This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Good Friday morning.

Why not get a little smarter by reading some of these blog posts from great Ontario Edubloggers?


If Ever There Was A Time….

It’s the spring of the year, and under normal conditions, things would be ramping up towards graduation celebrations in schools. In this post from Sue Bruyns, she reflects on what it might look like for Grade 8 students. It’s a big deal to move from Grade 8 to Grade 9.

That’s not the only graduations that happen in our schools though. There’s kindergarten graduations as they move to Grade 1. Grade 12 students moving to whatever is next for them. Colleges and universities graduate students from there as well. And, quite frankly, there’s a sense of celebration at the end of any grade level as students move on to the next.

Depending upon the school, Sue describes a range of ways that formal celebrations take place. Even in Sue’s district there are a number of different types of celebrations, often based on history and also economics. Another set of big events are the big school trip as well.

So, Sue wonders if this is the opportunity for school districts to sit back and consider just what is happening at this time of year. Is it time to change the “business as usual” format to something more consistent. It’s an interesting look and topic to consider. I’m sure that Sue would appreciate hearing from you and what’s happening in your school.


Still Making an Impact- Even from Home

In many classrooms, things are quite different and often teachers and students are learning from day to day. I’ve heard reports from some teachers that there are students who aren’t checking in as often as they might. I heard it first hand from a couple of kids that dropped by for a patio visit “We didn’t do anything … it’s boring!”

Noa Daniel has long used this very sophisticated approach for students doing their research and presenting results to classmates. This year, the focus is on the 17 Sustainable Goals. Since we live in different times, the regular face-to-face mode just won’t happen. Instead, elements of this might well be face-to-Zoom. They’re going to experience first hand what it looks like to present to the audience in this different mode!

The other thing that is apparent when you try to visualize this is that is not a short term event. There are many different things that are happening here and a student shouldn’t want to miss a step along the way. Noa’s approach has always intrigued me; it will be interesting to see how it plays out in today’s reality.

In addition to all of the planning that Noa shares, she includes a nice collection of student observations. They get it.


Tying The Room Together

Terry Greene’s post is an opportunity for his to tie together a couple of posts he’s addressed in the recent past.

What impresses me about this post and the two previous ones is Terry’s focus on providing opportunities for students to share their voice.

It’s not something that we normally associate with higher education. I know that my own experience was rewarding but in a different, more traditional way.

As you work your way through Terry’s post, you’ll note all kinds of links to supporting documents and observations/recordings.

If you follow one link, I’d suggest this one to a slidedeck.

Here are the slides again from the session. The simple goal was to talk a bit about the who, what, when, where, why, how of it all and then to do it for real in a mini-interview from start to finish with the same mini-interviews we used in the Ideate session so that attendees could see it happen live.


Love in the time of COVID-19

You know, my heart goes out to Heather Swail. She’s been very open about the things that have happened this year, her last year, in education. First there was all the work stoppages and now the whole teaching at home thing.

I follow Paul McGuire on Instagram and lately he’s been posting pictures of their walks showing off the empty streets. It looks lonely, sad, and yet very artistic.

Back to Heather, this is a heart-warming post describing how she celebrated a birthday, a very special birthday. Head over to read how she celebrated the event and some of the unique gifts that she received.

And while you’re there – wish her a Happy Birthday.


Animal Crossing New Horizons – Popularity and Possibilities

From Diana Maliszewski, a rather long blog post but it’s OK because she posted it to three of the blogs that she contributes to.

Never having played the game, I found her post and description both engaging and intriguing. She calls the use of the game as cross-generational in its appeal. I was quite impressed with the 3D representation and lifelike depiction of characters in the game. It’s a long way, at least in appearance, from Minecraft, her previous love.

Of real interest to me was her observation about the values that are conveyed via the environment.

