This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Here’s a most recent roundup of things of interest coming from the fingertips of Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, a great collection of wisdom shares.  Check them out and pass along to your colleagues.

How Do You Jump Into the Pool?

Kristi Kerry Bishop posed a question about change in school that inspired a number of replies, including one from me.  It’s good reading, both from the perspective of a teacher and an administrator.  I was inspired, as a teacher, to share a big moment of change for me as a first year teacher.  Hint, it involved a sweating vice-principal with a big grin on his face.  Change has to be something carefully thought through.

I remember the advice given to me by a colleague as we car pooled to my first professional development session.  “Beware of anyone who says I’m from the Board Office and I’m here to help you.”  There’s a danger in statements like that and their effectiveness.  It’s like “I read a book on PLNs | Collaborative Inquiry | Inquiry in the Classroom | ” and now we’re going to do it.  There needs to be an element of readiness and part of that is laying the ground work.

In this case, my reply was inspired by a personal event and also by the quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Got ideas of your own?  Add them to her replies.

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Another Brick in the Wall

Peter Skillen, as luck would have it, has the perfect blog post to address at least some of Kerri’s concerns.

He expands on his thoughts in the post with a number of “bricks”.

  • Practise what you Preach
  • We perpetuate myths through one-line wisdoms
  • We need to educate – not subjugate
  • We are ferociously fickle. We ‘surf the surface’
  • It IS about the tools
  • Educate the public

If this doesn’t make you think….

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Students as Teachers:  Week 2 in the Makerbot 3D Classroom

As noted earlier in the blog and on hers, Heather Durnin has a new tool for her classroom and is using her Makerbot printer for “exciting, vigorous learning” in her classroom.  The blog post talks about the excitement that the students have and anything that gets kids working over the lunch hour has to be good.  I like the pictures that she shares in the post; it appears to be one very excited classroom.

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Clouds and Records

For those who are fear mongering that education is selling out to big corporations about student data without thinking it through, you need to take a look at Mark Carbone’s recent post.  The OASBO people are taking this topic very seriously.  As Mark notes,

 “The provincial committee is examining school board privacy and records management considerations
for business functions as they relate to cloud computing.”

As visible evidence, a recent meeting of OASBO folks online with a Google Hangout, the conversation was recorded and made available for anyone who wants to take the time to view it.  Mark has it embedded into his post.

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100th Post: Welcoming an administrator to blogging

Congratulations to Brandon Grasley on the occasion of his 100th blog post.

I think the post speaks to his qualities as an educator helping other educators.  Many bloggers, upon reaching such a milestone would blog about “me“, “hey, it’s my 100th” or the like.  In Brandon’s case, he used his post to promote the blogging efforts of another educator.

Doesn’t that speak volumes about him on a personal level and on a more global level how we can use the blogging platform to build a better place for all of us to learn online?  Let’s join Brandon in welcoming David Jaremy to the world of blogging.

DavidJaremy

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#RCAC13 Final Program

If you’re able to make it to London on December 5, you’ll absolutely get a great day of Professional Learning at the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Annual Symposium.  It’s just one day in length but you’ll get a chance to hear two inspirational keynote speakers – Travis Allen and Gary Stager – as well as attend sessions from educational leaders from the Western Ontario region.

Oh, and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Full disclosure – I’ve been asked to co-chair the conference again with Doug Sadler.  It’s been a local event that I’ve been so passionate about since my first year as a consultant with the Essex County Board of Education.  I always used to bring my superintendent and key principals to hear what’s happening in other school districts just up the 401.  Every other school district would do the same thing and we would serve to push each other to greater and greater things.  It’s a full days of ideas and inspiration.

As Rodd Lucier notes:

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You’ve got to admit – it’s another great week of reading and ideas from some of the educational leaders in the province.  Thanks to the above and to everyone in the Ontario Edublogger list for keeping us engaged and thinking about the big issues in Ontario Education.  Please take the time to visit the blog entries above and see if you don’t agree.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It was yet another spectacular week of reading this week in Ontario Edublogs.  Here’s but a bit of what I enjoyed.

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Do My Thoughts On Awards Change When I Win One?

I have to be careful that this blog doesn’t become the Aviva Dunsiger fan club site but a recent post from her is certainly worthy of sharing to anyone who drops by here.  Aviva has been recognized with a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.  It’s an incredible honour and I’m so happy for her.  And yet, there’s the shadow of current comments in vogue speaking against the concept of awards  As I noted when I commented on her post, I hope that doesn’t spoil the moment.  In the meantime, I’m pleased to note that I knew her when she was @grade1.  Congratulations, Aviva.

She summarizes her philosophy in blue!

 I do what I do because I love kids! I do what I do because I believe in the power of education. I do what I do because I want to see ALL kids succeed, and I know that they can. I do what I do because nothing makes me happier than teaching, and I’m thrilled that I get to do what I love every single day. 

The complete listing of all the Prime Minister’s Award winners is located here.

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So What Do We Do With the Information?

Sometimes, we just take our knowledge for granted and move on.  It’s only when we step back and look at how students witness information for the first time do we get things put in perspective.

