Green Team: Web Seminar with Dr. David Suzuki

David Suzuki, the prestigious and award winning environmentalist, held a web seminar this past Wednesday, on November 2. Along with his co-workers, he set up a virtual classroom where elementary and secondary schools from across North America could partake. If questions were submitted in advance, different schools could ask Dr. Suzuki their personal questions themselves via video chat.

LCC did not have the chance to submit any questions, however, several members of the Green Team, along with Ms. Scattolin and myself, had the privilege of watching. Suzuki took the time to answer approximately ten different questions. I was impressed with many of the questions that were asked and with the elaborate answers that were given in return. In particular, one student asked: “How is it possible to become an environmentalist?” Concisely, Suzuki replies that anyone can really become an environmentalist, as it is not a real profession. If you have a passion for helping the environment then it is important to pursue it along side your career, but it should not be one’s principle occupation. He then said “You should follow your heart and do what makes you happy.” This statement is very encouraging and I appreciated Dr. David Suzuki’s responses a great deal. — Jacklyn Greenspoon ’13

LCC and Our Global Classroom Initiative

LCC jerseys_LadakhI have been fortunate to have visited India three times in my life, including visits to the bustling cities of Mumbai and New Delhi as well as a journey to the top of the world—to the Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir.

I am pleased that through the Round Square LCC will send two students on exchange to India for the first time later this year. It will surely be an exceptional and eye-opening opportunity for them. When they return we all look forward to hearing about India through students’ eyes.

During each of my visits to that country I have been dazzled by the colour and diversity of Indian culture. It is an ancient society currently progressing at an incredible pace. The city of Bangalore—India’s Silicon Valley—is a leading centre of high tech creativity and a symbol of India’s commitment to innovation.

With a population of well over one billion people—about thirty times greater than Canada’s on a landmass about one-third size of Canada’s—India is a country challenged by its need for resources and the provision of education and health care to its huge population.

In recent years, LCC has partnered with Health Inc., a small non-profit organization committed to bringing literacy, health care and community-building activities to India’s most remote villages—on the top of the world in the northern state of Ladakh in the Himalayan mountains.

Our newest venture is The Global Classroom Initiative; a special partnership between LCC and Health Inc. We are currently hosting Health Inc.’s founder Cynthia Hunt and three young Ladakhi leaders-in-training on a special educational exchange that will continue until mid-December.

In addition to following some of our daily routines in classes and on the hockey rink, this group is focusing on learning IT skills so they can be proficient at making videos. They will then be able to teach other Ladakhi students to tell video stories to us and to the world.

We intend to send LCC staff to Ladakh to help set up a satellite supported classroom so that we can use dependable technology to bring us closer together. We have already sent some young LCC alumni to Ladakh and some day we hope to send students. If you are interested in our Global Classroom project, check out this video and feel free to contact us directly if you want further information. —Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Into the Light of Day

MediaExpo2010_WebLast Saturday morning a bright light pierced through dark rain clouds that hovered over Royal Avenue. It was the light of creativity and innovation beaming from one of LCC’s “lighthouse programs”—applied digital media. We held our first Digital Media Expo, an event for the general public and our own extended community.

In recent years, LCC has developed a strong integrated approach to information technology. This begins in our primary years and continues with a well-supported laptop program in the Middle and Senior Schools. The focus is not on equipment and hardware, but how these tools can be applied to unlock the creative energy of our students.

I was very impressed by the work of our students on Saturday morning, which included: video production, green screen applications, integration of special effects, and useful musical software for sound production and refinement of instrumental skills. Our students were proud, energetic and completely engaged.

It may have been a dark and dreary day outside. However, there was a powerful and positive buzz inside the Webster Learning Centre on Royal Avenue. It is exciting to know that this energy begins with LCC teachers in our classrooms and is inspiring students to reach new heights using wonderful facilities and modern tools—the advantages of 21st century learning. — Chris Shannon, Headmaster


digitalfootprintsCeux qui ont assisté à la séance de formation offerte aux parents sur l’utilisation des technologies le mois dernier se joindront certes à moi pour souligner les mérites de son contenu ou du moins la pertinence du sujet.

Je suis de la génération de ceux qui ont vu apparaître les multiples innovations technologiques, les ont intégrées comme outils de travail et continuent à découvrir leurs innombrables utilisations et avancements. Je me réjouis de constater que mes enfants ont pour leur part le bénéfice d’intégrer ce monde digital à leur apprentissage académique, opportunité dont je n’ai moi-même pu bénéficier étant de la génération X, je vous le rappelle! À ce titre, je m’en remets d’emblée à l’expertise et le travail assidu de tous nos éducateurs exceptionnels à LCC.