What does it mean to be a good citizen? This message is shared in so many ways in ACNH. Good citizens pick up litter, like fallen branches. They chat with their neighbours and bring them medicine when they are sick. They are active and wander the island. They donate items to the museum. They contribute to the prosperity of the island by buying and selling items from regular vendors (Timmy and Tommy, the Able Sisters) as well as visiting salespeople (CJ, Flick, Leif, Kicks, and even “shifty” characters like Redd the Fox who sells authentic and fake pieces of art). 

I think any activities, even games that engage, and can work values into themselves should deserve a second look.


Overwhelming Resources

Right now, you can see organizations and people with websites publishing lists of resources for classroom use during learning at home initiatives.

Quite often, little thought goes into the curation of these. Here’s a link, here’s a link, here’s another link, … I addressed the concept of privacy of email addresses in a product (Private Relay) under development by Mozilla in my blog post yesterday.

Michelle Fenn’s post on the Heart and Art Blog took me back to the days when I evaluated and shared resources with my colleagues for a living. It’s not a copy/paste activity. There are so many things that you really should consider before your recommend others use it and have them used with children. Privacy, cost, longevity, and much more. Michelle has a list of 10 things that people need to consider while evaluating a resource.

I would add one point that I always argued strongly when I was on the OSAPAC Committee and that the language needs to be Canadian with Canadian spelling. I strongly objected to recommending a product that would have a student sit down and be faced with text written in another language.

I really like that Michelle considers Canadian software developers first (which should but doesn’t always result in Canadian spelling) and importantly that any information is stored on servers in Canada.


How to Edit Auto-Generated Captions in YouTube

Jen Giffen got a request from Noa Daniel about how to turn on captions in a YouTube video. I thought that it might be helpful to others to know how it’s done and so brought it forward here.

It’s a short video with a whoops to prove that Jen is indeed human but will step you through the process.


Don’t you feel smarter now?

I hope that you clicked through and enjoyed the posts and learned a little something in the process.

Now, make sure you follow these great folks on Twitter.

  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Terry Greene – @greeneterry
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Diana Maliszewski – @mzmollytl
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Jen Giffen – @VirtualGiff

This post appears on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

If you need a break


and who doesn’t these days? Sometimes, it’s just nice to fire up a game on the computer. The programmers at Google have been great providers of distractions for a long time.

When I find them, I’ll often give them a play. At times, perhaps maybe too much. It can be an obsession and at other times, it can be a quick diversion.

For today, I thought that I’d share a few of my favourites.

Rubik’s Cube

For the longest time, you couldn’t just go into a department store and get one. They were always sold out. I finally got one as a gift from my aunt. After an infuriating start, I learned that the stickers were well glued on! It became the toy that you’d pick up when bored and it passed the time on long rides in the car. I did solve it at one time and resolved that I would never play again – until Google put it on its landing page.

Use the Front, Left, Right, Back, Up, Down, X, Y, Z keys for movement and the SHIFT key for the direction.


Crossword Puzzle

Who doesn’t like a good Crossword Puzzle?

Try to solve this one – Google style. This Doodle was created to celebrate 100 Years of Crossword Puzzles.


Pac-Man

This game was big. It seemed like it was everywhere – pool hall, arena, drug store, almost anywhere with an electrical outlet.

It was also available for sale as a very popular game going way back. It was also the inspiration for game writing in computer science class. As long as you could peek into a memory location, see what was there, and then make a move depending on that, you were good to go.

So, if you’re looking for a bit of digital recreation, give these a try. Not for too long though, you’ve got other things to do.

This grouping is ok


This type of social grouping is a good thing!

Life for me was so simple long ago on the web when the concept of tabs hadn’t been invented. One window, one website was the norm.

Then comes along the ability to have tabs in the browser and I jumped at the opportunity. And, if two tabs are good, then twenty must be better. Before long, it was like my elementary school principal used to call “a dog’s breakfast”. I never understood the concept then because we only fed our dog once a day, after supper.

I came to understand it as meaning a mess and it does truly describe the top of my screen at times.

My primary window right now…

On the other monitor, I have even more as I work on my Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” post.

