OTR Links 08/30/2014


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I just flew in from Niagara Falls and, boy, are my arms tired.  Yeah, I know, it’s an oldie but I think a goodie.  Henny Youngman?

Anyway, it was a day of planning for the Bring IT, Together Conference with my co-chair Cyndie Jacobs and we’re excited about the event.  It’s a chance to bring together Ontario educators for three days devoted to technology and, of course, a chance to catch up with some of the Ontario Edubloggers.  They’re always talking about something – here’s some of what I read this week.


A million thank you’s all the way from Greece!

Joanne Marie Babalis checked in reporting “a million” from her online presence.  I’m not sure if it’s hits or followers but that’s certainly a big number so congratulations.

Of course, the goal once you hit a million, is to hit two million so click through and add to her numbers!


“Boom! That just happened” – My Experience at the Google Teacher Academy

I remember my first look at the Google Campus.  I’m sure that my chin had hit the ground hard and was dragging.

Read about Rolland Chidiac’s experience here.  He shared 10 things that stuck with him after his visit to the Google Teacher Academy.


Things We Learn From Our Students

Lorraine Boulos shared an interesting take on a guest blogger for her blog.  She asked a retiring teacher to share some thoughts.  So, Mark Whinton penned three things learned from students.

It’s amazing advice as we head into the 2014-2015 school year.

Sadly, not everyone is listening. Kudos to those that are.


When is something worth writing about?

I really enjoy reading the leadership thoughts from Sue Bruyns.  Reflection has always been job #1 for me – I think it lets you learn from the present and plan for the future.  With social (and traditional) media, there is no shortage of places to write and share your thoughts.

As Sue expertly notes….

Maybe the question isn’t “When is something worth writing about?” but “When is something not worth writing about?”  There certainly is the public forum and there are no shortages of readers.  There’s also the private domain and that can be just as rewarding.

If it’s not memorialized somehow, it may just get lost forever.


Readers, this has been a wonderful week of reading and reflecting.  Thanks so much for continuing to share, think, learn, and grow.

Please take the time to check out these posts and the entire collection of Ontario Edubloggers.

And, most certainly, all the best next Tuesday.

OTR Links 08/29/2014


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

Q&A – Jeopardy Style


One of the favourite tools that was shared during my university class was a Flash based version of the popular game show, Jeopardy.  We talked about using it as a diagnostic tool or as a way to have students challenge their classmates during the research of a particular topic.  It certainly isn’t something that you base an entire course on, but it’s nice to shake things up a bit.  Paired with a SMARTBoard, it also helps students with their presentation skills.

These days, not all devices effectively use Flash anymore and so that opportunity is lost.  Plus, if you created a game at home, you had to remember to bring the questions to school in order to use it!  If there was an application that screamed for a web-based solution, this was it.

Enter Flipquiz.

Like so many things these days, there’s a free and a paid (pro) version. The free version has the features that you need to give it a fair shakedown.

Visit the site and try out the demo quiz that’s online.  Six categories with five questions in each category.

If you’ve watched early evening television in the last 50 years, the presentation is so familiar.

Choose a category and a value…

I’ll take NBA Teams for 400…

I’ll buzz in with the answer “Utah”.  A reveal shows the answer is true.

Selecting student responses can be done a number of ways – hands, call on a student, or I used to use those “That was easy” devices from Staples.

That’s about it! 

You’re not going to use it daily – it would lose its lustre – but add it to your arsenal.

OTR Links 08/28/2014


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

What Does Coding Mean?


This was an interesting read for me this morning. Students: We need coding skills

I suppose I’m not terribly neutral on this.  I studied coding in high school; university; became qualified in Computer Science and Data Processing, and taught it for years.  Later, I licensed programming languages for use in our schools.  I’ve always believed in the power of knowing how to code and, after my first course figured that I was set for life.  Fortran was my ticket to everything.

Then, there was COBOL, BASIC, Pascal, C, C+, C#, Lisp, SNOBOL, WATFOR, WATFIV, Turing, ActionScript, Java, Javascript and goodness knows what else.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” Albert Einstein

I can attest that it only gets easier.  But, in the big scheme of things?

I made all of my kids take at least one computer science course in high school.  “Daaaaaad.  We don’t want to be geeky like you!”  The compromise was that they’d take the course but I would help with the homework.  (I would have anyway so it was a double win for me…)

None of them went on to be the next great developer and I’m OK with that.  What I am proud of though is that they’re all self-sufficient in their own use of technology. 

Check out this photo from my daughter – taken with her Android phone.  The caption was “Like father, like daughter”.

When you think of the traditional computer science environment, you probably think of each student with their own computer and, hopefully, collaboration spaces around the room.

Maybe, for one class, the room should just be open spaces with devices everywhere.  The goal is to take control over all of the devices.  For the programmer type, devotion to one device and one language suits the need.  For the truly digitally competent, shouldn’t they have more?

And, while we’re at it, shouldn’t it be compulsory for everyone?  Along with the implications of being so connected?

Of course, those devices around the room will need to be upgraded regularly.

OTR Links 08/27/2014


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