My Week Ending April 15, 2018


Readings (You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Here are a selected few from the past week.)

  1. One of the categories that I have in all of my readers is “Libraries”.  I was privileged to work with a number of wonderful teacher librarians and had access to the best of the best in my secondary school.  It pains me when I hear about the desire to shutter libraries for these people are the true changemakers.  On the other hand, there are some really interesting libraries being built and maintained.
  2. This completely describes the teaching profession.  It’s why, when I go to an educational conference, I go to a real teacher’s session.  They are talking their practice and things they actually know.  On the other side, there are the big futurists who won’t confess “I’ve skimmed enough of their research to get a few quotes to motivate you.”  That’s also if they get it right.  Witness Carol Dweck who had to explain mindset because so many people were getting it wrong.  Also in this category, how many times have you seen Seymour Papert quoted by someone who really hasn’t read his work?
  3. You don’t see Word Clouds used so often anymore.  People seem to have gravitated to animated GIFs to convey messages.  It’s too bad because clouds can be so visual and have so much information in them and the user is often left to their own interpretation.  Here’s a list of some utilities to create them.
  4. Humboldt was on the minds of Canadian everywhere this past week.  Here’s Don Cherry’s perspective.
  5. Live by the web; die by the web.
  6. If you’re a user of Google Forms – a big time user, you might want to consider reading this article and playing around with the advice.  You can save a new set of default settings rather than changing them each time you create a form.
  7. If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for the perfect browsing experience.  Here’s a rationale for why you might want to check out the new Firefox.  I do like Firefox, always have, but I easily get frustrated when visiting a website that requires Google Chrome and won’t work with anything else.  I thought we had got past that – remember sites that required that you use Internet Explorer only?  Why can’t everyone just got along with everyone else?  Oh, I see.
  8. The message is indeed getting out about the importance of coding and computational thinking.  Unfortunately, in some places, it’s just isolated events.  This Framework provides way more than that and is a good resource for your school and planning team trying to get it right.
  9. The worst thing that can happen in this connected world is for an interruption of your internet service.  This is the worst case scenario – take out an entire county?
  10. Hug your librarian, your teacher-librarian.  This is a wonderful explanation why.


Blog Posts on doug … off the record


voicEd Radio

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

Stephen Hurley and I went live in a Grade 5 classroom in Burlington this week.


Technology Trouble Shooting

Collaboration Success – I’m always amazed when good things come to fruition because of collaboration.  Such was the case this weekend with the first #ECOOcamp.  I’m down here in Essex County, Peter McAsh was in Perth County, and Leslie Boerkamp and Ian Whitton were in various locations in Bruce, Grey, Simcoe, and Perth Counties.  Somehow, between a discussion document created in Google Docs and weekly meetings via Google Meet, we were able to set the table for a pretty amazing day of learning in Owen Sound.  The only thing that was out of our control was the weather but that had nothing to do with getting together.

Weekly Challenge – Well, technically, it wasn’t my challenge but when you’re on a team, one person’s challenge is everyone’s.  In Owen Sound, Peter McAsh was using Flippity to draw door prize winners.  Sadly, it wasn’t working.  In the meantime, everyone in the audience was watching and waiting and waiting and waiting (while undoubtedly thinking about the weather).  But, patience actually wins in the long run.  Eventually, it decided that it would work.  Prizes drawn, winners happy.


Video of the Week – All 14 minutes of Taxi & Sequel

As it would happen, this Harry Chapin classic hit my listening at least three times this week.  One more time – from Hamilton.

My Favourite Photo This Week
Our smiling keynote speakers from #ECOOcamp


Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… coffee?

It’s not that it’s gone away but I just got back from a trip into town and bought a McDonald’s coffee for the two of us.  It’s on sale right now for $1.  Compared with a coffee that I bought at an ONRoute on the 401 yesterday for $1.95, it’s a real deal!

But it did get me thinking of my relationship with this black gold.


My RCAC coffee mug and its contents made this post possible.

I didn’t start out being a coffee drinker.  It was harsher than mud for my taste.  But, over the years, I’ve got to believe that I’ve tried more permutations on the making of it.

  • Instant coffee
  • Percolated coffee
  • Ground my own coffee beans – both manually and with a machine
  • I can recall four or five drip machines that we’ve owned – the best invention ever is the spring loaded device that lets you get that important first cup of the morning before the entire pot is brewed
  • K-cups
  • Some sort of steam process

In terms of coffee purchase places, I’ve done my share there too.

  • Tim Horton’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Robin’s Donuts
  • Starbucks
  • Seattle’s Best
  • Colvin Coffee
  • Timothy’s
  • Stuff they sold at the arena
  • Coffee Time
  • Country Style
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Second Cup
  • Van Houtte
  • Williams
  • Small independents
  • and probably more if I thought long enough

And many different brands for home brewing too.

  • Folger’s (our current favourite)
  • Van Houtte
  • Maxwell House
  • Caribou Coffee
  • Eight O’Clock Coffee
  • Nestle’s
  • Tim Horton’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Melitta
  • Hill’s Brothers

I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I know what I like (and what I don’t like)  I’ve tried double-doubles, cream only, milk only, but I’ll settle for black.

What got me thinking about this and the evolution is how things have changed.  As a child, I remember going to a restaurant with my parents who were coffee drinkers and coffee was just something that came.  It was often free or at a nominal cost and complemented the meal.  These days, it’s a real artform and the price you pay for fancy drinks at a Starbucks, for example, will buy you a small meal in other places.

If you’re up early on this Sunday morning, I know that you’ve probably got one within reach and have an opinion.  Let me hear it in the comments.

  • What’s your favourite store bought brand of coffee?
  • What’s your goto coffee shop?
  • Did you ever put chicory into your coffee?
  • Double Double?  Sugar?  Sweetner?  Black?
  • Do you opt for the fancy barista stuff?
  • Have you bypassed all this and will opt for a cup of green tea or Earl Grey instead?

Let’s have fun with this.  What are your coffee thoughts?

How has coffee evolved from just something that came to a major refreshment decision in itself?

OTR Links 04/15/2018

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