Sunday, 29 September 2013


Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)Neuromancer by William Gibson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The globalization of technology, therefore, as Gibson dramatizes, will increasingly deprive humanity of its spiritual dimension..."

"In 'Gibson's world, human beings have nothing left but thrill' (191). The characters in the novel get thrilled through the nonphysical embodiment of cyberspace or intense sensual experience, but although thrill may replace reflection, Case and others find that it liberates them from the oppression of everyday concerns."

How do you envision the future? Does technology create a dystopian existence

or utopian world?


For further exploration of this dichotomy, consider taking this MOOC:

William Gibson's imaginary future is not a sunny, happy place, but one in which humans continue to live and struggle. (To think more deeply about Neuromancer, I've been reading essays about it. Great to model this kind of reading for students, btw. Literary essays are supposed to help you discover more about a work of literature, not just help you finish your homework.)

Neuromancer is a book of ideas. The detachment of the characters from their own humanity may also place readers of the novel at arm's length. Many other reviews on Goodreads call for a re-reading of the book in order to get a fuller appreciation of what it is trying to say. The reason that I give this book five stars is that I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Neuromancer is an excellent resource to use with students to talk about how their world is changing: Do we shape technology, or does technology shape us? That is the question. Think Raymond Williams vs Marshall McLuhan. More recent texts include the graphic novel The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone, Stratosphere by Michael Fullan (the use of technology in education) and The Shallows by Nicholas Carr.

Quotes from:
Haney, William S., II. "William Gibson's Neuromancer: cyberpunk and the end of humanity/William Gibson'in Neuromancer Adli Eseri: siberpunk ve insanligin sonu." Interactions 18.1 (2009): 73+. Canada In Context. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

BYOD & Appy Hour

"I hate reading, making presentations, etc."

During the first week, we've been exploring what it means to be a BYOD school. One class told me where they struggle with their learning. My response each time was: "There's an app for that."

For example, I had a group of girls who were afraid of making presentations. Together, they learned how to use:
instead of making stand-up-in-front-of-the-class presentations. Other possible tools include:

For additional ideas, check out: "Six Visual Learning Tools".

There was a gaggle of boys who said that they hated reading. I asked them: "Do you like being read to?" They said: "YES!" They learned that if they changed their iPad/iPod/iPhone's accessibility settings, they could get their device to read to them:

First, go to "Settings" and select "General". Click on "Accessibility".

Next, go to "Speak Selection".

Turn on "Speak Selection". You can choose a dialects (accent) and adjust the speaking rate (speed).

Appy Hour

Students were given a chance to explore and experiment with these (and other) apps, features, and online tools. We were amazed at how focused they were on the task. We were equally impressed with their mini-presentations afterwards: They shared what they had discovered with their classmates. In fact, each student became the "expert" for other students to go to to learn about his or her particular tool.


Image credits:

Class Presentation. Photography. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 8 Sep 2013.

Two Apple IPad 2 Tablet Computers Desktop And App Store On Their Displays. Photo. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 8 Sep 2013.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Flipping the Library

Finding a Book

Since the library was booked by another department this week, I was able to show students how to find a book in the library without being in the library.


It's my J-O-B!

My J-O-B

First week back: I used this Flocabulary video to introduce my role in the school:

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