This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s the first Friday of December.  It won’t be long now.

Check out some of the great reading that I enjoyed recently from Ontario Edubloggers.


Paper Twitter: Why and How to Teach Digital Technologies with Paper

Royan Lee suggests a way to teach about digital technologies, specifically Twitter in this post.  He also shares a number of resources for this in his Google Drive account.

It’s an interesting approach that undoubtedly will allow to teach the basics and keep the focus of those learning rather than all the distractions that can come from the real thing.

The purpose of Paper Twitter is not only to deconstruct how the technological aspects of the social media machine works, but also to tone down the figurative volume so that the point of it as a personal, social networking tool can be grasped through, well, social interaction, not initial solitude behind a screen.

I just hope that people don’t get sticker shock when they move on to the real thing.


Recognizing a Reluctant Writer in the Mirror

Jen Aston turned me to this post from Annette Gilbert.  It was a reflection and action stemming from a professional learning opportunity for teachers called “Inspiring Reluctant Writers”.  Part of the learning was to have the group create their own blogs to share reflections.  It’s an interesting approach and she had a couple of questions moving beyond the workshop.

Those are some interesting thoughts and it would be a nice followup to see if she gets answers to those questions.

Hopefully, the blogs extend beyond the course and we have a whole new batch of bloggers pushing the profession.


Effective Facilitating and Blogging

I had mentioned this post by Diana Maliszewski earlier, a person I still have to copy and paste her last name to get it right.  The latter part of the post dealt with her analysis of her own blog in response to a post I’d made of my own earlier.  This time, I took some time to think about the first part of the post where she’s part of a workshop from ETFO called the Presenter’s Pallette.

With the growth of the use of teacher-coaches and consultants helping educational systems grow, it sounds like a fabulous opportunity for her.  Stepping back a bit, it looks like a great opportunity for all teachers.  Even if the ultimate career goal isn’t in that area, the skillset can’t help but benefit any classroom teacher.  Hopefully, it’s made available for others to attend.


Every Day Is Unique

I don’t think that you can argue much about the title of this post from Rola Tibshirani.

Worthwhile of note are her thoughts about growth mindsets – a topic that was really in vogue for a while but seems to have dropped from the radar as of late.  It’s too bad because that’s a concept that’s worth hanging on to and building success from.

Included in the post are numerous quotes and ideas including a Google Presentation.

You definitely need to put this on your “must read today” list.


Do we see poverty in our schools?

Thoughts and sentiments about this are very prevalent at this time of year.  There’s a bigger message in this post from Paul McGuire though worth keeping in mind.

Now, I don’t see this as good enough.  I have been very fortunate to work in a high poverty section of our city – for me this is a first.  I am ashamed to say that I really didn’t know the extent of the poverty in these communities in our own very wealthy city.

For some, it’s a way of life 365 days a year.  A friend of mine notes that it’s more noticeable in the winter since you notice more when kids wear the same clothes day after day and hunger is more apparent.  It’s not as noticeable in the warmer weather when t-shirts and shorts are the order of the day.

It’s something to keep your eyes open for – even if you’re not teaching in a “high poverty section” of your community.  It’s everywhere.

Thanks, Paul, for keeping our eyes open.


Amaryllis Thoughts

I had to smile when I read this post from Kristi Keery Bishop.  I only ever had one class in my entire teaching career with a window.  It was an Accounting class and there were two windows in the back and our caretaker was a bit of a green thumb type person.  Sure enough, on the ledge, he had some plants that enjoyed the sun and thrived.  My regular classroom had no such luck.  It makes all the difference in the world.  The sad part was that being an early arriver and late leaver, there were entire days in the winter that I never saw the sun during the week.

Anyway, Kristi turns her amaryllis experience into an analogy for professional learning.

My PD thoughts turned to my amaryllis.  While I was focused on watching the stem (not) grow to great heights, I completely forgot about what might be going on under the soil.  Maybe my amaryllis has spent it’s energy these last ten days spreading roots so that when the stem does start to grow tall, the bulb will be strong enough to support the height.  You need strong roots before you make great surges in growth.

I think it’s a terrific analogy in our world of accountability where deliverables from PD matter so much.  How many times have we completed an application to speak that starts with “By the end of this session, participants will be able to …”  Maybe it’s more realistic to that “By the end of this session, I will have planted the seed for participants to be able to … on their own”


RETWEET OR SHARE?

Donna Fry shares some of the thinkers that influence her –

Other curators help me sort through the unfathomable amount of information on the web.  Stephen Downes, Doug Belshaw, and Audrey Watters are examples of thought leaders who filter, curate and share information regularly.  I know that there will be value in their curations.

But the real message was her being taken to task for retweeting a message.  I think that it’s part of the consideration that we all need to understand.  Hopefully, nobody retweets or likes a message based solely upon a title.

I don’t totally agree with her assertion

An algorithm, which you have no control over, determines what content reaches your eyes.

I suppose it’s true if you’re a passive reader of content and don’t aggressively look for the good stuff.  But, I would challenge it at least based upon my personal experiences.  I like looking for content on my own, from original sources, based specifically on topics of interest to me generally and for what I’m currently curious about.  I make no bones about it; if you follow my sharing and my blog posts, they are definitely tainted by my foci.  I make no claims about sharing both sides to any story or concept.  I may do so in my mind but that never goes public.

The topic is of particular importance right now with stories of social media getting their houses in order after accusations of phony stories arising during the recent US elections.  Will it make online reading a better place?  Probably a bit better but there’s so much and so many sources publishing daily that the best thing you can do is learn how to fine tune your BS detector.  More than ever, the skills of a knowledgeable teacher-librarian should be in high demand in any school or school system that wants to consider themselves best of breed.


Thanks, again, to the wonderful Ontario Edubloggers above for sharing their thoughts and insights again.  Please take the time to click though, read their entire thoughts and then drop a comment or two.  Or, if Donna’s blog post doesn’t scare you again, retweet or share their writing.

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