This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s Friday again.  Soon, once school starts, this will be the day to look forward to for some.  Over the summer, it’s sort of a countdown day.  Regardless, it’s time to take in some great reading from Ontario Edubloggers.


How Do You Want Families to Feel on the First Day of School?

I had this wonderful post from Sue Dunlop all queued up and had so many of my own thoughts ready to go.  As a parent, I was always super nervous for my kids as they prepared for that opening day.  Probably the most nervous night of all was the night before the first day of Kindergarten.  We weren’t really prepared; we just had our own fond or not-so-fond memories.  Kids today have it so much easier with things like the “First Ride” program to help ease into things.  We just had a photocopied piece of paper indicating -ish bus times.  The saddest part, as a teacher, was that I couldn’t be there to send her off on the bus.  I did call my wife afterwards to get the scoop.  The cool thing was that she never looked back.  The kid’s all right.  There’s so much in Sue’s post; it’s really worth the read.  My thoughts are superseded by a post from Stephen Hurley.

Back To School: The Family Context

There’s your Friday motivation from two of my favourite writers.


Introduction – How can we make eLearning more accessible?

I’ll leave the introduction to this blog to Donna Fry.


A GLOBAL Welcome Back!

If you consider yourself a connected educator and that you have a connected classroom, then consider Peter Cameron’s offer.  He’s looking to START the year with his class connected to as many as possible.  It’s not an experiment; he’s done this before and celebrates 75 messages from the first day of school last year.  He wants more.

I know that here are global projects offered from all over the world.  <grin>  Many fail but here’s one with a proven track record and stated deliverables.  If you’re considering something like that for this year, here’s your chance for success.


Regrets of a First Year Teacher

Brian Aspinall shares an interesting post that I suspect would apply to so many – that first day in front of the class and how you’re going to establish superiority.  Doesn’t this history resonate for all?

However, I went to school in quiet hierarchical rows and I learned to teach at the Faculty in very similar settings. I was complimented for getting them to conform so I continued to dictate because I needed to impress the hiring committee. There existed a silo / fishbowl in that best practice was shared in the staffroom and I wasn’t up to par based solely on the volume of my class.

I feel compelled to point out that the desks at the Faculty were nailed to the floor in our computer lab – but hopefully, he remembers that the chairs moved.  But didn’t we all go through that moment on our first day?  For me, at a secondary school teaching a Grade 12 class, I was only a few years older than the students.  I felt I needed to prove who was boss.  Looking back now, what a bunch of wasted time and energy.

It doesn’t matter how or where you start your teaching profession, I think that the key message from his post is that no matter what, you’re going to inherit a whack of baggage.  What you do with it will determine how quickly you’re able to be successful.


Learn. UnLearn. ReLearn. Repeat.

I think this is a perfect read from Jennifer Casa-Todd to tack on to Brian’s post.  It could just as easily have been the title from his post.

Here’s your inspiration to read her post.  She uses these words…

  • Risk-taker
  • Networked
  • Resilient

She builds the post around those words and applies them to her own learning.  I would suggest that they’re easily transferable.

A few other teasers from her post …

  • change
  • complain
  • panic
  • generous

How can you not check it out?


Summer Reading: Good to Great

Heather Theijsmeijer will be assuming a new role with her district this fall.  Of course, we all wish her the very best in her endeavours.

I remember when I left the classroom and moved into a leadership role within the district.  As the starting date loomed, I had the feelings of excitement and doom filling my mind.  Both answered the question “What did you get yourself into?”

Heather’s asking and answering questions and elaborating.

  • What is my educational passion?
  • What drives the educational engine of my position?
  • What am I best at?

It’s never easy.  I look forward to reading of her successes this upcoming year.


A View From the Side of the Road

There are a number of things that go into a great blog post for me.

One is a great story, another is an educational insight, another is a turn that takes me as reader on a path not predicted, and yet another is an affirmation that the kids are all right.

Sue Bruyns has them all in this wonderful post about her educational trip to the Dominican, a road trip in a van, and the people involved.  And a great opportunity to muse.

