Category Archives: Education

Teacher fired for giving student a zero finds new home at ‘old-fashioned’ private school #education

Posted on September 20, 2012 by

Lynden Dorval

Lynden Dorval finds new home at ‘old-fashioned’ private school.

Good for him!

I’m all for formative evaluations. They are far more valuable as an indicator of progress than cumulative evaluations (read ‘final exams’, which are basically the modern-day version of educational dinosaurs).

However… I am also a firm believer in education as a two-sided effort. Teachers are responsible for providing the best possible learning experience, using the best possible teaching techniques and assessment techniques, and provide as much additional help as reasonably required to ensure the learner has every opportunity.

But… Learners must also be accountable for their side of the deal. That means doing the assigned work that is designed to help aid their education/learning. Even using “formative assessment” as a platform, failing to hand in an assessment – without reasonable excuse – can only be assessed with a zero. Just like an apple picker who fails to pick an apple from the tree will starve, a learner who doesn’t do the assignment can’t be assessed formatively or cumulatively if they haven’t submitted anything.


Tired of watching social media pass you by? #learnsocial

Posted on January 16, 2012 by

Tired of watching social media pass you by as you sit on the sidelines? Interested in avoiding Social Media Stage Fright by learning what social media is and how you can use it to your advantage?

I am mentoring another offering of our “Understand Social Business” course with Sociallogical starting this weekend, and I can help you to become involved instead of being a spectator!

Our three week online course is limited to ten (10) participants, and is designed to walk you through the history of social media, how to use the tools, and will provide ideas on how you can grow a social business. There will be a minimum of three live online chats with all of us together, as well as continuous contact and feedback on progress.

To sign up for this course, navigate to and, when registering, use the coupon code CHRISLONDON.

Participants in the course will also be able to participate in our upcoming Uptown #Learnsocial Time Crunch on Saturday, February 4, 2012 from 10 am – 2 pm. This special event is meant to make good use of your time to look closely at how you represent yourself online, how you plan to use social to grow your business in 2012, and connect you with others who can help mentor you throughout the year. The best part? This event is free for graduates and current students of the “Understand Social Business” course and will concentrate on the following areas:

• boost and enhance your online profiles,
• get honest critique and help improving your online social profiles,
• get answers to questions focused on personal and business use of social media, and
• refresh your headshot in a session with a photographer so you can refresh your online avatar (for a fee)

To sign up for this course, navigate to and, when registering, use the coupon code CHRISLONDON.



Here are details about the course:

Course requirements

A decent comfort and ability to navigate and use the internet for daily needs.

Who teaches it?

Community Manager Mentors with demonstrated success and experience in building a network online and facilitating discussion and learning for others.

How hard is it?

If you can find what you’re looking for in an online newspaper or play a YouTube video, you’ll be able to work your way through this course.

How long will it take?

3 chapters planned for 3 weeks in total (15-25 hours).

Who is it useful for?

Entrepreneurs and business people, ideally those who can implement what they learn immediately in their businesses and functions.

There’s a basic understanding of what opportunities and risks social business creates that most people don’t yet understand. This course is meant to:

  1. provide anyone in business with a good understanding of social business.
  2. guide students through the creation of an online portfolio they can share to demonstrate proficiency.

To accomplish these goals, there are three main sections of the course, with live online class discussions, facilitated by the course mentor, after each section before proceeding to the next. This is a 3-week course that can be completed on your own flexible time (except for the 3 live discussions) in a total of 15 hours or 25 hours – depending on how far down the rabbit hole you wish to go with the recommended readings that support each section. The section titles are:

Chapter 1: How Did We Get Here? How Do I Start?

The impact and opportunities of social media, the importance of strong profiles and how to create them.

Chapter 2: How To Use the Social Media Tool Box

Overviews of the strengths and weaknesses of the main platforms for business: Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and Facebook, as well as exposure to other useful tools. The lingo and behaviours found on each and how to get setup with these channels.

Chapter 3: How to Grow a Social Business

A look at all of the different operations inside a business and how social can have a powerful, positive impact on each. How to introduce these practices and tools to each function and exposure to analytics and driving business decisions based on powerful, live social data.

To sign up for this course, navigate to and, when registering, use the coupon code CHRISLONDON.



Does bilingualism help keep Alzheimer’s away?

Posted on November 9, 2010 by

If true, this study is yet another great reason for learning other languages.

Low intelligence or inability to excel in other subjects at school is not indicative of ability to learn a second (or third or fourth) language. Statistically speaking, almost anyone has the capability to learn multiple languages.

Now the province of New Brunswick needs to learn that research by linguists, neural scientists, and educators all show that the earlier the better for learning new languages. Your body actually begins to re-direct those parts of your brain used for language development to other tasks once you hit the teen years. To be successful, immersion needs to start in kindergarten for all NB students in both official languages. Grade 5 is too late!

Link to article


Happy Darwin Day everyone!

Posted on February 12, 2010 by


February 12th is the birthday of Charles Darwin, the British naturalist and writer who revolutionized (maybe I should say ‘evolutionized’… 😉 the way we understand where life came from on this big ball of rock we call Earth.

