This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Happy Friday – Work Day, PD Day, Re-organization Day – wherever you fit!


CELEBRATING 100 EPISODES – E100

One hundred of anything is a pretty amazing milestone.

The EduGals (Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell) were approaching their own milestone and want to do something different from their regular technology themed podcasts. They reached out to Stephen Hurley and me to interview them and we jumped at the chance to be on their 100th podcast.

What sort of things would someone ask? If you listened to their podcast, you’d know what we decided. If you missed the podcast, you can always listen to it now from their website. Or, if you want a readable summary of things, check out this post.

And, to send them off on a successful second one hundred, what better than Beverley Mahood and Radio 101.


What To Do If Our Classrooms Aren’t Safe

I thought that this post from Marie was particularly timely. Driving by schools these days, you see both students and teachers running maskless. As Marie campaigns, she’s asked what’s a parent to do?

It’s a good question – she takes it and runs with it.

Her background in education comes through loudly and clearly. Definitely, you should start any of this with a conversation with the classroom teachers and the leaders within the school.

There are times when this may not work and Marie provides a series of suggestions that escalate if you’re not getting support.

It really is sad that we’re not officially reporting numbers across the province and Marie has done some of her own research that will make you wonder why more isn’t being done.


Crooked Paths are the Ones that Lead to Enlightenment

So many of us were educated in a different time. So many that are recommending the path to enlightenment come from that different time.

Read Tim’s post and you’ll be thinking that we’re living in a time when it’s not necessarily business as usual.

Ours was a time when there was a clearly defined flow from elementary to secondary to college/university and you just had to follow it to enjoy success.

We’ve long since started talking about the world of work and the value that it has as a destination. We’ve talked about taking a year between secondary school and post-secondary education. In the post, Tim talks about an individual who gives an opinion about that “gap” year.

Tim shares his own path and some of his challenges to get where he is today. I suspect that many of us didn’t follow that fluid path.

Post-secondary education also didn’t require giving up your first borne to be able to afford things like rent, tuition, etc.

It’s a different world out there.


Sick

Talk to any teacher and they’ll tell you that they’ll drag themselves into work rather than go through the process of writing lesson plans for someone else to follow. More often than not, the good intentions don’t come through.

Aviva shares with us a most recent situation of her being sick and still making herself available for an interview. There was no more information about the interview and Stephen and I made an assumption about it.

It turns out that we were wrong and Aviva clued us in via private message afterwards.

It’s an exciting message and I won’t let the cat out of the bag – Aviva will undoubtedly blog about it when she sees fit to talk about it in public.

The bigger question still remains about what to do if you’re sick.


Who Am I?

This was a much different post than usual from Matthew.

He pulls back the curtain and shares some of his personal faith and superstitious activity as a youth who would have loved to have been accepted into a Division 1 school with a football program. I had no idea there were 363 schools!

Given our closeness to the Detroit Media, we get bombarded by University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, and Ohio University media all the time. Matthew had his eye on a couple other Big 10 schools.

Obviously, it’s very personal but also highlights the challenges that a Canadian athlete has being recognized south of the border. I know one of my best friends felt that his path was to shine at Laurier and let that open a path for him.

The big winner in all this is the Ontario Educational system which ended up with a great teacher in Matthew.


Old Fellas New Music Episode 31 Notes

They’re back!

The Old Fellas are back sharing some new music with us via podcast and this post. There’s a nice list of new music to listen to and I’m always appreciative of it. There were some familiar names here.

The list they’re sharing this time is:

  • The Beths – Knees Deep
  • Orville Peck, Shania Twain – Legends Never Die
  • Glorious Sons – Pink Motel
  • Blue Stones – Shakin’ Off the Dust
  • Blue Rodeo – When You Were Wild
  • Crystal Eyes – 2000 years
  • Rosie Tucker – Barbara Ann
  • Sudan Archives – Selfish Soul
  • Cheap Trick – So it Goes

My favourite from the list is this one from Blue Rodeo and it’s kind of cheating because I’ve always been a fan of Blue Rodeo.


We need to deal with data privacy in our classrooms

Writing for University Affairs, I found this so interesting.

When I was on the OSAPAC group, we had the Ministry’s lawyers available to analyse the legal terms and agreements that would come with the licensing of any software title. If we had their approval, it moved the licensing process along.

Today’s classrooms – elementary, secondary, post-secondary – mostly deal with anything but software that’s licensed and installed on their computers. Instead, many great resources are available in a browser and online. As Bonnie notes, and I’m as bad as anyone, not clicking on terms and conditions agreement. I just want to get to the site I’m accessing. I may have just agreed to anything.

These days, I do it on my own computer and I do use an advertising blocker and a cookie auto-delete utility to get a feeling of safety but I’m not naive enough to think that I’m 100% protected.

