Category Archives: Read/Write Web

Hunting for Code


At the CSTA Conference, Alfred Thompson sent this Twitter message.

Later, he blogged about his thoughts……My Big Learning at CSTA 2014 Day 1–Not From A Session

Based on his first quote, I headed over to the Code Hunt site and started poking around.  It’s very intriguing.  If you follow the link and end up at the CSTA contest, you’ll find that it’s closed.  If that’s the case, click on “Change Zone” and navigate away.

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You have your choice to play in Java or C#. 

The game boils down to this…you’re given a section of code and output table. 

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“All” you have to do is look at the code that you’re given and modify it so that the expected result is the same as your result (based upon modifying the code).

It was great fun.  You log in with a Microsoft or Yahoo! ID so that your attempts are captured.  It’s addictive.  I dropped by their booth, talked with the Microsoft folks and got a first hand demo.  In addition to the puzzles that they present (and there are lots of them), teachers can create their own for their class.

How’d I do?  Well, quite frankly, I wasn’t eligible since the instructions indicated that you had to be from one of the 50 states so that put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm at the moment.  There were a lot of really sharp people at the conference so I wouldn’t have stood a chance anyway had I been eligible.

Regardless, if you’re a Computer Science teacher or a programmer in a bit of a challenge for yourself or friends, make sure you check it out.

The TechCorps


One of the really bizarre things is that, while the use of technology is omnipresent (and growing), the number of students taking Computer Science courses is actually decreasing.  As a Computer Science educator, that really concerns me.

Ultimately, it will mean that the end user has a smaller and smaller impact on the direction technology takes.  You experience it now.  Install a new piece of software or upgrade some and you’re presented with terms and conditions and privacy invasions written by someone else.  Your choice?  Take it or leave it.  Wouldn’t it be better if we actually knew the implications completely and, in some cases, write our own application rather than conceding rights to someone else?

I know it’s probably unrealistic but I don’t think that we can overlook the need for education so that students know about these things and have the skills and knowledge to make intelligent decisions about their use.

At the Computer Science Teachers Association Conference, one of the sessions that I proctored was “CS Education for Early Learners (Techie Club)” and I had the honour of meeting Aung Nay and Lisa Chambers from Tech Corps.

Tech Corps is a non-profit whose goal is to hack away at the problem of getting young students involved in Computer Science through Techie Camps and Techie Clubs.  It’s a marriage between students and community volunteers to provide the opportunity and insights into Computer Science.  Both Aung and Lisa spoke with a passion for their project.  It’s limited in location right now but it’s worth check out their goals and what they offer.  http://hadron.techcorps.org/  

This is an initiative that needs to grow.  It’s good for kids; it’s good for the community; it’s good for Computer Science.

Some statements from their website…

What We Know

  • Computing careers consistently rank among the top 10 fastest growing occupations in the US. The US Dept of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. At current rates, however, we can only fill about 30% of those jobs with US computing bachelor’s grads.
  • As the role and significance of technology has grown, the teaching of computer science in K-12 has faded. Since 2005, the number of US high schools offering rigorous computer science courses has fallen from 40% to 27%.
  • Today’s students are the most tech-savvy generation ever, yet many have no interest in technology-related degrees or careers. 96% of teens reported “liking” or “loving” technology but just 18% indicate an interest in pursuing a technology career.
  • Girls, African-American and Hispanic students are avid users of technology, but they are significantly underrepresented in its creation. In 2008, women held 57% of all professional occupations in the US workforce but only 25% of all professional IT-related jobs.

These things should concern us all.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s summer time but the blogging doesn’t stop!  Here’s some of the things that caught my reading eye this week.


Storify: CaneLearn summit for K-12 Online & Blended Learning

This past week was the CANeLearn Summit in Toronto.  While I couldn’t be there, the next best thing is to keep an eye on those who were fortunate enough to go and share their learning.

Fortunately, Alanna King got to go and she created a Storify of the thoughts and sharing coming from the event.


Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

I like how Kristen Wideen has shared her philosophy of using Social Media.  More than that, there’s a great message in the title of this post.  Social Media is not a pedagogy; as she notes, it’s a Teaching Tool.

It’s good teaching that makes all the difference in the world.  Social Media easily extends the reach beyond the classroom.  Read on to find out at least one benefit of being connected.

