3D images


Yesterday’s playing around with snowflakes got me off on a bit of a tangent about visualizations. I remember my son was infatuated with Magic Eye visualizations which, of course, resulted in easy birthday or Christmas gifts. Just a quick trip into a bookstore and part of the shopping was done.

An interesting history can be read here.

But, of course, we’re connected to the internet these days and nothing goes away. Magic Eye has a website with a copyright notice of 2018 available here.

You can enjoy a collection of images at the site and I spent way too much time on the page where a number of businesses had developed these for promotional images. A search indicates that there are all kind of collections of these fascinating 3D images.

But, how do you make them? There’s a lot of science behind the design but then I found a way to create them myself at “Easy Stereogram Builder“. Within seconds, I was working my way through three steps and downloading my own.

There is a technique to viewing the image inside an image but once you get the knack, it’s easy.

Take your finger for example. Bring it close to your eyes. The idea is to make your eyes look behind the finger and, instead of one finger, you will want to see 2 fingers. 

There’s probably a whole lot of science behind it.

The website allows you to upload your own images (be careful with what you share) or even to embed your own messages.

There’s all kinds of ideas about actually how to use it bouncing around in my mind. I’m sure that you’ve got some of your own.

An intriguing search engine


Since I first got connected years ago, I’ve been on the look for the perfect search engine that reads my mind and gets me the answer that’s most appropriate for me. As I’m sure you can empathize with me, that’s a tough order.

I read once that students can find what they’re looking for within the first ten results from a Google search. That has always stuck with me since it tells me that they’re a whole better at searching than I am. Or, they compromise and move on.

Even that scenario gets more difficult because, if you don’t have an ad blocker installed, the actual results appear after the advertising. Or, maybe the advertising gives the result you want?

Search engines are everywhere – of course, we know of Google, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, Bing, and the list goes on. Heck, even dougpete.wordpress.com has a search engine at the top right corner of this page. Why would I go anywhere else since I’ve written and done my research for years now on so many topics! “off the record” gives me license to do what I want on any given day. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

When you peel back the fancy wrapping, search engines mostly look all the same. The biggest fight seems to be providing advertising results that take you away from what you’re actually looking for.

So, when I had a chance to poke around with the YOU search engine, I was pleasantly pleased.

You can read a great deal about how it doesn’t sell your data and its take on your privacy here. I do read these terms and I appreciate that lawyers get paid well for their wordsmithing. The reality is that your request comes from an IP address and has to be returned to where it came from so you aren’t wandering around completely anonymously. I think we all know that and have become accustomed to the reality of being online.

What separates YOU from all the rest are the results and how they are displayed. Unlike other search engines which provide a list where some algorithm has determined what is most important, results are displayed both horizontally and vertically. I gave it my acid test and searched for “dougpete”. After all, I should know what the most relevant result should be. (I think, anyway)

The results came from the internet, to be sure, but specifically they came from Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, … as you can see below…

What really hits you between the eyes with the horizontal display results from a source is that YOU recognizes that there might be more than one relevant result from a source. As we know, traditional search engines typically provide one and then move onto the next. So, right off the bat, you’re digging a little deeper. I can’t help but think that this will prove to be very useful for people doing research on a topic.

If you scroll to the bottom of the screen, you can add additional web applications to be searched. YOU also lets you create an account for customization. Your first kick at it doesn’t require this.

With a nod to the traditional approach, you can refine that search by type…

After playing around with it for a while, I really started to appreciate the design and layout that went into it. It really effectively uses all of the screen real estate nicely. It doesn’t seem as fast as a traditional search engine but when you see the results, you can appreciate that more work with the results has gone into its design.

Some of the settings should be familiar – private and safe searching – and the ability to make YOU your default search engine.

I’m intrigued that you can join their Slack channel to discuss items related to YOU. To make it the default search engine, you need to install its own extension – your regular browser probably doesn’t know about YOU just yet.

I think you owe it to yourself to kick the tires on this one and see if it has a place in your browser or your searching routine.

Sounding better


I thought that I’d really done some damage here.

Saturday afternoon, I was having a regular weekly chat with a friend and got a notice that the Logitech G Hub software needed an update. Sure, I thought, go ahead and update yourself while we continue our conversation.

