Tag: Canada

Olympic Resources

The Sochi Olympics are on!

There have been some interesting Olympic activities over the weekend.  The Opening Ceremonies were so interesting and of course, hockey has been wonderful to watch.  The most painful to watch for me has been the moguls.

In a post “Look for it” in January, I had shared that the Canadian Olympic Committee would be posting and updating classroom resources for use throughout the games.

They have come through as promised.

Whether you’re looking for ways to dress up your classroom or looking for ideas for fitness and well-being, the site has you covered.  In particular, download and print the Teacher’s Guide for ideas.

I particularly enjoyed the section dealing with individual athlete profiles.  Given the Gold-Silver finish of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters on the weekend, it certainly was compulsory research to find out made them so successful.  Having students create their own Olympic profile modelled after this would be interesting.

If you’re looking for a way to track the efforts of Canadians at the Olympics, this is definitely the place to go.


Canadian Apps

I went looking for an application uniquely Canada in the Apple App Store.  It was about the War of 1812 so I started poking around and, what happens often more than I care to admit, I got sidetracked.  I’ve always searched by title or concept but was so pleased when I saw this menu in iTunes.

Made in Canada, you say?  Pitty.  (my apologies to a certain tea company)

I followed the link and found this wonderful brightly red web page.

It should come as no surprise.  There are great computer science schools in the country graduating smart programmers; there are lots of media companies and they thrive on reaching their audience in this way; there are great startups located throughout the country.

So, now firmly sidetracked, I started poking around and was very pleased to note that some of the applications that I already have installed are from the Canadian collection.  Ever the educator, I poked around in the education category.  With all the applications available, there are good reasons to make sure that you’re focusing on Canadian content – the spelling, the actual images of the currency, the museums that are uniquely Canadian…

I would encourage you to poke around yourself.  In a great connected world, it’s sometimes difficult, or maybe even necessary, to know where your apps come from.  As a Canadian though, you might just feel a little proud of what was developed right here.

And, of course, what teacher’s toolkit would be complete without this one?

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Summer vacation is here and teachers are kicking back for two months at the cottage, right?  Hardly!  One of the things that make education in Ontario so superb is the amount of professionalism that goes on – even on vacation days.  I am so proud to highlight some of the excellent reading from Ontario Edublogs this past week.


Canada Day – Our Ed’s Okay

First of all, a confession.  I’m sorry Diana but I can never remember how to spell your last name so it’s always a copy/paste job.  Diana Maliszewski took some time while I was dodging thunderstorms on Canada Day to reflect on her own personal practice and also the positives of education in the province.  If you need some inspiration and sense of well-being, check out this post.


Changing My Mind About PD

Tim King is off to summer school for himself.  Tim’s reflecting about his own approach to professional learning as he takes on an Additional Qualification course this summer.
It is so easy to get negative but Tim provides his own thoughts about making his work positive.  Additional Qualification courses are one of those mystery things for the general public.  How many know that it’s a month of travel to a course or working online.  The courses are not cheap and come from the teacher’s pocket.
When they’re done, you’re in a great position to control your own personal direction.  People take the courses for a variety of purposes.  While I graduated from the Faculty of Education with specialists in Mathematics and Computer Science, I went back four or five years to pick up Business qualifications in Data Processing and Accounting.  I never really had aspirations to teach Accounting but ended up with a couple of sections once qualified.  It was a great deal of fun.  Beyond the course content, you could branch into personal financing, purchasing cars, bringing in chartered accountants as guest speakers.  We even had a car salesperson come in to explain the whole process.  It was great for everyone.
Beyond the course content, the connections that you make with others around the province are priceless.  Like all professional development endeavours, it’s up to each individual to find ways to maximize the experience.  It sounds like Tim’s off to a great start!
Of course, going to take an AQ course is only one way to grow professionally.  Julie Balen is participating in an online book talk around Alan November’s “Who Owns the Learning?”
As she participates in the study, Julie is blogging about her own thoughts as elements of the book ring true for her.  In addition to the book, she talks about being inspired by one of November’s TED talks.
She’s picked a great educator and book to work with.  We had the pleasure to have Alan November keynote a couple of Western RCAC Symposiums a few years ago.  He has a definite speaking style and really helped many in the audience shape a vision for the use of technology in Western Ontario classrooms.

