This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s Friday again.  Soon, once school starts, this will be the day to look forward to for some.  Over the summer, it’s sort of a countdown day.  Regardless, it’s time to take in some great reading from Ontario Edubloggers.


How Do You Want Families to Feel on the First Day of School?

I had this wonderful post from Sue Dunlop all queued up and had so many of my own thoughts ready to go.  As a parent, I was always super nervous for my kids as they prepared for that opening day.  Probably the most nervous night of all was the night before the first day of Kindergarten.  We weren’t really prepared; we just had our own fond or not-so-fond memories.  Kids today have it so much easier with things like the “First Ride” program to help ease into things.  We just had a photocopied piece of paper indicating -ish bus times.  The saddest part, as a teacher, was that I couldn’t be there to send her off on the bus.  I did call my wife afterwards to get the scoop.  The cool thing was that she never looked back.  The kid’s all right.  There’s so much in Sue’s post; it’s really worth the read.  My thoughts are superseded by a post from Stephen Hurley.

Back To School: The Family Context

There’s your Friday motivation from two of my favourite writers.


Introduction – How can we make eLearning more accessible?

I’ll leave the introduction to this blog to Donna Fry.


A GLOBAL Welcome Back!

If you consider yourself a connected educator and that you have a connected classroom, then consider Peter Cameron’s offer.  He’s looking to START the year with his class connected to as many as possible.  It’s not an experiment; he’s done this before and celebrates 75 messages from the first day of school last year.  He wants more.

I know that here are global projects offered from all over the world.  <grin>  Many fail but here’s one with a proven track record and stated deliverables.  If you’re considering something like that for this year, here’s your chance for success.


Regrets of a First Year Teacher

Brian Aspinall shares an interesting post that I suspect would apply to so many – that first day in front of the class and how you’re going to establish superiority.  Doesn’t this history resonate for all?

However, I went to school in quiet hierarchical rows and I learned to teach at the Faculty in very similar settings. I was complimented for getting them to conform so I continued to dictate because I needed to impress the hiring committee. There existed a silo / fishbowl in that best practice was shared in the staffroom and I wasn’t up to par based solely on the volume of my class.

I feel compelled to point out that the desks at the Faculty were nailed to the floor in our computer lab – but hopefully, he remembers that the chairs moved.  But didn’t we all go through that moment on our first day?  For me, at a secondary school teaching a Grade 12 class, I was only a few years older than the students.  I felt I needed to prove who was boss.  Looking back now, what a bunch of wasted time and energy.

It doesn’t matter how or where you start your teaching profession, I think that the key message from his post is that no matter what, you’re going to inherit a whack of baggage.  What you do with it will determine how quickly you’re able to be successful.


Learn. UnLearn. ReLearn. Repeat.

I think this is a perfect read from Jennifer Casa-Todd to tack on to Brian’s post.  It could just as easily have been the title from his post.

Here’s your inspiration to read her post.  She uses these words…

  • Risk-taker
  • Networked
  • Resilient

She builds the post around those words and applies them to her own learning.  I would suggest that they’re easily transferable.

A few other teasers from her post …

  • change
  • complain
  • panic
  • generous

How can you not check it out?


Summer Reading: Good to Great

Heather Theijsmeijer will be assuming a new role with her district this fall.  Of course, we all wish her the very best in her endeavours.

I remember when I left the classroom and moved into a leadership role within the district.  As the starting date loomed, I had the feelings of excitement and doom filling my mind.  Both answered the question “What did you get yourself into?”

Heather’s asking and answering questions and elaborating.

  • What is my educational passion?
  • What drives the educational engine of my position?
  • What am I best at?

It’s never easy.  I look forward to reading of her successes this upcoming year.


A View From the Side of the Road

There are a number of things that go into a great blog post for me.

One is a great story, another is an educational insight, another is a turn that takes me as reader on a path not predicted, and yet another is an affirmation that the kids are all right.

Sue Bruyns has them all in this wonderful post about her educational trip to the Dominican, a road trip in a van, and the people involved.  And a great opportunity to muse.