I can’t help but wonder if we’re giving our children the right things to watch and engage with.  The young boy, at the side of the road in the Dominican, certainly didn’t need reminders about paying attention ~ his view from the side of the road was enough!


An Interview with Rodd Lucier

In case you missed it, I had the opportunity to interview Rodd Lucier (you may know him better as @thecleversheep) this week.  It was an interview. long in the creation, because there was so much to ask and I didn’t want to miss anything.


How’s that for a good collection of reading for your Friday morning?  Enjoy, and please take the time to drop off a comment or two for these wonderful bloggers.  Consider Peter’s offer to connect to his classroom

If you open the hamburger menu above, you can see the complete collection of TWIOE posts.

How do you know?


I received an email from Peter McAsh over the weekend that got me thinking.

Peter was at the CEMC Summer Institute and had passed on information about the Bring IT, Together conference in November to a fellow participant.  Good job, Peter, that’s part of your job as social connector.  He shared with me part of a message that he had received…

How do teachers find out about these initiatives? I spent hours finding conferences on my own and thus went to MIT, Waterloo CS Educators and Western 21st Century Curriculum Symposium. From meeting Peter McAsh this week, I just found out about Bring IT, Together. I have felt very alone teaching HTML, Scratch and Coding Apps for the last 3 years in my  class/computer club. Now, I have a Twitter PLN and some great mentors. I wonder if other TVDSB teachers know about all these resources.

I thought that everyone knew about the conference.  <grin>

It is an interesting point to ponder.  After all, there are lots of spectacular conferences that happen all the time in Ontario.  It’s almost malpractice that all educators don’t know about all of them.  They’re there to promote professional activities and shouldn’t that be available to everyone?

Shouldn’t there be a place where you’d go to find them all listed?

I know that, when I was the web master at OSAPAC, I had a section of the web site devoted to upcoming professional learning opportunities.  Those were the days when OSAPAC was licensing software for all subject areas and it was one way that the committee helped promote its adoption.

Bring IT, Together is an ECOO annual event and so a visit to their website should reveal information to anyone looking for it.  But, if you visit the site using mobile, reference to the conference is actually hidden in a hamburger menu that you need to open.  So, if it’s tough for me to find (and I’m on the conference committee), how would a first timer find it?  Hint – Bring IT, Together has its own website.

I took a look through the Ministry of Education’s website and couldn’t find a collection either.

All that made Peter’s request even more important.

Then I thought of my friend Cyndie Jacobs and the fights that we had over the references to Subject Councils versus Subject Associations in her work with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.  Off I went to the OTFFEO website and there is, indeed, a calendar outlining the professional learning events that they know about it.  So, I guess my work is done.  I took at quick flip to November but the Bring IT, Together conference wasn’t listed.  I would have thought that ECOO, being a member of OTF’s Curriculum Forum would have been there.  It is the best place that I could find to start searching.

Where else could you look?

It’s probably too “pie in the sky” to think that there’s absolutely one place for everything and it’s 100% accurate and up to date.  But, certainly the Subject Associations would be promoting their own conferences.  I decided to make my move.  With laptop on lap and Summer Olympics on television, I created to the best of my abilities a Twitter list of all the associations that I could find in the province.

You can find it here.

http://bit.ly/2bBGclQ

I was able to locate 38 organizations.

It was actually quite fun and brought back great memories of speaking, conducting, or taking professional learning activities from them.  In addition to upcoming conferences and workshops, there are also opportunities for curriculum writing and just a sharing of resources via the discipline.  It’s also apparent that there’s huge cross over connections to be had.  So, this solution actually solves a number of questions.

The list is public; just subscribe to it – add a column to your Hootsuite or Tweetdeck configuration and you’ll be on top of everything happening in education in the province.  I can tell you just from my little curating exercise that there’s so much going on.  I also learned that the “O” doesn’t always mean Ontario – there are states that use the same acronyms – Ohio, Oregon, …

Now, I’m nowhere near confident that this list has them all.  I’d encourage you to browse the list and make sure that any professional organization that you’re a part of is included.  If not, add it via comment below or to @dougpete on Twitter and I’ll get it added as quickly as I can.

Let’s make sure that everyone has the possibility of knowing what great opportunities are available for them.

