Thursday 27 March 2008


The birds and the wildlife continue to fascinate me. Every day is different. It is peaceful.

The birds sing, wood pecker bash away at the bark, the wind blows and all feels rights with the world.
The cats hunt for prey, keeping our park-like property safe from those wicked mice!

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Provincial Budget

Do you think Flaherty is going for sound bytes? Last time they cut taxes we lost hospital beds, and education funding. How can we pay for infrastructure without a tax base?
They run on a platform of cutting taxes (Flaherty: Federal Tories) and take out those who are committed to providing Provincial services (Ontario Liberals).

Many coalitions are fighting for adequate funding. The government provides $118 per diem per day for a child in foster care. It costs $200/day since we have to outsource to private group homes here in the north. We don't have the funding to spend time recruiting and following the elaborate training procedures required by the Ministry. In LTC there isn't the funding to do the work required, and the onerous paperwork demanded in both education, mental and physical health care compounds the issue. What are they thinking?

Here in the north we have huge issues is accessing resources (human and physical). Those navel-gazing Toronto dudes...
I can't wait to see what the Ontario Budget says about Long-Term Care. The Federal Finance Minister (Flaherty) is lobbying in public to tell Provincial Premier, McGuinty (Liberal), to cut business taxes. If he does that how will we pay for any of our services?

Last time that happened we had to close hospital beds.

Flaherty (Conservative) wants to screw up the Ontario economy (driven by Liberal provincial politicians).

How stupid do they think the electorate is?

You can't cut taxes and offer services. It has nothing to do with keeping business in Ontario. It has to do with everyone helping to pay for the services that keep at-risk kids and offenders off of the streets and getting the help they need. Big business wants a bail out (i.e., the automotive industry) even though we don't make the kinds of cars people want to buy. For those making $50,000 per year to build a car? Why do folks demand we dump tax dollars into private business for this purpose? Let's build cars people want to buy (the ZENN car!). Let's pay Canadians to do the work that needs to be done, rather than outsourcing.

Why do I phone another country to get help from my bank of credit card company?
Why do we not pay people a fair wage for work that needs to be done?

Let's pay for our fair share of oil, gas, hydro.

Cottage Country

What a joy it is to visit with friends and family. Muskoka has a long tradition of entertaining family and friends. For many it is a long drive, for others it is only a few hours from Toronto.

We were graced with the visit of our kids and granddaughter. We know that spring approaches, and after that those long, lazy days by the lake.

The increasing strength of the sun's rays results in indoor plants, as well as cats, blooming and sun bathing.

The hope and promise of the changing of the seasons warms my body, heart and soul. The wildlife is becoming frantic in their bid for survival as they seek to mate, eat, and perpatuate the species. What a blessing to live in this beautiful country.

Friday 7 March 2008


Interesting issues regarding a clash between a Ryerson University professor and a student, who created a Facebook study group. I think this is not a culture clash, or, if it is, it is a clash that has endured over time: students aiming for top marks and professors attempting to assess and evaluate a student’s knowledge and skills. There is a huge difference between assessment and evaluation. To assess is to assign a mark. To evaluate you are gathering information about the student and the teacher and the teaching methods. ‘Homework’ seems to be a term mistakenly attributed to a chemistry experiment. Assessment may be a means by which the professor determines knowledge that is lacking on the part of the student(s).

The purposes of assessment are for accountability, feedback, and classification or certification of students. With the issues in post-secondary education, it is up to the professor to determine if the student has prerequisite knowledge. Many students go to higher education without the basics they need. I think the interview made a mistake, in that to have a technology expert to weigh in on the issues negates those who attempt to assess and evaluate students. The university wants to ensure that student gain knowledge, rather than just data, information and facts, and are able to apply them to their work. The professor made a mistake in that his evaluation of the assignment should be based on the work turned in, originally a B, and not the behaviour of the student. Likely he assigned an ‘F’ because he assumed that the student cheated.

There is a difference, too, between a study group where students have peers to ensure that students are assisted with gaining knowledge, or tutors who cleverly determine how to lead a student to knowledge, and website that provides answers to problems that must be solved and where learning may not occur. Facebook, being unregulated and unsupervised by parents, teachers, or others in positions of clarity, young people are doing what they ought not to do. The media attention is grand in that it will help students understand that sometimes they just have to do as they are told!

Thursday 6 March 2008

Ryerson Student faces expulsion

re: I have a hard time distinguishing between collaborative student work in the library, study hall or the telephone and doing the same within a Facebook group.

There IS a difference. Tutors and teachers, and study groups do not give answers.
On-line groups, just like "essay writing services", give answers. Good tutors and study groups assist students in arriving at an answer. It is a difference between the destination and the journey.

The prof specifically said do it independently and we do not know why, but it may be for the purposes of assessing prior student knowledge, or the mastery of lessons, for assigning marks, or to help the student understand his/her failings, or to help the prof figure out what else should be included or missing in the curriculum or what needs to be retaught.

Student assessment is different from student learning.