I can’t help but wonder if we’re giving our children the right things to watch and engage with.  The young boy, at the side of the road in the Dominican, certainly didn’t need reminders about paying attention ~ his view from the side of the road was enough!


An Interview with Rodd Lucier

In case you missed it, I had the opportunity to interview Rodd Lucier (you may know him better as @thecleversheep) this week.  It was an interview. long in the creation, because there was so much to ask and I didn’t want to miss anything.


How’s that for a good collection of reading for your Friday morning?  Enjoy, and please take the time to drop off a comment or two for these wonderful bloggers.  Consider Peter’s offer to connect to his classroom

If you open the hamburger menu above, you can see the complete collection of TWIOE posts.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s time, again, to take a look at the roundup of blogs and content that I enjoyed this past week contributed by Ontario Edubloggers.  Please follow along and see the thoughts/insights from these folks.


Remembering Seymour Papert in Ontario Education

I like to toss in Peter Skillen’s direction some of the superficial references to Seymour Papert’s work that are so often referenced and increasingly used to indicate why students need to code.  I guess it’s our society of 140 characters and sound bits that generate it but it really does a disservice to the amazing work of one of the owner of shoulders that we should all be standing on.

In this post, Peter reflects on some of the time that he spend with Dr. Papert and how Peter sees his influence on Ontario education.  I think that it’s a worthy inclusion to your reading.

Peter and I have been bantering back and forth about the opportunity to recognize Dr. Papert’s influence at the Bring IT, Together conference in November.  I hope that we can put together something appropriate to celebrate one of the great minds in education.


It’s not about the Tech…..

With apologies to Jonathan So, I really hate it when this is used as a title or in most references.  

The inspiration for his post came from a podcast and, in particular,

There was a line that I heard in the post that I just hit a big aha moment. Peter mentioned that the OTF Summer conference was titled “Pedagogy before Technology” and that he wasn’t fond of the title but that it was something that was current in education.

I think that, even the discussion, demeans the efforts of educators who are doing the best they can.  I keep thinking of a quote from Wayne Hulley “Nobody wakes up wondering how they’re going to screw up today”.

I think the last quote from Jonathan sums it up nicely…

I know that as teachers we also need time to learn new tools and how they work but first and foremost we need to understand what their purpose is and why we would be using them in the classroom. Love to hear your thoughts on this and if you haven’t heard it already listen to Rolland’s podcast some fantastic educators on there.

It’s a chicken and egg thing but has any other tool in technology been so scrutinized and criticized?  If you search history, there was a huge concern that ball point pens were just the “beginning of the end”.  Some teachers are new to effectively using technology and they need to be supported in their endeavours.  Those that have used it should be those who are supportive with examples and ideas.

Curriculum consultants and district leaders should constantly be providing learning opportunities for staff to learn no matter where they are in their learning.  If they’re not, well … you get what you get.

Education has toyed with the concept of Programmed Instruction, abandoned it, and moved on.  I just wish that the conversation would as well.


TELL 2016

Mark Renaud attended the Technology-Enabled Learning & Leading Institute 2016 this summer along with about 1000 of his closest colleagues.

In this post, he shares his highlights from conference.

It’s interesting to read his observations and hopefully further blog posts will give us an idea as to how they’ve made an impact in his school and to his leadership style.

There are lots of links to slidedecks from some of the presenters at the TVO website.  There’s much Google stuff there, most of the sessions are tagged “Beginner” and kudos to the presenters from my former board.


Collaborating with Colleagues using OneNote Staff Notebook

What about boards that have used Microsoft Office 365 instead of going the Google route though?

Andre Quaglia recently added his blog to the Ontario Edubloggers collection and I went back to a post of his from February.

I recently discovered the advantages of using OneNote Staff Notebooks as a collaborative tool to keep the momentum of conversations flowing after department meetings with teaching colleagues.

In the post, he shares three examples of using OneNote Staff Notebooks.

  • Creating an inventory of instructional technology
  • Verifying class textbook and planning
  • Discussion about how to allocate new classroom workspace

Time

One of the great things about blogging is that you can be or create anything you want.

