What's up?

One of the things that do to try my best to stay current, at least on Twitter, is to check out the “Trends for You” in the sidebar of the web client. When I’m using Tweetdeck, I have a column set to display the trends.

As an aside “Ryan Newman” was trending when I went to bed last night as his status was unknown. He’s still trending this morning and for good news.

Anyway, Twitter lets you set a local option so that you can see what’s happening around you.

But what if you want more than that. Like, say, what’s happening in locales across Canada. It can be done with a little work at the keyboard or you can use the website CanadaTrends for the task.

Just now …

It was interesting to scroll through the page and see what’s the same (actually quite a bit) and what’s different between cities. “Oilers”, for example is hot in Edmonton which makes sense. The geeky in me did take a look at the page source to see just how it was done.

If you want more, check the bottom right and there’s a link to trends worldwide as well as a Twitter account for CanadaTrends.

Since this application is all about location, I was a bit concerned by trackers but Firefox gave it an all-clear.

The site also throws in Google Search trends in Canada for good measure.

Schedule me a Tweet

For me, this has been a long time coming.

I like using Tweetdeck and it has the ability to schedule a Twitter message sometime in the future. I use that technique all the time. The first #FollowFriday message is always created and scheduled on Thursdays to appear Friday at 5:00am in conjunction with a blog post. On Wednesday, I’ll send out a message about the voicEd Radio show and it goes out at 9:00am.

In neither case, am I sitting at a keyboard ready to click as the clock strikes the hour! There are other times when I’ll space a Twitter message out during the day for whatever reason. I’ve just blown my excuse for an alibi.

All of this gives the illusion that I’m terribly organized! <grin> Ditto for blog posts, they are written well in advance and scheduled for 5:00am daily or 5:00pm on Sundays.

But back to Twitter.

The problem with Tweetdeck is that there is a lot of scripting that goes on to make it work. That can be brutal on a Chromebook with its lesser powered processor. It’s not to blame either, I’ll point the finger at myself. I have all kinds of columns with lists and searches that are constantly at work. So, I do find myself waiting for the computer to catch up with me. The worst part is that I need the scheduling feature that Tweetdeck offers at times.

So, it was with great happiness that I read today that Twitter is going to bring scheduling into the plain ol’ web interface. It’s Thursday as I write this post and I just finished Friday’s blog post. The last thing I do is schedule a #FollowFriday post for tomorrow morning and the first one always lists those whose blog posts will appear. I used the new scheduler to make it happen.

I just ask Twitter to start a new message and there was a … in the dialogue box which indicated that I could schedule the message. I just needed to tell it when.

and then the message itself

and I click Schedule and it goes into a queue somewhere to be posted at the appointed time.

Now, I’m writing this on Thursday so the message will appear on Friday and then this post will appear on Saturday bragging about my success.



What a morning. Nothing seemed to work.

I tried to get into Tweetdeck. No go.

It was Wednesday so my voicEd Radio show with Stephen Hurley was on tap. Zencastr wouldn’t work. Stephen had me download an app. The sound didn’t meet his audio standards so we tried dialing in. I couldn’t hear him. We did end up with a fourth solution that seemed to work. Hopefully, he can find the recording!

So, back to Tweetdeck. It’s still not functioning. I’m a little frustrated because I have lists for everything and my routine involves running down my five Ontario Educator lists to see what’s going on around the province. I was too lazy to try my Plan B – I have links to each of them in my Bookmarks so I just skimmed the Trending Topics.

One leapt out at me.


It’s a hashtag, a username, and a website.

I must have missed another memo.

Looking through the hashtag was a delightful rabbit hole. With prompts, people are sharing sketches (tattoos?) that are so intriguing.

This is an area that I have no talent whatsoever so I can just sit back and enjoy. The one word that comes to mind is simply “wow”!

There can’t possibly be any copyright claims since people are eagerly sharing them in this public space.

But, wow, there certainly are some talented people.

In case you missed it above, click here.

