This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Crickets!

That’s the big sign for me that summer is coming to an end. Around here, they’re doing their thing 24/7.

It’s Thursday morning as I write this and considerably cooler so all the windows and patio doors are open. And, the crickets are chirping in harmony.

Read on for some great posts from Ontario Edubloggers.


L is for Light

Lynn Thomas was a special guest host on This Week in Ontario Edublogs on voicEd Radio this week. We had a great discussion with her and then dug into this post from her.

As regular readers know, Lynn is working her way through the alphabet on her blog and is up to L. She saw that as light and took a shine to the various phases of an educator’s day.

As you read it, I’m sure that you’ll empathize with just how long an educator’s day can be.

The thing about daylight made me smile as a former football coach. When you start football season, daylight isn’t an issue. But, towards the end of the season, you’re playing under the lights.


A Guy Walks into a Bar

This post from The Beast was a very difficult one to include. It’s a hard post to read with a sharing about privilege that will make you stop and think. It’s even harder to read when you do recognize and admit to your own privilege.

I recognize my own and it’s all the clearer when you go through inspection before boarding a flight. I almost felt relief when I was pulled aside and patted down going through security in Phoenix. I looked over my shoulder and saw the “area of concern” which was in my hip pocket. It was my new wallet that has RFID protection and that messed with the scanning device.

Back to the post, I think that you can’t help but feel empathy as part of this discussion that indeed takes place in a bar. If you’re like me, reading the post once doesn’t do it justice.

I wonder if educators are more sensitive to things as we’re paid to observe and to try and level the playing field.

Nothing, and I mean nothing works people up into their defense mode like a big ol’ chat about their place in the world and how hard they had to work for it so therefore they do not have privilege but rather they have earned everything that has ever happened to them


Further Reflections after Faith in the System Podcast

For all the blogging that I’ve done, I don’t know that I could write something as eye opening and candidly honest as Diana Maliszewski does in this post.

It was a personal reflection after having appeared on the voicEd radio show “Faith in the System”. In the podcast, Diana opens up and shares her thoughts about her own faith and devotion to her religion. The post also includes photos of younger Diana which I’d never seen before.

I’ve known Diana for a number of years and I know many things about her professionally. I was astounded by the number of things that she said that she wish she’d said on the show.

  • Teacher Librarian integrating technology
  • her teaching schedule
  • maker culture vs maker movement
  • Minecraft
  • her children

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a conversation with her that didn’t include one or more of these topics. I can’t believe that she didn’t mention them on the show.

But, what she did focus on is included in this rather lengthy post and I now know far more about the life of Diana than I did before reading it.


TMB Withdrawal

I’ve been waiting to read about and see the pictures from the Climb for Kids. Heather Swail and Paul McGuire participated in and it was Heather that was first to the gate with the images.

This post is more than just a collection of pictures from the climb through the Alps which I kind of expected.

Instead, she shares the story of long days, steep climbs, comradery, and a bonding with not only the mountain and the climb but with those she was climbing with.

Her descriptions that go along with the pictures are rich.

Sharp, powerful joints of rock piercing the sky, massive white-gray glaciers glaring in the sun, velvet-green descents from sky to valley, stitched by rock. I miss the sound of cowbells from far-off and nearby meadows, ascending through trails in the forest with mountain larches caressing your face.

It’s a post that will make you tired just by reading it.


Using Technology to Drive Language Skills and Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities

From the Fair Chance Learning blog, a guest post from Kurtis Hartnell about an experience dealing with Minecraft in a Grade 3 setting. The setting was designed for students in a French Immersion classroom.

That was the wrinkle with this post.

There are many posts that talk of the virtues of collaboration and the amazing things that kids can do with Minecraft. They don’t really catch my attention any more because they are, well, about Minecraft.

That’s not the case here. The students were building Francoville and the post showed the typical engagement that comes from using Minecraft. Then, there’s the lesson for educators. As Kurtis observed, the students not only were immersed in the environments that they were creating, they were immersed in French as the language of conversation. The experience became more than just doing something cool with Minecraft. I was blown away by that notion.

And, there was a loaner 3D printer involved which is always interesting (I can watch them for hours) lent by HP and Fair Chance Learning.