In this post, Joan Vinall Cox shares a short poem about “Time”.

It’s a reminder to all of us that we’re getting older.


Squirrel!

My classroom was probably the least desirable room in the school.  I don’t know whether it was the block design or the fact that we were air conditioned but there were a few rooms that had no outside windows.  I had one of them.

So, I can’t really empathise with Ashley Soltesz’ first day of school.

It’s actually distractions rather than squirrels that form the basis of the post.  We all have them.

She does end with a question that we all have – how do you handle distractions?


The question is not, “how best to teach mathematics?” The question, educator, is “how best for YOU to teach mathematics?”

After the title, the rest of Matthew Oldridge’s post is pretty much redundant!  When you’ve taken as many courses in mathematics as I have, you’d like to think that you’ve seen it all.

I’ve been drilled, investigated, explored, charted, drawn, programming, puzzled, heard mathematics jokes, …

Unfortunately, for most teachers, their last formal kick at mathematics would have been at a Faculty of Education which has to include that in amongst everything else for some teachers or focus on the teaching of difficult mathematics for those who would aspire to be secondary school specialists.

So, it comes as no surprise that some folks think that they have to chalk and talk in order to get their dollar and a quarter for the day.  Fortunately, we’re having the discussion about teaching and I really enjoyed the approach in Matthew’s post.  In true mathematics tradition, he illustrates with a chart…

I think that it’s a good read and anyone who will be teaching mathematics, at whatever level, would be well advised to read and consider their approach.  And, question when you’re advised to embrace “high impact strategies”.  To be sure, they can be good research, but don’t necessarily address your skill set or the learning needs of your students.


It’s absolutely another great week of reading.   Thanks to all the bloggers who contributed to my learning.  Please take a moment and drop by their posts (I’ve given you the links so it’s easy) and extend their conversations.  If you’re a blogger yourself, do what Andre did, and add yourself to the list.  I’d really like to have you included.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here they are – hot off the press – and those from Southwest Ontario understand hot.  Great blog posts that I’ve read recently from Ontario Edubloggers.


Pokemon Go and Moral Panic

Andrew Campbell gives us a quick run down of the news stories surrounding this summer’s obsession, Pokemon Go.

But, as he notes…

andrew

I suspect that we won’t have heard the end of it as school starts.  You’ll stumble into all kinds of “good” educational ideas for its use already.  Brace yourself for more.  Then there will be another rash of “power down in the classroom” discussions.

Hopefully, the discussion will end soon and get back focused just on good teaching – with or without the use of technology.

Quite frankly, I’m not holding my breath.


Teacher Identity: It’s Such A Personal Thing

My head was bobbing in agreement with Stephen Hurley’s post.

stephen

As a first year teacher, I wanted to be an amalgam of the best teachers that I had ever had and wanted to distance myself from those who I felt weren’t so good.

Truth be told, over time, I realized that it was really, really hard to be that best teacher.  On the other hand, I got insights into what made the others the way that they were.

So, I eventually ended up being who I was.  Good, bad, ugly, I guess the final evaluation is in the minds of the students that I had.  The nice thing about education is that you get the opportunity for a fresh start every 12 months.  Not many other professions offer that luxury.

As you plan to head back to school, and I know that many of you have already been in to do this and that, give Stephen a read and see if he doesn’t help you with your plans.


Google Forms and Siri Unite For Recording Anecdotals and Classroom Walkthoughs

Brenda Sherry shares a marriage of technology that many might find helpful – using Siri and Google Forms to record anecdotal notes.  It’s complete with instructions and pictures if you’re interested.

brenda

The combination is a natural and her description certainly worked for her.

Like the commenter to the blog though, I had to wonder – what if you have different technologies?  Office 365, Android phones, Windows Phones (yes I know one person who loves his).

So, it was off to experiment here and it worked well with Android and Google Forms, Android and Windows 365.  Windows Phone?  Not available for testing!

Of course, the key is the ability to click into a field expecting text and then the little microphone that’s part of the keyboard.

The other key is a quiet background.


