My Week Ending 2019-03-31

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, with commentary, from the past week.

  • A good story to remind the Ontario government and the teacher federations that there are students caught up in this.  Their voice and needs need to be heard.
  • It’s always important to keep the updates rolling on your computer devices.  Here’s a look at Windows updates.
  • Only if I had money to burn would I buy a leather laptop cover.  But, I’ve never been accused of being a fashion plate.
  • Interesting that Linux would have cheat sheets.  Doesn’t everyone just compile their own?
  • Information would take how much room?  Note that there’s no discussion on the quality of that information though.
  • So, the new Edge has been leaked on line.  The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if instructions to do so came from the top!
  • If you’re a computer manufacturer, this is definitely not the type of information that you want to have happened and then have the world know about it.
  • News, Apple style.
  • Another list I’m not on.  But, on the other hand, I don’t have to pay the type of income taxes that those on the Sunshine List have to pay.
  • I had to read this a couple of times and watch the video to realize that the apology to Manitoba was legit and not a Beaverton story.
  • Absolutely, the choice about Artificial Intelligence should be driven by you and me and everyone who wants to take charge.
  • And, it starts by saying “No, I don’t want fries with that”.
  • Wouldn’t you think that Apple would have resolved the issue with their keyboards by now?
  • Maybe this is true.  When was the last time something really new and innovative came along?  And, not a rehash of what someone else has done.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


Here’s who I tagged as “Active” last Friday morning.


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

Opening song this week:

The latest #TWIOE show features blog posts from:

Technology Troubleshooting 

When all else fails, reinstall.

How many times have you heard that?  How many times recently?

Things have actually got far more reliable recently.  I do remember a time when a piece of software would just take on its on action and become unreliable.  You’d tweak and tweak and then give up and re-install.  Typically, it would be to go back to the original CD-ROM or DVD-ROM and install.  Then, you’d go about letting it reinstall updates.

I had a program go bad on me this week and decided to reinstall.  But, we’ve come a long way.  The software never came on physical media.  It was downloadable.  So, when I did a download to reinstall, the latest and greatest version of the software was what got installed.

We’ve come a long way.

Video of the Week

This big kid likes to learn about dinosaurs too.

My Favourite Photo of the Week

My amazing daughter made these centre pieces for a recent event she was involved in.  I wish I was this creative.


Thanks for reading.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Whatever happened to …

… those great computer keyboards?

I’ll attribute my interest in this originally to learning how to type on a typewriter.  The typewriter was really heavy which made it stable to work on.  You really had to work to get it to physically move on the desktop so generally you didn’t.

Then, of course, we moved to computers and they needed their own keyboards.  Typically, if you have a laptop, you’re good to go although smaller laptops do have compromises.

So, if you’re like me, you might just attach an external keyboard to the laptop to give you the whole keying experience.  I love the embedded keypad and programmable function keys.

Without a doubt, the best keyboard ever are the ones that used to come on the IBM Personal Computers.  They were made of metal and were the closest to a great typewriter experience that I ever had.  Perhaps a bit noisy but that was part of the whole experience.

But you had to buy an IBM PC to get one!  When you buy a clone of the PC, you get something less than that.  I think it’s a cost factor for manufacturers and most of them are plastic and actually move around if you type with emotion.

My desktop experience is now one where I plug an external keyboard into the USB port on my laptop.  I’ve found a great keyboard – Logitech Internet Navigator Keyboard.


It plugs in nicely to a MacBook Pro, Chromebook, or Windows/Linux computer.

For a Sunday morning, your thoughts please…

  • Do you plug an external keyboard into your laptop?
  • If you do, which one do you own?
  • What’s your favourite computer keyboard of all time?
  • When you’re buying a new computer, how important is the touch and feel of a keyboard to your choice?
  • There’s one key that adds additional functionality to regular keys.  It’s located in a different position on the standard Macintosh keyboard.  What’s it called on the Mac, in Linux, or on Windows?
  • If you use an external keyboard, does it come with special function keys?  Can you or do you reprogram them?

I’d be interested in your comments with respect to keyboards.  Share them in the comments.

Got an idea for a future post?  Let me know.

OTR Links 03/31/2019

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

Great movies

One of my little self indulgences is watching old movies.

Particularly, the really old black and white ones.  Heck, I’ll even watch silent movies.

And, in the process, there’s some unplanned learning as well.  Like Raymond Burr wasn’t the only actor to play Perry Mason.  Who knew?

Periodically, television channels will show old movies.  I can remember when Channel 20 around here used to show the old Charlie Chan movies on Saturday mornings.

I think what I like about the old movies as opposed to the latest and greatest was that the entire story went on in your head instead of the current trend towards surround sound and graphic effects.  A great comparison is to watch some of the old horror movies where you didn’t actually see blood and body parts compared to some of the gore you see today.  Personal preference I guess.

Many of the really old shows have moved out of copyright because of age and you’ll find them on YouTube if you look for them.  That was my usual way of doing it until I found “Classic Cinema Online“.


Admittedly, there is lots of advertising but I find the presentation very interesting.   Not only are you escorted to the show via your current seat but many times you’ll find the movie poster that accompanies the original movie.  You don’t find that all in one spot!

Any other classic movie lovers out there?

OTR Links 03/30/2019

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

And it’s another Friday!

It’s time on this blog to look at some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  It’s always special to welcome new people to this list and there are a couple of new ones this time around.

Class “Caps” are a Low Resolution Solution to a High Resolution Problem

Tim King warns us before getting started that he’s going to be a big offender and that he will hold no punches as he shares his thoughts about how to save money and potentially save Ontario education.

