Ontario Twitter Royalty


It has come to my attention that there were some people left off the invitation list to the Royal Wedding today – the Ontario Twitter Royalty! These folks are loyal Twitter subjects and I’ve caught them on my Twitter stream the past day.  Indeed this auspicious group should be there.

I’m sure that it’s just an oversight, but the list should have included the following.

  • Dame Tracie Duckworth Edwardton of Windsorpool
  • Lady Safina Musgrave Nooranicott of Auroraton
  • Marquess Marc Astrup Lijourcock of Torontoburgh
  • Duchess Sonia Duckworth Ellis-Sequincott of Ontariopool
  • Earl Colin Heston Harriscott of Richmond Hillburgh
  • Princess Carole Ticky Morrissetteton of Canadaton
  • HM Queen Aviva Duckworth Dunsingercock of Ancasterport
  • Earl Ken Fergus Whytockberton of Drumboshire
  • Marchioness Joan Tildsley Vinall-Coxberton of Oakvilleham
  • Marquess Aaron Waddington Puleyberton of Hamiltonport
  • Duchess Heather Lulu Yearwoodberton of Canadaport
  • Lady Cyndie Calthorpe Jacobsskitt of Torontoford
  • Lady Zoe Prudence Branigan-Pipecock of Hamiltonshire
  • Marquess Kevin Astrup Merkleycott of Markhamshire
  • Duke Ben Bertie Hazzardberton of Sarniashire
  • Baron Daniel Fearnsley Beylerianham of Ontarioshire
  • Marquess John Fearnsley Rampeltberton of Waterloobury
  • Marchioness Tina Ticky Giannopoulosham of Waterlooford
  • Duke Andrew Griff Forgraveton of Bellevillepool
  • HM King Dave Fergus Lanovazberton of Stirlingpool
  • Marquess Euen Heston Connorcock of Kitchenerham
  • Prince Nathan Crispin Toftskitt of Ottawaburgh
  • Dame Brenda Ticky Sherryberton of Guelphford
  • Duke Peter Fergus McAshham of St. Mary’sham
  • Princess Alana Musgrave Callanham of Peterboroughport
  • Prince Kent Twicklethorpe Manningberton of Bellevilleford
  • Duke Jeff Waddington Pelichberton of Kitchenerbury
  • Lord Yves Fergus Mainvilleberton of Ontariobury
  • Earl Ron Griff Millarcock of Kitchenershire
  • HM King Peter Fearnsley Beensberton of Niagara Fallspool
  • Princess Julie Eugenia Johnsonham of Barriepool
  • Countess Danika Calthorpe Barkerberton of Londonbury
  • Baroness Kelly Pippa Powerskitt of Windsorshire
  • Duchess Michelle Duckworth Lachinecott of Belle Riverburgh
  • Duchess Shannon Pippa Hazelberton of Windsorshire
  • Lord Doug Fearnsley Sadlerham of Windsorburgh
  • Princess Rebecca Tildsley Grimesham of Ontarioshire
  • Marchioness Janine Calthorpe Murrayton of Ontarioburgh
  • Baroness Teresa Lulu Kellyskitt of Torontoshire
  • Lady Fran Musgrave Harrisonton of Eastern Ontarioford
  • Lord Royan Twicklethorpe Leecock of Richmond Hillport
  • Lady Sylvia Ticky Duckworthham of Ontariobury
  • Marquess Colin Jeeves Jagoecott of Brightonburgh
  • HM King Peter Twicklethorpe Skillenton of Torontoport

— Lord Doug Fergus Petersonberton of Amherstburgbury

Names courtesy of E! Online’s Royal Name Generator

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was another great week of reading from Ontario Educators commenting on educational issues from their perspective.  I hope that you take the opportunity to read them regularly.  There is such great and inspiring content.  Here’s what I found particularly interesting.

From K-12 Educators
Stevan McCallum at Prospero’s Desk found a use for Storify.  I had used it earlier to restore the tweets from the Titanic reenactment.  In this case, the Grade 12U English students are using Twitter as they study The Handmaid’s Tale.  What a great use of Twitter to share their learnings and even better to use Storify to put them back together.

