Tag Archives: youtube

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here’s some of the great things that caught my attention this week from the fingertips of Ontaro Edubloggers.

Using Google Apps to Make Interactive Stories

Sylvia Duckworth produced a very helpful instructional blog showing yet another use for Google Forms.  This time, she gives a step by step set of instructions for creating an interactive Adventure.

And, it comes as no surprise that her demonstrations include one adventure in English and another one in French!

This was but the beginning – she continues to show how to create interactive stories in Presentations, Google Docs, and YouTube.  If you’re looking for a little something different, there’s a great deal here.

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The Appearance of Credibility and Other Useless Pursuits

There was a gentleman in my first school who had this assessment myth attributed to him.  Come report card time, he would call each student to stand in front of his desk, look the student up and down, and then generate a mark for the student.

Of course, that’s the stuff of staff room lore and had no basis in truth.  But, it was a good story!  Assessment and Evaluation have been hot professional development topics that have been “done” recently.

In this post, Tim King spins his own thoughts about assessment.

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#ecoo13 review

You can’t beat a good blog post.  But, what is a blog anyway?

Does it have to be something that’s done in WordPress or Blogger?

Or is it the content and the message that’s important?  Of course, it is.

Lisa Noble, instead of using a traditional blogging platform, used a presentation format to share her thoughts and takeaways from the recent Educational Computing Organization of Ontario conference.

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The 3-D MakerBot Arrives at F.E. Madill

Very cool things are happening in Heather Durnin’s class.  She blogs about the 3-D MakerBot’s arrival and ultimate setup at the school.  If you read the blog and see how the setup was done, you’ll be confident that the “kids are alright”.  This will be a very nice addition to her classroom.  I’m jealous.

I cracked a big grin when she asked if these two printers could co-exist!

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#RCAC13 Final Program

If you’re able to make it to London on December 5, you’ll absolutely get a great day of Professional Learning at the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Annual Symposium.  It’s just one day in length but you’ll get a chance to hear two inspirational keynote speakers – Travis Allen and Gary Stager – as well as attend sessions from educational leaders from the Western Ontario region.

Oh, and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Full disclosure – I’ve been asked to co-chair the conference again with Doug Sadler.  It’s been a local event that I’ve been so passionate about since my first year as a consultant with the Essex County Board of Education.  I always used to bring my superintendent and key principals to hear what’s happening in other school districts just up the 401.  Every other school district would do the same thing and we would serve to push each other to greater and greater things.  It’s a full days of ideas and inspiration.

As Rodd Lucier notes:

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Please take a few moments to read this posts and check out all of those in the Ontario Educational Blogging community.  My collection can be found in the LiveBinder located here.

Textbooks


On Sunday, I added another to my series of interviews.  This time, I was fortunate to be able to interview Alfred Thompson.  If you haven’t read it, I would like to recommend that you do so.  He’s an interesting guy.

One of the questions that I asked was what was his favourite computer science textbook.  This has always been a flash point for me.  Schools seem to be able to find money for the latest mathematics or language textbooks but optional courses don’t fare as well.  Alfred’s recommendation was Rob Miles‘ C# Yellow Book.  If you’re visiting this and are a Computer Science teacher, follow the link and see what you think.

As I was preparing for my interview and came across that question, I wondered to myself what my answer would have been.  It brought back all kinds of memories as a Computer Science teacher, and before that, as a Data Processing teacher.

When I got my first job, I taught Data Processing and was part of the Business Education department.  I had a full schedule of Data Processing from Grade 10-12 and inherited the choice of textbooks that I think were probably very common throughout the province.  In Grade 10, we taught a lower level language designed to teach the elements of computer architecture like registers and absolute memory locations.  In Grade 11 and 12, students could continue their studies and Fortran was the language of choice in both Data Processing and Computer Science.  Often, students would take both courses and so a very necessary approach was to change the type of problem that was offered.  This was long before a curriculum was available from the Ministry but I think we did a very good job of providing problems that were applicable to Business and then Mathematics/Science.  But the thing that got me was that this was the same book that I used in my own high school experience!  It was more about teaching the language and consequently I was constantly creating my own problems for students to solve.  Thankfully, four years of university had provided me with all kinds of ideas that were melded to fit secondary school aged students appropriately.

