OTR Links 10/24/2016

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

Whatever happened to …

… that nice, new, clean, keyboard?

There’s always something glorious about unpacking a new computer although it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance around here.  There’s that wonderful smell of new plastic!  Then, over time, reality clicks in.  The smell goes away.  The keytops get shiny from repeated use.  Especially if you learned and practiced keyboarding properly, there’s that thumb print worn into the space bar.

And maybe a bit of a piece of toast that you had for breakfast sitting on the shift key.  If it’s your keyboard, it gets broken in and begins to take on your keyboarding personality.  I read once that you might even be able to guess a person’s password from the wear and tear on the keys.  In the above, you can clearly see mine which is ASTCN. 

I clearly need to work more Qs and Zs into my typing

But above and beyond that, there may be some germs that are lurking there.

In my classroom, I was always a bit concerned about that.  There, computers don’t belong to the current person typing.  It’s passed through many hands (fingers) during the course of the day.  There was a time before BYOD where, as a teacher, even you would contribute to the wear and the germs on a keyboard.  In addition to dropping your own, you may be picking up those of whoever used it before you.  Just don’t tell me that your students have never sneezed while typing.

Schools are a nice community of germs.  It never seemed to bother those buying or installing the computers or the administration of the school, for that matter.  I guess it was just seen as the cost of doing business.  I tried to promote safe computing and would buy my own disinfecting wipes and leave them in the computer room for myself and any student who was concerned.  After all, if it was good enough for hospitals, it was good enough for my class. 

I don’t know if it did a perfect job; I seemed to still get my own fair share of colds.  But at least it made me feel a bit better.  When I had a couple of labs for professional learning spaces for educators, I would repeat the process there before any workshop started.  It only took about five minutes to go around the room and wipe down the keyboards and mouses.  If I got there even earlier, I would wipe the screens as well.  In addition to the germs, it also made them a bit cleaner.  I remember a teacher telling me once that she monitored student respect for technology with clean computers versus the alternative.  She felt that the students treated the clean ones better.

Now, I don’t want to go all Mandel on you here but it was just a thing I did and always wondered about.  Cleaning and disinfecting keyboards is never on anyone’s job description.

Over to you on this Sunday…

Look down.

  • Do you have a nicely broken in space bar?
  • Do you have a concern about spreading germs via keyboard?  Do you have an approach?  Hoping to hear from teachers of primary students too….
  • How about your tablet or phone?  Can you use it as a mirror or does it track every swipe or tap you make

As always on a Sunday, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Please share them via comment.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?  They can all, by the way, be revisited here.

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

OTR Links 10/23/2016

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

Going beyond

This was to be a two part set of blog posts but This Week in Ontario Edublogs got into the middle of things.

If you think back a couple of days ago, I wrote a post titled “Why wouldn’t you use the tools you can?” where I discussed how I had encountered a problem upgrading my instance of Ubuntu.  I had this obscure looking error message

“Can not run the upgrade. This usually is caused by a system where /tmp is mounted noexec. Please remount without noexec and run the upgrade again.“

and basically had to solve it before I could go any further.

Rather than tinkering around, I copied the message exactly as it was displayed and pasted it into a search engine.  I got lots of hits for answers, found the one that made the most sense

sudo mount -o remount,exec /tmp

opened a terminal and ran it.  Problem solved.

As I continued to think about this, I realized that, while I had solved my problem, I hadn’t learned very much.  I had done what we tell students not to do.  How many times do we hear “Just Google it”.  Heck, it was even advice given in the latest presidential debate.

So to complete the learning process, I needed to dig a bit deeper.  

I could make some pretty good guesses about what happened.

SUDO – This is required knowledge when working on a Linux machine.  By default, many of the commands that could destroy your system are not available to the regular user.  Imagine a school computer with no restraints.  There does come a time when you need to do some major surgery and so you elevate the process with this – “SuperUser do”.  My time managing a QNX system paid off.  A complete discussion is available here.  ROOTSUDO

MOUNT – I knew what was happening here too.  Basically, in order to read and/or write to a drive or device, it needs to be mounted.  The key though, and why it applied here, is that you have to have the proper permissions.  In this case, I needed to make the /tmp folder executable.  The mount command includes the ability to add options (-o) to it.  That completed the puzzle.  A complete discussion is available here.  mount – Unix, Linux Command

Therein is my learning for this event.

