This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Greetings from an area still in Phase 1. I hope those of you who are not got yourself a nice haircut.


The Class of 2020

Congratulations to Jennifer Casa-Todd for getting her Masters degree in Curriculum and Technology. In any other year, the day that she booked off would have been spent travelling to convocation, getting taken to a nice supper and getting showered with congratulatory gifts.

Of course, things are different and she made the effort to still make the day special by dressing up in cap and gown and walking across her front lawn.

So many questions – flipflops or barefeet? who just has a cap and gown hanging in a closet for this occasion?

Jennifer uses the post to extend congratulations to so many that are in the Class of 2020 no matter where they are. Achievements like this are big and definitely need to be observed.

Anne Adamson shared how they’re celebrating around here.


Skipped a generation

From the ourdadshoes blog comes this post from Jay Dubois. Like many of the posts of the blog, it’s written to honour the man that served as his father.

Jay is a bit tough on himself indicating that there were some things that his father tried to teach him that didn’t take. I think all of us often felt this way, that we couldn’t stand up to the standard that the greatest man in our lives set.

Jay’s in the position now of being father to his own children and shares his insights on how that’s going with him.

I just hope he doesn’t get this thrown at him like I do. “Daaaaad, you’re such a teacher.”


Snapshot- a Photo Synthesis

When Noa Daniels blogs about anything that fits into her BOB philosophy, I find it very insightful and most definitely worth the time to read, consider, and bookmark.

In this case, she talks about a concept that she uses called “Snapshots” which is such a rich activity at so many levels. Of course, there’s the photo aspect but it goes way beyond that when you consider media literacy.

What made such an impression on me was how flexible this activity was. It was started long before the school building closures but it seems to me that it’s relatively easily done at the distance teachers find themselves from students these days.

I think this is something bookmark-worthy for implementation in your own classroom whatever shape or form they take in the fall.

If you go right to the bottom of the post, Noa has included a slideshow of the images that the students have submitted for this assignment. You’ll have faith that Noa’s students are going to be world aware and empathic going forward.


STATEMENT FROM EDUGALS ABOUT EVENTS UNFOLDING IN THE USA.

Rachel Johnson, Katie Attwell are the EduGals. They take a departure from the regular focus of their blog – technology support, insights, and inspirations – to share their very personal opinions about what we’re seeing south of the border.

They recognize straight up their privilege as white women and some of the things that they’ve never had to worry about in their lives.

I felt that they identified and explained their position nicely. But Canada is not off the hook here and they don’t let the issues of the day that are in the news go unnoticed. Kudos to them for that.

Included in the post as well are resources worth investigating.

I’m reminded of this article written for TVOntario about the last segregated school in Canada. When and where before you click.

The story of Ontario’s last segregated Black school

And, you don’t have to beyond the nightly news to realize the plight of our First Nations’ citizens.


Classrooms & Communities

This is an older post from Idil Abdulkadir, dating back to February. So why share it now?

Like Noa’s post above, this describes a wonderful classroom activity for MAP4C. And, it’s given the very technical name of “The Thing”.

In a world where mathematics is seen as something that needs to be dragged from students and something that is to be endured until the end, this is different. The enthusiasm for mathematics and engagement from Idil comes through clearly in the post.

So why now? Because in these days of not meeting face to face with students, it’s something that addressed important expectations and yet has a huge engagement factor. Using support for Twitter, Idil has assembled a delightful learning activity and it begins with a collection of data in a shared spreadsheet.

We all know the power of infographics and data analysis done correctly with the element to convince the reader to get immersed in the topic.

So, “The Thing” has evolved over time.


Over the past few weeks from when I found it, I’ve been trying to highlight the great father posts from ourdadshoes.com. Since Father’s Day is this Sunday, I’ve run out of time. Posts that I haven’t shared here…

Intent of the Blog

Please take the time to click through and read all these great blog posts.

Then, follow these Ontario Educators on Twitter.

  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @jcasatodd
  • Jay Dubois – @Jay__Dubois
  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Edugals – @EduGals
  • Idil Abdulkadir – @Idil_A_

This post originates from:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Search them all


A long time ago, I had written a script that kind of did was Soovle does. It’s just that Soovle does it so much better.

It was based on the premise that if searching on one search engine was good then searching on more than one can be better.

So, let’s say you’re interested in finding out more about “Winnipeg”, you can give it a shot here.

The blank screen when you land looks like this.

