This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Happy April Fools’ Day.  It’s time to keep an extra eye looking over your shoulder…but the good thing is that it leads into a weekend and that’s always good.  There was no fooling around with Ontario Edubloggers this week.  Check these blog posts out.

Anatomy of an internet scam

As more and more commerce is done online using freely available services, Sylvia Duckworth points out that there are those out there just waiting to take advantage of you.  It’s an interesting read and who hasn’t had an attempt made on their money through fake messages from the likes of people impersonating Paypal.  It’s a reminder for all of us and may be a starting point for students.

Sylvia uses the post as an opportunity to repurpose her sketchnote.  In this case, #9 is of importance.

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education – A Review

There’s an interesting trend of sharing book titles among Ontario Educators and doing book talks online.  It’s an interesting concept.  Perhaps this title, reviewed by Brandon Zoras would be a title to consider for the future.

Brandon indicates that there’s a book signing opportunity in the near future if you’re interested.


My first reaction, upon reading this post from Peter Cameron, was to realize that I wasn’t in the same game.  I know that there’s a whole science behind the concept of cross-country skiing and the wax that you choose.

To be honest, I have the other type of ski.  It has a tread on it rather than requiring waxing and I get along quite nicely, thank you.  I suppose that my experience pales in comparison but does that really matter?  Is it a mindset that we have learned from education that there are winners and losers and how we compare performance?

In the competitive world, skiers have standards to meet and races to run.  What’s wrong with the rest of us getting outside for some fresh air, enjoying the trip, and not spilling the wineskin?  There’s my definition of success.

Are Algorithms the New Media Literacy?

I went over to Royan Lee’s blog this week to see his #workflow series and found this post instead.  He’s sharing his thoughts about Instagram’s proposed notifications change.  As he notes, we’re all the recipient of changes that networks make despite our wishes/complaints.

I’m a big fan of choice but recognize that that’s not always an option.  The goal of services is to make money and if a change to their algorithm results in success for the provider, that’s the end goal.  We have two choices – be assimilated or drop it.  I like his concept of taking control of things according to his rules with Evernote and IFTTT but we all need to realize that there are other forces at work.  Therein lies the connection to Media Literacy and he’s dead on with that.  Time to read Program or Be Programmed again.

Innovation vs Consistency

Jared Bennett’s post here will have you thinking.  I wish that he’d used a different term than “innovation” though since that one has been used/abused in so many contexts but you’ll get his message with the post and his questions.

I love the expression and his self-definition of being the rogue.  I think we need to honour the rogue.  Without the rogue, life would be pretty darn stale.  Without the rogue, we’d not be seeing excitement about anything.  It would be the same ol’ stuff, year after year.  Think back to your first year of teaching.  Could you imagine teaching the same way, with the same tools?  It could be considered malpractice.  (well, maybe that’s too harsh a word)  Personally, I don’t know where I could even buy punched cards these days.

I think that a progressive school district needs rogues to help set the direction.  The rogue needs to try things and succeed.  The rogue needs to try things and fail.  The rogue needs to identify other rogues and feed off each other.  This now network of rogues needs to prove that what they’re experiencing will engage and prove to be valuable to others.  These rogues needs to lead the best by example.  There are so many non-rogues that aren’t willing to put their time and effort into learning and failing but, will gladly learn and succeed if they’ve been shown the advantages.  To do otherwise would be accepting complacency.

The Case Against School Internet Filters

Andrew Campbell’s post starts, interestingly enough, by his description of being the school spy.  Those who follow Andrew are probably having a bit of a smile right now given his proven stance against spying and protection of rights while connected.

I can’t fault his logic.  We want students to be careful and wise users of any/all technology, including what they do online.  It does raise the question though, is the school system ready for this?  There’s a certain feeling that by blocking certain sites that you can put a checkmark on the wall and indicate that the school district has done its job – they’ve protected the free world against everything that’s bad.  So, if a student manages to get around the filter either purposely or accidentally, who is at fault?  I think that we all know.  We’re not about to suspend the network manager for three days because of it.

In his post, Andrew makes reference to another interesting read from Jane Mitchinson.  “Big Brother in our Schools“.  She offers the use of School Connect to monitor student screens.  That keeps them on task and lets the teacher monitor what’s happening.  In this case, it puts the teacher on task as the moderator of all things flying about the room.  It still makes the teacher as the guard to information though rather than circulating the room helping students.  I suppose the teacher screen could be displayed on the data projector or television so that she/he could keep an eye on things.  The downside is that everyone in the room would be able to enjoy a misstep.  In the bigger picture, what happens in BYOD situations or with devices like tablets that aren’t connected to the same network the teacher is monitoring?  You know it’s political when trustees get involved as Jane notes.

All this addresses the content and situations that we know and can identify and do something about.  What about the rest of it?  I would encourage you to re-read Deborah McCallum’s “Critical Literacy and the Internet” post.  I was delighted that she accepted my BIT Challenge and will be talking about this at the BIT 16 Conference.

Until we reach that level of sophistication, if you’re an entrepreneur and can come up with a solution that’s perfect, you’ll be rich overnight.

There’s no end to the good thinking and sharing from Ontario Edubloggers.  Please check out these posts and then head over to the big list for even more great reading.


2 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Such great writing from around the province. I wish you’d included your post about teachers and the Australian approach to tech literacy. Was one of my big thinks of the week. Will dig into these more this weekend.


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