A few weeks ago we were working on writing a persuasive letter.  I wanted to make this an authentic task so as a class, we brainstormed a list of things that we could persuade our principal to buy or let us do.  My students agreed that they wanted to persuade our principal into buying us a bird feeder to put outside our observation window.  My students came up with the idea to post the letters on their blogs and then tweet them directly to our principal on Twitter.  Students tweeted their letters and got responses from not only the principal.  We received a bird feeder and birdseed on behalf of our Director of Education, a bird house that one of our students made and a humming bird feeder from my mom.

The classroom teacher will tell you that the bird feeder is chump change in the big scheme of things.  Read past the bird feeder to see the process followed and how social media facilitated the process.  That’s where the huge value lies.


Learning Something New

Angie Harrison describes nicely the process of inquiry to lead into this post.

Then, she turns the tables.  She wants to take on some personal learning – crocheting – using the same principles as in her classroom.  Where do you turn to learn in the 21st Century?  How do you learn?  Check out how she’s approaching things this summer.


Is Fear Good or Bad? “21st Century Learning” and #edtech Can’t Make Up Its Mind

Royan Lee takes on the concept of fear and addresses a couple of things that we seem to take as given…

He’s promised not to talk this way anymore.  In the post, he explains why…

I hope to follow up this discussion with Royan at the BringITTogether Conference.  By that time, he’ll be a few months into a new gig and will the opportunity to deal with this first hand.


I Dream Of Desks

So, Aviva Dunsiger got a chance to visit her new classroom for the fall and now she’s dreaming of desks.  The things that makes teachers old before their time!

In all my teaching career, I think the only time I fretted about desks was the one class of Grade 9 Mathematics that I taught.  I had 35 students packed into my room set for 24.  In the computer science classroom, sitting in one spot consistently just doesn’t happen after the first couple of days, and only then for attendance and learning names.

What I like about the picture that Aviva shared in the post is that she appears to have pretty close to a blank slate.  Once she gets through dreaming or nightmaring about things, she could make it anything that she wants.  More importantly, she can make it whatever works for her and her students.

I hope there’s a followup post coming so that we know how this story ends.


What a wonderful collection of sharing this week.  Thanks, Alanna, Kristen, Angie, Royan, and Aviva.  You’re really demonstrating how to keep the bar set high!

Check out these blog posts and more at the Ontario Edublogger Livebinder.

Unexpected Blogging Benefits


One of the categories in my Zite reading list is “Blogging”.

The stories that get gathered typically talk about how to make money blogging but every now and again, there is an article that helps with my own reflection for doing what I’m doing here.  I need to be very clear here – I don’t make money doing “Off the Record”, it’s just a hobby that lets me write to share whatever thoughts that I might have at any particular time.

I’m probably not consistent.  If you were to do a fact check, I may contradict myself and do a complete 180 from a post that I had written previously.  I like to think of that as refining my learning and thoughts.

Given all this, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I’d spend some time reading this post – “5 Unexpected Benefits That Happen Naturally When You Blog Frequently“.

Photo Credit: Annie Mole via Compfight cc

From the article, I’ve distilled the 5 benefits and commented on each.

Your creativity will go into overdrive.

I never really thought about this.  I guess that it is true.  Without creativity, one could only imagine that you’d be blogging about the same thing over and over.  So, creative it is.

You will become a master of time management.

There’s no question about this.  A typical post can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon its complexity.  I’ve mentioned it many times, I find that I’m often thinking about a blog post while walking the dog.  He’s very patient and really enjoys it when it takes a long time to put things together.  It means for longer walks for him; but when we get home, it allows me to just sit down and write!

You will become more relevant, noticed and trusted on your social media sites.

I do agree with the concept of being noticed.  One of the things that eventually came to me was a willingness to go with the flow.  I was frustrated at one point that a blog post didn’t generate replies on the blog itself.  It was only by stepping back and seeing that folks were commenting on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, retweeting, sharing, +1ing.  By actually following references to the blog on Twitter, I could see that people were sharing it with others.  “Notice” can mean more than what you think.

You will inadvertently start a business, which you probably didn’t intend to do.

This hasn’t happened yet.  Any ideas about how to make Doug rich?  <grin>

You will help your SEO, even if you don’t understand how SEO works.

This wasn’t something that I thought about but it does make a great deal of sense.  There was a time, in the beginning, when I couldn’t find my blog at all when doing a Google search.  Now, it’s easy.  What’s ultimately cool (or stupid when you think about it) is to do research about a topic and get a hit that points back to my blog because I’ve already written about it.

Bonus:

I think I’d like to add a bonus point

You will try different writing styles.

