Category: ECOO

Attended a good conference lately?


That’s always a good question to ask of people.  Have you?

The latest newsletter from Contact North points to a resource on their website.

It’s a searchable directory of Education and Technology conferences from around the world.

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I enjoyed poking around looking at all of the opportunities.

If only I had a bigger travelling and learning budget.

The list is huge.

There was one entry, however, that was missing.  I’m sure it’s an oversight.  I did send off an email with the link to the conference website.  I’m writing this on Wednesday morning for publication on Thursday morning so I’m hoping it will be there when you check things out.

If not, here’s a direct link.

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This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Settle in your nice warm place and enjoy some of the blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that I enjoyed lately.


Looking Forward

Peter McAsh shares his love for CBC Radio and listening to podcasts in this recent post on the ECOO blog.  There’s been a lot over the past year dealing with Artificial Intelligence but surprisingly little dealing with education.  So, Peter asks …

“How will AI impact education?
How will education adapt to teach students who will be part of a world with AI?”

Open ended questions, to be sure, but certainly worthy of consideration.  The thing about technology is that it can be insidious.  As such, you can’t ignore it.  Are our systems ignoring it or are they preparing for a world where it’s so available?


Upcoming Releases for Winter and Spring 2018

Because teachers and teacher-librarians want to stay on top of things and be in the know, check out this literature preview from Helen Kubiw on the CanLit for Little Canadians blog.

Month by month, see upcoming book releases in the categories of:

  • Picture Books
  • Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Non-Fiction

Is it time to start a shopping list with your school teacher-librarian?


Crowd Sourcing Math Problems through the 12 Days of Tweetmas

Ramona Meharg describes an interesting challenge the Thames Valley District School Board held before the holidays – a puzzle or mathematics challenge each day for 12 days – with the students sending out messages about the challenges via Twitter.

Now, a Special Educational Secondary School classroom might not be on the top of your list of candidates to participate but they were in Ramona’s case.  Who doesn’t like a good challenge?  (Just don’t mention that it’s educational)

Although she had some reservations, they participated and it sounded like they had a great time – including hands on with candy canes.

For those students, social media seemed to have provided a nice opportunity to level the playing field by participating with other classes throughout the district.  It’s hard to image another setting where they would be equal players.

Ramona gives a very nice description of how they handled things and is already planning on how to incorporate Google Hangouts into things in the future.

Is there a lesson here for other school districts to copy and implement themselves?


How we #Kahoot!

Whether you prefer to learn via images or text, Laura Wheeler has you covered in this post describing how she uses Kahoot!, the social gaming system, in her mathematics classes.

For Laura, it’s not just a “pick an app and do something” experience.  She describes just how many and how she has crafted the activities for her students.  It’s not a computer-y thing either; the pictures share a story of all the tools and collaboration that happens.

And, if you want a quick overview, check out her Sketchnote of the process.  It boils everything down into one neat overview.

If you’re looking to start with Kahoot! or are looking for a more sophisticated approach, this post will be of special interest.


Duty to Report School Violence

Deborah Weston tagged me in the announcement of this post so I had to check it out.  It’s a sobering look at school violence.

In the post, Deborah gives statistics and survey results from ETFO and OECTA.  I know that many will agree with her observations and others will be inspired to find out more.

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The impact on teachers should be of immediate concern to all.

Hopefully, knowing that you’re not alone, will be just the incentive for all to report issues of violence when they occur.

p.s. This post was written and scheduled Thursday morning.  During a Thursday dog walk, I got tagged in another Twitter message alerting me to this post.


2018: Hall-Dennis–Looking Back to Look Ahead

For so many in education these days, the Hall-Dennis report or Living Learning may not even be something that they’ve heard of.  And yet, it laid the groundwork for education in Ontario as it stands today.

Canada had just celebrated its Centennial when Premier Bill Davis commissioned the report.  Who could forget Expo 67 or Bobby Gimby (if you were around at the time)?

It was an opportunity for Canadians to see the future and why shouldn’t we be visioning the future of education?

Arguably, one of the most important documents to influence education in the province, the basic messages are still as applicable today as they ever were.  To quote Billy Joel, “We didn’t start the fire.”

This post from the Alpha Alternative School shows how it is influenced today by the report.