Georgian Bay Sunset at McNab Rocks

This post, by Jessica Outram, brought back great memories from my youth.  Georgian Bay was a popular destination although I never understood the geography well enough to know where “McNab Rocks” is.  But, apparently Google Maps does (if this is indeed them)

If this is true, then we spent most of our time on the other side of the bay!  We were more Lion’s Head people.

Regardless, it’s beautiful and the post comes complete with some wonderful pictures.  It’s a reminder that you don’t have to have a long distance vacation if you’re in Ontario and you’re over the top if you get a chance to go out with the right people.


Crippling with Kindness

Diana Maliszewski has written a hugely powerful post that she’s delayed making public until now.  She’s shared, in the context of working with a blind student, a powerful message.  I never learned this in school.

However, I did learn about it in Scouts.  We were going to make a visit to a Senior’s home and, as Lord Baden-Powell would have us, we needed to “Be Prepared“.

I never needed the skills again until later at university where one of my classmates was blind.  He really resented when someone would just grab him, thinking that they were helping.

Not being there are continuously grabbing the keyboard is a powerful methodology when teaching computer science.  Not everyone “gets it” at the same moment and so are you really helping when you’re quick to inject yourself into the situation?

Diana concludes with her observations and some very good questions of herself, and I would suggest should be asked of everyone.


My Three Measures For Success

I was working on this post this morning when I got notification that Aviva Dunsiger had released a new post.  I wondered – what question is she asking now?

She lists and elaborates on three measures for success for herself.

  • Have students successfully self-regulate so that they are ready and able to learn
  • Meet and/or exceed the Board’s reading benchmarks by the end of Kindergarten
  • Help develop independent problem solvers

As I look at her list, three things come to my mind.

  • These are really ambitious goals – are they realistic?
  • Particularly with the first and last one, how does she plan to measure success?
  • Will she share these measures with the parents of her students?  If she does (although it could be argued that this blog post has done it), will she be accountable to them for results?

It’s good that she’s sharing her thinking and planning with us.  I wish her all the best and do hope that she’s successful.


How To Create a Culturally Responsive Classroom for Refugee & Migrant Students

This post, by Rusul Alrubail, is very appropriately timed as people are thinking about the new class(es) for the fall and what the future might bring.

That future might include some “refugee and migrant students”.

The post has two distinct parts

  • Strategies to try out in the classroom to help create a culturally responsive environment for all students:
  • How to Create A Welcoming Environment in the Classroom:

and there are some wonderful and helpful ideas in there.

I also thinking that the sharing of success stories from the local news media can be helpful.  And, if they aren’t doing enough, create your own success news and distribute your own news releases.

Sadly, there’s an elephant in the room as well as the US election steams ahead.  I shudder all the time as all formal news media, including Canadian ones, seem compelled to cover it.

I’ll look forward to the full release of the interview.


I know that these and other posts have given me a shot for thinking recently.  I hope that they do and that you drop by their blogs and leave a comment.  It will help to encourage the great blogging and thinking efforts.

Just when you thought your browser couldn’t do any more …


… you find out it can.

This is something that I think most sophisticated web users do anyway but now it can be done automatically.

It’s a wonderful example about how good things happen when great minds get involved.

Who hasn’t followed a link or a bookmark or a carefully curated website or a great blog only to find that it’s not where your computer thinks it should be and you get the dreaded 404 error message?  Good websites or browsers will often give you a customized message to let you know something is amiss but it’s still unnerving at times when you know that the resource should be there. Or, at least it was at one point.

If the website or resource has indeed gone away, who hasn’t used the Wayback Machine to find a resource from the past, captured as it constantly monitors the web.

Heck, you might even find the presence of a former employer.

If nothing else, it’s a reminder of how we were all learning to create content for the web.

A new project from Mozilla promises to solve this with “No More 404s”.  It’s part of the Firefox Test Pilot project and, if you enter a link that would normally generate a 404 error, Firefox will try to return a successful result by digging into the Wayback Machine for it.

There are other experiments in the Test Pilot program so check them out.  I find the “No More 404s” part most intriguing.

I predict that, if it’s successful, all browsers will eventually incorporate it or something like it.

