Open Source Whiteboard Software


Recently, I downloaded the Open-Sankore software.  I needed a piece of software to do some drawing and got way, way more than I expected. 

I think that I went well over the top when I read that the software was the same and worked the same on Macintosh, Windows, and Linux.  You don’t see that range of support often.

Upon installation on Linux, I immediately was curious as to support for my Wacom Bamboo tablet.  I wasn’t disappointed. Everything worked as you would expect.  No configuration or extra drivers to install.  It just worked. I wish that I had other equipment to try it on and test their claims of compatibility.

The software is so intuitive.  If you’ve ever used any other type of whiteboard software, you’ll pick this up immediately.

I was impressed trying the application on different computers.  It goes full screen and you wouldn’t know what computer platform you’re working on.  To me, that’s the sort of transparency that we can appreciate.

The tools and tool sets are really obvious.  Pick a tool, pick a colour, and go to it.  Speaking of tools, the toolbar can be moved to the top or bottom of the screen.  They recommend the bottom for whiteboards.

Projects can have multiple pages.  Add a place and title it in the left panel. 

The installation comes with a big collection of resources for creating your multi-media document.

Nothing is proprietary to the software.  If your computer can play it, Open-Sankore can play it.  So, include audio, movies, or graphic images with easy.  Can’t find it in their collection – facility is there to search for it on the internet.

Objects are dragged onto the workspace where resizing, rotating, etc. are all well defined in the frame around the object.

Selection of language was a bit inconsistent. 

The software has its roots based in the French language.  Even though I was able to change the language and restart in English, there were still a few elements that remained in French.  But, I’ll be honest.  The iconage and the display was so graphically intuitive, I didn’t really notice until I started to write this post and give it a thorough test.

I’ve worked with a number of whiteboard software in the past and so there was really no big learning curve digging into this one.  In any classroom, this will be a welcome addition.  It will be really welcomed to a classroom where students bring their own laptops and you’re looking for software like this for presentation, displays, and just plain creativity fun.

Encouraging Girls


We’d like to think that the sky is the limit for all students.  But is it?

Career Girls is an online resource to help girls, and their teachers, explore options for the future.

Various advocacy groups will have sections on their internet presence devoted to a specific subject area or discipline.

What I like about Career Girls is that it has a wide variety of career options.  If the goal is to explore various options for the future, this needs to be added to the list of resources.

In addition to teacher resources, the site is bound to engage today’s connected young ladies.  From a pull-down menu, the student selects a profession.  Each profession is described via video.

Sadly, at the time that I visited, there wasn’t a section devoted to becoming a computer programmer.  Hopefully, that will be added as the site grows.

Bringing it Together


Last week, information about the Bring IT, Together conference was sent to all those who are members of the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario.  It highlighted much of what will happen in Niagara Falls on November 5-7.  But, I know that not everyone is an ECOO member so I’m reposting the message here for the rest of you.  It would be wonderful for you to join Ontario educators for three days of learning, sharing, and making new contacts from outside your board.

 


 

In two short months, Bring IT, Together 2014 will be here.  After a year in planning, it will be exciting to see great Ontario Educators come together for three days of learning and sharing in Niagara Falls.  You’ll want to be one of them.

 

La conférence Bring IT, Together 2014 sera ici dans seulement deux mois! Après un an de planification, il sera intéressant de réunir les éducateurs de l’Ontario pour trois jours d’apprentissage et de partage à Niagara Falls. Soyez parmi nous!

 

BIT14 Logo.png

 

http://www.bringittogether.ca

 

The program for the event is posted for the world to see at:

 

Le programme de l’événement est affiché à l’adresse :

http://lanyrd.com/2014/ecoo14/

 

209 sessions of all sorts will be offered over the three days given by educators from all areas of the province.  You’ll see initiatives in classrooms just like yours and walk away with inspiration and ideas about how you can enjoy the same successes.  Wednesday is devoted to hands-on workshops, including the fabulous Ontario designed Minds on Media, with Thursday and Friday a mixture of keynote speakers and 50 minute sessions.

 

209 sessions de toutes sortes seront offertes pendant les trois jours. Ces sessions seront animées par des éducateurs provenant de toutes les régions de la province. Vous découvrirez des initiatives qui se passent dans des classes comme la vôtre, et vous repartirez avec l’inspiration et les idées qui vous permettront de jouir des mêmes succès. L’horaire de mercredi propose des ateliers pratiques, y compris le concept ontarien Minds on Media. L’horaire de jeudi et vendredi présente un mélange de conférenciers et des sessions pratiques d’une durée de 50 minutes chacunes.

 

And, of course, don’t forget the social events – receptions (Wednesday featuring the Kung Fu Lawyers), Minecraft, Photowalk by the Falls, Run with Alana, Jam Session, and ad hoc meetings that just spring up and take advantage of the location and also the Learning Space.

