Congrats Dayna/ Teacher/Librarian Year 2016

Congrats to my friend and colleague Dayna Hart of CNB middle school , SD23. for her BCTLA TeacherLibrarian Year Award! I’m so humbled to have worked with other Kelowna winners: Joan Eaton, Kay Treadgold, Sharon Bede and Misty Smith! 5 recipients in BC from Kelowna is staggering good news. 

The people of SD23 should be so grateful our colleagues have set such a standard of excellence. Our children are served so well to have such superior school library programs. I’m honoured to have worked with them all! Bravo! 


Posted in Blogosphere, Education, Libraries, Teaching, theKSSlibrary | Tagged , ,

Philosopher fisher 

Just when a fly fisher thinks he knows it all, our Creator humbles one. I guess that is why it just a sport. Like life in fact, fishing is an endeavour that just when you think you have it all figured out, nature or fate makes you look like a novice. 

I’ve been tackling the sport of fly fishing since I first tried my Grampa’s old rod. It has been a wonderful joy in my life. Not just for those momentous exhilarating occasions when you can hook up some impressive trout or salmon but for the inspiring raw quiet nature that surrounds one.

After many days of successful fishing, I thought I had it solved. Wrong! I was recently skunked just when I thought I had the formula. There is no formula. It’s only just nature. The lesson is that we all need to heed the higher power. Our Creator designed this sophisticated ecology. We are a just one divine piece.

After surviving many of life’s challenges, I thought I had solved the enigma if our existence- wrong. When we think have it solved, it’s just a psychological illusion. Like fishing, you can read the water and implement your knowledge base but humble yourself. You only catch the big one when it chides you. Our faith in fish or the grander realm is just that- faith not a reality. Wet your lines and get out there- bounty or none it’s all divine. 

Posted in Blogosphere, Essay, Faith, Outdoors, Photography, Twoloons Photography | Tagged , , ,

BCTLA Awards nominations- celebrate excellence

President Heather Daly reminds BC teacher-librarians to nominate your hard working, professional colleagues who build school library programs that shine worldwide. It’s my honour to be a part of the community. – Al Smith( ret )

[BCTLA Forum] BCTLA Awards and Grants (Deadline June. 1st)

The BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association

For More Information:

Posted in Education, Teaching | Tagged , ,

UBC Digital Literacy Summer Institute-aaron mueller FYI 

Via @aaronmueller @bctla

 UBC Digital Literacy Summer Institute

Aaron Mueller


23 FebDetails

2016 Digital Literacy Summer Institute

Critical Digital Literacy: Issues, Challenges, Directions


As technology continues to transform educational systems and teaching strategies, the acquisition of digital literacies has become essential for learners to achieve academic success in the 21st century. While early research on these new literacies has largely been celebratory or prescriptive, this course is a critical examination of how the internet, social media and digital communication have transformed forms of knowledge, identities, social networks and formations. It goes beyond issues of privacy, online bullying and the digital divide, and instead, takes a deeper dive at how the digital can reshape our understanding of the world, privileging ideas, languages, and cultures, while marginalizing others.
Confronting these issues, this course invites educators to reflect on their own digital mindsets and practices, and their assumptions of the digital literacies of adolescent learners. It outlines what critical digital literacy involves and provides strategies for learners to develop critical thinking skills as they engage with the digital. Topics include:
technology and the transformation of the social order (globalization, new modes of productivity, allegiances);

the production and circulation of knowledge (crowdsourcing, search engines, algorithms);

the construction of social networks (online cultures, the curated self, modes of exclusion); and

issues of educational technology (‘digital natives’, attention structures, digital equity).

This course is designed for teacher candidates, new and experienced secondary school teachers, teacher librarians, school administrators, and researchers interested in the integration of technology in educational systems. The goal is for participants to develop a critical awareness of the macro- and micro- issues that education must address as learners participate in an increasingly digital world.
UBC Vancouver | Face-to-Face
Scarfe Building, room 1328

2125 Main Mall | map
July 25-26
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
(coffee and tea will be served during the breaks)

Instructor – Ron Darvin A research associate of the Digital Literacy Centre, Ron Darvin has been a high school and university teacher of English, literature, and media studies for more than ten years. He is a Vanier scholar at the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and his research examines to what extent social class differences of adolescent learners shape unequal digital literacies. Ron was recently awarded the 2016 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research
Registration & Fees
Non-Credit Participation Fee: $125

Register Here – Registration opens February 22

Seats are limited in this program, early registration strongly recommended.


