OTR Links 09/28/2014

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

What An Immediate World We Live In

I’m doing my normal morning routine.  I’m sitting in a chair reading blogs and news stories on my iPad and watching the morning news on WDIV, Channel 4 from Detroit.  (There’s no Canadian equivalent on at 5:30 that gives local weather…)

I had flipped over to Facebook where I follow WDIV and there’s a news story that hasn’t made it to air yet – “Pedestrian bridge collapses, closes M-39 after being hit by truck“.  Now, the Southfield Freeway isn’t one that I drive on regularly but you do see the turn off all the time on the way to the airport.

One of the powerful things about having a device handy when you watch the news is that you can do a little digging.  

So, I opened the Google Maps application and zoomed in.

Already, and this had just happened, the Google Map was showing the traffic situation and the accident location.  Within minutes, WDIV had their morning, mobile news team on site, interrupting the news for the latest details.

As the morning progressed, more details about the accident and what happened were released.

Stepping back, I just marvel at how immediate and current the information was to me.  It’s humbling, it really is.

Later on, I started to think about my weekly trips from Toronto back home to Kitchener.  From East York, it was straight up the Don Valley Parkway, onto the 401 and you’re headed west.  

Until you stop.

Then it’s time to flip around the radio channels to find a local station that’s covering traffic.  There are times when I wonder if anyone is seriously keeping an eye on things.  How many times have I heard the expression “building normally”?

It’s not a big leap to think about connected versus unconnected classrooms.  Connected classrooms are flipping around on their devices looking for the latest and important authorities, sometimes even as it happens.  Unconnected classrooms are flipping through old textbooks looking for materials.  They might read about current events in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Which classroom is yours?

OTR Links 09/27/2014

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

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.


OTR Links 09/26/2014

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

Better Searching

This story “10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Do With #Twitter Search” crossed my reading yesterday morning.  It’s a story about using advanced commands and modifiers to refine your Twitter Search.

I used to call this button the most useless link on the internet.

I wonder if anyone has ever seriously found anything that way.  Certainly, it is a curiosity and an amusement, but serious searching?

In fact, any search engine worth its salt has advanced commands and modifiers.  All that you have to do is learn and then commit them to memory or….

Use the advanced searching features!

So, while a Twitter search begins with this page….

….there is an advanced search page where you can use the sophisticated search features mentioned in the article.  Just click here instead.


Rather that memorizing the modifiers, just fill in the form and search.

No need to committing things to memory.

What a great way to zero in on the type of discussions happening on Twitter.

While at it, consider your other search engines.

For example, Google Basic looks like this..

But, there is an advanced search page here…..

Ditto for Yahoo!….

and the advanced search


As you can imagine, just with these few examples, there is no actual standard for advanced searching.  But, by using the Advanced Search features, you don’t need to know the syntax of a particular site.  Just fill in the form and start reeling in the results.

For the serious searcher, it makes more sense to me that you head directly to the advanced searching page to get to the precise results 

OTR Links 09/25/2014

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