You can thank @pmcash for the idea.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time, again, to take a look at the roundup of blogs and content that I enjoyed this past week contributed by Ontario Edubloggers.  Please follow along and see the thoughts/insights from these folks.


Remembering Seymour Papert in Ontario Education

I like to toss in Peter Skillen’s direction some of the superficial references to Seymour Papert’s work that are so often referenced and increasingly used to indicate why students need to code.  I guess it’s our society of 140 characters and sound bits that generate it but it really does a disservice to the amazing work of one of the owner of shoulders that we should all be standing on.

In this post, Peter reflects on some of the time that he spend with Dr. Papert and how Peter sees his influence on Ontario education.  I think that it’s a worthy inclusion to your reading.

Peter and I have been bantering back and forth about the opportunity to recognize Dr. Papert’s influence at the Bring IT, Together conference in November.  I hope that we can put together something appropriate to celebrate one of the great minds in education.


It’s not about the Tech…..

With apologies to Jonathan So, I really hate it when this is used as a title or in most references.  

The inspiration for his post came from a podcast and, in particular,

There was a line that I heard in the post that I just hit a big aha moment. Peter mentioned that the OTF Summer conference was titled “Pedagogy before Technology” and that he wasn’t fond of the title but that it was something that was current in education.

I think that, even the discussion, demeans the efforts of educators who are doing the best they can.  I keep thinking of a quote from Wayne Hulley “Nobody wakes up wondering how they’re going to screw up today”.

I think the last quote from Jonathan sums it up nicely…

I know that as teachers we also need time to learn new tools and how they work but first and foremost we need to understand what their purpose is and why we would be using them in the classroom. Love to hear your thoughts on this and if you haven’t heard it already listen to Rolland’s podcast some fantastic educators on there.

It’s a chicken and egg thing but has any other tool in technology been so scrutinized and criticized?  If you search history, there was a huge concern that ball point pens were just the “beginning of the end”.  Some teachers are new to effectively using technology and they need to be supported in their endeavours.  Those that have used it should be those who are supportive with examples and ideas.

Curriculum consultants and district leaders should constantly be providing learning opportunities for staff to learn no matter where they are in their learning.  If they’re not, well … you get what you get.

Education has toyed with the concept of Programmed Instruction, abandoned it, and moved on.  I just wish that the conversation would as well.


TELL 2016

Mark Renaud attended the Technology-Enabled Learning & Leading Institute 2016 this summer along with about 1000 of his closest colleagues.

In this post, he shares his highlights from conference.

It’s interesting to read his observations and hopefully further blog posts will give us an idea as to how they’ve made an impact in his school and to his leadership style.

There are lots of links to slidedecks from some of the presenters at the TVO website.  There’s much Google stuff there, most of the sessions are tagged “Beginner” and kudos to the presenters from my former board.


Collaborating with Colleagues using OneNote Staff Notebook

What about boards that have used Microsoft Office 365 instead of going the Google route though?

Andre Quaglia recently added his blog to the Ontario Edubloggers collection and I went back to a post of his from February.

I recently discovered the advantages of using OneNote Staff Notebooks as a collaborative tool to keep the momentum of conversations flowing after department meetings with teaching colleagues.

In the post, he shares three examples of using OneNote Staff Notebooks.

  • Creating an inventory of instructional technology
  • Verifying class textbook and planning
  • Discussion about how to allocate new classroom workspace

Time

One of the great things about blogging is that you can be or create anything you want.

In this post, Joan Vinall Cox shares a short poem about “Time”.

It’s a reminder to all of us that we’re getting older.


Squirrel!

My classroom was probably the least desirable room in the school.  I don’t know whether it was the block design or the fact that we were air conditioned but there were a few rooms that had no outside windows.  I had one of them.

So, I can’t really empathise with Ashley Soltesz’ first day of school.

It’s actually distractions rather than squirrels that form the basis of the post.  We all have them.

She does end with a question that we all have – how do you handle distractions?


The question is not, “how best to teach mathematics?” The question, educator, is “how best for YOU to teach mathematics?”

