This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s Friday and time to reflect on some of reading I did from around the province this past week.  There are some new (to me) blogs featured this week and an old friend.  When you’re done scouting these, make sure that you read the complete collection of Ontario Edublogs.


It’s a Slow Process

Thanks, Brian Aspinall, for giving me the heads up on Nicole Beuckelare’s blog.  It was nice to find something new and to add it to the Livebinder and the Scoopit! page

Her latest post reflects on the length of time that it takes for change to happen.

I had to smile – anyone who works anywhere in education is quite aware of this phenomenon.  It’s amazing to think that computers and related technologies have been around in the classroom for over 30 years.  Yet, there are some people that are just finding this out!  Ditto for the concept of making to learn.  It’s not a new concept; teachers of technologies have known that creation is the best possible way to learn for years.

In her post, Nicole mentions that she had taken part in the PLP Group five years ago.  That brought back memories for me.  I submitted two cohorts years ago.  Both of the cohorts grew incredibly from the experience.  It really helped the eLearning teachers incorporate more web technologies in their online courses.  The elementary school teachers developed a culture of sharing and celebrating everything among themselves.  It didn’t happen over night but it did happen with the intense supports put in place.

But, how about the hundreds of others that didn’t have the experience?  They work hard every day with the tools, knowledge, and understanding that they have.  Change is a longer process here.

The whole concept, again, reinforces the notion that ongoing professional learning is required for all if we want significant change.  Just how many opportunities does your district give you this year?  If there are few to none, are they really serious about making change happen?


My Promise to You

This post flows nicely from Nicole’s.

Aviva Dunsiger is extremely visible about the change that she wants to make.  There’s always a new post of interest about something on her blog.

Her recent post shares some of the techniques that she uses to try to ensure success for all of her students.

It’s important to note the totality of her efforts.  It’s not just technology that’s the answer.  I think that’s an important message for all to hear.  It’s a great tool but isn’t necessarily the only one.

Aviva reflects on the complete package.


The New Wave of Vocab Games

Communication is what it’s all about in the language classroom, whether first or second language.  Interestingly, oral communications, which is so important may well be the less precise of all the communications.  When the recipient of the communication can interpret not only the actual communication but also the intent, you can be “close” and still be understood.

If you want to see this in action, watch me butcher the French language and yet still get the message across.

To be really precise, use a computer!  Ironically, this precision can be very motivating for students.

In this post, Myra Mallette shares two applications that she’s using this year – Quizlet and Kahoot.

If you know of a French teacher looking for a way to further engage students, send them this link.  Well crafted gaming can do so much in the classroom.


New Book ~ Reflecting in Communities of Practice: A Workbook for Early Childhood Educators

When I finished my time at the Faculty of Education, there really wasn’t any way to continue the learning through them.  I guess that the logic was that once you’ve jumped the fence and got your BEd, it’s time to move on and grab the next class.

I’m not sure that the intent of the Faculty of Education, UWO’s blog is to reach out to the entire teaching profession but why not?  Check out this blog to find the latest and greatest resources that have been added to their library.  If it looks good and you have access to that library, great.  If not, forward the title to those who look after the professional collection wherever you work and ask that they purchase the materials and make them available to your organization.

After all, we all know that learning shouldn’t stop just because you graduated!


Thanks to all of the bloggers who continue to share their thinking and push us all to new and exciting things.  There’s always some great learning shared by Ontario Edubloggers.

 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I’ve got to start this post with a big round of appreciation to Aviva Dunsiger.  Even though she lives 4 hours from me, she knows my blogging habits.  When a post didn’t go through yesterday, she knew it immediately and let me know.  I had to do some work – for some reason WordPress always goes to April in the Chrome browser.  I still don’t know why.  I’m back home to Firefox to write this post so I’m hoping that there are no glitches.  In the meantime, check out Aviva’s blog – she’s always good for an interesting post and you’ve probably seen many references to her blog from mine.

On to some of the good stuff this week from Ontario Edubloggers.


Life in Uganda

There’s a lot being said about Visible Thinking these days.  In this post, Jaclyn shares some of the questions that her class are asking about Uganda to phrase their thinking and research.

Often, we see this sort of thing at the end of the activity.  By placing it up front, students have them at home and at school for reference, parents see what’s happening and it’s bound to make the thinking deeper.


Singing the Homework Blues

Could there be anything that says “back to school” more than worrying about homework – whether as a teacher or a parent?

It’s a tough topic.  If you’re doing any reading about homework, you’ve probably noticed the discussion around the value of it.  In fact, there are some districts that are banning it altogether.

I remember, as a student, having to spend an hour after school in my room “doing homework”.  I recall a variety of activities like writing, colouring, drawing, or my favourite – doing mathematics.  Now that I’m blogging, I wish that I’d paid more attention to writing – I keep getting nailed as a passive writer.  Grrr.

After supper, I had to go back to my room for another hour.  This time, it was to practice playing the guitar.  We were paying for the lessons and I guess my parents were determined to get their money worth.  It probably worked – playing the steel guitar, I’ve known more Hawaiian or Country & Western songs than any student should have to.

As I think about it, the guitar and most of the homework was painstaking practice and repetition.  You’ve got to love the drill and kill – not!  But the fun was in finding a new way to solve a problem or to create a new song on the guitar.  That stuck with me.  As a new teacher, I thought that I had to assign homework.  I can’t remember what was the most useless activity; taking it up or going around checking to see who had done it and who hadn’t.  Later, I ditched the drill homework.  I had subscribed to “Games” magazine and used it as inspiration to give puzzles for homework instead.  Immediately, there was an uptake in doing these puzzles and coming to class on time was a priority since that’s when we solved the puzzle as a class.  And, when you peel back the onion, what’s computer science if not solving puzzles?


Making My Thinking Visible…the MMM Goes Public!

Donna Fry gave me a heads-up on this new blog.  I’ll be honest; I don’t even know who the author is but the first post is interesting.

At first blush, I think it goes beyond just making the thinking visible.

It’s about making the leadership visible.

It definitely goes out on a limb.  Everyone gets a chance to see the message and respond to it.

I wonder why more leaders don’t do this.  (Actually, I know the answer to that and I’m sure that you do too.)


GBL beyond Minecraft

When I read the title to Diana Maliszewski’s post, I thought that maybe she was going to talk about the recent Microsoft acquisition but, in fact, it turned out to be about Bop It!

I’d never heard of this before but really enjoyed Diana’s description about how she’s been using it.

If you’re teaching Drama and Dance, you might just want to check this out.

It sounds like fun.  I wish I was in this class.  I wonder if Diana will bring it to the BIT Conference for a little more social fun.


What a great collection of shared learnings from Ontario Educators this week. Please check out the original posts and all of the work from the Ontario group. There’s always something exciting happening.

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

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?