Another Little Thing…


…that just made my life a little more productive.

And, if you knew this, I apologize for wasting your time this morning.  If you didn’t know this, then you’re joining me in another discovery.

It’s an iPad feature that I just stumbled on.  I don’t know how but I’m glad that I did.

I have my iPad set to give me notifications every time something happens.  So, if I get an email or a Twitter message or a Facebook post or just a notification that it’s my move, it appears on the front screen of my iPad.

No biggy, right?  You just move the little slider at the bottom and log in and then go look for the second level notification – the little red badges attached to the icons.

But, what if that’s not what you want?  What if you had one notification that you wanted to address directly?

It turns out the slider at the bottom of the screen isn’t the only thing that slides.  Each of the notifications potentially slides as well.

So, in the picture above, one of my kids had posted a new photo on Facebook.  I want to see it right away so I just slide over that notification and advance directly to that item.

Who knew?

BTW, Happy Hallowe’en to my readers.

OTR Links 10/31/2012


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

Badge Me


Seeing Peter McAsh at the ECOO Conference last week jogged me to a blog post that I had started to write but never finished.  That’s on the order today.

In our hall closet, there’s a big picture frame and inside there are things from my youth.  Underneath the glass covers are all of the badges I earned from the Wolf Cubs and Boy Scouts and swimming awards from the Red Cross, Royal Life Saving Society, and the Canadian Lifeguard Service.  Every time we do a thorough house cleaning, the question is posed “Why are you keeping this stuff?”  My response is always the same “I don’t know but I worked really hard to earn those.  I just can’t bring myself to throw them away.”

In fact, I bought an extra Bronze Medallion and Award of Merit when I earned them.  They remain with me all the time on a chain around my neck.  (except, of course, when I remove them to take a picture…)

Some of the other badges/awards just don’t follow me around like those two do!

Probably the one that I had to work the hardest for was the Bronze Medallion.  I remember that I had to take the course twice.  I failed the first time but got it on the second.  It smartened me considerably that success wasn’t just the in-pool work but that the RLSS took the academic knowledge part seriously as well.  Given the change in mindset, the Award of Merit was mine on the first try.  These two and all of the other things I’ve collected mean a great deal to me.

The concept is similar to education.  You learn; you pass a test; you win or lose, pass or fail.  Except that in education, we have different levels of passing.  By assigning a number to the work, we somehow quantify “how well” someone passes.  I wonder though – does that really matter?  I recall a number of students who wouldn’t be satisfied with 99%.  They wanted 100% for everything.  “Sir, it’s no sweat to you…just change it”.  I usually did.  It never happened but I often wondered how I could justify a “low mark of 99″ to a parent or a “high mark of 99″ to a principal!  After all, maybe the assessment was about proficiency of the IF statement.  How do you quantify that?  Isn’t it better that learning how to use that statement was an accomplishment and you could either use it or not use it?

It turns out that this type of logic is shared is other places as well.  In fact, the more you think about it, the more sense it makes.  In the “real world”, whatever that means, you learn various tasks and the test for success is whether or not you can do it.  Recently, I just took the Google Power Searching course online.  It was one of the better online courses that I’ve taken.  I actually signed up for the course earlier this summer but didn’t have the time to complete it.  I made a concerted effort the second time around and passed.  The result?  I have a certificate.  In order to be successful, I had to be able to demonstrate that I knew the concepts before passing.  Fair enough.

Some more examples…

Ubuntu Accomplishments
The description of this lays it out very nicely.  “The Ubuntu Accomplishments project is designed to provide a means in which you can be awarded trophies for different types of accomplishments in the community and elsewhere. The project is designed for Ubuntu’s needs, but actually supports any community and project.”  In this case, trophies are given for contribution to the community which is at the heart of the Ubuntu philosophy.  Or, there’s another alternative that I’m enjoying doing.  As you learn how to do things in Ubuntu, you’ll earn a trophy!

In this case, I learned how to change the desktop wallpaper.  Got me a trophy!

Edmodo Badges
This was where Peter came in.  He and I had had a discussion about the use of badges for achievements in courses offering all or some of the course in this learning environment.  Edmodo comes with pre-designed badges or you can create your own!

Mozilla Open Badges
The folks at Mozilla, which gives us Firefox and Thunderbird, have a really interesting concept in the Open Badges project.  By participating, you have an “Open Badge Backpack” to store the badges as you earn them.

I think that there’s a great deal of merit in the approach.  In fact, most skills are ultimately judged by whether you can do them or not.  Why can’t assessment be a celebration of the fact that you’re able to do something instead of trying to assign a number to everything.

