This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I always enjoy reading blogs from Ontario Educators and sharing them during this post.  It’s a constant reminder that there are so great thinkers out there and we’re so fortunate to have them sharing their thoughts with us.


Music, millenials and the lost art of curation

Tim King takes us back, way back, in terms of the way that we collect music.  Then, he gives us a history of music in his life from cassettes to CDs to streaming music.  Along the way, he notes that we may have lost something in the process – the deep tracks.  When you bought a cassette, you listened to all eight songs and enjoyed them all.  Now, with streaming, you just go directly to the latest hit.  And the service recommends what you listen to next.  Are we losing something?  I think so.  I can’t tell you how often my favourite song on an album never made it to the radio.

Streaming on the web contains some issues as well – distraction if you’re driving, and the cost of streaming which we know is high in Canada.

Where Tim dropped the ball though was he didn’t go back far enough – to vinyl records which just might be making a comeback!  And, to show that we didn’t always think outside the box, I saw something like this at a car show recently.

Record players were the infotainment systems of the 1950s and ’60s

What’s really cool about Tim’s post is the interaction on Twitter.  This post is now going to be considered a media resource for an AQ course.  I’m impressed.


Turning Reading On Its Head!

Speaking of Media…

I found myself thinking that my concept of reading is the same as Aviva Dunsiger.  I pick up a book, start on page one, and then read until I get done.

Full stop.

That’s reading.

Apparently not, as Aviva found out over dinner at the BIT Conference.

Michelle gave an alternative perspective. She said that maybe the problem is how we view “reading.” We’re looking at reading as “finishing a book,” but what about the reading that happens in video games? Some games require so much reading and thinking that completing a game would be equivalent to finishing an incredibly long book. And students need to read, and think about what they read, in order to meet with success, finish the game, and get the points.

I’m not totally convinced but there is a certain amount of logic that rings true.  Click through and read Aviva’s post and see where you stand.


Making Connections – Edcamp Ottawa, Voiced Radio, MADPD

One thing you can say about Paul McGuire – he’s not afraid to take a chance.

In this post, he shares his story about Edcamp Ottawa and the 75 educators there that spent a day learning.  It’s good reading and Paul identifies what he calls “new learning”.  In that bundle he includes voicEd Radio, MADPD, … The fact that the observation comes from an Edcamp adds that layer as well.  It wasn’t just the blog; he was podcasting from there too.

But there was one paragraph that rubbed me the wrong way and I called him out on it.

I would love to see some of the big school boards promote MADPD or Voiced Radio on their Twitter feed or take a leading role by encouraging their educators to take part in these new approaches.

My challenge is with him identifying only big school boards.  While they may be big in organization, the typical teacher is most impacted by the work world around her/him.  So, in a school with a school population of 500, does the need change if you’re in a large board or a small board?

I hope not because when you look, it’s all about professional growth for individual teachers and the learning that happens with that one student.


Creating the Conditions to Empower

I’m not a real fan of Ignite formats as it seems to me that they’re the exact opposite of engagement with an audience as the presenter focuses on getting the message out in the  time limits and according to the speed of the slides.  Very often, a good message can get lost in the technicalities.

But, never lose the sight of a good message and David Carruthers had a wonderful set of content for his Ignite talk.

  • Don’t Lower the Bar to Meet Diminished Expectations
  • Publicly Celebrate Achievements
  • Connect to the Heart by Cultivating Relationships and Instilling Trust
  • Lead by Example
  • Listen to Concerns

There’s some terrific ideas there that would be awesome for a full blown presentation with lots of give and take with an audience.  He breaks out his thoughts about each in the post.


BIT17 Non Conference Observations

After the BIT17 conference, Eva Thompson fired off three blog posts outlining her experience.  Any one of them would be good enough for a conference report to her supervisor and I’d encourage you to read them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post of random thoughts from a conference.  I pulled out four that really resonated with me.

