This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Given that many are taking an unpaid leave day today, I do hope that there are some readers of this post.  I want to share some of the excellent thinking from Ontario Educators from the past while.

Teacher Leadership and Change

Colin Jagoe’s most recent post talks about a change in the way that leadership happens in his board.  The direction seems to be one away from expertise in a subject area to responsibilities in more than one discipline.  Even the title that he describes is different going from Department Head to Lead Teacher.

I heard it said somewhere (and have often used the line myself) that there are 2 things that teachers hate. Change and the way things are.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.  In years gone by, I was actually a Director – there were two of us in the school and we were differentiated from Department Heads by the size of budget that we managed.  Time moved on there to and, while the title is now Department Head, it does take in Family Studies in addition to Business Education.  I suspect that we’ll see more of this model as time goes by.  In the comments to the post, there’s an interesting discussion speculating why this has happened and possible benefits.


Olympic Medals and Test Scores

Does this sound like some other media fabrication that happens every fall where schools and districts are ranked based on provincial or state testing?

Colin Harris draws an interesting analogy between ranking of athletes at an Olympic event and the ranking of schools.  It’s like an extension to Alfred Thompson’s Sorting Isn’t Simple post.  There are more things that go on at Olympic games and I guess it’s only natural to guess and speculate as to how things are ranked.  Ask my wife and she’ll have a theory about the EQAO of Ice Skating judging.  Plus one of the criteria is number of medals – does this mean we won the Olympics because of all the gold medals we walked away with in hockey?

It is too bad that everything has to be judged – sometimes objectively and other times subjectively – with the ultimate goal of assigning a letter or a number or a medal to a performance.  We strive for perfect solutions to imperfect events.


Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Beth Carey offer an actual lesson plan for using Minecraft in the Mathematics classroom.  This lesson addresses the understanding of fractals.

I may just have to sit down and work through this to get a sense of how it works.  There are times when I feel like I’m the last person on earth to drink the Minecraft Koolaid.  Obviously, I’ve done it on the personal level and haven’t worked with it at any deep level of any sense.  Kudos to those that can make it work for them and their students.


Learning by Playing Around

Joan Vinall-Cox offers a first impression of working with the Notability app on her iPad.  In the course of her work, she finds some of the shortcuts that are built into iOS which are so handy.  I totally agree with her than an apostrophe would help these old keyboarding fingers.  I find going to the alternate layouts or long holding on the , key breaks up the flow that I get when I’m keying.

I’ll admit that when I’m keying on my iPad, I’m a hunter and pecker.  I’ve tried using the traditional layout and my keyboarding skills but it’s just not the same.  A couple of years ago, Zoe Branigan-Pipe and I bought ourselves Kensington keyboards and covers for our iPads.  That’s what I use when I’m typing there but I miss the right shift key.  I think I paid too much attention in Grade 9 Typing.

If anyone is looking for an ECOO 2014 presentation idea, how about a smackdown of the various text editing programs available for iOS?  I know that I would attended a comprehensive comparison of all that’s available.  Notability?  Evernote?  Penultimate?  Lumen Note?  Note Spark?  How’s a person supposed to know?


Safe Sounds for podcasting – Canada, 2014

Still at Joan’s site, she shared a presentation about getting safe sounds for podcasting.  I don’t think that this is a message that people can hear and relate to students often enough.

What’s really important to Ontario Educators is that Joan addresses Fair Dealing.  I get so tired of hearing people talking about Fair Use.
Anyway, it’s a good presentation to flip through as a reminder or a research for students.  In the light of the announcement of Getty images made today, I hope that she’ll do a similar presentation for that.
Great thinking folks.  Thanks so much for sharing.  Please visit the pages at the links above and read the entire posts.  You can check out the entire collection of Ontario Edublogs at the Livebinder located here.
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