There are many blogs that I read that are so predictable in format and style.  They start the same, build the content in the same way, post after post, throw in a gratuitous piece of clipart and call it a post.  In fact, there’s at least one blog that I read that evaluates software on a daily basis.  It’s quite obvious that the author often doesn’t even run the software – just writes a post talking about how great it is.  One of the things that I do and can assure you that I do, is install and give any piece of software a fair shakedown before blogging about it.

I try different layouts, approaches to writing, and even try to use my own sense of humour when writing.  You’ll be the judge as to the effectiveness of the approach.  I just can’t imagine writing the same stuff, the same way, every day.  It comes as no surprise to me – when I install a piece of software, I’ll deliberately NOT install any templates that come with it if I can.  I like to figure out stuff by myself.

That was an interesting collection of thoughts about frequent blogging.  Could you see that happening for yourself?  Would the benefits be there for your students?  Think of blogs that you read regularly.  Does this apply there?

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Canadianize the Internet


So, yesterday was Canada Day.  It was a great day at the Ice Cream Festival at Toddy Jones Park and the events at Fort Malden.  Of course, there were the fireworks over the Detroit River to end the day.  The organizers always do it up nicely for our town.  Our Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, and Mayor were all there for the opening ceremonies.  Free flags for everyone and lots of red and white everywhere.

So, quite frankly, with the whole day devoted to festivities, I didn’t have much time to do much learning.

Except for one thing….

There were lots of uncharacteristic shows of nationalisms in blog posts and news articles.  Of course, where the posts allowed for replies, there were some bashing messages but it was too nice a day to spend much time on it.

At the bottom of a Canada.com message, there was a link to this post – “It’s time to Canadian the Internet“.  It was a lead to a Google Chrome extension that will “fix” web pages so that they generate Canadian spelling for words.  Imagine an internet without “color” that now properly spells it “colour”!

It’s cute and kept me interested for a while.

So, a quick before and after shows how it works…

BEFORE

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honor will become honour. Labor will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

AFTER

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honour will become honour. Labour will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

All in good fun, right?

There’s actually a lesson there. 

We’ve all read about the dangers of connecting to open internet access in public places.  Here’s a perfect example of communications being intercepted and replaced without fanfare.  Spelling is just a small example but if that can be done here, what else is possible?

OK, this is getting too deep for a holiday post.  Signing off….

Don’t Let The Good Stuff Go Away


As the school year comes to the end, I thought that I would share the post below.  It’s abot one of my favourite blogging utilities – BlogBooker - and how it’s so useful as things wrap up.  It’s a great way to archive a year’s worth of blogging to share with students, parents, post to your classroom wiki – all in the name of backing up and making a record of this year’s work.  Plus, it can serve as inspiration for next year’s blogging efforts.  There’s nothing like a good example.

As it turns out, when I went looking for this post, I’ve mentioned BlogBooker many times.  You can see all the references here.

Here’s the “Post from the Past” that I’d like to bring forward today.  The original post is from June 26, 2013.


This is another “Post From The Past” that is very appropriate given that we’re approaching the end of the school year here in Ontario.  You and/or your students have been blogging all year.  Will you just abandon your efforts?  Or, will you make a copy of it to save, use as an example, email to parents, give to students to keep, or use for any other of a myriad of purposes?

BlogBooker is an awesome service.  It will take the entire contents of your blog (with a little work) and create a PDF file that you can tuck away or otherwise repurpose so that you don’t lose the effort that went into it’s creation.  Here from August 22, 2010 is my post “To do more with your blog“.

Hey, you might even want to turn it into “A Flipping Blog“!

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Yesterday, George Couros asked for a little input through a Twitter message.

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My first reaction what that this might be a step backward in the goal of integrating technology for students.  After all, if you have a blog, why would you want to revert to a newsletter format?  In its simplest format, it could be a paper document that’s sent home to parents.

But then, I started thinking.  There are a lot of reasons why it might be desirable to have a blog in newsletter format.  Some that immediately come to mind are:

  1. Not every parent has internet at home for any of a wide variety of reasons;
  2. The blog might be private with only student access for privacy concerns;
  3. Access to blogs might be blocked at school but the teacher blogs from home;
  4. The principal of the school wishes to have paper generated for whatever reason;
  5. The blog might be part of a project where a culminating document detailing everything is desired;
  6. The blog is reset for a new year or new unit or
  7. You just want a copy of your blog in another format …

Yes, upon further review, I can see where there may be reasons for a blog to be in a different format for a specific use.