If it happens again, I’d probably search and copy/paste like I did this time but my background knowledge means that I’ll be a little more confident doing so.  

It was a good time and thing to learn.  Without the actual need to solve a problem though, if I was in a class, I think I would be justified to be taking notes and asking “When will I ever need this?”


OTR Links 10/22/2016

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy Friday.  Check out some great articles from Ontario Edubloggers.

Tweeting as an Organization

I think I’ve been insulted by this post from Royan Lee.

I’m part of the group that he calls an “underground party of misfits”.  Well, maybe it’s a badge of honour instead of an insult?  I can remember fighting to get Twitter unblocked; I can remember trying to get people see the value of connecting and learning on Twitter.  I probably failed more than succeeded at the time.  I’ll bet there are lots of dormant accounts.  In a technology world, we expect to get immediate gratification.  I’m sure that not all people “got it” at the time.  Success only comes when you work it.

As Royan correctly continues, things have certainly changed over the years.  I have to smile when I see people who “don’t want to see a picture of what you had for lunch” now becoming active.  What does it mean as an organization though?  Used properly, I think that it is absolutely the sign of an organization that is growing and learning together.  But, to be effective, it has to be more than just retweeting thoughts of others.  Are members also reflecting and creating new knowledge?  Are they sharing their professional reading and learning as a result?  Are they recognizing the best practices?  Are they promoting the great things that their colleagues are doing?

We Just Clicked

And, if you want to see it in action, check out this post from Diana Maliszewski.

I’ve mentioned so many times about how it can be lonely within a school.  Going outside the physical walls, using social media and the power of its connections, can result in amazing things.

You’ve got to check out this post – complete with a collection of Twitter messages to validate her message – and use it to convince anyone who questions the value of being connected.  When you make stellar connections like this, there’s no stopping you.

Diana definitely reinforces the message that you don’t need to learn alone.

Is it time to innovate your staff meeting?

Maybe this is the place to start.  Jennifer Casa-Todd shares a blueprint for success that begins at the humble staff meeting.

How many of these will you suffer your way through during your career?  This is a plan for engagement of staff who perhaps expected another sit and git and listen to the reading of recent memos.

Could it change the culture in your school?

Could it model what could be done if you decided to bring the concept into your own classroom?

Could it be a lesson for a principal’s course?

Conversations about parent-teacher interviews

It really is the season.

Here, Sheila Stewart pulls together older blog posts from Nancy Angevine-Sands, Rusul Alrubail, and me about our thoughts on parent-teacher interviews.  There were some interesting points about the process.  It might serve well as an inspiration or refresher before the next event.  Most teachers are getting ready for them over the next few weeks in the province.

Design Process Thinking: Mind Mapping

I’m a big fan of Mind Mapping.  I’ve used many mind mapping tools over the years and have had a lot of favourites.  Maybe it’s the fact that I learned how to program and document coding with flowcharts but the essence of what can be done is so powerful.  Consequently, I really enjoyed this post from Colleen Rose.

What was so powerful about this post, after setting the context, was Colleen sharing some of the mind maps that her students created and then reflected on each.

These show real evidence of complex thinking and connections.  Check them out.

Analyzing a Bike Rim in 5 Days

Alex Overwijk is on a mission to bring the practical and just plain fun and engaging activity into his MHF course.  It involved a trip to the local bicycle store for manipulatives and he effectively set the table for the students to “discover and experience more of the Trigonometry in the course”.

My original intent for this activity was to redo the radian plate activity and the radian war activity from this site. This is where I have grown. I am thinking what else can I do with this (thank you #MTBOS for #WCYDWT) This post reflects my creative juices in squeezing curriculum out of an activity. Hope you enjoyed. Honestly – this activity feels like what I envisioned for a spiraled course and wrote about back in 2013. #makeitstick #spiraling #activitybasedlearning #interleaving

The post is, in effect, a very complete lesson plan for the activity.  It can’t help but be a great deal of fun and learning for the students.

Why 50?

Have you ever wondered why the Bring IT, Together conference has 50 minute sessions?  Read this post to find out.

How’s that for a start to your Friday morning.  Great posts and ideas from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please click through and read the entire posts.

Have a great weekend.

OTR Links 10/21/2016

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