Posted in Education, Innovation, Learning Resources, News/Press, Teaching, Technology | Tagged , ,

Time to stop abuse against women- trial by fire- CBC

I’m so sad that macho ‘band of brothers’ military, police, firefighters… and men-continue  assaulting and harassing female colleagues. We all make errors of judgement but such relentless severity hurts us all. I periodically get a sense of anger and shame to be a white male. We all , men and women, gladly pitch in for anti-bullying campaigns but refuse to confront the evil of rape and harassment. We aspire to be a civil society but so seldom act. IT’S WHY I POST. 

I’m not picking on firefighters but responding to the CBC expose. All media reports are flawed but at least the issue is raised.
Just because women are only 4% of firefighters isn’t an excuse to perpetuate forms of violence of colleagues. I know it exists everywhere but in 2016 it’s overdue time that brawny men find more honour. ‘Boys club’ disconnect needs to end! I’m emboldened by those few men who get outraged and even take on their bosses to stop such injustice. Tackling abuses is as courageous as facing a fire or other dangers. Men who fight against the abuse of women are THE REAL HEROES. 

All people need to be more heroic , and find ways to prevent abuse by their teammates. 

It’s great to hear of Ottawa Fire Chief trying to improve the culture! 

Safety needs to expand into the workplace too. The certain few need to be culled now if not arrested!! This Fifth Estate episode is NSFW so that tells you how serious it is.

Posted in Blogosphere

Teen boys, porn and Internet , parents beware
I’ve been saying for some time that our boys and young men are in trouble in spite of our current trend to assist or compensate our young females. Want a better life for our girls? Help our lost boys. 

To sum up, if you happen to have a 15-year-old male texting quietly in his bedroom upstairs (so you think!), batten down the parental hatches. But if the situation for girls is a “complicated landscape,” to quote Orenstein, rife with sexting and slut-shaming, then is life for boys today – so often cast as the lecherous villains in this adolescent apocalypse – that much simpler?Here’s a disturbing calculation, cited in Zimbardo’s book: Let’s say, Zimbardo suggests, that a 15-year-old boy watches a couple hours of porn a week. He has sex for the first time around the average age of 17. That’s nearly 1,400 pornographic experiences, a huge dose of virtual sex education, before anyone actually does the deed in the real world. Mix in drugs, add video games, Zimbardo says, and the moodles (“man-poodles” unable to care for themselves) may never grow up.(Globe)

Posted in Blogosphere, Essay, Family, News/Press, Social Policy | Tagged , ,

Baloney detection kit- Popova/Sagan

Maria Popova writes in her fascinating blog , Brain Pickings, the fond story of Carl Sagan the scientist and philosopher. We all could not just use Carl’s 8 bull detectors but his thoughtful approach to our vocations.

In The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (public library) — the same indispensable volume that gave us Sagan’s timeless meditation on science and spirituality, published mere months before his death in 1996 — Sagan shares his secret to upholding the rites of reason, even in the face of society’s most shameless untruths and outrageous propaganda.(Baloney Detection)


In one chapter of his book, “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,” Sagan laid out his method, proposing what he called “A Baloney Detection Kit,” a set of intellectual tools that scientists use to separate wishful thinking from genuine probability. Sagan presents the contents of his kit as “tools for skeptical thinking,” which he defines as “the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and—especially important—to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument.” You can see his list of all eight tools, slightly abridged, below. These are all in Sagan’s words:

  • Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  • Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  • Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  • Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives.
  • Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
  • If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations.
  • If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  • Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified…. You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.( Carl Sagan) 


“Carl Sagan Presents His “Baloney Detection Kit”: 8 Tools for Skeptical Thinking.” Open Culture. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. 

“The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking.” Brain Pickings. 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. 

Posted in Blogosphere