There are also some interesting high resolution pictures of the classroom and kids using the technology. That’s always of interest to me.


How To Self Engineer A Learning Community?

I can still remember when social networking was young. Those that got there first described learning communities as something that was akin to magic. You just needed a Twitter account and miracles happened.

Well, maybe for them. I somehow missed out on the magic part.

I found that, for the long run and durability, for me it was a lot of work. It had promises of being something powerful on one day and turned out to be a massive waste of time the next. For me, I was truly building the ladder as I was climbing it.

I read Rola Tibshirani’s summary and thoughts about a year with students and their journey with great interest. It’s not a short post and the mixed media makes it a bit of a challenge to read. But, it’s worth the effort.

I like the collection of student observations; they add to the message that Rola is delivering. Not only can you see their thoughts working globally, but you get a sense of what it means to them locally.

I’d recommend this post to anyone who is considering working with kids and this social media thing. You’ll find out that it’s far more than just magic happening. It’s hard work, meaningful, and works best when it’s purposeful.


Reckless Abandon!

I had coffee recently with a friend who worked in the IT Department when I was in the Program Department. He had been going through his archives and found a sound file that he had created just for me. He knew that I was a big Law and Order fan, we were using FirstClass for an email system at that time and so he crafted this file as my notification sound.

Now, at the time, the neighbour in the office next to me was Nancy Drew. I always had music playing when I was working; that’s how I work best. My choice of country music wasn’t her favourite and so I did my best to keep it low but every email notification seemed so much louder. Anyway, he got me thinking about my friend Nancy. We’re friends on Facebook and I had read that she had started a blog. Cool! That’s right up my alley.

When I visited it, she has chosen to marry two things she’s quite passionate about – knitting and literacy.

So far, there are a couple of posts about her knitting and a promise of books to come. Let’s give her some blog lovin’ and drop by to read her thoughts and see what she’s making. She claims to be self-taught.


Please take the time to click through and read these posts in their entirety. I think you’ll enjoy what you see.

Then, follow these folks on Twitter.

  • @THOMLYNN101
  • @theBeastEDU
  • @MzMollyTL
  • @FCLEdu
  • @hbswail
  • @rolat

This posting originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

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An interesting graphic utility


I love it when I learn something new and I did this past week. One of the blog posts that was featured on voicEd Radio’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs came from Lynn Thomas.

What I learned, in addition to her fabulous writing, was a new utility for creating engaging graphics. Usually, I’ll use Photoshop or The Gimp of Canva but I’m interested now in Genial.ly. You see, Lynn created and shared this graphic.

I’m one of those people who don’t always include graphics in my posts because, for me, it needs to be meaningful and convey a message to support the message that I’m sharing.

In this case, Lynn was talking about “light” and used this tool to create the graphic above. It really resonated with me and certainly supported the message in her blog post.

It’s on my play around with list and just might be used to create some content for the future. It certainly embeds nicely and easily into WordPress.

Thanks, Lynn.

Climate data


Just in time for back to school with studies about the environment, science, or mathematics, you need to check out this new resource from Canadian Centre for Climate Services (and others).

It’s like everything you ever wanted to know about Canadian Climate but didn’t know where to turn or who to ask.

ClimateData.ca is a climate data portal produced collaboratively by the country’s leading climate organizations and supported, in part, by the Government of Canada. The goal of this portal is to support decision makers across a broad spectrum of sectors and locations by providing the most up to date climate data in easy to use formats and visualizations.

There’s plenty here to fuel your inner need to visualize and understand climate in your location and, well, anywhere else in Canada.

There are a number of different “Training Modules” if you want to start there. That’s not me though. I dove into looking at local climate and poked around and what was there and navigated intuitively. Then, I went back and worked my way through the modules.

Of course, you start at home.

If there’s any question that things are getting warmer, the graphs provided make it painfully clear. I really liked the ability to overlay the data on the province.

If you’re interested in exploring, local and country-wide, this is the place for you. If there were ever any questions about graphics telling a story, this site should solve that for you.

It’s earned a place in my bookmark collection for sure.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


After a short hiatus, the voicEd Radio version of TWIOE was back on the air again this past Wednesday. I feared that I might need to be retrained but it was all good. It was great to have guest host Terry Greene on to share his thoughts.