It’s just a great idea.

Thoughts?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s been another great week of reading blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  Some of what I caught appears below.

Please take a moment to click through and read their complete thoughts.


My New Work Flow

David Fife made sure that I didn’t miss this post from Jennifer Aston.  Jennifer and I had actually exchanged some thoughts about the topics she blogged about so it was like another deja vu to see it in that format.  But, the nice thing about blogging is that you get to see the thoughts completely in context.

If you read the post in its entirety, there is a great deal to be learned.

  • when you move your files and data to the cloud, “who” really owns it?
  • a decision made by the folks at the board office, or what was referred to with my former employer, “downtown” can have cascading effects throughout the district
  • related to that, it’s fair to ask “Is there a master plan?”
  • if you live by the cloud, you can die (or at least get a bit injured) by the cloud
  • YOU need to be in charge of everything or there are consequences
  • Linux isn’t a four letter word and puts you back in the driver’s seat of your computer
  • it’s nice to have a cadre of people that you can ask when these questions arise

There’s another one that I think that all educators need to consider.

When your students “check out” at Grade 6 or 8 or 12 or whenever, do you provide a mechanism for them to check out their work as well?


Literacy Tests: Not Just Kids’ Stuff

When I first read the title of Stephen Hurley’s post, I got myself ready for another rant and rationale to ditch standardized testing.

So, I felt like the victim of a bait and switch when I read the post.

He draws an interesting parallel between the literacy tests that we subject students to and the wedding speeches that so many of us have had to give.

So here’s to all of you who have been asked to give a speech or a toast at a wedding this summer. Embrace the opportunity, embrace the anxiety and remember—literacy tests are not just for kids. Whether we realize it or not, they are part of all of our lives—for the rest of our lives!

It’s a fun read and yet makes so many sense.

With the exception, of course, that students don’t go and do shots when the testing is over!


Advice for New Teachers

Who knows how many new teachers will be entering classrooms for the first time this fall?  Or how many people are making a career change by moving from one school to another.  Even that can be a culture change.  Matthew Oldridge has a wonderful post just full of advice.

He concludes with:

The post is full of good advice.

Except…

Well, maybe there will be a followup post about Parent/Teacher nights.


Coding in French

Larissa Aradj shares to her blog, a guest post from French teacher Ashley Soltesz, and an interesting take on teaching coding in French.

As noted, French teachers don’t always have access to the same collection of resources as the regular classroom teacher but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t find a way to make it happen.  In this case, it was to create Coding Blocks in the French language and allow students to create projects without the benefit of a computer.

What’s not to like?  It gets rid of one more excuse.

You don’t have to start from scratch.  <groan>  Check out the resources in this shared folder.


It IS about the Tools!

Opening Up My Technology Can Of Worms

I’m going to clump Peter Skillen and Aviva Dunsiger’s posts together here.

I’m not neutral on this topic.

It’s Not About the Technology

It Better Be About The Technology

and a bunch of others.  It’s a regular theme around here.   I still love this graphic.

I deliberately chose the word “neutral” above because I believe that the use of technology is not a neutral activity.

I touch technology every day.  It touches me every day.  I can only remember one moment where I wanted to scream and it was at one of those PD sessions that you’re forced to attend.  Normally, that doesn’t bother me but the presenter started out by asking, no demanding, that people turn off their technology so that we could listen to her.  Then, having shut that door for me, she went on to ramble about learning styles or something.

Technology isn’t neutral.

  • In the hands of a master teacher, you can have students create, explore, and do things that aren’t possible in any other way.  This is where the magic lies.
  • In the hands of a teacher that uses it for some menial task, it turns off students from even trying.
  • If it’s never used by a teacher, it’s just opportunity lost.

We lost one of the great Edtech minds this past week in Seymour Papert.  There was no bigger advocate for the technology using student.  By inheritance, we include the technology using teacher.  It’s 2016 – we shouldn’t have “computer teachers” – that belongs to our past where we had limited access to technology and an entire profession that was learning.  Those excuses just don’t cut it today.

Never has the profession had so many great things happening and discerning teachers using technology to its greatest ability.