But, things didn’t end up going well. In the middle of our conversation, my friend indicated that he couldn’t hear me clearly anymore and could I speak up. I had nothing on my end seemingly to the microphone so was puzzled. The power indicated that it was on so I was puzzled.

I tried to open the Blue software application that I always control things with. It wouldn’t open at all. So, I did what I thought would resolve things and excused myself from the conversation to restart the Zoom session. Once back in the room, the same situation was happening. Rather than continue to troubleshoot, I just changed the microphone for our session. l was now speaking through the built-in microphone – not as good a quality, I’m sure, but will do the job.

After our conversation, I did what any normal person would do … I clicked the icon harder to see if it would start! No success. I started minimizing windows and found one that wanted to update the firmware on the microphone. Now, I’m feeling a bit closer to a solution. I let that happen and rebooted to give everything a fresh start.

Upon reboot, the application now did open but things like the gain were set to zero and the sound pattern was at Omni and wouldn’t allow me to change to Cardiod although I could do so manually with the switch on the back.

Scratch, scratch, scratch

And then, an odd message appeared on the screen indicating that I could now control the microphone through the Logitech G HUB software. Sure enough, it was pictured there (screen cap above) along with my external mouse and keyboard.

I poked around and there’s a whack of new things to play around with.

There’s lots of intriguing reading available here. I’m actually looking forward to Wednesday’s sound check with Stephen Hurley before our voicEd Radio show. If I’m to believe what I’m reading, I should be able to sound better. If anyone else has trailblazed on this, I’d appreciate your insights.

This could be fun.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time for a weekly wander around the Ontario Blogosphere. Normally, the voicEd Radio show would have been broadcast on Wednesday morning but an internet outage in Milton meant that we had to pull the plug. The first five posts below would have been discussed and then, as always, there are a couple of bonus posts.


Teaching Loss and Recovery

I’d been sitting on this monthly post from Elizabeth Lyons because I saw so much in there and really wanted to do it justice. It’s tied to her concept of the monthly word and this time it’s “Recovery”.

In the post, I felt that she beat up on herself due to the back to the classroom/library reality that she’s facing. I don’t take any issue with the points that she raises; I’m sure that she and thousands of other educators feel exactly the same.

It’s the ownership and blame part that has me thinking. I remember going out for practice teaching at the Faculty and the question was raised in class as to why we went to different schools and the answer made sense “it was to see different teaching realities in action”. We were to work in them so that we were better prepared for classrooms of our own. At the end of the first period, I thought I was in big trouble. My associate didn’t “teach” in the traditional front-of-the-room sense – the students worked their way through assignment sheets and that allowed them to go at their own pace. I was so angry when the report said that “he didn’t teach in the traditional way” and I figured that I was going to have to do an extra assignment. In reality, I learned so much by working along with students and watching them work at their own pace.

I’ve had many “the kids are not alright” discussions and that made me think of successful classrooms. As a secondary school teacher with six different classes, it wasn’t ME that set the tone in the class – it was the students. Even teaching the same subject content to two different classes saw a disparity in how I taught and the pace that we went. When I thought it through, it made so much sense and later, as a teacher consultant, I recognized that every school had its unique staff, students, and way of doing things.

In a return to the classroom, we have teachers who have been working in an entirely different way and a variety of ways that students have worked, skipped, ignored, etc. Teachers really are driven by their students and any issues there (and Elizabeth was inspired by Pav Wander’s Learning Loss post) may make a teacher challenge their abilities. It seems to me that it’s normal and should be expected. Nobody was prepared for this.

There is no quick rush to the way that it was that will work in this case. It’s going to be a case of carefully working through things because of the step aside that everyone was forced to take.


Peculiar, Chancy & Fluid

When I saw the title of Tim King’s post, I thought “what the heck is he talking about?” He explains it nicely when he reminds us that he went from teaching English to teaching Technology. The English background will give him a license for befuddling this mathematics, computer science guy.

His inspiration comes from Soulcraft by Matt Crawford. The post does bring across a couple of really important and yet sad points. He notes that his lovely wife attended a Professional Development session and came back with the observation that the administration isn’t walking the walk at this time.

