This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy New Year!

Let me be about the hundredth person to wish you all the best for 2016.  While we’re at it, all the best for a successful year of blogging for Ontario Edubloggers.

Here’s some of what I read recently.

Introducing Me…

Thanks to Donna Fry, I was alerted to Joe Caruso’s new blog.

He starts his first post with a couple of questions.

Is this really going to help me?  Do I really need to do this?  These are the questions that still resonate in my mind as I write my first blog post.

Given his position as a special assignment teacher for technology, the answer to both questions had better not be “no” or he’s in the wrong job.  In the digital field, you lead by example and there’s no better way that to document your learning by sharing and collaborating with others.  Without naming names, I can list many people who have this role within a district and the viewpoint from the schools is:

  • out of touch – how can you be an advocate for technology if you’re not using it effectively?
  • out of touch – how can you even have a conversation or support those who are trying to use technology if you don’t have the experience of failing and winning on your own?
  • confirming – for those who are reluctant to use technology, you can become that which fingers are pointed to when others are asked why they don’t use technology.  Why bother?  The guy at the board office doesn’t even use it
  • connections with the IT Department – if you’re not savvy, how can you even describe a system problem or project in a manner that these good folks understand?  Or, even worse, you listen to lame excuses for problems phrased in technological language that you don’t understand and so you are led to believe that all is good in Oz.

Yes, he’s definitely on the right track. I’m still surprised that building and maintaining a digital learning presence isn’t a requirement of the job.

Why not jump over to Joe’s blog and lend your support?  A couple have already.

On Solutions-Based Thinking & Why Education Needs It

I love this post by Rusul Alrubail.  It’s the type of thing that tags along nicely with Joe’s post and his questions.

She talks about the challenges of trying to get a system to change when you’re employing old tools and an old mindset.  Education is not the same as a business.  We admire the stability of successful businesses as they build on their past experience.  Even with this, the best businesses have sandboxes where they work with new ideas and concepts to grow their business.  If they rely on a reputation that hasn’t changed in five years, they need to experience difficulties in today’s market.  In education, the need for staying on top of things is more crucial.  Each year a child is held back is an entire learning year from their life.  And, it’s not just that one year.  The thinking compounds itself over an educational career.  We know that the best will succeed in spite of their schooling, but shouldn’t all students at least have the chance?  A principal or system leader needs to attack those whose response to change is “Yeah, but…”

I think, even sadder, Rusul is talking about the college level.  Here students are doing more than learning for the joy of learning; they’re being prepared to be industry leaders.  They absolutely need to be on the cutting edge.

Top sketchnotes for 2015

If you’re a regular here, you know that I’m a fan of Sylvia Duckworth’s sketchnotes.

In this post, she gives us a list of the most popular ones from the past year.

So, here are three titles from her list.

  • 15 Things Every Teacher Should Try This Year
  • 10 Things Teachers Want from Professional Development
  • 10 Growth Mindset Statements

Which of those do you think is the most popular?

Click through and see if you were correct.

Don’t Take Down the Coding Decorations

Can I get an amen for Enzo Ciardelli?

Yes, the Hour of Code got all kinds of notoriety this year and was more widely implemented than ever before.  The one hour tutorials were the best yet and there were so many that were just fun and exciting to do.

As he notes, they’re one hour.  One hour does not a curriculum make.  We don’t even go on field trips without some sort of pre-activity, a follow up activity, and a rationale for the principal for the trip, tying the activity to the curriculum.

If there’s no followup and inroads made into making coding and computational thinking part of the curriculum, you might as well just rent a movie and watch it in class.

(I can’t believe I just typed that…)

A Review: The Six Secrets of Change

Stacey Wallwin took the time, after reading Michael Fullan’s book, to share her take aways on the six secrets.

I’d bet good money that this book is on your superintendent’s or principal’s bookshelf.  Why not read Stacey’s post and ask whoever is holding the book if they’re read it and how the six secrets apply to your organization?  That leads next to the question – what are we as a system or you or me as a leader going to do about it?

Can we make our system the one we want it to be?

12 Gifts 4 Teachers

What a great idea from Peter Cameron!  In the spirit of Christmas, he shared gifts with teachers.

Even if you don’t use them all, you’ll find something in his list.  There are some really interesting resources and Peter takes the time to elaborate on each explaining how they apply to his classroom and his use.  I’d be willing to bet that he’s up for questions or ideas or additional sharing.

Just don’t look for 11 Pipers Piping.

My Updated One Word Goal

Nobody has ever accused Aviva Dunsiger of letting grass grow under her feet.  

Her one word goal was to “listen” and has enumerated opportunities.

That doesn’t seem to have satisfied her.  For 2016, she’s going to refine just what “listen” means and is moving to a different word.

Can you guess the word?  Check out her post.

You know by now that I’m not writing this on January 1.  It’s just about time to clean up and head out for a New Years’ Eve dinner.

Again, I wish everyone all the best for the new year and I look forward to continuing to read the great stuff that Ontario Edubloggers share.


OTR Links 01/01/2016

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