Canadian Mysteries: Developing Critical Thinking

I was watching the game, but Tampa was up 4-0 on the Phillies so I started “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch” again.

I’m in search of a word or phrase that describes the often endless evening hours I spend, well “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch”. If “couch potato” was the 20th century term for spending too much time staring at the TV, there needs to be a term for someone like me who spends too much time on the couch staring at his laptop computer. I hoped the phrase “couch surfing” might fit. I googled it – nope … weird way to travel … but a term I can’t use. “Laptop Potato” is more of person who watches TV on a laptop. However, I usually have the TV on while I am “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch” so I’m not even watching TV the same as I used to. I used to be a “Mouse Potato” or “Computer Potato”, at my desktop iMac far enough away from the TV that it warranted a new term. But here I am again, “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch.”

“Blog potato” seems close, except I spend more time “working” on the blog server than actually writing a blog.

Maybe I’m more like a “video game junkie“. I can admit I will play video games, XBox 360, Nintendo GBA and I have an Atari 2600 in a box in the garage. However, any laptop I’ve had, I’ve used primarily for work – lesson design, organizing, grades, handouts, tests, and more recently maintaining web sites, blogs, forums. Hardly a “laptop junkie.”

Help me find a term to describe the common pastime of “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch.”

Oh, I saw a headline for an article that suggested that the more older people use the internet, the better their memory becomes. I wish I could remember where I saw it, though.

Finally, I wanted to share a site: Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.

Time to shut down and watch Sportsnet. Oilers lost. Good opening to the season, so far. They’ll still be in a battle to make the play-offs in the spring, though. Riders play Esks Saturday. When the Riders play, I can’t concentrate enough to attempt “surfing-the-net-on-my-laptop-on-the-couch.”

Go Riders.

dsader Wins 2008 WPMU Plugin Competition

Today, I won first place in the first WPMU Plugin competition for a plugin called “Toggle Admin Menus“. The plugin allows SiteAdmins to reshape the core user menu system for WordPressMU.

Here at STJ I needed the plugin to simplify the admin menus for students for a couple of reasons. First, some core menus had functions I was not interested in enabling for students such as deleting their blogs, uploading certain media types, and editing permalinks. Secondly, some menu functions needed replacing so students could “enhance the artistry” of their communication so I’ve reworked or tweaked Tagging, Widgets, Comments, and Themes. This plugin allows me the simplicity of ticking checkboxes to turn on and off a variety of core Worpress menus/functions without having to edit code in the WPMU download/install package.

This plugin was one of my many plugins I worked on this summer. The plugins I wrote were written solely to support my own deployment of WordPressMU at My involvement in this type of communcation technology project emphasizes the following: synchronous and asynchronous student interaction, general outcomes in the Alberta Language Arts curriculum, my skill set as an education technology specialist, the role of student and teacher as digital citizens in the 21st century. To that end my plugins tend to be popular with “edubloggers” whose sites are more of a “walled garden” version of WordPressMU.

In particular, I need to thank the following mentors, hosts, troubleshooters, and testers of my plugins:
Farms at (creator of
Andrea_r from Homeschool Journal
Marko at
indojepang at Terminalmusik
James Groom at Mary Washington University
Nemo at Domus Neminis

Better directions for In The News assignments for L.A. 9

Pick a question(s) from “The Human Condition” course focus questions.

Read a news story(or 3-5 related stories) that in some way explore “The Human Condition.” (adding RSS widgets from is a great way to do this.)

Write about the news while at the same time responding to the focus question(s).

Make sure your writing is in your own voice at all times, and that after reading your writing the reader learns something about the news story, something about “The Human Condition”, and something about your personal identity.

Who am I? We often speak of one’s “personal identity” as what makes one the person one is. Your identity in this sense consists roughly of those properties that make you unique as an individual and different from others. Or it is the way you see or define yourself. Or it may be the network of values and convictions that structure your life.

An example from me illustrates the question, Why do we do what we do?.

From my example, what is learned about the news? What is learned about how I see “The Human Condition”(hint: which question(s) have I attempted to answer)? What is learned about my personal identity?

Please pingback a new sample of your writing about the news to this post, and/or leave a comment.