Edutwitter Celebrities

I’ll blame/credit Stephen Downes for leading me down this rabbit hole. I read his OLDaily every day. If I do nothing else, I enjoy his commentary on the articles that he shares and, more often than naught, I’ll follow a link or two in his story summary to learn more.

This past week, this came across.

And off I went!

It took a bit of work because the links to Twitter didn’t work well with the new Twitter but eventually, I got it to take me to the right place. And what a deep rabbit hole. It all started with a conversation inspired by this Twitter message.

Along the way, I ran into opinion and shoutouts against a couple of people who have left the profession early and made a job of speaking. One person mentioned that she had ended up being blocked by this person. Follow the second link in Stephen’s story for that one.

It also leads to this article from a couple of years ago that will have you thinking, I hope.

The bottom line is that Edutwitter Celebrities or EduCelebrity isn’t something that you want to necessarily aspire to be! Link above actually goes to a parody account. It’s worth the click to read the timeline.

I couldn’t help but draw a mental comparison to your typical educational speaker before Twitter. Certainly, I’ve sat in that audience and listened to many a professional learning event speaker waxing on about what I was doing wrong and that my classroom should be more like this mythical classroom that is so well described but never really identified which makes you think it might be the things that dreams are made of.

In my work with ECOO and the WesternRCAC, I’ve hired many a keynote and have tried to avoid the speaker who drops in for a canned speech, collects her/his cheque, and then departs. I always insisted on having a breakout session immediately after the keynote called “A Conversation with …” where those who want to dig deeper on the concepts from the keynote and to challenge some of the statements given. The response when explained to the potential speaker can range from “That’s a great concept” to “I’m not coming if those are the rules”. Maybe afraid of saying Stupid Things?

One of the drawbacks of the popularity of social media platforms is that anyone can promote anything (and usually do, starting with themselves). We talk about media literacy so much – is identifying the true person behind the handle something that should be on the list. You had better have nodded to that sentence.

I’ve delivered many sessions myself and always enjoy the opportunity to talk about things afterwards. I think that it forces you to prepare better, make it relative to the potential audience, and really know your stuff. I’d hate to be called out on a fact or two that I couldn’t defend.

It’s called “making it real”. So, if I had to define #Edutwitter Celebrity, I think that would be the tipping point for me. It’s not about describing the ideal school with perfect students all achieving at huge levels and creating moon lander simulations with Micro:bits or some other technology that you don’t have and probably never will. That school doesn’t exist. It’s about describing concepts and practices that work in the mix that all classrooms have.

It’s also about those that put themselves out there by describing their professional practices and weaknesses and entertaining suggestions for improvement or enhancement. Quite frankly, that’s what inspires me to identify great Ontario Education bloggers every Friday. These are real classroom professionals talking about their own little corner of education reality. They’re the ones that you are to believe and to learn from.

My celebrities from the past week include:

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

So, here is a complete list of my personal #Edutwitter Celebrities’ blogs.

And, a tip of the hat to Stephen for bringing this discussion to my attention.

A little bling

Every now and again, I marvel at how much Twitter has changed since I got my first account in August 2007. At that time, it was even blocked in my school district and I had to convince the powers that be that that needed to be changed. Of course, it’s now become mainstream and used with various levels of effectiveness to communicate and network with others.

In the beginning, and up until recently, a name was a name was a name. Pick your shade of Arial…

Earlier this year, I had written this post about “Funky Fonts” which allowed you to change the default font of your name. It’s a fun way to personalize your name. Remember the Unicode Table?

Recently, I’ve run across another utility that goes beyond just changing the font, if you so desire. Maybe you want a little more bling to your name?

Then, check out Psfont tk.

Look at the options from the top menu…

There’s a little / lot in there for everyone. If you’re looking for another way to spice up your digital life, this might be of interest to you.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Can you believe that it’s August already? I could swear that I saw my breath while walking the dog this morning. That’s not right either.

I’m also trying out a new resolution that I used to expouse all the time but don’t do it enough myself until I fell into the trap last week – save early, save often.