So why this shaggy dog story?  It was a few years later, and I ended up teaching both courses.  By that time, we had chosen completely different programming languages.  the Data Processing class was using BASIC and the Computer Science class, Pascal.  Now, with all the programming languages that I’ve used, I’d never experienced Pascal.  I had two months to learn it!  Unlike now where I’d just head over to YouTube, I decided to buy a book.  It turns out that this was the best thing I’d ever done.  Not only did I learn how to program in Pascal, I changed my entire approach to teaching programming.  The book, Oh! Pascal! did it for me.  Very early in the book, I got it.  While I had been paying lip service to teaching “problem solving” instead of teaching “the language”, this book changed everything.  We weren’t preparing the kids for the language that they would use at university; we should be teaching them to solve problems so that they could use whatever language that they had to use.  And, stop taking yourself so seriously – make programming fun, tell stories, laugh at yourself.  If you’re programming in Pascal, or hopefully Delphi, or actually anything, see if you can lay your hands on a copy of this book.  You won’t regret it.

Later, much later, languages are experimented with and dropped/kept as great teachers within our district tried to stay on top of an ever moving target.  As Alfred notes in the interview, often you’re running just to avoid losing ground.  I was no longer in the classroom but working as the computer consultant at the board office and we’re doing an introspective look at what the courses might offer.  At the time, Holt Software was big in the province.  I worked quite frequently with Tom West (whose wife is a very interesting Sci-Fi author) and Chris Stephenson and they were always helping us with professional learning.  We had elected to license Turing as our introductory programming language and Java for the older grades.

Now, for those of us new to Java, this was quite a challenge.  The BASIC -> Java path was very slippery.  Fortunately, Holt Software had a publication that had us covered.  “The ‘Don’t Panic’ Guide to Programming in Java”  Again, it’s not really a textbook but more of a conversational approach to learning to program.  It made the hurdle of going from nothing to running with Java relatively easy.

Unlike the traditional textbook, computer science textbooks are different.  They recognize that not everything may be linear for student (and often teacher) learning.  Choosing the right resource is very important.

If you’re a computer science teacher reading this post, let me ask you the same question I asked Alfred.  What’s your favourite computer science textbook?  Or, do you even use a computer science textbook?

If you’re not a computer science teacher but have hung around enough to reach the bottom of this post — have you ever used a resource that changed your approach to teaching?  What was it and how did it make that change?

Giuseppe Verdi


This post is a big departure from the normal things on my blog but I do have license to write about whatever I want!

One of the places we pass on a particular dog walk route is the Verdi Club in Amherstburg.  Like so many clubs that you’ll find, it’s a very popular place for wedding receptions, all of my kids had their graduation there, and there’s a wonderful restaurant open to the public where we’ve been known to drop in to enjoy a night out.

Recently, a big banner has been on display announcing the recognition of Giuseppe Verdi‘s 200th birthday.

Now, I’m not a frequent visitor to the opera but there is an odd connection to me and to education!  Yes, I did accompany a fellow teacher as a chaperone on a field trip to Toronto where we did attend an opera.  But there’s another connection.

In my first year of teaching, one of the English teachers at my school happened to be patrolling the hallways after dismissal and before the buses left.  He stuck his head into my classroom (the door was always open) where I was at my desk marking and I had my portable stereo tuned to the local rock station and I was doing my thing.

I’ll still remember the conversation.

“How can you mark with that stuff on?”

My new found mentor then invited me down to his classroom to see how marking should be done.

I had not mastered the fine art of marking yet.  I never thought of it as an art; it was more of a marathon for me.

Maybe this guy has the key.  What could I lose?

I dropped down to his classroom at day end a couple of days later and, sure enough, he had music on his portable stereo.  I stuck my head in the door and saw the trick to marking.  He had opera playing on the machine and, with both hands, he was directing!  Clearing my throat to let him know I was there, I was in for a lesson.  Apparently, there was an art to holding your red pen like a conductor.  I’ll never forget what was playing – it was “La Traviata” by Verdi.

After that, I did listen to more classical music while marking but I’ll admit, I was never quite a complete convert.

But, as a tribute to that moment, and to celebrate Verdi’s birthday, I present “La Traviata”.

Looking for more?  There’s lots more on YouTube.

The Seattle Times recommends 10 recordings to listen to in honour of Verdi’s birthday.

On Twitter, look for the hashtag #Verdi200

International Day of the Girl


@mzshanksalot, a teacher and Computer Contact at Windsor Ontario’s Marlborough Public School can be very passionate about her personal beliefs.  This passion has spread to a group of young ladies who have created a video for the International Day of the Girl and shared it on YouTube.  The event caught the attention of the local newspaper and the story can be read here.

I love how technology has allowed these young ladies to share their voice on a very important issue.  In this case, they used PowToon.  It will be difficult to watch this video and not become emotional about their message.  How do YOU enable students to share their voice?

From YouTube, here’s a description about how the video was created.