But, start doing a search and watch them all come to life. So, it’s off to Winnipeg we go…

Results from all of the search engines are populated as you type. It’s kind of neat to play with your arrow keys to rotate the results and check them out.

There are more tips in the secret link in the top right. If you don’t like the default choices of search engines or layout, the engines link let you customize things.

When you find a search of interest, clicking on it will take you to the result in the search engine selected.

But wait, there’s more. Before Lisa and Aviva jump in with suggestions on media literacy … it’s an interesting comparison between search engines to see what they return. I’ve mentioned before that it’s frustrating when a student finds what they’re looking for in the first page of results from a Google Search. This is a powerful visual reminder that that is but one way to search.

If you live in Winnipeg right now, I would imagine that knowing when and where the Grey Cup Parade happens would be a significant thing. What search engine has the same priority? Why isn’t that the first result from them all? Can you make them all return information about the parade?

The more you know, the better a researcher you’ll be.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


It’s still summer time and reading blogs is a nice break from the heat. Check out some of the things that I’ve been reading from Ontario Edubloggers lately


Why Summer is a Perfect Time for Reflection

Summer is an interesting beast. Even when you go into your favourite stores, there’s no guarantee that it’s business as usual. Your favourite workers may not be there and instead are away on holiday.

Of course, as Sue Dunlop notes, don’t drop into a school and look for the regular crew.

They’re away doing things that aren’t connected to specific time slots and specific places. They’re on their own time and in their own place. Sue points out some great reasons why this “break from the bell” makes it a perfect time to reflect.

It’s not advice for others – she’s doing a bit of reflection on her own.


Experiment of The Week – Homemade Projector by Steve Spangler

After you’re done reflecting and you want to create something, the STAO blog has this little gem.

How about creating your own projector?

Is this a project for your makerspace in the future?


ETFO Innovate 2019

I really enjoy reading conference reports and this one from Shelly Vohra is no difference.

Lots of activities and learning seemed to be the theme coming from her in the post. She provides a complete and detailed report on her various activities.

Of real interest was a quote that she attributes to Debbie Donsky (see my interview with Debbie here) about her keynote. It surrounds the word Ubuntu. It’s a philosophy on many levels – including an operating system! But, its roots go back to connecting people…

She also talked about the term “Ubuntu” –  “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” How are we sharing in a way that connects us all? How are we leading and connecting from the heart?

Doesn’t that describe the human teaching condition?


Tour de Mont Blanc – Day Eight for Climb for Kids

Paul McGuire may be on the other side of the Atlantic climbing for kids but if you’re connected to Paul, you’ve been seeing some spectacular pictures of his summer adventure.

So far, he’s provided one blog post of “how I spent my summer holidays” and check out the scenery.

On top of this, he’s raising money for kids. Talk about the best of both worlds.


Friday Two Cents: Honour Our Past To Understand Our Present

Like Paul Gauchi, one of my favourite places to visit while in Ottawa is the Canadian War Museum. Even visiting the local cenotaph can be a humbling experience.

I attribute it to a vet that I had as a teacher. He walked with a permanent limp and would often share personal stories when there were those 10-15 minutes of dead time at the the end of class.

Sadly, there are fewer and fewer people who have this sort of experience and memories. The Museum helps ensure that we continue to remember and to honour.

Yet I say, “To truly understand our present we must first understand our past”; the good, bad and ugly sides. I cannot tell you how many adults do not know or understand the current Canadian issues that we face today, started many years if not decades ago. But they keep on complaining and in my opinion whining about these issues without knowing the history of them.


Have you ever put a tooth in the microwave?

Well, Anne-Marie Kee, no I haven’t. Although now that I’ve read the title to this post, I am curious…

tldr; You won’t find the answer in this post.

However, you will find a summer reflection from a principal. In a private school, in addition to the sorts of things that you might expect anywhere, there are additional things to think about. Concerns about sustainability would be among them although that appears to be under control.

The final thought is something that I think so many are thinking and wondering about this summer. It’s important and the answer might make for a better school year.

How can we prioritize student voice in our programs?


Highlights of the National Association of Media Literacy Educators Conference

Finally, from the Association for Media Literacy blog, another conference summary and reflect by Neil Andersen.

Wow!

What a collection of sessions that he shares some notes and thinking about.