You can read the report here.  (Set aside some time, it’s not a quickie blog post)  When you hear people longing for the “good ol’ days”, they may have to go back a great deal further than Hall-Dennis.


The Half Way Mark

I had to reflect back on my own career at year 16 of teaching when I read this post from Tina Zita.

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t counting the days/years until the end of my teaching career.  I think I was more focused on the present.  But, Tina is taking a pause to reflect on what she’s done so far and what she’s planning to do for the future.  Is this a result of us being so well connected these days?

It’s interesting to note that she’s not focused on major milestones but rather a series of “nudges”.  It’s a challenging way to look at things.

The biggest satisfaction that any teacher can have is to have students that reach out after they’ve graduated to note the things or nudges that you gave them.

Give her post a read and see if you can’t see yourself at Year 16 looking forward.


Another week and another great collection of blog posts.  Please take a few moments to click through to the original posts and give them a read and drop off a comment or two.

These authors will appreciate it.

And, follow them on Twitter.

Last week, Julie Balen’s post about OneWordOnt was featured here on the blog and has sparked a great deal of conversation and blogging from Ontario Educators.  Julie has started a Google+ community for people to share their blog posts.  You can enjoy it here.  A nice fall out form this is a number of New York state educators jumping in on the conversation and the resulting social media connections.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they crossed the Peace Bridge or the Rainbow Bridge and joined us in Niagara Falls for next November’s Bring IT, Together Conference, November 6 – 8th, 2018?  I’m cautiously optimistic that the Falls will have thawed out by then.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I hope that everyone is comfortably shoveled out on this Friday.  It was quite a bit of snow pushing around here but I did get out to get things done.

But a little snow isn’t going to stop me from getting out my Friday post, featuring some of the best Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, there’s been some great thoughts shared this week.


Breakout Games

There’s been a great deal about digital breakout games in the classroom lately.  I’ve featured posts from Larissa Aradj and Cal Armstrong here.  So, we’ve had a look at a Google solution and a Microsoft OneNote solution.  Both are great and have a purpose but Eva Thompson had a different take.

She wanted to take her students back to the original or, as she calls it, Classic Breakout activity with her students.  Click through and see if you don’t agree that sometimes the newest and technology-ist isn’t necessarily the best.  Getting up, collaborating, problem solving, …, she had it all.

Stephen Hurley shared with me this research article The Rise of Educational Escape Rooms.  It’s a definite good read if you want more information.


Four Ways To Transform EQAO

If Andrew Campbell was King of the World, he’d change a few things.  This time, he takes a look at what he’d do with EQAO – in four easy, ok not-so-easy, steps.

All four take on a modern approach to a testing situation that doesn’t seem to want to go away.  All four are indeed worth a read and consideration but there were two that really struck me:

  • Respecting professional judgement
  • Respecting Students

He describes the day-to-day reality that both teachers and students deal with and yet is thrown out the window on EQAO testing day.

Makes you think.


What If We Focused On Thinking And Problem Solving Instead Of Coding?

It isn’t often that I disagree with Aviva Dunsiger but I sure had the hair standing up on the back of my neck when I read her title.  But the world would be boring if we all agree on everything.  Her topic was influenced by another post that she had read that I found completely misunderstands what the Hour of Code is all about.

There would be huge backlash if her title had been

  • What If We Focused On Thinking And Problem Solving Instead Of Mathematics?
  • What If We Focused On Thinking And Problem Solving Instead Of Play Based Kindergarten?
  • What If We Focused On Thinking And Problem Solving Instead Of Language?

You get the point.  If you look at the activities that people focused on with the Hour of Code, the “code” part was definitely there because of the branding but the activities are anything but passive and are all about Thinking and Problem Solving.  That’s what coding/problem solving is all about.  If you can’t see that in your activities, then you’re doing it all wrong.


Superior-Greenstone District School Board Beyond the Hour of CODE Challenge

I have to give a big unrelated shout-out to Stacey Wallwin.  She introduced me to the concept of “Freighter Friday”.  Believe me, it’s a thing…

This tags on so nicely on my thoughts about Thinking and Problem Solving.  Stacey shares with a challenge from Superior-Greenstone that takes them beyond the Hour of Code and invites you and your students to join them.