Recently Brian Smith did this activity with students.  Using Padlet, students posted their understanding of domain names.  It was interesting to scroll through the board and see their interpretation.

The next step was to evaluate some resources for trustfulness.  He collected the information via Google Form.  There was a whole lot of technology infused into this activity.

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Bullying, Violence, Pictures Books – Oh My!

There’s so much in the news about bullying and cyberbullying these days.  Debbie Axiak takes a moment to reflect on recent events that she experienced and makes a promise to look more critically at resources.  It’s good advice for all!

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School Based EdCamp for Professional Learning

David Fife muses over a different model for professional learning within his school.  He’s thinking about an EdCamp model rather than the practices of the past.  We’ve all experienced the “sit ‘n git” model and we know how effective that can be.  EdCamp involves an active model of learning by following your needs.  Traditionally, it involves a group of people who make a conscious decision to be at a particular place and time for the learning.  It will be interesting to see if this model works onsite at a school.  He promises a followup post to share the results.

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#RCAC13 Final Program

If you’re able to make it to London on December 5, you’ll absolutely get a great day of Professional Learning at the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Annual Symposium.  It’s just one day in length but you’ll get a chance to hear two inspirational keynote speakers – Travis Allen and Gary Stager – as well as attend sessions from educational leaders from the Western Ontario region.

Oh, and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Full disclosure – I’ve been asked to co-chair the conference again with Doug Sadler.  It’s been a local event that I’ve been so passionate about since my first year as a consultant with the Essex County Board of Education.  I always used to bring my superintendent and key principals to hear what’s happening in other school districts just up the 401.  Every other school district would do the same thing and we would serve to push each other to greater and greater things.  It’s a full days of ideas and inspiration.

As Rodd Lucier notes:

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Once again, I thought this was a nice collection of thoughts and publishing from colleagues throughout the province.  Follow the links to the original posts and share your thoughts.

My collection of Ontario Edubloggers can be accessed here.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and not listed, just complete the form and you soon will be!

 

Final Program for #RCAC13


logo100
The Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s new website has been updated to reflect its program for the Symposium to be held in London, Ontario on December 5.

http://westernrcac.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/rcac13-final-program/

The RCAC Symposium has been held annually in December for a number of years.  Its purpose is to show off some of the creative things that are happening in the Western Ontario region.  By design, the symposium is only one day long to make it appealing to trustees, directors of education, superintendents, principals, and technology leaders within a school district.

In addition to the breakout sessions, two thought-provoking keynote addresses should serve to encourage a reflection about local initiatives, priorities and future directions.

The day is packed with ideas that will either confirm your planning or inspire you to do new things.  The contacts that you’ll make are second to none.  The holiday setting at the beautiful Lamplighter Inn makes for a relaxed environment for learning and sharing.

Check out this year’s program at the link above.  I hope to see you in London.

Technology Refresher


I just took a look at a David Pogue TED talk.  David is a favourite speaker here in Southwestern Ontario.  He’s keynoted the Western RCAC Symposium twice and helped shovel my car out of a snow drift once.  (it’s all part of the deal of coming to London in December).

PogueandMe1

His tech talk is interesting.  It’s titled “10 top time-saving tech tips“.  Now, you’re a sophisticated computer user, right?  I’ll bet you know all these tips.  The bigger question is:  Do you use these regularly?  Is this the way you do business?

Now, think back.

Who taught you these tips?

How will students learn these productivity tips?  Do you teach them?  Do you at least model them?

 

Social Stories


This is exciting news for those who are looking for a way of incorporating literacy into their English or Language or ELL courses.  Or History.  Or Drama.  Or…

Twitter has announced the “Twitter Fiction Festival“.  Ideas were submitted and the Festival will run over 5 days at the end of November.  You’ll follow the hashtag #twitterfiction to get involved.

Twitter is a frontier for creative experimentation, and we want to invite authors and creative storytellers around the world to push the bounds of what’s possible with Twitter content.

The platform is incredibly powerful.  One of my favourite all time activities in this format was the Titanic Twitter Reenactment.  I was riveted to the feed – it would be the closest that I would get to being there.  Of course, I saw the movie but that is a medium for our times.  Imagine the experience with just with the messages (or twitter messages).  That’s reality.  It also honours the mind.

I was so impressed that I wanted to keep it for future reference.  I’ve used it in presentations and will share the link with you.

Of course, there are more ideas along the same line.

One of the ideas that absolutely proved the application to the classroom was Danika Barker‘s experiment taking Shakespeare to Twitter.  Talk about a way to engage the texting generation.

 

This gathered her some media coverage as well.  The Ontario College of Teachers featured her efforts in this story.  The event was also a big-time story in the London Free Press.  Sadly, when I tried to retrieve the link, it failed from the lfpress site.  However, Google’s cached version of the story is available here.

Danika has done this a number of times and keeps Storifys of them all.  And why not?  The results are <= 140 characters but the thoughts, reading, and research from the classroom is very evident.  As a student, you wouldn’t want to get caught up in the middle of a Twitter stream not knowing what was going on.

The concept is very powerful and extremely engaging.  Make sure that you give the Twitter Fiction Festival a look.  You might just be inspired to join in or create a project of your own.