This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Here’s some of the great things that caught my attention this week from the fingertips of Ontaro Edubloggers.

Using Google Apps to Make Interactive Stories

Sylvia Duckworth produced a very helpful instructional blog showing yet another use for Google Forms.  This time, she gives a step by step set of instructions for creating an interactive Adventure.

And, it comes as no surprise that her demonstrations include one adventure in English and another one in French!

This was but the beginning – she continues to show how to create interactive stories in Presentations, Google Docs, and YouTube.  If you’re looking for a little something different, there’s a great deal here.


The Appearance of Credibility and Other Useless Pursuits

There was a gentleman in my first school who had this assessment myth attributed to him.  Come report card time, he would call each student to stand in front of his desk, look the student up and down, and then generate a mark for the student.

Of course, that’s the stuff of staff room lore and had no basis in truth.  But, it was a good story!  Assessment and Evaluation have been hot professional development topics that have been “done” recently.

In this post, Tim King spins his own thoughts about assessment.


#ecoo13 review

You can’t beat a good blog post.  But, what is a blog anyway?

Does it have to be something that’s done in WordPress or Blogger?

Or is it the content and the message that’s important?  Of course, it is.

Lisa Noble, instead of using a traditional blogging platform, used a presentation format to share her thoughts and takeaways from the recent Educational Computing Organization of Ontario conference.


The 3-D MakerBot Arrives at F.E. Madill

Very cool things are happening in Heather Durnin’s class.  She blogs about the 3-D MakerBot’s arrival and ultimate setup at the school.  If you read the blog and see how the setup was done, you’ll be confident that the “kids are alright”.  This will be a very nice addition to her classroom.  I’m jealous.

I cracked a big grin when she asked if these two printers could co-exist!


#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:


Please take a few moments to read this posts and check out all of those in the Ontario Educational Blogging community.  My collection can be found in the LiveBinder located here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another great week of content sharing from Ontario Edubloggers. Here’s some of what caught my eye.

The Schools That We Want: Bring in the Shovels before you bring in the Cranes

Stephen Hurley always challenges his readers by constantly asking them to define this, or put that in perspective.  His recent post surrounds the election of the new Premier for the Province and the challenges that she faces going forward.


I really thought hard about this paragraph.  The government wants the best possible education for our students (as do we all) and the answer always seems to be adding another curriculum or expand this or refine that.  School districts respond by implementing the government initiatives as well as adding their own layers.  Stephen does ask a really good question.  Do all these layers insulate things so much that we’ve lost sight of the “fundamental purpose”?

Duct Tape Challenge

You’ve got to love the creativity of the teachers that teach the youngest of students.  In this case, Angie Harrison talks about the “Duct Tape Challenge” going on in her class.  Nothing says Canadian like Duct Tape.  I have long lusted for a duct tape wallet ever since I first saw one!

Is this just a fun little extra-curricular that’s added to fill the day?  Absolutely not.  In her post, Angie includes pictures and talks about exactly what the students will be doing.  Most importantly, and I guess ties nicely into Stephen’s ideas of layers, she identifies the expectations that will be addressed.


Where was this when I was in school?

Visualizing Connections

Rodd Lucier recently took a shot at trying to visualize connections among online learners.  He did it in two dimensions – those being intellectual engagement against emotional connectivity.  Those were two interesting criteria.


I thought that his placements were interesting.  Of course, it’s all subjective but he does paint an interesting story.  Dig into Rodd’s blog if you want to discover what UnPlug’d is all about.  I think that there’s another attribute that needs to be considered.  It’s time.  Time for involvement with each of the activities and also time in terms of the longevity of the activities.  For example, there have been connections that I’ve had that I would rate highly in terms of both of Rodd’s attributes but the connection has been nil recently.  How would you best display that?  A 3D representation?

The Year in Review – a barrenblogger’s excuse

Tracy Bachellier shares her thoughts about blogging and I would suggest that she speaks for so many.  Whether they’re intermittent bloggers or daily bloggers, I think that everyone asks these questions.  How will I ever find the time?  How will I ever get the ideas?


Personally, I wish I could have a gig like David Pogue.  People send me stuff, I evaluate it, and then write a blog post once a week about it and my employer gives me a lot of money.   (Guess who read Pogue’s Post about the new Blackberry today.)

Personally, I think everyone should blog.  It’s great for learning; it’s great for expression.  Writing – and quite frankly, I have no illusions that I’m a great writer – has always been the way that I learn stuff.  When I would study for history tests in high school, I would write a story from the perspective of the historical event that I was trying to understand.  As a programmer, I always wrote a description of my programs before I actually coded them.  Nothing succeeds like success and these were the mechanisms that got me through it.

When I decided to write this blog, I struggled.  I always felt like I had to write a post that would stand out and put me in the same category of the Pogue’s of the world.  That lastest about two posts and then reality kicked in.  Nobody is going to send me a Blackberry to evaluate.  So, I went back to my roots and I used writing as a way to express my thinking.  Rather than just file it away on my hard drive, I put it online.  It made me a better proofreader, to be sure.  I also decided to give myself license to write about anything that came to mind.  If you were to look at my local hard drive, you’d find all kinds of half-baked ideas and partially fleshed out blogs.  But I keep writing and writing and writing.

I would encourage Tracy to just start to write about stuff that she’s doing and experiencing.  It will grow on you and soon become part of your daily routine.

Livescribe on the Road

Finally, from Mark Carbone, a great learning tip.  If you’re in the car a lot, why not learn?

It makes so much sense.  For me, I typically get in the car and turn on E Street Radio and listen to the E Street Band.  I’ve got it wrong.

Mark’s advice –


Plug your Livescribe pen with your notes into your stereo, tap the start from your notes and listen to your recording as you’re driving.


Thanks to the writers above for sharing your thoughts.  This blog reader really appreciates it.  Enjoy the complete blog posts at the links above or find all of the Ontario Edubloggers at this link.  You’re an Ontario Edublogger but not in the Livebinder collection?  Head over to the link and add yourself.