This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s always a good week when you look at the readings from Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s some of what I caught recently.


The EdCamp Idea:  Why I Keep Coming Back

I think Stephen Hurley nails it with this comment in the middle of this post.

EdCamps honour the wisdom that is in the room.

I’ve been to a few EdCamps; I think my first one was EdCamp Quinte.  It was a long drive to Belleville but a chance to catch up with old friends on their turf and to make some new friends.  They made a very conscientious effort to make the day driven by teachers and by ideas.  It was held in a public library and so there was no underpinnings of a school district driving the show or affecting the agenda.  It was what I understand to be an EdCamp in its purest.  Nothing was pre-planned and you filled in the presentation slots as you came or as inspiration hits.  For me, that’s the power of the model.  If it’s to be a board directed PD Day, don’t call it an EdCamp.

EdCamp 905 is held on May 14, avoiding Mother’s Day (smart move) and registration is here.

The fact that I’m including Stephen reminds me that I need to vote on his latest project.  Take a read and consider supporting him with a vote or two.

Tell Me Your Story—An Intergenerational/Intercultural Film Project


Batting 300 – Swinging for the fences pt 2

Who doesn’t like a good baseball analogy?  You’ll find it here in this post by Will Gourley.

I always admired the work of Ted Williams.  He threw right and batted left.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame with 282 of a possible 302 votes.  He had a lifetime batting average of .344 and one season actually hit over .400.

So, consider that statistic.  Four times out of ten he got a hit.  On the other side, six times out of ten he didn’t.  In many circles, he was considered the greatest baseball hitter of all time.  Is it realistic to expect students to be perfect all the time?


Two Steps…Forward?

If we’re putting things into perspective, consider this discussion from Kristi Keery Bishop.  I was going to use the word “argument” but that would be wrong.  I don’t know how anyone could argue with her thoughts on this one.

When I was young, I learned to play the guitar.  It was all I ever wanted to do and my wonderful parents paid for lessons.  The catch was that I had to practice for half an hour every night.  That took away from playing with other kids for that time.  I hated that.  Practice was just drill, drill, drill, but I think I did well enough to keep my instructor and parents happy.

It was only later when attending high school and I stopped going to lessons that I really got interested in going further.  I bought my own music and started to create my own.  (Nothing you’ll ever hear on a radio station, unfortunately)

A popular theme these days is balance and, it’s a message that comes through in Kristi’s Twitter profile.  Now, if the school day is not going to be extended and yet another mandate comes through that you must do this or that, there’s a price to be paid.  Where will that extra time come from?  Is it possible to work smarter instead of harder/longer?

Timetable planners need to consider all this.


Twitter: True or False?

I’m sorry that I missed this opportunity live that Lisa Neale shares.

She posed the question to the world and got some interesting advice about evaluating the truthfulness that you read online.  Results are here.

I find it interesting and think about how my own use has changed over time.  In the beginning, there were some great conversations and collaborators.  There’s no question about it.  Then, for some reason, they’ve left or moved on to something else.  You see them pop up here and then but that’s about it.  They did set the table for using the platform as a professional learning experience.

Now, it seems to have changed.  The newer people are learning, that’s for sure, but it’s different.  It’s more about sharing stories and blogs for content rather than having ongoing discussions.  Ditto for Twitter Chats.  They used to be a place to informally talk about things.  Now, they’re more organized and have “featured” Twitterers.  (Some are only active online during these chats)  They become full of edubabble and, quite frankly, I’ve lot interest in many of them.

You hear so frequently that Twitter use has dropped off.  Is it because we’ve lost that organic part that was there in the beginning?  If you’re following celebrities, then they’ll promote themselves perhaps even with the shock value.  I suppose it’s OK as long as it’s true.  Students need to be critical about what they do and Lisa’s lesson is something that should be shared widely.

It’s a continuation of the whole digital literacy concept.  I think schools and districts are missing opportunities when they don’t encourage or even block students using this contemporary tool.


Will it be different this time?

OK, this quote from David Jaremy doesn’t make me feel too old.