With tab development, we kind of got a break when we could pin tabs but even then, it gets difficult and it can be hard to tell tabs apart – especially when you have so many the browser shrinks the tab to fit them into the space on your monitor. Thank goodness for favicons. Things that I use all the time get pinned and the rest just sort of evolves until I can’t find anything and I’m forced to close some or use the OneTab extension to tuck them away.

With the release of Google Chrome 81 comes another formal option – creating tab groups. So, for example, I have a number of email accounts that I monitor – I could group them all together into one group called email.

The process is relatively simple. To get started, click on a tab and “Add to new group” or “Add to existing group”.

You can give it a colour and a name if you wish…

In addition to my email group, I’ll have a group especially for the reading sites that I use.

I could see, perhaps, grouping popular tabs by subject area. I guess you’re only limited by imagination.

I’m going to give it a shot for a while on Chrome and see what happens. Maybe it will make me more efficient or productive. Or maybe I’ll get confused as to where things are. Who knows?

Look for this feature to be replicated in other browsers if it catches on.

10 years ago


Over the weekend, my friend Zoe Branigan-Pipe (@zbpipe on Twitter) kind of stirred the pot with these Twitter messages.

Zoe includes a link to her blog that features an inspiration from Megan Palevich and a blog post that she had written – https://middleschool101.edublogs.org/2010/03/21/a-walk-down-memory-lane-with-google-street-view/

It was interesting to see the people respond to Zoe’s provocation.

Heidi Siwak hasn’t jumped in yet but her content always is grounded in a sense of reality and research.

Colin Jagoe jumped in with memories about his blog and domains that he’s registered and continues to make payment on.

Rodd Lucier shared some of his enduring wisdom “We are smarter than me”. Rodd was so supportive of eLearning and getting connected to learn at the time.

Danika Barker reminded us of her TED talk.

The comments that ensued really rang true. We were inventing the future as we were experimenting with it. It wasn’t widely accepted; I remember bringing it up at a meeting and a person from IT poo-pooed it saying that she didn’t want to see a picture of what I had for lunch.

But we endured and here we are today. I suspect that all of us, regardless of where we are now, admit openly to continue to be learners. And, to that end, Rodd absolutely nailed it.

In the post, Zoe actually made a reference to a post on this blog that I visit periodically – My Childhood Community. It was essentially a wander around my home town, snapping images from Google Streetview and putting them together into a blog post. Again, as Rodd says, “we succeeded with storytelling”.

As I do so often in this blog, I’ll write a post about software or an idea and then demonstrate how I used it. CIESC friends will know that these ideas often turned into workshops.

I was inspired to do this thanks to another member of my learning network, ZeFrank.

I think Zoe’s inspiration has a place today as people look to meaningful activities that can be accomplished online. Why not have students create a report of their own community, either now or then? Speaking of now or then, Google Streetview has evolved so much since 2010. Multiple pictures of the same location are available just by rolling back the Streetview clock.

Just went did it become Kim’s Convenience anyway?

Or maybe take a tip from Megan’s activity and ask grandma and grandpa a question when you’re doing an online video conference with them?

Sure, you can just go online and ask for an image of the CN Tower or Kim’s Convenience but that’s a pretty straight forward idea. Why not head to Streetview and see what else is around any location and build that complete story?

Thanks, Zoe, for stirring things up.

Another A-Z


I’ve been a long time fan of the work that Peter Beens (@pbeens on Twitter) has done in keeping tabs of everything Google. It goes way back to a post from 2012.

Google A-Z

Sadly, Peter has had a bit of a challenge from Google itself keeping the document online. But he describes it as a labour of love and, as of the writing of this post, it’s online for all to use here.

I had to smile on behalf of Peter when I read that Google has created its own A-Z list! This list is devoted to Artificial Intelligence.

Like Peter’s list, it’s a great reference to bookmark and stay on top of.

Maybe Peter will even add it to his list of Google resources!

You can check it out at this link.