This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s been another great week of reading the thoughts and sharing of Ontario Edubloggers.  Here’s a part of what I caught.

Are Educators Talking to Themselves?

I was monitoring my Twitter feed when Paul McGuire announced this blog post.  My immediate reaction was

Of course we are.  Who the hell else understands Edu-babble?

His message goes much further than talking to others in the education bubble that is all too frequent online.

What about the other aspect of the well-rounded educator?  You know, knowing what’s going on in the world around them.  If you follow Paul, you’ll see that he’s sharing information about what’s happening in the entire world and not just education.

It’s worth a thought; how do you read and share?

Have You Participated in a TLLP Project? Please Share Your Experience(s) with Technology!

Colleen Rose is going to be addressing this year’s class of TLLP folks.  Having her present is a good choice.  She goes beyond the edu-babble and speaks to the heart of educators.

She also is looking to ground herself in the success of other TLLP alumni and is asking for assistance.

When did you begin your TLLP?
What was the experience like?
How did technology help you share your learning?
What worked well, and what didn’t?
What advice can you give to new TLLP participants, re: technology?

At present, she has no takers through the comments.  If you’ve been involved in a TLLP, why not help a sister out and share some thoughts?

Rethinking Empowerment

This may be a tough re-think for some people but Jim Cash puts it out there for you to ponder.

We all got into education knowing that we were going to be the sage in the classroom.  We knew the stuff and those others are there to learn from our experiences and knowledge, right?

In a day of voice and choice, have the tables turned?

If you believe so, check out the four questions at the bottom of Jim’s post.  The only suggestion that I would add is to include the word “truly” in the questions.  Saying yes is easy enough to do.  Saying yes and really doing it can make all the difference.


The answer:


The question, as originally posed by Will Gourley was a twist of the question that we’ve all asked “What are you going to do with your life?”

In this case, the question was posed to a group of Grade 1 students and was “what they wanted to buy when they were adults and could spend their own money”.

It’s a much better question and gives some insight that the traditional one doesn’t.


As long as I’ve known language teachers, they’ve talked about authentic writing for an audience.  In a lot of cases, it involves writing something for marks or for taking home to mom and dad.

From the TESL Ontario blog, here’s a terrific suggestion.

Why not make that writing a project in web design?  There are so many really good tools available these days – why not make use of them?  In this case, you’re writing for potentially every connected person on the internet.  What an audience!

The project topics included:

  • Library services
  • Learning Commons
  • Recreation
  • Student Life
  • Individual Academic departments (example: Health Sciences or Engineering)
  • Information Technology Support
  • Student Counselling
  • MOOCS/ off campus Online resources
  • Public Library system

The author uses Winksite as the authoring tool.

Battle of the Books EDU: The Short List Revealed

VoicEd Radio is sponsoring a summer book reading club.  In this post, Stephen Hurley shares with us the “short list” of titles for consideration.


The challenge now is to narrow down the titles.

VoicEd Radio will be having a competition of fans of one title or another and will broadcast their reasons that their book of choice should be selected.  This starts on April 29.

Investing in their Passions

What struck me as really interesting reading this post from Ramona Meharg is that this topic was probably never covered at the Faculty of Education.

If we’re to believe the reports of current students there (and why wouldn’t you?), even something as simple as having a Twitter account and using social media can be a challenge in some places.

This post is a wonderful description of the process in her class and to summarize it here would do it an injustice.

Instead, I think of what would lead Ramona to do this in the first place.  If you’re not studying about it and getting the inspiration from the traditional route, where then?

I’d heard about these Passion Projects through course work, colleagues and Twitter. I did a bit of reading over the summer on them.

Please take the time to click through and enjoy these posts in their original entirety.  You’ll be glad you did.

Then, make sure that you’re following these inspirational educators.

OTR Links 04/27/2018

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

London-ish’s Edu-Royalty

On Saturday, I have every intention of attending EdCampLondon.  Last night, I was poking around with Google Maps to try to determine out how long it was going to take to get there.  I’m excited that the event will be held in a new school – I like seeing what new elements of innovation go into new constructions; I just wish it was closer to the 401!  I’ve taken that long drive on Wonderland Road once and vowed never again!  Perhaps any Londoners reading this could suggest an alternative.


As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the wonderful connections that I’ve had with educational folks in Thames Valley and London Catholic districts.  In fact, I’ve interviewed quite a few on this blog!

