Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Week

Credenda moved it’s office last week, and I missed blogging. But I still want to get something up for everyone about Christmas. A couple of weeks ago, three of our eTeachers flew North to Fond du Lac, Stony Rapids, and Black Lake to visit our eStudents. They put together a video for our eStudent Assembly, which is recorded and posted at the Credenda website.

We have another video we want to post, but we need releases signed first. In any case, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We have a lot to be thankful for. I see a lot of people less fortunate than myself, and I am reminded of how much I have. During this season, please take time to think of others and be filled with care and cheer. See you when we get back from the holidays.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Week 7

This week's virtue is Creativity. Creativity is the power of imagination. Creativity is a way to develop your special talents, gifts or abilities. It is seeing something in a new way, finding a different way to solve a problem. Creativity is using your imagination to bring something new into the world. These are just a few ways to describe, "creativity." The sad reality is that many of us growing up and going to school had our creativity, (how do I say it tactfully?) kind of squashed out of us.

Well, at least that was my experience for the most part, except for that one social studies class in Grade eight. The assignment was to do a group project about the Loyalists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I don't remember what the other students did, but I remember our project, because I had never had so much fun creating a skit with my three friends. The teacher was so supportive and I felt so affirmed. One of the elements of the skit was using a little comedy. We were acting out Loyalists hiding in the night trying to keep from getting discovered. We used magic candles that relight every time you tried to blow them out, until we dipped them in water. It really added to the suspense and the comedy. We had so much fun. But unfortunately, that was one of the rare moments where I remember I was allowed, no, I was encouraged to use my creativity.

A few weeks ago, we were asked to watch a video by Sir Ken Robinson on Ted.com called, Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Robinson says that creativity in schools should treated as importantly as literacy. I believe he is right! Here at Credenda, we want our eTeachers and eStudents alike to realize their potential not only in math, science, and literacy, but also in their creative expressions of each of these subject areas. We want learning to be fun, interesting, and relevant. I'm not interested in assignments being given to eStudents just for the sake of being given an assignment. It must have a purpose, and there are a variety of ways to achieve that purpose. Not only do I want Credenda to be that place of learning, but that kind of experience; the Credenda experience that embraces creativity. I love the potential to use technology to achieve these goals. Over the past weeks, I have been encouraging you to use blogs as one of those ways to express yourself. You can embed video, images, put links to other sources, and more. Blogging is becoming increasingly recognized as a valuable medium for communicating. Today's employers are looking for workers, who understand technology and the many ways to use it to communicate, and work collaboratively. In many ways, they are looking for creative people. You think about that!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Week 6

Each week I'm trying to introduce a different topic that are practical for both eStudents and eTeachers. This is week is no different than the rest, so here it goes. I don't know about you, but the news that came out of Mumbai this week evoked a variety of emotion for me. First, I felt shock, disbelief at the terrorist actions of killing innocent people. It's difficult to understand how people can do these terrible kinds of things. What is going through there minds? Second, I felt sad at the loss of life. Stories have poured out of children watching their parents both being killed in front of them. Terrible! Third, I felt anger at those that did this. I had to be careful not to dwell on this emotion. I know I cannot change what happened there, but I think about what positive things can I do with the people I meet or work with daily, or speak with regularly or infrequently in meetings or wherever.

That's why at Credenda, we promote the virtues in our school. Virtues are those positive qualities that we need to grow in ourselves and encourage in others. Everyone has virtues, but often the challenge is for us to recognize those virtues in ourselves and bring those great qualities out in others around us. Each week, we promote a different virtue that each one of us can work on for ourselves and encourage in others. This weeks virtue is "Honour." What is honour? Honour is living with a sense of respect for what you believe is right. It is living by the virtues, showing great respect for yourself, other people, and the rules you live by. When you are honourable, you don't have to feel ashamed of who you are or what you are doing. You are worthy of respect. You set a good example. Part of that good example is speaking the language of the virtues. A couple of months ago, I did a few interviews about the importance speaking to one another that encourages others, rather than shame them. I posted this video on YouTube, and here it is.

We all need to use this language with one another.

Also, at Credenda, we promote a different charitable project each year. A couple of years ago, we sponsored World Vision, last year, we sponsored "Save Darfur," this year we are sponsoring "100-School Challenge." In November, Heather Barkley of Free the Children shared amazing stories of hope that transpire when young people help others. Heather explained this three step doable action plan; 1) Tell one person. 2) Find your passion. 3) Get involved with Adopt a Village. Why 2) Find your passion? The Adopt a Village program works to provide clean water, teach alternative incomes, and build schools.

Our eStudents and eTeachers are excited about helping each other and the world be a better place to live. We are committed to developing minds and hearts that are respectful to one another and the world. We believe that we can make a difference.