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Embedded in the post is a Slides presentation with more details and links to deal with all of these topics.

Well done, Stacey.  It shows that people are ready to move beyond that one Hour and really make a difference.


Teamwork and Problem Solving

On the ECOO blog, Peter McAsh shares with us an activity that he’s been involved with the past few years.

During Computer Science Education Week, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) at the University of Waterloo acts as a local host for the Programming Challenge for Grade 10 Girls.  PC4G

The girls get a chance to be guests at the university which is always a treat but then Prof. McAsh leads them on a learning journey involving the Alice programming language.  (slide deck attached to his post)

To “make things count”,

A group of University of Waterloo math professors met in a conference room to “judge” the submissions from the girls. The primary tool for assessment is to view the animated movies created by the girls’ code. Lots of smiles and laughter from the professors. Somehow I think this is not the atmosphere in the room when they are marking Euclid Math Contests!

It sounds like a wonderful opportunity.  If you’re in Southwestern Ontario, it’s an annual thing!  Details here.  How about next year?


Let Me Teach Like The First Snow Falling

Lisa Cranston is learning that it’s sometimes nice to recycle blog posts.  Many tag them “Posts from the Past”.

In this revisit, she talks about the changing role of centrally assigned teachers.  I still remember her first day on the job and my chance to meet her and Brent.  They were going to change the world in teaching mathematics.

Things have changed since there.

Since that time there has been a dramatic shift in how we support educators in their professional learning and much of our work is done at the school using a model of collaborative inquiry where the teachers and consultants engage as co-learners in action research based student learning.

Ironically, I was thinking about this the other day when I was explaining to my wife that, in the beginning, principals didn’t like that approach since we didn’t check in with them and make presentations at staff meetings…


Too Much

It hurt to read this post from dear friend Colleen Rose.

This year has been tough. I discovered that I have limits because I pushed myself past them; my commitments, projects and goals became too much as I began to cope with a variety of health concerns in my family, including my own.

She’s experiencing a lesson that all teachers need to learn.  So many learn later rather than sooner.

There’s only so much that you can commit to before the important things in life start to suffer.  Paying attention to those that give you advice about “balance” is so important.

It’s wonderful to read the support that she’s getting from friends in the comments.  It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone.


La mémoire corporative

This post, from Joel McLean was so timely for me.

I’ve always had Microsoft and Google accounts and the online storage that goes with them.  I do have an organization scheme that works for me although I recall being laughed at during an OTF seminar for the way I do things …

Now, I have access to a Team Drive.  When I first started to use it, I didn’t think of it differently from any other organization that I’ve used in the past.  I was completely wrong.  (Yes, I gave in and read the documentation)

tableau-centrale-organis

This blog post should be compulsory reading and understanding by principals or anyone in charge of organizational groups.  Life was different when a teacher left resources for someone else and they happened to be in a file cabinet.  What if that file cabinet is now in the cloud?


An Interview with Jim Cash

From this blog earlier this week, in case you missed it.


How’s that for your professional reading for a Friday.  Click through and read each of these wonderful posts.  The authors will appreciate it.

If you like this post, please share it with your network and let’s give these blog posts some extra digital love.

While at it, make sure you’re following:

Don’t forget to check out all the great blogs from Ontario Edubloggers here.  There’s always some good reading.  And, if you’re blogging and not in there, please add yourself with the form.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


There’s nothing like the first snow of the year to bring out your inner-Husky.  Now, having grown up in the snow belt, I know that it’s heresy to call what we’re experiencing this morning as “snow” but it’s the sort of thing that gets students here up and checking to see if buses are running or delayed.  Teachers have already done that.

Nothing says more than “winter in Essex County” than walking past the school that we do every morning and seeing the caretaker out in a short-sleeved t-shirt sweeping snow off the sidewalk for students and staff.  Or, Santa Claus arriving by canoe.

If you want one last winter-ish activity for the Hour of Code, check this out.

No matter what the weather is like where you are, I hope that you can take a few moments to read some of the great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers I ran across this week.


Preserve Our Language Project

When Stephen Hurley and I were discussing this on voicEd Radio, he noted that he hadn’t seen me this excited about something before.  It’s a true statement.  This is an awesome project and I found out about it by being tagged by Mike Filipetti last week during Follow Friday time.  I checked out the project and was just blown away.

