Posted by: fburnett | May 3, 2008

Chocolate, yum

Scientists are looking for women prepared to eat a bar of chocolate every day for a year.

This is mainly for the women readers! Absolutely nothing to do with technology. Does eating it while you are typing count?

Need I say more?

I might have gained weight from all the calories…But I am doing so in the name of science! I would have to say that chocolate is the one “in-moderation” rule I let my students to break.

But don’t forget, chocolate can be controversial. Economics, sustainability, ethics can all be taught using this one beautiful fruit of the cocoa tree. You can listen to it here:


Posted by: fburnett | April 19, 2008

Movies and food.

Last week I mentioned  the post of one of my colleagues who wrote on humor and “in-jokes” used to teach in her profession. I promised to carry on her legacy. Here is the post to link movies to food…finally. Sorry it took so long.

The James Beard Foundation recently recognized some great books. Of course, my favorite would have to be:

Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
by Peter Reinhart
(Ten Speed Press)

Absolutely my idol, and all my colleagues as well, when it comes to writing excellent baking books, he’s already won in our eyes. We will still wait with baited breath till June 8th when they announce the winners. As I was reading down the list of great books, I came across the nomination for slate magazine. It was listed on multimedia writing on food:

Sara Dickerman
Slate Magazine
“A Chef’s So-Called Life: What Movies Get Right-and Wrong-About Life in the Kitchen”

When I went to the magazine, I thought to myself, Eureka, this is what I’m looking for! This is a great homework critique assignment for culinary educators. And fun for the students as well. Hope you have as much fun watching as I did. I didn’t even see most of the movies… yet…

Posted by: fburnett | April 11, 2008

Multi tasking and creativity.

Our campus’ in-service today was enlightening. Not only did it confirm my resolution to become a better teacher by engaging the students more with 2.0 tech, but also gave me ideas (or “idears” from the video of the high school science teacher – I was always teased in high school for saying idears and axed, and years of speech therapy never cured it – I picked up on the phonetics right away).

I can use my reader (RSS) in my daily lecture. I can give students a case study on struggling bakery owners from my baker-to-baker chat line posts, record their answers and build a database of responses from students along side the veterans responses (new wiki maybe?!). I’ve used case studies before, but having to create new situations all the time (just to keep myself entertained and not fall complacent with the same answers) became a struggle keepingcurrent and “fresh”. With technology spilling over in the industry, more associations and journals are utilizing feeds and readers (aggregators) to stay current and assist with maintaining the highest standards for the industry they represent. I’ll post next week on my findings.

The one great opportunity we have as culinary educators is creativity. Creativity is taught in every class. We can teach students creativity by using parameters set by the project, providing the core elements of objectives and then let the students run with it. But how can we pull out the most from within our students inner core when they have never been exposed to whats possible? Here is where the great Prensky takes center stage: Engagement, peer teaching, technology (OK-no youtube)….the list is endless.

During the conclusion, Professor Neal, the director of faculty development for University of North Carolina, opened the floor for discussion and questioning. Someone questioned the proper modality for teaching multitasking. Why is it so hard to teach? We heard It could be a problem with learning modalities or with the students reception of the required demands, or just the  little fact I learned while watching a very interesting video on TED the other day by Sir Robinson on creativity (brain differences between the species!). I found this video to be educational and humorous. I think you will agree with me when you watch it:

Posted by: fburnett | April 10, 2008

Teaching is like a box of chocolates!

Really loved this video I saw today on teaching:

See it for youself….

Posted by: fburnett | April 8, 2008

Bakin’ in Second life

Check out this newsworthy visit to the Rhode Island Sim in Second Life. Had a great time riding the subway….I wonder if its going to be sent to SC for our oceanography wildlife habitat off the coast…Maybe that’s why its so close to the water.
This RI sim is so hip, I tinted my hair with pink tips, had to fit in with all my surf bras’-didn’t want to stick out as a 44 yr. old chef wanna be!
The new skate shop has a skatepark on top! How cool is that! (Had to break in to buy a skateboard, not cool, sorry)

Posted by: fburnett | April 5, 2008

Cookies, pot pies and ice cold milk

Hungry FDA Official Orders Massive Pot Pie Recall 

Well, the government is at it again!

This site, and ones like it, can be added to favorite sites for students. Students should be “familiar with the concepts and practice of the discipline, but also with the culture and in-jokes that will help them fit in when they get into industry or graduate school. I also like to get people to laugh in ways that are relevant to the subject material”, as quoted by a fellow collegue, Hilary Mason (a technology professor).

We need to find some that are relevent to cooking! Any ideas?

How about some great films of our times on food and cooking?

I’ll start a list and post it in a week during before the inservice! Help me out…


Posted by: fburnett | April 1, 2008

The future is today tomarrow!

