This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Later this afternoon, there will be a collective “aaaaaah” as the Christmas Break begins.  But, before that, check out some of the wonderful writing from Educational Bloggers in Ontario….


Blogging as Therapy

I love this post from Eva Thompson.  In it, she reflects on her own personal purpose for blogging.  But it goes beyond her personal posting to a reflection on the expansion of her online reading habits.

I think she absolutely nails it when you think about why we do what we do.

To me, it reinforces the concept of “Professional Development” versus “Professional Learning”.  With PD, it’s something that’s done to you.  You hire some big name (in some circles) person to come in and talk at you for an hour.  I remember a few years ago being asked by my boss to make connections with this particular speaker about coming to do a speaking engagement.  I made the connection and asked where her blog was so that I could find out more about her.  The response still sticks with me “Oh, I don’t blog.  I write books.  In fact, hire me, and your participants can buy my book for 10% off at the event.”  What a deal!  

Compare that with PL where the learner is in charge and she may have this as a focus one day and that as completely different focus on another day.  Who is growing as a professional?  The one who is sitting in the audience listening for one hour or the one who is actively following her interests on a daily basis?  That doesn’t mean that the speaker is a dead model – the very good ones are blogging and connecting with the audience before and after the event.  Just think for a moment as to where your time is best spent learning.

This blog post is a real keeper and certainly one worthwhile sharing with colleagues.  Thanks, so much for writing it, Eva.


A «question mark» afternoon?
Un après-midi “point d’interrogation”?

You’ve got to really appreciate a post that is so powerful that the author writes it twice in two different languages.  That’s what Johanne Ste Croix did.

She was motivated by another’s posting that she decided to share it with her network.

There’s a great deal being talked about currently with respect to student voice.  This is an interesting interpretation – by your actions are you standing in the road?

The blog link is missing in the English post but certainly is available in the French one.


Coding & Computer Programming: What most schools don’t teach!

Technically, this isn’t a blog post but more of a forum but blogger Sheila Stewart sent it to me so it’s all good.  The topic is about coding in the context of the recently concluded Hour of Code event as part of Computer Science Education Week.

There are lots of links to additional resources if that’s important to you.

With respect to the Hour of Code, there are lots of positive messages and comments all over the web.  There is a part of this particular message chain that takes a look at the other side.  It’s a wakeup message for those who are teaching coding as a distinct subject in the elementary school panel.  But, integrated as part of a mathematics or science topic?  I can’t speak strongly enough for the value in that.  It’s only an hour-ish if kept in the spirit of the week.  There are far more wasteful activities that take up way more than an hour that more properly should be the target.

While I like mathematics as much as anyone, the notion that we need to drill and kill the basic skills so that they can survive in the “real world” is a concern.  There was a time when you had to, for example, make change as a cashier manually.  The world didn’t end when we turned to electronic cash registers.  We just got better at it.  I had a glimpse of the future yesterday at a store – not only did the register indicate how much change was needed (rounded to get rid of the penny), it indicated how the change would be made in terms of the number of quarters, dimes, and nickels to be used.

Yes, there is always room for mental math and education is the one area where we clutch it with so much passion.  I still want people to be able to do that but I also want students to recognize that their future includes other tools.  Most of them plug-in or require charging overnight.


Redefining the Unit Test

If that one line, bolded, doesn’t inspire you to read Heather Theijsmeijer’s post, you’re certainly in the wrong place reading this blog.

I won’t spoil the surprise – it’s about testing – you need to read her post and comment.

She might not have it “figured out” but she’s sure asking the right questions and thinking about them.

Isn’t it terrific that we have this network of people that we can say this out loud to and get feedback?


My Unresponsive Course

At times, I wonder if anyone actually ever reads the stuff that I post.  But, when it inspires a response like Brandon Grasley’s it’s rewarding.  Somebody does read it.

In response to my post about responsive webpages, he did a little self-analysis about the resources that he’s generating.  He celebrates his successes and also identifies an area where the page isn’t responsive.  Ironically, it’s in his elearning course.

I had to smile a bit when he identifies the resources as being PDF files.  I had to think of the wisdom “PDF is where ideas go to die”.

Times are a changing.  Will there come a time when PDF gets a responsive attribute?


keeping perspective

Adele Stanfield took the case of being overwhelmed to a recent post.

She is, of course, correct.  Open a Twitter stream or read a few blogs and you quickly realize how much smarter everyone else is.  I just had a vision of the header on Jenny Luca’s blog.

It’s like a comment from Abraham Lincoln.  “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

All kidding aside, I think Adele shares some pretty wise advice – keep your perspective.


Thanks, everyone, for sharing such great bits of wisdom.  Please visit the blogs for the original posts at the link provided.  The entire collection of Ontario Edubloggers is located here.  There’s a link there to add your own blog if it’s not there already.

Best wishes for a relaxing holiday break.

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