doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was great to get back online with Stephen Hurley and do our voicEd Radio show this week. Chatting about the content in these led us in interesting directions. You’ve got to love Ontario Edubloggers for making you think.


I think we all get in the habit of doing a reflection backwards. I’ll bet that your parents or your school asked you to look backward on success and then set goals going forward.

This is Rachel and Katey doing it in this podcast and accompanying show notes.

Often, discussions like this get kind of fluffy – “I want to lose weight” – but that’s not the case here. The EduGals talk about:

  • new jobs roles
  • new administrators for those roles
  • learning how to say no
  • addressing the amount of screen time they have (I’d love to see a job flow of their work in terms of the podcast and their website)
  • setting goals for both themselves and for the EduGals
  • they share their favourite podcasts from the past year; this is helpful going forward
  • they’ve done the podcast for three years now – congratulations – and are looking to have completed 150 episodes by the end of the year
  • and a great deal more

As a person who creates content myself, I always learn and get some insights from others’ work who I admire. We can all get better.

All the best in 2023 to them. I look forward to seeing where they take us.

Learning more about Chat GPT in Education

I’ve always admired the work and research that Jennifer puts into the things that she does.

Recently, she had the chance to speak to the Manitoba Association of Computing Educators and her focus was “Technology as the Ultimate Equalizer”. Advocates for the use of technology (and I add my name to Jennifer’s in this area) have always claimed that this would make the playing field level.

As we know, there’s been a huge hubbub about ChatGPT and how it’s going to change everything and not necessarily for the best. It’s easy to see the down side if your goal is to maintain the status quo.

Jennifer tells us that artificial intelligence is capable of doing great things. I totally agree with her that blocking it in schools like New York City did is fruitless. Those of us around long enough to know that calculators were once a four-letter word (CALC?) know that it changed so much about mathematics. We were able to do more since we weren’t mired in simple calculations.

Progressive educators will know that this is something that they have to get their heads around and leverage it to do good things. It’s too bad that the computer consultant in some districts is no more and groups like the RCACs have gone. That was a great way to think about things and provide professional learning events. Sadly, even subject associations are quiet at this point.

Jennifer does share a detector program that purports to spot cheating with this tool but it seems to me that’s just like putting one finger in a dyke full of holes. I read somewhere that ChatGPT is working on a watermark so that content can be easily identified.

I was hoping that she would tie ChatGPT to Ultimate Equalizer. I’d love to hear her thoughts about that. Perhaps in a future post.

Conferences and the PhD

In Vicky’s world at least, there are professional learning opportunities. Yay!

She takes some time to talk about three types of opportunities that have crossed her desk:

  • In-person conferences
  • Online conferences
  • Hybrid conferences

and analyzes each.

My preference would be the in-person conference, for sure. That’s where you get to make connections and go through exhibit halls.

Yet, they are few and far between these days. With the price of everything going through the roof, will we ever be able to afford travel, hotel rooms, food, registration, etc. ever again?

Work needs to be done to improve the other experiences so that learning can get back on track.

Friday Two Cents: My Niche

Paul freely admits that he’s been a “supply teacher” for five years. That equates to a lot of experience but seniority and pension?

He has found his way into 150 different classes in 30 schools over that time.

During the course of this, he would have taught all kinds of grade levels and subjects.

His niche – he does a nice job of talking about play-based learning which puts him squarely in the kindergarten classroom.

He’s a better man than me.

Read his post to see his rationale.

Season 6, Episode 2: Captions on or Off?

By Jen Giffen

Jen is always learning, exploring, and most importantly sharing different things. In this podcast, which she does by herself, she continues this trend.

If you’re interested in Sketchnoting, she’s got a six week course coming up next week. Check it out.

Then, she gets into the good stuff. It’s a rapid-fire discussion of

My big takeaway from this post – well, I have two.

First, I was impressed with how she could do an entire half hour so smoothly and without mannerisms. Yes, she speaks quickly but nicely addresses everything.

Secondly, I want to spend some time with Swift Reader and see if it can make me a faster reader. I’ve taught myself to speed read and it’s a valuable skill. Can I go faster?


If there’s any doubt that progressive educators are ready to step up with the challenges that artificial intelligence is here and it’s going to change things, this post will make you think.

There is no doubt.

It was so easy to ignore when it was just Clippy.

It was cute and a bit of fun to play around with but soon you found that you could just turn it off and get back to work. What we’re seeing these days won’t be turned off. Or, if you can stop it in one area, it’ll come back in another.

There’s talk about upping the AI game in Google Search and Bing. It’s already here in YOU.

Cecilia share some of her experimentation with it and I LOVE the reference to Orson Welles “War of the Worlds”.

I like that she’s proactive and already musing about what needs to change in her classroom because of it.

Have you done this?

Finding Joy

Aviva has seen that I touched on a couple of bloggers’ “One Word” for 2023 posts and decided she would share hers.

One of the things that I’ve always admired about Aviva is that she shares successes and is generally a positive person. Until I read this post, I probably would have stopped there but she pushed me a bit further. Her job brings her joy.

The post is full of examples and I think this is one of the reasons why she has so many followers. She’s blatantly out in the open with her thinking and you have to love that.

I like that she’s realistic with having multiple joys in a day and yet, on other days struggling to find it.

That’s the real world.

Please take some time to share some blogging love with these folks by clicking through and reading their thoughts.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Edugals – @Edugals
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Vicky Loras – @vickyloras
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Jen Giffen – @VirtualGiff
  • Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna – @capontedehanna
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

This week’s show.

This is a regular weekly post around here. You can check them all out here.


4 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. Thanks Doug for sharing my post here among others! You really model the value in sharing openly through blogging and inviting conversation as a result, and I know that you inspire me many times over. Happy Friday!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. My pleasure, Aviva. Quite honestly, I didn’t find your insights into Joy all that new to me. I’ve known you for so long in real life and on social media that I could have guessed your opinion.

    But, I wonder and I meant to include it in my thoughts but forgot – by sharing to social media, are you enjoying more joy as a result. We all talk about the importance of reflection and it seems to me that, by taking the time to share, you’re actually doing the reflection and reliving the moment as you do it. Does that increase the amount of joy? I’ve got to believe so.

    Have a great Friday yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doug, I love this perspective! I think you might be right. It definitely really makes me think more about the joyful moment … and sometimes find a little extra joy from it too!



  3. […] Friday – This Week in Ontario Edublogs […]


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: