Learning at a Wedding


Yesterday, like so many people world-wide, my wife and I took in the Royal Wedding.  I’m not big on weddings, but this is certainly was one not to be missed.  It was pretty timely as well since our own wedding was on an April 30th, one day after this one.  It’s funny how things are put into perspective – here the wedding dress and design were closely guarded secrets, with ours it was a question of whether my wife could get in and out of the car without getting grease on it.  The guest lists are big deals in both cases; you want to make sure that you invite the right people and not the crazy relatives.

It was with interest that we tuned in to watch.  There weren’t too many other options.  After flipping around a bit, I settled for what I knew I would at the outset to CBC.  There’s just something about Peter Mansbridge that makes you feel comfortable with his coverage.  He certainly had the background material and just enough off the cuff remarks that I could identify with!  So, after we noticed that it wasn’t raining and I oogled over the Rolls Royces, we settled in for the wedding.  It was 6am our time.

Just like a real wedding, though, it was tough to stay focussed and my ever present computer allowed me to learn as the event unfolded.  I ended up flipping through and reading quite a number of resources while keeping one eye on the television and the other on a stream of comments on Twitter about the dress.

If you’re a history buff, this would be the place to start.  So much has been collected and placed online to give an appreciation for this aspect of British History.

The Location – Streetview in addition to the television coverage is absolutely perfect for a walking tour.

The Vehicles – Rolls Royce – and thanks to Mr. Mansbridge, identifying the Phantom 6.

The Location – Westminster Abbey – There is so much history preserved there from weddings to coronations to funerals.  I found the section dealing with damage due to WWII interesting as well as the history behind funeral effigies.  The United Kingdom’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was certainly in focus during the processions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury – The Archbishop maintains a resource including his sermons and thoughts on his church.  Of interest is the interview with his thoughts about marriage and commitment.

The Palaces – Mr. Mansbridge speculated that the Royal couple might live in Kensington Palace so I had to check it out.  While there, I got distracted by the infamous Tower of London.

The Tudors – What would a history of British Monarchy be without a look at the Tudors?  I could only name 3 of the six wives of Henry VIII so a lookup was in order.

Succession to the Throne – The Queen looks great at 84 so hopefully, this won’t be necessary any time soon.  But, who is next in line?  Then, after that?  How did this all start?  You’ll notice that there’s no controversy over birth certificates here!  And, you’re definitely out if you have anything to do with a Roman Catholic.

The Official Site – And, of course, you have to have an “official site” for events like this.  Who got invited?  Where do they sit?

When the wedding was over, I was tired!  After reviewing this, I can see why.  There were other things that caught my eye as well but these were the highlights.  It was quite a day!

OTR Links for 04/30/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Ontario Twitter Royalty


It has come to my attention that there were some people left off the invitation list to the Royal Wedding today – the Ontario Twitter Royalty! These folks are loyal Twitter subjects and I’ve caught them on my Twitter stream the past day.  Indeed this auspicious group should be there.

I’m sure that it’s just an oversight, but the list should have included the following.

  • Dame Tracie Duckworth Edwardton of Windsorpool
  • Lady Safina Musgrave Nooranicott of Auroraton
  • Marquess Marc Astrup Lijourcock of Torontoburgh
  • Duchess Sonia Duckworth Ellis-Sequincott of Ontariopool
  • Earl Colin Heston Harriscott of Richmond Hillburgh
  • Princess Carole Ticky Morrissetteton of Canadaton
  • HM Queen Aviva Duckworth Dunsingercock of Ancasterport
  • Earl Ken Fergus Whytockberton of Drumboshire
  • Marchioness Joan Tildsley Vinall-Coxberton of Oakvilleham
  • Marquess Aaron Waddington Puleyberton of Hamiltonport
  • Duchess Heather Lulu Yearwoodberton of Canadaport
  • Lady Cyndie Calthorpe Jacobsskitt of Torontoford
  • Lady Zoe Prudence Branigan-Pipecock of Hamiltonshire
  • Marquess Kevin Astrup Merkleycott of Markhamshire
  • Duke Ben Bertie Hazzardberton of Sarniashire
  • Baron Daniel Fearnsley Beylerianham of Ontarioshire
  • Marquess John Fearnsley Rampeltberton of Waterloobury
  • Marchioness Tina Ticky Giannopoulosham of Waterlooford
  • Duke Andrew Griff Forgraveton of Bellevillepool
  • HM King Dave Fergus Lanovazberton of Stirlingpool
  • Marquess Euen Heston Connorcock of Kitchenerham
  • Prince Nathan Crispin Toftskitt of Ottawaburgh
  • Dame Brenda Ticky Sherryberton of Guelphford
  • Duke Peter Fergus McAshham of St. Mary’sham
  • Princess Alana Musgrave Callanham of Peterboroughport
  • Prince Kent Twicklethorpe Manningberton of Bellevilleford
  • Duke Jeff Waddington Pelichberton of Kitchenerbury
  • Lord Yves Fergus Mainvilleberton of Ontariobury
  • Earl Ron Griff Millarcock of Kitchenershire
  • HM King Peter Fearnsley Beensberton of Niagara Fallspool
  • Princess Julie Eugenia Johnsonham of Barriepool
  • Countess Danika Calthorpe Barkerberton of Londonbury
  • Baroness Kelly Pippa Powerskitt of Windsorshire
  • Duchess Michelle Duckworth Lachinecott of Belle Riverburgh
  • Duchess Shannon Pippa Hazelberton of Windsorshire
  • Lord Doug Fearnsley Sadlerham of Windsorburgh
  • Princess Rebecca Tildsley Grimesham of Ontarioshire
  • Marchioness Janine Calthorpe Murrayton of Ontarioburgh
  • Baroness Teresa Lulu Kellyskitt of Torontoshire
  • Lady Fran Musgrave Harrisonton of Eastern Ontarioford
  • Lord Royan Twicklethorpe Leecock of Richmond Hillport
  • Lady Sylvia Ticky Duckworthham of Ontariobury
  • Marquess Colin Jeeves Jagoecott of Brightonburgh
  • HM King Peter Twicklethorpe Skillenton of Torontoport

— Lord Doug Fergus Petersonberton of Amherstburgbury

Names courtesy of E! Online’s Royal Name Generator

Making it Right


Yesterday, during the PD Session, I got a chance to take a sneak peek at my email while waiting to go on and saw a message addressed to me entitled “Copyright Infringement”.  I didn’t have time to even open the message, figuring that it might well be just another piece of spam anyway.  It wasn’t until later that I had a chance to take a look.

It was, in fact, a legitimate message.

I think it’s the thing that most bloggers dread most – someone calling you out as a plagiarist or that your content has somehow infringed on someone else’s copyright.  While all of the entries that I make are my original thoughts at the time, it’s not inconceivable that I’m influenced by some other piece of writing.

This morning, I sat down to seriously take a look at the message.  If you read this blog, you know that I’m usually good for a couple of entries a day.  One is my thoughts or comments on something and the other is an autopost from either my Diigo or my Delicious account of some content, resource, or application that I find particularly useful or that I’d like to tuck away for later.

Well, it turned out that the “copyright infringement” wasn’t actually something that I had done.  Thank goodness.  It turns out that an entity that I had bookmarked was posted by someone who had scraped the content from the original author.  I guess I was victim to one of these sites.  The content was good, great in fact, but it just didn’t belong to the site that I had bookmarked.  Ironically, I had also bookmarked the original site with the same content as well!  I felt at least a little redeemed on that!

The site was entitled “101 Free Alternatives to Commonly Used Paid Software” and can be found at this link.  In my dialogue back and forth with the person who contacted me, he pointed me to the originally incorrectly posted URL which is indeed a dead link.  I’m guessing that they were asked to take the post down.

So, I have done my best to make it right here.  The entry in my blog has been corrected as well as the Delicious and Diigo entries.  Kudos to the original author for staying on top of their content and asking folks to maintain their integrity.

OTR Links for 04/29/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Look


If you have ever served in the role as professional development facilitator, you know “The Look”.  It’s what powers you and keeps you on your game.  I remember the first time that I ever noticed the effects of “The Look”.  It was on stage at the Western RCAC Symposium and I was watching the keynote address from Wayne Hulley from behind him.  As the audience responded positively to his words, Wayne stood a little taller and as they continued to respond, I swear he was up on his toes and spoke with that much more passion.  After his presentation, I mentioned this to him and I still remember his comments – this is why you present or lead a session.  You get the feedback, you feed on it as a presenter, and you take your craft to a new level.

I’ve always kept that in mind when I reflect on PD sessions that I’ve led.  For the past two days, I’ve been involved in a professional development activity partnered with the very enthusiastic and professional Zoe Branigan-Pipe.

The principal at David Maxwell Public School in Windsor had been in the audience at the OLA Superconference in Toronto.  As I blogged earlier, Zoe and I each led teams in the “Great OSLA Faceoff“.  It was a Canadian take on a Smackdown event with three periods and a Coach’s Corner in between.  In Toronto, with an audience of couple thousand, we had a whole staff behind us to make the event work.  In this case, when Joe Younan approached me about doing this, we knew it was going to be on a much smaller scale.

The audience was part of a four-board consortium with direction from the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat but funding was from the boards that were interested in making it happen.  Each board sent a team (Junior/Intermediate on Tuesday, Early Years/Primary on Wednesday) and they were doing quite a bit of sharing of the project that they worked on and they were there to do some serious Read/Write Web learning with their team.  That’s where Zoe and I fit in.  The faceoff format allowed us to cover a great deal of material and content in a little over an hour.  Between periods, Joe and an audience member did their Coach’s Corner analysis of what happen in the period.  We didn’t have a sounds effect manager this time; we had Joe with a whistle commandeered from the Physical Education teacher.  And you know what?  It worked very well.

My voice was definitely the weak part of the whole event.  I’ve been suffering from a weeklong cold so my voice was just a crack over a whisper.  Thankfully, we had a microphone and speakers.  Zoe’s voice and enthusiasm more than compensated for this croaker.  But, we did have great audio visuals so you could see what I was doing as I droned along in the background.  How bad was I?  I was going to demonstrate Voicethread but all my attempts sounded so bad, I didn’t want to scare anyone.

Despite this, I was empowered.  We told the audience in advance that the whole thing was on a wiki and they would get time after the presentation to try out what we shared immediately.  But, that didn’t matter.  People had their devices out and some were going live with us.  Others were feverishly writing away trying to keep up.  I sat for the presentation to stop from going into a coughing fit but, even seated, I saw “The Look”.  From the audience, it’s the look of approval; the look of support; the look that I’m going to go back to my classroom and try this out and see if it’s a fit for my classroom and my students.

As I write this entry, I’m on a couple days of speaking rest.  I’ve got to let my throat go back to normal.  I can’t believe how much coughing exhausts you.  But, above that, I’m feeling the excitement that there will be some new things happening in the classrooms from the participants of the past two days.  To paraphrase Wayne, that’s why we do it.

OTR Links for 04/28/2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.