An interview with Michelle Cordy

I’m going to call my own number here.

I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Michelle Cordy who delivered the closing keynote at the recent ISTE Conference.

Of course, I had to wait for her to return from a trip to Berlin to get things together but it did come together nicely.

We chatted about teaching different grades, research, 1:1 iPads, delivering the closing keynote at the ISTE Conference, and much more.  She gives a shout out to her five biggest influencers.  I think it’s a great read and I hope that you take the time to do so.


Thanks to all of the above for continuing to provide great thoughts for educators.  Drop by each blog for the complete content and leave a comment of your own if you’re so inclined.  They’ll appreciate it.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s mid-July.  Forecasted temperature today is in the mid-30s.  Who in their right mind would be suffering from a cold?

Your humble blogger, of course.  This is nuts.

So, I’m not in my right mind is a good way to sum up how I feel as I type this.  The sun is rising; Friday is coming; dog needs to walk; there’s no time for self pity.

My first instinct is to run in and buy everything in the cold aisle at the pharmacy.  My personal advisers are telling me to “Suck it up and gargle with salt water”  or “Walk it off”.

Anyway, here’s some of the great reading from Ontario Edubloggers that I enjoyed recently.


THREE LESSON IDEAS FOR TEACHING YOUR CLASS ABOUT EID AL-FITR

Through a personal connection, I learned a great deal about Eid this year.

It’s after the fact now but this is a post from Rusul Alrubail that’s worth tucking away because it makes so much sense and can be adapted to any religious holiday.  She originally wrote and published the article elsewhere and was good enough to put it on her blog for us to enjoy.


My Favourite Things

How’s this for a lead in to a blog post from Kristi Bishop?

I’m just back from an extra long weekend at the cottage with my family.  I love that all of my kiddies still look forward to going (even though internet connection is sketchy at best!) despite their busy lives.  One of our favourite holiday games is “Top 5…”  Sometimes it is something as mundane as Top 5 Beaches we’ve been to.  Other times it is a little more bizarre, such as the memorable Top game of “Top 5 foods you have eaten off the ground”.  (I declined to participate in this one, just so you know).

I don’t know about you but I would have liked to have known about the food off the ground bit.

Instead, she takes a turn to education and gives us a top five list of being an educator.

It’s a good list; What would be your top five?


Follow Opportunities, Not Dreams

When I saw the title of Tim King’s post, I thought that it might have been about summer motorcycling.  Instead, he uses a concern about a lack of digital skills in the United Kingdom as a launchpad into thoughts about education.

He provides an interesting observation about why students take certain courses and avoid others.  (obvious with a secondary school focus)

It’s interesting, because in Ontario, we have a high quality curriculum that offers a bit of everything.  Reading Tim’s post reminds me that there are those that will game the system just to get through.  Fortunately, there are compulsory courses that provide at least a base to get started.  The comment about guidance is interesting.  I recall in high school the annual checkup with my own guidance person.  It really was more about making sure that my marks were OK rather than a serious planning for the future.  Later, as a home room teacher, we would have our home rooms held four or five times a year so that we could talk about futures.  Tim’s observation is true; I took the five year academic route in high school followed by four years at university, another year for an education degree, and then summer courses for additional qualifications.  I’d never been in a tool shop or a full time farm labourer (which are big in Essex County).  How could I give a legitimate set of advice for those who might want to head in those directions?  Driving around now, I sure wish I could have afforded to get into the greenhouse industry.  It’s HUGE.

On the other hand, the fact that I had all this schooling allowed me to follow a dream – I always wanted to be a teacher but certainly there were not many opportunities at the time.  My success was more like by being in the right place at the right time.


Follow the ETFOSA16 Path to Excellence

Diana Maliszewski makes it clear, in this post, that this session was in the big city.  Where else would directions be given by subway stops?!