He features a couple of stories will tear your heart out – if you know Tim, you know that he’s passionate about education and I could absolutely see him with an infra-red light or tape measure distancing all the desks in his room to embrace social distancing and the kick in the teeth that he would feel when directed to add more desks to accommodate even more students.

I still struggle with envisioning what 2.5-hour classes look like and keep wondering if the final grade will have an asterisk attached to it. Responsibility is properly attributed to those who are making some of these decisions.

This is a very sobering post from Tim and I would encourage you to read through it; I suspect that Tim is speaking for so many educators in the province right now.


My Experience Teaching In The “Hybrid Model”

Tammy Axt is next up with a summary of how life is going after 20 years of experience and it’s no surprise that she defines it as “this was by far the worst model for learning”.

I think it tacks on so nicely to Tim and Alanna’s thoughts about administrators being removed from the classroom and yet making decisions about how they are to run. Clearly, sitting in front of a camera and delivering a 20-minute inspiration talk to a system has all kinds of benefits. Or maybe even doing it in front of a small audience.

But, it doesn’t translate in any sense to a classful of students working in the classroom and a group of students watching in from at home. Particularly, these days, sit ‘n git is fading away in the rearview mirror. Active learning experiences and immediate feedback have proven to be the best piece of technology in your arsenal.

It’s a sad post as Tammy goes through and explains in the first person exactly what it means and how it works or doesn’t work. It’s an emotionally difficult post to read, I found.


10 Math Concepts that Children Learn from Puddle Play

I love that Deanna McLennan is back at her keyboard and sharing her thoughts. Who doesn’t like a good inspirational post about mathematics?

It’s the notion of “play” that I think could apply to all classrooms. I know that, teaching computer science, that there were the academic requirements. But the students that rode to the top of that elevator and wanted more just “played” around with code wondering if they could do this or that without being specifically instructed to do so.

In this post, Deanna shares her thoughts about learning mathematics through play and puddles and gives some great discussions and pictures to support her premise.

  • Patterning
  • Opposites
  • Temperature
  • Measurement
  • Cause and effect
  • Comparison
  • STEAM
  • Counting
  • Reflection
  • Area and perimeter

Finding A Pair of Socks in the Dark: Recreational Mathematics and Using the Pigeonhole Principle with Young Children

If you’ve ever studied mathematics and probability, you’ll have done this but I’ll bet that you’ve never done it with socks.

If you’re like me, you’ve done it with a bag and black and white balls. Go deep here or read on to Matthew Oldridge’s experiment with socks in a closet in the dark.

There are 20 black socks, and 20 white socks in a drawer. If I get up and get dressed in the dark, to avoid waking my family, how many socks must I pick out of the drawer, to be sure I have a pair?

There’s a simple knee-jerk answer to the question and you’re probably wrong if you chose it.

l love Matthew’s discussion and analysis. It’s a fun activity to introduce the concept of probability.

It also made me appreciate my mother who made my brother and me tuck our socks together and fold them after they came off the clothesline. Our socks were always available in pairs!


Which One Doesn’t Belong? (WODB)

Melissa Turnbull apparently makes great use of the images in the https://mathbeforebed.com website. And why not? I clicked the link to make sure that it was still active (it was) and immediately found my way down a sinkhole of great activities.

In Melissa’s kindergarten classroom, she uses the website and an activity to get her student’s minds on thinking and mathematics before the actual lesson. In the example given here, she’ll prompt with an image and the students determine which one doesn’t belong and she’s prepared to take any answer with a good explanation showing a great deal of thinking.

The activities are nicely fleshed out in the post

  • WODB shows students that there are multiple ways of solving problems 
  • There are multiple entry points
  • WODB promotes mathematical thinking and the use of mathematical language 
  • WODB can be used in any grade level 

Reading this post made me loop back to Elizabeth’s post above as a way to engage students and get them thinking to start the learning in our new reality.


What Are Your “Scaling The Mountain” Moments?

Aviva Dunsiger is afraid of heights so I guess a field trip to the CN Tower is not in the cards for her students. Apparently, she shares this fear openly with her students and they took advantage of the opportunity.