What is right are the great thoughts coming from the blogs of Ontario Edubloggers.

Read on…

Final Thoughts

I just found out about this blog from Shyama Sunder. It’s a wrap up summary and reflection of her time in EDU 498, a course taken a while ago at a Faculty of Education. Unless I missed it, the actual name of the Faculty didn’t appear anywhere but that’s OK.

The content is a summary of four modules taken. There is a nice summary of each of the modules and the enthusiasm she has comes through loudly and clearly.

Readers of this blog know that I’m not a fan of the SAMR model but it was included as content. If it had any value, I would see if as helpful for experienced teachers trying to embrace technology. I don’t see the wisdom of talking about it to teachers learning how to teach. Why not just teach how to do it properly to begin with? What value is there in demonstrating less than exemplary lessons?

In the post, Shyama makes reference to a book that everyone needs to read “Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” by Yong Zhao, Goaming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu. That’s a book that should be in every school library and would make for an awesome and progressive book talk.

This blog is referenced on her Twitter profile and there’s no forwarding address. It would be interesting to see her pick up blogging in her professional life.


Jamey Byers wrote this post so that others wouldn’t have to!

I remember being at a conference once – I think it was in Denver – and Robert Martellacci came up to me and asked if I knew that one of the prominent speakers had liked a link from an adult film star showing a picture of herself. I hadn’t noticed; I’m not in the habit of checking out what people have saved as liked. Maybe I should?

Actually, maybe I should check what I’ve got in my likes! Phew. Other than some egotistic stuff, I think I’m good. (I’m also snooty – go back to the very first one!)

Jamey points out that there’s a new, more private feature available to us on Twitter.

With the addition of the bookmarks function in Twitter you now have the ability to not only like a tweet, but to save it to your private list of bookmarks that are strictly just for your eyes only.

I wonder how many people are using the feature. I’m certainly not. Maybe I should.

The Playful Approach to Math

Matthew Oldridge is now playing in the big leagues with this post on Edutopia. I remember when he was a guy I interviewed for this blog.

He brings his obvious love and passion for Mathematics to this new forum and I hope that people are inspired by his wisdom. Comments are not allowed so there’s no traditional way of knowing.

Truer words were never spoken than these…

The amount of play in “serious” academic topics like mathematics is inversely proportional, it seems, to the age of students, but this does not have to be the case. A playful pedagogy of mathematics can be codified and made real, rigorous, and authentic.

I’ve studied a lot of mathematics over the years and certainly those teachers/professors that I remember best love mathematics; it came across that way, and their playful approach made learning fun and worthwhile.

Can you think of a better testament to give an educator?

My device. My terms. 3 strategies for finding balance.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is one of those people that I’ve seldom met in real life and yet I feel like I know so much about her. She was another person I had the opportunity to interview. I also had the opportunity to help with her book Social LEADia. This should be on bookshelves everywhere.

I enjoy her writing and most of her posts come across as a personal message to me. Such in the power of her writing.

I struggle with the notion of “balance”. The current context is that it involves being connected and not doing other things – like reading a book. I’m always leary of people who make such claims. Isn’t it just exchanging one form of engagement for another? And, hasn’t social media engagement earned its way into our lives?

I like Jennifer’s reasoned approach…

Social media is here to stay and is a part of the fabric of business, politics, and education. Instead of a fast, I suggest the following strategies:

You’ll have to read her post to see if the strategies make sense to you!

When friendship lasts

without warning or explanation, they started talking and, just like that, resumed their friendship from three years ago when they were six. Hours later, after the park, the corner store, the house; after basketball and jungle gyms and ice cream; after talking and laughing and wrestling, they parted reluctantly, already asking when they could see each other again.

Here’s a quote from Amanda Potts’ recent post.

I’ll bet that you could drop that sentence into any conversation or writing that you might have and provide your own characters.

It might be:

  • meeting up at an annual conference
  • a class reunion from your old high school
  • reuniting with a staff after a summer vacation

and the list goes on. Friendship is such an tangible and yet intangible concept. This post describes a pair of friendships that easily fall into the above.