Heather Leatham has experimented with using the Google 20% concept with her classroom.  As the school year came to an end, she surveyed her students for their thoughts and provided the results for us.  The post also features her own reflections about the project and the impact in her classroom.
It’s a very good read and the concept seems to be catching and spreading.  She’s going to continue it in September.   I think it’s wonderful, not only to experiment with the concept, but to share it with other professionals via her blog.
I’ll look forward to seeing what happens in the fall.
Such great reading this week.  Thanks to those who continue to write and share.  Please visit their blogs and drop off a comment or two if you’re inclined.  You can check out the complete list of Ontario Edubloggers here.  As I’ve mentioned many times, these are the ones that I know about.  If you’re blogging and not in the Livebinder, please add your details via the form and you will be.

July 1

Today is July 1.  In Canada, that means at least two big celebrations.  In Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s Memorial Day.  Throughout Canada, it’s Canada Day.  It’s a day to celebrate Canada as a country.  Hopefully, you’ll see red and white and flags everywhere.  Around here, there’s a full day of things planned, culminating in the mandatory fireworks display at Fort Malden.

Flags in Downtown Amherstburg

I know that many visitors to this website are not Canadian.  To help you understand and appreciate, I’m including the epic “Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans”.

And, for fun and pride, a current video from Molson

Happy Canada Day.



Living in a border community is one thing.  Living in one rich with history of the War of 1812 is another.  Last year was packed with event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the event.  We have a bridge named because of this.  It also has given us insights into what makes a defines a country.  I learned so much about our heritage just staying in touch.

A country is defined by its culture, peoples, and its borders. Ah, the borders.  Supposedly, the guiding line for the border between Canada and the United States was to be the 49th parallel.  This certainly is important in Central and Western Canada where there’s no break in the land between the two countries.  In Ontario, we have the Great Lakes which would make a good divider.  Of course, there’s the little issue of islands to be divided – Boblo-Canada, Sugar Island-US, Fighting Island-Canada, Zug Island-US, Pelee Island-Canada, Middle Bass Island-US.  It’s like dividing things with your brother.

Then, there’s the weather.  If you watch the weather on US television, all the bad weather seems to come from Canada – “a mass of Canadian cold air” – like we have a monopoly on cold air!  How do we know it didn’t originate in Alaska?  Hmmm?

Recently, I found this very interesting video about the Canadian and US border and how it was put into place.

It’s one of those things you want to tuck away so that you don’t lose it.  I’m doing so in this blog.  It’s an entertaining five and a half minutes.


Old Stuff

This resource is incredible.  I use that term when I make reference to something that steals my attention away from other things I should be doing.  This absolutely happened to me today.

The resource starts at “Old Pictures” and the website lives up to name.

Admittedly, the concept is very American but that’s its focus.  (although there is a small collection of things called “Canada”)  Some of the terminology used isn’t the most political so you’ll want to be careful how you use parts of it.  But, if you’re looking for images from days gone by, this is a very interesting collection.

All of the content is copyright by the website so that needs to be factored into your use as well.

The reason why the post is called “Old Stuff” instead of “Old Pictures” lies in one of the links.  It leaves the original picture site and takes you to a collection of online maps.  I’ve always been fascinated by maps and the sophistication of mapping skills as man’s tools became better over the years.   Viewing this complete collection just increases the fascination.  Again, the content in the map section is subject to copyright as well.

Navigation is accomplished by a simple menu on the left of the screen.


There are arrows embedded in the pages for navigation from one page to the next.

Sit back and enjoy this very rich and complete collection.  If you like history, you’ll love this.


An Interview with Gust MEES

Gust MEES and I have followed each other for some time now.  I’m not sure how we “met” but I’ll let him recall it shortly.  He’s an intriguing individual – lives in Luxembourg (Europe) http://www.scoop.it/t/luxembourg-europe, a country with ONLY 502,000 inhabitants and is a regular on Twitter.  You can find him very active there as @knolinfos.

