Looking over your shoulder


As a new teacher, I certainly had to do my planning. I had a Curriculum Document (dated) from the Ministry and a summary of what to be taught. Other than that, I was on my own. Fortunately, there were textbooks on order, although I had no idea about appropriateness until they arrived.

The summer before I actually started teaching it was probably the busiest ever as I tried to fill in the gaps and come up with four consistent courses. I had a Department Director that was helpful to an extent but nobody with qualifications had ever taught the course before.

I had to work with the materials that were available (not much at the time) and a very supportive teacher-librarian who helped me find everything that he had. He was great and at the end of the school year, he would put out a call for what kinds of materials that we’d like to see acquired for the library.

I had done the curriculum mapping, my Director had reviewed it with me, and the Principal had them available should the people from the board office ever want to know. That’s the way things were done.

The board evolved over the years and we ended up with a Program Department that was very helpful in the research and acquisition of resources and professional learning opportunities for us to grow and learn. Like all educators, I like to think that I grew and learned over the years.

I found this update informative and scarey.

Iowa House OKs bill requiring schools to post curriculum, books online for parent review

I reflected back on my education and all the things that I did to grow and learn and become a better educator. It’s a great deal of hard work and certainly is never ending. We like to think of parents as partners in education. If this bill passes, where does that stand?

I hope that it’s just a political grab for headlines and that it fails to pass. What happens if it does? What happens if a parent or group decide to get a resource removed?

I can’t imagine trying to do any planning with a person or people looking over my shoulder.

Can you?

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OTR Links 03/31/2022


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

A password-less future?


I remember the first time that someone demonstrated a password-less feature for me. It was at a CSTA Conference with Alfred Thompson and he had a new surface that used the camera on the top of the screen to scan for facial recognition and, once confirmed, it would unlock the screen.

The technology was new and actually brand new to me. It didn’t actually work whether Alfred had his glasses on or off. I felt sorry for him because I think we’ve all been there. You practice a million times and you feel that you have it mastered until you go live and it doesn’t work as advertised. Damn technology.

Things have changed since then. My first experience of a password-less world was with a Lenovo laptop that had a fingerprint reader embedded on top. It worked – sometimes – you had to swipe the same finger over the reader at a precise speed which I wasn’t consistent at. My smartphone has a fingerprint recognition utility and I set it up just to see if I could and if it would change my life. To days, I still draw a pattern to unlock it; it’s so much quicker. I’m not a poster child for bio recognition.

So, these days, I’ve pulled back from the experience and have opted for a PIN to this laptop, my password for my Macbook Pro and my Chromebook is my experimental machine. I can use a password, a PIN, or since I have it paired to my smartphone, if it’s in the same vicinity as the laptop I can use that as authentication. Since I use two-factor authentication for my “serious” accounts, it needs to be close by to make the magic happen.

Once logged in, I’ve have no idea of what most of my online passwords are. I’ve sold the farm to a password manager piece of software that does the work for me. Of course, we know that resources can come and go and so I do have a Plan B but Plan A works so nicely for me right now, coupled with two-factor authentication where I can and I feel I need it.

This white paper from the Fido Alliance describes their vision for a password-less future. It still requires some fussing about with technology but let’s be honest. Every piece of technology requires fussing at some point during setup and then we just become used to things as part of our normal routine.

The white paper isn’t a terribly long or technically difficult document to digest but looks at things conceptually. I see parts of it in my life already and anything that takes us to a safer and more secure future is definitely worth the fuss. For the Computer Science classroom, this is a good article for reading and discussion.

OTR Links 03/30/2022


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

How to get electricity


Of all the sciences that I took, I enjoyed the Physics units and later Physics courses the best. There was a great deal of mathematics in the topic so what’s not to love.

If you follow any news sources, you know that this was a big deal here last week.

Windsor battery plant the largest private sector investment in Ontario history

There have been a number of things happening here that influenced the rest of the world and the Chrysler Minivan most certainly has to be near the top of the list.

With the price of gas going through the roof, the timing of the announcement of this venture has certainly been at the fore of my mind. Plus, there’s a beautiful grey Mustang on the lot of the local Ford dealer. I might just buy a lottery ticket this week…

It had me curious enough to find out how I could charge it at home. According to the article, if I have good habits and remember to plug it in at night, I’m good. All those years of battery management for laptops pays off! Or, I could install a 240-volt charger to get the job done faster. That’s where memories from Physics kicked in so I could sort of visualize the difference.

As any car owner knows, if you’re out and about, you will need to refill your car at some point. Not all traditional gas stations are equipped for electric vehicles though. We have two in town and there isn’t an electric charger at either station. Now, there’s the luxury of the outlet in the garage but what happens when you’re on the road? I thought that Google Maps might have me covered but it’s not quite there yet. There’s actually a resource that can help the cause – chargehub.com

Provincially, it seems to be covered.

Well, at least if you’re staying in Southern Ontario. Options to travel to Thunder Bay appear to be limited.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that many of the charging stations appear to be at car dealerships which makes sense as a selling feature for the cars.

All three levels of government have invested in the new battery plant to a significant mount. They’re betting on this being our fuel of the future. (Nobody’s talked yet about what’s done with the batteries when they no longer hold a charge …)

I’m not running out to make a purchase this afternoon but the writing does seem to be on the wall for somewhere down the line.