Digital Footprint

Given the time of the year, I thought it might be nice to dig up this post from the past. The original post makes reference to Tagxedo which was nice because of the “footprint” display. As you know, there are all kinds of other alternatives – Wordle, ABCya, WordItOut, and Tagul come to mind.  The cloud is nice but the key to this activity is the analysis of what the students have created this year.


How’s this for a digital footprint?

Efforts created by Tagxedo and content scraped from this blog.

As we head into the last weeks of school in Ontario, I’m thinking that this would be an interesting culminating activity for students to do in their own context.  If you’re blogging with students or creating any kind of online digital content, have them create their own digital footprints and then analyse what they’ve created this past year.


Filling a Dance Card

If you’ve been monitoring the Twitter stream since Sunday evening, you’ll notice that there have been many happy posts from people whose presentation proposals have been accepted for the #ecoo13 conference, BringIT,Together.  Indeed, part of the ECOO 13 Dance Card has been filled.  Here’s how…

Potential presenters were asked to submit their sessions online.  All of the information was collected in a database and there was an overwhelming total of entries exceeding 300.  These needed to all be independently reviewed and such was the task assigned to each member of the committee of 14.  In fact, each submission had at least three reviewers.  That meant that each committee member had 60-65 proposals to review.

All of these reviews were collated and a smaller group of 6 got together in Milton on a Friday night/Saturday morning to revisit each of the proposals, consider the evaluations already submitted, make suggestions and ultimately arrive at the portion of the proposals that would receive an invitation.  At this time, this included English language presentations.  Still to be decided will be the French language presentations and the presentation given by exhibitors.  The committee is excited by the selection of offerings to be delivered in French.

Sadly, not all of the proposals could be accepted.  There’s just so many rooms and timeslots!  The committee is working on a schedule designed to maximize the number of sessions offered.

For program purposes, each of the sessions were tagged by the committee and one of our members created a Wordle to give a sense of the content.


So, invitations have been extended and, as they’ve been confirmed, they’re added to the #ecoo13 Lanyrd site.  You’re certainly welcome to visit the site and watch as it fills with confirmation from presenters.  While there, if you’re going to join us in Niagara Falls on October 23-25, please indicate so.

If you can’t get enough of this, make sure that you install the Lanyrd  app or follow the site on your smart phone.  (It’s HTML5 enabled)

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Now you’re hopefully excited!

After all, keynote speakers Amber MacArthur and Jaime Casap plus all of these great sessions offered by Ontario educators (and beyond!) promise that #ecoo13 will be a great conference.

The registration process is being tuned and will be available for use by registrants in June.  Stay tuned to social media experts @pmcash and @aforgrave as they provide the latest details via their Twitter accounts, in the Facebook group and the Google Plus Community.  Make friends online now and plan to meet them face to face at the conference.  Got a colleague who needs a little prompting to get a Twitter account?  Perhaps this is the opportunity to sit at their side and get them signed up!

If you’re reading this post and presenting, why not add a comment and let folks know your area of expertise.

Tweaking your Toolkit

Continuing on the Formula 1 theme, it’s racetime in Yeongam as I put together my thoughts.

The neat thing about Formula 1 racing is that there’s typically a two week gap between races.  It gives the teams the time to pack up and move all the equipment and cars from one country to the next.  Before Korea, it was Japan, and after Korea, they head to India.  The logistics of all this just boggles the mind.

However, moving from one race to the next involves more than just taking the same car.  In Canada, we get the UK feed of the race and one of the terms that they constantly use is “twisty bits”.  These are little pieces added or removed from the car to tweak things and get just a little bit more performace from the car.  Remember the graphic from yesterday?

In the race, they were reporting speeds of 324 km/h during the Korean Grand Prix.  If any team could add a piece here or take a piece away there and bump it to 325 km/h, they’d do it in a heartbeat and be geniuses.  Testing in the wind tunnel and in the practice sessions serves to tweak the car into perfection.  Some of the pieces may be discarded permanently or they might be stored and used at another track with similar needs.

The engineers constantly tweak to get the best in performance.

I liken the teacher toolkit to be the same sort of thing.

Why is it so important to bookmark and keep track of things?  Why is it so important to have three or four resources that essentially do the same thing?

I would suggest that it’s all in optimizing the learning experience.  Remember the old adage “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails?”   There may be variations on a theme and education is the beneficiary of this richness.

Take the humble word cloud.  Everyone knows about Wordle – it was probably the first word cloud you experienced and it does a terrific job.  However, when it’s used every time you wish students to create word clouds, it may lose its lustre.  Instead, I would suggest that you mix it up a bit.  I took at look at my Diigo account and found a number of word cloud utilities.

There probably are more!  Let me know if your favourite didn’t make the list.

Why do you need more than one?  There are many reasons.

  • It’s interesting to have more than one utility like this.
  • On any given day, your planned resource may be down. Do you scrap the lesson because of this?
  • While they all may appear  do the same thing, there are differences that would make one preferable to another for your task.
  • Once exposed to more than one, students can make a critical choice as to which one they would use for a particular task.

So, I would ask you…why wouldn’t you add all to your toolkit and then use them to get the most from student use.  Could you imagine how great the conversation would be when a child tells his parents that he learned a new “twisty bit” in class today?

All about me

I have a meeting with my superintendent this morning to do a little reflection on goals and directions.  It’s always a great exercise to have someone else help you peer inside yourself to see what’s going on and if you’re on the right track.

To assist myself in the design, I decided to take a look at four major parts of my digital footprint.  With the assistance of Wordle, this is what I’ve found.  After all, I did blog “You are what you bookmark“.

My website and newsletter:


My blog:


My delicious account:


My recent Twitters:


interesting.  Reflections are personal so I’m not commenting any further on this but this exercise has given me some pause for thought as I prepare.

Social Bookmarks:
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