Data privacy is such an important issue these days and it’s not just in your classroom; it’s everyone’s classroom. Heck, even using your district’s computer system means agreeing to their terms and conditions.

Do we even read that? I hope that she follows this post with more research and recommendations about how this could be addressed province-wide. It’s no small task.


And there we go – another great collection of blog posts. Please take the time to read them all and drop off a comment if you’re so inclined.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @Edugals
  • Marie Snyder – @MarieSnyder27
  • Tim King – @tk1ng
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Bonnie Stewart – @bonstewart

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Michael Frankfort joined Stephen Hurley and me as a guest host for the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday morning. It lent to a great conversation about the five blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that we featured. Read on to see them and a couple more bonus posts.


Family Reunion

Don’t we all have family reunion stories tucked away in our memories? I remember the first time I took my wife to ours and her comment on the way home. “It’s hard to imagine that you’re all related.”

On my mother’s side, it was a big summer event, more often than not landing on my birthday but nobody brought presents. We did bring millions of butter tarts though and had to be there pre-6:00 so that Dad could go to the golfing tournament and the rest of us slept in the car until people started to arrive at 9 or so. Dad’s family reunion was a big gathering just before Christmas which changes the entire mindset. Instead of being outside and enjoying the weather, we’d rent a hall and go inside to avoid the weather.

Despite all that, we were within a couple of hours driving to get to the events. I can’t imagine doing what Amanda did (read the post) just to get there. Then, there’s the whole mixture of her family and I’ll bet that everyone has stories about their own personal mixtures. Her family has mine beat.

I loved the post and it made me think of faces and names from reunions so long ago and how so many of them are no longer around. Despite it being such a lovely story, it was a great reminder to remember the current moments because they are so special.

But, 18 people in one house for a week? You’re a strong woman, Amanda.


Fighting Disinformation

In the beginning, disinformation was easy to spot and actually kind of fun to explore. One of the more famous ones that I remember was the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Over the years though, the concept of the fake website has skyrocketed and taken off in a very sad direction.

We’re now in a time and era where everyone with an internet connection and the desire can put up a website for whatever the cause. We have so many of them, some consistent with our beliefs and others not so much. Some, after doing a bit of digging, can be debunked.

The ones that I personally have trouble with are those who have a dissenting opinion and do their best to create a plausible story from their perspective. Finding the truth used to be so simple; just go to the library and grab the encyclopedia. Not so anymore.

Then, throw into the mix the concept of a second or third language learner doing their best to research. If we as English First Language people have problems at time, imagine their situation.

Jennifer shares some great thoughts on the topic and the bottom is a wonderful collection of resources that can be used to help determine if something is truthful or not.


Reflections on “Sometimes it is enough to look back to see the Future clearly” presentation by Dr. Georg Marschnig

I’m really enjoying Paul’s doctoral work and how he’s openly sharing his work and his research. This is a very personal post about his own thinking. He organizes things and discusses each.

  • How do schools frame notions of citizenship;
  • What kind of relationships in schools and in educational decision-making processes foster real learning;
  • How do power structures affect learning? – Paul’s question
  • How were race, class, gender differences framed in the event?
  • What connections can you draw with readings, lectures, and discussions we have held in the class?
  • What creative ideas or astute analysis about education did you encounter in the event?

I enjoyed reading all the sections but the section about power structures affecting learning was a real thought generator for me. Like you, I grew up in a school environment where the teacher was always right. My parents came to their defense all the time when I’d challenge facts or other things. Later on, I came to realize that it was the game of school and you had to play by the rules. It sure made the day easier to handle.

Of course, like all things, we’ve got better at it all and we’ll continue to get better. On a personal level, I’ve made a note to learn more about “Youth Participatory Action Research.”


Slice of (Experential) Life

I’ve mentioned it many times; they don’t pay teachers of our youngest students enough. This blog post will have you laughing, smiling, and being thankful that you don’t teach the youngest. Or, if you do, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement throughout this post.

It was a 20-minute bus ride to the field trip location. For some of the students, it might have been a three-day road trip as they got out and looked around and remarked that they were in a different world!

Now, before I get too righteous, I enjoy community dog walks and there are always new things to see and explore even though I’ve lived here for 45 years.

I will be adamant though; we still have the same water tower.


Experience Sustainability

Our guest on Wednesday had written and shared this blog post to the STAO blog.

It was about a Webinar that Michael had co-delivered with Teresa Huang about organizing an eco-fair at your school. The post comes with appropriate resources to replicate the same activity at your school.

The concept is unlike the traditional science fair with its judging and ribbons that I remember. This was about doing good by doing good. (one of my dad’s favourite expressions that I’ve always tried to keep in mind) Today’s students can be more socially aware and responsible and this post honours that.