After the title, the rest of Matthew Oldridge’s post is pretty much redundant!  When you’ve taken as many courses in mathematics as I have, you’d like to think that you’ve seen it all.

I’ve been drilled, investigated, explored, charted, drawn, programming, puzzled, heard mathematics jokes, …

Unfortunately, for most teachers, their last formal kick at mathematics would have been at a Faculty of Education which has to include that in amongst everything else for some teachers or focus on the teaching of difficult mathematics for those who would aspire to be secondary school specialists.

So, it comes as no surprise that some folks think that they have to chalk and talk in order to get their dollar and a quarter for the day.  Fortunately, we’re having the discussion about teaching and I really enjoyed the approach in Matthew’s post.  In true mathematics tradition, he illustrates with a chart…

I think that it’s a good read and anyone who will be teaching mathematics, at whatever level, would be well advised to read and consider their approach.  And, question when you’re advised to embrace “high impact strategies”.  To be sure, they can be good research, but don’t necessarily address your skill set or the learning needs of your students.


It’s absolutely another great week of reading.   Thanks to all the bloggers who contributed to my learning.  Please take a moment and drop by their posts (I’ve given you the links so it’s easy) and extend their conversations.  If you’re a blogger yourself, do what Andre did, and add yourself to the list.  I’d really like to have you included.

Learning HTML all over again


If you’ve been around constructing content for the web for a while, you’ve undoubtedly created your own using a plain ol’ text editor.  

That was me, in the beginning.  I had a printout of all of the HTML tags available to me along with the source code of a website or two that had impressed me.  That’s how I learned to develop for the web.  There was a great deal of typing, saving with a .htm or .html extension and then opening it in a web browser to see how badly I had been.  Then, back to the editor for a tweak here and a tweak there, save, reload in the browser and see if that fixed it.  Talk about your step-wise refinement.

Then, along came an update to Netscape and its Composer.  It was a huge improvement although it felt like cheating!  We used it at the heart of our Women in Technology program with a great deal of success because you could be up and running pretty quickly.  Next, through OSAPAC, we licensed Dreamweaver and never looked back.  And yet, despite the tools we have today, the skills from those early days of learning all the HTML tags is still one that I use with this blog to tweak content here and there.

So, I guess the bottom line message is that there still is a need to learn HTML at some level.  I know that many use it with their Hour of Code strategies because it’s easy to publish for the web and see familiar results.  At the teaching heart of it, though, you need to keep in mind that typing text just doesn’t have the motivation factor that dragging and dropping coding has.

Until you give Codemoji a shot.

When you enter the site, you do have a choice of going to a Playground or take some Lesson.  The ego in me said to go and play but I quickly learned that maybe that wasn’t the best of choices so I went back and took some lessons.

Essentially, you have an open workspace where you drag and drop some emoji to program your webpage.  Think of it as Scratch-like for HTML.

You’ll see that each is attached to the familiar (at least to us) HTML tag.  Like other drag and drop languages, you essentially drag a template for an instruction onto the workspace.  Then, with your keyboard you modify it so that it does what you need it to do.

Once selected, each of the emoji has details about just what it does and how it’s used.

Quickly frankly, it was a nice review for me to go through and click on each of them to refresh my memory as to what each tag does.

Of course, the proof is to actually run your code to see what happens and you do it right in the environment.  Certainly, the web doesn’t always run on emoji so you can flip to see the actual code that you’re generating.  

I actually quite enjoyed poking my way through the lessons.  There is a great deal of the basics that I hadn’t had to remember for quite some time.  Today’s tools have largely made things “behind the scenes” invisible.

The more I poked around, the greater kick I got from the choice of emoji to represent the HTML.  Get the hamburger reference?

I would encourage you to kick the tires to see if this has a place in your coding plans.  It’s a rather unique way of presentation.

I’ll bet that it wakes some memories of your own.

Images


Yesterday, Larry Ferlazzo shared a post “The “All-Time” Best Sources Of Online Images“.  

Bloggers, designers, teachers, well any content creators are always looking for the best of images to enhance whatever it is that they’re creating.  

