OTR Links 08/26/2016

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

Truth in messages

I sent an email to someone yesterday and immediately got a reply.

Wow, they were waiting for me!

No, it wasn’t the case.  It was one of those canned replies.

“I’m out of the office and have no access to the internet.  I will reply to you when I get back.”

Fair enough.  I think that I had one of those auto-responders at one time.  At one time, being connected to the internet meant that you had this blue cable stuck into the side of a desktop computer.

Then, I flipped over to Twitter or Facebook or something and saw a message from the same person.

I thought that you didn’t have access to the internet?

When you think deeper, it’s only a small few these days that don’t carry around a cell phone that keeps them connected at all times.  I know some of them and they’re faithful readers of this blog.  More power to them.  But, the majority don’t fall into that category these days.  

So, the above message probably belongs in the days gone by for most.

Maybe it’s time for something truthful instead.

“I’m on holidays and I choose to ignore email until I return.  Thanks for your message.”

“I only answer job related emails at 9:30am on workdays.”

“I’m teaching – expect a message at the end of the school day.”

“I don’t do email – message me on <insert your favourite alternative here>”

With some of the advanced features in today’s email packages, you can even schedule the auto reply message depending upon the time/date.  Why not use it?  That would really impress people.  You have your own bot.

I could think of all kinds of other messages.  Couldn’t you?


OTR Links 08/25/2016

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

Reading helper

This is such a great idea; I can’t believe that it hasn’t appeared before.

My morning routine is to make sure that I get up before the dog so that I can do a bit of reading before his needs take over and the rest of the day gets started.

There are all kinds of things to read; some short and to the point, some short and pointless, some long and require some deep thought, and so on.  When you get used to reading short posts, the longer ones become a distractor.  It’s not that I don’t want to read them; it’s just that there might be a better time and place.

But how do you know if it’s going to be long or short?  Traditionally, my method has been to look at the size of the scroll bar as it adjusts to the article’s length.

Yesterday, I stumbled into this Chrome Extension that takes it one step further.  The extension is called Read Time and its goal in life (or at least in your browser) is to estimate how long it’s going to take for you to read the story you’ve just loaded.

After the story loads, the extension pops a tiny square on the screen to give you an idea about how long it’s going to take you to read the article.

Of course, we all read at different speeds so you might enjoy a little reading test to see how you do.

There is a default setting but you can change it with the results of your test.  While in the settings, you might want to adjust position, size, and colour.

It’s very addictive!  Plus, I can see how it’s going to be helpful too.

I’m also seeing another use.  When writing, there’s probably a fine line between what’s too short and what’s too long.  Pop your draught into a browser and you’ve got an instant estimate as to how long it will take the average reader to read your works.  I’ve got to think about that.

In the meantime, it’s almost as interesting as the articles themselves!


OTR Links 08/24/2016

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

How do you know?

I received an email from Peter McAsh over the weekend that got me thinking.

Peter was at the CEMC Summer Institute and had passed on information about the Bring IT, Together conference in November to a fellow participant.  Good job, Peter, that’s part of your job as social connector.  He shared with me part of a message that he had received…

How do teachers find out about these initiatives? I spent hours finding conferences on my own and thus went to MIT, Waterloo CS Educators and Western 21st Century Curriculum Symposium. From meeting Peter McAsh this week, I just found out about Bring IT, Together. I have felt very alone teaching HTML, Scratch and Coding Apps for the last 3 years in my  class/computer club. Now, I have a Twitter PLN and some great mentors. I wonder if other TVDSB teachers know about all these resources.

I thought that everyone knew about the conference.  <grin>

It is an interesting point to ponder.  After all, there are lots of spectacular conferences that happen all the time in Ontario.  It’s almost malpractice that all educators don’t know about all of them.  They’re there to promote professional activities and shouldn’t that be available to everyone?

Shouldn’t there be a place where you’d go to find them all listed?

I know that, when I was the web master at OSAPAC, I had a section of the web site devoted to upcoming professional learning opportunities.  Those were the days when OSAPAC was licensing software for all subject areas and it was one way that the committee helped promote its adoption.

Bring IT, Together is an ECOO annual event and so a visit to their website should reveal information to anyone looking for it.  But, if you visit the site using mobile, reference to the conference is actually hidden in a hamburger menu that you need to open.  So, if it’s tough for me to find (and I’m on the conference committee), how would a first timer find it?  Hint – Bring IT, Together has its own website.

I took a look through the Ministry of Education’s website and couldn’t find a collection either.

All that made Peter’s request even more important.

Then I thought of my friend Cyndie Jacobs and the fights that we had over the references to Subject Councils versus Subject Associations in her work with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.  Off I went to the OTFFEO website and there is, indeed, a calendar outlining the professional learning events that they know about it.  So, I guess my work is done.  I took at quick flip to November but the Bring IT, Together conference wasn’t listed.  I would have thought that ECOO, being a member of OTF’s Curriculum Forum would have been there.  It is the best place that I could find to start searching.

Where else could you look?

It’s probably too “pie in the sky” to think that there’s absolutely one place for everything and it’s 100% accurate and up to date.  But, certainly the Subject Associations would be promoting their own conferences.  I decided to make my move.  With laptop on lap and Summer Olympics on television, I created to the best of my abilities a Twitter list of all the associations that I could find in the province.

You can find it here.


I was able to locate 38 organizations.

It was actually quite fun and brought back great memories of speaking, conducting, or taking professional learning activities from them.  In addition to upcoming conferences and workshops, there are also opportunities for curriculum writing and just a sharing of resources via the discipline.  It’s also apparent that there’s huge cross over connections to be had.  So, this solution actually solves a number of questions.

The list is public; just subscribe to it – add a column to your Hootsuite or Tweetdeck configuration and you’ll be on top of everything happening in education in the province.  I can tell you just from my little curating exercise that there’s so much going on.  I also learned that the “O” doesn’t always mean Ontario – there are states that use the same acronyms – Ohio, Oregon, …

Now, I’m nowhere near confident that this list has them all.  I’d encourage you to browse the list and make sure that any professional organization that you’re a part of is included.  If not, add it via comment below or to @dougpete on Twitter and I’ll get it added as quickly as I can.

Let’s make sure that everyone has the possibility of knowing what great opportunities are available for them.

You can thank @pmcash for the idea.

OTR Links 08/23/2016

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