OTR Links 09/22/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



There are times when it’s tough to be a teacher.  It’s even worse when you were a former Business Education Director and your friends know about it.  My friend, in this case is a public librarian.  On a recent visit, she showed me something that really frustrated her.

In the computer nook, there was a secondary school student who was trying his best to enter an essay into the computer.  He was using the technique fondly known as “hunting and pecking” and it was painfully slow.

Then comes the inevitable comment – “This is what happens when we take a valuable life skill like typing out of the curriculum.”  In my best diplomatic voice, I explained that we had dropped the word “typing” in favour of “keyboarding” a long time ago.  I received one of those librarian stares because she knew I was splitting hairs.  I knew what she was getting at and resisted the urge to ask her to look at the students cursive writing while she was on a roll.

But it is tough.

While the keyboarding aspect to curriculum is gone for most students, the elements of education that actually require the skill (like keyboarding an essay) remain in the curriculum.  The result is the hunter and pecker that eventually gets the job done.  I’d be willing to bet that things would have been faster if the student was able to text the essay.  But then, there’s the time it takes and the inevitable suggesting spelling making inappropriate suggestions.

This is the 21st century though.  Voice recognition has never been better, right?  Could you imagine how “good” it would be in a class of 30 with everyone dictating an essay to their device all at the same time.  Well, there’s always the library.  Keep it under the shush level and you’ll be good.  I’m told the shushing doesn’t come from the librarian anymore; just from the other patrons who look for the library as a place of quiet.

Surely, you must have a suggestion for a computer program to help out with learning to keyboard.  I pulled out my phone to my set of bookmarks and offered up 10fastfingers.com.  It’s an interesting challenge.

Students, certainly at the secondary school level, don’t want to start at the basics.


For the most part, they know where the keys are.  They just need practice accessing them.  I read a report once that indicated that hunters and peckers can work themselves up to a speed of 20 words a minute without too much of a hassle but then reach that ceiling where only a good technique lets them break through.

I hadn’t tested myself for a while so I sat down and tried a test.


Hey, 57 wpm isn’t bad.  I even got a badge for my efforts.


I had to leave so I really don’t know how this particular story ends.

But, I’d be interested in your thoughts, kind reader, about keyboarding.

  • Does it have a place in today’s classroom?
  • What are the challenges students face without the skill?

Maybe, I should have saved this post for a Sunday for my “whatever happened to” series.

Your thoughts?

OTR Links 09/21/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Upping your game

In yesterday’s post, I left you with a question…

Screenshot 2017-09-19 at 16.50.06

A good question would be – how can I up my game?

Well, here’s one online learning way.

Courtesy of Google, check out the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course.

Screenshot 2017-09-19 at 16.48.08

Divided into the six sections you see above, it’s a real start or refresher for any educator using the internet with their students.  The format of this MOOC gives you a concise over view of each of the lessons, why you would want to teach the concepts, and then the lesson itself.

Each lesson includes a YouTube video explaining the concepts and a transcript of the video, in a Google document, so that you can save it to your Google Drive account for later use.

To test your understanding, each of the units concludes with a quiz so that you can self test yourself on the concepts of the unit.  Some of the answers can be a bit tricky but worth working through.  Each of the units come with an estimated time for learning.

Not surprisingly, the teacher course dovetails nicely on Google’s Be Internet Awesome student resource.  You’ll recall that I blogged about it here back in June.

Then comes the good teacher stuff.  If you’re successful in your quest to work through the six units and pass the quizzes, you’re entitled to a badge (everyone likes badges, right?) and a series of lesson plans ready for use in the classroom.  If you use the ISTE standards, the lessons are correlated to them.

OTR Links 09/20/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

63 easy steps to digital literacy

Hands up if you remember when life skills for students living in a digital world and the literacy that goes along with it could be summed up with this statement?

Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see

Ah, life and teaching was so much easier.

We’ve certainly evolved and become more aware of things and have a bigger picture of what it means to be literate and relevant in the year 2017.  Digital literacy isn’t an “event”; it’s a way of being.

That’s where this post from Terry Heick is really worth reading and sharing with all the teachers in your school.

63 Things Every Student Should Know In A Digital World

In the post, you’ll find a very informative and complete list of issues that should form an integral part of any school program that purports to education the “21st Century Learner”.

This is highly recommended reading and an opportunity to start planning lessons that address the issues on an ongoing basis.

Of course, for it to be most effective, you need to embrace the same concepts yourself.

Take another run down the list with a different set of eyes.  Are there areas where you need to up your game?

OTR Links 09/19/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.