Wow, it was just an awful day around here. I’m writing this on Friday afternoon after putting together a Wakelet of the Ontario Educators that ended up on my Twitter timeline as I did my regular #FollowFriday recognitions.

It was there that I realized that I had messed up some names.

If you know me, you know that I’ve always tried to get people’s names correct. A post from Pav Wander got me really thinking about this and maybe spending a little bit of time ensuring that I respected people by at least getting their names right. It turns out I didn’t do a terribly good job at it.

The Wakelet is my double check of the #FollowFriday efforts. I pull all the Twitter messages for the day together so that anyone who looks can see everyone mentioned. Since Wakelet pulls in live Twitter messages, anything that links to an account is indeed live. You can see them as appearing in blue. What doesn’t appear in blue is any text I might have or a typo. And, embarrassingly, there was one. Even more embarrasing, it was someone I’d worked along side. @WinneyKelly I know exactly how it happened; it’s a Tweetdeck thing. When I do the names, I rely on Tweetdeck to validate the names but periodically it stops doing so and I’m left on my own to validate. That happened here and I dropped the ball.

Earlier in the week, on the voicEd Radio show, I got @Mr_H_Teacher‘s name wrong. It was actually incorrect in my show notes. I had worked previously with another person with the same last name and had written the other person’s name into the document. So, when we went live and I looked at my notes, I was off and running with the incorrect name.

And, I messed up with @sarahanneleroux as well. She had a great, inspirational blog post that I included in my Friday post. I hope that you had a chance to read it. My mistake this time was using my memory and making reference to her maiden name Twitter handle. Thankfully, Wakelet flagged that and I was able to make a correction. This time, she was flagged because of the correct use of her name and I got a very nice message from her thanking me for including her post.

I do make mistakes periodically but this has to be a new record for me. I feel badly; I do try to check and double check but it didn’t work this time. So, Kelly, Marc, and Sarah, please accept my sincerest apology.

It wasn’t all bad though.

I got @iamnoadaniel correct. She was previously on Twitter with a different name and it stuck out when I was proofreading. I double-checked to make sure that I had it right and, fortunately, I had.

The experience serves as a reminder that double-checking is so important. If it happens in this blog, I can go in and do an edit to correct things. Twitter isn’t forgiveable though. There’s no way that I know of to go back and edit a Twitter message. In the big scheme of things, that’s probably a good thing so that history can’t be rewritten. But you can delete the message with the mistake and reissue it with the correction.

Lessons were learned around here today. I hope to do better in the future.

OTR Links 04/17/2021

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I’m not quite sure what to say here. Normally, I’d wish everyone a good return to school on Monday after the March Break. But, it’s April and nobody’s going back to a school building on Monday although classes resume in some places and teachers are getting ready for the day to resume online classes on Tuesday. I think we should just relish the fact that it’s Friday and just pretend that it’s a good day. Agreed?

Oh, and read some great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

How To Easily Create Bitmoji Stickers in Google Drawings

Wednesday was a special edition of This Week in Ontario Edublogs. Since educators are on holiday which involves not going anywhere, I reached out to the EduGals who joined Stephen Hurley and me on our voicEd Radio show. They were absolutely delightful to have a conversation with and I gained an extra level of appreciation from where they’re coming from and their positive approach to education and technology in education.

This post from them I think is timely now that we’re returning, in Ontario, to a bout of learning from home which means a whole lot of digital. While everyone appreciates a numeric mark or a letter, how about something a little more exciting and digital? Stickers!

It’s a long post, full of screen captures that will take you through the process along with descriptive text. Alternatively, they’ve prepared a YouTube video if that works better for you.

This might be just what you need to change your game.

The good, bad and ugly of online learning

Charles Pascal pretty much has it covered in the title of this post. The comments to this post add even more fuel to his premise.

To be clear, there really isn’t anything wrong with online learning. As Charles notes, it’s been done for over 100 years in Ontario. For students, the ability to take a course online is a real solution for scenarios like a course not being offered at their school for whatever reason, the need for an additional credit, the ability to keep up with studies if forced to be home for sickness reasons, etc.

For those who are not educators, the shift to requiring four courses for graduation or to just pull the plug on a return to school and doing everything online is seen as an easy educationally valid “pivot”. (Gawd, I hate that word)

If we’re learned anything from what’s happened over the past year, it’s that a seemingly simple change to online learning for everyone just isn’t a quick and easy solution. There is so much to be factored in. We’re now seeing some school districts taking next Monday as an adjustment day. As my old employer has on their website:

On Monday, the 19th, both elementary and secondary teachers will connect with their students to make sure they’re ready for the following day and determine any technical needs and access to resources. They will also provide students with some work for the day they can complete, independently.

from April 15, 2021

Clear and supportive efforts from a government are needed at this time and Charles shares his thoughts about what he see and what he doesn’t see right now.

A very good read.

The Lab That Isn’t A Lab

Normally, a post like this would get a read from me and then I’d move on because I like to have current blog posts on this Friday post of mine. From Tim King, this goes back to 2012 but I think it’s worth another look.

I can’t speak for Tim’s reality but, in my old school, when scheduling came along all the department heads were brought together to try to allocate classes to appropriate rooms and resources. Personally, even as computer science teacher, I wouldn’t want to be in a computer lab. There is a need for planning, collaboration, problem solving even before a finger is laid on a keyboard. If you think of the typical hard technology classroom, it has two distinct areas – desks and then the saws, lathes, welding, equipment, etc. in another. In my old high school, we had a program where students could learn to sew or cook and they sure weren’t plunked into a room full of sewing machines or in the kitchen!

