This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s time for our weekly wander around Ontario and see what great Ontario Edubloggers have been up to.  There’s always something great going on and this week is no exception.

Read on …

BYOD. It’s not about the device until it’s the device.

Cal Armstrong builds a case for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) but under certain conditions.

Left unchecked, he sees a world of increased stress for teachers who have to support a multitude of platforms and issues.  Things like what application should be used could be crucial to this without careful planning.  Of course, a concerted effort to put everything in the cloud could solve at least part of this.

At Appleby College, all students have the same device in the classroom so one instruction like moving to tablet mode is similar for all students.  He points to how easily he was able to solve problems like a lost stylus or a discharged computer.  It was relatively easy to solve since the “D” was the same in all classes.

It’s a post that should give planners some thought.  Could Appleby’s solution fit into other schools by taking the “YO” out of “BYOD”?

The quick and easy answer is no – the big reason being financial – but the post is still worthy of a read and a way to think about how to change the way that you’re working with what you have.  Is there a middle ground?

Make sure that you keep the “B” though.


This is a very timely post from ECOO Past-President Mark Carbone as we’re on the eve of Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code.  There will be many people taking on coding next week and the school’s Sphero(s) may get a great workout.

Mark tells a story of two different Sphero challenges and explains why he likes how the process has evolved.

What I like is the mindset behind this.

For many, the activity could be “one and done”.  This whole process shows how people are rethinking things and making the challenge better.  There appears to be more rigor in the second version (don’t tell the students) and they’re up for the challenge.

Can you say that you’ve raised the bar in your Hour of Code activities?

The End of School Resource Officers in Toronto District Public Schools

Paul McGuire isn’t afraid to share his opinion on the issues of the day.  The current issue is around the Toronto District School Board’s decision to remove School Resource Officers from their schools.

Paul’s logic is based upon his experience of using the officers for what he sees as a positive experience, giving examples.

There is another side to the issue, of course.  Not everyone sees the presence of the officers in the schools as positive.  TDSB surveyed their clientele to find opinions to find that there were concerns that the program had an adverse effect on certain students.  If we want to see all students succeed, we must make sure that all students feel safe and supported in their school and recommendations were made.

Now that the program has been cancelled, the challenge will be for students to act responsibly and prove that the decision made was correct.

The whole thing has been an exercise in media literacy as well.  Search the contents of Toronto newspapers and you will find differing opinions.  It’s an opportunity to bring this into the classroom and talk about perspectives and perhaps even writing letters to the editors to provide things from a student rather than an administrative perspective.

Conversations about culturally responsive pedagogy

Deborah McCallum, who has been featured regularly on #TWIOE, was the inspiration for this post from the TDSB Professional Library.

Deborah McCallum writes, “I question whether I, as a White, female, Canadian, English-speaking person, can adequately facilitate the increase of assessment scores in math for students who have different identities and cultural groups.

The response?

A collection of resources to help answer the question.


Are these books available in your own district’s or school’s professional library?

It’s Conference Time!

It certainly is.  The fall is the perfect time for some professional learning that you can take back to your classroom with an eye towards improving classroom practice.

Arianna Lambert agrees and uses this post to elaborate.

In it, she identifies three things from her perspective as both a presenter and as an attendee.

  1. The Power of Story
  2. Being Open to New Learning
  3. Network, Network, and Network

This time, I get to agree with her.

  1.  I’m always impressed when a speaker takes me on a ride with her/him as relevant stories are used to deliver the message
  2. I always try to seek out sessions that I suspect will challenge me and push my thinking.  I can’t see going to a conference to attend a session that delivers a message that I’m already confident in
  3. In 2017, networking is key.  The value of a conference today goes far beyond sitting and listening to one or two people.  It’s about making those connections with others.  It’s almost a shame to go home without expanding your network and then make it work for you far beyond the two or three days of the conference

Important People, Disembodied Participants and Fun in the Sun

For some reason, Diana Maliszewski decided to go to warm and sunny Phoenix instead of joining us in blustery Niagara Falls to attend a library conference.

Her post affirms Arianna’s point number 3 above and shares with us some of the connections that she made while she was there.

The Ontario connection though is heart-warming.  She takes the opportunity to give shout-outs to the best of Ontario Educators that came across during this conference experience.

Great stuff.

Are you on Diana’s list?

Learning is Social

In time to affirm the messages from Arianna and Diana, comes this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd.

In a course that she’s taking, she’s had to do some reading and reflecting on some articles.

She does this nicely in this blog post.

Social media connections serve to complement in-class connections as well. Students’ shared experience connecting with others can bring a class together. I have seen this happen on several occasions especially when time is given to reflect on the process.

The post wasn’t hard for me to read since I am totally onside with her message.

But I had to give a bit of a smile as I read.  What would happen if we changed every reference to “teacher” to “administrator” or “professional developer” and every reference to “student” to “teacher”?  Does the post now become a blueprint for more effective professional learning?

If it does, what doesn’t it happen?

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers above.  Click through to their original posts and read their wisdom in their entirety.  You’ll be glad you did.

And, why not follow these people on Twitter?

If you can, join Stephen Hurley and me on voicEd Radio on Wednesday mornings or repeated through the week where we use some of these posts as a launching point for discussions.

OTR Links 12/01/2017

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