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.

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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?

Commercials


And, it’s media literacy day everywhere!

Yesterday was the Super Bowl and there’s a little something for everyone – even if you don’t like football, there were those fabulous commercials. There are rules about watching American commercials in Canada.

If that’s the case, you can watch them all here.

Is there any other time where we celebrate commercials? Personally, I blame the Budweiser frogs.

And, perhaps the most famous

Interestingly, have the tables turned if you fast forwarded to today?

And, if you’re looking for ideas, resources, or inspiration, check out this resource from MiddleWeb for a little help.

21st Century Literacies: Media Literacy in My Classroom


The following is a guest blog post courtesy of Michelle Solomon and Carol Arcus.

aml

The Association for Media Literacy is a volunteer charitable organization comprised of parents, educators and media producers who support the development and application of media literacy. They have been a driving force in the support and development of media literacy curriculum in Ontario since 1978. They have also been recognized internationally for their work, winning an award for “The Most Influential Media Education Organization in North America” in 1998. The AML organizes and provides workshops, presentations and seminars for educators, parents and students. They speak at conferences around the world and for locally organized events: institutes, conferences, PD Days, parents’ nights and university courses.

One of the more recent initiatives is the “21st Century Literacies” series, begun in partnership with York University’s Faculty of Education in 2012. The intent was to address the changing landscape of learning in response to changing media tools and technologies. That first year, a conference was mounted in the Spring to support teacher candidates; the theme was the use of social media in the classroom. Since then, the conferences have continued annually in the month of April, more recently offering workshops on the teaching, integration, and assessment of media literacy skills at all levels.

This year, on April 5, the AML is presenting “Media Literacy in My Classroom”, an opportunity to meet practising teachers who will share their teaching strategies and answer questions such as, “How do I use media to improve the presentation and oral skills of students?” and “What does student media work look like and how do I assess it?” The conference spans the day (8:30 to 4), is free, and is open to York Faculty of Education teacher candidates, as well as all educators interested and involved in media literacy education.

Registration is done through Eventbrite and, at the time of this writing, only a very few seats were left.  If you’re interested, register soon.

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Two Sides to Every Story


Like most people, I watched the Toronto/Boston hockey game last night.  It’s slim pickings on the tube now that Montreal has been eliminated.

This morning, I decided to take a look at the way that the story was covered.

From Boston

From Toronto

Were these reporters watching the same game?  I thought this would be a terrific exercise in Media Literacy.

  • Can you tell anything from the headlines?
  • Are any of the articles going to be objective?
  • If you were a sports writer, how would you have written the story?

We often talk about perspective in reporting; I can’t think of a better way to show that you can’t rely on a single source for balanced, objective news.  Sports really amplifies the message being delivered.

Meanwhile in Montreal, buried in the sports section…

Hmmm


On my Wiki, I have a link that I used when talking about media literacy.  I call it Sites That Should Make You Go Hmmm.  It’s devoted to the notion and, for some, the awakening to the fact that not everything you read online is true.  (no kidding, you mean the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus is endangered?)

I know that many people have used the page as part of a web literacy unit with students.  That’s what it’s there for and you’re welcome to it.

Whenever I’m reading online anymore, I find that it’s more important than ever to have your BS filter locked and loaded.  Such a story hopped to my reading today.

It seems like more and more people are looking for and expecting the outrageous, the new, the exciting and they want to be on top of it.  I guess a particularly easy target are the “Apple Fanboys“.  They hand on every hint of a new product from Apple and just have this desire to be the first to break the news.  Even if they have never seen or heard of it, they’re quick to blog or vlog about how great and awesome it is and how it’s the newest and greatest thing going.  And, to their defence, Apple is noted for some incredibly innovative types of things.  I mean – roll back the clock a few years and who could imagine a telephone slash media player slash computer slash PDA?  Well, except Star Trek.

It was with great interest that I read the story “Swedish firm’s Apple hoax shows gullibility of online readers” in the Los Angeles Times.  I had to read it a couple of times just to be sure that I was reading what I thought I was reading…  Then, to verify, I had to track back to the original blog post from this Swedish Company.  “How we screwed (almost) the whole Apple community” and then to the Reddit link.  What’s unique about this is the explanation of how it was done.  To my knowledge, this was the first time such a thing was documented.

Ah, it was done in good fun and I’m sure that there was some joking around a water cooler somewhere.

The real gem from this whole story is the graphic at the bottom of the post where they plot “Perceived Level of Truth” versus “Distance from Source”.  I could see that being a very valuable discussion piece in the classroom when talking about media literacy.

Other than the use of the story for literacy terms, the whole incident did have a bit of value for the company from me.  I backed off the URL to the root to discover just what this company was and what it does.  Thankfully, Google Chrome has built-in translation features.