Exploring and Wasting Time


For me, it started yesterday by checking my Facebook timeline.  A high school friend had posted this article “What Color Is This Goddamn Dress?”  (Choice of words theirs…)

I looked at it – yellow and white, what’s the deal – and then moved on to do other reading.  I flipped on the morning news as I’m reading my Twitter timeline and this thing had gotten out of hand.  The story was everywhere and, in fact, trending on Twitter.  I walked the dog and came home and the talk was still going.  This is weird.  The current wisdom was that those that saw the colours gold and white were wrong and that, in fact, the colours where black and blue.  Yeah, right.  I know what I saw.

I went back to the original Facebook post and, son of a gun, the dress did look black and blue now.  How could this be?  Then, It occurred to me.  The first look was on my Macintosh computer and I’m now looking at it in Ubuntu.  Same browser – Firefox.  This truly was strange.  Then, I remembered that each computer can be configured with a colour profile.  On Ubuntu, it looks like this.

On the Mac, I had gone into the advanced calibration when I had originally set it up and had a “warmer” setting.

Could this be the difference?  I played around with a bunch of settings which made for some slight changes.  OK, maybe there’s something in this.  After all, I wasn’t looking at the original dress.  I was looking at a digital picture that had had who knows how many loads and saves.

Well, as you know, things had exploded with all kinds of theories, people looking at the image together, bad words being said to others!  I remembered back when I got my first pair of glasses.  The eye doctor had this test with the big E in black and showed it on a red background and then a green background and the question was “which looked sharper?”.  I hated to admit it but black on red always looks sharper to me.  It didn’t matter how much flipping with the equipment that he did.

But the media continues to explode with stories, theories, and scientific explanations.  “This Might Explain Why That Dress Looks Blue And Black, And White And Gold“.  Interesting scientific theory.  My original view was done in the dark and my second visit was next to a patio window with the blinds open.  So many variables.  I then tried it on my iPad and could see both colours depending upon what angle I was looking at the screen.

The posts keep on coming.  There were two where you could see the white/gold colour in one and black/blue in the other.  Enough is enough.  As my science consultant friend often said “There’s got to be a workshop in there somewhere.”  I saved both images to my hard drive and opened them in The Gimp.

Side by side, I can clearly see two different colours.

But, if you look closely at the bottom, I’ve had to resize the yellow/gold one to get them to be about the same size.  So, the originals weren’t necessarily the original image.  Even for this side by side, I’ve introduced some error into the picture.  And, besides, they are now both on the same computer with the same colour settings and yet appear different (at least to me…)  One of them has already been doctored to make the point.

The colour picker will get to the bottom of this.

         

I should have gone into forensics. 

So, I could do a little editing on my own.  How about green?

As I was doing this, I was thinking of a couple of lesson activities.

  • In the Comm Tech classroom, could you take the two images and adjust the settings so that they look the same?  Or, if you took one, could you make it into the other?
  • In a digital literacy class, it’s a perfect example of how you can see the same thing in two different ways?  It’s a solid reminder to question everything you see online!
  • In the science classroom, there’s probably a whack of scientific principles at work.  I’m just not a science teacher.

As I wrap up this post, I realize that I had left the search for #TheDress open in another tab.  There are hundreds of messages that have come in since I started this post.

The online world loves a good argument.  I’ve been online long enough to remember the classic nerd arguments.  “Who’s the better captain?  Kirk or Picard?”

(I’m solidly in the Kirk camp…)

Anyway, enough exploring and wasting time.  There’s better things to do.

OTR Links 02/28/2015


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s another Friday and an opportunity for me to celebrate some of the wonderful pieces shared by Ontario Educators recently.


3 Ways I’ve Used Google Apps to Help my School Run a Bit Smoother

As I mentioned in my post last week, the Google Apps community is great for sharing the good things that they’re doing with Google products.  In this example, Jason To talks about using the technology to streamline things at his school.

2015-02-26_1649

Jason calls the examples “modest” but I would think that anytime you put together something that makes even the most routine tasks easier is worth it.  I’m sure that his list will continue to grow.


 

Reading and Writing Google Style

Speaking of Google…I feel awkward using the Google voice search for things.  The only time I feel comfortable is when I’m alone.  When I’m with others, people pause to look and wonder what I’m doing talking into a box.  So much for privacy.  Read Aviva Dunsiger’s post to see how students in her class are making out with this and see some of their observations.

The world panicked when the talk was about about dropping cursive.  What’s next?  Keyboarding?

I realized that most of the iPads and our two ChromeBooks have a microphone option. I showed the students how to use this option. My one minute lesson was all it took!


Physical phenomena for quadratic relations

Brandon Grasley is looking for real, physical examples of quadratic functions…

One of his examples appears below…

I’m intrigued by one of the other examples that he’s given in this post and he’s looking for ideas.

Hey, how about some experimentation with Hot Wheels?  The only downside I can envision is hate notes from the Driver’s Education instructor.


Reporting from the heart!

I don’t think there are too many teachers that enjoy report card time.  It’s a very work intensive time and I know that so many just labour over them like they’re creating a work of art.  Afterwards though, it’s relaxation time and then the cynical question “Do they even read these?”  There are even suggestion in some camps to ban them completely and just do interviews with parents.  But this is education.  We love paper.

There’s this mentality that they’re just read and discarded – a moment in time, if you will.

Sue Bruyns’ post about report cards takes a different look at them.

