Super Ontario Educators Edition


If your memory is long, you may recall that I ended up becoming addicted to the 2048 game.  I looked and I blogged about it last March.  Has it really been that long?

I even played a hack of the game and got a nasty comment from Andy Forgrave about it. 

The original is on my phone and it’s a great timewaster and one of the go-to things while waiting service here and there.  It’s a great deal quieter than Bejeweled Blitz.

The other night, I was doing some work with one eye on my Twitter stream when this Twitter message from Andy goes flying by.

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You’ll notice that it already had two retweets by the time I got to capturing it.  Super Ontario Educators  Edition?  You’ve got to be intrigued by that.

It turns out that the site usvsth3m lets you modify their code to create your own game.  In this case, Andy has created his own version of 2048 by replacing the numbered tiles in the original game with Twitter images from some Ontario Educators.  That’s certainly an interesting twist.  As it turns out, now that the other eye is on the Twitter stream, lots of people are trying it out.  Apparently, I’m late to the game so I dig in.

It’s certainly interesting to see so many friends with their images in the game. 

I will admit that I grow tired of seeing the lovely Zoe’s image over and over and over again!  Peter’s not much better!

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So, courtesy of Andy, I now have a new time waster on my hands. 

Supposedly, I’m in there somewhere.  I just haven’t found me yet. 

Maybe some day.

This might be the learning that helps me beat the original game.  Confluence of strategy and luck, don’t you know?

Thanks, Andy.  You can play his Super Ontario Educators Edition here.

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OTR Links 01/31/2015


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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another Friday and another collection of awesome blog posts from Ontario Educators.  Read on!


“I Don’t Want To Go To School!”

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But there’s another reason why that bothers Aviva Dunsiger.  What if it’s just that the child doesn’t want to come to school?  I had to smile, when reading, because my context is the secondary school.  There, most students want to come to school.  It’s a very social place.  It’s just going to class that they sometimes have issues with.

It’s a difficult balance that I think all teachers wrestle with.  The class could be a fun place to be.  Full of games, joking, and doing everything but learning.  Or, it could be just like so many schools we see in the movies and read about.  Sit in rows, feet flat on the floor, eyes on the teacher as she lectures content for the time allotted.

The perfect situation?  All things being equal, it’s in the middle somewhere and it’s that mix that’s a struggle.  The ultimate would be attendance just for the joy of learning.  How do we reach that?  As for the topics that she’s listed in purple, for the most part, they’re out of reach for a practical solution but patience and understanding are needed to address them.


Neat-o stats from my blog for 2014

Brandon Grasley posted this analysis of his blog earlier this year.  I had it bookmarked and kind of forgot to go back to it.  Sorry, Brandon.  I was interested in his analysis about how things worked out on his blog.  It’s a good read and worth a reflection back on your own blog.  If you’re interested in growing your readership, it’s probably worth considering just why people read your blog and look at the popularity of some posts.

Always looking for the interesting, it’s interesting to see what people were searching for when they ended up at his place.

Selection_076That’s much more interesting than the top search terms for here.

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Pedagogy Before Technology – 10 Ideas to Consider

Brian Aspinall shares a post about teaching and technology.  He adds a top 10 list of thoughts.

Generally, though, I have an issue with this sort of thing.  It comes across with the quote at the top of the post.

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I would hope that we’ve gotten over the spectre of programmed instruction. I hope that we’ve got past the notion that the internet is full of information; we just need to find it.  We’ve been putting technology in the hands of students for years, all the time getting better using it to teach more effectively and give opportunities for learning that were previously unavailable.  It’s the year 2014; I would hope that we have better thoughts and ideas about technology that we did even five years ago.  We don’t have discussions about the benefits of corrugated cardboard versus regular cardboard.  By continually to have these discussions, I think that in some way, we make it easier for some to say that we shouldn’t use technology, period.

Instead, it’s there; use it.  Recently, I watched the original Star Trek movie featuring Vger.  Towards the end of the movie, Kirk realizes what’s causing the problem.  Vger is asking “is there anything more?”.  Shouldn’t that be the question and the thoughts as you reflect on a lesson that has a significant technology component?


We Are Marshall

I really enjoyed reading this post by Sue Bruyns.  Anything that takes a shot at email is good with me!

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In a way, email is a selfish medium.  Even if it’s the greatest idea in the world, it’s restricted to a communication between sender and recipient(s).  Why not use the networks to broadcast this great ideas to anyone who cares to read/hear/watch it?  And, if you determine it to be good, share it with others.

Traditional professional learning is like that.  Does your school district have one or two big PD days a year and that’s it?  Shouldn’t professional learning be an ongoing event where you just continue to build and build and share great ideas?


Allowing students to deeply understand assessment.

Heidi Siwak is always good for a deep think.

Remember the days when assessment meant opening the report card and “Surprise!”

Selection_080It’s one thing to put learning in the hands of the learner.

It’s another thing to put assessment in the hands of the learner.

In the post, Heidi describes a classroom activity, full of pictures to illustrate her points, where she manages to put learning and assessment in the hands of the learner all at the same time, including creating a rubric.  Like she says in the post, make sure that you make it to the bottom!


Equation Headbands

Laura Wheeler’s blog is a place for fun and interesting approaches to teaching.

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Can you imagine what kind of mathematics activity you could work into this?

How about extending that activity?