Scroll down and you can download the details of the assignment as well as the rubric outlining the TACK used to assess the assignment.

From Trustees and Higher Education
By the way, this is a category where we need more participants.  Please pass along the word.  There are equally as good relevant thoughts from that area as well.  This week, the timing was perfect for Robert Hunking to share his thoughts about whether there should be a time and place for educators NOT to blog.

I say that the timing is right given the advisory from the Ontario College of Teachers and the Press Release from the Ontario Educational Computing Organization of Ontario.

From Principals, Vice-Principals and Administrators
I was very anxiously awaiting this posting from Mark Carbone with respect to the above reference to the advisory from the Ontario College of Teachers.  Mark attended the live presentation hosted by OCT.  I felt sorry for Mark because he is an outspoken supporter of using Facebook appropriately with students in his district.  It’s one of the very few that have unblocked access to this service in order to use it as an educational tool.  He shared his thoughs about the OCT presentation.

From Consultants and SATs
Colleague Shelley Pike and her partner as special assignment teachers as mathematics coaches and I really like the openness and transparency in this post.  Shelley and Andrea are challenged to come up with an idea of what the Success Criteria would be in a particular lesson that they’re using.  They’re admitting to hitting the wall and are looking for some ideas.  This would be an awesome opportunity to help out if you can.

But don’t stop at these.  There are more great readings to be accessed at the LiveBinders site here.  Or, if you’re reading with a device that supports QR Codes, take a picture of this:

and navigate through the site.  As always, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger and want to be included, go to the LiveBinder site and add yourself and the URL to your blog.

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Thank You–Milestone


Yesterday, around noon, I checked into the blog to see if there were any comments that needed addressing and noted that the counter read…

99999

Now, that’s kind of cool. According to the documentation, WordPress doesn’t count your own visits. I decided to test that assertion and refresh the page and the number stayed at 99,999.  So, that makes it even cooler.  I wish I had a horn.  You see, math nerd that I am, I’ve always delighted in catching the odometer of the car when it reads a palindrome and just give the horn a little toot.  I know, I know, … but I’ll bet you have your quirks too.

There really wasn’t anything to do with the blog so I did a couple of other things and then checked back in before I left to see…

100011

I wonder if people checked in during lunch or something.

But, you’ll recall that I do have Feedjit on the blog so I should be able to figure out who number 100,000 was.  Counting backwards, it seems to have been.

image1

So, thanks to whoever has an IP address from Albany for dropping in.

Now, I know that that number doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things.  But, it still is a bit of a milestone for me.  I’ve often been asked who the inspiration is for my blogging style.  At the risk of dating myself, I’d like to think it was the great Jerry Pournelle who used to write for Byte Magazine about things that came from Chaos Manor.  I remember someone once described Dr. Pournelle as someone “who could never get anything to work the first time”.  But, he would stick to it in his story and described how he got it to work and then what he did with it.  I love his sense of transparency and have tried to do that sort of thing in my own writing.  After all, if something is going to be useful with a bit of work, why should everyone have to go through the same processes?

I am truly humbled that there have been this many visitors and that so many of you are regulars.  While I don’t think that the goal of an amateur online contributor is in the numbers, there is a good feeling that my efforts have not gone for naught.  So, please accept my sincere thanks for dropping by.

A Tale of Two Press Releases


It was earlier this month that the Ontario College of Teachers released an advisory entitled "Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media" accompanied by a YouTube video that delved into some of the issues.  The main stream media was all over it immediately with headlines like:

  • Teachers told not to "friend" students on Facebook
  • Ontario teachers advised to avoid students on Net
  • Report advises Ontario teachers not to interact with their students on Facebook

The media just couldn’t get these stories out quickly enough.  While the advisory was full of good advice, the reports elected to focus on things that might go wrong.  I had more than one person who felt their profession marginalized by the news reports.  As I blogged at the time, this didn’t come out of the blue.  Technology conferences like the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario’s annual event and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation’s Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century have very actively been working with members to get the best use of the available technologies.