So, here’s the deal.  When you get a new computer and set it up, chances are it will have an American English keyboard by default.  You can always change it for your preference.  I always opt for Canadian English.  I’ve also experimented personally with a Dvorak keyboard and it delivered as promised.  But, I dropped it for some reason.  I can recall a conversation with a French teacher who indicated that it was important for French students to see a French keyboard when they’re typing in that language.  Fair enough; that can be done easily enough.  Everyone should be able to keyboard in their language.

What if that language is Ojibway?  On my Macintosh, I’d be out of luck.  Scrolling to the Os reveals…

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So, what excited me about this project was that one of the features that they’ve developed is an Ojibway keyboard and made it free to download.  Think it’s not a big deal?  Try this then – switch the keyboards in your class to another language like Persian or Polish and have the students come up with a workaround to be able to type in their own language.

I am excited about this project and some of the other things that you’ll find including videos.  Importantly, check out who all is involved with the project.

It’s a project worth following and please give them a little social media love by sharing this post.


5 ways to turn the ‘hour of code’ into the ‘year of learning’

This post, from Jim Cash, is timely for the end of Computer Science Education Week.  I hope that everyone had a chance to do at least an hour of coding with students.  I also hope that you’re asking yourself “What’s next?”

If you are, this post has some suggestions for moving forward.

I’ll share three with you here…

  • Learn to code by starting your own coding project
  • Think of coding as a literacy
  • Plan a design-thinking, project-based learning activity

You’ll have to click through and read Jim’s entire post to get all five.  His vision of coding as a literacy started an interesting discussion on Twitter.  Personally, I think that  if coding skills are going to become successful and valuable, it needs to be more than a literacy.  How about it becoming a fluency?

As the Hour of Code wraps up and people are thinking of great successes and next steps, ECOO is hoping to engage you in a Twitter chat next Tuesday evening at 8pm with the hashtag #ECOOchat.  I hope to see you there.


What EQAO Doesn’t Know

Just as Jim’s post was timely, this one from Peter Cameron is equally as timely given the Ministry of Education’s review of assessment and curriculum in the province.

This is a long post but well worth the read and to share with others.  Passionate educators will also pause to recognize all of the fallout from testing that certainly couldn’t have been predicted when EQAO was first introduced.

Peter’s post reminds us that there are more than score-buckets sitting in desks in Ontario classrooms.  They’re eager learners who have a whole year to demonstrate their learning in various ways for their teacher.  Yet, there comes that moment in time when they have a pre-determined about of time to write a test for someone else.

If this is deemed to be important, are we doing it properly?  I’d suggest that you forget the notion of the test when you read the post.  Put yourself in the position of the students that he describes.  Would you consider yourself fairly assessed?


Midterm Reflections: #BIT17, PD Day, Midterms, Student Feedback, and Tracking Observations

I had to smile when I read the title to this post from Amy Szerminska.  If I had that many concurrent thoughts, I would have broken it down into five different posts and schedule them for successive days.  There’s a whole week of blogging there!

It was confirming to read her observations of #BIT17 and the importance of connections. You know that Amy is not alone in her thoughts.  We’re more powerful educators when we make these connections.  Hopefully, school districts recognize this when an application is received to go to a conference.  Go beyond the title and what you have always thought about the host; think of the connections that go far beyond the conference.

What I really found interesting was the discussion around the Professional Development Day.  Embedded in the post is her presentation.

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It’s a wonderful click through and those in the audience must really have appreciated the conversation that it would have generated.

Speaking of assessment, you have to love this student’s quote

“It’s weird but if I can negotiate my way to a good grade I don’t mind.”


LONDON GOOGLE SUMMIT: Presenting Google Classroom, Meet Entrepreneurship

In case you were wondering whether or not the Thames Valley District School Board was using Google or not, this presentation from Heidi Solway and Jason Bakker will give you a definitive answer.  I really do like it when presenters make their slide deck and other resources available for those who couldn’t attend to enjoy.

Ignite the passion in your classroom by developing your students into entrepreneurs through Project Based Learning (PBL). This project has students producing product, designing marketing, and handling sales at a Business Fair. We will share how to disseminate steps of the project via Google Classroom, having students manage their business in: Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings, and Classroom. We will also touch on how students might create advertising pieces using tools such as Garage Band, green screen with DoInk and/or iMovie, Please bring a Chromebook or laptop.

Of course, the folks at Google might take issue with the final statement and the use of the word “or”.

The slidedeck links to a thing popular with the Google crowd right now – Hyperdocs.  In this case, they are worksheets to support the concepts from the project.

For the Office 365 folks, a big project like this could easily be adapted to using the O365 tools.


Classrooms Should Be More Like Trains

A “quiet table” in a noisy classroom is rather like a smoking section in a restaurant. I understand that the noise doesn’t stop when it gets to the table (oh, for the ‘cone of silence’!!) Ideally I’d prefer a room where students could go and work quietly if needed. Putting a table in the hallway or some other quiet corner of the school is also a possibility, but obviously supervision and safety is a concern. At the very least, the “Quiet Work Table” shows students that if they need quiet, that’s acknowledged and addressed in some small way.

When I read this post from Andrew Campbell, I recognized how fortunate I was with my classroom setup.  At the time, I had the ability to organize my students according to activity.

The main classroom had tables with movable chairs and wonderfully, a carpeted floor.  Behind us was a room that was supposed to host a mini-computer that never arrived.  It had tiled floor (which was great to avoid the static electricity from the classroom) and more tables to hold our computers.  Behind that was supposed to be the computer operator’s office.  It turned into a seminar room for my class.   And, of course, we had a hallway for additional organization.  All of the rooms had huge windows so you could stand in one and see what was happening in all three.  For those who needed another level of isolation, I was not against the use of headphones.

I really was fortunate.  Andrew makes excellent points and it’s a reminder that the traditional school design never really takes all this into consideration – how are you making for quiet spaces in your classroom for those that want/need them?


OTF and the Professional Learning Ecosystem

If you’re not aware of everything that the Ontario Teachers’ Federation offers, you will be after reading this post from Brenda Sherry.

I think that I knew about all of the various pieces that she touches on in her post but I’d never seen them arranged all together at once.  Looked at this way, it really is impressive.

TLLP – The Teacher Learning and Leadership Program
OTF Connects – live webinars in the evenings
OTF Summer Institutes – 3 day summer sessions
Pedagogy B4 Technology Conference – 3 days of learning
TLLP – Provincial Knowledge Exchange
Teacher Learning Co-op (TLC) – Collaborative teams

Are you aware of these opportunities?  Read Brenda’s post and then head over to the OTF Learning Page.  Check the left sidebar for even more!


Whew!  Yet again, this is a wonderfully relevant and current look at things from Ontario Edubloggers.  We’re so fortunate to have these people sharing their thoughts with us.

Make sure to add all of the above to your list of accounts that you’re following.

If you’re blogging and not in the list of Ontario Edubloggers, please take a moment to visit and add your details.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Sit down, grab a chair and get ready, er, grab a chair, sit down and get ready for some great blog reading from Ontario Educators.


The Maker Movement: It’s about ‘making up’ your own mind

At the Bring IT, Together Conference, Peter Skillen and I had a chat about various things. One of the topics was about the wide variety of resources and opinions about good pedagogy.  Some are absolutely great and best of breed.  Some others are not as good and may miss the point.

In this post, Peter tries to address this by helping frame the concept of “making”

The maker movement is not only about making with electronics and coding. Building poems, art, music, mathematical solutions, etc. are all part of the maker movement. This interactive conversation will unpack how to create knowledge-building classrooms where students are empowered with “making up” their own minds.

and then providing a very nice collection of resources to support this concept.  If you know of Peter and his passion, you know that these will be the best of the best.


Spicy Snacks: On Daughters

It’s tough, as a parent, to turn on the news and take in the latest of the news stories.  If you’re a parent, part of the deal is how to grapple with this and explain it to your children.

Royan Lee has two daughters …

I have two daughters and they are the best in the world. They are courageous, kind, and don’t take crap from anyone (least of all me). I worry about them and all of our daughters.

The post features some great “spicy things” that support his concerns.

What’s nice is that Lisa Noble replied to Royan’s post and shares an equally as worthwhile link to read.


ECOO 2017: building your Edtech house on shifting ground

Earlier this week, I had shared my thoughts about this post from Tim King.

About software and branding

I stand by my thoughts in that post and I find it sad that we’re still having to have this conversation.  Wouldn’t you think that we would have come closer together in thoughts?

I’m sure that you have a thought about this; after all if you’re reading this, you’re a technology using educator.  Can you solve all the ills of the computer education world?  If so, read Tim’s post and drop off your solution via comment.


A Remembrance Day to Remember

This was a year for some very elaborate Remembrance Day observances.  Around here, there were horses and a huge collection of service people.  It was the biggest one that I can recall.

It was a first for Susan Bruyns in her new school.  In the post, she describes how the event played out at Sir Arthur Currie.

Despite the observances, it’s important to remember the message.  Susan captures it so well in the post.

We honour those who lost their lives in battles, who never had the chance to return to their children. We honour those who are currently fighting battles, who pray each day that they will be able to return to their children.  But more importantly we focus on Peace in the hopes that our children will never know the pain of loss of a parent as a result of war.

This reinforces the importance that we continue to remember in our communities and in our schools.


Web Content into OneNote

Taking notes on computer has always been a challenge for me.  I think I’ve tried them all – Evernote, Notes, Text Edit, and I’m currently revisiting OneNote.

I look forward to posts from Cal Armstrong about some tip for using OneNote that I might possibly use.  He takes the concept past the simple Post-It note sticker of years gone past, to be sure.

In this post, she takes about putting Web Content into OneNote using not one but three different approaches.

  • OfficeLens
  • OneNote Web Clipper
  • Microsoft Edge browser

I like the flexibility that his approaches shows and will be trying these out to see if they somehow are the silver bullet for note taking that meets my needs.


Don’t Tell Me What the Learners Are Doing

I felt a little bit like I was baited and switched in this post from Terry Greene.  He started out talking about the Open Faculty Patchbook.

It’s an open, online book where post-secondary instructors reflect on their practice.  I rather enjoyed reading the content.  The “Sheets Ain’t Cheats” story was a great description of me as a brand new teacher.  So many hours wasted memorizing lessons so that I could come across as educated and knowledgeable in front of the class without referring to notes.

I’ll bet that you find a story or two in there that describes your professional life.  I enjoyed it and was really impressed with the design and accessibility.  Then, I remembered that I had just been distracted by a click in the first paragraph and went back to the original post.  I was just so impressed by educators that were showing their openness in reflecting on their practice.

But, back to the post, Terry had changed the lay of the land.  He wanted more – he was more interested in learning how students thought they learned, not about teachers thinking about how they teach.

Whoa!


Are we clear with all stakeholders about why we are posting to social media?

Let’s be truthful.  The answer is clearly no.  Do we even know who “all the stakeholders” are?  Jennifer Casa-Todd uses this inquiry as an opportunity to respond and shares it in this post.

I was hoping you could help direct me.  I have small children in preschool and the school uses social media for their marketing purposes.  While a highly effective marketing strategy, I’m concerned with their lack of guidelines, considering small children are involved.  Do you have any resources you could direct me to which would help highlight do’s and don’ts in using social media as an advertising technique in schools?

Follow any school or teacher or district that uses social media for this purpose and look at it critically and you might want to answer that yourself based upon your observations.

Read the post to see how Jennifer responds.  Do you agree?


Speaking of Jennifer, she was the first “Featured Blogger” on the new ECOO website.   You can find more about her and what she considers her top five blog posts here.

I hope that you stuck with me as I looked at these very powerful blog posts.  There’s always something going on with Ontario Edubloggers.

Please take the time to click through and read the original posts in their entirety and drop a comment or two. These authors will appreciate it.

And, make sure that you follow these authors on Twitter.

If you can, join Stephen Hurley and me on voicEd Radio on Wednesday mornings or repeated through the week where we use some of these posts as a launching point for discussions.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I always enjoy reading blogs from Ontario Educators and sharing them during this post.  It’s a constant reminder that there are so great thinkers out there and we’re so fortunate to have them sharing their thoughts with us.


