Fantastic Mathematics Resource

So, when Donna Fry gives an order, I do it!

The OAME (Ontario Association for Mathematics Education) has assembled a fabulous collection of mathematics resources that they’re calling  It’s a really handy collection or games, tools, activities, and support pages for students and parents.

With all that’s assembled here, this should be the one stop resource for Ontario students and parents looking to bring mathematics into the home learning space.  If you’ve been a user of the CLIPS resources, you’ll recognize quite a few of the activities.  Heck, there may even be a few that you don’t recognize.  As a former OSAPAC Committee member, it was terrific to see links to The Geometer’s Sketchpad and Gizmos.  Some of these resources aren’t immediately usable as they’ll require a login / password to access since they are Ministry of Education licensed but instructions about how to get access to the codes are provided.

Some of the links let you download the software to work with locally.  Others run directly from the web.

As a mathematics lover, it’s just fun to play around with many of the activities.  So many of them are just fun to play with.

I’m always a sucker for a good calculator and I just had to check them out.  The computer science mentality naturally draws me to activities like taking the square root of a negative number or trying to divide by zero.  Just fun stuff that were standard for testing things…  I really like the ability to have quick access to a graphing calculator.  You do have to have Flash installed on your computer for some of the activities.  Hopefully, plans to develop for devices that don’t support Flash are under way.

This is an incredible collection of mathematics resources and, as Donna notes, needs to be shared widely.  Please take the time to do so.


OTR Links 11/30/2013

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s a most recent roundup of things of interest coming from the fingertips of Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, a great collection of wisdom shares.  Check them out and pass along to your colleagues.

How Do You Jump Into the Pool?

Kristi Kerry Bishop posed a question about change in school that inspired a number of replies, including one from me.  It’s good reading, both from the perspective of a teacher and an administrator.  I was inspired, as a teacher, to share a big moment of change for me as a first year teacher.  Hint, it involved a sweating vice-principal with a big grin on his face.  Change has to be something carefully thought through.

I remember the advice given to me by a colleague as we car pooled to my first professional development session.  “Beware of anyone who says I’m from the Board Office and I’m here to help you.”  There’s a danger in statements like that and their effectiveness.  It’s like “I read a book on PLNs | Collaborative Inquiry | Inquiry in the Classroom | ” and now we’re going to do it.  There needs to be an element of readiness and part of that is laying the ground work.

In this case, my reply was inspired by a personal event and also by the quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Got ideas of your own?  Add them to her replies.


Another Brick in the Wall

Peter Skillen, as luck would have it, has the perfect blog post to address at least some of Kerri’s concerns.

He expands on his thoughts in the post with a number of “bricks”.

  • Practise what you Preach
  • We perpetuate myths through one-line wisdoms
  • We need to educate – not subjugate
  • We are ferociously fickle. We ‘surf the surface’
  • It IS about the tools
  • Educate the public

If this doesn’t make you think….


Students as Teachers:  Week 2 in the Makerbot 3D Classroom

As noted earlier in the blog and on hers, Heather Durnin has a new tool for her classroom and is using her Makerbot printer for “exciting, vigorous learning” in her classroom.  The blog post talks about the excitement that the students have and anything that gets kids working over the lunch hour has to be good.  I like the pictures that she shares in the post; it appears to be one very excited classroom.


Clouds and Records

For those who are fear mongering that education is selling out to big corporations about student data without thinking it through, you need to take a look at Mark Carbone’s recent post.  The OASBO people are taking this topic very seriously.  As Mark notes,

 “The provincial committee is examining school board privacy and records management considerations
for business functions as they relate to cloud computing.”

As visible evidence, a recent meeting of OASBO folks online with a Google Hangout, the conversation was recorded and made available for anyone who wants to take the time to view it.  Mark has it embedded into his post.


100th Post: Welcoming an administrator to blogging

Congratulations to Brandon Grasley on the occasion of his 100th blog post.

I think the post speaks to his qualities as an educator helping other educators.  Many bloggers, upon reaching such a milestone would blog about “me“, “hey, it’s my 100th” or the like.  In Brandon’s case, he used his post to promote the blogging efforts of another educator.

