I’d Like This Better If It Looked Like That

This tiny post is a response to the Ontario Extend Technologist module activity “Tell a Tiny Tech Tale” where you share a little software thing that you find helpful.

Mine is not new and likely widely known, but I just use it so much and it is a very satisfying tool to use:

The Format Painter aka Make This Look Like That.

Select some stuff that you like the look of for something else, click on the format painter, and then select your target. It will automatically change the format allowing you to remain blissfully unaware of what font/size/heading etc. it even is.

You can find the format painter in any of the Office products and all the Google Drive thingies. Look for a little paintbrush.

“painter” flickr photo by tinou bao https://flickr.com/photos/tinou/453593446 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


Enter Stage Right

This post is a response to the What’s In It For Me? activity in the Ontario Extend Teacher for Learning Module.

Brainstorm a list of WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) from a student perspective.

If you can’t think of more than “because you should know it,” then you need to talk to your students and get a better sense of where they are in their learning and where they are going.

So I will WIIFM from the perspective of someone who might be thinking of starting (or continuing) through the Extend modules, in what I think is screenplay form:

(YTQE – You, the Questioning Extender; OEP- Ontario Extend, personified)

Two figures enter stage right, dressed to the nines and looking quite dashing.

YTQE: Why should I do this Ontario Extend thing?

OEP: Well, since it’s an open and shared experience, you have the opportunity to expand your professional learning network.

YTQE: Hmm, that’s nice. What else?

OEP: You get to be a part of investing in and growing a bank of teaching and learning activities that anyone can use. Including you, obviously.

YTQE: And then?

OEP: Also, there’s the benefit of working with a whole bunch of tools and technologies, like running your own domain, hopefully expanding your own personal “toolkit”.

YTQE: Please give me more.

OEP: Well, no matter how much time and effort (or lack thereof) you put in to it, we still consider you a part of the community so… membership in a community like the East Cohort, for example.

YTQE: More.

OEP: The opportunity to have some simple fun by interacting with your new professional learning network by trying out the short and sweet Daily Extend activities on a semi-regular basis.

YTQE: I’m gonna need more than that.

OEP: Well, to go back to the basics, we’ve posted the six modules with an open licence (CC-BY-NC-SA) so you can take them and use them in your own conext in your own institution if you’d like.

YTQE: Cool, cool. You got anything else?

OEP: Umm… Oh! If you do all the activities in the module, we can give you a badge! And if you do them all, you get the Super Extend badge!

YTQE: Okay yes, these are all cool. But what about socks?

OEP: (mumbles) The socks are all gone.

One figure exits stage left, the other reaches out as the lights dim. 


image credit: “Theater” flickr photo by Hitchster https://flickr.com/photos/hitchster/8754280878 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license





It’s the Tortoise, Not the Hare

I was just sitting there making my way through the Ontario Extend Teacher for Learning module, and lo and behold! I see a link that says “Take it to The Bank”. What’s this then? I put my take on the activity right there? Ok! This is my response!


Identify a concept that is often misunderstood in your discipline. Can you think of an analogy that can help make the concept make sense to students?

My discipline is educational technology so the first thing that comes to mind is more like a misconceived idea than a singular concept that is misunderstood. That idea is the pervasive thought that technology is progressing faster and faster than ever and that we MUST KEEP UP!

That’s just stress inducing. Let’s chill out. We’re still finding out wonderful, fun, cutting-edge uses of trailing-edge technologies. The Extend program itself is kind of doing that. We’re blogging and tweeting! That’s not new! But it can be so engaging and extending, so let’s start doing that afresh together, in the open.

Have a look at this talk by Audrey Watters from the Digital Pedagogy Lab in PEI from 2016 where she makes it clear that, no, technology is not advancing faster than ever and taking a step back and thinking about why were are using it is a pretty stellar idea.

The tortoise beats the hare, all the time. See it happen in real life.

p.s. is that a turtle, or a tortoise in the image above?

“IMG_20130616_132818_v2” flickr photo by Chasing Light Photography (Chris Martin) https://flickr.com/photos/14798455@N06/9066171055 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Let’s Squiggle

This is just a quick follow up post to thank everyone for coming along for a squiggly ride in the Extend East cohort! Can’t wait to see what we see!

Watch for tomorrow’s Daily Extend on our Twitter

And the Teacher for Learning Module intro post by Valerie Lopes

Or maybe you want to read a little about how to get and give help.

See you out there!

“Gummy Worms 7” flickr photo by digipam https://flickr.com/photos/digipam/3956388234 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

We Go Down East

The University of Alberta Ski Team put on a fundraising party in the fall of 2002-ish. Being of the “drinking team with a skiing problem” mentality, they had themselves a fun slogan to print on the tickets.

We Go Down Fast

The only reason I still remember this is because the ticket printers made a little mistake and printed something else.

We Go Down East

Why did they think “we go down east” was a ticket-worthy slogan? They must have thought the fundraising was for a ski race in Quebec or something. Who’s to say? All I know is, as far as misprinted ticket stories go, it’s my all time favorite.

In another story of going “east”, a group of intrepid Ontario post-secondary educators are about to kick off the Ontario Extend East Cohort on March 6th. Together we’ll experiment, curate, and collaborate with technology for teaching and learning. We’ll do it all in the open.

It works a little (maybe a lot) differently than most P.D. events you may have come across. There are four pieces. One of them stays still and the others are on the move. The one piece that stays still are the modules themselves. Six of them: teacher for learning, curator, collaborator, technologist, experimenter, scholar.

The moving parts are where the fun happens.

  • The Activity Bank – A place to add your response to all of the various module activities. You get to see what your peers do with it rather than everyone hiding their work in a dropbox. For example, the “Please Allow Me to Introduce My Field” activity already has a few responses. You also get to add more activities. It’s a bank where any deposit one person makes can be withdrawn by anyone and everyone.
  • The Daily Extend – A place for short and sweet daily activities. Why? Two good reasons are that it allows us to easily connect with each other on a regular basis and gives us all low stakes opportunities to dabble with new tools and ideas. This is the Experimenter module reaching full actualization. And it tries to be fun. Like this one: Taylor Swift Curriculum Design
  • The Domains – This is the flow. Maybe sometimes a trickle, sometimes a babble, sometimes a flood. A central place where all of everyone’s work will appear. You’ll see blog posts that are responses to module activities, posts that are new activities, reflections, calls to action, new ideas and new plans. Hopefully even stories about misprinted fundraiser tickets. See the “East Cohort” central flow here. You’ll see this post there, because I threw my blog into the mix. We’ll show you how to do it.

What I hope and believe the Extend community can be is a slightly informal and loose yet strong and lively connection of faculty members engaged in teaching and learning with technology in the open. If you’ve ever felt lonely in your pursuit of providing great learning experiences to your students, you can say goodbye to that. It’s going to be awesome.

So far there are approximately 60 people from across Ontario signed up to participate. As in the misprinted ticket story, “east” doesn’t really mean much. Everyone is invited. And if March doesn’t work for you. We’re running the “West” cohort in May. We’ve even got a couple of current students lined up to join in and keep us on our toes.

If you want to join in, add your name here: http://bit.ly/ExtendEast

Comment below if you have any questions or comments. See you “down east”!

image credit: “No Fast Skiing” flickr photo by Joe Shlabotnik https://flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/349939582 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license