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…


The One, er, Two Million Tweet Map

If you’re looking for something to demonstrate Twitter in action, go no further than the One Two Million Tweet Map.

This is a very interesting implementation of just what can be done when you mix content from the Twitter API with a mapping application.

The application watches Twitter and maps the latest Twitter messages on a world map.

There are some settings that make for even more interesting monitoring.  Try filtering on a keyword or a hashtag.

The results appear live as they happen – showing individual Twitter messages, or when they appear in the same areas, as clusters.

Click on a Twitter message or a cluster to zoom in on an area.  As I play with this, this is what’s happening in the last few minutes in a part of Toronto.


Since the results are live, this is a very real view of the mechanics of Twitter working.

It’s addictive – be prepared to play around with it for quite a while.

Could you or your students use this to generate your own infographic?

If you’re looking for another example of geographic privacy, post a Twitter message and see if you can find it.  How close to your home office or classroom did the program come?

The navigation is a little different – you navigate by zooming in and out of a message or a cluster but once you get that, it’s easy to catch the details.

When Counters Fail

My friend Andy and I have played DrawSomething for a long time.  How long, I don’t recall.  Perhaps he does and will add it in to the comments below.  We lived through the acquistion by Znyga and were pleased when they extended the number of games.  The new limit of 999 seemed to be unreachable.

Until this week.

It was a target that I don’t think I’d ever intended to reach but it just sort of creeped up on us.

So, what next?

Well, we do play the game as just a way to stay in touch and also make social commentary when it’s necessary.

And yet, there’s still the counter thing…what to do?

Roll your own, that’s what!

Here’s his Robin.

And here’s my recollection of the TTC Subway Map.  I stared at that thing so many times making the underground trip across Toronto.

You’ll notice that DrawSomething has pooped out at 999 but we’re keeping out own scores when we remember.  Andy’s definitely better that I am for remembering.

Anyway, we’re good to continue and if Zynga ever decides to expand the upper limit, we’ll be good to go and will let them know what number to set us to.

Any other DrawSomething fans out there?  How are you handling the 999 limit?

Blogging About the ECOO Conference

It’s been a week already since the ECOO Conference in Toronto.  It was a great few days and certianly a lot of learning at the time.  How does it stick?  One of the ways is thanks to the blogging of folks that were there.  I set a Google Alert for #ECOO12.  I know that I would miss blog posts but hopefully, Google wouldn’t.  Here’s what we found….

The ECOO Experience #ecoo12

Scott Kemp presented at the conference and shared his thoughts plus his presentation slides “It’s Not About the Number – Learning Without Marks”.  I thought that the session was particularly timely.  There’s a lot of discussion about assessment and the value of our current system.


ECOO 2012 – Learn in the NOW Century

I thought that I had missed my friend Diana Maliszewski.  She warned me that I wouldn’t recognize her at the conference and she was right.  I expected some sort of wild and whacky hair colour.  I didn’t know until after the fact that the Minecraft icon who bowed to me was actually Diana inside!

Her blog entry is actually her report to her principal about her reflections on the conference.


Moving From Newsletters to Blogs – My Presentation-That-Never-Was at #ECOO12

This session was on my personal calendar to view.  After all, I had blogged previously “Your School Doesn’t Need a Newsletter”.  I had re-read the original post and was curious to see how closely aligned my thoughts were to Erin Paynter’s.  Sadly, I had to announce to the Thursday morning group that the session was cancelled.  However, Erin has at least provided the slideshow that would have been used.  A good Plan B.  Thanks, Erin.


ECOO12 – BYOD Panel Discussion

Mark Carbone and I have had this discussion lots of time.  Over this period, the focus has shifted from “Is this a good idea” to “How do we make it work?” to “We need to step back and evaluate this going forward”.  In fact, it was the focus of my keynote at the summer CATC Camp a couple of years ago.  At ECOO, Mark assembled a panel to continue the discussion.


In the post, Mark lays out the format of the conversation including their guiding questions.

Sticking Your Neck Out

One of the keynote speakers at ECOO had an impact away from the conference.  Colleen Rose shared a quote from Michael Fullan that her principal Donna Fry had shared with her.  This quote is indeed worthy of thought.


Take a Risk- Tales from ECOO

@hendylou shared her thoughts continuing the theme of risk taking by sharing some of her thoughts during the panel discussion.


The focus that John Seely Brown noted about the bottom fixing itself is very interesting.  Instead of the top down “One and Done” approach to PD, it really amplifies the notion that professional learning is continuous and needs to be personalized.  In the quest for personalization, we need to be willing to take those risks and fail in order to learn.  Absolutely.