Using logic and reason, not to mention a lot of hard work and research, Darwin realized that all species are descended from common ancestors and that natural selection determines what species will survive and which will perish. These findings were published in his book “On the Origin of Species“.

Join me in raising a toast to the man credited with first coming up with the theory of evolution!


POLL RESULTS – Should cursive writing still be taught in schools?

Posted on September 8, 2009 by

On September 4, 2009, a friend of mine, Dan (@culbertwit) on twitter, tweeted the following message:

Shocked to learn kids still learn cursive writing in elementary school.

Taking up the challenge, I responded with my Twitter account chris_london:

Curious why this shocked you?

To which he responded:

Who on earth wants to write or read cursive writing anymore? It’s like teaching kids how to burn a witch

This last one started making me feel very dirty, since I personally use cursive writing every day of my life, and often with a fountain pen, which must be REALLY evil! 😉

Another friend, Lisa (@kawfolks), chimed in and added:

Probably because practically nobody uses it anymore…

Lisa had a valid point. I had to think about this, and so my responses were open and honest. I hardly use lots of things I learned in school, yet they are still possibly valuable. I agreed that just because I use cursive writing every day, that does not provide a legitimate excuse for perpetuating it in schools.

@culbertwit added the following to the debate:

It’s not just that it isn’t useful. It’s that it’s actually a thing of evil. Cursive writing is from the devil!

And that’s when I decided to create the poll, entitled “Should cursive writing still be taught in schools?

I used a basic convenience sample that included anyone who was a Twitter follower (and potentially their followers if the post was re-Tweeted) and anyone who bothers to be my Facebook friend and hasn’t hidden my posts yet. In honour of Dan’s message about witch burning, I added the third scapegoat question about only teaching cursive writing to witches… 😉

@culbertwit responded with a complaint:

Your poll question is loaded. It never should have been taught at all. Moral people print.

Of course, I had to respond to that challenge…

I can’t argue morals/religions/mythos it may be good or evil in, I suspect cursive writing the least of my reasons for going to hell! 😉

This poll was created purely out of curiosity, but I added minimal security in the form of IP address limitations – each IP address could only vote once. Those who voted from home and work – Shame on you! ;-).

In any case, the results of the poll are quite clear, the majority still believe cursive writing should be taught in schools. The following depicts the final results:

Question: Should cursive writing still be taught in schools?

51 votes cast

80% (41/51) YES

10% (5/51) NO

10 % (5/51) Only to Witches


I must now openly admit I voted for the witches, and I believe @culbertwit and a friend named John did as well, so that means most of the votes really did boil down to either a YES or NO response.

As a nice little add-on to the poll and a bonus for those who bothered to read this far into the blog post, my friend Sue (@nbccsue) tweeted this interesting BBC article entitled “The Slow Death of Handwriting” that seemed very timely and relevant to this discussion as well, so I added the link.

In the end, the poll was far from scientific but fun! I suspect even without the push from the militant Fountain Pen movement (orchestrated by my friend Sam (@Pendemonium) and her ‘VOTE YES’ campaign ;-), I suspect the results are indicative of general public opinion on the matter, at least at this point in time.

The discussion really needs to be around whether or not public opinion should be the yardstick that we use for determining school curriculum.


Chris' Rules of Camera Shopping – The Point & Shoot Version!

Posted on June 2, 2009 by

I put this together for a friend at work and decided to post it as a general guide for anyone who might want to read. The information is all gathered from personal experience. It was written to help alleviate some of the stress induced by all the spin and ad rhetoric, but it is by no means a panacea. Prices are in Canadian dollars and my camera store references tend to be local to Saint John, NB! 😉


The key is to remember the following “Chris’ Rules of Camera Shopping – The Point & Shoot Version”. Don’t let any snot-nosed kid at a department store try to tell you anything different, and understand that the people working at real camera stores will most likely recognize that you have done some homework! 😉

    (1) Megapixels…

Megapixels is basically a selling feature and is an almost useless gauge for measuring a point & shoot camera’s capabilities. The more megapixels it has makes a great ad blitz, but it also means you need a bigger memory card and more hard drive space to store all your pictures! A good 5 or 6 megapixel camera with a good lens can take much better pictures than a 10 or 12 megapixel camera with a crappy lens. Most people will never need any more than 5 or 6 megapixels (that is plenty to get a good 8 x 10 print). That said, it is getting tough to find a camera with less than 10 megapixels. They all want to keep up with the competition and it is cheaper to increase megapixels than to increase camera quality.

    (2) Zoom Zoom Zoom

Always use OPTICAL zoom and not DIGITAL zoom when determining your zoom needs. OPTICAL zoom is real zoom, whereas DIGITAL zoom is crap (that’s a technical term! 😉

The way zoom on a point & shoot works is a 3X zoom will give you a zoom factor 3 times that of the widest opening. For example, if 35mm is the widest opening, a camera with a 35mm wide angle and a 3X zoom could zoom out to the equivalent of 105mm. A camera with a 35mm wide opening and a 5X optical zoom could zoom to the equivalent of about 175mm.

