Did it!

I got 2048!

and no … I didn’t get it by cheating or by digital editing.  It was done legitimately, and with a great deal of work and effort.

It just wasn’t with the original game.

As I blogged yesterday, the 2048 game is a very addictive time consumer (waster) game that had its code released as open source.

So, I was investigating an intriguing mathematics Tumblr site called “Visualizing Math” which is a fantastic resource for animations and visualizations in mathematics.  This is well worth the time, effort, and exploration for such visualization.

In the middle, there’s a discussion of the 2048 game.  It was here that I read about the 9007199254740992 game!

Let me see here:












and so on and so on.  All made easily available through the benefit of open source.  The only problem is that the 8×8 grid is too large to display on the screen at default.  I had to do a few Command – keystrokes to make it all visible.  I thought, just for a moment, that I had a rationale to purchase a higher resolution screen!

It begs the question – there undoubtedly are more variations of the game available.

Do you have one to share?

OTR Links 03/31/2014

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

The 2048 Game

And now for something completely different…

I’m posting this on the weekend because it just wouldn’t be fair to get you started on something and then have to go to work.  The game is based on multiples of 2 – I wish that I could say that you could use this to teach binary numbers or something but that wouldn’t be right.

I put this game in the category of Flappy Bird.  Simple, easy to get started, easy to play, and it will have you addicted.  Can you hit 2048?  I started with the web version and was hooked.  Poking around reveals that there are many copies as well as portable versions.  The original is located here and can be played on your portable device so it really isn’t necessary to download a mobile version.


As the instructions say, just move the tiles with the arrow keys on your keyboard (or swipe on the web), merge the tiles, and try to generate the highest score.  Can you hit 2048?

As I started to poke around, it’s not without its controversy.  The original author attributes the design to the game THREES.  iOS Android

The authors of THREES share their thoughts in a blog post and their comments to those who they claim have ripped off their original concept.

It is there that I do see room for classroom discussion.  Where does original work end and rip off begin?  Are we better off with only one variation of a theme?  THREES…2048…1024…Numberwang 2048.  What about WordPerfect…Word…Pages…LibreOffice?

It’s a great discussion to have – provided you can put this addictive game down long enough to have it!

The code is open source and you can download to make your own or add to the project.

In the meantime, I’ve hit 256 but I have a plan…

OTR Links 03/30/2014

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

More Spring Cleaning

This past week, I had three people that I know end up spewing garbage into their Twitter stream.  I know this because one of the spewings was directed at me.  It’s a reminder that a little bit of spring maintenance might be in order.

More on that in a second but it’s relatively easy to determine if someone has got access to your account and is sending out nasty messages.  If you’re just using the Twitter web interface, just head to your homepage http://www.twitter.com/<yourname&gt; and see what’s been sent.  You’ll know right away.  Or, if you’re using a third party application like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, start a special column for Twitter messages “Sent”.

If there’s bad stuff, you’ll see it right away and you can handle it. 

How did they get access to your account?  Chances are, you clicked one of those links that says “LOL, I can’t believe this is you” and you’re in trouble.  Change your password right away and you should be back in business.

But, let’s go one step further.  Is there anyone or anything else using your account that you don’t know about?  Log into Twitter and head over to your applications menu.  Here, you’ll find a list of everything that you’ve approved access to your account.

If you don’t recognize the application or you did approve it once but now have a change of mind or you just don’t know, you can revoke access to your account.  The next time the application wants to use your account, you’ll have to approve it.  This is significant and worthwhile checking out regularly.

Since you’re on a maintenance roll, how about your other social accounts?  What has access to your Facebook account?  Find out by logging into Facebook and clicking here.

Are there any applications that you’re not using that need to be deep sixed?  This is the place to do it!

How about Google?  It’s so easy to log in to other services with your Google account.  It’s very handy but do you still need to give authorization?

Check these out by logging into Google and clicking here.

Have you used your Microsoft Live account?  Better check that too.

It’s not that these are bad things.  The trend is to use services by authorizing with an account that you already own.  It lowers the number of accounts (and passwords) that you need to maintain.  It’s up to you to keep an eye on what you’re authorizing and to revoke the access if you no longer need to do it.  This is one of those things that you have to do yourself.

So, when was the last time you did a little online account cleaning?

OTR Links 03/29/2014

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

One of the advantages of being the co-chair of the ECOO / OASBO ICT Bring IT Together Conference is that I have to monitor the workshop submission proposals as they come in.  BTW, the closing date is approaching…

Anyway, the great topic submissions show what great thinking Ontario Educators are doing about their profession.  The same thing happens when you take a look at their blogging.  It’s always a pleasure to do the reading.  Here’s a few that caught my eye this past week.

Using Google+ to Encourage Feedback

One of the messages explaining the rationale for all the web work that we do is that we use it to meet the students half way.  Students, generally, are comfortable in their network communities and certainly everyone has a Google account which gives access to Communities.  It’s not something new to learn; it’s just an easy transition for students and I think that this explains the immediate success that GAFE boards have had.  Colleen Rose shares her thoughts about using the tools for communication at a number of different levels and to different groups.  I found it to be an exciting read and I think quite nicely summarizes a great deal of why people are doing what they do.  Read the post and see if you don’t agree.

