Planning, revisited


I’ve got to give a shoutout to Lisa Noble who dragged out this post from my past.

The post comes from Labour Day, 2012 and was titled “Plan Now for a Year of Success“.  Looking back, wow, that was five years ago, it’s still worth a read and so I’m reblogging it today as a “Post from the Past”.

As I re-read it, I still believe firmly in the message.  If you’re serious about social and building connections, you might also want to add a couple of contemporary resources like Instagram or Facebook to the mix.  You can certainly apply the logic there.

Labour Day!

The last day before getting back at it. Flash forward 9 months and the school year will be just about over but you’ll be scrambling for content for the yearbook and/or end of the year assembly. A little planning now could make that so easy and social media is the answer.

All that is will take is a Twitter account and a blog. Done properly, all the pieces will just fall into place.

You can read the post in its entirety here.

As you head to work tomorrow, here’s an updated wish for the upcoming school year.

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Earth, again


This popped up in my reading again.  I use it regularly so I thought that I’d bring it forward again via blog post.

The project is Earth and it’s a real time depiction of Earth’s winds and the hamburger menu brings up so much additional information.

The project has a Facebook page here.  In addition, there is a presence on the traditional social media networks – Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

I find the imagery fascinating.  Take the globe for a spin and see where the wind activity currently is.  Antarctica is always interesting but I also see some serious looking activity in the south of the Gulf of Mexico.

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You can check out the original post here.

Saving this year’s blogs


As the end of the school year looms, there are plenty of maintenance and storage things that need addressing.  There’s one other thing that you might want to store if your class in blogging … storing the blog for 2016-2017.

In September, things will start all over again, including new blogs.

So, saving this year’s work is a good idea.  Sure, you can just leave the blog active but sometimes you’ll want something a little more permanent.

I’ve written about BlogBooker before.  It’s a terrific utility that pulls together all your blog posts and puts them into a book away from your original blog.  This opens all kinds of opportunities for archiving and repurposing your work.  You’d hate to see all your efforts go away, wouldn’t you?

BlogBooker offers a number of different options, starting at free, and one of them might well be just what you and your students are in search of.

DIgging through the map archives


As Aviva Dunsiger notes, I’ve been doing a map thing this week.

It’s the advantage of doing your own blog. You can write about whatever you want. As I’ve noted before, I like to document my learning through blog posts and all of what I wrote this week was part of my ongoing learning.  It’s been fun.  Unlike Aviva who claims to have an aversion to maps, I find them fascinating.  I’ve always loved reading maps but what Google, Bing, and OpenStreetMap have done in the digital era just puts it over the top.

To close off the set of posts, I’m going to do something that I don’t do often – show a Post from the Past.  But it’s consistent with the theme and one of the posts that I really got into.  It was all about using Google Streetview to share some places from my youth.  It goes back to 2010.  Have I been blogging that long?  

Just a quick commentary; if I was doing this with students today, I’d perhaps use Streetview for inspiration and see if the timeline feature would be helpful.  I’d take it even further.  So many have cell phones these days; why not send students out to get their own pictures?  There has been a great deal of discussion lately about banning homework – why not take it one step further and have the student go out for an ice cream and a tour of their own with their parents and use mom or dad’s cell phone to take some pictures and do some family storytelling along the way.  Either way, bring back the pictures to create the final story.

Here’s the original post:

My Childhood Community

I was inspired to do this from a project by ZeFrank called “A Childhood Walk”.  I think that it’s a terrific concept and I’m going to try to replicate some of it here.  As a child, we occasionally went for walks but were always on bicycle tooling around town.  Recently, I was actually in my childhood town of Clinton and went out to take a picture of the Cowper Street sign for a friend of mine, @cowpernicus, who used it on his blog and shared it with his father who had never heard of a Cowper Street.  Hey, we had that in Clinton, and more.  What blew me away as I was sending him a Google map showing the place was that this small Ontario town had been mapped by Google’s Streetview.  That makes today’s entry possible.

Read the entire post here.

And, a related post.

An Interview with Tom D’Amico


In case you missed it…

…over the summer, I had the opportunity to interview Tom D’Amico, a superintendent with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  I know that many people turn off their reading over the summer so thought I’d republish this interview once the school year started.

You can find a list of all of the interviews that have been published here by clicking on the Interviews tab above.


This is a real treat for me.  I’ve been a follower and a fan of Tom D’Amico for a long time.  I have a real appreciation for those who scour the web, find, and then share the best of the resources.  Tom is a daily source for inspiration through sharing with his Twitter account @TDOttawa.  The best part is that his finds are archived in his Scoop.it! resource iGeneration – 21st Century Education.

Thank you for agreeing to the interview, Tom.  I’m really looking forward to your thoughts and insights.

Doug:  I always start with this for people that I’ve met in person – do you recall when we first met?

Tom:  I’m not certain but likely in the early 90’s at the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario conference (ECOO).  In the early 1990s I created a pilot Multimedia course and shared the resources at ECOO.

Interview continued here

Hour of Code 2014 (Reblog)


The Hour of Code for 2014 is coming.  Teachers and students from all over will be using classroom tools to get a flavour for what coding/programming is all about.

There’s no one language that we’ve come to agreement on that would be perfect.  So, we’re all over the map with this one!  Choose one and do it well.

To help the cause, great people all over the web have been building activities and tutorials that will take one hour-ish to complete.  Hopefully, it doesn’t stop there and the coding activities and skills inspire great things to happen from this experience.  Computer Science is a wonderful discipline that opens so many doors.  It’s tough to believe that any student wouldn’t want to have an awareness of it with the chance of going into it big time.