Digital zooms use software to ‘enhance’ the picture and zoom in electronically, not with the lens. This technology is great for selling to unsuspecting buyers, but generally delivers quite poor quality images. If you really need that zoom of Bigfoot in the Rocky Mountains and the only way to get it is with digital zoom, OK, but other than that, avoid it… On second though, don’t even use it then, you’ll just end up with yet another grainy Sasquatch image that everyone will suspect you tampered with and spend the rest of your days trying to convince people you aren’t nuts.

    (3) Which Brand?

I know I may take some heat for this, but I recommend sticking to one of the “camera” manufacturers – a company that made cameras first, then got into digital, not electronics companies who decided to get into cameras to make some cash. So, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax (and Minolta when they were still around) are all very solid names and normally, you can’t go wrong with them. You may pay a little extra for them, but it is a few dollars that are generally worth the price.

Unfortunately, like anything you buy these days, they also have come out with some crappy products at the low end to lure in the casual buyer, so buyer beware still applies -> you get what you pay for!

    (4) Where to buy?

Buy from a real camera store and not Future Shop, Staples, Bargain Giant, SuperStore, Wally-World, etc. Real camera store employees tend to know what they are doing, they tend to pay a “living” wage as opposed to minimum wage, they are much better at helping with warranty issues, and we should all try to keep these stores in business! In Saint John, the last true camera store left standing is Applebys.

    (5) Conclusion

The Good
Most mid-level point & shoot cameras will do a decent job of capturing images for the average user. In many cases, the auto mode is all many users will ever need/use. Plus, most decent point & shoot cameras allow you to manipulate the settings, so down the road, if you want to get creative, you can play with them and try to change it up a bit.

The Bad
You should get at least one spare battery, at least two memory cards. 2 or 4 GB cards are what you need for an 8 or 10 MP camera and should easily be found in the ~$30 range. A spare battery will run you about $60. Trust me, you will need the spare cards and batteries. One will always die or be full when you need it the most! You also need a decent camera bag with a zippered or velcroed pocket to store the spare battery and memory card (probably in the ~$30 range). If it won’t seal shut, you will eventually lose either your spare battery, spare memory card, or both!

The Ugly
You really should only expect a 2 – 3 year lifespan on any new digital camera you buy, unless you never take it anywhere and never use it… I am a firm believer that they really do use “planned obsolescence” when they make electronics these days, plus the technology keeps changing. Suck it up and be aware! 😉

    (6) Recommendations

At this point, while I own two Canon Digital SLRs and I have friends with Nikon and Pentax cameras too, I would highly recommend the Olympus Shockproof & Waterproof line of point & shoot cameras. We bought one for my six year old son Aidan for Christmas and it has worked wonderfully in his hands (and three year old Natalie’s as well!).

These cameras take great pictures right out of the box and they handle rough treatment (cameras in travel bags get beat up a lot! 😉 and water (I don’t have to tell him not to use it in the rain!). Plus, Olympus cameras can be plugged directly into any computer without installing software (handy if you are not near home).

Option #1 – OLYMPUS STYLUS 850SW ORG 8.0MP
$249.99 today at (Appleby’s in Saint John will normally match Henry’s pricing)
Aidan has this one – Has a 3X zoom and 8 megapixels, which is more than enough! The lens length covers 95% of what you would want, there is just no long zoom shots on birds, etc., which most won’t people don’t do anyway.

$349.99 at (Appleby’s in Saint John will normally match Henry’s pricing)
Chris’ Choice (if he were buying today) – This is a newer camera, has a 5X optical zoom and 10 megapixels, so better at close-ups and a bit more data to crop your photos if you only want one part of a photo and not the whole thing. This newer one has a bit more ‘Ooomph’ than the 850SW, but you may not need the extra features. That’s a personal decision! 😉

They each use Secure Digital card which are small, relatively inexpensive, and fast. You may want to buy your spare cards somewhere other than the camera store if budget is an issue

Hope this helps!



Teachers acting as Students in Online courses

Posted on June 1, 2009 by

I recently read this post/article on’s Distance Learning site.

It discusses the ethics of professors who are teaching online courses creating student accounts and interacting with the other students in cognito to see what is going on.

The article states the following:

Experimenting teachers have found that they can decrease dropouts by sparking
conversation and encouraging fellow students in disguise. However, after
learning about this tactic, many students feel betrayed and deceived.

Is it ethical for teachers to pose as online students? Are the results worth the
deception? Post your thoughts in the comments section.

Interesting question…


More pictures and the news article from UNB Graduation

Posted on June 10, 2008 by

The "official" UNB pictures have finally been released here. These are the official UNB photographer’s photos. They gave me permission to use them for personal use for blogging, etc. I was part of ceremony A.

Here is the official UNB news article about the 2008 Encaenia (Graduation) ceremonies. It mentions the medal winners from each faculty.

The march/procession up the hill to graduation.


The three medal winners. On the right, for Business, in the middle, for Kinesiology, and me on the left for Education.


A couple of pictures of me receiving my medal from the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, Herménégilde Chiasson



The speech by Tony Proudfoot.


Tree planting on behalf of the Class of 2008


Encaenia Tea at the Student Union Building