This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Another Friday and another opportunity to share some of the great things from Ontario Edublogs this past while.

Please read on and support these great authors with a visit to their posts.

Zoe Braningan-Zipe takes on the IEPs that were handed to her.  She’s identified them as originating from some sort of template and the content is provided to inform her about the accommodations, modifications, and strategies to use for success.  It sounds like she wasn’t entirely happy with the information provided and so made it a learning activity for her students.

So often, we hear about the “student being in charge of the learning” and in this post Zoe paints a picture of what it might look like for students who carry an IEP with them.

She describes a thoughtful process.  I think it’s worthy of a couple of reads and then to pass it along.  There are some great ideas and suggestions that could be used in other places.

Why shouldn’t students know the content of the IEPs and be responsible for the learning they describe?

I really enjoyed the recent post by Brenda Sherry.  With the system’s current and ongoing fascination for mathematics, science, and language, one could classify these studies as “first level”.  Then, there’s the “second level”.  These would be the subject areas that don’t get the level of attention at times when it comes to school planning.

I guess, as a computer science teacher, I would have fallen into the “second level” just like the arts teacher.  We would fight for student registration each year because our courses are optional.  We fight for resources because often there isn’t a great textbook.  In many cases, we got the raw materials and made our courses work from that.

In the post, Brenda uses her husband as Exhibit A.  I don’t doubt for a minute that things happen in that class as she describes.  That’s what makes the Arts teachers such a special breed.  But, it wouldn’t take much to look at a good Computer Science classroom or a Technology Studies classroom through the same lens.  There are quite a few PBL Experts among us.

As Brenda so correctly notes, there are great things to be learned from them and applied to all classrooms.

Leading Learning and Networking to Learn

Sheila Stewart had actually posted this a couple of weeks ago.  It was a nice summary of various articles about networking and professional learning on the part of those in the educational system.  The links that she made reference to are well worth the launch.

Her post resurfaced in my mind this morning when I read an additional article about the same topic from Jane Hart.  The article talked about “Knowledge Workers” and how they like to learn.  It dovetails very nicely with the previously identifed articles.

It still raises the question though – if it’s so good, why isn’t there universal adoption?  Why do some school districts still block access to the tools that would allow for continuous professional learning and growth?

Ontario Gafe summit day one

I would imagine that Mark Carbone was glad to see the end of the first day of the Google Apps For Education Summit.  It’s a brave IT Department and a brave school that allows over 500 years and their multiple devices onto a school network.  Since we’re talking Google Apps and Networking, there’s no middle ground.  The network has to be there, it has to work and it has to work well.

As a participant in the audience, for the most part, it worked as promised.  The only noticeable slowdowns were in the big theatre where we all were trying to back channel and watch YouTube and stay up with the presenters.

In his post, he summarizes the day not from the technical end, but from his learning.  It is always interesting to see what other people learned when they’re at the same session I am.

Behind the scenes, you just knew that the IT Department was on top of things.

The event was very successful with compliments at every turn.   The WRDSB IT Department surely should feel good about the support that they were able to provide.

Pocket Change

Brian Harrison talks about the tools that we all brought to the classroom.  Pencil cases, crayons, pencils, etc.  All of these bring back fond memories of back to school shopping.  All of the products seem to have an educational shelf life of a year.  (At least that’s what Stedman’s would have us believe!)  I remember in high school having an option between two types of slide rules – the cheapy white plastic model and the metal one that would “last me a lifetime” and was highly recommended since I was interested in mathematics.

Oddly enough, I still have that sliderule and pull it out every now and again to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of computational devices.

As Brian’s school gets set to embrace BYOD or at least pilot it, I’m thinking of my sliderule.  If a student is going to bring a device with her/him, what’s the life of it?  When you purchase technology for the classroom centrally, you plan to recycle it in a period of time – three years, five years, seven years (gasp), … I wonder – what should students/parents expect from any technology that’s purchased in anticipation of entering a school that supports BYOD?  My sliderule works just as well today as it did when I bought it for Grade 10.  However, it’s next to worthless.

Should this be part of a Grade 9 orientation?  “We’re a BYOD school and, if you’re buying, this is what to do so that it last four years.”  What about a BYOD at a younger grade?  Is BYOD something to be embraced in the short term because of isolated pockets of excitement or does it need to be considered in terms of a multi-year investment by families and schools.  What happens if you run a pilot project and it fails?  Who is left holding the bag?

Thanks so much to all of the above for great thought-provoking posts this week.  That’s the sign of a great blog post.

Please take the time to visit the blogs at the links above.  You can look at the entire complement of Ontario Edubloggers here.

If you’re from Ontario and your blog isn’t listed, please complete the form so that I can get it added.

2 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. I need to make one correction. Thanks, Sheila, for pointing out to me that your blog post wasn’t a couple of weeks ago. Time flies. The actual posting date was April 23.


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