In fact, with the exception of preparing and writing standardized tests, teachers are encouraged and supported in their efforts to differentiate instruction for students and to use the best possible tools available.  For many teachers, research, writing, publishing, problem solving, critical thinking, editing, and so much more can be enhanced with the appropriate use of technology in safe ways.  Unfortunately, these types of things didn’t make the report.

Today, the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario issued a press release of its own.  "ECOO Encourages Responsible Use of Social Media".  This release doesn’t talk about the "other side" of the story.  It explains, just like the OCT advisory, that social media can be used very powerfully.  In the news release, ECOO’s president, Bill MacKenzie speaks on behalf of his organization:

ECOO believes that students need help learning how to navigate, evaluate, and effectively use technologies safely and appropriately. “Not all students are ‘digital natives’ with the innate ability to navigate these new technologies effortlessly,” says MacKenzie. “Our teachers have a responsibility to lead by example, demonstrating and teaching the appropriate use of technology and social media.” 

So, I went about looking for media coverage of the ECOO News Release.  I couldn’t find a thing as of the time of this writing.  If anyone does find reference to it, please let me know in the comments below.

Fortunately, the Ontario Curriculum does include Media Literacy as a topic.  What a great comparison of what makes it to the media and what doesn’t.  Fortunately, we do have paper.li for web publishing.  It may end up there.

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Debating


Every afternoon, I get a chance to see what the mind of Stephen Downes is up to.  I subscribed to his OLDaily and I admit to reading it daily.  There are a couple of reasons – first Stephen periodically drops by this blog and rather than comment here, he comments in the Daily – secondly, it’s just darned interesting material.  If you’re an educator, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see if it fits your needs.

This afternoon, there was an article that really piqued my interest.

Feature Article
Should OER favour commercial use?
Stephen Downes, April 18, 2011.

I have begun engagement in an 11-day long pseudo-Oxford style debate at the WSIS-UNESCO online community. The question at hand is "Should OER favour commercial use?" and I – not surprisingly – have weighed in on the contrary. The protagonist is David Wiley, who has been well known for his support of commercial licensing of OERs over the years. Wayne Mackintosh of WikiEducator is moderating. The debate site is here

There were actually two things here that drew me into the article. First, I am very interested in Open Educational Resources.  I do think that some form of this will be required to sustain courses as we move more and more online and secondly, I sense that commercial producers will be challenged to keep up.  In Ontario, you’ll see example of both.  For example, in Computer Science, you’ll see entire class loads freely available on the web.  But, I also know that there are Computer Science courses written by eLearning Ontario securely sitting behind a login/password.

Secondly, I was interested in the concept of an online debate.  Of all of the activities that we did in English at High School, debating was the one thing that I did reasonably well at.  I’m interested in the debate proper, of course, but also to see if the logistics would work in the classroom.  From what I’ve seen so far, this could be replicated nicely with PBWorks.

So, I clicked over to the WSIS Platform of Communities to see what this was all about.  The debate appears to be scheduled for 11 days.  Once into the debate area, the moderator Wayne Makintosh has given his opening statement as has David Wiley in favour of the resolution and Stephen Downes speaking against.  Since the debate is just getting underway, participants appear to be weighing in with their thoughts entering the debate – FOR-62%; AGAINST-38%.  Stephen has his work cut out for him.

The audience, in addition to voting, have the opportunity to comment on the statements and it’s interesting reading.  So, I figure, I need to be part of this and the instructions are to log in to vote.  Where to login?  Where to login?  I can’t find that at all so decide to back off to the root of the site and there are indeed instructions about registering.  It’s done the old fashioned way by sending an email.  So, I’ve done that and am waiting.

Who knows?  Maybe they have standards and I won’t get an account.  The only thing that I appear to be missing is the ability to vote.  All of the other materials appear to be wide open.  I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

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