You’ll have to check out her blog post for the answer.  What a great idea!


Thanks, everyone, for providing such great things to read on your blog.  Please visit them and enjoy the entire post.

You can read all of the great things from Ontario Edubloggers here.

OTR Links 01/30/2015


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

#csforstudents


There’s nothing like teaching something to a) make you learn the topic deeply and b) try to anticipate how learners will understand your lesson.

As teachers and professional developers, we understand this and live it daily.  We do it for a living.  We have degrees in our subject area.  We went to Teachers’ College for that additional degree and experience to learn how to be an educator.  We still plan and prep and worry.  It’s part of what we do for a living.  Then, we go face to face to do the actual teaching.  There are nerves and fumbles but that’s part and parcel of the package.

Can you imagine doing this as an elementary school student?  Online?  In front of a world stage?  In front of other teachers?

A student from the Lambton-Kent District School Board does every Tuesday evening from 7-8pm.  He goes online and leads a Twitter chat titled #csforstudents.  Recently, he’s taken the concept of a Twitter chat to a new level.  He conducts a one hour technology tutorial for those who care to join him.  As I write this post, I have remembrance of his Scratch lesson from last evening.  Last week, he took us on a quick tour of HTML and taught us how to build a simple webpage.

It’s a pretty brave move.  Some of us in the chat were computer science teachers.  It was interesting to see the interactions as the student becomes the teacher.

I captured the online discussion in this Storify document.  Check it out to see what happens when a student becomes a leader.

He even has a philosophy about teaching and has his own personal mission statement.

If you’re a teacher and have students interested in the computer science connection, encourage them to drop into one of the chats and participate.

Further though, is this a model for learning in the future?  Student-led concept and topic teaching?  Homework helping led by students?  Learning on their time and conditions?

It’s an interesting concept.  Your thoughts?

 

OTR Links 01/29/2015


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

Joining the Staffroom


A few days ago, I responded to a Twitter message from @ICTEvangelist

I have great respect for his writing and was intrigued so followed the link which led to a post here.  How could I not?  It had a hashtag.

Upon landing, it looked like staffrm.io was another blogging platform.  So, I replied to his message; I’ve learned so much from Mark, the least I could do is show a little bit of internet respect and reply to his blog post.  I did.  It turns out that you need an account on staffrm to do anything.  That’s OK.  What’s another account in today’s online world?  As with most services, there are rules.

That was interesting.  What I had initially classified as a blog was actually billing itself as a “professional learning community”.  I’m good with that.  I leave my reply, carefully formatted, and then took a look at it after the fact.  All of my hard work had been “butchered” and it appeared as one long text.  Sigh.  I send Mark back reply apologizing; I didn’t want him to think I didn’t know my way around a keyboard.  I got a message back in seconds indicating that it had been reformatted by the mighty @pepsmccrea.  You’ve got to have respect for anyone described as “mighty”.

Within moments, I had received an email from the mighty one.  The message helped confirm that this wasn’t just another blog and that it truly was a different type of community.  They don’t use the term “post”, instead preferring to call them “stories”.  And, the other interesting thing that was a change in mindset, was that most people were using Mark’s story as inspiration to create their own stories.  You can see them all here.  There are actually quite a few so plan to do some reading if you follow that link.

It was also clear that I wasn’t in my local neighbourhood anymore.  Peps indicated that he thought I was the first Canadian using the service.  Cool!  I went back and discovered that I beat @sylviaduckworth to a reply by minutes.

Anyway, when you’re in Rome, er, the UK, do as they do.  I thought that I would take my reply and add it as a story and tag it with #techandme.

It was here that it confirmed for me that this was no ordinary blog.  Ultimately, I did get my post, er, story to appear here.

But, it wasn’t without a bit of frustration. I seldom create a post online.  Usually, I use Scribefire or some other local editor and then upload things when I’m done.  That we’re doing it online here is OK, to be expected, and may suit their purpose in the long run.

More rules.  The basic template for a story appears below.  It was very much unlike a regular blog post where I’m in control about what and how I want things.  Here there are standards!  You MUST have an image at the top of your story.  You MUST have a title and a subtitle.

And you have to keep it under 500 words.  Uh oh.  There go my long, rambling rants, Noeline!

Formatting is done inline and an editing menu pops up when you double click some of your content.

In a way, I was reminded of OmmWriter where you’re writing in a very clean environment without menus or ribbons for distraction.

I muddled through and got it published.

You’ll probably recognize the picture from my photowalk at Niagara Falls.  It was the first thing that came to me – I wanted to have a bit of Canadiana to my first story.  The title made sense.  I made up something for the subtitle.  The need for that really caught me a bit off guard.

The process challenged my blogging mindset.  I’ll admit that it was frustrating at the time but, when done, I was glad that I did it.  I think it made me write and publish a better story.  I like things that challenge me.

Once done, my story is there along with a lot of other pieces of great writing.  It was very interesting to poke around and see what others were writing like this one – “Differentiation and Programming“.

After my initial post, I ended up with a few folks following me.  That’s always a boost to the ego.

Recently, I’ve been reading that some folks are becoming disenchanted with traditional social media in that it’s become too loud, too commercial, too offtrack, …  If you’re in that boat, or are just looking for an educator community, you might just want to check staffrm out.  I like the content that I’m reading.  I need to find somehow to aggregate it.

All the mighty best to the developers working on this project.