I think that the other thing about a solution would be that it needs to be easily re-purposed by a teacher to the differing format.  Typically, blogs have considerable effort in their creation and who has the time for yet another creation?

I then thought about BlogBooker.  I had blogged about its use in the past here.  At that point, I was thinking about using it as a way to create a backup for a blog or a permanent record of thoughts.  I’ve actually used it to create a couple of backups of my entire blog.  It works very easily when I want a book of everything (including the graphics and pictures that I embed in posts) but would it do the trick on a more flexible basis?

The procedure is pretty easy.

  1. Export your blog content from your blog  (it’s in XML format but most people wouldn’t care or need to care about the format);
  2. Upload the content to Blogbooker;
  3. Wait a minute of two;
  4. Download your book in PDF format.

Conceivably that PDF could be filed away for posterity or printed if it absolutely had to be.

But, what about content of a shorter duration?  I never really paid close enough attention when I did the steps above to see if it was customizable.  So, I went through the process and actually paid attention this time.

Now, I use WordPress as my host and so went to my dashboard and the export tool.

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Well, I’ll be.  There are configuration options!  I can set a start and end date.  In terms of the content, I could choose just the posts or all content.  I’m thinking that just the posts would suit my needs best.  Click on the “Download Export File” button and it’s on my hard drive.  That was easy.  The only limitation that I could see was that the export was done month by month.  Probably not a big issue as the newsletter might well be a monthly one.

Now, it’s over to BlogBooker.

Step one is to let BlogBooker know what type of Blog this comes from.  It supports WordPress, Blogger, and LiveJournal.  That’s a good selection.  Then comes the WOW moment.  There are a huge collection of formatting options for the output.  The preferences are customizable for any purpose.  I elected NOT to use “Footnoted Links” because my blog entries have a great deal of links in them.  If the ultimate goal is to send it to a printer, then you’re not going to want each entry on a separate page, I hope.

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Give BlogBooker a few moments and voila!  There’s the nicely formatted book in PDF format that you can download or view right in your browser.  I really like the fact that I could customize further the start/finish dates of the publication and the images are intact.  I really like the concept and it was so simple to do.  Plus, the headers and footers put a nice finishing touch on the whole product.

It even includes pumpkin shirts!

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Thanks, George, for the question and the opportunity for me to revisit this very powerful application.  Thanks, also to Aviva and Peter for keeping the conversation going.

 

The Price of Literacy


I was doing some writing yesterday and just wanted to confirm the appropriate use of a particular piece of punctuation.  It was about the use of an Ellipsis … so I used the Guide to Grammar and Writing to get the job done.

The process was pretty easy.  I just opened another tab, went to my bookmark, found what I needed, and then went back to my writing.

My mind wandered, as it often does, and I thought that this would be a great reference application.  I could be a split-second more productive if I could do my writing on the computer and reference things on the iPad and be oh, so much better.

I immediately dropped my work and headed to the App Store and searched for “punctuation”.

There were lots of results.  But the reference materials came at a price.

Interesting.

The good news is that there was a game to teach punctuation that was free, but it does offer in-app purchases.  We’ve become accustomed to that.  I still was quite surprised that there was no free product available.

How about Android?

Whew!

Does this make Android users more literate than Apple users?  Or, do Android users just need more help?

It was just an interesting observation.  Thankfully, we have our priorities right.  Games are free; educational reference not.  Such is the price of literacy.  

So, folks, pay attention to your English teachers.  Otherwise, it will cost you…

 

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…


…chances are it’s a duck and spends its life running from hunters.

We could extrapolate this – if your school library looks like a 19th century library and runs like a 19th century library, chances are it’s a 19th century library and is running for its life to stay open.

One of my friends used to upset teacher-librarians by asking what they did.  He’d do the cha-ching, cha-ching sound affect and go through the actions of checking books in and out.  Actually, “upset” is probably a politically correct way to describe their reaction.  I’m sure you can think of the word that would be more appropriate.  I try not to use words like that on this blog.

I think we’ve all seen the media.  In an educational world trying to save a buck or two, school libraries are being closed and the books therein sent to individual classrooms.  And, I suppose if that’s all that was happening in the library, it’s probably a good move.  Today’s libraries should be much, much more.

Carol Koechlin sent me a link to a document from the Canadian Library Association titled “Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada 2014“.  My first reaction was “Oh, good…another advocacy document”.  However, my reaction changed as I started to read and unpack.  It really is much more than that.  It’s a guide to describe what a School Library Learning Commons should look like, and run like.

