This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Lots of fun and good reading this past week from Ontario Edubloggers had me doing some thinking.  Thanks to those who continue to push things via their blogs.

Baking Cookies as Life Lessons

Now, I didn’t know that Diana Maliszewski didn’t cook.  Apparently, she doesn’t bake either.  But, she did challenge herself over the March Break and shared her stories and a number of pictures of her efforts.  With each success, she shared some lessons that she learned.  Her post started as an amusing read but turned into one with great learnings and I thank her for being open enough to share them.

By way of modelling, she’s avoiding saying “I don’t like cooking.”  Perhaps more people should adopt this positive approach.  We might never hear the words “I don’t like Mathematics” again.  To steal a phrase, just do it.  You’ll like the results.


The Problem with SAMR

In a recent post, Royan Lee takes on one of the current sacred cows of our time in technology.  It also generated a great deal of activity in the comments.  What I like about SAMR is that it’s causing people to have a conversation about technology.  We haven’t seen this much conversation about a single topic since “It’s about good teaching, not about the technology.”  In many cases, it’s the same people trying to each from both sides of the platter.

In the post, Royan gives a reasoned approach to what he finds as problems with SAMR.  I found myself agreeing with so much of what he wrote.

Sadly, I think that many of the folks who are hammering SAMR are just using it as the latest tool.  “We bought xxxxx instead of yyyyy because of SAMR”.  Or, take a look and you’ll find people drawing charts, graphs, and so on identifying applications by SAMR level.  Sadly, it’s all to the exclusion of good teaching.  Somehow because someone who people look up to makes a chart that says this app fits into “Redefinition”, they interpret it to mean that it actually does despite teaching practice and that it will work the same way for all teachers and all students?   Why do we even have teachers if this is true?

I wonder if these people have even looked at Dr. Puentedura’s resources?


If I Ruled The World — Or At Least Had My Say On Curriculum Expectations …

Aviva Dunsiger is always good for a read and I could have chosen many of her recent posts to include here.  I decided to take a look at this once where she took the discussion of the value of cursive writing to her blog.

Now, I’ve never had to teach students cursive writing.  I have had to tell students to print and not use cursive while writing programs so that they can recognize the intricacies of their code later.  I wonder how much longer it would take to print a test rather than write a test.  We’re nowhere near universal access to technology so using a computer keyboard everywhere is out of the question.  Heck, we haven’t even wrestled BYOD to the ground yet.

But I wonder…

  • How would you sign your name to a cheque or a mortgage?
  • If you don’t learn to write in cursive, could you read a document that was done in cursive?
  • What would the guy from Pawn Stars with the big briefcase holding a magnifying glass do if his handwriting recognition expertise is no longer needed?

Self-Serve Learning – but only at school?

Heather Theijsmeijer is sharing her thoughts about how BYOD is working in her classroom through her blog.  Specifically, this post talks about her MFM2P class.  Math classes depend so much upon prior love of the subject area and 2P is no different.

But, how about moving to a BYOD model?  Maybe the world will change with the “D”s?  Students will work faster and be more engaged, right?  Heather shares some honest insights from her experiences.

She closes with more questions than answers…

I think these are important questions that at least need to be asked before diving into the BYOD swimming pool.  Bringing devices into a classroom isn’t going to change years of a mindset and expectations overnight.  Hopefully, she’s still early enough in the course to be able to get some satisfactory answers to her questions.  And, if YOU have the answers, share them through her blog.


The Transformative Power of Reading and Talking Literature

I felt guilty reading Julie Balen’s recent post.

I used to read a great deal of fiction.  But, I turned to the bookshelf behind me and it’s full of computer technical manuals, programming language references, printer paper, and two books by Earl Derr Biggers.

I feel a resolution may be in order.

Thanks again to those Ontario Edubloggers who continue to write about such interesting things.  Please take the time to visit these blogs and share your thoughts with the writers.  The complete list of Ontario Edubloggers is available here.  If you are an Ontario Edublogger and not already listed, please add yourself.  I’d really like to read your blog.

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2 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thanks for including my post here, Doug! I never even thought about code before, but you make an excellent point for printing versus writing. Maybe so much depends on the situation: sometimes printing is best, sometimes cursive, and sometimes a device. And maybe it’s not always the same for each person. I feel as though I have even more to think about now …

    Aviva

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  2. As always, Aviva, I think the important part is to make sure that you have the right tool for the task. In coding, it’s important to be able to read what you wrote and that was my point with my kids. In my class, students were not allowed to start work on the computer until they had fleshed out the logic and roughed their code before sitting at the keyboard. I found it more efficient than composition at the keyboard. I know that others take a different approach and let students do their work on the computer right from the start. I always felt that my approach led credence to the notion that I was teaching problem solving rather than just coding. It’s a good discussion point among CS teachers.

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