What’s With All The Sharing?

Terry had recently written this post to his blog so, fortunately, we could talk about his writing with him “in the house”. The article was about a short webinar that he had given talking about three things that he’s been involved with.

  • Open Patchbooks
  • His podcast Gettin’ Air
  • Ontario Extend

Fortunately, he’s shared his slide deck for us to follow. The link is below.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kUWmoGuyjo2fPUSkpQI0pj9_2nzgDwy2Bw4U6EKAj20/edit?usp=sharing

He brought in a discussion about zombies and mountains – you’d got to read it and leaves us with this advice.

You can leave pieces of mountain all over the place via blog post


Interviewing My Domain

During the show, we had a chance to talk to Terry about some of the writing done by members of the Ontario Extend initiative and the first one came from Irene Stewart.

Irene interviews her domain for this post. What an interesting premise. Part of the Ontario Extend project was registering and developing a domain. So, this coffee drinker went this route.

It’s an interesting interview. I enjoyed it and learn a bit more about how she feels about the concept. I think many of us have our own domains; I know that mine redirects to a Google Site. I used to develop it on my own server but found that doing updates for security got a bit tedious and so my approach is to have the name as a portal to the things that I’m doing. Irene does the same thing.

While owning one’s domain is a smart thing to do, I always wonder about those who let their domain go stale and perhaps not apply updates. It’s easy enough to get hacked if that’s the case. Plus, you also need to make sure that you re-register so that someone doesn’t nip in and hijack your domain because you neglected it.

It’s more of a concern to serious and popular domains; I can’t imagine anyone wanting to hijack mine.


So Why SoTL?

On of the Ontario Extends activities was to get involved with SoTL. It was something that was new to me and Terry shared this link. A short video helps with the explanation.

Jessica O’Reilly uses this post to reflect upon her own approach to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Right from the first time I found myself in front of a classroom, I knew I needed to conduct research in education. Teaching and learning are incredibly complex activities, and as a twenty-something TA flung in front of a group of undergraduates, I was acutely aware of how little I knew about all of it.

If you’re an educator, chances are you’re nodding in agreement with her statement. What did you do about it?

Jessica is turning her concerns into a doctorate at Athabasca.

How’s that for commitment?

As an aside, Jessica brought back a term that I hadn’t heard in years – SCORM.


Social Media- What is it good for?

Well, Beth Lyons, that’s a million dollar question.

In fact, if there are a million people asked that question, you might get a million different answers. One topic that has been the focus of this discussion this summer is the concept of an #educelebrity. I shared my thoughts about it recently on this blog and Beth shares hers in this post.

She takes a reasoned approach and I found myself agreeing with her on so many of the points she makes.

She does identify a personal call to action that’s good advice for everyone.

  • Becoming intentional about who she follows
  • Make a list of what she can control and what she can’t
  • Question those she follows

It’s a much better approach than getting into a war of words over topics because, after all,


Day 3: Relax

Teachers have it so easy. Two months off.

It’s a time to relax but this post from Lisa Corbett describes a summer life that’s anything but.

Before I had children I was really good at relaxing

Could we agree that perhaps relaxing in the eyes of a teacher is just a different type of hectic? Except that you have better control of the timing of events throughout the day.

For many, the enjoyment of reading can be the relaxing activity that they crave and Lisa does indicates that she had a stack of summer reading. In the comments, it’s interesting to note that some of the reading includes professional reading.

I had to think of a Star Trek episode when Scotty chose technical manuals as a recreational activity!


A Lot More Good …

I don’t know about you but whenever I pass a police car or truck, I get this tightness in my chest and my eyes immediately drop to look at the speedometer of my vehicle hoping that I hadn’t exceeded the speed limit.

Certainly that’s part of their duties but this post from Aviva Dunsiger lets you know that there are other things too.

From her summer camp, one of the campers was destroyed that someone had stolen his and his mother’s bicycle. I know when I was that age, that was my primary form of transportation.

The camper wrote a letter to Hamilton-Wentworth police describing the bicycles. You just have to know that a teacher is involved. You also just have to know that Aviva would document it with social media.

But, you’ll have to read Aviva’s post to see how this unfortunate event ends.


