass of daily spam, when all of a sudden, there was a hot new trend (soooo Hong Kong, la - something new every five minutes). Somebdy new somebody from LA that worked for somebody and just happened to maybe be able to get you an account - maybe - for this new thing... google email. Gmail. That was the beginning of the end...

Due to a pre-existing Google id, I began using Google Calendar to track professional development activities for our schools, boards, and professionals. My colleague and I use Google Docs for our planning and collaboration - it works well enough for our needs. Google Maps allows me to track lodging, schools, school boards, visits, etc. With our Francophone counterparts, we have begun to use Google Groups - in French. With approximately 15 people working in the Francophone sector as agent de développement, they represent a region of Quebec, and therefore, do not travel as much as we do (the two of us in the Anglo sector are responsible for the entire province). So Google Sites is the latest in a long line of Google-adoption, and I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

A question that springs to mind though - should I be varying my tools a bit more? I have long thought of kicking my (long dormant) space on the web back into gear, and using it as an online portfolio/CV of sorts. If that were the case, I would consider WordPress as my blogging tool. Obviously, by using all hosted tools that are targeted to the masses, I am missing out on some features. If I were able to host, free & open source would be the to go. For the moment though, I am looking at hosted tools. So, am I putting all my eggs into one basket by over relying too heavily on Google tools?* Am I being shortsighted? Any thoughts?

*Despite some of the changes, I still perfer Flickr over Picasa, though!

J'écoute: Je m'appelle Geraldine, de l'album L'enfant assassin des mouches, par Jean-Claude Vannier

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NANS: evaluating the 5 years of the strategy / SIAA rende-compte: Journée avec Janosz

Wow... what a mind boggling day! We are in the midst of a three day meeting for NANS, and the ADMD, DR, CIMD, and Evaluation team are all on hand! We've got Michel Janosz with us (funny, I recently met with Doug McCall from Canadian Association for School Health and he was mentioning him...) today and tomorrow, and it has been fascinating examining what has taken place, and what is yet to come...... All sorts of big (as in, evaluation of a province wide strategy that is being implemented in TWO different linguistic sectors... ah, good times) evaluation questions are percolating. Should be a busy day tomorrow!

ADMD: Agent de développent en milieu défavorisé
DR: Direction Régional
CIMD: Comité d'intervention en milieu défavorisé
Milieu défavorisé: Disadvantaged areas

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The impact of mobility among Aboriginal students (from the CCL)

The high-school completion rate for Aboriginal students continues to fall well short of the Canadian average. Recent research has highlighted student mobility as a major barrier to successful high-school completion. Low completion rates among Aboriginal students in families who move more frequently point to the need for greater school support for these students. 
In Quebec, we have a variety of Aboriginal populations in our various public schools. In some cases, these populations will comprise 40% or more of the population. This brief article has an interesting discussion of the impact of mobility on student perserverance.