I’ve always been a supporter and advocate for creating your own.  I’ve led more Photoshop, Gimp, CorelDRAW! and web based tools workshops than I care to admit.  When you’re doing computer referenced things, it’s important to know how to capture all or part of your screen and even edit in your capture tool or bring it into your favourite image editor.  Now that everyone packs a camera, it’s also helpful to take seemingly random pictures even if you have no immediate plans to use them.

As an example, here’s a sunset picture from the other night looking to the west from the driveway.  By itself, there’s a great contrast of colours but all kinds of distractors like the utility lines and the driveway but I could edit them out should I decide to do something with it.  

As an aside, if it hadn’t been so hot and humid, I would have walked to the end of the driveway to get a better picture.

If you look in the header here, you’ll see an image taken from the same direction.  It’s one that I’ve always thought as one of my best and the reason why you’ll probably see an orange theme on this blog for a while.

Anyway, ….

When working with students, I think that it’s extremely important to start that way.  Have them take, create, and use their own compositions with whatever tools that you have available.  That establishes nicely the concept of ownership of the images.  It nicely opens the door to talk about copyright.  Is it OK for the teacher to just take everyone’s creation and put them on a shared drive or wiki open to the class, or indeed the entire school to use as they see fit?

Of course, the discussion will inevitably evolve into the concept of copyright and then into Creative Commons usage.

All of this is good stuff and worthy of repeating often throughout the school year.  It’s such an important concept and your teacher-librarian will be there with help and resources.

But, there are times when you can’t create your own.  

I would suggest that then, and only then, students should dive into big lists like Larry’s.  The actual collection of his image links can be found here.  I’d be bookmarking that.

I found it interesting to go up and down his list.  There are so many good references there.  There were some I’ve seen before and others have been added to my burgeoning to-do list for later discovery.

There are a couple of resources that I’ve used that didn’t make the formal list.

Compfight – Rodd Lucier introduced me to this resource that scours Flickr looking for images.  Of course, you can just do the searching through Flickr itself but oddly, I seem to have better results with this.

Morguefile – I don’t recall how I found this but it is mentioned, in passing, in Larry’s list.  I do know that I was intrigued because of the link to old newspapers found in Morgue Files.  It was always a favourite place for crime-fighting detectives to go in old novels so why not the digital equivalent today?  It’s one of the first places I look when I can’t create it myself.

The important thing to remember in all of this is attribution to resources that students use.  This blog uses this Creative Commons license which I think is fair to education.  I’ve mentioned many times, and I think it’s worth repeating especially in these days of making and creating, it’s most important than ever for students to understand that they own what they creative and should think about how others might elect to use their creations.

Your thoughts?  If you don’t have it or can’t create it, what’s your go-to service?

Whatever happened to …


… Reading just for the love of it?

Thanks to Aviva Dunsiger for suggesting this topic in the padlet.

I know and appreciate the value in “purposeful reading” (be it for teaching different decoding or comprehension strategies), but there’s also value in allowing kids to just love reading (be it magazines, newspaper articles, or books). If we gave the time to reading (maybe without always having a bigger motive), I wonder if we’d have more kids that read for the love of it. Would this help our literacy scores in the end?

I think that this is a topic that’s difficult to draw to a single conclusion.  I’m sure that everyone has their own opinions.  I also think that a big factor has arisen with respect to standardized testing.

I’m not sure that I can draw all of this to a logical conclusion but I can sure have my own opinions.

Reading was big in our house as I was growing up.  Television time was metered and we were required to be in our rooms after school and before supper doing homework, doing reading, practising guitar, etc. for a certain time each day.  Every Friday when my mother would go shopping, she would buy two comic books for my brother and me.  One was Superman and the other was Batman and we’d both read both.  Reading was super important to her and her logic was that any reading is good reading.  Every two weeks, she would take us to the public library and we’d book out the limit of two books to enjoy.  It didn’t take long to go through the entire list of Zane Grey and Earl Derr Biggers and we’d have to dig a little deeper.  I’ll admit that many were chosen by the cover and not all were “good” by my standards.  In high school, I was interested in horror – Vincent Price seemed to have a new movie every week and Edgar Allen Poe wrote about horror that made you think.  We had an awesome librarian who took the time to understand our preferences and would always offer suggestions.