In the post, she shares her “mini-mountain” in the playground. It doesn’t look too difficult to me but apparently, it’s a challenge for her. The other challenge was for her kids to get her to suck it up and climb the hill with them. From the picture, it appears that the word “mountain” is used pretty liberally!

The mountain climb might seem like a small one for many, but for me, it was a big deal and our students know that. 

When I think of the Hamilton area and mountains, I think of that waterfall on the 403. But, it was her mountain to climb and the kids got her to do it. Kudos to them.

To provide you with perspective as to the height of the mountain.

As a result, Aviva is interested in your thoughts about mountains that you might need to climb and how to show vulnerability to students.

My mountain, and I never climbed it, was in my first year of teaching. It probably was more of a line in the sand but crossing it seemed to make it mountainous. My Grade 13 students were only a few years younger than me and some were of drinking age. I was invited to go out with them to one of their dad’s bars before a football game or prom or something. It was a mountain that I chose not to climb. All I could see was having to call it a career ending move. The sad thing was that it didn’t happen just once. There were a number of times that they would gather there and I always seemed to get invited and had to decline.


Please take a moment to click through and enjoy all these terrific posts.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Elizabeth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Tammy Axt – @MsAxt
  • Deanna McLennan – @McLennan1977
  • Matthew Oldridge – @matthewoldridge
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a week away from the blogging keyboard, it was nice to get back and see what was new from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers. And, it was great to get back to voicEd Radio and discuss five of the posts with Stephen Hurley on Wednesday morning. Most people would be working with students at the time and so the show is stored as a podcast on the site.


3 things

Writing on the ETFO Heart and Art Blog, Will Gourley gives us a look at hybrid teaching from his perspective working in that environment. He shares with us three things about hybrid teaching.

  • Hybrid teaching sucks
  • Your students have something to tell you
  • Did I mention that hybrid still sucks?

I think you can get his perspective just by reading the first and third point. It would be easy, I suspect, for anyone to easily draw those conclusions. What lends to the credibility though is that he’s writing in the first person. He shares his setup and concerns about how to ensure that all students succeed. He also gets us into the gear that he has to wear and use in order to make it all happen. I think you’ll find yourself immersed in his world.

Just picture him…

“week with a mic on my head, a mask over my face, and webcam on”

It’s the middle point that I think speaks volumes for educators and shows us the type of educator that Will is. In a blog post that could easily just be Will ranting about how hybrid teaching sucks, he does take the time to ensure that we know that he’s not alone. The kids have a voice too and it’s important that it’s heard.

It’s easy to find stories about the challenges that teachers are facing. The voices of students and parents are always difficult to find and that’s a shame. Is it good for them or do they just not have a platform to make their thoughts heard?

While looking for thoughts, it would be good also to hear from administrators and members of the board of trustees who approved this mode of teaching.


Hybrid Learning Lessons

I had originally selected the post “Reflection: Keep it! Tweak it! Ditch it!” from Jennifer Casa-Todd’s blog to feature this week. When I returned to revisit it, I found this one instead and went with it. I thought it tagged nicely onto Will’s post. Will writes from the elementary classroom and Jennifer from secondary.

Will uses the term “exhausted” and Jennifer uses “November-level exhausted”. They’re both throwing all they’ve got into their teaching.

Jennifer gives us a summary of the technology that she uses in her teaching – “Screencastify, Choice Boards, Hyperdocs, Flipgrid, Station Rotation”.

Last week, she was a panelist on The Mentoree and shared a couple of really important points that I think all could ponder about and perhaps redirect their energies.

  • Fewer is better in terms of tech tools – this is always good advice but even more important these days, especially when you factor in the hybrid model. It’s easy to confuse more tools with more learning but for most classes that’s not the case. Finding a good multi-purpose tool and getting the most from it will get the most from technology. On the voicEd show, Stephen and I professed our love for Hyperstudio but alas …
  • Find a Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter – of course, I flipped over this concept. Connecting with other educators is always a way to push yourself and learn new approaches. It’s also a place to go to recognize that you’re not the only one in the world facing challenges

Salvaging Old Lessons for New Students

Speaking of Hyperstudio – what the heck, let’s throw in Clarisworks as well…

Diana Maliszewski shares a story of collaboration with a new, young teacher looking to up her game. What to do? What to do?