What the ?

Philosophical, maybe….check out this new site brought to you by the folks of google down under…How do they do it!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 7:35 AM

The secret is out. Today, in an exclusive launch only for Australians, we’re happy to announce gDaysearch technology, Google’s newest innovation, developed right here in our Sydney R&D centre. Using a system called MATE (Machine Automated Temporal Extrapolation), gDay combines Google’s index of historic, cached web content, and a mashup of numerous factors, including recurrence plots and fuzzy measure analysis, to create a sophisticated model of what the internet will look like 24 hours from now.

By clicking “one day in advance” on our homepage, you can search the internet exactly 24 hours in advance.

You heard that right. That’s tomorrow’s footy scores, tomorrow’s celebrity goss, tomorrow’s weather, even tomorrow’s Google announcements – all right at your fingertips. Not to toot our own horn, but this is going to be a very, *very* big feature for Google Australia going forward.

Posted by: fburnett | March 31, 2008

More Cool Tools for Pedagogy

I’ve been to this site before. Now, Jane Hart picks 25 cool tools for a professional development program. These are the free tools, copied directly from her site. Seriosly, she is the queen of freebie tech education:

These are the 25 current must-have free tools.   Each Tool activity comprises a number of tasks to help you find out more about the technology behind each tool, the tool itself and why it is so popular, how to try out the tool and reflect on its use for your own teaching and  learning and for productivity and performance support.  Many of the tool activities are inter-related, so you will also be using other tools for different tasks.


The bare essentials
These are the basic tools you need to have
  FIREFOX More than just a browser with 100s of extensions available to provide an enormous range of extra functionality not found with other browsers.
  GMAIL/GOOGLE MAIL No more worrying about an email client on your desktop and dealing with spam and viruses – and  tons of free storage space.
  SKYPE An easy way of not only text messaging your contacts but also free voice calls – with low charges out to landlines.


Keep yourself up-to-date
These tools will help you keep up to date with what people are doing and what’s happening in the e-learning world
  DELICIOUS Store your bookmarks online, tag them and share them with others, students, colleagues and so on
  GOOGLE READER Subscribe to website and blog feeds and the news is delivered automatically to you.  Effortless!
  TWITTER If you want to stay in touch with people no matter where you are or what you’re doing.


Manage your own productivity
Here are a variety of tools to help you with your day-to-day working and learning life
  GOOGLE CALENDAR Don’t keep your calendar to yourself, share it and make scheduling events an easier process.
  GOOGLE DOCS An online suite of office tools for personal or to collaborate with other.  It can read Microsoft Office documents too.

For organising your thoughts or just brainstorming.


Aggregate all your resources, mail, RSS feeds, etc, in one place.


Set up a blog, website and/or wiki
You won’t necessarily need all three; but here are the ways to get a web presence

Blogging tool for both personal or professional use with many plugins available for it.


A versatile web authoring to build web pages and web sites..


A wiki tool to create editable websites for collaborative writing and working.


Share content with others
Make use of existing engaging content by using these three tools.  You can use them to host and share your own content too.

Upload presentations, tag them and share them  with others.  Synchronise them with an audio file to create a narrated presentation.

  FLICKR Host your personal or professional picture collection, and share them with friends, colleagues and others.

A large collection of shareable videos – host your own there tool


Build content and share it with others
These tools will help you create additional content and share it with others.
  VOICETHREAD Create a slideshow around images and invite comments (audio or text) from others.
  AUDACITY Record and edit audio and, with the extra encoder, convert your audio files into MP3 podcasts
  JING An “always-ready” program that instantly captures and shares images and video.
  POLLDADDY Want to get some quick feedback?  Set up a poll, and track responses.


Bring people together
For live broadcasts or meetings or for socialising, these 3 tools are key
  YUGMA For small meetings of up to 10 people, to whiteboard, annotate and share files.  You can even use Skype.
  USTREAM Live interactive video broadcasting to a global audience.  All it takes is a camera and an internet connection.
  NING Create and customise a private network/community for a group of like-minded people, large or small.


Develop and manage courses
If you want to create and manage formal learning content (courses, programmes etc), then these tools are important.

Create SCORM-compliant learning content that doesn’t require you to be proficient in HTML or XML markup

  MOODLE Host a complete course or program or simply  provide the user authentication mechanism to other training materials
Posted by: fburnett | March 30, 2008

Allergies and the internet?

Reading an article on the similarities of allergies and the content filtration (on the Internet) debate that rages in education today, I was confused how the author could even put the two in the same category. As a culinary educator to teens who are exposed to new foods daily and for the first time, I’ve seen my share of anaphylactic shock! Believe me, both are an educators nightmare: teaching new technology with outdated parameters and the food allergy…but when you watch your student struggling for his breath to hold onto life, I would have to say, allergies are extremely more dangerous then the Internet-hands down-no debate. Although this article does not compare the two, he just points out parallels. The allergies buzzword just happened to hit home and I felt the need to chime in.

I will blog on each separately. I don’t want to take away the well thought out content of this cool cat teachers’ blog of how children need a little exposure to some indecencies to teach right from wrong, and how upward mobile and forwardly thinking educators are just trying to do their jobs. I agree with the article 100%. I recently was in a masters class with a group of cohorts at a rural location outside the college. The location was an excellent technology high school campus.  The resources were available, but when my group tried to give presentations on certain technology applications (second life, you tube) we needed an access code and even that wouldn’t work for some. A better system needs to be put in place, but how this can be implemented is beyond me. I think the author is setting up good dialogue for the discussion.

OK, now lets talk about the allergy conundrum. In 2005, an article came out about the rise of allergies. After a diagnosis of my unusual Eosinophilic Esophagitis  (ee means abnormal numbers of eosinophils in the esophagus) rare disease in 2006, I became curious to find out more about allergies and how they relate to my disease. What I found was alarming.

Fact: More then 30% career bakers develop occupational asthma towards the end of their career.

When my doctor told me a few years ago that I had rhinitis and asthma, I accepted it as bearable, just uncomfortable. Then, two years ago I felt like I was having a heart attack. The emergency room Dr. said it must be a panic attack. Rx: take it easy and come back if it gets worse. The pain got worse and I couldn’t swallow without massive pain in my chest. Something was wrong, but x-rays and all the useless tests didn’t discover anything. Finally, my doctor sent me to a GI specialist.

The GI did an endoscopy and immediately afterwards said it looked like a severe case of yeast infection (huh?!). He took a biopsy and put me on antibiotics. Over the next few weeks the pain got worse. Finally, one month after the biopsy, I received a report that it was ee. The doctor gave me cortisone and within days all pain went away and I could start eating again. Had to be on some meds. for a while and was relieved a diagnosis was made. Now I had to find out what the food allergy was.

At the Allergist I discovered I had allergies to: wheat, rye, rice, barley and oats. The doctor took blood test and celiac was ruled out. How can this be? This is my career. Over 26 years baking professionally only to end it at the height of my career? These foods are the foods I am exposed to every day! Did he know what he was talking about? What was he saying? He told me to wear a mask when the allergies starts to get aggressive again, and if needed, use a steroid spray that will coat the esophagus. Maybe consider a new career track (ha, I laughed;).

Livable and bearable, I continue on with my career in baking. I teach cake decorating now, so I don’t have as much exposure to breads and flours like I use to, but it’s still disheartening to pass up on the chance to demo or make wonderful artisan breads and pastry. Life goes on.

When students discover they have a severe reaction to a particular food, I can relate to them personally. I convey to them that it’s not the end of a passion they’ve always had. This passion is just pushed into a new direction that might be even more fulfilling. Students in my class think if they can’t produce masterpieces like on “the food network” they won’t make it in the industry. I know a handful of bakers and pastry chefs (out of thousands) who will have time to produce “hobby” showpieces in two hours or less! I stress the need for good personal management and self regulation of time management skills, these are the most important prerequisites in any career (common sense is a given). Once the skill set is taught, it’s up to the student to use work ethics that use these management skills. 

Human systems are interesting and effective because they are resilient. Good designers allow for the reality of human strengths and weaknesses and factor both into their designs, as stated by McGee’s Musings here about technology. Contrastingly, students with food allergies see their health conditions of lifes’ little failures. As educators we need to realize this and do the same as they would in technology, teach of, and to, these failures.

Education in a simulated bakeshop, classroom, modern university or real-work environment is overall the same. Education is to make the student whole. My job as a teacher is to be a global steward of this planet. Bring the mindset of a young conscience to a higher level of thinking about who they are and how they fit in our environment with as much human exuberance as possible.

In the words of Robert F. Kennedy:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

Posted by: fburnett | March 26, 2008

trackbacks and hat tips

This refers to a sincere thank-you or, in old english-a tip of the hat for you sir-for the “thought provoking addition” to your blog you received from reading other blogs like the one here. It is customary in bloganese (hope this is politically correct) to always give the article, or blog-spot, that knowledge of appreciation that you saw it there first. How interesting, I’m on my 17th post and I am just learning of the proper etiquette of blogging. This blogesphere seems to be full of no trackbacks. The term is also referred to backlisting. Semantics. Just give thanks and be a responsible blogger.

Repeat this oath: I want to be a good blogger. I will trackback!

A how-to is explained here.

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