It’s not Stratford

The closest I’ve come to Shakespeare is at the Festival in Stratford.  It was a compulsory destination in high school and an elective now that I’ve graduated from there.  In either case, it’s a fabulous destination.

More than the theatre, the community is terrific for walking and wandering about; the geese being the most serious obstacle!  But, the bridges and the shops and more make it a wonderful place to visit.

But, back to Shakespeare.  (and not the village outside Stratford)

Google’s Map History or the Wayback Machine certainly couldn’t take us back to the 1500s and London in Shakespeare’s time.  But, the Agas Map certainly can.

I have this romantic vision of London from that time.  I’ll confess; it’s largely based on Oliver Twist and other media references (movies, documentaries, books, …)  But, the Agas Map from the University of Victoria took me to a new level.

I love maps and I’m really intrigued with how this project was created using materials from the London Metropolitan Archives.  (it’s worth a visit for its own merits as well)

But, head over to the Map and be prepared to be amazed.

The copyright restrictions are very tight so there are no screen captures to share.  If you enjoy maps, you’ll love this.

The map uses an extensive collection of overlays to let you identify prisons, churches, neighbourhoods, etc. in the city.  Of course, I had to check out St. Paul’s Cathedral!  That had me hooked and before long I was zooming in and out, recognizing so many places I’ve just read about.  Each object is clickable to display a popup of further information about it.

This is just a terrific way to spend lots of time exploring and wondering.


OTR Links 07/31/2017

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

Whatever happened to …

… that school mascot?

Over the years, at different educational institutions, I’ve been a:

  • Warrior
  • Golden Hawk
  • Varsity Blue
  • Mustang
  • Lancer
  • Sabre

But it was a high school class reunion where we had a sports discussion, that I realized that I had another school mascot.  For the most part, the reunion was filled with people who had played on a number of sports teams.  The topic of discussion was that the school had a new name for the sports team since we were there.  They were now the Phoenix.

That wasn’t what we were when we played school sports.  We had either red or blue uniforms and we were the Redmen.  It wasn’t something that was displayed on our uniforms; I remember them as pretty bland. But, when we got school letters or awards, it had the image on them of the romantic notion of a First Nations people, complete with head dress.

I always thought that it was a strange thing; there were no First Nations peoples all that close to us.  The Saugeen Nation was north in Bruce County, the Chippewa Nation was south in Lambton County, and the Oneida Nation was in Middlesex County.  Yet, somehow, that was what we had at our secondary school.  I don’t know the history of it; you don’t have a choice when you go to school.  It’s just there.

The choice of moving to the Phoenix wasn’t a recent one.  It was a decision that was made a few years ago.  Changing made a great deal of sense, especially now that we are dealing with the whole concept of reconciliation.

Now, a small secondary school in mid-western Ontario isn’t going to change the world but it was the right thing to do.  There are more significant changes that could be made and I’ll ask for your opinion below.

So, for a Sunday, your thoughts …

  • Does your school use a First Nations’ representation for a mascot?
  • Can you name a school that made a change like my old secondary school did?
  • How do you feel about the refusal of professional sports teams to replace their logo in 2017 – Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs … ?
  • Is it important to retain tradition at the expense of offending others?

Please share your thoughts in the comment below.  I’d be very interested in reading them.

You can check out all of the posts in this series here.

Got an idea for a future post?  Let me know here.

OTR Links 07/30/2017

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

The wrong discussion

I saw it again.

I can best sum it up as having the wrong discussion. In terms of the experts, as Tim McGraw asks “Who are they?”

The first time that I heard this discussion was in the phrase “We got rid of SMARTBoards because of SAMR.  We replaced them with flat screen televisions”.

The most recent discussion was about how Chromebooks, by design, didn’t allow for teaching “above the line” with the SAMR model.  “We need MacBook Pros or full Windows computers.”

It’s just so hard to even begin to lend credibility to these discussions.

When I peel back the layers of the onion, the discussion really is:

  • “replacing data projector bulbs is a pain”
  • “I can only create movies with iMovie or Movie Maker”

I now have new material to use when I hear people espousing this model as the definitive answer for planning.  I’ve mentioned it many times; the problem with the way that people use the model is that it’s based solely on the actual technology and not addressing the real issue; proper understanding of student learning.

I prefer my thoughts about technology:

  • you can use it to do things differently
  • you can use it to do different things

With everything in the classroom, the use of the technology needs to revolve around student needs and not based upon a piece of technology or a piece of software.  A level for one isn’t necessarily a level for all.  Technology in the hands of a skilled teacher and motivated students is capable of amazing things.

There definitely are times and places for killer high end machines in order to address curricular needs.  But, those times and places aren’t everywhere.

What’s next?  We can’t teach electronics and coding with Spheros or Micro:bits because they’re not Arc Welding Robots?

School districts need to step back and focus on professional learning activities and growth/learning/networking opportunities.  Just throwing hardware or software at an unprepared classroom doesn’t cut it.