Then, it was off to university and again, reading habits changed.  There was a great deal of reading, to be sure, but it was related to the courses I was taking.  I started to enjoy reading about mathematics and also about learning theorists – Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike, etc.  I even took a course titled “The History of Education” to get more into this.  One Christmas, I got a subscription to Games Magazine and I became a collector.  I couldn’t get enough of the stories and, of course, the games.

In my first teaching job, I had the best of teacher-librarians.  He would buy as much as he could and often would hit up the principal for more money when he could.  We expanded the collection of computer-related books in the collection and there was a listing on my blackboard of the new titles to encourage students to check them out.  At the same time, I brought my archive of Games Magazines into the classroom.  They were a favourite among students for a number of reasons; the most satisfying would be when the high flyers would see a puzzle and attempt to turn it into a computer program.

Later, as a computer consultant for the district, reading became an important part of my job.  I needed to stay on top of the software that we were using, trends in the use of technology, reach into all subject areas and grade levels, and prepare for Computer Contact meetings.  Attendees expected to be pushed and so I needed to do my homework.  It was really rewarding work when it helped make for well-received workshops and presentations.  One of the best comments I ever received was that people waited in anticipation not knowing what would be on the agenda.  It was random/abstract, sort of like this blog can be at times.

These days, I still do a great deal of reading, but it’s different.  I enjoy reading blogs and technical articles.  It’s a different type of reading but equally as satisfying for me.  For the most part, it’s digital to me.  There’s so much available just a click or a tap away.  I know, from talking with friends, that there are many who still read recreationally and there are just as many who don’t read at all except to skim the local newspaper.

So, back to Aviva’s original question and I’m going to point my finger directly at standardized testing.  With the importance of school results, it seems to have spawned a whole breed of experts who want to teach students how to read for meaning and understanding.  There is a price to be paid and I think you can see it in a few areas.  We now have reading as a teaching qualification and the whole concept of reading has changed with a focus of improving scores.  Reading for enjoyment is often mentioned in passing but the real focus is improving scores.  Another sad price is the demise of the teacher-librarian in many cases.  Maybe there was a time when the librarian’s raison d’être was checking in and out of books.  Today’s teacher-librarian is so much more.  He/she is the ultimate understander of all curriculum, of all learning styles, of all genres of books/reading (including digital literacies), and more.

But, when a library just becomes a short field trip to grab some books and return to the classroom and not take advantage of everything that’s available, the kids are watching.  If a viable and active library isn’t considered the learning and reading centre of the school, what model for reading is being observed?  Certainly, there’s the paper resources but as schools and districts expand their resources into digital, expertise is needed there as well.

What are your thoughts?

  • Have your personal reading habits changed?
  • Do you have a school library that’s central to all things learning or is it just a repository for books?
  • Do you have a fully qualified teacher-librarian in your school?  If not, is the love of reading still there?
  • What’s the latest thing you’ve read?  (excluding this blog post)
  • Do you think that reading digitally is significantly different from reading a paper book?

Please tell all!

Got an idea for this Sunday series of memories?  Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here they are – hot off the press – and those from Southwest Ontario understand hot.  Great blog posts that I’ve read recently from Ontario Edubloggers.


Pokemon Go and Moral Panic

Andrew Campbell gives us a quick run down of the news stories surrounding this summer’s obsession, Pokemon Go.

But, as he notes…

andrew

I suspect that we won’t have heard the end of it as school starts.  You’ll stumble into all kinds of “good” educational ideas for its use already.  Brace yourself for more.  Then there will be another rash of “power down in the classroom” discussions.

Hopefully, the discussion will end soon and get back focused just on good teaching – with or without the use of technology.

Quite frankly, I’m not holding my breath.


Teacher Identity: It’s Such A Personal Thing

My head was bobbing in agreement with Stephen Hurley’s post.

stephen

As a first year teacher, I wanted to be an amalgam of the best teachers that I had ever had and wanted to distance myself from those who I felt weren’t so good.

Truth be told, over time, I realized that it was really, really hard to be that best teacher.  On the other hand, I got insights into what made the others the way that they were.

