Skills … and then more skills

Lifehacker yesterday shared a story where they quote and reference an article from “former Stanford dean and author Julie Lythcott-Haims” about eight skills that you should have by the time that you’re eighteen.  There’s got to be a sketchnote in there, Sylvia.

I looked up and down the list and found it difficult to argue with the points.

The original list came from a Quora post “What are the skills every 18-year-old needs?”

I’ll admit clicking through to the Quora post is interesting because it’s here that she really fleshes out her thoughts on the skills.  It’s part of a book that she wrote.  The skills are important and would make for a great poster in every secondary school classroom.  Maybe even a modified word wall?  You know how to create one if you read this post.  “Interactive Word Walls

I shared it and plunked it away in my Readings Flipboard and then moved on to the next article in my early morning reading.  My work here is done.

Not so quick, Mr. Reader.

I got a challenge.  iCoder1978 had his hand up.

I’ll confess; I don’t typically go into the comments section with the same enthusiasm that I do with the original article.  Often, when I do, it’s just for the entertainment value of anonymous posters going on about something completely off the wall.  Sadly, there are times when spammers get in and try to sell things so it’s not necessarily a regular part of my reading routine.

In this case, I guess I should have.

In addition to the eight in the article, there are so many other good ideas that reinforce how difficult it is to be a parent or an educator.  Here I cherry picked another eight from the comment section.

  1. Hear an opinion or worldview different from your own, and actually listen to it without interrupting or losing your damn mind
  2. Assess a casualty and perform basic first aid
  3. Learn how to spell/use proper grammar in written business or professional communications
  4. Create passwords stronger than “123456″
  5. Have knowledge of human reproduction and contraceptives as well as emergency contraceptives
  6. Change a car tire
  7. Forgive and move on
  8. Understand and utilize the core elements of good table manners

And a bonus …

  1. know how credit cards and loans work.

I stand redirected.  In this case, there are considerable bits of wisdom in the comments. 

There’s just an incredible wealth of information and advice between the original article and the comments.  If I’m doing a lesson on Life Skills or Guidance, I think I would be tempted to introduce the article to the class and then break up into small groups to analyse the skills and comments.

Just be warned – the internet commenters didn’t disappoint – there is some advice/comment that’s a little less than helpful.

So, a tip of the cap to Jangal Nara for directing me to the comments.  It was well worth revisiting for the comments.

OTR Links 04/25/2016

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

Whatever happened to …


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This was one of the first curricular pieces of software that this Computer Science teacher installed on the Unisys Icon network in my classroom.  Sure, it was a DOS application but it ran nicely in the DOS emulator that sat on top of the QNX operating system.  It only required 16 colours and CGA graphics.  For nostalgia, check out:

Once installed, I ended up sharing the computers with the Geography teacher for a unit so that his students could explore the software (and the world).

In my Computer Science class, we worked it for every angle that I could think of.  

  • It was one of the first applications we used that actually put the trackball to use as a mouse emulator in DOS;
  • With the hands of a surgeon, we could name a country (middle European worked nicely) and try to put the cross hairs over a country to get the details from the application.  You could see it move from pixel to pixel.  Switzerland was always a favourite;
  • We borrowed a print atlas and encyclopaedia from the library and compared the answers from there to the electronic version for accuracy and depth of information;
  • It was probably the first in-depth application of a database that students experienced electronically.  Sure, they had worked with the goofy 10 entry examples in class but here we had the world;
  • The database actually led to a project.  Dividing students into groups, they used some of the information there (and from the traditional atlas) to build our own “comprehensive” database, stored it in ASCII format, and then wrote some programs to query that database.  It led to some authenticity to their coding;
  • We talked about the importance of a database administrator for keeping the database accurate.  Sure, the database was good the moment that it went into production but population and even countries and their borders would change by the time it shipped.  It’s even more important today.  Check out the two screen captures below from Google Maps and Bing Maps of downtown Amherstburg.  Provincial highway 18 used to run through the town; now it’s Country Road 20.  One for the nostalgia fans!

  • It served as inspiration for one of my first computer curriculum writing projects – “PCGlobe Across the Curriculum”.  We milked the information there for every idea and cross-curricular concept that we could;
  • We had used PCGlobe 3.0 and 5.0 and they worked nicely.  A later version, PCGlobe Maps-N-Facts, wasn’t purchased.

At the time, it was a truly ground breaking application, opening doors for ideas and implementation is classrooms other than Geography.

I think it’s also a perfect example of something being made obsolete by followup technology.  The internet with its back end ability to make changes, political and geographically, almost instantly made installing a static atlas just a fond memory.  Now, “See how borders change on Google Maps depending on where you are“.

Today’s teachers will either:

  • remember using PCGlobe as a tool in their classroom – it might even have been used at an education faculty;
  • or, remember using PCGlobe as a student.

So, a few questions and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • what does an atlas/encyclopaedia look like in today’s connected classroom?
  • when you need the information traditionally delivered by an atlas/encyclopaedia, where do you look?
  • has your district licensed a product that you use regularly for this purpose?  If so, what is it and would you recommend it for others?
  • in today’s world with changing political situations, who do you trust for the latest, non-biased results?

OTR Links 04/24/2016

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

Boring? I’ll take it

On Thursday, the latest release of Ubuntu was made available for installation.  I was excited – I always like upgrades and the new features that come along – and was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get the announcement that it was available for me when I loaded the Software Updater.  So, I was going to force the upgrade after looking for and finding this article.  In the meantime, I did look to see just what a Xerus was, as in Xenial Xerus.  (I also had to look up Xenial)

How to Upgrade from Ubuntu 15.10 to Ubuntu 16.04 on Desktop and Server Editions

But doing so would have to wait until after breakfast.  When I returned to my computer, there was indeed an announcement that I could upgrade on the spot.  Thank you Waterloo CS server.


You bet!  I clicked the “Go ahead” button and figured to spend the day watching the download crawl with the really slow internet access that I have here.  Off the dog and I went for our morning walk.  I was pleasantly surprised that the download was complete when we came back.  It was actually raining a bit so we didn’t do our full walk.

Off the installation went; I was doing other things and there were a couple of prompts to answer including a prompt to change grub but the old one worked nicely as a switcher from Ubuntu to Windows 10 so I left it along.  After the installation, a reboot and I was good to go.  I’d been reading about the upgrade features all along.

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.04

Since 16.04 is an LTS release (long term support), the wisdom was that it would be pretty conservative in features.  To be honest, there really wasn’t much to be excited about as an end user.  Some people were excited about the ability to move the Launcher on the screen.  I figured that if I wanted a Mac look, I’d just use a Mac.  I like my screen to display as much information from top to bottom as it can so having it on the side of the screen and hiding continues to work fine for me.

For the most part, I think it’s just business as usual – quick to load – quick to run – and it doesn’t kick the system fan into overdrive like Windows 10 does.  

There was a time where I’d do my best to break the system but I was happy with things before the upgrade and was happy afterwards.  This article put it into perspective.

Has Ubuntu become a boring distribution?

I don’t know.  Maybe it has.  But, if boring means a quick, responsive, and secure system, I’ll take it any day.

And yet, the geeky in me will probably tweak things here and there.   I have Unity Tweak and the Tweak Tool installed for that.  Also bookmarked are a couple of great looking articles.

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04

16 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

That should keep me busy tweaking and testing this weekend.