About Miles MacFarlane

Miles MacFarlaneI have always known I would be a teacher, though I wasn't always on that path, particularly in my own junior high and high school years. I do remember times as far back as grade 3 when I thought, "If I were the teacher, I'd do that differently."

LEARNING
After several years at the University of Manitoba for a BA (English / Religion) and Memorial University of Newfoundland for the BEd (Secondary English), I turned down jobs in southern Manitoba to teach in the remote North, an isolated fly-in First Nations reserve. I lived there for 5 years and was vice principal prior to taking a three-year secondment as Coordinator of Education Technology for 35 remote schools. I recently earned a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a Concentration in Education Technology Leadership from George Washington University and am currently pursuing a Master of Education from Queen's University which included a graduate diploma in professional inquiry.

TECHNOLOGY
As a child, I was fortunate to have a friend very involved with computers so my technology exposure began around 1977-8 with the Commodore PET and an opportunity to visit the University of Manitoba to use the punch card mainframe to do my grade 5 math homework. In the '80s our television was connected to the Odyssey II and VIC 20; the late 80s Mac computers at University freed me from typewriter ribbons and correction fluid. Finally I purchased my own Mac LCII in 1991 when I took my first teaching job. Today we have a variety of mobile devices at home, a laptop, and a Raspberry Pi to experiment with.

TEACHING AND TECHNOLOGY

I enjoy analyzing emerging technology and anticipating how education may change with access to these new tools. With my students, we have ridden the technology wave from learning office suite software, participating in e-mail exchanges, and coding personal web pages in the 90s, to blogging, podcasting, and digital video production in the 2000s, to today where we have gamified our physical learning space, create and explore in virtual worlds, and stay connected and organized using online learning spaces.

I connect daily with my professional learning network using social media. Reading and writing blogs regularly inspire and motivate through sharing, and dialogue.

THIS BLOG
Twenty-five years into the game and I am still seeking ways of innovating in education, still learning, I felt the need to start putting the pieces of my career in some perspective and the desire to participate in the larger global learning community. This Blog is the thinking space in which I articulate and record experiences, ideas, successes, challenges, plans. It is also the space where I build on ideas encountered elsewhere and make it public, learning out loud, so to speak. I appreciate the engagement with others that these reflections create.

As for the name of the blog, I'm less in love with it as time passes. In my mind, at the time, it was a clever play on words blending three things:

  • milestones - achievements along a journey,
  • my first name - Miles, and
  • large books - collections of ideas and narratives.

Now, I don't love it so much and I think it sounds more like I'm talking about some sort of foot disorder, and real milestones look like grave markers, and auto-correct wants to fix what it thinks is a typo. Oh well... I've learned to live with it. Maybe it will grow on me.

2 Comments

  1. Gil Cass says:

    Miles: I am just now finding your work and it looks great. I am working to develop a modified advisory program at our middle school in Westchester County (NY). I am building a series of activities that have students goal-setting, looking at learning styles, and self-assessing.

    • milesmac says:

      Gil - thanks for the note. Any of your work online? Would love to see your approach. Happy to talk with you about your project and the strategies we employed at my school.

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