And, there are two more “in process” that will appear on this blog at some point.  Not to slight anyone who was ever interviewed – the complete list appears here.

Will you be there?


OTR Links 04/26/2018

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


Is there anyone in Ontario and the greater world who hasn’t stopped to think for a while about the incident that happened in Toronto on Monday?

Since one of the categories in my Flipboard account is “Canadian News”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the category was flooded with stories.

What might come as a bit of a surprise is that the stories all didn’t originate from Ontario.  The event has made the news world-wide – as it should.  You could probably predict this but not all of the articles have the same perspective.

Quite frankly, some of the articles appear to have been quickly assembled with only a subset of the information that’s available.  I suspect that’s part of the business – it’s more important to get something out rather than wait until all of the details have been gathered and thoughtfully assembled into a news report.

There was one piece of fact that could definitely have formed the facts for a news piece.  It’s the user video showing the Toronto police officer handling the driver of the van and ultimately performing an arrest without shooting his gun.

It would have been easy and I don’t think that there would have been much of a concern had this happened.

Who knows what went through the police officer’s mind?

  • training to handle a situation like this
  • a desire to arrest so that further information can be learned
  • the possibility of innocent people getting hurt via a missed shot or a ricochet from the building behind the driver

What appalled me was the variety of opinions that went into news stories about the police officer’s actions, especially the negative ones.

The opinions ranged from being a hero to blaming the officer for not shooting and killing the driver.

This from people whose only work hazards might be a paper cut ripping a story from the printer or a typo on a teleprompter.

While the complete details will be forthcoming, the police officer’s judgement is the real story at the moment.

OTR Links 04/25/2018

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

Another outlet for coding

Over the weekend, the Grasshopper application (Android or iOSfrom Google was everywhere in my news feed.  It was touted as “the best way to start your coding adventure with fun, quick games on your phone that teach you to write real JavaScript.

So, I decided to give it a try.  I downloaded it onto my Chromebook.  Since Grasshopper is an Android application, the “other side” is loaded when I want use it.  It’s not a problem.  I can flip the screen back and use it as a tablet with touch or just launch it with the computer in laptop mode.  More on this later.

I was pleased with the look, feel, and approach that it takes.  Of course, I started at the very beginning.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.15.40

and then I was off on the very visual path of learning.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.15.17

This ol’ computer science teacher recognized the steps taken to get the learning rolling.  Of course, you have to start with the basics and then move on.  I found it interesting that the concept of arrays was introduced as early as it was but that was OK.

Like I do when I find applications like this, I found myself really running through it at full speed.  So, I did slow down so that I could fully enjoy each of the steps and hopefully not miss something.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.12.55

What would a computer science course be without the compulsory flip a coin problem!

Of course, I had the background so was able to move through fairly easily.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.14.29It was fun, nonetheless.

The resulting code is text and the approach is sort of a hybrid combination between text only and drag and drop coding.  You’re given just enough tools at each step to get the job done.  There wasn’t too much there to confuse the learning with extraneous options.  For that, you’ll have to go to the next level or head over to the playground.  But stick with things.  You can complete the course and get referred to Coursera for next steps.

As it would happen, I had to take the car in for an oil change.  I’m sitting in the waiting room and I know that they have free wireless.  I decided that I would while away some time and continue to learn on my phone.  Sadly, they had the Play store blocked but I decided to put the cost of a data download toward my learning.  As I continued to work my way through things, this older woman came in for her service and looked over my shoulder.  “Whatcha playing?”  I explained what I was doing and the teacher came out in me.  I don’t know how much she got but she could have moved to another seat so I’ll take it she was paying attention.  Or too lazy to move!

In doing the tutorials, I found out something about myself.  I think that every programmer brings baggage to a new language or new programming environment.  In laptop mode, I hated that I couldn’t just use the keyboard for the coding.  In tablet mode, I hated the fact that I had to use the keyboard for tapping some things.  Well, maybe not “hate”.  I guess there’s no pleasing some people.  I think I enjoyed doing it in laptop mode better than tablet mode.  That sort of flies in the face of the original goal which was to learn coding on the phone.  But, now I have that option too!

So far, the tutorial is well locked down; I couldn’t skip over any of the lessons so I’m learning everything as we go along whether I need it or not.  (and I’m OK with that)

If you’re looking for some new programming experience, download Grasshopper and give it a shot.