 

  • Elevators
    • Me too.  My hotel had five floors and over the course of the event and going in and out of the hotel many times, the elevator was NEVER on my floor.  Now, I get that it might not be on the fifth floor where my room was but you’d think just once it would have been sitting on the ground floor.  And then it was slow too!
  • Sitting in the last row of the theatre
    • That’s absolutely me.  Particularly if there’s a speaker that I want to hear, I like being able to just focus.  And, there’s something creepy about taking notes on your computer with someone looking over your shoulder.
  • Chocolate chip muffin for breakfast
    • Why not treat yourself?  Family’s not there to see that you’re breaking the rules a bit.  That’s my rationale anyway.  I did pay attention this time; there were so many IHOP restaurants in Niagara Falls.
  • My laptop bag is not comfortable
    • I have a knapsack and a pull bag.  I prefer the pull bag that follows me on the floor.  I typically have two of three computers and the chargers that go with them.  They’re really heavy.  Don’t criticize me – I see others who shift from shoulder to shoulder to ease the pain.  If you get good with the pull bag, you can easily get on and off an escalator without breaking stride.

 

8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit 150

If you weren’t able to attend this summit, Zelia Capitão-Tavares shares a pretty inclusive summary of the day with links to the speakers.

It sounds like a typical day where “futurists” were telling the audience everything that’s wrong in education and how “change starts with you”.

The real meat for me in this post were the comments from Zelia’s students.

As each of the speakers shared virtually or live on stage, my students attentively listened to the messages, making connections to their own experiences and reflecting on potential for changes in their own environments. Sure, I smiled every once in awhile as they turned to me and whispered, “Ms.T we are already doing this”, “Ms.T you have already set us up with these choices”, and “They are talking about our classroom”. However, our side discussions were more intriguing as they asked questions of clarification, “why are they saying only star students get to do things”, “what do they mean by pockets of innovation”, “why do teachers teach to the test” and “what does teaching and learning in silos mean?”

Are these speakers out of touch with the realities today’s students face?  Maybe these students need to invite them to their classroom to get a dose of reality.  Good teachers ARE doing these things.

I hope that Ms. T. took the kids to McDonald’s or for ice cream afterwards. What great comments.

It sounds like they truly get it.


How many do you see? (Part 1)

I love this post from Mark Chubb for many reasons.

He starts with a picture of a Grade 2 geometry activity.  It’s pretty straight forward.

All he asks is a simple question.  Pick a shape and report how many of them you find in the picture.

In the real teaching world, you’d just turn to the back of the book and get the answer.  Would you actually do the activity yourself?

But the responders to Mark’s post are all teachers and they have many different answers and takes on the question.

Now, let’s go back to the concept of testing where you’re not looking at a process – just to get the right answer.  After all, this is mathematics, right?

If teachers have all these questions, how can we possible blame a child for being confused?


I hope that you’ve stuck with me this far.  It’s yet again another great week of reading.  Please click through and read the entire posts and drop off a comment.

And, join Stephen Hurley and me Wednesday mornings at 9:15 on voicEd Radio where we chat about some of the great posts of the week.

Advertisements

OTR Links 11/17/2017


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

Start clicking


At the Annual General Meeting of ECOO last week, the membership installed a new Board of Directors.  You can read about it and see the list of the members here.

yourbod201718

Not wanting to wait, things are already in motion.

If you haven’t visited ECOO.ORG in the past week, you will have missed the launch of the new web presence.

The Board of Directors is committed to bringing value to ECOO members between Annual Conferences.

One of the new features will be a “Blogger of the Week” where the website will feature a different Ontario blogging voice regularly.  This will provide a new way at looking at the concept of a Blog Roll.  We wanted to start the process well and invited Jennifer Casa-Todd to be our first.

Follow the link above to the Blogger of the Week to learn more about Jennifer where she’s also been asked to hand select her five “best” blog posts.  “Best” comes from her perspective.  We hope that you’ll quickly become a “Jennifer fan” and follow her blog for updates.

Speaking of blogging, guest blogging will soon be available for members using our platform to potentially reach a different audience.  This will be available for people who already have a blog and are looking for an additional audience or for that new blogger who thinks they just have one post in them for now and are looking for a place to put it.

You’ll also notice that there’s a calendar on the website.  We’re devoting this to promoting technology conferences, edcamps, mini-conferences, and anything that would be on a technology related topic for ECOO members.

If you’re not following @ECOOorg on Twitter, you need to be!  It’s here where you’ll find announcements from the organization and other features recently added like The @ECOOorg Daily newspaper.

