This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There are always great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Educators.  Here’s some of what I caught this past week.


#BIT16 takeaways : Flippity

In the first of a pair of posts about takeaways from the recently concluded Bring IT, Together conference, Johanne Ste. Croix was impressed with the tool that underscores Alex Trebek’s contribution to education.

A game of Jeopardy anyone? Need to pick teams? A name at random?  Check it out : Flippity.net!

I remember this demo from the slam and it was effortlessly demonstrated for us.  Good choice, Johanne.  I remember sitting next to someone at the Slam and asked if today’s kids really appreciate what Jeopardy is all about like we long time viewers do.  Regardless, it’s a good tool and can be used effectively in the class.

#BIT16 takeaways :  Breakout EDU

I’m a little jealous that Johanne got to attend one of the BreakoutEDU events.  I had every intention of attending at least one of the sessions but duty called me away to other things.  The neat thing about folks who blogged after the event is that we can share at least part of the experience.

In this post, she shares her thoughts on the experience and how she sees it fitting into her classes.  They pretty much echo the comments that I heard from others.

If you check out her blog, make sure that you scroll back and forth; there are many reflections about other events that inspired her.


Breaking At #BIT16: My Self-Regulated Conference Experience

Aviva Dunsiger makes a long case for her self-regulating at the BIT Conference.  It seemed to hit a positive note with readers with plenty of comments coming through.  She offers some tips for those who feel the need to self-regulate.

It’s an interesting list of things to do.

Personally, I find that I do anything but self-regulate when I’m at these things.  I want to take it all in and then use my time post-conference to regain whatever control that I have.  I think it’s important, as she notes, to identify your own stressors.  Mine is just time at these events.   There isn’t enough of it.


Who’s On First?

If you want a smile and a chuckle from a BIT Conference attendee, then check out this post from Daphne McMenemy.

I think that the big thing to take away is don’t take any of this stuff too seriously.  She focused on the brag tags.

I’ll confess; there were many of us who didn’t know what “Je gazouille” meant.  Even when you do a search, the results come back in French which didn’t help much.  Thank goodness for Google Translate.

It was just so good to hear about the good times enjoyed at the learning experience.


A bit after BIT16 – reflections from a cave

Helen J. DeWaard gives a very lengthy summary of her experience at the conference.  What struck me most was the people connections that she seems to have made.  I think that most of us added a new word to our vocabulary.

The mobile picture frame definitely was a hit.  There’s a huge story about debate and careful carving that goes along with it.

It’s also nice to be mentioned in someone else’s blog post – she made reference to my post Observations from a Conference.

On a very serious note, the Remembrance Day break was noted as well.  For many teachers, it may be the first time for a very serious reflection instead of classroom management during it.


ECOO16: the DIY approach protects you from the tyranny of technology

Tim King absolutely nails it with his reflection on his session at the BIT Conference and technology use in schools in general.  It’s not a quick and easy read but it pushes you to think about things.  He tied his personal history and love for motorcycles together to make a powerful message

The difference between digital technology and automotive technology is that the digital stuff insinuates itself into your relationships and becomes a 24/7 part of your life.  It affects your thinking rather than your muscles.  Not knowing how a car works might occasionally inconvenience you and cost some money, but not understanding digital technology when you spend hours a day socializing through it or (worse) teaching with it, is a disaster waiting to happen.  It isn’t a disaster for tech driven multinationals who live off your data though.  They will happily convert you and your students’ ignorance into profit.

I really thought that his observations about Chromebooks should give you pause to think.  Recently, in the ACSE discussion group, there has been a discussion about Chromebooks being dropped into Computer Science classrooms and the challenge that it poses for CS teachers.  There may have been a time when the devices should have been managed by someone outside the classroom but increasingly that’s becoming something that is dated.  Educators like Tim are on top of things; students are more sophisticated than ever before; why does education still need this dated thinking.  Why shouldn’t building and maintaining your own class computers be seen as valuable?

It leads nicely into his next post – ECOO 2016 Reflections: maker spaces and iteration

If you’re still interested in this them, take a read of a recent Gary Stager post – How Educators Should Understand Hillary Clinton’s Server


Making video work better for you

Since we’re talking about learning at the conference, I’ll make reference to my best takeaway (other than meeting so many new to me people)

It was Carlo Fusco’s demonstration at the BIT Slam that really reinforced how you can make great technology even better.


Why do you want kids to code?

Jim Cash created this terrific graphic to set the stage for his discussion about the difference between “learning to code” and “coding to learn”.

It’s a definite keeper as are Jim’s comments.  Coding seems to be the “current thing” in education and often is just demonstrated with some flashy example and claims that every child is a particular classroom could write the code.  As we all know, your mileage may vary.

I think many computer science teachers would take issue that secondary school computer science courses and their approach are somehow different.  I don’t know of too many who think that what they’re teaching is the definitive answer in programming.  We all realize that there are many languages and syntaxes.  What remains, after the rules are stripped back, appears in the right column.  I think it’s good advice for everyone.

Just why do you want kids to code?

It would make for a great panel discussion somewhere.


What to do when things don’t go as planned….

This is something that EVERY technology teacher needs to understand.  It’s not a matter of “if things don’t go as planned”; it’s “when things don’t go as planned”.  I would suggest that, if everything goes as planned, you’re not doing it right and you’re not taking chances and pushing limits.  It’s not just technology; every teacher of every subject always has a Plan B in their hip pocket.  But what happens when you need something bigger than that?

Adele Stanfield talks about things going wrong at a bigger level than just today’s lesson.  As a result of reorganization within her school, a major rethink was in order.  She lists these options.

Those are some pretty major decisions to be made.

I’m pleased to see the alternative that she chose and wish her all the best.  You’ll have to read her post to know the answer.

I think every teacher can read this post and empathize at some level.  If we only lived in a perfect world.


What an amazing collection of thoughts from Ontario Educators!  Please click through, read their thoughts and leave a comment.

Until next week…

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OTR Links 11/18/2016


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