Finally, it you’re an Ontario Edublogger, why not add an Ontario Edublogger badge to your blog.  I think it’s another good example.  If you’ve elected to become a blogger, that’s it.  There’s no percentage of posts or anything else required to be a member – just do it.

Finally, as I’m writing this entry, I dodge into my Diigo account and see that I’ve also bookmarked a site called badg.us.  I’ll admit that I haven’t used it to any great extent.  The whole concept of do something – get a badge really intrigues me.

OTR Links 10/30/2012


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

Three Great Project Ideas


One of the promises of a connected world is the way that it can facilitate guests from the outside coming into classrooms and the ability to collect data and feedback from a variety of locations.  The scope of the projects is only limited by imagination and the abilities of students.

What can you see?
In my opening remarks at the ECOO Conference on Thursday morning, I gave a shout out to @techieang‘s latest project.  She’s got a kindergarten classroom and is using the technology to open doors and windows for her students.  The project is simple in its premise but is only limited by the number of participants and the enthusiasm.  All you have to do is take a look in your backyard.  From her blog, she has made a Quicktime video available showing what her students see.

The video is rich in content and just watching it gives me all kinds of ideas about expectations that could be addressed by the sharing and participation in the project.

Sweet Statistical Computation Collaboration
As I was writing this post, I happened to stumble across another great example.  It’s designed for students a little older and is very mathematics oriented.  I would ask the rhetorical question – has there been a more used piece of candy in education than the M&M?  I know I used them many times for spreadsheet, classifying, and graphing activities.  And, if you’re on the way to doing a workshop and Mac’s Milk is out of M&Ms, Skittles fit the bill nicely.

In this project, students from all locations are encouraged to count the various colours in a bag of M&Ms and share the results with a class via a Google form.  The class even provides a baseline:

According to students at a recent College of Natural Science exhibit at the University of Texas in Austin, the makers of M&M’s state a bag contains the following: 14% are yellow, 20% are orange, 24% are blue, 13% are red, 16% are green and 13% are brown.

So, the results of their experiment could be used to test these numbers.

Food Survey
Finally, continuing on a food theme, what are your favourite foods and restaurants are two of the key themes being collected here.

Later on in the questionnaire, participants are asked in what country they live.  The results offer an interesting challenge, I suspect, when it comes to classify the data since it’s all anecdotal.

In all three cases, I can’t help but think of the engagement that there will be as students look at and analyze the results.

Even a few years ago, surveys like this would be difficult or impossible to take with the potential reach of these.  I like the creative implementation of technology that’s crucial for this to work.  Those that really don’t get it might consider these as examples of integration of technology.  I’d suggest that those aren’t there just yet.  These are examples of how educators use the best tool at their disposal to make it work in the classroom.  You can’t want more than that.

Powered by Qumana

 

OTR Links 10/29/2012


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

Catching Up with ECOO 2012


I made it home from the ECOO Conference in Richmond Hill this morning.  The normal 4.5 hour took two days.  4 hours got me through the bumper to bumper slow-moving traffic and I finally threw in the towel and spent the night in Woodstock.

Driving home, I did smile at the people who told me that the drive from London to Windsor is boring.  I rather enjoyed it.  Even this morning, there was huge traffic that finally cleared at London and it was smooth sailing to Windsor.  Along the way, I totally enjoyed looking at the fall corn and soy bean fields; looked at the rural farm buildings and just admired the hard-working efforts of the farmers.  It was a far cry from the white knuckling of the 401!

As a member of a Conference Committee, you actually get to enjoy much of the conference.  You’re forever fretting that everything will go well, checking to make sure that presenters are good to go, and giving directions.  In between that, you’re talking with friends – I met so many new people and the worst thing will be seeing them again next year and having to sneak a peek at the nametags to get their names right.  I also curated the ongoing information slideshow that never seemed to be done.  “Doug – I need you to add this right away…”  Plus, if you’re going to do a shoutout to some people during the morning routine, you better make sure that you know that they’re “in the house” so that you don’t look really stupid.

My pal @royanlee was in the house

There were just so many sessions that were offered.  Even if I was focused and attended something every timeslot, I wouldn’t have been able to attend them all.  Thankfully, there’s social media.

Looking for things, I realize that I can follow the conference hashtag #ECOO12 and there are links and references to individual sessions.  The Facebook group that was created is another resource.  But, the very best place is the Lanyrd website.  Thankfully, many of the presenters have posted their presentations, videos, and other resources there.  It’s not the same as being there in person but it’s a good second.

Powered by ScribeFire.

OTR Links 10/28/2012


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