doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s March Break in Ontario but there’s still some great blogging happening.  Here are some things that caught my attention from Ontario Educators

First up, and seemingly timely, Stephen Hurley talked about the change of sporting seasons.  I thought it was so timely because we had gone from one freezing day to the next where we were out working in the garden and playing catch.

From One Season To The Next

Reality kicked back in though and it’s winter again.  Hopefully, we don’t run into the same problem with the apple crop again this year.

Primary Blogging Community – April edition

I like the explanation about the Primary Blogging Community from Kristen Wideen.  There seems to be an onslaught of posts recently about why you’d want to blog with students.  I agree with them all.  I think this takes it just a little further and potentially more connectedly – join a blogging community.  In the post, she explains the difference between PBC and Quad Blogging.

Why Mish-Mash is Better Than 1:1

I think it’s unfortunate that Royan Lee used the term “Mish-Mash” although that probably encouraged a number of readers to read his post.  All that I could think of as I read his post was the old adage that “when the only tool that you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails”.  In the post, he explains what his student’s preferred writing tools are but the underlying message shouldn’t be ignored – he’s not ramming any one solution down on every student.

I know that I’ll sit here with laptop and tablet and I’ll choose one or the other depending on the task.  I’ve tried and just can’t do anything substantial when writing on tablet.  Does that make the laptop a better tool or am I saddled by the fact that I took keyboarding in high school?

I think that this needs to go one step further with the choice of electronic tool.  I tried to get to that point when I looked at Brian Aspinall’s Sketchlot program in this post.  Not only do you need to be concerned with the type of tool but it doesn’t need to be platform specific.

WRDSB Futures Forum Program Wins Award

“Go to any computer professional learning event, and you’ll see Waterloo Region educators…”  I’ve said this a couple of time.  Here is a district that is committed to doing professional learning correctly.  It’s not added on if there are a few bucks left over; it’s the way they do business and have been success at it for year.  Whether it’s attendance at the ECOO Conference, the RCAC Symposium, professional learning events held in their own community, or at their own CATC Camp.  I’ve been to them all and have got to know so many Waterloo folks through learning with them.

It’s so good to see that their Futures Forum Program has garnered some recognition for the good work that they’re doing.  Mark Carbone shares the details on his blog.  You should forward this to whoever is in charge of professional learning in your district and ask “Why not us?”  Of course, it helps (and he’d never admit it so I’ll do so here) to have a CIO who has a strong educational background and respect within his district like Mark.

Math on iPads – Sketchalot

As mentioned above, Brian Aspinall released a new application recently and I really like his approach.  Yes, it’s an app but it’s a web app so you’re not tied to downloading from your store and then clobbered with updates.  You just use the web app and he takes care of the updates for you.  You just need a modern browser.  Sadly, after my blog post, at least one person who tried it didn’t have a “modern browser”.  Maybe someday.  At least the kids will be able to use it at home…

In this post, Brian shares how he’s using the application with his own class.  What a deal – write your own software and use it with your own class.  Does it get any better than that?

Check out the complete postings at the links above.  You can read the rest from the Ontario Edublog collection here.  If you’re a blogger in education in Ontario and not on the list, there’s a form to allow you to share the URL to your blog.

Best wishes to all as school starts up again next week – you’re in the home stretch now!

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