My Week Ending September 30, 2018

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.

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

  • Last week in my “Whatever happened to …” post, I talked about chestnuts, of all things.  It inspired some great discussion and I found this recipe from Martha Stewart about how to roast them!
  • This is a pretty serious Top 10 list.  This time it’s the top 10 tornados in Canada.
  • Great news for Ontario Colleges in the area of IT education.
  • Most definitely in this time and place an important, no, the most important conversation you can have with your kids.
  • I don’t think that this can be said too often.  Jaimie and I see it every morning.
  • Definitely you should do this.
  • There’s always room for improvement but at least we’re trying.
  • Beyond the wording in the title (think about it), it’s a good question to ask.
  • Happy Birthday, Google.
  • I really like this concept.  I don’t know why it’s not replicated more by businesses on behalf of the wellness of their employees.
  • Darwin had a theory.  Thank goodness we have solutions to protect us from the stupidity of others.
  • Confession time.  I’ve tried out all of these alternatives.
  • The title is about Linux applications for education.  Often, open source solutions like this exist for Windows and Macintosh as well.  The list is worth checking out.  They’re worth installing on your own computer and also recommending for parents too.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

Blog Post on

BRING IT, TOGETHER 2018 – The complete schedule is now live.  Have you registered?  It’s also a reminder of the “Bring IT, Together” concept.  Why not bring a group from your school?

Reminder about Early Bird Closing for #BIT18 – For those going to the Bring IT, Together conference, a reminder that early bird pricing ends on October 1.

voicEd Radio

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

Technology Trouble Shooting 

Macintosh OS Mojave wasn’t forced on me but I’d been reading about it and, in particular, about the dark mode.

So, I went to the App Store and did the manual installation.  It’s a bit scary since this computer is at the low end of those machines that Apple supports in the upgrade.  I can’t believe that it’s six years old.  Except for the trackpad, I haven’t had too many issues.  I replaced the physical hard drive with an SSD drive last year and it was a great move.

I blogged about it earlier this week and decided to go nuclear on the trackpad and deleted the plist before installing the new OS.  A new one was created for me and things seem to be going well.  I’d cross my fingers but it’s tough to use a trackpad with crossed fingers.

So, OS Mojave started out noticeably slower than the previous OS.  I was almost going to look to see how to roll it back but being lazy appeared to pay off.  Either I’ve stopped noticing or the operating system is adjusting but it seems to be back to being normal to use again.

I’m happy.

Video of the Week

Unless it rains, I’ll be watching the Leamington version of this later today.  Actually, given that I’m writing this on Sunday morning, I’ll have already seen the race by the time you read this.

My Favourite Photo of the Week

Jaimie and I sneaked in a quick walk before the big storm that hit last week.  The oncoming headlights lets you know how dark it actually was.  My phone did a nice job of brightening things up.  The clouds told a story of what was on the way.


Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… open wifi? Thanks, Alfred Thompson for this suggestion…
Lately I have been wondering what happened to open wi fi access points. It used to be that you could find and connect to open access points all over the place. These days there are more access points but fewer of them are open.
It’s an interesting question. I took a little mental walk through my town thinking about access points that I know of.
  • Ford Dealership
  • High School
  • Elementary School
  • McDonalds
  • Caffeine and Co.
  • Tim Horton’s (two of them)
  • All of the restaurants on Dalhousie Street
  • Doctor’s Office
  • Both supermarkets
  • Three pharmacies
  • Public library
  • The Peterson’s
  • Our neighbour
At times, I feel like the smartphone in my pocket is like a divining rod.  It’s not uncommon to get notifications that there are networks “within range”.  The implication is that you can use them for faster speeds and an alternative to the data plan that comes with a phone. DSC_1407 The common thread to all of these above is that they are all free.  But, they’re not necessarily “open” as in I see the access point but can’t connect until I enter a password or agree to their terms of service.  In order to get that password, typically you have to go into the business and ask or read the signs posted. It’s an interesting ponder when you think of the concept of internet access other than at home.  I can recall a time when you’d go to a hotel and there would be internet access but it typically came with a fee.  I remember debating whether or not to add $10.95 or $11.95 to my bill. As internet access became ubiquitous, the costs went away.  It’s now typically a selling point and you see the signs on these buildings “free internet”.  But typically not open – you need to sign in with your room number or name, etc. So, to answer Alfred’s question, I don’t really know.  I have my suspicions though.
  • in the beginning, it was seen as a source of income but now it’s value added to either separate your business or become competitive with others
  • the first networks were installed to be a convenience for their customers but the bandwidth was taken up by people sitting or standing outside the building
  • owners of locations want to know how much their network is being used
  • internet retailers use the analytics to determine just how much bandwidth they need to sell
  • the first networks were installed by hobbyists who really didn’t understand how to secure the network
  • the network shared with other devices crucial to the operation of the business like portable debit/credit machines or printers so there needs to be a certain amount left “for business”
  • nobody anywhere wants to have their network hacked or spammed so by identifying whose logged on, they can point fingers at miscreants
Thanks, Alfred, for the question.  As should be clear from the above, I don’t know the answer but have some guesses. How about your thoughts for a Sunday morning.
  • have you noticed the lack of open wifi networks?  Do you have any theories or knowledge why?
  • where can you connect in your town when you’re out and about?
  • is Internet access a universal right?
  • do you secure your home network with a password?
  • if you do, do you give it out freely to guests?
  • if you do, how frequently do you change the password?
  • have you ever turned off your wifi or used a utility to limit it and control screen time?
  • what channels do you use at home?  2.4GHz or 5GHz?  Why?
  • what security protocol do you use?
  • is internet access so easily available that you don’t buy a data plan for your smartphone and just plan on attaching to someone else’s network?
  • given a choice between two coffee shops or two restaurants one with free wifi and the other without, are you likely to choose one over the other?
That was a fun wondering, Alfred.  I don’t know the answers and really hadn’t thought about the topic.  Thanks.  Please let Alfred know your thoughts in the comments below. This is part of a regular Sunday series.  They can all be visited here.  I really appreciate and look forward to your comments on the posts.  Please don’t disappoint and, if you’re interested, share the link on Social Media to get more involved. And, if you have an idea for a post, please let me know.  Like Alfred’s suggestion, it’s always fun to dig into questions that puzzle the masses.

OTR Links 09/30/2018

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


Unless you were offline, you would have noticed that Google celebrated its 20th anniversary this week.  In Google fashion, it was celebrated with a Doodle

a YouTube video

And this resource.

It’s a summary of 20 years of Google Searching.  The results are a very visual display of top searches by categories.  Here’s the top of the categories where you can search.

I, of course, looked for Animals (probably influenced by the other category of Dog breeds).  It was fun though to pick a category and try to predict what the top search would be. 

How about Foods?

That’s the number 1 search for 2018.  How about in the entire history of Google Searching?

Water was number 1 every year.  It was interesting to move along the timeline checking out the various terms.

The process was very engaging.  I could see the same thing working very well in the classroom.  It’s an opportunity to try and predict what the world was curious about in the various categories.

The category of TV shows was interesting.  You could probably predict the top choice.  It was interesting to see the length of time that individual shows appeared.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know how Google has changed over the years.  What search engine did you use before Google came along?

More importantly, what will this look like 20 years from now?

