This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Autumn has arrived.  The temperatures are nice but the hours with light are starting to fade.  It’s always a surprise to me how suddenly this happens.  All of a sudden, I’m reading blogs in the dark!  But read I do.  Here is some of what I caught this past week from Ontario Edubloggers.

Concerns with the Cloud for Canadians

I got caught in the middle of a discussion between Lisa Noble and Royan Lee on Twitter.

I actually had forgotten about Lisa’s message and the subsequent pledge by Royan to track it down until he posted to his blog.

There was a time that I thought that I could handle my data and privacy through cookie management, ad blockers, super cookie blockers, flash cookie blockers, and had deluded myself that I’d done the job.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There’s lot of stories to be read this morning about commentary on the MIT Technology Review report.  I still remember a person, who should have known better, talk about the Canadian security for a particular product being stored on a server in Mississauga and how it was better than another which was stored in the US.  “The connection never leaves Canada”.  I did a trace route and showed her…

Yes, as Royan notes, this should be a concern to Canadians.  The solution seems to be elusive.  Even a smart guy like Royan doesn’t have the answer.  Maybe if the US Republicans build that wall along the 49th parallel, the problem will be resolved?

Not Just another Bad Blog

Earlier this week, I had shared a blog post that I’d written for Jisc.  I was tagged in a notification by Anna Bartosik so, of course, I had to check it out.  She was reflecting upon the post that I’d written.  What I hadn’t mentioned in the post was that I was also asked to create a podcast to go along with the post.  Recording that was hilarious on my part.  I started the first few takes in my chair but the stupid chair kept squeaking.  I ended up sitting on the bed and probably the 15th take was good enough to pass along.  If you ever want to challenge yourself, try using Audacity and record yourself reading your own blog post.  It’s not as easy as you’d think and is also a good way to find errors.

But enough about me.

Anna is a relatively new person to my collection of Ontario Educators.  But she brings a certain richness to the conversation.  I find that with a number of the ESL people that I interact with.  Perhaps they have a better understanding of communications than the average person?

I thought that this paragraph from her post speaks volumes to the power of blogging and just getting it out there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people felt the same way and just did it.

I did have an interesting moment as I write this…in Anna’s original post, there was a spelling mistake in the title.  When I revisited the post this morning, it had been corrected.  I think that’s important to note about the logistics of blogging.  Get your thoughts down.  If you believe that the message is important, get the message there first.   If you’re using your blog as a true reflection tool, you’ll probably catch any error when you revisit the post.

We did have a nice bit of a followup through a comment to the blog and it allowed her to further expand on how she sees the value of being connected.  It’s great advice.

The Day That I Hid The iPads

Aviva Dunsiger confessed in this blog post about stepping away from play based learning.

Well, OK, she stepped away from play for the sake of play.

There are challenges when you use a consumer technology like iPads in the classroom.  Students who have the same technology at home can have a struggle drawing the line between what they do there and what should be done at school.  Students who don’t have the technology at home can get caught in the big collection of options that are available and need to have the discipline to stay on task.

This all presents the classroom teacher management concerns.  But, it’s not just the iPad – any activity in the classroom can be done to excess.  I know that I’d be tempted to spend all day at a Lego centre.  Aviva’s post is a great reminder that a balanced approach is needed for best results.  If it means putting one of the distractors out of sight and out of mind for a day, focus will shift to the desired tasks.  I don’t see that there should be any concern with her approach.  Play based doesn’t mean free for all.

Writing: Practicing What I Teach

It’s always interesting to see the first thoughts and comments from a new blogger.  Usually, they’re either “I hope this works” or “This is my rationale for blogging”.  New blogger Patt Olivieri takes the latter in the first post to her blog.  She sums up her first post nicely.

She makes a nice comparison between personal journalling and blogging.  I hope that she keeps up with the regular blogging.  Like so many that are hesitant to start, she has a big list of reasons not to blog.  Hopefully, she gets the immediate feedback and satisfaction that lets her know that she made the right decision.

Of course, you can help the cause by dropping by her blog and giving her a comment.

NO, Not Everyone Needs to Code! #edchat

I was quite surprised by the title of this post from Brian Aspinall.  I figured I’d better hop on over and take him down a peg.  I thought I taught him better than that.  As it turns out, the title was click bait and he did eventually get it right.

Andrew Campbell was the voice of reason in the discussion.

I think that it goes so much deeper than that.  If you open your mind and replace the word coding with programming, thing of all that you do that falls into that category.  People need to be the master of their devices and not a servant to them or others.

At present, there are some jurisdictions that have incorporated formal programs to put students in charge.  When will it happen in Ontario?

Empowering English Language Learners with Digital Stories

From the common sense keyboard of Rusul Alrubail comes this blog post about digital storytelling that she had written and posted on another blog.  To get the whole story, click through and read the entire post.  You’ll be glad that she did.

So often, you read posts about digital storytelling and they’re all about the tools used to do that storytelling.

To be honest, times have never been so good for digital storytelling.  It makes you wonder just why anyone can ignore it.

However, as she so often does, Rusul digs deeper and shares her thoughts about critical thinking among other things as they apply to storytelling.  I like the connection to storytelling in advertising, in particular for the ELL student.

I’m an early riser on most days and when I turned on the television this morning, it had been left on a channel that had yet to break into regular programming.  Instead, I was treated to an infomercial about some stupid device that would cure just about anything it seemed.  Having just read Rusul’s post, I thought about someone just learning the language, taking the words at face value, and I got her message so clearly.

I think it’s a good message for anyone who is interested in digital storytelling – how deep does your message go?

When is it safe to share your passion projects?

I thought this post from Diana Maliszewski was going to be a fun little read.  After all, it started with her baking a file into a cake.  Instead, it turned pretty serious.

Through her own storytelling, we get a really good reminder that there are boundaries for everything and we need to be aware.  There are certain things you don’t say in an airport – what else?  Teachers need to know where that line is; students need to know as well.

It’s another week and another wonderful collection of blog posts were ready and waiting for reading.  Please take a moment and click through to read their entire posts.  You’ll be glad that you did.  And, don’t forget to check out the complete collection of Ontario Edubloggers here.

OTR Links 09/25/2015

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