Some of his suggestions we’ve heard before; some look like they might be unique to his school district; and some are new observations.

Those who are the brunt of his post tend to be those who are funded in education but are out of the classroom.  Some of his comments hit close to home as I did spend some of my career working centrally.  I wasn’t a “lifer” as he describes and while my time was renewed, I had to go through the anxiety of applying for the position.  Personally, I don’t see how it does anything but save money by not having a teacher in those position.  They are the link to the classroom, builders of networks, understanders of curriculum…

There is a unique suggestion in Tim’s post and that’s one of factoring IEP students as more than 1.0 in any proposed calculation for staffing to recognize the extra challenges of having those students integrated in a classroom.  It’s an interesting concept but I can’t help but think of arguments over whether such and such a student is weighted 1.5 as opposed to 1.6.  It’s fuzzy in my crystal ball; I still like the current use of educators with special qualifications to work with these students.

I would think that, no matter who you are, you’ll find Tim talking about you or someone you know in this post so go in with a thick skin.

Unless you’re a teacher-librarian.  Tim’s no dummy.

What the Librarian Read- Part 1

I was intrigued by the title in Beth Lyons’ post.

So often, when you go into a library, or you talk to a librarian or teacher-librarian, they’ll have advice about what you should read.

In schools, they’re the go to person for that perfect match for student, teacher, or topic.

Seldom do they get personal.  But she did.

Into 2019, Beth has read 11 books.

Number one wasn’t a surprise for me …

Becoming- Michelle Obama

There were some new titles in the rest of her listing.  Some I’d heard of and some I hadn’t.  As it would happen, we had dinner last night with a librarian who had read Trevor Noah’s book as well and highly recommended it.  She whipped out her phone to find that it wasn’t at our local library branch but she put in an order for me.  I look forward to going in and getting it and digging in.

Thanks, Beth.

For Water: Learn. Adopt. Protect. Walk.

I’ve followed a number of the MAD initiatives from Peter Cameron and the latest biggy is the Junior Water Walkers.

In this post, Peter takes quite a while to go through the fabulous learning and activities that have taken place.

What I find impressive is the collection of traditional classroom, use of technology, and a summary of the visitors that have the whole package so powerful for students.

Given that there are so many schools in Ontario that are so close to the Great Lakes and certainly other water sources, this approach could be used by so many other classrooms.

At last count, Peter tells me that there are 170 schools involved.

Should schools ban cell-phones?

People are all over the map in response to this question.

On one side, we see how distracting technology can be.  It’s not just schools, go take a walk in the park or go the shopping mall and you’ll see that side of the story.

On the other side, we see technology savvy teachers who use the fact that students have these powerful internet connected devices so effectively to enhance lessons.

And, of course, there are varying levels in between.

Most of my context and understanding about this in education has been in the traditional classroom.  Then, came this post from Anne-Marie Kee.  Anne-Marie is the Head of Lakefield College School.  The school offers day students but also boarding students.

Unlike a traditional school where students go home, at Lakefield, some of the students go to their “house” on campus.  Anne-Marie shares a story about meeting students in her living room and talking about “overly strict cell-phone and wifi policies”.

A couple of things stuck out for me:

  • how wifi is turned off for student use at night
  • how cell phones are taken away from Grade nine and ten students overnight
  • how a school leader actually sits down and discusses these issues with students

There’s a great deal in this post that will get you thinking when you read about others getting engaged helping students manage their technology, particularly in this environment.

Goal Setting in the Classroom

Of course, this is something that happens in every classroom.  Right?

The question, I would suggest, would be how effectively?

Beyond a simple approach, how about something that goes a great deal deeper?  That’s the point in this post from Amy Bowker.

She describes a whole process that she uses that is obviously very personal and traditional but also uses the connected tools at the disposal of her students.

  • Goals
  • How-to videos
  • Finding a mentor
  • Practice
  • After snapshot including documentation

What really intrigues me about the approach is how she embraces technology and how, while not explicitly stated, that reflection is a significant part of it all.

Full STEAM ahead with Blue Spruce Books

From Diana Maliszewski, a sobering reality check.

From the title, I expected to read a post of all kinds of good things books and technology related.  In fact, the post starts out that way and Diana shares some titles and activities that she enjoyed with the kindergarten class at her school.

Then, all this happiness takes a turn as she brings in some speculation about what might happen in turns of staffing those kindergarten classes into the future.

Diana wonders out loud how she would be able to manage to do the same sort of things in the future under a different staffing model.  I think we all know that changes to a staffing model are seldom good news.

If you’re concerned that cuts might hurt kids and are looking at counting the ways, add this post to your collection.

Keys to a Rocket Ship

The Beast offers an interesting premise.

If someone were to hand you keys to a rocketship where would you go? How far would you go? Would you go?

My answers:

  • up
  • only far enough that I could safely get back (I’m a David Bowie fan)
  • probably, as long as the second point was answered to my satisfaction

And this commentary would be done if we were talking about the traditional rocketship.

Being an educational post, of course, it’s a metaphor for something else.  That something else could be leadership, opportunity, growth, appreciation for those who give you freedom from a leash or all of the above …

It leads into a typical interesting discussion between Andrea and Kelly.

My reading gave me a renewed appreciation for a gentleman that gave me so many opportunities and let go of the leash.

I’m already planning to take him out for a coffee when he gets back from Florida.

I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I did.  Please take the time to click through and read the entire posts.

Then, add these people to your learning network.  You’ll be glad you did.

This is a regular Friday feature here.  You can check out all posts at:

This post appeared at:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 03/29/2019

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