This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been another week and another opportunity for me to gather some terrific thoughts from the keyboards of Ontario Edubloggers.  Please read on and catch some of what I found and enjoyed.


A Simple and Powerful Leadership Truth

Sue Dunlop uses a Twitter message to a hashtag as the launchpad for sharing her thoughts about context here.

Greatest learning this year: never take context for granted. Always check in and explain.

Particularly with issues in education with its huge diverse perspectives, things do have to be taken in context.  I found that myself this past week with a story from the local newspaper dealing with EQAO results.  Of course, the official line is that the tests provide a snapshot in time and should never be used to compare schools.  But that doesn’t make a headline.  Identifying who’s best and who’s worst makes a story that’s lure-worthy.  As a consultant who visited every school in the district a few times every year, I know that there’s much more to the story behind each school other than just a number.

Where do you access this data?  From a website called compareschoolrankings, of course.  You can then see who scores a perfect 10 and who didn’t.  How?  There’s no explanation.  Perhaps even a sample test would educate us.

Who uses this stuff?  Well, Real Estate agents, to name a category.  The site even goes so far as to plot school stores on Ontario with a Bing map.  You can see the results and it should generate questions.  Like why do we have one school south of Michigan, near the Ohio and Indiana border?

2017-02-22_0831

That’s not a 10.


ORGANIZING AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA & THE US TRAVEL BAN

The impact on the travel ban to the United States hit close to the Ontario educational blogging community.  Rusul Alrubail shows us how personal it got for her.

The Educon conference happened in Philly the same weekend the Muslim ban happened.  I was supposed to present there ironically on racial violence, policing and student agency.

The net result was that she elected not to attend.  The post shares her thoughts and reasons why and her thoughts about why the topic wasn’t discussed at the event, even in her absence.


When it is time to drop your lesson and talk about world events….

Earlier this month, Zoe Branigan-Pipe had authored this post.  The answer will vary from teacher to teacher but should always be “yes” when questions arise from students.

Zoe writes a fairly long post inspired by the Women’s March in Washington.  Given the amount of news coverage, it was a natural that students would want to discuss.

Further than the topic and the rationale, Zoe digs into the curriculum reasons why you would want to do this.  It’s a good read and easily applies to any world event that comes along and has students asking questions.


Learning about Canada’s Truth

On another topic of the day, Heidi Solway offers an approach to teaching about Canada’s past.  I like the comparison to comic books that the traditional approach has taken.  I can completely understand it.  That’s how I learned.  You too, I’ll bet.

But is that the truth?

Not only that, as teachers, we would never talk about when the unthinkable happened. My goodness, I didn’t learn about the “truth” until Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology. I was shocked and disgusted by the news.  How would I roll this out to my own students?

The post digs into how the teaching and learning has changed in her class.  She gives a summary of the research assignments that her students took, complete with links to the final product.


Let’s Go Phishing!

I got a request from Peter Beens to update my Livebinder of Ontario Edubloggers with his new address.  He’s pulled all of his content together in one spot.

I was glad to do this; nobody hates dead links more than I do.  While I was there, I checked into this post – a comparison about how he uses Gmail and Hotmail.  One of the major reasons was the way that the different email servers handle phishing attempts.

I had to smile when I took a look at one of the screen captures that he shared.  It was from a “bank” that had warned him about problems with his account and that it had been frozen.  I think I got the exact same message!  Similar messages are caught here regularly.

But, sometimes, your spam/phish filter can be a little aggressive so you do need to check it periodically.  Just this morning, a long comment to a post on this blog got flagged and sent to never-never land.

It’s a good post from Peter and certainly should be part of any discussion about digital safety.


New Approaches: #DiveIntoInquiry

Much has been written and shared about inquiry.  Colleen Rose shares how she approached the concept in her Art’s classroom.  It was an activity designed to give students a voice.

How she did it was interesting to me.

She took the students into the Ontario Curriculum and had the students read the expectations and create a document indicating their interpretation of what the expectation means.

It’s an interesting approach and she shares some of the student thoughts.  There are interesting interpretations.

Perhaps this could be done in more courses.


WHY BUILD A WALL?

No, not that wall.

A digital wall to your ideas

Donna Fry asks that question and gives a couple of suggestions as to why you might want a digital wall around your thinking.

Even better though, she shares some links to others who have thought about Open Practice.

I’ve written recently on my own thoughts about being in the open.  In a world where ideas grow exponentially, I would suggest that hiding behind a wall makes you less relevant.


Some great reading, don’t you agree?

Why don’t you drop by, read their complete thoughts, and keep the conversation going?

Also, join in on Wednesdays at 9:15am to hear a conversation with Stephen Hurley on Voiced about This Week in Ontario Edublogs.

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