Libraries, Resource Centres, Learning Commons, Makerspaces – whatever terminology you’re comfortable with are one of the most adaptable locations in any school.  Sadly, there are even some that don’t have them.  But imagine a collection of great minds getting together to scheme for the future.  In some cases, the target of these discussions isn’t necessarily literacy but to convince those in charge that the library should be the hub of everything at a school.  As I picture so many schools that I visited, the library is so often the first educational place that you see when you enter the building.  Designers had it right.  It would have been interesting to have been part of Diana’s conversation or at least be a fly on the wall.

Great pictures complement the post.


Cottage Thinking 1: Leadership in a Canoe

The fact that there’s a “1” in Stephen Hurley’s post is an indicator, I hope, that there will be more to come.

Often, we think of leaders as being the ones who are out front, encouraging folks to follow along. They are the visionaries, the ones that have a clear sense of direction and the are able to identify the targets for which the crew needs to aim if things are going to go as planned.

The canoe analogy is great.  I’d never thought about position within a canoe and its importance.

Stephen does make you wonder about leadership in other areas.

Is the leader always in front?


You Have to Start Somewhere

Of course you do.

Andrea Kerr’s recent post is a reminder of that

as educators, we really do have all of the strategies and tools we could ever need.

So, as a starting point, she offers an analysis (and questions) for thought.

  • Start with Action
  • Start with Value
  • Start with Listening

I used to work with a person whose advise was “Ready – Fire – Aim”.

The conservative me never really thought that made sense for me.  My inclination would be to “Start with Listening” or “Start with Reading” to understand the situation before acting.  Andrea’s post should make you think about the approach.


Get this Train Moving! ~The Journey of the MakerSpace

Joanne Borges offers a blog post with more questions than answers.  There is, in some camps, a real rush to be able to claim that your school has a “Makerspace”.  If you read and believe some of what is out there, you’re failing if you don’t have one.

To turn the idea or concept into reality, you need to get moving.  But, movement alone doesn’t get the job done.  Why and How are two important questions.  From her planning:

  • Some key questions we considered in planning:

    • What is the experience we are trying to create?
    • Who will lead the experiences?
    • How will learning be shared?
    • How will experts, partners, mentors be utilized in learning?
    • What funding is available to us? What other sources can we seek out?
    • How will we ensure this is a student owned space (student voice?)
    • How can this tie to curriculum expectations and deep learning experiences?
    • How can we promote STEAM principals?
    • How can we best create a culture of risk taking, respect, inclusivity, and pride?
    • How can we ensure this becomes a hub for deep learning?

I think this is a great set of questions that everyone who wants into this space need to be asking and answering.


Thanks again to so much great thinking and sharing from leaders in Ontario education.  Please support their efforts by reading their original posts and dropping off a comment if you’re so inclined.

I’m out of here to “walk it off”.

Doug gets cultured


One of the things that I really like to do anywhere I go is explore.  There’s so much to see if you just take the time to do so.  I don’t know, for sure, if my wife enjoys it but I certainly do.  With Google’s “new” Arts & Culture application, I can extend my exploration into places that I’d never think possible just be being connected.

It’s not that there’s a shortage around here.  Just across the border is the magnificent Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village complex.  So much to see and yet so little time.  And, as we know, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  In Windsor, we have museums and galleries of our own.  I’m certainly not an expert at any level, but I do enjoy looking and resist the urge to touch. 

Given what’s happening in the US political process right now, it’s a interesting to take a look at “Electing Lincoln” from The Henry Ford.

Of course, politics isn’t the only topic in this curation of culture. 

One of my all-time favourite visits was the Harry Houdini museum in Niagara Falls.  Sadly, it’s gone now but artifacts from Houdini live on as a result of a simple search within the application. 

And, it’s not just stuff.  Check out the categories.

Even just poking around, you get the sense that there could be more categories and the use in education just smacks you between the eyes.  You’re only limited by your imagination and desire to inquire.

Check out the details and launch of the app on the official Google Blog.

What really puts it over the top for me is the integration with Google Cardboard and Streetview.  Some of what you’ll have seen may be a one off situation just exploring on your own.  The application brings it all together.

Download the application here.

When you do get your copy, you’ll absolutely want it installed on your device and your classroom devices.  If the time isn’t right for your district’s IT Department, you can always plan to enjoy it on the web here.