30 Days of Positive

You know, if you’re going to steal an idea, you can’t go far wrong with stealing from Oprah Winfrey.

Kristi Kerry Bishop uses being tired as a launch pad to some reflection about gratitude for what’s happening in education.  I had to read the post 2 or 3 times to make sure that I understood the jump in her thinking and I like that she landed on searching the positive.  It’s not nearly as physically draining as dealing with the negative and certainly, the negative isn’t that hard to find.  This is a great read and it’s just faith in humanity that her friends jumped in with support in the comments.

When you’re done reading that post, check out the previous one about hiring Harry Connick Jr.  Much more to think about…

Gedding Some Passion

Cathy Beach sent me a Twitter message a few days ago that was so obscure.  It linked back to this post on her blog and reading it still didn’t really clear things up in my mind.  I thought maybe she had finally lost it!

What the post was, however, was a launchpad to a series of posts from her asking us to think about the future.  Not about what we’re going to have for supper, but 10 years down the road.  Interesting…

My Morning Musings: My Brain Hurts

Aviva Dunsiger’s brain hurts.  So, she does what any rational person would do and take a couple of aspirins.  Right?


In this digital age, she blogs about her problem …

Now, whether or not she gets the timely feedback she’s seeking, I think that the whole process is worth noting.

In the year 2014, do you blindly follow along with the prescriptive resource, or do you look to your network of peers for ideas?  A combination of both may well result in the best learning environment.

Painful Reminder

Who hasn’t been here as a parent?

I hope by now, the problem has been identified and solved and that everyone in the Grasley household is back resting comfortably at night again.

My Own Blog

My own blog,  doug — off the record, got a lot smarter this past week.  I had a couple of guest bloggers!

Doing this was a great deal more difficult that I thought it was going to be.  When approached by the ladies involved, I thought – Great!  I don’t have to do any thinking for a couple of days.  I’ll just copy and paste their work.  Ha!  They had taken the time to entrust me with their thinking and I wanted to make sure that it formatted properly and looked right.  For the first time, blogging was actually work!

But, I’m glad that I did it – there was some good reaction to their posts and I think both delivered a message that was timely and relevant.

Great stuff again, folks.  Thanks to the bloggers above for some great thinking and sharing.  I’m hoping to see them go the next step at the Bring IT Together Conference.

Check out their posts at the links above and, please, check out the entire list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  I am admitting that I’m finding some abandoned content in there.  Rather than deleting them, I’m hoping that they’re just taking a break and will be back.  If you’re a Ontario blogger yourself or you know of one that’s not here, please fill out the form on the page and I’ll get it added.

OTR Links 03/28/2014

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

Ha! Ha! Building Serious Skills Using Stand-Up Comedy

This post is another guest blog publication.  I actually had read this story during my morning reads about a week ago and saw it retweeted a number of times.  I’m honoured that Sue has offered to share it with you via this blog.
What could be more fun than experiencing true mirthful laughter at school with teachers and students? Sue Stephenson compiled several of her blogs into this article for MiddleWeb. Kudos to Patti Henderson for capturing the spirit so cleverly with her photography. PLP Powerful Learning Practice http://www.plpnetwork.com publishes three of Sue’s books as ePubs.

SueStephenson-hdsht-128by Sue Stephenson

“It’s okay to laugh at your own jokes.”
– grade 7 student

Imagine seventh grade students becoming stand-up comedians. I know — you think they already are! But just wait for my punchline. A year ago, after the print edition of my book Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humor appeared, I spent time with middle school classes at North Kipling JMS in Toronto, Canada, exploring their reactions to some of the activities. I was the founding principal at this school, so I felt pretty comfortable back in the classroom with these kids. We began by focusing on pleasant feelings like happiness and challenging feelings like anger and sadness. Then we analyzed comic strips as a route into comedy or planned humor. That was a good start. But we had a bigger idea!

And then a very funny thing happened . . .

comedy-coachThis school year we moved on to stand-up comedy — both writing and performing. With support from principal Alex Tracey, five teachers took the comedy plunge with me: Alessandro Lamanna, Marilyn Orszulik, Ian Robertson, Ellen Walton and Doug Cornell. From the start we wanted to develop a safe, simple pilot project built right into the curriculum — a crash course of three in-class workshops over three months culminating in a performance. The teachers developed rubrics for a logo contest and for the in-class presentations. The project used strategies to encourage skills that aren’t traditionally taught but have serious curriculum connections:

  • Developing language skills (oral and written) and creativity;
  • Building confidence and a sense of humor when speaking in front of others;
  • Confronting mental health and well being issues;
  • Learning the difference between helpful and hurtful humor (and sarcasm’s nasty cousin, bullying).

One of the surprises from the students came when a few of them voiced a request to not limit participation by selecting only the “best” to perform, but to encourage all types of students to take part. Each student was to perform for his or her classmates in small groups, and two or three acts from each class would be chosen to perform in the final Showcase.