Toutefois, en ce qui concerne nos enfants le ”caveat” est important; ces technologies constituent également leur outil d’apprentissage social dont la responsabilité ultime nous revient en tant que parents. Il est donc essentiel de bien pouvoir en identifier les enjeux. À cet égard, les points les plus marquants nous ont été présentés sous cinq appelletions principales:

1-“digital print” (réaliser que ce qui est affiché dans le cyberespace laisse des traces);
2-“searchability” (comprendre que chacun est l’artisan de ce qui devient associé à son nom);
3-“replicability” (considérer que ce que nous écrivons peut être réutilisé de façon non conforme à notre intention);
4-“invisible and endless audience” (être concient de la multitude d’interlocuteurs inconnus); et
5-“confidentiality” (connaître les dangers d’utilisation de nos comptes par d’autres).

Le second défi relève de notre capacité d’en transmettre efficacement la sagesse à nos enfants. S’il peut s’avérer opportun d’imposer certaines interdictions, il demeure que l’efficacité de notre intervention sera davantage assurée par une solide éducation des valeurs sous-jacentes. Néanmoins, dans le contexte du cyberespace, des consignes supplémentaires s’imposent et peuvent sans doute être inspirées des quelques astuces simples mais remarquablement ingénieuses qui nous ont été proposées:

1-La “Mom rule”: dans l’évaluation du caractère approprié d’une communication, supposer que notre mère en prendra connaissance. Ma version personnelle enseignée à mes enfants inclut aussi la présomption que leur “headmaster” en recevra une copie, ce qui dans ma perspective commande un plus haut niveau de retenue, non!
2-La “News rule”: cette règle, qui a également pour but d’agir comme censure demande qu’on réponde affirmativement à la question de savoir si le contenu de la communication pourrait sans problème se retrouver en éditorial du lendemain; et
3-La règle d’or: ne jamais dévoiler à quiconque et protéger la confidentialité de ses mots de passe et autres numéros d’identification personnels.

Je ne prétends pas rendre justice à l’étendue de cet exposé qui nous a été présenté et vous invite donc à en prendre connaissance en cliquant sur le lien qui suit: DigitalFootprintJ6
–Anne-Marie Boucher

Decade Dialectics

Every January I struggle with the change of year—and in a very practical way. It takes me a while to adapt to the change from the previous year. I have already made a lot of mistakes and wasted a lot of cheques and have written “2009” on several notepads and documents wherever I needed the date. This year has been especially difficult for me as we have not simply jumped another digit, but moved to 2010—the end of the decade.

blogEnd of decades bring on some curious developments. Think about it, music is constantly referred to by the decade. There are entire stations on satellite and local radio dedicated to 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s classics. Social trends are also attributed to specific decades. We like to classify things this way; hippies and the rise of feminism during the 60s is a perfect example of this tendency. A decade reflects a neat and tidy period, and analysts like to compartmentalize specific trends, developments and orientations.

textingThis past weekend I read about a conference of language experts in the USA who gathered to determine the most important new words from the past decade. The sponsoring organization is called the American Dialect Society and is composed of leading linguists, writers and independent scholars. Yes, language does evolve and change. In fact through teenagers’ current addiction to texting at an extraordinary rate, young people are actually influencing the English language more dramatically and more rapidly than at any time in history, especially when it comes to the use of new abbreviations for words.

Consider for a moment the conference on new words. Can you think of what some of the most popular new words were from the past ten years that crept into common use? Finalists included words we have all incorporated into our vocabularies, but actually didn’t exist a decade ago. They include: “green” – in terms of the green movement for protecting our environment and the greening of buildings, institutions and companies. The terms “9/11” and “War on Terror” became common after the attacks on the twin towers in New York in 2001. Two others referred to popular activities driven by technology: to “blog,” and to “text.” Amazingly, no one did it only a decade ago, so those words were finalists. The big winner was the verb “To google”……with millions of searches on that particular search engine reflecting the biggest societal change from a decade ago.

So America’s foremost language experts have reminded us that three main developments in the past decade are particularly notable: (1) the growth of the environmental movement; (2) the aftermath of 9/11 and the birth of a new extremism (especially since the end of the Cold War between the USA & the USSR); and (3) the impact of rapidly-changing technology in the information age.

To google is to find answers almost instantly on virtually any topic. It’s fantastic, really, but I offer two warnings. Is googling making us lazy and impatient? In many ways I think so. We are so used to instant responses to our searches, what’s the impact on the other areas of our lives where the answers aren’t as instant, where we need to invest time, be thoughtful and show patience. I think the rush is a problem and we need to admit it and take steps to counter what could be the decade of impatience in the next ten years. Second, don’t be duped by the first answers you receive when you search online. The best information may be layers below the top pages of a Google search – those that rise to the top often pay for that privilege. It’s how Google makes such an obscene profit every year. It may not always be the best information for your purposes.

So what will be the new words that define new trends and developments a decade from today? If neither you nor I are here, just text me to offer your selections….. if text still exists. I doubt it will. Ten years from now it will probably be seen as ancient technology —so passé, so yesterday! —Christopher Shannon, Headmaster