doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another great week of reading and learning from some of the spectacular Ontario Edubloggers that I follow. It’s like Christmas morning, writing this post.  Every Friday, I start a new blog post scheduled for the next week and, as I’m attracted to a post, I drop the URL and some preliminary comments into the document.  When it comes to writing this, I look back at the post and my initial comments before giving the post another read.

Here’s a bit that caught my attention this week.

Growth Mindset: Hacky Sack Style

I had to smile as I read this post from Colleen Rose as she describes her “out of her comfort zone” experience trying to learn to play with her geography students.

Maybe now she can fully appreciate how I felt sitting next to her in a Sketchnote workshop as she was whipping out her artwork and I was trying my darnedest to draw a straight line.  I’m getting pretty good at that.  Maybe it’s time to expand my skills!  What’s next?  A circle?

“We Can See” Project: Connecting our Classrooms Online via the Blogsphere and Twitterverse

Who says the youngest of learners can’t learn by being connected?  Certainly not Angie Harrison.  She’s started another round of “We can see” looking for connect with other classrooms to share just what the outside space around Early Years’ classrooms looks like.  It’s a relatively simple entry point and, of course, you could take it as far as you want.  The post is full of ideas and suggestions.

As you can see, the project is off to a great start.  Why not read and share with your colleagues to get involved?

Noticing inequity and taking action

There are times when you’re just proud of your kids and Jennifer Casa-Todd describes one of those moments with her daughter.

After dinner last night, my daughter was perusing an American Girl catalogue and occasionally looked up with dismay.  Not only had she noticed the fact that there was an inequity in the representation of the white vs visible minority dolls, but before we knew it, she had taken out her computer and asked for our input on a letter she was going to send.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that kids don’t notice.  Maybe we’d be in a better place if more took action on what they see as wrong.  After all, it’s our generation that so often lays the groundwork for them.  Does apathy imply agreement?

Why do we feel the need to abandon good ideas for the next shiny new thing?

While on Jennifer’s blog, I have to take issue with some of the statements in this post.

The irony that she was in a session on Periscope which didn’t exist until recently is not lost on me.  By the end of the post, I think she had taken issue herself and had an action plan for part of her learning.

The concept of “mastery” of something, anything in this context bothers me.  I’ve said this before but the last time that I think I fully understood how a computer worked was back in the DOS days when you had a manual and could work your way through all the commands.  Now, we just push a mouse around and rely on magic happening.  And, I’m really good with that.  I was going to try and corner a friend at the BIT conference and ask about the LiveScribe pen.  A few years ago, it was the absolute answer for students and notetaking.  Now, nobody talks about it.

My personal thought is that the state of educational technology would be pretty boring if we waited until we completely mastered something before trying to make it work for the learning environment.  Does anyone remember “Ready, Fire, Aim”?  I don’t think any teacher should ever apologize for learning something new and see if it fits in terms of curriculum, motivation, or engagement.  Think about it – we have people teaching Mathematics but haven’t mastered the discipline.  They teach; they learn; they get better.  I’d be more concerned with the other approach.  With all the money that school districts invest into hardware, there should be an ongoing program of professional learning so that the investment isn’t wasted.

5 Reasons Teachers Should NOT Use Twitter

OK, so I fell for Brian Aspinall’s clickbait title.  Then, in true bait and switch mentality, there is a different message conveyed.

Yeah, I did tweet the article and am including it in this post.  You’ll have to click on over to figure out what’s going on.

Hacks ‘n’ Apps: iMessage is the New Dropbox

If you think that you’ve mastered your digital lifestyle, then you probably just don’t get it.  In this post, Royan Lee takes us a great deal deeper into how he functions in his Macintosh environment.

Whether it’s a technique or an app, Royan shares some of his favourites and invites readers to add their own.

Isn’t this the true promise of personal in “personal computer”?

#peel21st Blog Hop: My One Best Thing

I’d never heard of the Blog Hop that Peel teachers are doing but I think it’s a great concept that all districts could use.

I’m equally as impressed that Tina Zite broke the rules for the event – but in a good way.

Read on to find out her memorable learning moment AND how she broke the rules.

Fair is Fair…or is it?

Remember the saying “floggings will continue until morale improves”?

As Brian Harrison notes in this post, we’ve moved on to a protocol that promises better results.

Included in the post is a link to a TED talk that puts so much into perspective.  It’s a must see.

Eek! Going Public With My Plan!

There’s nothing wrong with being transparent with your plans and Aviva Dunsiger most certainly does so in this recent post.  She’s garnered quite a few people commenting and writing encouragement.

She shares

All of this, leads to my big wonder…

I won’t spoil it for you.  You’ll have to read her entire post.  It’s a long one and you might need a couple of reads to fully digest the message but I think it’s worth the time.
It’s a “plan” that I think could be adopted for many schools and many grade levels.  If you’re looking for a place to get started, she’s done the heavy lifting for you.

Once again, I was able to benefit from a great collection of sharing and thinking from educators from throughout the province.  Thanks so much.

Please take a moment to click through and show how much you appreciate their sharing.


3 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Thanks for including my post here, Doug, and each week, connecting so many different Ontario educators through this blog. I really appreciate your insights! In the case of my own blog post, I will say that I think I would have felt more comfortable sharing my “plan,” if it had a solely academic focus. While I think that I knew it before, I’m definitely seeing and realizing, first hand, that there’s more to school than academics, and that this “more” often impacts on the ability to really learn. We’ll see what the rest of the year brings. In the meantime, I’m already noticing some interesting things.



  2. […] This Week in Ontario Edublogs | doug — off the record […]


  3. Doug, you are so funny! I love that you compared my hacky sack experiences to our sketchnoting workshop. It’s a really good lesson for me, in appreciation the fear of learning something that we’re really not comfortable with. Our students deserve medals for having to go through this on a daily basis.


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