This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s the first week of July.  That’s always nice.  If things would just warm up, it would be even better!  While waiting, check out these recent posts from some Ontario Educators.


Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

Zoe Branigan-Pipe took her wisdom and expertise south to the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia.

Ever notice that this “international” conference is never held on July 4?  There’s no qualms about part of it being on July 1 though.

Anyway, Zoe teases us with what she plans to cover in her session.  Hopefully, there’s a followup post coming to let us know how it went.


The Microsoft OneNote Project – Ensuring Success For All Students

There are all kinds of people sharing information about the use of Google Apps for Education online.  I’ve mentioned before how there’s a real shortage of ideas and tips for those who use the Microsoft equivalent.  Diana Mancuso shares a list of ways that OneNote helps students.  Part of the list appears below – go to the original post to see the rest.

It should be noted that the blog post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada.

Near the bottom, she shares a link to the TDSB Assistive Technology Blog.  This looks like a great resource and worthy of bookmarking.


I’m Sorry!

Well, at least we now know that Aviva Dunsiger is not perfect.

Could there be a place with more “ears” than a school?

Comments get shared quickly among students and staff and, of course, often the original message gets lost.  I’m sorry to hear that this happened to anybody but Aviva’s post is a reminder that our reputation and self-worth can be hurt so quickly with just a short comment or action.


Regrets, We’ve All Had a Few

Of all the years that I’ve known, David Fife, I didn’t know that he was a musician.  In this post, David shares his thoughts about not keeping up with his music.

That really struck home with me.  I wanted to play the guitar in Grade 2.  The only problem was that my fingers weren’t long enough to go around the neck of the guitar.  So, my parents bought me lessons on a steel guitar.  For about the next 8 years, I learned every country and western and Hawaiian song ever made.  When I hit high school, I most certainly lost interest.  I haven’t lost the guitar though.  It’s made every move that I’ve ever made.  I might just pick it up and see if I still have that ol’ twang.


A Voice for My Students

Vilma Manahan was a new blogger that I discovered this past week.

The first post really struck a note with me.  It’s a collection of notes from the students written to her.  It’s an opportunity for the students to visit them over the summer and take part of a summer challenge that she’s posed to the students.  It will be interesting to follow up in the fall to see if it worked.  In the meantime, the notes are just awesome to read.  Student voice can be so powerful.


As always, this has been just a wonderful collection of posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please take the time to read them in their entirety.  If you’re taking an AQ course this summer and creating your own blog, please take a moment to let me know at the form provided.

OTR Links 07/03/2015


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

Becoming A Better Writer


You know, I always thought that I was a fairly good writer.  After all, I have Sheila and Lisa to correct the mistakes that slip through my writing cracks.

But, in all of us, there’s room for improvement.

In my quest for summer improvement, I installed the ProWritingAid into my instance of Google Docs.  It comes with a basic collection of tools for free and then premium features if you want to go that extra step.  

Those of you who have been interviewed here on the blog know that it’s done through a collaborative document in Google Drive.  All of them, except for my Microsoft friend Alfred, where we did it using Microsoft’s similar product.

I try my very best to make sure that I’m on my best writing behaviour there.  The results reflect both on me and the person being interviewed. 

My most recent interview was with Instructional Coach Jennifer Aston.  Once I installed the application, I ran it against our interview.

Here’s a bit of the results.  (Normally, I would throw in an ellipse but I now know that’s wrong.)

Uh oh.

Now, I’ll not bend a bit about using Canadian spelling, even if it’s identified as UK spelling!

But, the rest of the document analysis would imply that I’ve got some serious work to be done with my writing/proofreading skills.  But, that’s a good thing.  If it makes me a better writer, I’m good with that!  After all, WordPress complained that I was a passive writer and I worked on that.

Can I beg off the rest by saying this is my face to face voice?

You can find the application in the Add-ons menu in your instance of Google Docs or directly here.

Note:  I did run this through the aid and came back with no problems.  Am I better to read?

OTR Links 07/02/2015


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

Happy Canada Day


This never gets old. 

On this day, check out your knowledge of Canadian Trivia with this quiz from the Toronto Star.  Even if you don’t get them all (confession, I need to do some more history reading), there’s some humour built into some of the responses.

I found the Jeopardy questions posted on the Huffington Post considerably more in my strike zone.  I got them all.

How about a little trivia of your own?  I remember this stumper from Jeopardy – “How many US States are south of Canada?”  The one stumper that I amuse my US friends with all the time is that Windsor, ON is due south of Detroit, MI. 

What trivia tidbit can you add?

Happy Canada Day.

OTR Links 07/01/2015


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

Do I Need More Music?


The post call to action is given up front.  Your job – convince me that I need to get Apple Music.

I grew up with cars that had AM radio.  There were a couple of standard radio stations – CKLW The Big 8 in Windsor and CFTR in Toronto.  Between the two of them, they gave us the all the music we needed.  (over and over and over … the play list wasn’t terribly long with a Top 40s format!)

It was at university that I first experienced the joys of FM radio.  The concept of no-static just blew me away.  With the appropriate radio, you could get a number of great channels in the Waterloo region.  (none where available in my hometown!)  But, it got even better when you could listen to stations like CHUM-FM over cable television.

Time and technology marches on.

Today, we have Stingray music channels broadcast over satellite television and newer vehicles come with SiriusXM radio.

It’s an interesting technology field.  One doesn’t replace the other.  They’re additive in that the car features all of AM, FM, and satellite radio.  It’s just there, always present, and the quality of listening is spectacular.  I’ve imported all my CD-ROMs onto my computer and feed my MP3 player with a random assortment for dog walking.

One thing has remained consistent throughout – you tune to the desired station and press play and voila.  Music.

So now, Apple Music comes along and wants to be a competitor in this field.  It’s a double pay service.  You’ll pay for access to it plus you’ll pay for internet to stream it to your device.  There are claims that it will get more personal with your next music selected for you and you can control the music through Siri integration.  It will be interesting to see how other pay for music services respond.  Hopefully with lower prices?

So, given all that is available at present – convince me – do I need this?