Only you …


One of Jaimie and my favourite shows is Hudson and Rex. It only takes one bark on the television and he comes into the rec room to watch or listen. I swear that he wants to be a police dog when he grows up. He’s certainly got the amazing nose for it.

Yesterday, on our morning walk, I was wandering along listening to the birds and, of course, he was a little closer to the ground. Suddenly, he stopped and yanked me over to the road. Fortunately, there as no traffic.

What had caught his attention?

Someone who had just gone by had thrown a cigarette butt out of their window and it was sitting on the roadway smoldering. He stopped and looked at me. Seriously. It was something that was new to him and I’m guessing he was wondering what to do. So, I walked over and stomped it out with my foot.

Forest fires are in the news these days. The local news stations indicated that the hazy skies and great sunset moments are as a result of fires burning in Northern Ontario. I’ve never seen one up close, thankfully, but have a friend who worked there for a living and shared some of the awfulness that happens.

Now, we know that many of the fires are started by lightning strikes. There’s not a whole lot to do about that except deal with the consequences. There was a time thought when the concern came from humans and their neglect for dealing with burning things.

That got me thinking of public service announcements from a long time ago, featuring Smokey the Bear. Never failing, YouTube has a collection of these commercials to feed any need you might have for that nostalgia.

Now, here in Essex County, we don’t have the huge forests our friends in the North do. But, an errant cigarette butt could still cause some damage.

I wish I could have nailed the person that threw this out and forced him/her to sit through a bunch of these classics.

OTR Links 07/31/2021


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Elizabeth Lyons, president-elect of the Ontario School Librarians’ Association and co-host of the Read into This podcast was the guest host on the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show. Besides a nice conversation, she was able to share a teacher-librarian perspective to the five blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that we featured on the show.


One Word. My Word.

We started the show by looking at Elizabeth’s personal blog. You’ll recall that instead of a #oneword for a year, she’s elected to choose one word per month. It’s interesting that others have agreed with her rationale for doing so and have followed her lead.

Except for June. She picked a word but didn’t share it with us or blog about it.

Moving to July … her word is “Listen”. Now, we’ve all heard this word used ad nauseum in education and I was kind of expecting a familiar spin to the use of the word.

Boy, was I wrong.

She bravely turned the post into a personal story of her teaching life from the last year and the challenges she had as she listened to herself and took action.

I don’t use the word “brave” lightly. You’ll know why when you read the post. Quite frankly, I anguished over whether to include this post but she’s pinned it to the top of her Twitter timeline. She wants to share the story. Do it for her. It’s sad to think that there may be all kinds of other educators who are in the same boat but don’t have the same release or network for support.


Wiki Wondering

There has been this group of post-secondary educators who are really pushing themselves into a new world with technology and then seeing how it fits into their professional life.

This blog post is a collection of wondering about wikis from Helen DeWaard. In particular, her focus is on the greatest of wikis – Wikipedia.

I’m old enough and experienced enough to recall when Wikipedia was a four letter word. Use of it as a scholarly source was forbidden. And yet, here we are today and often this is the first result you get from any internet search. Such is the value. The amazing part is just how it got that way and Helen addresses that so nicely among other things.

Personal wikis were interesting to me at one point too. After doing about a million Dreamweaver workshops and creating a lot of static and ultimately stale webpages, there were wiki creation sites that came along and let you create a presence in a matter of minutes. I used dougpete.pbworks.com ultimately as a repository for many of the materials for my workshops. It’s still there and I poke around a bit but I’d have to do some real work to update it. Eight Weeks to Web 2.0 was a course that I put online for teachers to get up to speed with social things over the summer. The topics are still valid although my former employer dropped the use of FirstClass which was the tool I used for a few of the tools.

I spent a lot of time on Helen’s post. It’s rich with links and resources. She’s done a lot of work getting this up for us. You need to read and explore.

Her wonders?

  • about wiki education?
  • how to connect wiki education to your teaching?
  • what’s behind the Wikipedia curtain?
  • who’s behind the curtain?
  • what I did?
  • where this is going next?

Slice of Life: The farm

I know that Lisa Corbett thinks that this was a unique story about her family and it probably was. But it isn’t much of a leap for me to think of places around here where I could and have taken my family to do many of the same activities.

I’m sure that you could add to the list. It is an amazing family outing.

What makes Lisa’s post so particularly delightful is that she and her family can now actually visit these wonderful places, pick fruit, do family things at the playgrounds and more.

The thing that really intrigues me from Lisa’s post are Funnel Fries.

I’ve never heard of them before but if I ever see them on a menu …


Reading List for National Indigenous History Month

This is a timely post for educations and teacher-librarians who are working hard to get caught up on things that were never part of our education.

Jessica Outram has been collecting texts from Indigenous authors for over 25 years.

In this post, she shares what she would like others to read from her collection. In the post, she gives us 30 titles to consider.

If you’re looking for a starting point or just want more, check out this post.