Doug: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Gust.  First, the million dollar, euro question – how did we meet?

Gust:  Hi Doug, it was on Twitter, and I think that it had to do something with Critical Thinking where I explained to You that I am a very hard critical thinking person. But I can’t remember anymore why it happened, anyway very glad to have meat You!

Doug:  That’s amazing.  I am glad that we made the connection.

I’m sitting here in Canada speaking English and reading a bit of French.  Your online presence is more multi-lingual.  What languages do you speak?

Gust:  I am speaking: Luxembourgish, my mother tongue; French, German, English, a bit Portuguese, Dutch and I understand and can read some other languages too…

Doug: Of real interest – in what languages do you blog?

Gust:  I am blogging actually in English and in French. If I would have more time I would blog also in German, one day probably I will do so… That’s the languages where I feel comfortable to write, other languages which I know are for talking and/or reading only…

Doug: I find it a challenge to keep my one blog going.  You blog in more than one place.  Where are your blogs?

Gust:  That’s a good question where? I have to think to find it out myself as I am online since 1998 already and that I have published a lot since… Let’s try, I will show also my websites, as I think that readers could learn also something from those (if wished so). BTW: You are right to say that it is a challenge, also for me.

I should also explain the reason why I created different blogs: As learners learn differently, one course and blog doesn’t fit for ALL, I decided to create different blogs with also differently presented content, some more visual and with comics, others different again. More than ten (10) years of giving courses to adults, seniors, youth, primary classrooms and teachers, have shown me that it is necessary and that it works also (better understanding for the learners), so here we go:

Doug:  I think our regular interactions are spurred by You taking a post from me and saving it to your Scoopit! pages.  How many of these Scoopit! pages do you have?

Gust:  YES, there are some of your blog posts and also your from “Zite” shared posts that I include in my daily curation on Scoopit!! As I curate ONLY (what I think is) the BEST, I am very selective, there are a lot of your posts present 😉 I curate also a lot from my PLN (Personal Learning Network). For the readers who would learn about a PLN, please check here:

How many of Scoopit! pages I have You ask, well there are twenty (20) with different Topics (as I have a lot of interests) and they are also multilingual (EN, FR, DE). Topics are, check them out please:

Doug: So much of your focus appears to be on Education and Security.  You have a huge curation of materials.  Why the interest in these topics?

Gust:  You are right, I have a lot of interests (I am curious for Learning more). Well, I should divide it also in the two topics, let’s start with IT-Security, the beginning. I am online since 1998 and I read also a lot, books and magazines. I got my first knowledge of IT-Security in 1999 by reading PC-Magazines and I applied it also on my PC and of course, as I am not selfish and having the will to share it with others, I published it also on my website(s).

A certain moment come, my websites had a big success. In private life people told me that I am crazy to talk about security, virus and more of those strange beasts problems at that time. So now my website has more than 2 million visits, see pic

I started so to learn more about and also to share my knowledge with others and even that my Security courses got accepted by the Ministry of Education in Luxembourg (Europe), my country. Check here, please (in French):

Once started, one must continue when there is a demand for it 😉 Looks like people love my way of explaining and teaching. I became also a member (Advisory Board) of:

And that’s why I started also to make the curation about IT-Security, Cyber-Security.

Sharing my acquired knowledge with others is priority and a pleasure also!

A pleasure!? Am I kidding? NO, it’s something who makes me happy, check here:

When I do something for other people, I feel good, “says Peterson“. When you do something voluntarily for others, not only for its own interests, it is rewarded. In some mysterious way, serve as an “altruistic” (the opposite of selfishness) gives his own life more important. It seems that nature have put it in our genes, or that people are happy when they have the spirit of sharing, community spirit.

So, dear readers, make yourself feeling good and share 😉

Concerning now Education, that’s a bit a different story. I was a manager with Electronics background  and worked for different companies when later I got unemployed with 45 years old (2000). I was looking for a new job and I saw that the Government was looking for ICT instructors, proposing to give people pedagogical courses to be able to do this job. I applied and I passed the tests, later I was studying for 4 months pedagogy, tailored for ICT. Very hard to study pedagogy at that age, but I got IT. One is never too old to learn new stuff, when the will is there.