Let’s Play! Now Let’s Document!

Early Years’ teachers always seem to be able to on what’s truly important.  Jocelyn Schmidt talked about her presentation at the ECOO conference.  It sounded like there was a great turnout, noting that she was overwhelmed by those who were in attendance.  And they all weren’t full-day kindergarten teachers.



I really liked the brainstorming wordmap that was provided on the blog.  She must have really enjoyed the time that John Seely Brown’s comments on Montessori.

‘Digital Storytelling’ presentation at ECOO

What would a technology conference be without sessions about digital storytelling?


I had to smile at the comment that digital story telling is one of the things that her students do best.  What better testament for the effective use of technology?  When you think of all of the pedagogical and technological learnings that one needs to be successful, wouldn’t it be great if everyone could make that claim?

Forming an ECOO Presentation

Every wonder what goes into a success conference presentation?  Tim King read a book.  Actually three books that helped him frame his discussion.


The message in this session is important for all to hear.  You can’t just stick 25 boxes in a room and call it computer integration.  Who cares if 25 kids can type 25 stories in a word processor at the same time?  Tim explored how to try to reach the promise that technology affords.  It doesn’t look like the traditional setup.


Camille Rutherford had an interesting presentation. “Using Technology to Support the Distribution of School Leadership”


We’re using the technology for everything else.  Why not distributed leadership?  Can there be no better evidence that we need to have everyone onside and learning?

Minecraft Madness and Play at ECOO 2012

This was where Diana was headed!  What can mining and Minecraft bring to the classroom?


I think that it’s so cool that Liam found a group of students ready to sit in on his session.  They had to be from Royan Lee’s group.  I think it’s also cool that they were there to learn along with their teachers.  Did you ever think we’d see that?  Often students come to a conference to work on a panel and then leave.

Excitement for #ecoo12

And, why not go to a conference for some quality time with your dad?


That was one of Jamie Weir’s goals for the conference.  (I also wanted to talk to her dad!)  I didn’t get the chance but hopefully she did.  I did get an opportunity to have a nice chat with Jamie which was one of the highlights of the conference for me.  As she notes, it’s always nice to get together and chat with people that we learn with daily.

There were lots of great posts describing the ECOO experience.  Thanks everyone for sharing.  If I missed yours, blame Google and please let me know!

You can read these blog posts at the original site and all of the great blogs from Ontario Educators here.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Another great week of reading from Ontario Edublogs.  Here’s but a few of the things that caught my attention.

John Seely Brown at PLP Live and #ECOO12

Peter Skillen shares his thoughts about the chance to hear from John Seely Brown.  He will be one of the keynote speakers at the ECOO Conference in Toronto in October.  Registration is now open for the event.  I’m equally as exited as Peter for this and all of the speakers/presentations at ECOO.  It promises to be another great teacher-directed conference.  Have you registered?  You can do so at the ECOO website.

My “Welcome to School” Letter

Well, Shannon Smith is certainly off to a good, transparent start to her new job as Principal of Glen Cairn Public School in Ottawa.  In a recent post, she shares with the world her “Welcome to School” letter that is principally directed to the parents of the students in her charge.  She touches many important bases so important these days such as community of learners, critical thinking and problem solving, and of course, how all of this dovetails with her employer’s strategic plan.  How many other principals do this?  Why don’t they all?  After all, it is a message to staff and community of the direction the school will take.


So, if a public blog is good enough for a principal, why not for a classroom teacher?  Brian Aspinall let’s the parents know of his happiness of being a Sundevil.  At his own self-hosted site, he plans to keep everyone informed as to what’s happening in his classroom.  What a great concept.  He must have had a great education at the Faculty of Education.

In addition to all of the things that would happen in an intermediate classroom, his students should be in for a great ride.  Brian brings a very strong background in technology to the classroom.  This will be a good classroom to keep tabs on.

Why does school need to change? Because students have changed,

I admit that I’m a sucker for posts like this.  They very clearly outline what makes a classroom teacher so special.  If you believe the rhetoric that you’ll find as you read the teacher bashing that’s so common these days – teachers make a gazillion dollars, work from 9-3, get paid every day that they are sick and don’t take the day off, and teach the same way all 30 years of their time in the profession.  If you believe any of this, then you need to read and ponder Andrew Campbell’s post.

From his post, here are some truisms about this year’s crop of Grade 9 students…

Check out these great posts at the links above or all of the good things from Ontario Educators at the LiveBinder site.  If you’re an Ontario Edublogger, please visit and add your site to the list.