This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to a very special Friday.  In addition to getting ready to take on whatever lies for you for your March Break, it’s a chance to check out some interesting blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

So, read on!

Radio Reality

If I had to pick one field trip that I wanted to go on, it would be something from Diana Maliszewski.  She plans one big media project annually and this year, her students got to visit CHUMFM and Ryerson University.  Along the way, the students got a sense of what it takes to make a radio show happen.  What an awesome experience!

I like big, engrossing, complex topics to explore.

In 2013, it was media-tie in products related to movies.
In 2015, it was food and restaurants.
In 2017, it was clothing and fashion.
For 2018, it’s all about radio.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  (and educational)

The post features a nice collection of pictures to document the trip.  Nice technology!

Filled to the Rim

When I first started teaching, we didn’t call it “Pub PD”.  It was more like “want to come to the Michigan after work for a drink?”.  But, time moves on.

There are a number of variations of this concept including “Coffee PD” but the message is the same.  It’s about meeting with colleagues outside of the four brick walls and without students.  If your spouse isn’t a teacher, it can be difficult to have the sorts of discussions that teachers have when they get together.  Either the topic is deemed to be so trivial or so deeply academic, often they just don’t get it.

The post is a Q&A format between Kelly MacKay and Andrea Kerr.

A: I love our people.  So lucky to work in a place where collaboration, idea bouncing, and I’ll-do-that-for-you is a given.  Pub PD is icing.

K: The feeling we get when we are planning with the white board – the place where people come to learn and are open – this feels different but just as open.  The purpose is quieter.  No clock, no need to get this finished.  No end game.

When was the last time you did something like this for yourself?

New Job

New jobs are a reality in education.  It might be teaching a new grade level, subject area, assuming a position of added responsibility, or something else.  One thing that is typical though is that the change to a new position is typically done over the summer to keep disruptions to a minimum for all involved, especially for students.

In education, it’s more than just picking up your briefcase and moving to a new desk.  There’s all those resource in filing cabinets and closets.  There’s moving digital resources around and deciding amongst all the “stuff” that you have which were purchased by you personally and which belong to the school.  It’s a task.  To do so in the middle of a year and bringing your replacement up to speed sounds like a daunting task.

Given all that, this post from Stepan Pruchnicky kind of broke many of these norms.  He started a new position as Experiential Learning Resource Teacher last Monday.  In the post, he shares some of what went into his application for the position.  No wonder he was successful.

It will be interesting if he chooses to share his experience in the new position via his blog.

Using the Microsoft Bot Framework to Create Educational Bots

This project, as related by Camille Rutherford, is very intriguing.  I remember my university days and they most certainly weren’t 9-5.  If I had an inquiry when I was working on something in the middle of the night, I would make a note and hopefully remember to follow through the next day when the professor or teaching assistant was in their office and on the clock.

Brock University is working on having a bot on call 24/7 to answer questions.  So, we can add concepts like this to the growing trend of digital assistants.

The use of Microsoft Office 365 facilitated a collaborative and dynamic process by allowing all staff members to provide insight into the content and context of the types of questions that were to be included in the knowledge base.

It makes so much sense; I can’t imagine the task of building that knowledge base and then make it interactive.  Will it ever be complete?  If it’s successful, what’s next?

In Ten Years….?

This post, from Peter Cameron, flows so nicely from Camille’s.

It’s easy to look back ten years and see how things were then.  Really easy and you might well have pictures and artifacts that will help you remember.

But, what happens when you gaze into your crystal ball and look forward 10 years?

What do you think?  Bots everywhere?  It’s not a totally strange concept.  Can you remember the first entry into the field of language processing, Eliza?  I don’t know who frustrated me more – Eliza or Clippy.  You had to start somewhere.

This is us living in the speed of innovation.  Peter then turns to the pre-school student and the perceived effects of technology on these students.  There’s been lots written about this and solutions proposed like banning them or limiting screen time.  If you’ve ever had kids or taught students, you know that by design these approaches will fail.  We need to find some way to co-exist.

It’s a great post and I’m sure that Peter would appreciate reading your thoughts.

Together we climb

Laurie Azzi continues her series dealing with mental health stories.  This time, the focus is on anxiety disorders.


Those numbers always scare me.

Laurie includes the inspirational writing of Chris Nihmey in her post.  It’s a story of anxiety from a teacher perspective.

Do you relate?

Even at some level?

Creativity: Every Classroom a Maker Space

Well, yeah…

Makerspace has kind of dropped from my reading recently so I appreciate this post from Zélia Capitão-Tavares bringing it back.

I think we learned a great deal about pedagogy from computer labs.  We speak ill of the concept now but the reality was that in the beginning computers were expensive, networking was expensive, and there might really have only been one teacher in the school that was conversant enough with computers to put them to good use.  I’d like to think that’s well behind us.

As we turn to the notion of Makerspaces, there have been the early adopters of the concept.  This time, though, we’re not limited by cost; we’re limited by a desire to do this.  So, why not indeed in every classroom?

Zélia describes a PD session as part of the TDSB #MentoringMondays program on Makerspaces.  The takeaway – not something physical but a pedagogy tuneup.

  • What curriculum connections can you make with your grade?
  • What does it mean to be a maker in this space?
  • How will you embed this within your classroom culture?

Please take a few moments and click through and enjoy the postings from their great bloggers.  Drop off a comment or two as well.

This is part of a regular Friday series “This Week in Ontario Edublogs“.  Find them all at that link.

Finally, your call to action – make sure that you’re following these great bloggers.

OTR Links 03/09/2018

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