My Week Ending February 4, 2018


Readings (You can follow my daily readings as they happen here)

  1. The more that you read stories about violence in the classroom like this, the more you wonder what it will take before it’s addressed seriously.  ETFO does have a nice chart that lines up nicely with the Ministry of Labour’s Procedure for a work refusalDitto for OSSTF.
  2. A positive attitude towards anything will guarantee success.  So why not a positive approach to Mathematics?
  3. Every now and again, I’ll hear from Aral Balkan on Twitter if I say anything good about Google.  It was interesting to listen to this Podcast and to actually hear him as opposed to reading a Twitter message.
    Is the internet broken? And has the utopian 90s net been replaced by digital feudalism, where a few powerful entities wield control over all of us digital serfs? In this series, Jordan Erica Webber looks at internet-enabled dystopia, and how even the technology designed to do good can end up causing harm.
  4. This could be a blast from the past – 1949 – if it was true.  Suppose that someone other than Canada bought Newfoundland and Labrador from the seller on Kiiji?  I mean, if it’s on the Internet, it must be true, right?  It does prove that you don’t have to look very hard to find stories that will make you and your students do some fact checking.
  5. There’s always a need for looking for best applications for a specific purpose.  Perhaps it’s even more necessary now that so many people are using Chromebooks.  This is a very complete article of recommendations that you might find helpful.  Of course, just because it made someone else’s list shouldn’t automatically make it to your list.  I can’t see myself sideloading an application that’s no longer in production.  If that’s the case, it’s time to move on and find something else current that does the job for you.
  6. Marisa Constantinides constantly clobbers me in Words with Friends.  So, when she tweeted about where she worked – the CELT in Athens, I had to take a look around their teacher development centre and see everything that they offer.
  7. It’s pretty easy to be a teacher, I guess.  You just have to be able to answer these three questions.  Of course, there are more that you need to answer; these all focus on the concept of the connected educator.  Even then, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  8. Even paranoids have enemies.  Suppose that you are using the most secure browser on the planet.  As a browser, it gets you to those places where you want to go.  But, there really isn’t the perfect browser yet so you add extensions to make the browser do what you want.  What happens when those extensions now deliver malware? Do we return to the Lynx browser?  Fingers point to Google Chrome in this article but you could find similar articles for any browser you happen to be using.
  9. I know a person who absolutely swears by the Zoho suite of tools so I was really interested to read this review comparing it to Google Keep.  Of course, those that swear by OneNote or Evernote will be disappointed that their product didn’t make the interview.  Any of these reviews are exasperating.  It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ve bet on the wrong horse but switching is always a challenge.  You don’t want to leave the important stuff behind.
  10. I don’t think that there’s a father alive that doesn’t sympathize with this.  The request to be left alone in a room for a minute with Larry Nassar most certainly wouldn’t be approved by the judge.  You just had to know that she wouldn’t uphold a charge of contempt of court.


Blog Posts on doug … off the record


voicEd Radio

My on demand page can be found here.  The latest edition features blog posts from:


Technology Trouble Shooting

Do not disturb – I don’t sleep with my phone on waiting for the next notification to come along.   For the longest time, I just made the phone go into airplane mode before I went to sleep.  But, then I found the greatest of settings.  It’s called “Do not disturb”.  You just set the start and end time and the phone just stops bugging you for the designated period of time.  Better than airplane mode though, it continues to receive notifications without an audio notice so they’re there in the morning.  It’s funny the settings you find when you’re bored.  I should have used this years ago.  Since the settings are for every day, the only catch is that you have to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

Weekly Challenge – OK, here’s another little thing that bugs me.  In creating this post, I go back to the announcement that I send out on Twitter to let people know who is going to be featured on This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  A copy/paste job puts a dash through the @ sign in front of the name.

In order to remove it, I go into HTML mode in WordPress and remove the < s > < /s > strike through codes that make it appear that way.

Any idea why it’s there in the first place?


Video of the Week – Wiarton Willie does his thing


My Favourite Photo This Week


We couldn’t find a cooperative groundhog around here so Jaimie and I paused to look at the sun and then to see if there was a shadow cast by him.  Seeing none, we predict another six weeks of dog walking.


Thanks for reading.




Whatever happened to …

… trackballs?

From the Whatever happened to Padlet, comes this suggestion.



Photo Credit: Iwan Gabovitch Flickr via Compfight cc

Or, a nice collection of images appears here.

This is so timely.  I was in a Staples store just this past week to get a floor mat for my computer chair; the old one had become brittle and falling to pieces.

To annoy my wife, I always take a spin through the computer and device sections to see what I would buy if I had more money.  Of course, there are the computers and I always like to try out the keyboard to see what the latest feel is.  I still think that the IBM keyboard with the metal base and the wonderfully designed keys is still the best.  After I passed the computers, I hit the peripherals and looked at the myriad of mouses and other pointing devices that are available.  There was a nice collection of mouses that include a trackball.

Ontario educators long in the teeth will remember the Icon computer.  That was my first experience with any pointing device.  When you’re using punched cards, that technology doesn’t even enter the picture.  The Icon had a trackball at the top of the keyboard with a pair of “Action” keys to complete the package.  So, you’d use your finger or palm to move the pointer over the screen and tap “Action” to make the magic happen.  The similarity to a hand cleaner at the bowling alley wasn’t lost on my students and it was nothing to hear the “wheeeeeee” as the trackball got a good spin.  They were durable things.  Every student studied the keyboard to see how to remove the ball but I don’t recall any student who ever managed to do it.  Now, mouse balls are a different thing…

This technology design was enhanced by manufacturers and it wasn’t long before you’d see them in gaming devices or devices design to address issues of ergonomics or drawing that require fine detail.  My secretary got one to help her with wrist issues and it soon became the “thing” to have although I don’t recall that anyone really mastered it.

For me, it was about the time that I switched to a laptop because I was out and about visiting schools and needed something portable.  I never got one but I did admire my secretary who really used it well.

These days, my sit down workstation is a mishmash of a laptop with external Logitech keyboard, Logitech mouse, and Wacom tablet.  The mouse with a laser to read movement addresses my pointing needs for the most part.  But, walking through Staples, I did pause for a second or two to wonder if I’ve missed something in the complete computing experience by never having owned a mouse with at trackball.

For a Sunday, I’d like to hear your thoughts…

  • Are you experienced enough to remember the Icon computer and its trackball?
  • Have you ever used a mouse that has a trackball build into it?
  • What is your main pointing device?  Name brands are OK.
  • Has your finger become your ultimate pointing device with a tablet, phone, or touch screen?
  • With voice assistants maturing, will we eventually not need anything in this genre at some point?
  • And, if you know, just how does that trackball stay inside the device?

Please, please share your thoughts via comment below.  I’m really curious.

If you like this post, please share with your friends and let’s get a feel for how everyone is pointing.

The entire series of these Sunday “Whatever happened to” posts is available here.

And, please, if you have an idea and would like me to share my thoughts about anything, add it to the Padlet.

OTR Links 02/04/2018

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