Music, millenials and the lost art of curation

Tim King takes us back, way back, in terms of the way that we collect music.  Then, he gives us a history of music in his life from cassettes to CDs to streaming music.  Along the way, he notes that we may have lost something in the process – the deep tracks.  When you bought a cassette, you listened to all eight songs and enjoyed them all.  Now, with streaming, you just go directly to the latest hit.  And the service recommends what you listen to next.  Are we losing something?  I think so.  I can’t tell you how often my favourite song on an album never made it to the radio.

Streaming on the web contains some issues as well – distraction if you’re driving, and the cost of streaming which we know is high in Canada.

Where Tim dropped the ball though was he didn’t go back far enough – to vinyl records which just might be making a comeback!  And, to show that we didn’t always think outside the box, I saw something like this at a car show recently.

Record players were the infotainment systems of the 1950s and ’60s

What’s really cool about Tim’s post is the interaction on Twitter.  This post is now going to be considered a media resource for an AQ course.  I’m impressed.


Turning Reading On Its Head!

Speaking of Media…

I found myself thinking that my concept of reading is the same as Aviva Dunsiger.  I pick up a book, start on page one, and then read until I get done.

Full stop.

That’s reading.

Apparently not, as Aviva found out over dinner at the BIT Conference.

Michelle gave an alternative perspective. She said that maybe the problem is how we view “reading.” We’re looking at reading as “finishing a book,” but what about the reading that happens in video games? Some games require so much reading and thinking that completing a game would be equivalent to finishing an incredibly long book. And students need to read, and think about what they read, in order to meet with success, finish the game, and get the points.

I’m not totally convinced but there is a certain amount of logic that rings true.  Click through and read Aviva’s post and see where you stand.


Making Connections – Edcamp Ottawa, Voiced Radio, MADPD

One thing you can say about Paul McGuire – he’s not afraid to take a chance.

In this post, he shares his story about Edcamp Ottawa and the 75 educators there that spent a day learning.  It’s good reading and Paul identifies what he calls “new learning”.  In that bundle he includes voicEd Radio, MADPD, … The fact that the observation comes from an Edcamp adds that layer as well.  It wasn’t just the blog; he was podcasting from there too.

But there was one paragraph that rubbed me the wrong way and I called him out on it.

I would love to see some of the big school boards promote MADPD or Voiced Radio on their Twitter feed or take a leading role by encouraging their educators to take part in these new approaches.

My challenge is with him identifying only big school boards.  While they may be big in organization, the typical teacher is most impacted by the work world around her/him.  So, in a school with a school population of 500, does the need change if you’re in a large board or a small board?

I hope not because when you look, it’s all about professional growth for individual teachers and the learning that happens with that one student.


Creating the Conditions to Empower

I’m not a real fan of Ignite formats as it seems to me that they’re the exact opposite of engagement with an audience as the presenter focuses on getting the message out in the  time limits and according to the speed of the slides.  Very often, a good message can get lost in the technicalities.

But, never lose the sight of a good message and David Carruthers had a wonderful set of content for his Ignite talk.

  • Don’t Lower the Bar to Meet Diminished Expectations
  • Publicly Celebrate Achievements
  • Connect to the Heart by Cultivating Relationships and Instilling Trust
  • Lead by Example
  • Listen to Concerns

There’s some terrific ideas there that would be awesome for a full blown presentation with lots of give and take with an audience.  He breaks out his thoughts about each in the post.


BIT17 Non Conference Observations

After the BIT17 conference, Eva Thompson fired off three blog posts outlining her experience.  Any one of them would be good enough for a conference report to her supervisor and I’d encourage you to read them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post of random thoughts from a conference.  I pulled out four that really resonated with me.

 

  • Elevators
    • Me too.  My hotel had five floors and over the course of the event and going in and out of the hotel many times, the elevator was NEVER on my floor.  Now, I get that it might not be on the fifth floor where my room was but you’d think just once it would have been sitting on the ground floor.  And then it was slow too!
  • Sitting in the last row of the theatre
    • That’s absolutely me.  Particularly if there’s a speaker that I want to hear, I like being able to just focus.  And, there’s something creepy about taking notes on your computer with someone looking over your shoulder.
  • Chocolate chip muffin for breakfast
    • Why not treat yourself?  Family’s not there to see that you’re breaking the rules a bit.  That’s my rationale anyway.  I did pay attention this time; there were so many IHOP restaurants in Niagara Falls.
  • My laptop bag is not comfortable
    • I have a knapsack and a pull bag.  I prefer the pull bag that follows me on the floor.  I typically have two of three computers and the chargers that go with them.  They’re really heavy.  Don’t criticize me – I see others who shift from shoulder to shoulder to ease the pain.  If you get good with the pull bag, you can easily get on and off an escalator without breaking stride.