Doesn’t that speak volumes about him on a personal level and on a more global level how we can use the blogging platform to build a better place for all of us to learn online?  Let’s join Brandon in welcoming David Jaremy to the world of blogging.



#RCAC13 Final Program

If you’re able to make it to London on December 5, you’ll absolutely get a great day of Professional Learning at the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Annual Symposium.  It’s just one day in length but you’ll get a chance to hear two inspirational keynote speakers – Travis Allen and Gary Stager – as well as attend sessions from educational leaders from the Western Ontario region.

Oh, and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Full disclosure – I’ve been asked to co-chair the conference again with Doug Sadler.  It’s been a local event that I’ve been so passionate about since my first year as a consultant with the Essex County Board of Education.  I always used to bring my superintendent and key principals to hear what’s happening in other school districts just up the 401.  Every other school district would do the same thing and we would serve to push each other to greater and greater things.  It’s a full days of ideas and inspiration.

As Rodd Lucier notes:


You’ve got to admit – it’s another great week of reading and ideas from some of the educational leaders in the province.  Thanks to the above and to everyone in the Ontario Edublogger list for keeping us engaged and thinking about the big issues in Ontario Education.  Please take the time to visit the blog entries above and see if you don’t agree.

OTR Links 11/29/2013

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

OTR Links 11/28/2013

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

Little Help Needed

You know that I really like DropBox and the DropItToMe combination.  I think it’s genius when looking at a web-based hand-in folder for students.  I wrote a post about it once and do repeat it as a “post from the past” at the beginning of the school year.  With more students involved with BYOD, it’s important to have their work submitted to the teacher and nobody wants more paper.  Electronic copies make so much sense.

Of course, when a student hands in a file for an assignment submission, they’ll attach their name to the file so that the teacher knows whose file is whose.

Recently, I had a former colleague ask a wide sweeping question about electronic hand-ins to her network on Facebook and I responded with my post above.  I, of course, tried it out again at home to make sure that it would work; she tried it out at her home and it worked and she was ready to go with it.

As her students started to submit their work, she noticed a problem.  Only a few of the submissions were getting to her.  She would download a file from DropBox and look at it; go back and get another submission; etc.  But, in a complete class, she wasn’t getting all of the submissions and was puzzled.  She asked me if there was a problem with Dropbox; I tested it and it sure looked like it worked.

So we did some digging around and got to the bottom of things.

She was using the Pic Collage application with her students.  It’s a nice app that creates a collage from content that you send it.  Once a student is happy with the results, she or he would save it to the camera roll on the iPad and then go through the process of submitting the finished product.  They would appear to be following instructions properly but she wasn’t getting the files.

I was able to replicate her frustration here.  The problem, as I see it, is that each file that was submitted from the camera roll is called “image.jpg”.  No many how many times you upload it, only one appears in Dropbox.  As I’m sure you can see by now, the problem is that subsequent uploads were simply overwriting the one uploaded before it.

No problem, I thought.  I’ve got a number of ideas that might solve the situation.

  1. Configure Dropbox to allow multiple copies of the same file.  It’s a pretty common activity – the application could just call the files image(1).jpg, image(2).jpg, …  or some similar naming convention.  Strike One.
  2. Go into Pic Collage and see if there’s a “Save As” or option to give the file that it creates a unique name.  None found.  Strike Two.
  3. Go into the Camera Roll and rename the file.  The only editing options deal with editing the image itself and not the filename.  Strike Three.

I am out of ideas.

Well, actually, I’m out of my own ideas so I’d like to turn to you for assistance.

I don’t think that what she’s asking from technology is something unreasonable.  Or is it just not possible when taking a consumer, one user product, and attempting to use it in a networked world?

I can see a couple of ways around it but they sure seem like a real jury rig.

  1. Sit at a computer with Dropbox open and have the students send the files one at a time and download them as they appear;
  2. Have the students transfer the file to a regular computer, rename it there and then upload it.

Both of these ideas would work but take all of the elegance and magic out of using a computer.  Surely, there’s a better way.

I’m hoping that I can’t see the forest for the trees and that one of my very talented blog readers has a simple solution.  Well?