This Week in Ontario Edublogs


I had a bit of a surprise yesterday afternoon when I opened WordPress to write this post. Generally, I don’t look at the dashboard but this caught me eye.

Wow! I knew that I had a few posts but 9 000? Now, truth be told, every other post for some time now are links from my previous day’s reading so they’re not all original work by me.

Anyway, it’s another week of great posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Please sit back and enjoy.


Living in the Times of Covid – 19: A Journal

Paul McGuire shares an interesting observation in this post

There is no balance in the time of COVID -19. There are highs and lows and all are good. 

We probably all go through this on a regular basis but being permanently at home only serves to amplify them. Paul isn’t the only person to make this observation that I’ve noticed this week. I would think that the real problem would come when a person is unable to distinguish between them.

So, Paul is aware of what’s happening in his world and shares some observations of life going on outside it. I found it interesting and like that Paul’s coping mechanism can be so powerful – just write.

Whether it’s a blog, an article, a journal, a note … it’s a way of getting the weight out and that’s always a good thing.

Don’t freak out at the image on the landing page of this post. Sometimes, the silly just takes over.


Keep Calm and Teach ONLine

It was refreshing to read this admission from Deb Weston.

I’ll be honest with you, reader, I’ve had some lasting moments of being completely overwhelmed with the circumstances we are going through as teachers. Isolated in our homes, we deal with steep learning curves while worrying about our students in their lives and in their learning.

I’ve read so many things about how well learning is going; the kids are really excelling and all that. You just know that that may well be a bit of an exaggeration.

I suspect this article was written before the announcement by the Ministry of Education about the purchase of iPads and Internet access for students as she does identify a lack of these as part of the frustration that’s happening. But, even dropping off technology with “no touch” isn’t an immediate solution to a problem. It’s an attempt to level the playing field and will get better over time, I hope. I’ve got a blog post of my own about this in brainstorming mode.

(update: I’m reading now that this purchase may not be for new technology and I’m researching)

It’s also not just access to technology that is at hand here. Deb correctly has sympathies for those students who would normally handle things in Special Education settings but now are unable.


Content and Copyright Considerations in Distance Learning

I thought that this post from Michelle Fenn tagged nicely after Deborah’s post. So, you do have access to the internet. We all know that you can find absolutely anything and everything out there.

However, finding and using it can be two different things…

In the post, Michelle addresses:

  • Posting YouTube Videos
  • Reading Books Online to Students
  • FairDealing and Copyright
  • Privacy Policies and Statement

She touches the surface on these. It’s difficult to address them all here so make sure that you check out her post. Michelle does give an excellent piece of advice because not all resources are created equally.

Be proactive and check with someone in the Instructional Technology department at your school board to ensure that you are following recommendations before asking students and parents to sign up for a digital tool.


Distance Learning: Week One

And yet another post from the ETFO Heart and Art Blog. This one comes from Kelly McLaughlin. Here, she lays out her plan for Week One that she has for students that address Mathematics, Literacy, Geography, and Science.

The activities were to be done asynchronously and she let the students know what times she was available for assistance.

There was an element of concern and empathy that I thought was important to note. Using the tools, she polled her students to see how they were doing in the various subject areas, on a personal basis, and as learners.

I could see this feedback as being very crucial for future planning. The response would inform her as teacher as to how the students are coping and would allow her to adjust future learning activities accordingly.


5 Things That Will Change After Coronavirus 

Hmmm, Matthew Morris, only five?

It’s hard to argue with any of the things in his list.

  • Social Distancing – we’re starting to see districts outside Ontario planning to open schools. The good thing is that many of the schools are not planning for school as usual. Schools are build for the masses; they line up to go in, they mob the hallways, they get squashed into classrooms
  • Online Learning – if we learn one thing about using technology and learning, it’s that you can’t just flip a switch and move from face to face to online. Look for a move for more blended learning approaches
  • Self-isolation – I liked his observation here, particularly is it applies to the use of social media. We’ve always know that there was bullying online but when online is your only answer, it only follows that so does the bullying
  • Quarantine – he takes an interesting look at this concept in a different way. It was the concept of racism and speared by the leader to the south of us. There is a history of naming viruses from their place of origin and, even though it hasn’t been conclusively proven, COVID-19 has been referred to by location. And, it’s not the use of the location, it’s in the way that it’s pronounced
  • Super Skepticism – we live in a day and age where you can turn and find resources to find any opinion that you want. A good global citizen will definitely stand and question everything

I really, really liked the items that Matthew has identified and he takes them on in his particular style.


Inspiration to Join the TESL Ontario Board

Here’s an opportunity for those involved in TESL.