I became months later an ICT course instructor on an eight (8) hour base work and on 5 days per week work, very hard… I gave courses to adults, seniors (even 70+…), primary classrooms and primary school teachers… I was getting nearly obsessed by learning, I found my destination, I found my vocation, I love it to teach…

My knowledge (professional development) was updated by following different other courses and by reading a lot of books, where here below my selection:

Doug: Do you find educators more or less concerned about security than the average online citizen?

Gust:  YES, I do, sorry! Educators are less motivated to learn about the basics of Cyber-Security, IT-Security and have ALSO less knowledge about it, my point of view resulting by practice. Meaning that Educators I know (friends) and also by analyzing the stream of tweets on Twitter shows me that!

Doug: Why do you think this is that way?

Gust:  That’s a real million dollar, euro question 😉 Well, as most of Educators are using NOT a PC but most a Mac and some a computer with Linux OS, they feel too secure! But thinking that these OS (Operating Systems) are secure, that’s NOT the reality, sorry. NOBODY is perfect, NO OS is perfect, reality shows us that when one is analyzing the attacks and vulnerabilities worldwide!

Doug: Do you find that Macintosh or Linux users have this over confidence that their platform is immune to problems?

Gust:  YES, I do! You are right with the word “Over Confidence” as it is exactly that! I don’t make a war of different OS, but one must be aware today that Nobody Is Perfect, attacks and vulnerabilities are showing us that, see here please:

Don’t forget also about mobile phones, Android is also based on Linux as OS! Check here:

Doug: What can be done to turn this around?

Gust:  Seriously and convinced, I think that there is a MUST to teach the basics of Cyber-Security by Education in any schools around in the world, and this up from early age! The kids will understand it very quickly, they are more intelligent as most adults think as their computers and smartphones are the (nearly) most important to them! I have worked together with teens (11 years old and +) and showed them How To protect their computers and how to stay informed about new threats, that was a piece of cake for them, I even didn’t think that it could be that easy, I was surprised! Convincing adults is (???) more (very) hard!

So, how could that be in practice? That was the question I asked myself (oh yes, I thought a lot…) and here are my propositions and advice:

Apart from teaching the basics of Cyber-Security in schools by traditional learning, one should try ALSO to involve and engage youth in that process of learning, learning by doing and learning to have responsibility! IT’s ALL about responsibility anyway when working and using ICT (BYOD included)! This could be realized with a piece of theater (it took me a year of development) where they could be involved as actors (players) and also by giving them the feeling of being an IT-Hero by becoming Security-Scouts. Sounds strange? Check the links below to learn more:

Doug: You call yourself an ICT Course Instructor.  What courses have you instructed or are currently instructing?

Gust:  Lots of my courses are present (in French) on the server of the Ministry of Education in Luxembourg (Europe):

They are for domestic security, the basic knowledge which anybody should have in 21st Century… Created with the less possible technical expressions…

Actually I am preparing blogs where I want to share my 10 years lived practice on How To I used the knowledge where most are only starting now to learn it and/or using it. Coming soon and hoping that it will help others and giving them some new ideas (perhaps) also… It’s all about sharing experience and knowledge…

Doug: You have created a number of resources and placed them online.  Can you tell the readers where they are and how they can use them?

Gust:  Readers could find the resources inside this interview and should read the copyright information for any proposed link(s) in the article(s) and/or blog(s) to avoid mistakes!

Readers can learn more about Copyright here:

and about Twitter here:

My private blog about some of my hobbies:

Doug: Do you have any restrictions on their use?  i.e. could a teacher use them with her/his students?

Gust:  Of course anybody could use my articles and courses present on my blogs  for non-commercial use, and should do so, please. My blogs (mostly courses) are created on a way that when displaying them with a beamer and/or on a white-board have ALL the necessary resources included to teach on a quality way! Teachers, Educators only need to bring in their own mentality and pedagogical knowledge when speaking to the students, learners to make the course(s) even better… Students also will find the necessary resources to learn on their own pace, especially through the curated articles…

Some more help could be found here:

BTW: all my publications are FREE as I am an advocate for FREE Education, anybody should have the possibility to learn for (nearly) no costs…

Doug: Lately, I seem to get a sense that you’re focusing on Critical Thinking.  This is a big issue in education.  Can you elaborate on your curations of this topic and point readers to your resources?

