This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome back to Winter or Spring Light or whatever you want to call it! At the very least, it’s another Friday and a time to look at some recent posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


Ontario Students Hold Walkouts in Protest of Progressive Conservative Party’s Policy Proposals

After the student walkouts last week, I turned to see if I could find blog posts from the students who had walked out. In my search, I found this post from Indygo Arscott, a Toronto student and one of the organizers of the event.

She wrote a post for Teen Vogue that really was a two-parter.

In the first part, she outlines the various issues that are of concern to Ontario students. It’s very factual and links to original web sources.

The second part gets personal. Speaking personally, and I suspect for thousands of others, she lets us know the importance of the protest to students and their concerns of a future education. As she notes, students are the “biggest stakeholders in the future”. As such, so many of these students will be in a voting position for the next election.

I took to Twitter to see more of this new-to-me blogger. She appears to be very aware of issues surrounding social justice. She even challenged a Toronto Sun opinion writer over his comments about orchestration by the teacher federations. She laid out the facts in a calm, cool manner and unfortunately didn’t get a response.

I know people tire of the rhetoric these days in education but you owe it to yourself to read this post from student voice that we say is important. It’s time to give it more than simple lip service.


Why students walked out today – April 4th, 2019

I didn’t know what to expect when Deborah Weston tagged me in this post on the Heart and Art blog. After all, it’s hosted by ETFO.

Rather than a Deborah opinion piece, it’s a collection of student comments from Grades 3-5. She doesn’t quote the source but a spelling mistake would lead me to believe that it was a copy/paste from some source.

While we can get the secondary school insights from Indygo’s post, this will give us insights from younger students on their perspective. Their comments are telling; in particular the focus on special education is interesting.

I’m not sure that I would have been aware of that topic when I was that age.


50th Episode – I Wish I Knew EDU learning

Ramona Meharg hit a milestone in her podcasting efforts hitting the big 5-0.

In her podcast show heard on voicEd Radio.

Her 50th show was with Sarah Lalonde and takes an interesting spin on her regular format. I had the honour of being on her third show.

If you’ve ever been interested in Podcasting on your own or just wonder what goes through the mind of another podcaster, including the anxieties, I think you’ll find this post interesting.


Reset, Reboot, RemOOC

At first blush when visiting this post from Terry Greene, you might think that you’ve entered some sort of time warp and you’re back to gaming with the Commodore 64! That’s what his use of graphics did for me.

That’s the theme that Terry took as he shares the mOOC portion of the initiative from Extend Ontario.

He calls it:

a healthy lifestyle choice for your pedagogical endeavors

There are some interesting reflections and insights as to this type of learning. It hasn’t had the sticking power that I’m sure he wanted but such is the consistent feeling throughout any learning online experience. That includes mOOCs and other online courses.

There’s also the growing and learning from going through things the first time. The wise educator will learn from the experience and use this learning to make subsequent offerings more appealing.


WHY FRUSTRATED STUDENTS MADE MY DAY TODAY

So, what students have long suspected – that instructors stay up all night thinking of way to frustrate them – is true. Melanie Lefebvre lets the cat out of the bag, at least in a recent class of hers, where frustration indeed was her end game.

With the help of two amazing colleagues (thank you Jess and Jenny!), I facilitated a simulation I created. I designed it to simulate a mix of what it’s like to have OCD, coupled with what it’s like to navigate complex systems.

The simulation had it all and was close to real life, it seems.

Every time the students felt like they were getting close to something, she threw an obstacle at them! Wait lists, waiting rooms, change in a doctor, …

Yes, this is real life! Hopefully the message of empathy was received and a lesson learned.


Five reasons why banning cellphones is a bad idea.

I’m surprised that Jennifer Casa-Todd was able to whittle it down to five!

The recent announcement about the “banning” of smartphones in the classroom has spiked a great deal of discussion. As Jennifer notes in this post, the escape clauses in the announcement means that it may well be business as usual for many classes.

Teachers and students are coming to grips with technology and its use on a daily basis. Everyone has their moments of frustration – usually it’s “how do I get connected in the first place” – and that’s just the beginning.

Life would be so much easier without smartphones in the classroom. It would be so much easier with straight rows of desks. It would be so much easier with the student of the 1950s who didn’t challenge the status quo. It would be so much easier if we could just limit studies to what’s on the next page of the textbook.

Nobody wants that. We want future leaders who are aware of the world and all that is “out there”. We want to explore and inquire topics that weren’t in the curriculum of days gone by. We want to be on top of the latest.

As I write this post, there are big stories of the day – Julian Assange, the images of the black hole, rebellions in Sudan, Ontario budget, Brexit, a new subway in Toronto, and so much more.

How long would it take before those hit a paper textbook? We have the tools available – doesn’t it make sense to use them?

Yes, it will be a challenge. But, it’s a challenge that’s worth solving.


This is WHY I Speak Up. Why Do You?

From Aviva Dunsiger’s blog, it’s purple so you know it’s important.

Aviva’s blog is educational but she’s impacted with what’s going on. With all the recent events in Ontario, you can’t miss the political shots being fired on all parts.

These shots are challenging Aviva’s commitment to keeping her blog and her other social media platforms focussed on education.

Is this wrong?

Blogging and social media are very conscious actions. You do what you want and what you feel you need to do. Keep in mind that the reality is that there are many more voices that are not using social media to convey messages than there are that do.

Aviva’s post is a reminder that you can have a political opinion at times without having a political blog. Since it’s her blog, it’s her decision.

We respect that and we value her insights.


I hope that you can take the time to click through and read these wonderfully insightful posts. In education in Ontario, we’re so fortunate to have people that are willing to share their thoughts in this manner.

Some Twitter voices to add to your learning network.

This post originally appeared on

https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you read it anywhere else, it’s been scraped and reposted.

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