So, I eventually ended up being who I was.  Good, bad, ugly, I guess the final evaluation is in the minds of the students that I had.  The nice thing about education is that you get the opportunity for a fresh start every 12 months.  Not many other professions offer that luxury.

As you plan to head back to school, and I know that many of you have already been in to do this and that, give Stephen a read and see if he doesn’t help you with your plans.


Google Forms and Siri Unite For Recording Anecdotals and Classroom Walkthoughs

Brenda Sherry shares a marriage of technology that many might find helpful – using Siri and Google Forms to record anecdotal notes.  It’s complete with instructions and pictures if you’re interested.

brenda

The combination is a natural and her description certainly worked for her.

Like the commenter to the blog though, I had to wonder – what if you have different technologies?  Office 365, Android phones, Windows Phones (yes I know one person who loves his).

So, it was off to experiment here and it worked well with Android and Google Forms, Android and Windows 365.  Windows Phone?  Not available for testing!

Of course, the key is the ability to click into a field expecting text and then the little microphone that’s part of the keyboard.

The other key is a quiet background.


Georgian Bay Sunset at McNab Rocks

This post, by Jessica Outram, brought back great memories from my youth.  Georgian Bay was a popular destination although I never understood the geography well enough to know where “McNab Rocks” is.  But, apparently Google Maps does (if this is indeed them)

If this is true, then we spent most of our time on the other side of the bay!  We were more Lion’s Head people.

Regardless, it’s beautiful and the post comes complete with some wonderful pictures.  It’s a reminder that you don’t have to have a long distance vacation if you’re in Ontario and you’re over the top if you get a chance to go out with the right people.


Crippling with Kindness

Diana Maliszewski has written a hugely powerful post that she’s delayed making public until now.  She’s shared, in the context of working with a blind student, a powerful message.  I never learned this in school.

However, I did learn about it in Scouts.  We were going to make a visit to a Senior’s home and, as Lord Baden-Powell would have us, we needed to “Be Prepared“.

I never needed the skills again until later at university where one of my classmates was blind.  He really resented when someone would just grab him, thinking that they were helping.

Not being there are continuously grabbing the keyboard is a powerful methodology when teaching computer science.  Not everyone “gets it” at the same moment and so are you really helping when you’re quick to inject yourself into the situation?

Diana concludes with her observations and some very good questions of herself, and I would suggest should be asked of everyone.


My Three Measures For Success

I was working on this post this morning when I got notification that Aviva Dunsiger had released a new post.  I wondered – what question is she asking now?

She lists and elaborates on three measures for success for herself.

  • Have students successfully self-regulate so that they are ready and able to learn
  • Meet and/or exceed the Board’s reading benchmarks by the end of Kindergarten
  • Help develop independent problem solvers

As I look at her list, three things come to my mind.

  • These are really ambitious goals – are they realistic?
  • Particularly with the first and last one, how does she plan to measure success?
  • Will she share these measures with the parents of her students?  If she does (although it could be argued that this blog post has done it), will she be accountable to them for results?

It’s good that she’s sharing her thinking and planning with us.  I wish her all the best and do hope that she’s successful.


How To Create a Culturally Responsive Classroom for Refugee & Migrant Students

This post, by Rusul Alrubail, is very appropriately timed as people are thinking about the new class(es) for the fall and what the future might bring.

That future might include some “refugee and migrant students”.

The post has two distinct parts

  • Strategies to try out in the classroom to help create a culturally responsive environment for all students:
  • How to Create A Welcoming Environment in the Classroom:

and there are some wonderful and helpful ideas in there.

I also thinking that the sharing of success stories from the local news media can be helpful.  And, if they aren’t doing enough, create your own success news and distribute your own news releases.

Sadly, there’s an elephant in the room as well as the US election steams ahead.  I shudder all the time as all formal news media, including Canadian ones, seem compelled to cover it.

I’ll look forward to the full release of the interview.


I know that these and other posts have given me a shot for thinking recently.  I hope that they do and that you drop by their blogs and leave a comment.  It will help to encourage the great blogging and thinking efforts.