While there, check out her Hummingbird podcast and Poetry sections.


ZARA HOSSEIN IS HERE BY SABINA KHAN

From Alanna King, a concept not specifically this particular post.

On her blog, Alanna shares with us the titles and her thoughts about the books that she’s reading and researching.

I could see a couple of uses for this.

  • it’s a way to record her personal reading and research to bring back later. We all know that we learn better when we create something
  • it’s a way to engage a community of educators who are looking for new titles and don’t necessarily want to start from scratch

I see a great deal of value in both uses.


Myth of Hybrid Multitasking

I was tagged in the announcement of the release of this blog post from Deborah Weston. I think we all know what inspired her to write about this at this particular point in time.

We’re still waiting for the current government to let us know what education will look like in the fall. I know that many are fearful for the notion of hybrid teaching – simultaneous online and face-to-face and the challenges that that provides. Personally, I think that the whole issue goes far beyond the concept that a teacher may have students in two places

Deborah has done some research into the notion of multitasking in general and I like the specific inclusion of the research about the smartphone that she includes.

I don’t buy into the concept 100%. For example, I’m writing the blog post while a John Fogerty concert is playing on YouTube and I’m humming along. I’ve always worked better with music in the background.

Even the whole notion of teaching – forget the hybrid component for a second -isn’t a singular task. Any teacher will tell you that you that there are always various tasks that you’re juggling just to get the job done. We’ve always joked with students about having eyes in the backs of our heads. If the goal is to talk about two modes of teaching happening simultaneously, that would be an interesting discussion. Managing all that is happening or should be happening in one mode can be overload at times. Doubling that is the real issue in my mind.


Drone Sunrise #0303: Three Different Styles

So, Peter Beens now has a drone to add to his collection of things to explore and play with! I wish I had his money. I’ve learned so much from him about photography over the years.

In this case, he sent his drone skyward to take a picture of a sunrise and then applies a number of filters to it and asks us to choose.

I’m impressed that he was able to find water this calm and reflective first thing in the morning.

Drone Sunrise #0303 - The Original

In terms of his question, I prefer the first of the three images. The other two look too altered to me. In the post, he doesn’t tell us what he did to the images. That would have been interesting to know.


Please take some time to click through and check out all these terrific posts.

Then, follow the authors on Twitter.

  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Helen DeWaard – @hj_dewaard
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Alanna King – @banana29
  • Deborah Weston – @DPAWestonPhD
  • Peter Beens – @pbeens

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is live most Wednesday mornings on voicEd Radio. This week’s show is located here.

OTR Links 07/30/2021


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

Connections and appreciation


It was part of Aviva Dunsiger’s comment to my post yesterday that got me thinking.

I’m not in your pictures, but I’m reminded of the fact that we now connect more through this blog than Twitter.

I had used a service that grabbed a quick snapshot of friends and their images and I had asked anyone who cared to read the post whether or not they were in it. Sadly, Aviva wasn’t.

I suppose that we could quickly blame it on an algorithmic world. It wasn’t selected by me but rather than the service that I was using. So, who knows what the determining factor actually was. As I looked through there, I suspect that it was looking at interactions after a #FollowFriday session.

Like many people, I have a number of connections on Twitter which was the source for the data used be the service. The problem is that this number of connections could conceivably in the thousands.

Things weren’t always that way.

In the beginning of social media, there were a number of early adopters. Aviva and I would both fall into that category. Our learning network was considerably smaller; often the poo-pooers of social media were quick to mention that

I don’t care to know what you had for lunch…

and they refused to join. We would eventually prove them wrong.

There would be lots of people who were guilty of social media use in this manner. There were others, and I like to think I was part of it, who didn’t know whether or not social media was going to be a success or just a collosal technology failure. As it turns out, social media did indeed prove itself.

As the video shows, social media did prove itself.

I suspect that we would be having a different discussion if “social media” was one thing and one thing only. But, we’ve diversified and so many of us have spread our social connections across many services.

The result?

We have the ability to reach out and make more connections quicker and faster. On any given day, if you use a social media platform for learning, you can most certainly reach out and touch new people daily. Hourly. By the minute.

There is a downside though. When there was one or two platforms in play, I suspect that we had smaller networks and those networks would be much closer.

I’m happy to notice that Aviva realizes this too. We don’t necessarily connect via Twitter but she’s there first thing in the morning reading this blog. Before or after coffee.

In a previous world, it was also easier to appreciate the efforts of others. It was done frequently and often would support various initiatives. I think we have all experienced the drop off of comments on blog posts. When we’re spreading ourselves over different social networks, looking for the latest and greatest learning, is the time that one devotes to recognizing and appreciating those connections taking a hit?

It’s interesting to ponder. The only solution would be a concerted effort for everyone to back down but that’s not going to happen any time soon. For me, it’s not necessarily the fear of missing out but more of a fear of an opportunity to learn even more.

Just something to think about the next time you appreciate some learning shared by others. You know you appreciate it. Do you show it?