So, enter the online world, in roughly 1997 or so, for most consumers.

My computer science kids were running their own bulletin boards, uploading assignments to me long before that, and we shared mailing/discussion lists as a prelude to the digital storm that we see these days!

The question of the day is, will we finally learn from our mistakes and ensure, as a society it is world changing?  The internet is saturated and full of everything from uselessness to the bizarre to the horribly degenerate.  However, there is so much that does not fit into that category.

As an education system, are we going to leverage that and teach our kids to learn from those 6 billion teachers out there, where appropriate, or are we going to miss this opportunity too?

It does make you wonder how long the hold-outs will hold out?

Take a look at the current Canadian Census – it’s available digitally but you could order a paper copy if you really wanted to.  I hope that the government does share the statistics about how many actually order the paper copy.  That would be a significant message; will education hear it?  Of course, the paper lovers are quick to point out the server crashes!

But, back to David’s original premise, it has to be different this time.  Education will soon welcome new teachers who have graduated knowing nothing but digital.  The challenge is to make sure that they’re educated, critical, and wise users.


Ten Lessons I learned from the TLLP ~by Michael Frey

Here’s a great reflection about the process involved in the TLLP process.  Wouldn’t it be nice if a requirement of the TLLP was that blog posts like this were a requirement and someone put them all together in a Flipboard document to share with the world?

Anyway, in this post, some great lessons.

  1. Collaboration does not need to be an equal exchange in order for learning and benefits to be enjoyed by all participants.
  2. Educational changemakers will move forward with or without you.
  3. If you wait until you are comfortable with new technology to use it in the classroom, you likely never will.
  4. Engagement in learning increases when students sense the authenticity of their audience and the relevance of their various projects.
  5. Unintended positive outcomes are inevitable when students are given a voice on real world issues.

That’s enough copying and pasting.  You’ll have to click through to find the rest and read how the concepts are nicely described.

There’s a great deal of learning there for everyone.


Do Parents Know What Their Kids Are Learning In School?

The answer to Aviva Dunsiger’s question/blog post is “probably not, but they could if they wanted to”.

The inspiration for her post came from a Will Richardson post.  Will speaks world-wide and so has a wide variety of experiences that go into a post like that.  I’m not sure that it’s fair to clump them all together to make a statement that the answer is “yes”, “no”, “probably yes”, “probably no”, “maybe so”.

Even within a school district or within a school, the communication mechanisms vary widely.  Some schools are more welcoming than others.  Some schools promote the school/community relationship better than others.  Some classrooms share constantly as you’ll see from her post.  The Ontario Curriculum is completely available to anyone who wants to check it out.

I don’t think there’s a simple answer to the question.  But, in true Aviva form, she does have questions….  (I know that some day I’ll get my paybacks from her)

While I feel as though I have a more optimistic view of the home/school “learning connection” than the one highlighted inWill’s post, I’m left wondering …

  • Am I missing something here?
  • Is my sample size too small?
  • What else could we do as individuals, as a Board, and even as a system, to change the situation outlined in Will’s post?

There’s always a sense of pride as I finish off this post.  Ontario Edubloggers are always out there sharing their thinking.  I hope that you take the opportunity to click through and read their thoughts complete.

One thought on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Doug, I always appreciate how you encourage and offer feedback to Ontario edubloggers. I look forward to your Friday posts, and thank you for including mine along with so many others this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment on my post since I read it early this morning. With blogs, face-to-face conversations, newsletters, emails, and work sent home from school, I would think that a lot of information is being shared out there … and maybe parents have a better idea of what’s happening in classrooms than we think. But then again, I also think about Will’s worldwide experiences, and I wonder if my sample size is too narrow. I’d love to have some parents chime in. Maybe the key is having great relationships between home and school, so if parents aren’t getting the information that they want/need, they can make these connections with educators, who will be open to sharing more to ultimately support children. Could it be as easy as this (or is this not as easy as I think)? Okay … I couldn’t resist some other questions.🙂

    Aviva

    Like

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