 

N’oubliez pas les événements sociaux – réceptions (Mercredi réception avec Kung Fu Lawyers), Minecraft, Photowalk près des chutes, la course avec Alana, Jam Session, et les rencontres spontannées vous permettront de tirer profit de l’emplacement pittoresque tout en apprenant!

 

An expanded exhibition hall will let you experience the latest and greatest and to talk with representatives.

 

Une salle d’exposition élargie vous permettra de découvrir des nouveautés et de jaser avec les représentants des commanditaires.

 

Much of what we know about children using technology in education comes from the research and work from Seymour Papert and his work at the MIT Media Lab.  Wednesday features an opening keynote address from Artemis Papert and Brian Silverman.

 

Une grande partie de nos connaissances au sujet de l’utilisation des technologies éducatives chez les jeunes vient de la recherche et des travaux de Seymour Papert et son travail au MIT Media Lab. Mercredi, nous vous proposons une conférence d’ouverture de Artemis Papert et Brian Silverman.

 

If you’ve ever searched for free educational resources, you’ve undoubtedly ended up on the Free Tech 4 Teachers website.  http://freetech4teachers.com/  Listen to Richard Byrne’s keynote and join him for a breakout session on Thursday.

 

Si vous avez déjà effectué une recherche pour les ressources éducatives libres, vous avez sans doute fini par trouver le site http://freetech4teachers.com/ Richard Byrne, auteur de ce site, prononcera la conférence d’ouverture et offrira une session de travail jeudi.

 

Ron Canuel speaks Friday morning and brings a global perspective from his 34 years in Canadian Education.  Ron is currently the president and CEO of the Canadian Education Association.  Ron will also specifically address the French educators at the conference.

 

Ron Canuel prononcera la conférence d’ouverture du vendredi matin. Il apporte une perspective globale nourrie de ses 34 ans en éducation au Canada. Ron est actuellement président et chef de l’Association canadienne d’éducation. Ron offrira ses commentaires, en français, aux éducateurs francophones lors de la conférence.

 

Bring IT, Together concludes with a keynote address from George Couros, the “Principal of Change”.  Supporting leadership and leaders, George will inspire us to use our learning and lead Ontario schools to even greater things.  http://georgecouros.ca/

 

La conférence Bring IT, Together se terminera par une allocution de George Couros, le »directeur du changement». Il nous parlera du leadership en action et nous incitera à utiliser nos expertises afin de permettre aux écoles de l’Ontario à effectuer un virage à l’ère numérique en douceur. http://georgecouros.ca/

 

For the second year in a row, ECOO and OASBO-ICT join forces to offer three days of incredible learning surrounding the use of technology in the classroom.  Plan now to join us in Niagara Falls, November 5-7.

 

Pour la deuxième année consécutive, ECOO et OASBO-TIC unissent leurs forces pour offrir trois jours d’apprentissage incroyable sur l’utilisation des technologies en salle de classe. Planifiez maintenant de vous joindre à nous à Niagara Falls, du 5 au 7 novembre.

 

Follow the conference

 

Suivez la conférence

 

Questions?  Contact email is conference@ecoo.org

 

Questions? Notre adresse courriel est conference@ecoo.org

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s been another great week of reading Ontario Edublogs.  I’m actually going to include a post that I read more than just last week and I’ll explain why.

Here’s what caught my eye…


More than a meme to me

This summer, there wasn’t a day that you would log into Facebook to see someone doing the ALS ice bucket challenge.  I thought that I might escape the whole thing except that my friend Peter Skillen challenged me late August.  So, I did my thing.

The whole meme was kind of cute but the deeper meaning was the attention that it brought to ALS research.  I’ll be honest; I don’t know anyone suffering from the disease but I have done research and it just sickens me.

Lisa Noble took it to a personal level in her post.  I was going to reference it last week but somehow it didn’t see right given the “back to school” posts that I included.  She really spoke from the heart about her own personal experience with this horrible disease.

For the cause, she did take part in the challenge and I’ll say right up front – it was the classiest of all that I’d seen.  You can see it in her post.


What if we had a song?

Kelly Power asked a really interesting question.  What I found most powerful was a memory that I’d experienced years and years ago.  It happens in a hospital every time a baby is born.  Music is broadcast through the speakers.

Music has such power – as I reflect, I always seem to have music on when I’m working or thinking my best.

Music in school can be something different.  I remember my computer lab and a request from students to have music playing while they were working.  It sounded like a good idea to me – until we tried to some up with a genre that would please everyone.

I still remember a student comment “Sir, I now understand elevator music.”

Music can move lots of people.  I’ve been at horse tracks where marching music is played with two minutes to post time.  Its purpose is to get everyone on their feet and moving to get their wagers in.

So, her question, put in context is a good one.  What if you played a song over the PA network within a school?

Could you move a student body to focus on a common purpose?

I hope that Kelly tries it at her school and shares the results.


Governance Roles of School/Parent Councils

I know that the concept of Parent Councils is a topic near and dear to Sheila Stewart.

What I didn’t know was that she would be reading research about the Australian system.