Look for links to replay the webinar and a slide deck packed full of ideas, resources, and connections to the Ontario Science & Technology and other subject areas Curriculum.


Our month in Bordeaux, France (June 2022 –FINAL month!)

There’s probably a fine line between being a stalker and an internet friend.

I’ve been following Sylvia’s adventure as she’s headed to Europe and shares so many pictures and stories on social media. Does living vicariously equal stalking? <grin>

I can’t imagine how long it took Sylvia to assemble this piece. There are so many pictures and she uses her technical skills to provide a mapping of routes for us.

Food, wine, and the biggest croissants I’ve ever seen are highlights. It really does look like it was a spectacular event for her.

Don’t read and look at the images on an empty stomach!


Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 8th, 2022

Finally, David always has lots of cool mathematics things in his weekly post. This week, he shared a couple of wonderful visuals.


Thanks to all of the above for sharing their learning and thinking. Regular readers know the routine – read these posts and follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Hutchison – @TESLOntario
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76
  • Sylvia Duckworth – @sylviaduckworth
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

voiced Radio Show

Taming GDPR


When the concept of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was announced, I think most people felt that there would be more openness and safety in web browsing. At least in the European Union.

We’ve all run across those requests for permissions before you visit a website. In the beginning, I was kind of interested in the sites that gave you the most information and asked to see the complete information about what information they were requesting. In some cases, it was a complete deluge of information and quite honestly, I didn’t know most of them.

As time went on, this became annoying. Finally, I decided to do something about it and that’s where I found Consent-O-Matic.

You like websites to respect your right to privacy, and your browser clears cookies when you close it. Consequently, you get the same cookie-consent box each and every time you visit the same websites. And you got tired of submitting the same information over and over. If only there was a way to automate your way out of this pickle? Lucky for you, Consent-O-Matic exists.

Consent-O-Matic is available from the Chrome store here and Mozilla here.

It seems to work as advertised. There comes a time when your mind becomes numb analysing the data that a web site wants to collect and you essentially have to agree to give it up anyway if you want in. Consent-O-Matic takes the mindless clicking of consent away.

If you get tired of giving approvals, you might just find this the answer.

The worst of the worst are the third party cookies and browser developers have given you the option of turning them off in the browser already. If you haven’t checked in a while, you might want to look at your settings to ensure that they are still unallowed.

COVID visualizations


I think we are all familiar with news reports daily giving us updates on the “new instances” of the virus. Almost as an after thought, they might throw in a summary of cases.

Sometimes, I just want more and recently ran into these resources, specifically for looking at things province wide.

The first comes from CTV News and shows data throughout the province in a number of different ways – total cases, active, recovered, and deaths. The data is broken into the various health units and are all accessible by mousing over the region. The data that I know that the government is most concerned about is cases per 100 000.

That helps put things in perspective given that the Windsor-Essex area is considerably less populated than Peel or Toronto. Hastings and Prince Edward county has impressively low numbers and, of course, they really get low the further north that you go in the province. As we all know, there’s much more of the province than is pictured here so you might want to zoom out or drag the province down and to the right.

The second visualization comes from Western University and is full of information about COVID cases in schools. Each school where there has been a case appears as a red dot.

It will come as no surprise that, at this zoom level, areas of high population are so heavily displayed. In this case, it’s really important to zoom in on the community of interest. At that point, you can zero in on individual schools as opposed to clumps of schools.

For the purpose of this post, I don’t want to single out any one particular school but when you mouse over a school, you’ll be provided information about the school, the languages spoken, etc.

Crafters of visualizations often reveal more of the story than hard and fast numbers in a spreadsheet layout (although that is available and downloadable as a .CSV files)

If you’re looking for another way to investigate the story in your area or throughout the province, check these out.

Extension tutorial


This was very cool.

I was working my way through my reading the other day and ran into this tutorial and worked my way through it.

How to Build a Chrome Extension

Now, to be honest, I’ve worked my way through a number of similar tutorials in the past. I’ve been successful in the particular activities but ended up just deleting my work.

This one is a little different, certainly relevant, and well laid out.

Bottom line, it’s a tutorial that lets you search an online database for COVID-19 statistics and display them in your browser. Sure, you can go to a website and search for results but it’s handy just having them there in your browser, a click away.

A second goldmine find here is a link to active data to feed the program.

https://coronavirus-19-api.herokuapp.com/countries

Of course, the data is as up to date as the last update.

I’m also thinking of Computer Science classrooms where you’re always looking for the answer to “why are we doing this”? Here’s a real-life example to work through. There is minimal internal documentation but that can be elaborated and then, of course, there are the mods.

The tutorial is easy to read and work through. Lots of copy/paste but a nice display of where the various files go in the file system of your computer.