From Carol, “A Learning Commons is a vibrant, whole-school approach, presenting exciting opportunities for collaboration among teachers, teacher-librarians and students. Within a Learning Commons, new relationships are formed between learners, new technologies are realized and utilized, and both students and educators prepare for the future as they learn new ways to learn.”  Read more at www.togetherforlearning.ca.

I kept getting impressed as I worked my way through the document.  After all, the notion of a Learning Commons has been around for a while and is poorly implemented in many quarters.  Putting a bank of computers in a library doesn’t immediately transform it.  That simply puts electronics in place.  I would argue that it’s more than that and goes not only to the acquisition of the electronic but also into the staffing.  It should be staffed first, with the best qualified and interested person.  After all, to succeed, the best Teacher Librarian needs to know all of the curriculum at all of the grade levels.  The best Teacher Librarian needs to know age appropriate literacy and research strategies.  The best Teacher Librarian knows all about differentiation and strategies for success.

Back to the document.   The concept of a Learning Commons is not new.  Hopefully, the document will be shared with everyone else in the school.  In fact, I think it’s important enough to devote an entire Professional Learning session around it.  Not only will it change the conception of what the school library is, there should be lights going on throughout the staff as to how best to use this resource.  As in most cases, the administration of the school needs to see the huge potential that a true Learning Commons has and how it supports learning everywhere.

For example, the document lays out the rationale for an investment in money, time, and resources by identifying seven foci.

Focus on:

  • Learning
  • Learner
  • Pathways
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Opportunity

The purposes and standards are laid out in this recurring graphic along with in-depth discussion of each.

I liked, in particular, the levels of indication of success for each of the standards.

I had the chance to reflect on my own personal use of the library as a computer science teacher.  I’ve mentioned more than once that the computer science teacher is often the loneliest person in a school.  I was so fortunate to have a teacher-librarian who I could learn with and who was forever filling my mailbox with ideas for classes, research, and just general ideas about pushing students.

When I think of the best of the teacher-librarians I worked with as a consultant, they were forever doing that for the entire school.  Stirring the intellectual pot, if you will.

The document does include a planning guide that all teacher-librarians would be wise to use or adapt for their own use.  There are so many considerations about the physical plant.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  Ideas about a virtual learning comments are included as well.  I know that I had success working with colleagues using wikis to develop a launchpad for the virtual.  If you’re not ready to operate at that level, there’s even a template to get you started.  Make it your own and customize or use it as a checklist to make sure that your virtual world is up to speed.  In particular, I really like the concept of a tab devoted to Experimental Learning.  Who could deny that you’re working on the cutting edge with that consideration?

This is a fabulous document.  It’s not a quick read since the potential role of a successful School Learning Commons facilitating change in learning is gigantic.  The document truly does do the role of the teacher-librarian justice.  It’s something that all teacher-librarians need to wrap their heads around – select the do-ables and develop a timeline for implementation.  Once that’s done, your purpose needs to be shouted loudly to admin and staff to take advantage of all that you’re offering.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was another week of inspirational reading from my friends / colleagues in Ontario who are sharing their learning and thinking via their blogs.  I can’t recall what I was reading but the question was posed “Should teachers blog or has it become too passé.  (Accent is mine – it was from a blog that clearly was English only…)  Anyway, I would submit that anyone who doesn’t see the value of teachers blogging just doesn’t get it.  Learning today is much more than waiting for the edict to arrive via a staff meeting or a memo.  I would expect that any job in education whether it be for a new teacher or any teacher aspiring for a position of added responsibility should include reference to the applicant’s blog where they openly and publicly reflect upon their practice.

Here’s some of the good stuff I read this week.


Project Based Learning: Don’t Start with a Question

I’ve said it before – I wish that I had met Peter Skillen a long time ago.  His thinking always pushes mine.  He’s not aware of any box so he can’t “think outside the box” – he just thinks – and shares.

I remember a conversation that he and I had once where he has expressed frustration with the pedagogues who implemented policy at the board level by attending a single presentation, asked the presenter for his slides, and off they went.  No deep thinking about the impact of implementation without understanding what’s going on.

In this post, Peter takes on a fresh look at the concept of PBL with a different approach to the project and then extends it to a flip.  It’s a very good read.  I’d suggest that you read it at least twice so that you don’t miss or misunderstand his message.

I shared it on Twitter and got some interesting responses, including a response from Craig Kemp…

which led me to a reflection of his own.