OTR Links 09/29/2018

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It’s Friday and time for another look around the province for some offerings from Ontario Edubloggers.  I hope that you’ll agree that there are always lots of thought provoking things.
Raging: how empowered learners respond to being outside the Zone I’m not sure that I would have made the connections that Tim King makes in this post all by myself.  But, he got me thinking – why not? The first part of the post takes off on a description of the immersive and peer challenging nature of the online gaming world.  It’s certainly a good briefing of many of the terms that are so frequently used in that domain. Then he hits you with this:
Gaming’s all-in philosophy is completely counter to the risk-averse, failure-follows you approach of education. 
It’s an interesting observation.  In the gaming world, you get better by experimentation and failing.  I think of the many times I’ve run into “GAME OVER” because I did something silly or the game threw me for a loop.  Typically, I didn’t walk away from the game.  I came back more ferociously, determined not to make the same mistake again. There’s that determination that makes you a master at the game.  Could the same approach result in master learners?
Anchor of Five I was so impressed with this post from Deanna McLennan.  I can’t help but think about how rich everyone’s classrooms would be if every teacher took the time to document their practice and share activities like Deanna does in this post. How many ways can you attack the understanding of the digit 5 or as she refers to it “friendly number”? You know, it’s all about learning the concepts and you can’t help but think that students in her class will have a wonderful understanding after going through all of the activities that she describes. And, the pictures that she includes most certainly not only document the learning and the activity but will transport you into her classroom as an observer.
Happiness in teaching There’s a terrific call to action at the bottom of Helen Dewaard’s post.
What’s your ‘happiness is’ moment in your classroom teaching context? Where do you find those ‘eyes wide open’ moments in your teaching?
Leading up to this is an inspirational message about a return to school for yet another year.  (She doesn’t mention how many but that really isn’t important.) As a teacher at a Faculty of Education, she rightfully takes issue with a piece of logic that many of us were given…
“Don’t smile until December”
It is in reference to classroom management and discipline.  It’s grounded in the mindset that it’s the teacher’s classroom and the students are just visitors.  What if everyone had a say in how things are run? Helen looks forward to her graduates have a level of excitement when they have their own classrooms.  This isn’t something that is learned; it’s something that you experience by modelling. It sounds like Helen’s class is off to a good start.
Le Qui du Pourquoi After four years at CFORP, Joel McLean is back in a school and talks about his first of the year things. In this case, he’s focused on well-being. Embedded in his post, you’ll find a presentation that you might find interesting.
I tried, but I can’t think of any start of the school year where we focused on well-being.  Usually, it was mostly about getting the paperwork correct.
The Magic of Not Knowing For me, this post from the Mehrit Centre blog by Louise Lamont was a two-parter. The first part was about contrasts.  She makes reference to binary things like light/dark, good/evil, right/wrong … and how our brains get us to interpret things on a scale going from one to the other.  I guess I’d never thought of it this way.  I don’t have a problem with the concept of things being good but then also being not evil.  It makes sense the more I think about it.  Big people help little people, by their actions, make the understanding clear.  I like the description of the “nameless emotion” and can visualize the scenario described.. The second part becomes an explanation of how Louise describes a situation where she went beyond classifications and becomes curious about a new behaviour exhibited in a grandchild and how she got to the bottom of it.
Banish the Book Fair? Of all the fundraising activities that you think of when you think schools, is there one that is more common than the Book Fair? It’s the time of the year that…
this coming week is Book Fair time – upended/limited space, disrupted routines, and new items around but not for general play. Wish me luck!
In a rather long post, Diana Maliszewski takes us into the mind of a teacher-librarian – who else would do this? – during this time at her school. She relates a very powerful, personal message about how her educational world gets turned upside down at this event.  Further to add an emotional element, she brings memories of her mother as helper to her discussion. There are lots of angles to this discussion and Diana brings many to the discussion and asks “should she banish it”? Colleagues have chipped in with thoughts via comments.  Care to add yours?
Google Read and Write for the Win! Kids today have it so easy. Jen Giffen’s son is Exhibit A.  He has Jen as a mom! I’m sure of two things…
  • I would have had to do this assignment and probably more than once
  • I didn’t have Google Read and Write as a tool
Actually, I’m sure of a third thing.  I’m sure that my mother would have helped me with the best tools that we had available at the time.  I remember that we had a red pencil sharpener screwed to the wall in the back kitchen so that I could have sharpened my pencil for this task. I have envy for Jen’s son with this solution to the homework problem.  He is so fortunate to have the tools and a mom who knows how to use them. I can’t help but think that the quality of a Grade 3 student writing in a second language with this tool would be pretty darn good. Now that he’s been exposed to it …
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
There is a reality check, and it’s an important one, as she closes the post.
It’s been another great collection of blogs post for a Friday.  Please click through and enjoy them in their entirety. You can follow these great educators on Twitter:

OTR Links 09/28/2018

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