A video about facts of girls around the world and the day for them. There are also quotes on what we should do and artistic pics representing education importance for girls…

Social Media and Flooding


You have to be hiding to not read or see the news coming from Calgary and the flooding that is hitting that city.  It was the top news stories on all of the channels that I watched this morning – CNN, CTV News, CBC News.  The only thing that brought a smile was the US reporting where they referenced the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police” whereas the Canadian channels reported as Canadians would say “Mounties” or “RCMP”.

The video was horrendous and yet, as I watched and switched channels, I couldn’t help but notice how staged for the news things were.  There’s Prime Minister Harper; there’s a professional clip showing the action from the Bow River, …  The reports are well scripted, shot, and have professional voice overs.  You would expect that coming from such professional news organizations.

But there’s another side to the reporting.

The common citizen, affected by what is happening right in front of their eyes are capturing the event live, as it happens.  It’s not part of their job; it’s not their assignment; they’re not getting a pay cheque for their efforts – they’re sharing what they’re seeing for themselves, their families and the world.  The video is shot in the first person; sometimes great quality, sometimes not so great.

However, there is a sense of authenticity to it.  It really comes from the heart.  Here’s just a random video from Jordan Danik, posted on YouTube.  As I write this, it has 183 views.

Much more can be found here.

My thoughts go out to Calgarians and friends from Alberta.

I also wonder about classroom moments and discussions about this on Monday.  If your access to social media is blocked, is this an opportunity lost?  News is often reported and fully covered there first.  Is this not a perfect opportunity to leverage the power of social media in the classroom?

 

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was another wonderful week of reading in Ontario Edublogs.  Here are some of the great things I read recently.

The Number Line
Sheila Stewart has Klout.

Inspired by another blog post, she spends some time sharing her thoughts about putting a number to one’s participation in social media.  Then, she concludes with the question “Quantity simply does not mean quality, especially with social media….unless I am missing something?

I think we need to get a deeper understanding about what a Klout score is.  If you dig, it’s really not about Quantity.  Klout tries to attach a number to quality.  The mathematician in me says that if this is true, there has to be an algorithm to make it happen.  I dug to an authoritative service, Quora to do some reading and found a link to a great mathematical talk about how to reverse engineer a Klout score.  It’s certainly not an easy read.  So, Klout tries to attach a number to influence and how people react to your online presence.  I’m reminded as to how Google ends up ranking search results.

Like it or not, we live in a world where many results are summarized to a number.  Dare I make a reference to standardized tests?  Now, school districts have workshops about how to improve your standardized tests scores.  Should we have workshops about how to improve one’s Klout?  I guess if it’s important to you.  My personal tact has always been to be who I am and be happy about it.  I never think about how something I might do would affect my score and I never invite people for a coffee based upon their Klout scores.    Recently, I was in Thunder Bay and did invite her out for a coffee and a chat.  She spoke well for a 54.    Oh, I’m going to hear about that now!

Anyway, just in case it matters to Sheila, I gave her +K in Ontario and Education while I had logged onto Klout just in case she needed a boost.  Quite frankly, I’d rather have a good blogpost or Twitter engagement with her.


Always Learning
Stratford Ontario is an absolutely wonderful city to visit in Western Ontario.  There are a few Twitter people that I follow from there and now I can say that I follow a celebrity!

Congratulations to Tracy Bachellier for her recognition with an Avon Maitland DSB “Always Learning” award.

In recognition, the district created and posted a YouTube video outlining her accomplishments.

Way to go, Tracy! I’m sure that the school appreciates your contributions.


EQAO Musings
In a world where you can easily bash EQAO and other standardized testing, Lorraine Boulos tries to show the other side of the situation.

The post includes a thoughtful look at how one educator uses the opportunity to improve her craft.

I really like the concept of self-reflection about teaching with the goal for improvement in the classroom.  It’s just a shame that it takes a standardized test to make it happen.  I suspect that Lorraine would do so whether the test was there or not.  She does identify the challenges of trying to cover the entire curriculum while making room for EQAO.


Inquiry-based teaching is not daunting. Just do it!
If you’re looking for inspiration for bringing Inquiry based activities into your classroom, you need to read Louise Robitaille’s latest post.

It’s a reblog of a colleague’s thoughts about Inquiry.  It’s a good read and gave me another blog to add to my list of future reads.

In the meantime, “Just do it!”


Celebrating our Pet Rabbit Inquiry
All good things come to an end and so did Rabbit Road for Joanne Babalis’ class.  Of course, kindergarten classes never miss an opportunity to have a good celebration.

In this case, it was a Rabbit Picnic.  Imagine a celebration complete with rabbit food and guests!

