This Week in Ontario Edublogs

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

Family Reunion

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

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

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

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

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

Fighting Disinformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slice of (Experential) Life

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

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

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

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

Experience Sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 8th, 2022

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

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

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

voiced Radio Show


Google Maps

There were a number of Google Maps stories that I took a look at this morning. I think that this feature will be interesting when it gets rolled out.

Google Street View now shows historical images of locations

I use the historical feature all the time. The latest was to resolve a debate – who did we buy our first digital television from? We know exactly the location but the owner has passed and the location sells flooring now.

The best the two of us could come up with was his first name – Don.

When I got home, I used the history feature to look way back and found the Google Street View image.


As soon as we saw the Turner sign, we both slapped our heads, “of course”. We’d been in there a number of times and learned so much. While that television is gone, there was a part of the sale that remains. He always mounts a digital antenna when he sells digital televisions. It’s amazing how many additional channels are available for free over the air around here.

I’m a fan of the ability to look back in time. One of the things that I do regularly is roll back the image of my old house and see what it was like when Mom and Dad lived there. The people that bought the house did a remodel of it.

One of the articles in this morning’s read that had me really interested was this one.

Google Street View Turns 15: Here are the Most Popular Locations in Canada

From the list of the top five places in Canada that had been viewed in Street View, I remember visiting five of them – in person and through Street View.

  1. CN Tower, Ontario
  2. Horseshoe Falls, Ontario
  3. Casa Loma, Ontario

You’ll have to click through to see the other two! I was surprised that the Parliament Buildings didn’t make the list.

Of the most viewed businesses, I could recall only looking for one.

  1. Kim’s Convenience

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done more. When I’m planning to visit somewhere, I’ll use Street View to help me plan things.

Are there places that you think should have made the list?

One of my favourite activities was inspired by ZeFrank and I did it and blogged about it. Can you believe it was 12 years ago?

Congratulations to Google Maps on its 15th anniversary and millions more innovations. It’s still hard to believe that I’m old enough to remember paper maps from the service station and looking for road signs to take me where I want to go!

Back, way back

Kids today have it so much easier. Going to school, we had one map of the world and we listened or looked in a textbook to see what the world looks like today and also way back in time.

Our choices where definitely limited.

What if we could pick an option like in the Ancient Earth globe?

My recollection of the maps were certainly different from this.

The resource is actually part of a web resource about dinosaurs, which are certainly interesting, but I ended up being fixated on the various images of the globe over time.

But, you don’t have to pick your time at random. What did the earth look like for the first primates? the first land plants? the first shells?

It’s interesting to make the connections with today’s maps overlayed.

You can even zoom in to a particular area of the earth, although not a really close zoom, to compare.

It’s a fascinating resource to explore and is just a click away to use in the class or display on a projector to provoke discussion.

Oh, and the dinosaur collection is amazing too!

An election resource

As we know, we’re about to head into an Ontario election and there is a coalition in place to avoid a federal election until the end of the current term.

Elections have always fascinated me and I will stay up as late as I possible can on election night. It’s not a recent thing but I can remember years and years ago watching election results come in and the results displayed with magic marker on paper. We’ve sure come a long way since then.

Recently, I found this wonderful resource which took up a lot of time just exploring and then doing some editing.

At MapChart, not only is there just a whack of maps but you can edit them online and then download your finalized image.

It’s the “whack of maps” that really impressed the heck out of me and, in particular, the Federal Ridings map has it covered nicely.

Not only do you have entire country but those areas that just fade into oblivion when you look at the full size of Canada are covered. Even little ol’ Essex county is there with the federal electoral ridings. Not only can you see the divisions but there is function to pick and colour a riding to your desire. Of course, you’ll want to download your project and a right click and save as has you covered. The site remaps your right mouse button when your cursor is over an area for a little more functionality.

Sadly, there isn’t anything provincial because that we be so helpful for the upcoming provincial election. However, on the government of Ontario “Maps of Ontario” page, there are links to enough maps to keep you digging for hours.

Country gaming

Like everyone, it seems, I’ve been a little hooked on Wordle and some of its play-a-like applications. It’s kind of neat seeing folks sharing their successes on social media. Some wear their accomplishments like a medal of honour.

I’m just happy to be able to finally get it and if it takes six tries, I’m good with that.

Recently, I ran across Globle and I’m a little obsessed with it at this moment in time. Like I had blogged recently, there are so many countries that I have a rough idea where they are and then there are others that I have no clue.

So, in addition to this being an interesting and fun game, it’s also educational for me. While I do OK with Wordle, this I find challenging. Except for today so that was my inspiration to write AND do a screen capture. I did well today.

The game is simple enough. You type a country into the search box and Globle maps your guess on a globe in one of four colours depending upon how close you get.

As the globe was spinning, France came up front and centre and so that was my first guess. I was totally surprised to see it in dark red indicating that I was really, really close. I’ve never been that close before.

So, could it be Spain? That’s really close. Nope, it was orange so maybe I should be going the other way. I guessed Germany and got it!

I wish that I could say that I have this level of success but I’d be lying.

It’s been a good addition to my thinking in the morning to get my brain working.

I’ve added it to my Wakelet collection of Wordle Clones/Spinoffs..