Gust:  You are right, Critical Thinking is a MUST in 21st Century Education, especially because one needs to filter out the big data present on the Internet! NOT everything found by searching on the Internet is TRUE, nor valuable! Even that some content (and images) will infect computers when NOT protected!

One needs to learn Critical Thinking to be able to make the difference between quality content, fake content (that’s existing also…) and between trustful websites and websites with infecting content, as well for security.Here my selection of BEST articles to it:


Doug: You have a very big footprint online.  Have you created any other content that would be of interest to my readers?

Gust:  Haha, looks like You googled me! You are right I did a lot and I will still create a lot, there is still a lot in my brain (the filter situated between the two ears) which needs to get on cold print for sharing with others…

Not sure if people like this, it is my testimonial about arthritis and a Total Knee Replacement by a prosthesis (in French):

and here a new way to use images, ThingLink. I used only one interactive image to display my security courses in it! Check it out please:

And here my curation about it to find out how it works and how other people use it:

As I try out a lot of new stuff, so I did also with Calameo:

and with Paper.li, a daily newspaper created from tweets :

and another  service, which You know as well, Rebelmouse:

Very long time ago, in 2002 I created MAUSI, the mascotte of my working place. I did it for the pleasure of the kids who visited my courses together with their teacher(s). The idea came as I explained a whole primary class (3d year, 9 years old) what a computer is and what one could do with a PC. It was the beginning of the computer era and at that time most people didn’t know how to work with it. So I decided to use Windows Paint to draw, a creative action. I first explained the kids what the computer mouse is fore and asked them what they wanted me to draw. They wanted a mouse, as I showed them the computer mouse their answer was logical…

As I have some talent for drawing and painting, so I switched on the beamer and they saw how I created MAUSI in real time, by explaining them and their teacher any taken step also on how I did it. They were all fascinated and me happy that I was able to create it, here is the result:

Later I created an animated gif as shown in above website and showed it to the teachers and to the kids, they became later all addicted to the computer, I was awaken the desire to learn to work with a computer, I felt happy! Primary school classes visited twice a week my working place to work with the computers and also to learn about how to work with them; at that time the school didn’t have yet computers in the classrooms, that came very more late because of budget.

I created different other projects, but I will not show them here now, as there is already so much. Just google me and you will find out 😉

The most important to me anyway is that my learners understand what I teach them and I do anything to reach that goal…

You originally posted your content on Google Knol.  Now that it’s gone away, you’ve migrated to WordPress and Scoopit!  Do you miss Google Knol?  Was it more appropriate for what you were doing?

Gust:  YES, You are right concerning Google Knol, who is NOW on the Google GraveYard, as many other services from Google, check below please:

I really miss Google Knol as a platform, true! I helped building it up with my ideas (lots of them were integrated…) and the most important what I miss is the ===> collaborative publishing ⇐=== with different authors from different countries and with different cultures! It was a great experience for me, I really miss them…

For example, here are some migrated knols to WordPress which I created together with multicultural authors:

I became also one of the TOP 10 English language authors on Google Knol with on the end +/- 1.4 million views, see pic please:

I was also honored as “Author of the week”, check pic please:

I am looking now to: first publishing about what is priority for my readers and me, priorities found out by analyzing the stream of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and later (???) trying to make propositions for BETTER (as I did on Knol) to get the same conditions on WordPress, who knows, maybe they are ALSO listening to me for BETTER 😉 Let me dream a bit :)))

Final word, I was a pioneer in lots of online adventures and I am also an autodidact, a self-learner who loves creativity…

Doug: Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview.  On behalf of my readers, thank you so much for sharing.  After all, that’s what it’s all about!

Gust:  Hi Doug, I thank You and You said it again, THE most important: ===> SHARING ⇐= is the magic word! Have a great day and keep up the good work!