Welcome to another issue of This Week in Ontario Edublogs, a chance for me to share some of the great reading that I’ve enjoyed recently. This week is no different. Here are some terrific blog posts to enjoy.
Don’t be intimidated even if it is Friday the 13th.
So many schools in Canada use September as a chance to celebrate the Marathon of Hope and Terry Fox. This post from Heidi Solway is a wonderful post sharing her thoughts about Terry Fox as her personal hero and the need for all of us to have heroes. What makes it so important, particularly since the Marathon was a long time ago, is that there are times where students need to be assisted in finding their own heroes. Left to their own choices, they may be overly influenced by other things.
Heidi also shares a beautiful poem that she penned personally. On the This Week in Ontario Edublogs radio program, Stephen Hurley and I talked about all this. As we turned to this poem, I’ll admit to choking up and shared the moment with Heidi. She noticed it as she listened to the program!
I sure sure did. I cannot talk about Terry Fox or the Marathon of Hope without choking up- and I’m made of concrete. 😳😳 Thanks again!
— Heidi Solway (@HSolway) October 11, 2017
We have the technology…We can build Schools of the Future
I was a bit skeptic when I read the title to Ramona Meharg’s post. Heck, we’ve had “the technology” for years and the schools that we see today are the future that that technology has built. Are they significantly better? A case could be made that they’re actually worse today. We now have environments where parts of the technology have been locked out or disabled by IT Departments. It’s a survival mechanism for them since we have so much technology and they’re charged with keeping it functional. We also have school systems that buy it as quickly as they can without providing quality professional learning to go along with it.
Beyond the technology of things, Ramona talks about the technology of humans which makes the concept so much more appealing and obtainable. She talks about what’s possible when you marry the technology of stuff with the technology of humans.
Students would be banging down our doors, begging to come in and learn. I wanna teach at THAT school.
… only nine more to go?
Jennifer Aston takes us into the reality of her September. As a secondary school teacher, the concept of “reorganization” was foreign to me but even I have empathy for someone who goes from a class of 23 in Grade 6 one day to 30 in a 5/6 split the next day.
Read about her story and the technology that she has lined up to help her meet expectations from two grades.
I went through elementary school in split classes. We were told that the logic of being in the split class as opposed to the other straight class was that we were thought to be motivated, self-starters. I’m almost positive that I shouldn’t have been in that category! But it’s easy to see that technology support should make management of things easier.
The neat thing is that student blogging is on her horizon.
Sounds like things are going to be exciting in her class.
Are We Enabling Students to be Explorers of Deep Learning?
I’d hazard a guess that, if you asked every teacher that question, just about everyone would say “Yes, of course”.
Rola Tibshirani talks about what it means to her and offers three other questions.
- How have we been shaping up the learning?
- How are students owning the process?
- How are students focusing on a purpose for their learning?
I think these are better questions. I really like the examples that she shares. They’re simple concepts but require some really deep thinking, research, and understanding. They’re also grounded in culture, empathy, and a scenario that I would guess most students would never have personally experienced.
Some worked on designing a toy for children in refugee camps. The teams who are working on science began exploring the design thinking process by looking at an injured bird with a missing a leg.
Lots of pictures and descriptions go along with her reflection.
On Connections and being Connected
Peter Cameron was on voicEd radio and the discussion got around to talking about “connections” and “being connected” via Derk Rhodenizer’s #WordinProgress show.
I think what I am having difficulty understanding is the difference between how be define a “connection” and a “relationship”.
To me, the answer looks pretty easy. You can have “connections” to basically anyone. Or, anything. But a “relationship” or “being connected” means so much more.
To me, it implies that there’s a give and take and both (or all) parts of those “being connected” are all the richer for the experience. A “connection”, on the other hand, could be a one sided interaction where the value is siphoned off in one direction only.
I think the concept gets blurred because there are people who self-identify as “connected educator” or “connected learner” where, in reality, they may take things in but contribute nothing back in return.
Exploding Dots for Global Math Week
You’re probably aware of Exploding Dots if you’ve been following Global Math Week.
Kyle Pearce write a rather lengthy post chocked full of ideas and activities to support things from his end.
Mathematics can and should be fun.
Twitter, Educators and Dissent
I’ve been in a lot of Twitter chats and online discussion where the duration of the talk can be, oh, ten minutes or so. Some Twitter chats force it to an hour with a Q&A format which allows everyone to come in and show their knowledge by entering as much edubabble as they can.
But, last weekend, a provocation from Paul McGuire turned into a three day marathon discussion where everyone was shooting from the hip. It didn’t matter what time of the day or night you looked into the stream, there was always an interesting discussion. sans hashtag too.
It inspired me to write a few posts summarized what I gleamed from the discussion. Paul wraps up his thoughts in this post and gives credit to many of the participants.
And, it all started with a simple question.
What does Twitter do for educators? Content creation? Constructive feedback? Displaying work? Ideas? https://t.co/iUZ5TeBg9D via @mcguirp
— Paul McGuire (@mcguirp) October 8, 2017
In the post, you’ll find a link to a Storify document that Paul generated to keep the discussion in one place. I think it would be an interesting exercise to diagram the discussion as well.
Is there a tool already created to do that? Please let me know of one if it exists.
There are always great things coming from the blogs of Ontario Educators. I keep that Livebinder updated as I find new content but I can’t find them all. Please use the form there and add your own if it’s not there. And, if you find a blog post from an Ontario Educator that you think should be highlighted in this weekly post, please let me know.
Your call to action – click through and read all of these wonderful blog posts. Share one of them with colleagues. Together, we can build groups of fans to support these wonderful thought leaders.
Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.