Those on Facebook will know that a friend to many will be returning to Canada after a couple of years overseas. I’ll bet we all will reunite in this fashion at the Bring IT, Together Conference.

The #UWinToolParade: Open Pedagogy as #OER

In the beginning, there were shiny things. People flocked to shiny things and made a place in the classroom whether they were good or not. I’m looking at you – Clickers.

As shiny things kept on invading classrooms, the good thinkers got us thinking that maybe we should be looking beyond these things into exactly how they are used, are they effective, are they worth the cost, etc.

We never looked back. Well, at ISTE there are still 30 tools in 30 minutes sessions. For the most part, we never looked back.

So, now comes Bonnie Stewart and

I have a new project I’m really excited about. Even if it kinda goes against just about EVERYTHING I’ve said about tech in education over the past, uh, decade.

I’ve read this post at least a dozen times and there are so many out of post links that will take you to rabbit holes that didn’t know they were hosting rabbits!

The proposed results?

The fact that it’s 2019 is loud and clear with the inclusion of “data surveillance”.

This looks incredibly interesting and will use social media for good for the description and dissemination of content. Read the post and get ready to follow. And, Bonnie is looking for some pilot locations if you’re interested.

Reflections from the Tech Guy

This TWIOE post seems to have been focused on people I’ve interviewed! This time, it’s David Carruthers.

As we’ve noticed recently, David is going to be doing some magic as he returns to the classroom after having been the “Tech Guy” at the board office for a while.

He sets the standard with his bottom line.

Bottom line, if being labelled a “tech guy” takes these reflections into consideration, I’m extremely proud of this label. I don’t see the technology in front of students as just a bunch of devices. This doesn’t excite me. Instead, I see tremendous potential.

Some words of advice here – you’ll always be known as the “Tech Guy” so wear it. There are worse things to be known for. You’ve built relationships throughout your district so don’t be surprised when you get some panic emails for help. I still get them. The most enjoyable are about report cards which have had many incarnations since I last formally supported them. The really cool thing happens when these relationships develop your learning because someone wants to share something new with you.

On a political note, things are likely to be difficult for a while as cutbacks affect districts throughout the province. I hope that school districts are wise enough to continue to put insightful “Tech Guys” in areas of support centrally. We know that anyone can click a mouse or use a keyboard these days. True progress comes when you have people like David that see the connection and the potential because they bring a strong background in teaching to such a support position.

As always, there’s a powerful collection of thoughts from these wonderful Ontario Edubloggers. Make sure you’re following them on Twitter.

  • @ssunderaswara
  • @mrJameyByers
  • @matthewoldridge
  • @jcasatodd
  • @Ahpotts
  • @bonstewart
  • @dcarruthersedu

This post originated on


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

This time for good?

I’ve been playing with the “New Twitter” for a while now. It originally felt fairly similar with just few things moved around on the screen. Sadly, I’d run into a problem somewhere and would switch back to “Legacy Twitter”.

During a very hot spell this week, I gave it another shot and was knocked back in my chair. Things most certainly had changed.

If you have a wide screen monitor, one of the complaints that you might have had (like I did) was that it didn’t use all of the screen. Now, there’s nothing wrong with white space but still … My new visit seemed to use all of the screen.

As I poked around on the screen, I noticed a “More” option. I’m always up for more.

There wasn’t a huge amount here but things I definitely wanted to play with and test. I made the text as small as possible (it gets more on the screen) and I went for a darker experience. “Dim” is actually quite nice and easy enough on the eyes without going full “Lights Out”.

And, of course, I had to make the colour green.

I typically bounce back and forth from Twitter on the web to Tweetdeck. This new look is really appealing and access to my Lists very convenient. I like the new layout and haven’t had anything that I felt I wanted to do but couldn’t.

The only thing is that Tweetdeck is looking a little old and tired. Is there nothing that will satisfy me?

Have you tried the New Twitter look? I’d be interested in your thoughts.