Tangential Learning


No, this is not a memory from the past post.  However, the “But the operator says forty cents more for the next three minutes” is really a blast from the past.  That, and the image of the telephone booth.  When was the last time you saw/heard either of those?

What started all this was just a reflection on just how tangental learning or, at the least, reading can be when you’re connected and you let it happen.

You probably don’t care but one of my curations is of my own blog.  I tuck away blog posts here on Flipboard.  It started as just a challenge to myself to see if I could make it work but it’s turned out to be a real time saver.  Often, I’ll want to revisit a post where I’m aware of the concept but not necessarily the crucial keywords that would let me search for it with the WordPress search feature.  It’s the old concept of “I’ll know it when I see it”.  So, there are times where just flipping through the past posts can be one of the most efficient ways of finding something.

It was simple enough to do; I just added “Stories matching “dougpete.wordpress.com” to the topics that I’m following.  I open it to see the latest entries and then flip them into the above mentioned Flipboard document.  It’s about a two second effort.

This morning, I was doing this and noticed this page.

In true Flipboard fashion, it had captured a bit of the post and any related image.

You’ll see Jaimie’s beautiful image as well as a recent Sketchnote from Sylvia Duckworth.

None of this is particularly news.  But look closely at the Sketchnote.

One of the powers of working in the Flipboard environment is that somehow it’s analysing the content of the article and creating a category for it.  In this case, it’s notified me that there’s a category (or at least a search for “Sylvia”).  Just tap on it to follow.  All of a sudden, I was off in a different direction reading things about Sylvias.

Sometimes, the best learning comes just from a random thought or interest.  I guess it’s kind of nice if it’s related to a topic.

Now, I’m not ready for an AMA session about Sylvias but I do know a bit more than I did when I woke up.

I blame it all on Sue Waters who challenged me to find new and different ways to use Flipboard.  Thanks, Sue.

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OTR Links 04/30/2015


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

Stop pretending … #MakeSchoolDifferent


I’ve been following the #MakeSchoolDifferent meme with some interest.  There have been some very interesting observations made by people coming from all directions.  The last I read was Miguel Guhlin’s “Stop the Pretending to #makeschooldifferent“.  They’re all good reads; you’d be wise to read as much as you can and think about the messages and the message behind the message.

Brandon Grasley tagged me in a recent post on his blog so here are my thoughts.

We have to stop pretending:

  1. that everything is broken;
    • You can’t go a day without reading about something dysfunctional in education and there’s certainly lots to be fixed.  However, the counter to that is that there are a lot of amazing things that happen day in and day out.  Why aren’t they celebrated equally as well?  Take a good look at your school and/or classroom website.  There should be something amazing updated everyday – don’t just wait until graduation or student of the month assemblies.
  2. that one shot professional learning makes a difference;
    • We expect that students learn something every day.  Why should every other element of the school system not have the same expection?  Is your professional learning department offering opportunities regularly?  If not, why not ask why?  Teachers are professionals and should be treated that way.  A lot of concepts can be addressed in a single sitting but a continuous stream of learning enhances the profession.
  3. that the latest theory or idea heard by a director/superintendent means drop everything and do this;
    • How many times have you heard the edict – “This year, we’re going to do everything based on the XYZ model”?  Then, next year, we’ll change it up a bit and follow this theory.  I remember my first year of teaching, the best advice I got before my first PD Day – “This too will pass”.  Learning is a complicated activity and we should be informed by all theories, past and present, to evolve into the best we can be.  My wife, the nurse, quipped when we discussed this “Could you imagine going to a hospital that was only focusing on treating this disease and ignoring all others?
  4. that libraries don’t matter;
    • Outside of technical shops, what area of the school receives the most floor space and resources in terms of books, journals, computers, digital media, etc. and potentially reaches into every classroom, every student’s educational life, every teacher’s professional life?  A school library should be staffed by the best teacher-librarian you can lay your hands on and staff/students will reap the benefits of all they have to offer.
  5. that technology use in the classroom is only incremental.
    • computer and other technologies have truly been an assist to us all.  I don’t care what platform – a good teacher can exploit the use of an iPad, a Windows computer, a phone, and now even a watch.  A classroom can also serve as a detriment when the technology isn’t embraced and students are left to fend for themselves.

I could go on and on but I’m not a rule breaker like Brandon!

To keep the meme going, I tag:  @ColleenKR, @sbruyns, @bigideasinedu, and @AnitaBK.

OTR Links 04/29/2015


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

But Is It Art?


I know what Cubism is.

I don’t “get it” but that’s OK.  There’s a great deal of artistic expression that goes over my head.  I’m not hating here so Picasso fans relax.

Let’s step it up digitally by reading this.

Called Kubist, you can turn your traditional images/pictures into your own Cubism originals.

It’s all done through this web application.

Upload your own image and watch the magic happen.

So, what’s the fun of dog ownership if you can’t have a little fun.  Jaimie was up for the task.

Let’s Kube him!

At 50 points, he’s pretty abstract!

But at 1000 points, he’s stylin’.

For model #2, I turned to Jaimie’s cousin.  Instead of white, he’s a beautiful mixture of boxer brown and black.  Check out the difference between 1000 points and 100 points here.

As you can see from the adjustments on the right hand side, you have some control over how things will appear.  They’re a great deal of fun to adjust and see the results immediately.

Want to talk mathematics?  Flip between triangle style to cell style and back again.  Grab a vertex and resize elements.  Based on the number of points in the image, can you create a formula that will determine the number of distinct objects?  The original article is a pretty fascinating technical read in itself.  The source code for the project is available on github if students are so inclined.

After abusing the family pet, where else could you do this?  How about a cubism representation for your school logo?  Or a further appreciation for the original artists who created the original cubism art?

Set aside a bit of time to play with this.  If you have any ideas, please be sure to share them.

OTR Links 04/28/2015


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

I Teach #sylvianote


Over the weekend, Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth) released another of her fabulous Sketchnotes. 

I know, because she gave me the courtesy of being named in the announcing Twitter message, along with a bunch of others.  Over night, my mailbox filled up with notifications of retweets and favouring of the message. 

I’ll bet this image appears in many presentation decks in the future.

This time, the title was “I Teach”.

In light of the events in Durham, Rainbow this morning, and potentially others in the future, I think it’s a wonderful reminder to teachers and, perhaps, notification to others about the passion that appears in their child’s classroom daily. 

Here it is.

You can flip through all of her wonderful creations here.