Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — July 2007

More Americans head north

Tide turns on brain drain as more Americans move north

OTTAWA — The number of Americans admitted to Canada last year hit a 30-year high, fuelling a pattern that suggests the drain of Canadian brains south of the border may be easing.

The number of Americans accepted in Canada reached 10,942 in 2006, almost double the number admitted in 2000. By contrast, the number of Canadians admitted to the U.S. in 2006 dropped sharply from the previous year, falling to 23,913 from 29,930.

The article goes on to say that the last time the rate of Americans moving to Canada was so high was during the Vietnam era, when many Americans left in protest of the war.

July 30, 2007   No Comments

This I Believe, by Michelle Gardner-Quinn

The power of this caught me a bit off-guard this morning. I was thinking about Michelle just yesterday as I walked past the fountain on the college green and saw her picture and fresh flowers there for her. She will not soon be forgotten here at UVM. It is inspiring to see the words of this remarkable young woman reaching a much, much larger audience through this moving short film shown at LiveEarth. It’s also a great reminder of how some of our students may well go on to change the world, as Michelle continues to do.

July 18, 2007   1 Comment

The Parliamentary library

One of the highlights of our class trips to Ottawa is always our visit to Parliament. For the last several years, though, our students have been unable to see the amazing Parliamentary Library. This past year, however, it was finally open again after years of being closed to the public while it was being restored.

This fascinating documentary from CBC’s The National follows the unbelievably complex project that has helped to save this building for future generations. It’s well worth seeing and I’ll be making sure that my students watch this before our next visit to Ottawa.

July 16, 2007   No Comments

The World’s Best Candy Bars? English, of Course – New York Times

From today’s NY Times:

The World’s Best Candy Bars? English, of Course – New York Times:

Bryn Dyment, a Web developer in the Bay Area who grew up in Canada, said he was shocked when his parents took him to a candy counter in the United States. He found out that not every child in the world was eating the same chocolate bars he was.

It wasn’t until he moved to the United States as an adult that he realized just how vast that divide is.

“You get in these religious arguments with people,” he said. “I haven’t met a Canadian who likes a Hershey bar, but Americans think you’re crazy when you say that, because they think everyone loves a Hershey bar.”

Needless to say, while we were in Canada last week we brought back a few Coffee Crisps and an Aero bar or two. I completely agree with what this article says too about Dairy Milk bars (my fave is the Fruit and Nut one). There’s no comparison. I should also point out that in Canada (and maybe the UK?) we call candy bars “chocolate bars.” Ask someone for a candy bar and they may not know what you’re talking about.

I should point out to all you chocolate lovers out there that there are a few companies that export Canadian chocolate bars to people in the US. Were we not so close to the border, I expect we’d be using them on a regular basis!

July 12, 2007   1 Comment

Breaking news….


Burlington Free | Top Stories :

Cowabunga! Springfield, Vt., chosen to host “The Simpsons Movie” premiere

Cowabunga, Vermonters! Roll out the red carpet for Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie!

Springfield, Vt. has been chosen to host “The Simpsons Movie” July 21 premiere — beating out 13 other Springfields from around the country for the honor.

July 10, 2007   1 Comment

Michael Moore takes it to CNN

Two weeks ago I was at the EdMedia conference in Vancouver, BC. Prior to one of the keynote addresses, the American man who appeared to be one of the main organizers of the conference made the announcement that two attendees who needed emergency surgery the previous day were doing fine and recovering nicely. “The medical system in Canada is quite good,” he told the crowd of about five hundred people, “even though they have socialized medicine.” Aside from the fact that this person was insulting the host city and country of the conference, I was even more shocked by the ignorance of this man who seemed completely unaware of what things are like in the rest of the world.

I wonder how we would react to Michael Moore’s Sicko? Perhaps in the same way Lou Dobbs does at the end of this clip of Moore’s appearance on CNN last night.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore blasted Wolf Blitzer, CNN, and the mainstream media last night for their treatment of his film and his argument. Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s report that precedes the interview talks about Moore “fudging facts,” something Moore completely disproves today on his website. If anything Gupta’s goal of “keeping [Moore] honest” with his report, backfires completely on CNN.

This live interview with Moore is one of the best things I’ve seen on US TV in ages. I’ve posted the YouTube version here, but if you want to see something better quality make sure to watch this clip at AlterNet so that you can see the comments from Lou Dobbs and the other news anchor who clearly show their own biases and just how much they don’t get it. The last part is missing from all the other clips I’ve seen of this floating around the internet.

(I first found out about the CNN appearance earlier today on AlterNet, which may well have been the first major blog to cover this story)

Apparently there’s more to come today on CNN, including an appearance with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Larry King Live. I can hardly wait!

July 10, 2007   No Comments

Staying under the radar, or trying to….

After a great time and successful presentation at the EdMedia 2007 conference in Vancouver and a few days off with family in beautiful Montreal, I’m back at the office today and focusing on making July my most productive month in a long time. So, I’ll be blogging less frequently than usual (I hope) and keeping my eyes on the clock and my growing book manuscript.

That said, it’s always hard to turn down opportunities that tie in with my teaching and research interests. The morning after my return to Montreal last week, I had a chance to stop by Charlie Rathbone‘s great grad course on “Current Directions in Curriculum and Instruction” (you can check out the course wiki here). I was there to talk to the students about my use of blogs and podcasts in my teaching and I was impressed by the students’ comments and questions on these topics.

 Space Showimage Paulmartin

One of the things I talked about was the importance of modeling the use of these technologies. It helps tremendously when trying to persuade others of what great tools blogs and podcasts can be if they can see you using these media at the same time. Little did I know that Charlie himself was planning to create a podcast about my visit there. What a great example of how we might think about using podcasts in the classroom!

Take a quick listen to the resulting podcast, created simply by passing around an iPod equipped with an iTalk microphone and a bit of post-production by Charlie using Garageband. I think I’m going to have to try this with my upcoming freshman seminar, English 005: From Pucks to Parliament: Exploring Canada’s Cultural Landscape.

July 9, 2007   No Comments

Canada’s other green revolution….

In his neverending quest to get more students to take Canadian Studies courses, Paul ponders the ethics of posting this news on his blog…

July 9, 2007   No Comments