Help! My child wants a YouTube channel

My son wanted one too and just went ahead and created it. He also contributed to channels for television shows that he worked on. My child is a big kid so he’s allowed to make decisions on his own.

What happens when they’re younger? That’s the focus of this post from Jennifer Casa-Todd. My first reaction was that the parent should be relieved that they got the question and that the child just didn’t go ahead without permission or guidance. After all, social media cred is important these days and YouTube can be that facilitator. Also, we need to recognize that in these days of privacy concerns and shows like Fail Army that people attempt to have the loudest voices and most outrageous content to try and get that cred.

That comes with all kinds of potential problems.

Jennifer does provide a thoughtful guide and approach that should focus the discussion to practical concerns and planning for a child looking to develop that channel. Like much Social Media, it can also suffer an early death if not maintained and interests turn to other things.


Please take some time to click through and read all of these wonderful posts from Ontario Edubloggers.

Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @greeneterry
  • @IrenequStewart
  • @Cambrian_Jess
  • @LisaCorbett0261
  • @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • @avivaloca
  • @jcasatodd

This post is an original feature on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s still summer time and reading blogs is a nice break from the heat. Check out some of the things that I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers lately


Why Summer is a Perfect Time for Reflection

Summer is an interesting beast. Even when you go into your favourite stores, there’s no guarantee that it’s business as usual. Your favourite workers may not be there and instead are away on holiday.

Of course, as Sue Dunlop notes, don’t drop into a school and look for the regular crew.

They’re away doing things that aren’t connected to specific time slots and specific places. They’re on their own time and in their own place. Sue points out some great reasons why this “break from the bell” makes it a perfect time to reflect.

It’s not advice for others – she’s doing a bit of reflection on her own.


Experiment of The Week – Homemade Projector by Steve Spangler

After you’re done reflecting and you want to create something, the STAO blog has this little gem.

How about creating your own projector?

Is this a project for your makerspace in the future?


ETFO Innovate 2019

I really enjoy reading conference reports and this one from Shelly Vohra is no difference.

Lots of activities and learning seemed to be the theme coming from her in the post. She provides a complete and detailed report on her various activities.

Of real interest was a quote that she attributes to Debbie Donsky (see my interview with Debbie here) about her keynote. It surrounds the word Ubuntu. It’s a philosophy on many levels – including an operating system! But, its roots go back to connecting people…

She also talked about the term “Ubuntu” –  “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” How are we sharing in a way that connects us all? How are we leading and connecting from the heart?

Doesn’t that describe the human teaching condition?


Tour de Mont Blanc – Day Eight for Climb for Kids

Paul McGuire may be on the other side of the Atlantic climbing for kids but if you’re connected to Paul, you’ve been seeing some spectacular pictures of his summer adventure.

So far, he’s provided one blog post of “how I spent my summer holidays” and check out the scenery.

On top of this, he’s raising money for kids. Talk about the best of both worlds.


Friday Two Cents: Honour Our Past To Understand Our Present

Like Paul Gauchi, one of my favourite places to visit while in Ottawa is the Canadian War Museum. Even visiting the local cenotaph can be a humbling experience.

I attribute it to a vet that I had as a teacher. He walked with a permanent limp and would often share personal stories when there were those 10-15 minutes of dead time at the the end of class.

Sadly, there are fewer and fewer people who have this sort of experience and memories. The Museum helps ensure that we continue to remember and to honour.

Yet I say, “To truly understand our present we must first understand our past”; the good, bad and ugly sides. I cannot tell you how many adults do not know or understand the current Canadian issues that we face today, started many years if not decades ago. But they keep on complaining and in my opinion whining about these issues without knowing the history of them.


Have you ever put a tooth in the microwave?

Well, Anne-Marie Kee, no I haven’t. Although now that I’ve read the title to this post, I am curious…

tldr; You won’t find the answer in this post.

However, you will find a summer reflection from a principal. In a private school, in addition to the sorts of things that you might expect anywhere, there are additional things to think about. Concerns about sustainability would be among them although that appears to be under control.

The final thought is something that I think so many are thinking and wondering about this summer. It’s important and the answer might make for a better school year.

How can we prioritize student voice in our programs?