How about joining the Board of Directors?

On the TESLOntario blog, Paula Ogg talks about her inspiration to join the board.

I am passionate about creative problem solving, design thinking, and design-based research, so I hope in the future I will be able to share and use these tools and techniques to give others a voice in TESL leadership.

While I’ve never been a TESL teacher, I find that whole group of educators very interesting and inspirational. The TESLOntario website does a wonderful job of collecting and sharing resources.

If that’s where your interests lie, you may wish to get further involved.


Dixit: A Game for Everyone (Language, Thinking and Abstract Learning Skills)

Zoe Branigan-Pipe shares a card game that is played in the Pipe household and in her class. I think a lot of people are playing games to while the time and keep things under control these days.

At home, I play this with my family (ages 16, 17, 20 and adults). I also have an ELL student living with us who loves using this game to learn vocabulary. He uses a translater to help him express his ideas.

Then, she gives us a big long list of educational things that she sees from playing the game and using it in her classroom.

Zoe, I’ll leave you with a quote I get from my kids

“Daaaad, you’re such a teacher”

I always take it as a compliment.


Please take a moment to check out these posts and read the complete insights from these great bloggers.

Then, follow them on Twitter.

  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Michelle Fenn – @Toadmummy
  • Kelly McLaughlin
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Paula Ogg – @TESLOntario
  • Zoe Branigan-Pipe – @zbpipe

This post originated at:

http://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Another phishing quiz


I don’t think that you can get enough of these things. You have to realize that while you may be getting smarter, those who would do nasty things are at least keeping pace.

Quizzes like this are a fun way to make sure that you’re on the top of your online game.

And, in the classroom, it shouldn’t be a matter of a “one and done” approach to online literacy and safety. It should be done regularly and constantly revisited to make sure that the lessons are learned and reinforced.

With that introduction, I turn you to a Phishing Quiz posted on the withgoogle site.

It doesn’t take too long to complete if you know what you’re looking for. There are eight examples to work your way through.

I like how the authors personalized it by asking for a name and email address which will appear in the questions so that it approximates what might happen in real life. The site claims this information never goes anywhere but I didn’t give out my real stuff just in case.

I am proud to say that I have been paying attention and got 8/8 on the quiz the first time through. I even did a screen capture to prove it. But, I decided to step back the ego just a bit and not include it in the post.

If you’re reading this on the Saturday morning that I post it, take five minutes and put yourself to the test.

Florida’s Home Schooling Announcement


This headline from the Orlando Sentinel has created quite a buzz.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-virtual1008nov10,0,978666.story

A new law in Florida makes it possible for parents of students to take their classes online instead of going to a school on a regular basis.  Benefits are touted to be:

  • parents have more control over the student learning;
  • costs of education including building maintenance and construction go away;
  • busing costs are reduced.

There is no doubt that the above list will be countable and verifiable.

There are a couple of caveats that have me really worried.  Of course, there’s the always present lack of concern for the social growth of the child and interactions with others.  That’s always been the knock when people talk about home schooling.  Nothing will change here although one of the points mentioned in the article is that the child must take the entire year at home.  Unlike online learning for secondary school students where they can take one of a slate of courses, everything has to done online.

That’s huge.

I think that it is a simple solution that doesn’t honour the elementary school classroom.  At least in the context that I’ve experienced in our own public schools.  The best practitioners don’t operate by a bell, in a lock step manner.  They are always looking for integration opportunities where language meets social studies; mathematics meets science; etc. to enrich the classroom experience.

Classroom materials and resources are carefully selected and purchased to meet educational and health and safety standards.  A typical elementary classroom is full of stimulation from posters to water tables to computers to manipulatives of all sorts.  It is true that much of this can be replicated online but it will be different.

I don’t know the context so am reserving my definitive opinion until I get more details.  I know that my children enjoy the benefits of a publically funded education.  They met new friends, enjoyed the diversity, participated in school intra and extra-mural sports, clubs, and even put some efforts into the development of an ecological area on the school site.  Daily, I work with and see elementary school classrooms that are rich and vibrant with students working with each other and learning from each other.

Teachers are among the best that I can imagine.  They attend professional development opportunities; they work collegially in professional learning communities in their schools; they have access to professionals for assistance when a child has difficulties and so much more.  They get first hand information when curriculum expectations change.  They have access to a wide variety of new resources.

Having said that, I’ve also seen the high quality that can come from online courses.  It does offer alternatives for students who cannot attend the traditional classroom.

There are lots of things to consider in an initiative of this magnitude.  It will be interesting to follow as it offers parents another opportunity.

Social Bookmarks:
Blogged with the Flock Browser