Hopefully, Hop the class rabbit, shared some of the goodies brought to the picnic!

Above and beyond the idea and concept of an interesting celebration, the post serves as an excellent example of how you can document classroom activities and invite parents to know and understand what’s happening in the classroom.


Once again, it was another great week of reading.  Please support these bloggers by visiting and bookmarking their blogs and visit the complete collection here.

Pinterest Boards for Educators


If I was looking to enter the fray of “numbered resources for whatever”, I could have called this post “9 Pinterest Boards for Education You Must Follow” or something like that.  Fortunately, the nine of them all originate from one master!

The Pinterest site is curated by Med Knarbach and it’s a very nice, visual collection of resources.  I’ve used a number of online resources to collect things – most notably my Diigo site which certainly predates Pinterest.  I’m not about to move everything to a new platform but if I was starting out now, I might want to consider this approach.

Pinterest.png

Pinterest provides an engaging interface and easily allows for following boards and repinning.  In this collection, look for Pinterest boards titled:

Together, it makes a nicely curated collection.  The only thing that’s missing is the ability to tag individual boards.  Maybe the visual presentation makes that unnecessary?

Check out the boards – follow one or follow them all.

You can get to the top board which brings these all together here.

April 1


One of the days that you really have to be on your toes as a teacher is April Fools’ Day.  You never know what your charges will be up to.

In reality, it’s not all that terribly difficult to know that something is up.  First, there’s the distraction in the hallway before class when you get asked a few dumb questions while whatever is going to happen gets set up.  Then, when you enter the classroom, all of a sudden every set of eyes in the class is watching you quietly.  You know that never happens – there’s always that student or groups of students that are otherwise occupied.  On April 1, they’re all watching, watching, watching.  So, you look for the tack on your chair, check the blackboard for writing, look for buckets of water on the doorway, and so on…

The very best “gag” that was done was actually very well done.  Two students had written a computer program that looked like the log on screen to the network.  It had the details down to the last pixel.  Then, they would walk away from the computer with their program running.  The unsuspecting victim comes along and enters their userid and password (nicely done with * to mask the characters just like in real life).  This information is then piped to a text file before sending the message to the victim that they had entered an incorrect password.  In the background, the computer would close the text file, log off, and the victim would next be presented with the real login screen – they enter their details, get logged in and life goes on as it’s supposed to.  Alas, their credentials had effectively been stolen.  Of course, when the teacher found out about it, a discussion ensued on two levels.  First to the authors to indicated that this activity had risen beyond the level of a joke and to the others about the importance of being tech savvy when a computer displays unexpected behaviour.

This year, April Fools’ Day activities started to appear on March 31 locally.  Of course, it already was April 1 in other places.  There were some interesting gags this year.

What makes these so effective is the time spent by the authors making them look just like everything else is a company’s product line.  You’d have to look awfully close to see if there’s any indication that you’re looking at something bogus.  To that end, I’m going to add a number of these to my wiki resource “Sites that should make you go Hmmm“.  Their is an educational value to these.  In addition to enjoying the efforts of the creators, just like the password snagger program, students need to be able to read and discern what they’re seeing on the internet.  It’s so important to be able to assign a truth value to what you’re reading.

I couldn’t trip up my friend Alfred Thompson with this announcement.

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One of the better collections of April Fool’s Jokes can be found here on this Rebelmouse Page.  Mashable has a great summary here.

Did you find a gag or joke that was particularly noteworthy yesterday?  If so, please let me know in the comments.

 

Learning from Radio


Talking about new ways to learn brought another thing to mind.  I’ve been a subscriber to XM Radio for a few years now.  I really like it, other than the fact that I wish you had the option to just subscribe to one channel!  If that was the case, I’d just subscribe to E Street Radio.

Other than music from one of our lifetime’s great artists, it’s just the fact that I’ve learned a great deal just listening to the station.  In particular, there’s a show called “Cover Me” devoted to Bruce Springsteen covers – either other artists who have covered his music or music that he’s covered.

From that, I’ve learned the following…

Blinded By The Light” – I would have sworn that this was an original by Manfred Mann.  Not so!  It was written by Springsteen!

Jersey Girl” – Again, I was wrong.  I would have thought this to be an original Bruce song.  It was originally written by Tom Waits.

And finally, this week, I have a new infatuation.  The tables are turned in the opposite direction.  I heard a version of Springsteen’s “Mansion on the Hill” by The National.  I really liked it and am now on a mission to listen to all of The National I can get.

This is a great find for me and I’ve just got to listen my way through this playlist.

Learning comes from the darnedest places!  What did people do before YouTube?

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