Highlights of the National Association of Media Literacy Educators Conference

Finally, from the Association for Media Literacy blog, another conference summary and reflect by Neil Andersen.

Wow!

What a collection of sessions that he shares some notes and thinking about.

  • Teaching About Genocide Through A Media Literacy Frame • Jad Melki
  • Refugees creating documentaries in Greece using visual ethnography • Evanna Ratner
  • Eco Media Literacy • Antonio Lopez
  • Criminal minds and Looney Tunes: portrayals of mental illness and therapy on television
  • Pushing against online hate: MediaSmarts • Kara Brisson-Boivin
  • Media Literacy Pedagogical Practices With Children: Engagement, Learning And Home-School Community Knowledge Exchange • Vitor Tomé
  • Critiquing advertisements with teens and their families: video literacy intervention in Jamaica • Rachel Powell
  • The United States Institute of Peace Thinktank
  • Visualizing Media Literacy • Theresa Redmond
  • On The Air: Elementary Student Adventures In Podcasting And Radio Broadcasting • Diana Maliszewski
  • What Does The Internet Know About You? • Julie Nilsson Smith
  • Panel: Media Literacy And The Tech Industry: Exploring Collaborative Ways To Navigate Rapid Technological Growth
  • Panel: Trust, Journalism, And Media Literacy
  • The Future Of Media Literacy Requires Starting Early: “Ulla” The Little Owl In Kindergarten • Eveline Hipeli
  • Media Literacy Across The Pacific: What’s Happening In Australia • Amy Nelson

I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all of these posts at their original source. There’s great thinking there.

Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

  • @Dunlop_Sue
  • @staoapso
  • @raspberryberet3
  • @mcguirp
  • @PCMalteseFalcon
  • @AMKeeLCS
  • @mediasee

This is part of a regular Friday feature here. It was originally posted to

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Happy Civic Holiday


Of course, the first Monday in August is important. It’s the Civic Holiday here in Ontario. I was surprised to learn yesterday that a family member actually has to work.

It’s a holiday in many places, with many names, and many reasons!

From the Holiday Calendar website

Who knew?

No matter where you are, enjoy the 5th.

Real time fact checking


and sometimes the day after too.

I find it so strange to think that there was a time when I didn’t have a laptop next to me while watching television – even if it is to check the facts on whatever show I happen to be watching.

It happened at least twice that I can recall this past week. These are a pair of our favourite can’t miss shows.

Fool Us

This is an interesting premise. Magicians come and perform a magic trick in front of Penn and Teller. The idea, of course, is to fool them. I’ll admit that they all fool me.

At the end of the act, feedback is given to the magician but professional courtesy goes beyond just saying “You didn’t fool us”. Penn and Teller have to explain how the trick is done to prove that they weren’t fooled. Of course, they don’t want to give away too much.

This week, there was one magician who I thought had done a terrific job and Penn asked the magician if Leonard Green meant anything to him. It did and proved that Penn knew his stuff. Truth be told, I heard “Leonard Green” but it turned out to be Lennart Green. There are lots of interesting articles available but check this out – a TED talk by Mr. Green!

Watch it. It will be the best 30 minutes you spend today. Especially, the last of the talk with the tin foil! If you know how he did it, please share.

Still Standing

Jonny Harris is amazing. The idea behind this show is to visit communities in Canada that have come across hard times and are on the rebound.

This past week, Jonny was in a community named Bamfield, British Columbia (actually it was a rerun but still great to watch). It could have been just about any other community with less than 200 people except for one difference – there’s an inlet dividing the town into a west and an east. It’s one of those things where you “can’t get there from here”.

So, I’m sitting and wondering – really?

He made this up.

Grab the laptop and launch Google Maps and do a search.

Son of a gun.

Zoom in and out as I might, there is no road across or around!

I needed a second opinion and so look in OpenStreetMap. Maybe crowd sourcing does a better job than Google.

Nope. Now, there are roads on both sides of Bamfield and the show reveals the only other solution to getting across that inlet.

So, what did people do before fact checking and computers for television shows? I’m guessing that they just denied things and claim that they were just made up!

And yet, today, I can honestly say that I learned a couple of new things. Does it get any better than that?