The original article that she referenced is very interesting reading.

Imagine a system where the Parent Council formally assesses principals.  I honestly can’t.

The concept is so foreign to my thinking.  I wonder how this will work.


This really was another nice collection of articles this week.  Please check out the articles and all of the efforts of Ontario Edubloggers.

A New Start with Education


I had lunch yesterday with Charlie Wright (@cerwright on Twitter).  Charlie is the deputy mayor of Leamington.  Leamington certainly has been in the news in the recent past with the announcement that the 100 year old Heinz facility was being closed.  Reports are that 740 jobs in that industry would be lost.

The recent good news is that the plant will be assumed by Highbury Canco and that it would require 250 people for its operations.

As could be imagined, such a big hit to any community the size of Leamington (~30 000) would have a huge impact on the community.  Not only is the impact felt by those who worked in the plant, a Leamington institution for as long as I can remember, but for the farming community and the retailers throughout the town.

If those jobs are gone, what can you as a community do?

You would hope that education might provide an answer.

Another problem is that Leamington isn’t easily accessible to Windsor or Chatham, the two closest places with educational opportunities with St. Clair College and/or the University of Windsor.  It’s about a 45 minute drive to either location.

You might that a distance education solution would be appropriate but, in this case, it’s not viable.  So, if you can’t get to the mountain, bring the mountain there.

In partnership with St. Clair College, the town has made an educational arrangement that could be very helpful.

St. Clair College will be physically coming to town and offering a diploma program in Business Computing Applications.  The program, composed of 10 courses will be offered in the evenings from 6-9:30 over the course of the year.  Topics include accounting, computing applications, and more.  The logic is to provide a program of marketable skills for a movement into other industries.

Apparently, there is also an interest from existing businesses to upgrade the skills of other employees.

If you check Charlie’s Twitter timeline, you’ll see that he’s been busy going from door to door promoting this offering.

This provides a unique opportunity for those affected to take control over their careers and their learning at this difficult time.

I hope that enough of the residents see this as a solution and take advantage of it.

Student Engagement


Sophia Mavridi penned a wonderful, thoughtful post about student engagement in the classroom recently.  She titled it “Student Engagement – with or without technology“.

So that I don’t lose track of it, and to share with you, I’m reblogging it here today.


Originally posted on ELT @ first site

On the 30th of August I participated in a panel discussion at the 5th Foreign Language Forum in Athens, Greece. The main theme was “Present, Motivate, Engage”; Lilika Couri talked about Presentation, Luke Prodromou about Motivation and myself about Engagement. In this blog I will go through what was in my presentation both for those who attended and did not have the time to make notes and for those who couldn’t make it but are interested in the topic.

View original

Interesting Learning with a Couple of Google Tools


Google Maps Gallery was a new resource for me.  It’s a place for organizations to make their maps public.  Why?  Read the reasons why here.

That sounds so good.  I decided to dig into the maps in the gallery just to see what people were posting.  One really caught my interest.  Most of the maps in the collection were in English which intuitively made sense to this English speaker.  But this one didn’t.

Quite clearly, it’s a map of Japan with markers all over it.  But, the description is in another language – presumably Japanese.  (nothing gets by me…)  Mousing over the descriptor reveals a link, I check the link to make sure it’s OK – it points to another Google Map so I click it.  I’m presented with a gallery of three – I check one of the links to dig deeper.

Interesting, but I’m really no closer to understanding the map.

Ah!  Time to Translate. 

I open a new tab, and head to Google Translate.

Back to this tab where I select the text above, copy it, and then over to the new tab with the translation utility open and paste the text into the left pane.

Google Translate immediately confirms that the text is indeed Japanese and then does its best to translate the text and make it appear in the right pane. 

I do listen to the original text by clicking on the speaker icon.  It’s a reminder of what a beautiful language Japanese is even though I didn’t understand anything.

I look to the right pane and read the text.  It’s a reminder that online translations are not entirely perfect but I’m able to read enough to understand the point of the map. 

Stepping back, it never serves to be humbling that I’m able to do all of that on my laptop while sitting in a reclining chair.  No matter your age, think back to an activity in school similar to this.  The best I could remember was working with a piece of French text.  The process was painful.  I can’t help but marvel that today’s students will have these sorts of tools at their fingertips.

In my day, in addition to snowing more, true research and exploration was done in English and limited by the collection in my school’s library or, if I was ambitious and walked downtown, in the public library.  If I really needed another resource and the library had it in a collection elsewhere, I could place an order and it would arrive within a week.  Today, speedy delivery is only limited by bandwidth!

Are these sort of research activities used in your class?  Shouldn’t it be if we want students to be global citizens in the best sense of the words?

Back to the original exploration of the Gallery.  This appears to be a new Google endeavour.  At the time of writing, only a limited number of collections are included.  (The numbering system confuses me.)  But, the collections are of really interesting content.  This will be worth monitoring to see it grow.

Thoughts?