I think most educators are like this. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing the perfect or pretty good lesson and are hesitant to throw it away. So, we just keep collecting them.

Diana turns back the resources dial a few years and remembers some great lessons from the past – the unfortunate part was that they were done in Hyperstudio and Clarisworks. Stop for a second and thing about how you’d even open documents created in those formats these days. To support Diana’s desire to get at them, she and her husband went on a search to find tools. And they did apparently find a solution.

I did smile a bit when she complained about the block graphics from days gone by especially since Diana is a big Minecrafter … but she does give us a look at the past and the freshly updated future resource.

The lesson that she resurrects is about phishing – now there’s a topic that will probably always be timely and can be just as important. Way to go, Diana.


The Important Question

Haven’t we all been in settings where we’re talking about or listening to others and the topic is “schools of the future”. It’s a popular topic and a reminder that there are always new things on the horizon for us to embrace.

Typically, we smile and nod and call ourselves and our profession as “life long learning”.

Anne-Marie Kees turns the tables with this question instead.

I also love this question:  What’s not going to change?

My first thought was bureaucracy since it’s such an easy topic to take shots at in education.

She had a more important focus though and that was relationships. I really enjoyed the way that she analysed this. There is a great deal to think about in her analysis.

It’s especially important since the whole notion of relationships has changed for all of us, including students, over the past while. How can we get back to being humans with our need to connect? How do we make sure that nobody gets left behind?

Here’s a reminder.


No WIFI…. No Worries

In Thames Valley, they recently had a professional development day. Sue Bruyns shares with us how the message to be delivered worked its way into each school for the event.

There was one thing that didn’t work its way though – WIFI!

Haven’t we all been there? You’re in the audience at a conference, or even worse, you’re getting ready to present and something goes wrong. Data projector blows up, electricity goes out, fire alarm goes off, or gasp, the internet gives up on you.

Such was the start fo the day for Sue Bruyns.

I’ve been in sessions where the presenter just gives up and tells us to do something else instead because their show can’t go on. They had no Plan B.

It sounds like the district didn’t have a Plan B either but Sue and her team looked around the building and created one on the fly! It’s a great story of recovery. Check out her complete post to find out what it was.


My List of Wishes

I just had to include this post from Aviva Dunsiger. After all, I guess I inspired her to write it.

Last Saturday, I went on an uncharacteristic rant about things that I hate in my world mostly attributed to the effects of COVID.

Aviva decided to take the concept and run with it.

These wishes might largely remain as wishes, and yet, somehow it feels cathartic to write them down and put them out in the world. What wishes might you add to this list? I wonder if framing them as wishes helps me believe in future possibilities. What about you?

It’s quite a long list and I suspect that many educators will empathise with Aviva and her perspective.

It might even ultimately turn into a “to-do” list when the conditions that she’s working on are lifted and things return to normal or to what the new normal will be.

The post is delightfully documented with pictures from her teaching world.

It did bring up another issue for me; I hate how Instagram resizes/crops images that you send it.


Loom Beading, Métis Finger Weaving, and LYNXcoding.club

Hot off the presses from Peter Skillen’s Construction Zone blog is this post in honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconcillation Day on September 30.

It’s a wonderful amalgam of mathematics, coding, problem solving, beading, weaving, and once again shows that you can integrate so many things when you see the big picture.

I’m not sure that I can do Peter’s post justice in my typical summary of a post so I will really encourage you to click through and enjoy the entire post.

It’s well documented with images and respect for culture and there’s so much there for everyone whether you decide to code a solution or not (but you really should – it works in your browser)

The question shouldn’t be “when will we ever need this stuff?”; it should be “patterning and construction predate us; we’re just catching up, learning from people who have been doing this for years”.

Well done, Peter. This truly is an activity with lots of legs to it.


Please click through and enjoy all of these excellent blog post from Ontario Edubloggers.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Anne-Marie Kee – @AMKeeLCS
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Peter Skillen – @peterskillen