That’s the beginning.  If you poke around, you’ll get a hint of what your organization has planned for you.  These ideas will become formally announced once details are finalized.

If you’re new to ECOO, or even if you are not, you might enjoy the rich history of the organization.

We want to hear from you.  A contact form has been created to let you provide input.  We want ECOO to be the best it can be for you.

OTR Links 11/16/2017


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

Power to the people


I’ll never forget my first moments of the conference as Bring IT, Together conference co-chair.  When we moved the conference to Niagara Falls, we had to ensure that we had great internet access.  “Oh, sure we can do it.  We can seat 1000 people in the theatre with wifi.”

It was a few minutes into the opening keynote when I was told “I had no idea”.  We were sitting in the projection booth looking down and from behind the audience.  There were screens brightly lit everywhere.  Not only that, but if you looked closely, many people had two screens in operation.  Truthfully, I’d be one of those people.

The key to doing it all successfully is power!  You can’t have enough power!

I know that I’m a people watcher.  Particularly at conferences, there’s so much to see and interpret from people’s actions as you walk around.  But, at a computer conference, it takes on another angle.

The scramble for power!

This year, I saw the charging stations (they aren’t free folks, your conference committee rented them) fully used.  I also saw more people with portable battery packs in action.  For the person who lives and dies with their smartphone, they’re invaluable!

In the past, I’ve coped by bringing multiple computers.  When one’s battery dies, I just switch to another.  A smarter person might bring a notebook and a pen but I carry my MacBook Pro, my Windows tablet, and this year, my Chromebook.  It isn’t as goofy as it might sound; I needed two computers to display content on screens at the Minds on Media station.

I also wanted to test the Chromebook to see if the wild claims about battery life were true.  I’m always a skeptic when it comes to a new technology.  Would this really work?  It did!

Not only did it get me through computer use during breakfast, it was the place for my notetaking all day, and then back at the hotel room in the evening.  The only problem I had was the Android version of OneNote crashing.  Android is still in the Beta stage and you know what they say about Beta.  Rather than be frustrated, I just opened a new browser tab, logged in, and was able to pick up from where I left off.

But, it was nice to be able to go through the day wondering if I was going to have enough power.  I had more than enough.  It brought a nice sense of calm to me.

Do you have any power stories to share?

OTR Links 11/15/2017


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

Breaking out


It was last year at the Bring IT, Together that I met Larissa Aradj and Sandra Chow.  I was working doing something and Larissa came up and introduced the two of them.  I find it always nice to put a real human to the Twitter handles – in this case @MrsGeekChic and @watnunu.

As luck would have it, this year the two of them joined me again at a table at this year’s conference.  I knew that Larissa with was presenting alongside Arianna Lambert because I had every intention of attending.  As it turns out, I had a tonne of other things that needed addressing so actually felt a bit badly that we were sitting here talking; I’d stood her up!  But, I got a quicky summary of her session.

Back home now, I decided to take a look at her presentation that she was kind enough to have shared online.

Digital Breakouts

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 3.14.16 PM

Over the past couple of years, I’d had every intention to attend one of these Breakout games just to experience it.  The premise is simple enough.  Larissa’s was online done in a Google Sites document, which she embedded into this presentation.  I worked my way through the slides until I got to her Breakout.  Then, I spent some time solving it.

I truly know that I was missing something.  While there’s something comfortable about solving this while sitting in a comfy chair with half an eye on the Vikings’ football game, I can absolutely see the excitement and promise for use with students.

The answers were collected via a Google Form.  It used a feature that I’d never used before – Response Validation.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 3.20.06 PM

Fortunately, Larissa had included instructions about how to use that feature in her presentation.  It was so easy and comes across as professional and certainly functional.

Who could ask for more?  Learn a new pedagogy tool and a new technology tip.  I’m happy.

She blogged about the whole process here.

Thanks, Larissa, and best wishes.

Now, if you’re using OneNote and want to create a Breakout activity in there, don’t forget that Cal Armstrong had created a blog post showing how here.

My only regret was not meeting Larissa’s co-presenter Arianna Lambert.   Maybe next year.

She had included a Digital Breakout using Google Slides for Canada 150.  There’s one that you can use immediately.

Screenshot at 2017-11-14 06-53-54