This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Friday!  Happy long weekend everyone.  Check out some of the great thinking and sharing from Ontario Edubloggers.


We Need Wonderful

This post from Kristi Keery Bishop was an eye opener for me.  I guess I need to plead guilty to using the word wonderful in ways not intended. 

It’s often used by many in all kinds of situations as she describes.

Have you ever thought about how we use the word wonderful?
There’s the nicey-nice way: “You have all been such a wonderful audience.”
There’s the sarcastic way: “Fridays are wonderful when you are short 3 teachers and 2 EAs, aren’t they?”
Then there is the one-word-when-nothing-else-can-be-said way: “Ms. Smith, here is the new student you weren’t expecting and don’t have a desk for. …. Wonderful!”

I know that it’s a commonly used term around here and I’m sure that it appears far too often on my blog.  I guess this superlative should be reserved for those moments that are truly “wonderful”.  Next time I get the urge, I’ll check my thesaurus for perhaps a more appropriate word.


Clarification (aka Moving Away from Minecraft Part 2)

Just recently, I had commented on Diana Maliszewski’s post about Microsoft’s acquisition on Minecraft.  This was the impetus for this followup post from Diana.  It was interesting as a clarification and I wasn’t the only one who had noticed her original post.  She brought other’s thoughts into it as well.

I have difficulties getting a reply to a blog post to appear on her blog.  I don’t know why but it’s been a situation I’ve had for a long time.  So, I tried to reply and couldn’t.  However, I did fire it off to Keep so that I could share it here instead.

Hi Diana …

I’ve been trying all day to think about how best to reply to this. I love that we’re having this conversation because you’re tapping into things at a very important level. Ultimately, it seems to me that you end up chasing your tail.

We live in a time where you have to wonder about innovation for the sake of being innovative. So many companies create their latest new and improved by copying/cloning others. If they can’t, and they’re big enough, they just go and buy it.

I think it’s a tough fight for someone like you who obviously wants to do what’s best for students and also something that keeps you true to yourself. (I respect Mr. Skillen too.)

At the end of the day, the message that’s coming through here loudly and clearly is that you’re interested in pushing your professionalism and enhancing the learning environment for your students.

For that, you don’t need to justify your decisions to anyone and I applaud you for it.

What’s next?  How about the rumours this week about Ubuntu?  The Ubuntu Conspiracy


#BIT15Reads: Dataclysm by Christian Rudder

Part of the reason why I blog and do my online reading in the morning is that my internet access goes right down the tubes in the evening.  Badly.  Even to the point that I can’t load speedtest to get a number to complain to my provider.  I’ve done that in the past and, their response generally is “sucks to be you – I can ping you so you’re connected.”

Anyway, one of the fallouts of this is that I’m not able to participate in the book talks that are happening as we approach the Bring IT, Together Conference.  But that doesn’t stop Alanna King from continuing.  Fortunately, she records them and also shares her thoughts about her readings on her blog.

Her latest thoughts are about ” Dataclysm” by Christian Rudder.


Using a Drawing App to Show Thinking

In a world of “there’s an app for that”, it’s always difficult to determine where to start and what to do.

You read so much about people talking about the application and what it can do.  Then, you try to figure out how to work it into the classroom.  (Read just about any post about people trying to wedge an application into the SAMR “research” and you’ll see what I mean.)

Kristen Wideen take the better approach.  Yes, ultimately it involves technology and the choice of an application.  But the thrust is about demonstrating thinking.

It’s a technique that we all probably use to demonstrate connections or trying to determine where to head next or how to illustrate the logic behind some concept or just to show ourselves or others what we’re thinking … there’s the whole genre of Graphic Organizers when students are ready.  But, to get them started …

In addition to the advice, she gives some examples of how to manage that in the classroom.


Fostering a Growth Mindset

So, I’m following my own advice.  Earlier, Donna Fry had asked me for some Twitter profiles that would be good exemplars.  I mentioned Safina Hirji’s for a number of reasons.  One of these reasons was that a Twitter profile, properly crafted, will send the visitor to the user’s blog.  It turns out that I didn’t have Safina’s blog in my big list.  Either I missed it or was asleep at the wheel.  So, I was happy to add her Emerging Thoughts to the collection.

In her recent post, she shares her thoughts about mindset and puts it nicely into perspective.

Key to this is “backed by research”.  That’s so important to take into consideration instead of jumping on the latest bandwagon.

It’s such a powerful concept.  Perhaps every teacher should blog about what mindset means to them.


Got Lists? Google Keep to the rescue.

Years ago, I was taken back by the number of people that had Post-it notes stuck on their computer monitors.  Occasionally, they’d fly off and be on the floor or, even worse for this computer nut, they’d have their logins and passwords written on them.  In my effort to change the world, I bought the digital version of Post-it notes for myself and my support person.  It was the handiest thing to do – if you’re doing something and an inspiration comes along or you need to create a quick list, bang another digital note on the screen.  They’re there tomorrow when you reboot.  This has spun a whole series of digital note software and to-do software.  Some are listed here and most operating systems include something as standard.

That was one of the times that I could really use the word game changer and really mean it.  The limitation was quite evident when you had multiple computers and wanted to share the notes.  That, too, is a whole new genre of software.  I remember attending the Microsoft Global Partners in Learning Forum in Washington and sitting with Angela Maiers.  We were alone because we were using Macs, I guess.  I was inspired to give OneNote another shot because of a keynote by Anthony Salcito.  I spent the whole conference using OneNote and enjoyed reviewing the notes later.  But, somehow they ended up being wiped!  That wasn’t good.  Since they, I’ve used Evernote but the recent news there is kind of scary.  Recently, I’ve been using Google Keep.  In this post by Mike Filipetti, he shares his discovery of Google Keep and how it’s made him productive and organized.

Don’t tell Google, but I use Firefox as my go-to browser and there’s a Google Keep extension there.  It works nicely and across platforms.

Certainly, it doesn’t have the many features of an Evernote or what OneNote is morphing in to.  But if all you want is a quick spot to keep notes, you might want to read Mike’s post and see if his logic applies to you.


Fridays are always so special to me.  It’s a chance to sit back and reflect on the learning that I’ve enjoyed courtesy of Ontario Edubloggers.  Thanks to all those who continue to share their thoughts, ideas, research, experiences online.  It’s appreciated.

Please click through and enjoy these blog posts and then have a wonderful restful Thanksgiving.

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