 

8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit 150

If you weren’t able to attend this summit, Zelia Capitão-Tavares shares a pretty inclusive summary of the day with links to the speakers.

It sounds like a typical day where “futurists” were telling the audience everything that’s wrong in education and how “change starts with you”.

The real meat for me in this post were the comments from Zelia’s students.

As each of the speakers shared virtually or live on stage, my students attentively listened to the messages, making connections to their own experiences and reflecting on potential for changes in their own environments. Sure, I smiled every once in awhile as they turned to me and whispered, “Ms.T we are already doing this”, “Ms.T you have already set us up with these choices”, and “They are talking about our classroom”. However, our side discussions were more intriguing as they asked questions of clarification, “why are they saying only star students get to do things”, “what do they mean by pockets of innovation”, “why do teachers teach to the test” and “what does teaching and learning in silos mean?”

Are these speakers out of touch with the realities today’s students face?  Maybe these students need to invite them to their classroom to get a dose of reality.  Good teachers ARE doing these things.

I hope that Ms. T. took the kids to McDonald’s or for ice cream afterwards. What great comments.

It sounds like they truly get it.


How many do you see? (Part 1)

I love this post from Mark Chubb for many reasons.

He starts with a picture of a Grade 2 geometry activity.  It’s pretty straight forward.

All he asks is a simple question.  Pick a shape and report how many of them you find in the picture.

In the real teaching world, you’d just turn to the back of the book and get the answer.  Would you actually do the activity yourself?

But the responders to Mark’s post are all teachers and they have many different answers and takes on the question.

Now, let’s go back to the concept of testing where you’re not looking at a process – just to get the right answer.  After all, this is mathematics, right?

If teachers have all these questions, how can we possible blame a child for being confused?


I hope that you’ve stuck with me this far.  It’s yet again another great week of reading.  Please click through and read the entire posts and drop off a comment.

And, join Stephen Hurley and me Wednesday mornings at 9:15 on voicEd Radio where we chat about some of the great posts of the week.

Start clicking


At the Annual General Meeting of ECOO last week, the membership installed a new Board of Directors.  You can read about it and see the list of the members here.

yourbod201718

Not wanting to wait, things are already in motion.

If you haven’t visited ECOO.ORG in the past week, you will have missed the launch of the new web presence.

The Board of Directors is committed to bringing value to ECOO members between Annual Conferences.

One of the new features will be a “Blogger of the Week” where the website will feature a different Ontario blogging voice regularly.  This will provide a new way at looking at the concept of a Blog Roll.  We wanted to start the process well and invited Jennifer Casa-Todd to be our first.

Follow the link above to the Blogger of the Week to learn more about Jennifer where she’s also been asked to hand select her five “best” blog posts.  “Best” comes from her perspective.  We hope that you’ll quickly become a “Jennifer fan” and follow her blog for updates.

Speaking of blogging, guest blogging will soon be available for members using our platform to potentially reach a different audience.  This will be available for people who already have a blog and are looking for an additional audience or for that new blogger who thinks they just have one post in them for now and are looking for a place to put it.

You’ll also notice that there’s a calendar on the website.  We’re devoting this to promoting technology conferences, edcamps, mini-conferences, and anything that would be on a technology related topic for ECOO members.

If you’re not following @ECOOorg on Twitter, you need to be!  It’s here where you’ll find announcements from the organization and other features recently added like The @ECOOorg Daily newspaper.

That’s the beginning.  If you poke around, you’ll get a hint of what your organization has planned for you.  These ideas will become formally announced once details are finalized.

If you’re new to ECOO, or even if you are not, you might enjoy the rich history of the organization.

We want to hear from you.  A contact form has been created to let you provide input.  We want ECOO to be the best it can be for you.