Have you heard the one about . . . 

NK laughter 1In the first workshop, I introduced the guidelines and showed video clips to the students to establish positive exemplars. (Finding age-appropriate videos was a real challenge.) I had prepared joke bags, each containing six short jokes, that the kids shared in groups of three to practice their timing. Our participants included students who were learning English as a second or third language, and we learned that vocabulary is a key factor in understanding humor. The three main guidelines were:

  1. One, two or three performers in an “act”;
  2. Rehearsed short sketches or skits of three to five minutes in length with a set-up, a story and punchline or twist at the end;
  3. Appropriate, non-hurtful humor. “If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see this, don’t put it in your act.”

The whole object of comedy is to be yourself, and the closer you get to that, the funnier you’ll be. – Jerry Seinfeld

 Whose line is it, anyway?

For our second workshop, we were able to involve two local comedians, Tyler Morrison and Marc Trinidad, who shared their varied experiences and tips for success. In particular they distinguished between unrehearsed “improv comedy” and stand up comedy where the performer practices their set up and punchline. Some students who tried to wing it with improv were surprised to learn that it didn’t work as well as they predicted. Students were invited to stand up and share the routine they were working on. We were impressed with the natural comedic intelligence we witnessed, just waiting to be released. We used a Giggleometer rating scale (1 to 5) for the routines we saw on videos and in live performances. Everyone learned that there are different jokes for different folks. Some classes used blogs to share internet sources of inspiration and ideas. The teachers continued to coach and mentor students to bring out their funny side and talk about appropriate humor. Each class used a couple of copies of the Kidding Around book for reference.

And now, for the first time before a live audience . . .

Showcase photoFor the third workshop we combined all four classes so they could experience a bigger audience reaction and the actual venue for the final Showcase. We focused on two main questions identified in their blogs: how best to develop material, and what to do about performance anxiety. Here are some pointers we discussed to develop a short sketch:

  • Use a notebook to jot down raw material before you forget.
  • Be yourself and talk about your world.
  • Watch for funny things that happen around you and write about that.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Work out your timing.

Their other concern was how to find the courage to deal with being nervous. They had to first realize that it’s normal to feel nervous. Then we talked about:

  • being prepared and rehearsed;
  • loosening up their funny bones by jumping up and down;
  • going up on the stage and practicing with a microphone;
  • visualizing success and finding some friendly faces in the audience;
  • smiling and breathing deeply before going on stage.

One teacher shared a reassuring story about on boy whose sketch evolved and improved many times as he reworked the lines in preparation for his live performance. Student blogs and commentstracked their range of feelings as the project unfolded. Here are a few samples:

North Kipling collage png–  I was kinda freaked out at the idea when it was first introduced to us, but after talking with my group it seems to be a really cool experience.

–  I’m totally pumped for our sketch. Can’t wait!!! You don’t see many schools doing these types of things, and I am SUPER grateful for being exposed to a subject new to me.

–  I honestly really, really, REALLY love this assignment. It’s allowing me to reach out of my comfort zone, which usually doesn’t happen.

–  This is a great chance for really shy kids to break out of their shell and also for the jokers and class clowns to express themselves.

–  How can I be funnier and find my inner comedian?

–  These were the fastest two months of my life. I feel kinda sad about this coming to an end.

The logo contest entries were posted and students voted on their favorites. Because the school mascot is a Cougar Cub, a logo featuring “North Kipling Comedy Cubs” was perfect. Through a press release, the media was invited to attend the final showcase.


What a laughable experience it was!

My parents want me to happy. And a doctor. – Alim

A critical part of the success of the Showcase were the two run-throughs we staged before the real event. The teachers and I gave support and feedback to each act. The day of the Showcase brought out the best in most of the young comedians. The program and content the kids chose included stories about types of parents, out of control shopping experiences, social media, and experiments gone wrong — just to name a few.

Canadian CBC TV picked up the story and the videographer arrived early on the morning of the Showcase. She even spent time with the kids filming their stories after it wrapped up. You can check out theCBC coverage on YouTube!

This experience with the teachers and students was a highlight of my career. Their faces tell the whole story. I encourage you to learn from our experience and try this in your own classrooms or schools or living rooms. You could start small and just get your feet wet — or you could jump in the deep end and ride the waves of comedy.

To laugh at comedy on TV or in the movies is one thing, but to write and perform comedy in front of others is a unique experience. Students agreed that they were all winners for performing in front of an audience of their peers.

North Kipling JMS students and teachers hope this pilot project becomes an annual event. Plans are in the works to add a few more schools and involve more professional comedians. As one of the teachers Doug Cornell said: “We’re on to something new and good here!”

Kidding Around-COVER_Layout 1Sue Stephenson has over 40 years of experience as a teacher, principal, staff developer, instructional consultant, author and speaker. She has written four books that focus on building trusting relationships and positive methods to cope with stress, including Kidding Around and Laughing Matters. Her keynotes and workshops focus on a passion for happiness & laughter and teamwork & trust. Contact her through her website, SueStephenson.ca, and follow her on Twitter @sue4stephenson.

OTR Links 03/27/2014

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