On social media, I had been resting on my laurels because I had assembled some resources for last year’s event.  It occurred to me that the digitally responsible person would check the links for things that have gone away and be on the lookout for new resources.  That was the task yesterday.

I’m happy to announce and share the latest, greatest, up to datest, all links verified as of November 24, 2014, version.

Thanks to my digital friend Sue, in addition to the Learnist and Pearltree collections that I had last year, I create a Flipboard magazine with my new found abilities.  Thanks, Sue.  Links to them all appear below.  (They all point to the same resources; I just wanted to use a few tools)

I hope that you find these resources useful and that one or two of them might make it into your classroom for the Hour of Code, December 8-14, 2014.

p.s. if you have a favourite resource that isn’t included, shoot me the link and I’ll get it added.

p.p.s.  After I posted this, I realized that I might be visiting Brian Aspinall’s classroom today.  So, I whipped up another resource – this time using his excellent NKWiry resource.

Don’t Let The Good Stuff Go Away


As the school year comes to the end, I thought that I would share the post below.  It’s abot one of my favourite blogging utilities – BlogBooker – and how it’s so useful as things wrap up.  It’s a great way to archive a year’s worth of blogging to share with students, parents, post to your classroom wiki – all in the name of backing up and making a record of this year’s work.  Plus, it can serve as inspiration for next year’s blogging efforts.  There’s nothing like a good example.

As it turns out, when I went looking for this post, I’ve mentioned BlogBooker many times.  You can see all the references here.

Here’s the “Post from the Past” that I’d like to bring forward today.  The original post is from June 26, 2013.


This is another “Post From The Past” that is very appropriate given that we’re approaching the end of the school year here in Ontario.  You and/or your students have been blogging all year.  Will you just abandon your efforts?  Or, will you make a copy of it to save, use as an example, email to parents, give to students to keep, or use for any other of a myriad of purposes?

BlogBooker is an awesome service.  It will take the entire contents of your blog (with a little work) and create a PDF file that you can tuck away or otherwise repurpose so that you don’t lose the effort that went into it’s creation.  Here from August 22, 2010 is my post “To do more with your blog“.

Hey, you might even want to turn it into “A Flipping Blog“!

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Yesterday, George Couros asked for a little input through a Twitter message.

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My first reaction what that this might be a step backward in the goal of integrating technology for students.  After all, if you have a blog, why would you want to revert to a newsletter format?  In its simplest format, it could be a paper document that’s sent home to parents.

But then, I started thinking.  There are a lot of reasons why it might be desirable to have a blog in newsletter format.  Some that immediately come to mind are:

  1. Not every parent has internet at home for any of a wide variety of reasons;
  2. The blog might be private with only student access for privacy concerns;
  3. Access to blogs might be blocked at school but the teacher blogs from home;
  4. The principal of the school wishes to have paper generated for whatever reason;
  5. The blog might be part of a project where a culminating document detailing everything is desired;
  6. The blog is reset for a new year or new unit or
  7. You just want a copy of your blog in another format …

Yes, upon further review, I can see where there may be reasons for a blog to be in a different format for a specific use.

I think that the other thing about a solution would be that it needs to be easily re-purposed by a teacher to the differing format.  Typically, blogs have considerable effort in their creation and who has the time for yet another creation?

I then thought about BlogBooker.  I had blogged about its use in the past here.  At that point, I was thinking about using it as a way to create a backup for a blog or a permanent record of thoughts.  I’ve actually used it to create a couple of backups of my entire blog.  It works very easily when I want a book of everything (including the graphics and pictures that I embed in posts) but would it do the trick on a more flexible basis?

The procedure is pretty easy.

  1. Export your blog content from your blog  (it’s in XML format but most people wouldn’t care or need to care about the format);
  2. Upload the content to Blogbooker;
  3. Wait a minute of two;
  4. Download your book in PDF format.

Conceivably that PDF could be filed away for posterity or printed if it absolutely had to be.

But, what about content of a shorter duration?  I never really paid close enough attention when I did the steps above to see if it was customizable.  So, I went through the process and actually paid attention this time.

Now, I use WordPress as my host and so went to my dashboard and the export tool.

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Well, I’ll be.  There are configuration options!  I can set a start and end date.  In terms of the content, I could choose just the posts or all content.  I’m thinking that just the posts would suit my needs best.  Click on the “Download Export File” button and it’s on my hard drive.  That was easy.  The only limitation that I could see was that the export was done month by month.  Probably not a big issue as the newsletter might well be a monthly one.

Now, it’s over to BlogBooker.

Step one is to let BlogBooker know what type of Blog this comes from.  It supports WordPress, Blogger, and LiveJournal.  That’s a good selection.  Then comes the WOW moment.  There are a huge collection of formatting options for the output.  The preferences are customizable for any purpose.  I elected NOT to use “Footnoted Links” because my blog entries have a great deal of links in them.  If the ultimate goal is to send it to a printer, then you’re not going to want each entry on a separate page, I hope.

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Give BlogBooker a few moments and voila!  There’s the nicely formatted book in PDF format that you can download or view right in your browser.  I really like the fact that I could customize further the start/finish dates of the publication and the images are intact.  I really like the concept and it was so simple to do.  Plus, the headers and footers put a nice finishing touch on the whole product.

It even includes pumpkin shirts!

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Thanks, George, for the question and the opportunity for me to revisit this very powerful application.  Thanks, also to Aviva and Peter for keeping the conversation going.