My Week Ending December 9, 2018

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


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

  • I know that some teacher librarians go to work feeling like there’s a bullseye on their head.  Here are some suggestions for advocacy.
  • I just hang up on them.  This sounds like too much work although if you have time on your hands, it might be fun.
  • I love spinach but Popeye had better luck with physical development than I do.  I don’t get the connection to the fast foot restaurant with the the name though.  Maybe the connection just doesn’t exist.
  • This is an interesting spin on the commonly used logic that we need to get out of our comfort zone to be productive and innovative.
  • This is a great example of a corporation doing good for education.
  • I had no idea that Visual Basic was this popular.
  • I’m old enough to remember when a web browser was used for looking at web pages.  Now, it can even protect you given the current state of human engineering.  We’re all the better for it.
  • This is a good warning.  For as much as I like technology, there’s always that little voice that’s in my head and it should be in every educator’s head – “Do I believe all this promotional stuff?”  A good teacher and the right software are the best combination.  Software can’t go it alone.
  • I don’t know how people can lose a $1000 device in their phone.  It’s the first thing I do when I stand up – pat my pocket to make sure it’s still there.  This is an example of a very expensive mistake.
  • Huawei is big in the news these days for a number of things.  This is a bit of a backgrounder.
  • Google does have an enthusiastic following in education.  Is it too late for Apple and Microsoft?  Is this the plan?
  • I get angry when I read stories like this.  I get even angrier when there are denials that all this scientific evidence is fake news.
  • I can understand that there will be pushback from some web browser developers.  But, Microsoft missed the mark in its current version of Edge so will join the other side.  I think we all know that it’s true; there are some websites that will only work with Google Chrome.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

voicEd Radio

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Opening song …

Technology Trouble Shooting 

For the season…

I’ve got the Christmas decorations up, inside and out.  A couple of years ago, we bought one of those coloured laser things.  It’s kind of neat.  There are a lot of them around.

Last year, however, it stopped working.  For some reason, we didn’t get rid of it so I stuck in into the ground this year and, when the timer clicked in, darned if it didn’t work.

And, it worked for about a week.  Then, it stopped again.

I let it go a couple of days although I stopped to switch it on and off to see if that would fix it.  I learned a lot from Windows computers.

But there was no luck.

So, the other day, I decided it had to go.  As I pulled on it to remove it from the ground, it worked again.

At least for a couple of days.  Then it stopped again.

My fix is to try to pull it out again and it starts working.  There must be a loose connection somewhere.  At least, I now know that I can turn it on with a little effort.

It’s also a way to get a good dog picture.


Don’t look into the light, Jaimie.

Video of the Week

For my Wednesday This Week in Ontario Edublogs show, we went with Dolly Parton’s Hard Candy Christmas.  Along the way, I found this wonderful duet of the song from Cyndi Lauper and Alison Krauss.

My Favourite Photo of the Week

My daughter is such a terrific little artist.  This year, she took on our front window.

It’s something that my mother did every year.  I’m delighted that she wants to continue the tradition.


Thanks for reading.



Whatever happened to …

… the Western RCAC Symposium?

A long time ago, the Ministry of Education supported the use of computers in the classrooms through regional RCACs.  (Regional Computer Advisory Committees)  When I left the classroom, my mentor indicated that I needed to make attendance at the Western RCAC a priority and so I did.  Over the years, many of the RCACs collapsed until there were two left.  Our Western RCAC and COCA (Central Ontario Computer Association).

One of the Western RCAC’s claims to fame was the annual Symposium which was held in London.  For a number of years, it was held at the Lamplighter Inn until we outgrew the space.  For a few years, we held it at the London Convention Centre until the Lamplighter put on a big expansion and we moved back.

There were many unique things about the Symposium.

  1. It had the best food at any conference I’ve been at.  Lunch was always a fabulous Christmas style meal with turkey and all the fixings, among other things, and their signature dish – bread pudding.  I often joked that the only reason why I continued to chair the committee was if I got to choose the dessert.
  2. There was no call for proposals.  Instead, the presenters and sessions were proposed by the computer consultants from the constituent districts.  It was a chance to highlight the best of the West.  I always fought to make sure that we had at least one presentation from the GECDSB.  I didn’t want my Superintendent to think we weren’t doing anything worth sharing.
  3. The audience was principals, vice-principals, superintendents, and directors.  It actually was a lobbying event for the computers in the classroom case.  Eventually, as the symposium grew, technology leaders within schools were invited as well.
  4. It was one of the biggest out of district technology things my board supported.  We used to have those going park near the 401 (at the OPP station if you know Essex County) and then we’d bus the group there and back.  Before amalgamation, our program department brought breakfast to the bus and had the ear of principals for the two hour trip east.
  5. It was always an added benefit to take the keynote speaker out for supper the night before and chat informally.  I’ll always remember the Don Harron / Charlie Farquharson transformation.  Uniquely, each keynote was asked to do a breakout session after their big address.  It was called “A Conversation with …”
  6. We’d always sneak into the Lamplighter lobby and borrow their Christmas tin soldiers to stand guard over the food line.  It was needed because there were a couple of cases of local principals nipping over for lunch and a keynote…
  7. The OSAPAC Committee always had a session “Freshly Minted Software” where principals, etc. would know what the latest and greatest Ministry licensed titles were so they could support it in their schools.

The Symposium really caught on.  In addition to the Western Region, we ended up with people attending from all over the province including the Waterloo, Hamilton, and Niagara regions.  I was on the OSAPAC Committee at the time and we moved our winter meeting there so the committee could attend and present.

And winter was correct.  More often than not, the first big snowfall of the year would hit the London area on that first Thursday of December.  Below is a picture of my friend Kerry and me along with keynote speaker David Pogue trying to dig out my car to get David to the airport.  It never failed to amaze me that things could be clear as a bell in Essex County and then like this in London.  Annually.


I also have memories of Angela Maiers needing an emergency hotel room because of the weather and for some reason running barefoot down the hallway to get something from her room!

What brought all this back at this time was a Facebook memory of me between two great friends.  You know it’s kind of a big deal because I’m wearing a suit jacket and tie.


After I left my position, I agreed to come back and chair/co-chair as long as I got to choose the dessert.  Sadly, I wasn’t in a lobbying position to get presenters from my old digs.

I was actually able to dig up some online references to the symposium.  Are you in there as presenter?

After 2013, I was told that the Western RCAC was “taking a break”.  To the best of my knowledge, they’re still resting.

For a Sunday, your thoughts?

  • Did you ever attend a Western RCAC Symposium?  Any memories to share if you did?
  • Did you ever present at a Western RCAC Symposium?
  • Have you ever presented at any conference?  Care to share your thoughts about that?
  • Do you have a memory of a conference that is no longer in operation?
  • Is the effective use of computer technology better off with conferences like this to share best practices or can capacity be built without it?
  • What’s the best meal that you ever had at a conference?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This is part of a regular Sunday series of posts.  You can enjoy them all here.

OTR Links 12/09/2018

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