Tim ended up being assigned to a computer lab and he didn’t want it. You see; his subject to be taught is computer engineering, which if you care to look at the expectations, is all about the nets and bolts of tearing apart computer components and putting them back together. It’s hardly the setting that the district IT Support Team would want done on a computer lab that would have been installed and customized over the summer. You can read “customized” as meaning that all the fun as been taken out of the computer so that they are reliably working day by day.

I know that we used to invite computer engineering teachers to a warehouse where the computers to be retired were housed so that they could select an appropriate number and type for their program.

There are all kinds of permutations for how this could happen.

But, beyond the discussion of Tim’s classroom and I’ll bet he’s not alone, there’s a bigger message about top down efficiency decisions made arbitrarily and expecting good intentioned teachers to make it work. You wouldn’t put a French class, for example, into a room outfitted for English classes just because there are a lot of new books there without seeing if they’re appropriate.

It really is a matter of understanding all the courses and all the resources and listening to those involved to come up with the best solution.

It’s Getting Ridiculous

I love the reference to basketball that Matthew Morris starts out with. After all, I’m not a Kings fan but there’d be screaming if he ever said something about the Pistons.

In the post, he shares his feelings about going into a school of 200 people every day during our current situation. High in his mind is the case of the Toronto teacher who is intubated in a hospital.

I’m glad that he brought up the news stories – everywhere it’s the same. Local doom and gloom and COVID numbers for the first 10 minutes or so and then a shift to something else. I can’t help but note that the stories are the same and that I could match his CP24 with CTVWindsor and there wouldn’t be much of a change.

Ridiculous is his summary word for what he’s seeing. I agree but would add a couple of colourful adjectives before ridiculous if I was writing this post.

The 500 – #375 – Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne

First up, an apology. Apparently during the voicEd Radio show, we got Marc Hodgkinson’s name wrong. That should never happen.

I check in with his blog when my RSS reader flags that he has a new post. I’m really enjoying his working through “The 500” Greatest Albums of All Time.

This time, it’s the “Late For The Sky” album by Jackson Browne. I was pleasantly pleased with this post. I thought that I knew much of Browne’s work. As it turns out, I was completely wrong.

From the album, I only knew Before the Deluge

But the rest was new music for me. This album was released in 1974. Man, I missed so much!

Nothing is Better Than My Classroom

It was wonderful to see Sarah Leroux back and contributing to her blog.

This post is a reflection of her teaching from at home. It sounds like she has a great workspace with all the amenities and that’s a good thing. But, apparently it pales when compared to her classroom.

Can you agree with this sentiment?

I understand that it may not be the safest place for us to gather, at the moment, but as a passionate in person teacher, I live and thrive off the energy of my students. Their Aha moments, their jokes, their collaboration. Not only do I TEACH better, in class, but I truly believe, for most of my students, they LEARN better in class. 

Click through to her post and read her thoughts.

I’ll be willing to bet that you can’t disagree with her.

The P3 Ends- But the Memories Live On

You’ve got to feel for Noa Daniel.

She had a real niche in the blogging, podcasting space with her P3 collections. Three songs are submitted and Noa crafts them into a discussion for the podcast. Between the interview and the post-production, you can tell that she’s put so much into each episode.

I had the honour to be on her show and I was number 61. Her complete collection at Spotify is 158 episodes. That’s quite impressive. Sadly, it has come to an end and Noa explains why in the post.

My songs were:

  • Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  • Growin’ Up – Bruce Springsteen
  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

It was a great experience to be asked to join Noa for the show.

On this Friday, I hope that you can click through and enjoy these posts as much as I did.

Then, follow these people on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Charles Pascal – @CEPascal
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Sarah Anne Leroux – @sarahanneleroux
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs

OTR Links 04/16/2021

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

Back to earth

Wednesdays are garbage days around here. As Jaimie and I were out doing our morning constitutional, I could help but notice that things were just a bit different.

Sure, there were the regular collection of Herby Curbys, wannabees, garbage bags, and boxes like we would see on any Wednesday morning.

Oddly, there was something else.

I noted a few over the air antennas and a couple of satellite dishes. Are you getting the sense of how you look for anything new as you walk the same roadway day after day?

It was inevitable, I guess. Bell Canada has undertaken this massive project of providing fibre connections to every household in our town. I’ve seen projects of this sort before but this promise was that everyone in town could be part of this, even those of us in rural settings.

It’s not that we weren’t connected. We had the best of technology that we could acquire be it satellite television, radio internet, and over the air channels. It was good but didn’t have the best reliability due to weather or speeds.

Well, apparently our neighbours are done with the old connections and have moved on to the new. We’ve joined them with fibre pulled right to the rec room and the router. The biggest advantage is that we can now easily have more than one person connected online! I know that it’s probably not a big deal to you if you’ve enjoyed it as part of your lifestyle. But it’s a big deal to us.

I guess the ultimate kick in the head was when we closed down our previous services and the companies didn’t want their equipment back.

It’s still in place and now I’m getting the urge to maybe dig out the ladder and take it down. Keep up with the Jones’, don’t you know. It seems like going full circuit back to having services run to the house via wire as opposed to invisibly and magically through space and time. (at a cheaper cost…)

Maybe I’ll just have a nap and rethink this.

I just wonder if there was some sort of technology reclamation project going on that I didn’t know about. I’d hate to think this once functional equipment is going to end up in a landfill.