I found it interesting as to how they remain permanent artifacts in her parents’ place.

It’s just too bad that they take so long to create.


iGeneration – 21st Century Education

Tom D’Amico is a Superintendent with OCSB who really gets it.  This is link is a wonderful example of another way to share your learning other than the traditional blog.  If you follow Tom on Twitter (@TDOttawa), you’ll find references to great resources, not to just one or two focussed things every now and again.  Tom appears to have an open mind and is collecting resources in three ScoopIt! areas.

This morning was a perfect example of why you need to get connected.  This time, it potentially saved money.

Tom had shared a link to News-O-Matic which I then reshared so that it would get bookmarked and perhaps be a resource for others.  I got a reply about a $20 price.  To that, the News-O-Matic Twitter account had a response.

It’s a great lead.  Thanks, Tom.


An interview with Doug Peterson

Last weekend, I had conducted one of my online interviews with Sylvia Duckworth.    She jumped in and did a nice response to my questions and showed the power of our Ontario network by giving credit to others.  As soon as she was done though, she asked to interview me.  What could I say?  Paybacks are a ….

So, I did my best to answer her questions.  It was actually fun to be on the receiving end for once.  I know that, when you’re asking the questions, you feel like a bit of a stalker at times trying to do your research and pose questions that you’ve always wanted to ask and to appeal to the readership.

In my interview, I was selfish and really wanted the scoop about how to do Sketchnotes.  Sylvia claims that it doesn’t exist so I guess Lisa Noble and I will have to wait until we corner Sylvia and get her to teach us!

In the meantime, enjoy this Sketchnote that Sylvia created from some of the other interviews that I had conducted.

 

My compliments to those who continue to share their learning so openly online.  Please visit the blog posts above and check out the entire Ontario Edublog collection here.

OTR Links 02/27/2015


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

In Case You Missed It


Unlike certain of my family members, I don’t sleep with my phone.  That saves me from the onerous task of turning the sound down or off if you leave it in your bedroom.  I can’t imagine a smartphone disrupting a good sleep.

A couple of days ago, I installed the Twitter client and told it to give off “Chirps” when a notification comes from Twitter.  That’s about how deeply I dug into it for the moment.  For the most part, I get a chirp every now and again and I take a look at it when I can.

Today, I’m going through my morning learning routine.  Doing some reading and sharing some of the best reads to Twitter in case others might be interested.

Then, I read this article.  “7 Real Ways Blogging Can Make You A Better Teacher And Learner” from FractusLearning.  It was one of the better articles about the rationale for blogging that I’ve read in a while so I read it twice, shared it, and then moved on.

Holy Cow!

Within about 30 seconds, my phone was going nuts chirping.  Was something broken on it?

It turns out that I didn’t dig deep enough with this new Twitter client.  In addition to getting a notification every time my name is mentioned, it gives a notification for every retweet or every time someone adds the message to their favourites.  The article seemed to really resonate with folks.

The seven “Real Ways” are:

  • Idea Generation
  • Community Building
  • Motivation and Inspiration
  • ….

You’ll have to go to the article and read the rest as well as the details that are fleshed out for each.  I just read it again.  It’s a really good article.  It reminded me so much of a presentation about reflective teaching that my friend Philip and I gave at a  CSTA Conference a couple of years ago.  (He called it the Doug and Pony show…)

The challenge from the author is to consider creating a blog personally, for your class, or for your school.

It’s not a big leap to take those seven ways and use them as rationale for students to be blogging.

The thing to keep in mind is that you’re blogging – not creating the next big epic novel or research paper.  It’s such a powerful tool and is easily done.  In addition to the seven ways itemized in the article, it’s a very tangible way of showing to yourself (and others if you care to) that you’re continuously learning and growing.  What more could a professional want?

The sad thing is that those who were retweeting and favouriting the original article or those of you who read this post already get the power of blogging or micro-blogging. 

My challenge to you would be to share the original article to at least seven people in your school who haven’t got on board yet.  It’s just a matter of forwarding the link or sharing it in your school’s online communal learning space.  Your school does have one, right?

If it matters to you, your learning network may expand.  More importantly, theirs may use this as a kickstart to get theirs rolling.

 

OTR Links 02/26/2015


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

These Wheels are Hot


Hot Wheels are really one of those enduring toys that have spanned generations.  I can remember putting together pieces of track from the coffee table in the living room, doing loops, crashes, etc. as a kid.  I even had a case to store them and carry them to friends’ places to have our own auto show.  It was through Hot Wheels that my goal in life is to own a Camaro.  Still working on that one, but I have driven one!  In my day, Hot Wheels were replicas of real cars.  Today’s versions have certainly surpassed that.

Although we didn’t know or appreciate it at the time, there’s just a whack of scientific principles that go into how Hot Wheels work.  I have known teachers who have incorporated them into their science classrooms.  Just think of all of the learning and inquiry that they can provide.

I was really excited to see this offer on their website.

What a deal!  There’s a form to make the request.  I checked the URL and it does land on an en-us page.  That led me to wonder if Hot Wheels does have a Canadian site.  It turns out that it does.  You can find it here.  Search as I might, I couldn’t find the same offer on the Canadian site.  But, the US pages doesn’t indicate that it’s for US schools only.  It might be worth a shot.  The program does, however, seem to be directed at the STEM initiative in US schools.

Even if the kit is not available, there are still a couple of resources worth investigating.