  • Teaching About Genocide Through A Media Literacy Frame • Jad Melki
  • Refugees creating documentaries in Greece using visual ethnography • Evanna Ratner
  • Eco Media Literacy • Antonio Lopez
  • Criminal minds and Looney Tunes: portrayals of mental illness and therapy on television
  • Pushing against online hate: MediaSmarts • Kara Brisson-Boivin
  • Media Literacy Pedagogical Practices With Children: Engagement, Learning And Home-School Community Knowledge Exchange • Vitor Tomé
  • Critiquing advertisements with teens and their families: video literacy intervention in Jamaica • Rachel Powell
  • The United States Institute of Peace Thinktank
  • Visualizing Media Literacy • Theresa Redmond
  • On The Air: Elementary Student Adventures In Podcasting And Radio Broadcasting • Diana Maliszewski
  • What Does The Internet Know About You? • Julie Nilsson Smith
  • Panel: Media Literacy And The Tech Industry: Exploring Collaborative Ways To Navigate Rapid Technological Growth
  • Panel: Trust, Journalism, And Media Literacy
  • The Future Of Media Literacy Requires Starting Early: “Ulla” The Little Owl In Kindergarten • Eveline Hipeli
  • Media Literacy Across The Pacific: What’s Happening In Australia • Amy Nelson

I hope that you can find some time to click through and read all of these posts at their original source. There’s great thinking there.

Then, make sure that you’re following these folks on Twitter.

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

This is part of a regular Friday feature here. It was originally posted to

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Raptors’ media literacy


This was one of those moments when only a screen capture will do.

All during the final game between the Raptors and the Warriors, they commentators kept noting that this was the final game at the Oracle Arena.  I recognized the outside but I could have sworn that I knew it as another name.

So, the next morning, I decided to check it out.  Going online during the game didn’t seem right.  The first search results took me to the Wikipedia which seemed like a good crowd sourced solution to a relatively simple, straight forward question.

Here’s what I found…

Now, overlook the fact that their new arena has already been put in place.  Check out the ownership of the team.  It looks like some Raptors Wikipedia fans had been to work!  It’s time for a screen capture.

Now, had I known who the actual owners were, I could have immediately changed that myself.  A while later, after doing my research, I returned.

Some fact checker had been in and made the correction.  Whew!

But, would have happened if I’d been doing a research paper and hit the article at the wrong time.  Now, any NBA fan would have had red lights flashing immediately but what if you weren’t in that camp, er, court?  How’s that a case for fact checking?

Related to this on the topic of media literacy, check out this article from the CTV.

From California to Canada: A look at newspaper front pages day after Raptors historic win

Here you’ll find a very nice collection of screen captures from major newspapers from both Canada and the United States.  It’s an interesting study in how different people and publications can have a different take on how to report the same story.  And, it’s relevant.  For this week anyway.

There’s a couple of media related things for the week ahead!

Enjoy.

Looking for someone I used to know


I still can’t find him or her.

But I’m looking.

I’m not really looking for anyone specific.  Just anyone I used to know.

Anyone who has ever walked through a shopping mall knows that there are so many different faces.  I recall once that Vicky Loras told me she saw my Doppelgänger in Switzerland.  I could swear that I saw Lisa Noble’s double in the Devonshire Mall in Windsor one day.

So, here’s my logic – such that it is.

I was inspired on this crusade using the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.  Created by Phillip Wang, it generates lifelike human faces from an algorithm.  You can read all about it here and by following a few links followed by a few more links to get lots of details.  Plus some interesting code to read, if you’re so inclined.

Abstract: We propose an alternative generator architecture for generative adversarial networks, borrowing from style transfer literature. The new architecture leads to an automatically learned, unsupervised separation of high-level attributes (e.g., pose and identity when trained on human faces) and stochastic variation in the generated images (e.g., freckles, hair), and it enables intuitive, scale-specific control of the synthesis. The new generator improves the state-of-the-art in terms of traditional distribution quality metrics, leads to demonstrably better interpolation properties, and also better disentangles the latent factors of variation. To quantify interpolation quality and disentanglement, we propose two new, automated methods that are applicable to any generator architecture. Finally, we introduce a new, highly varied and high-quality dataset of human faces.

Selection_015

She doesn’t exist

So, all weekend, when I felt the urge, I kept whacking CTRL-R to get a new face.  I’m here to report that I haven’t found someone I used to know yet.

I can see some interesting uses for this in the classroom.   For those higher end computer science students, the reading is interesting just to see what is possible.

In terms of basic media literacy though, it presents a concrete example as to how things can be created from nothing more than a few electronic bits (and some pretty awesome programming).  It also poses an interesting inquiry to generate a face and then very closely analyse it.  Are there clues that would let you know that it’s not a real photo?