Upping your game


In yesterday’s post, I left you with a question…

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A good question would be – how can I up my game?

Well, here’s one online learning way.

Courtesy of Google, check out the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course.

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Divided into the six sections you see above, it’s a real start or refresher for any educator using the internet with their students.  The format of this MOOC gives you a concise over view of each of the lessons, why you would want to teach the concepts, and then the lesson itself.

Each lesson includes a YouTube video explaining the concepts and a transcript of the video, in a Google document, so that you can save it to your Google Drive account for later use.

To test your understanding, each of the units concludes with a quiz so that you can self test yourself on the concepts of the unit.  Some of the answers can be a bit tricky but worth working through.  Each of the units come with an estimated time for learning.

Not surprisingly, the teacher course dovetails nicely on Google’s Be Internet Awesome student resource.  You’ll recall that I blogged about it here back in June.

Then comes the good teacher stuff.  If you’re successful in your quest to work through the six units and pass the quizzes, you’re entitled to a badge (everyone likes badges, right?) and a series of lesson plans ready for use in the classroom.  If you use the ISTE standards, the lessons are correlated to them.

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OTR Links 09/20/2017


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

63 easy steps to digital literacy


Hands up if you remember when life skills for students living in a digital world and the literacy that goes along with it could be summed up with this statement?

Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see

Ah, life and teaching was so much easier.

We’ve certainly evolved and become more aware of things and have a bigger picture of what it means to be literate and relevant in the year 2017.  Digital literacy isn’t an “event”; it’s a way of being.

That’s where this post from Terry Heick is really worth reading and sharing with all the teachers in your school.

63 Things Every Student Should Know In A Digital World

In the post, you’ll find a very informative and complete list of issues that should form an integral part of any school program that purports to education the “21st Century Learner”.

This is highly recommended reading and an opportunity to start planning lessons that address the issues on an ongoing basis.

Of course, for it to be most effective, you need to embrace the same concepts yourself.

Take another run down the list with a different set of eyes.  Are there areas where you need to up your game?

OTR Links 09/19/2017


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

The good and the bad


Andy Forgrave’s comment to my blog post yesterday inspired me to write this one.

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I hate when that happens.  If someone is kind enough to offer a comment to a blog post, then the least that they should expect is that it appears immediately.  There are a number of schemes available to ensure that comments that are made are legitimate and not just spam.  Sadly, spam or just inappropriate comments are our online reality.

Dealing with this phenomenon takes on various forms.

  • using a service like Akismet (which this blog does) to flag things that are deemed inappropriate by its artificial intelligence agent.  Then, I have to go in manually and approve them.  Comments that are OK appear immediately.  Of course, this is a challenge to spammers to try and beat the system
  • using a CAPCHA that asks you questions that require human interaction before posting.  The current fad includes identifying street signs in an image divided up into sectors or to ask the user to do a little mental mathematics before proceeding
  • holding comments until the author has determined that they are legitimate.  That’s sad because there is a delay before posting and it imposes extra work on the blog host
  • disabling the ability to comment all together
  • using an approach like Stephen Downes does by commenting on his own site and then linking back to the original.  I’ll admit that influenced my approach to This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I think you’ll agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these approaches.

But this is our reality.  I went into my comments sections for a couple of examples.

Good, approved, and you can enjoy them right now

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Bad and are sitting in my Spam folder

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I didn’t include the actual comments.  You can read the legitimate ones on the blog.  The others use references to religion, illegal sales, stupid comments about asking for help and costs of setting up a blog, and more.  I didn’t include them here because that would be helping their cause.

The bigger concern is all the link shortening that’s going on.  With legitimate replies, you know that you’re going to go back to their blog or website or something.  When a link is shortened by goo.gl, you have no idea where you’re going until you get there.  That’s always a risk and it’s nice that they don’t appear on the blog.

What to do?

Right now, I guess we just shrug our shoulders.  All of the techniques that are in operation are good but they have their limitations.  They have changed the whole blogging experience and, as Andy’s comment notes raise a certain level of frustration.

I’m open to ideas.  Is there a better approach or are we in a holding pattern until something better comes along?

OTR Links 09/18/2017


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

Whatever happened to …


… Bits and Bytes?

If you watched TVOntario in the 1980s, here’s your ear worm for this Sunday morning.

This was cutting edge stuff.  I remember having access to the entire series available through the library at school for my classroom.  It was also something that I watched on television at home.  There was something very unique about learning about computers on television.

It was actually very timely for those of us computer geeky types who had programmed computers and mini-computers at university.  The whole world of micro-computers was new to us.

Plus, I loved Luba Goy and Billy Van.  In the series, Luba came across as so smart and computer knowledgeable.  Billy came across as the eager learner, asking the silly questions that we all wish we could ask but were afraid to.  Were they the original digital native / digital immigrant?  Watch the entire video and see.

The full list of episodes is listed on Wikipedia and, of course, you can view them through the magic of YouTube.  I’m struck by the titles to the episodes.  They are very important as you learn the basics and the concepts certainly apply today.

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All of the shows are embedded within this YouTube Search.  I found it interesting (and amusing) to revisit the shows.

The Commodore PET, Radio Shack TRS-80 and the other equipment just seems to antiquated by today’s standards!  But I used them all.

And yet, despite the chuckles I gave here as I watched, this was terrific personal learning at the time.  Dare I admit that I learned quite a bit from the programs?  As a classroom teacher, watching Billy struggle with the jargon and the foreign technology was illuminating.  Were my students struggling to learn how to operate these “new to them” devices in the same way?

How about you?  For this Sunday morning, please share some thoughts.

  • Did you ever watch the Bits and Bytes show?
  • How about the Royal Canadian Air Farce?
  • Would you use a television show like this in your classroom to teach concepts?
  • Would the content taught in these shows stand up to a 2017 fact check?
  • Is there a similar educational television show that you do use?
  • Speaking of this, is educational television dead? Have we migrated from the 30 minute show to the 3 minute online video?
  • Could you see your own students creating a video demonstrating or teaching concepts of today’s technology using the same format?

As always, I’d enjoy reading your thoughts.  C’mon, if you watched that clip above, you can at least take a moment to leave a thought!

The complete collection of posts in this series is available here.

Got an idea for a future post?  Add it to this padlet.