PBL in Mathematics – Creating a Board Game

How’s that for keeping the conversation going?


A screenshot away from your own perfect worksheet!

I added a new blog entry to the list of Ontario Edubloggers this week.  Svetlana Lupasco is an ESL teacher – I’m somehow attracted to ESL teachers – maybe it’s the respect of being able to communicate in a variety of languages?  Maybe because it’s got to be one of the toughest jobs in education?  Maybe because they’re the ultimate users of differentiation?

The title of the post made me a little wary until I saw the context – it wasn’t about filling 15 minutes doing mindless repetition, but rather respecting the adult learner and putting the learning in context.

I found myself nodding in agreement with the message of the post.  I find that I do the same sort of thing in blogging or document creation.  Perhaps my goal is different but I think that the technique and rationale makes a great deal of sense.

And, the resources for images is noteworthy too.  “My two favourite free open-source websites are pixabay.com and openclipart.org


Tapping It Up A Notch: Pool Noodles

First of all, the concept of “noodle” has to be an Essex County thing.  Everyone knows they’re called woggles.

I know that this is an older post, judging by the date, but it’s a great application and certainly something for students to think about as they head home or to the local public pool.

It’s a great, practical application that students are sure to relate to.

I had to do a little mathematics like that myself this spring, only mine extended the concept further.  As I took the winter cover off the pool, I was sickened to see that a branch had torn a hole in the cover and the lovely stuff that accumulates on top managed to make the pool look more like a swamp.

Now, my pool is round, so fortunately, the woggle would bend.  Then, I had to shock the pool which required being able to calculate the volume of water in the pool to determine how much shock to add.

Don’t ever, ever question the fact that mathematics is everywhere!


Independent Study Projects – Semester 2 2013/2014

Emily Fitzpatrick shares some of the work that sprung from ISUs in computer science classes.

This computer science teacher found the post so interesting.

At its simplest, computer science can be a discipline where you watch the teacher demonstrate code and then modify it a bit for their own solutions. 

However, you raise the ante when you ask the question “Why” and expect well thought through responses.  This was a pleasure for me to read.


Why Write? Is Anyone Reading It?

I can’t believe that there’s a blogger alive that hasn’t asked that question and probably never totally satisfied with the answers.  I would suggest that, while you may not blog and change the world, you can always blog your thoughts, reflections, and either get confirmation or challenge yourself while writing.  If you’re looking for a world of reflective practice, this is absolutely the place to do it.

I think that Sue Bruyns absolutely nails the essence of blogging for that purpose in her opening sentence.

“Strolling down memory lane” is your absolutely perfect, bullet-proof, technique to let you know exactly how much you’ve grown professionally.  I would challenge anyone to come up with a better way to demonstrate personal growth other than blogging and reflecting regularly.

I hope that this is a reflection at one point in time and that she continues to blog.  As a leader within a school district, it demonstrates the type of leadership that is open, transparent, and so needed in an educational world that can be so quirky at times.


The downside to writing “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” is that I have to force myself to stop or I never would. 

I hope that you’re curious enough to follow the links above and, when you get your fill, check out the big list of Ontario Edubloggers.  There is always some incredibly good reading there.

Sidebar Cleanup


After my observations and score yesterday, I decided to start to clean up the layout of this blog.

 

In particular, I looked at the widgets that I had in the side bar.
Remember that I mused that they shouldn’t be longer than a post?
So, here’s a first run at cleaning things up and my rationale behind removing each.
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This was some advertising for the Bring IT Together Conference from last year.  It’s over and is just dead wood on the blog so it’s gone.  The idea was to post it so that people would know who was presenting at the conference, where, and when.  It served its purpose.  There’s a badge for #BIT14 and I’ll leave it there.  (for now)
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This widget allowed you to find a month from the past and zip to the posts.  It really is redundant since just above it you’ll find a calendar search.  So, it’s toast.
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Nobody but me would ever use the Admin panel so what’s the point?  I’ll just bookmark to the WordPress login page and take it from there.
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This is one of those vanity dealies.  You probably don’t care (and shouldn’t) how many readers visit here.  What’s more important is that YOU are here and for that I am thankful.
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This was actually a mistake that I made in configuration and never cleaned it up.  It was an easy one to delete.
So, the sidebar is quite a bit shorter without the above widgets.  In my mind, I can give reasons for keeping the rest.  Quite frankly, they’re more for my use than anything else.
What do you think?  Is there more housekeeping to be done?  Or, should I not delete any of the above?

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