Changing my mind about Twitter

Twitter – I don’t know what to make of you! I have had an account since 2009 and sent maybe a dozen tweets in six years. I posted twice in 2012, twice in 2013. And once in 2016. The text of the post was: “It has been 40 months since my last tweet, don’t worry, you have not missed anything ;)” I didn’t get it and didn’t care to. When a tweet becomes news and what other people tweet about it becomes more news, it just seemed like a lot of reality TV style nonsense.

But there were a few things last year that I cared about and was asked to tweet about so, fine, I have an account and I can do that. I tweeted about vaping, tutoring services, and the Ontario Faculty strike. And then Ontario Extend came around and as professional development, I decided to join Extend West cohort. That was before I found out that I would have to tweet things. Ugh. But I have an open mind. So try I do and tweet I do and …. I begin to see a purpose, I begin to meet some like-minded people who respond to and follow me and I respond to and follow them. And it becomes more interesting and more like a community. I am starting to get it.

Steven Brust


I am checking my notifications to see if anyone new from the Extend West Cohort has followed me and I notice that STEVEN BRUST liked my tweet about Curation! Only three likes but one was from my favorite author. I quietly follow a few celebrities: Steven Brust (of course), Joshua Malina, George Takei and Emergency Kittens. I appreciate thoughtful social commentary and kittens.  But this was a little bit of a thrill. Steven Brust has seen a picture of my Taltos books and like it. There are people in my twitterville and that is pretty cool!



Curation with classroom YouTube playlists

Screenshot of a YouTube Playlist
Playing a YouTube playlist will show all the videos in a collection one after the other.

YouTube playlists are personal collections of videos within a theme. You probably I have one, I do. My first was a set of music videos that I liked to listen to while doing Housework. I called it my Housework List. Chances are, your students have used YouTube and have experienced the concept of playlists that they have created or have used playlist that others have created.

Did you know that you can turn on a collaboration option for your playlists? If you do, anyone you share the list with can add videos to your playlist. They can also remove videos they have added. There are additional option to stop accepting videos to the list and to stop new collaborators from joining.

Imagine a classroom YouTube account where  you have set up a playlist for the major concepts and added one video to get things started. You could share all the playlists or share one playlist to a group of students and request that they add appropriate videos that help explain, illustrate or enhance that concept.

This can introduce the idea of curation to students using a tool they are familiar with and may be already using for learning as well as add content from different student perspectives that may help other students better understand and learn your course concepts.

Note: This post is in response to a Daily Extend challenge from Ontario Extend that I am participating in for professional development.

For more information on YouTube Playlist collaborators, please check out the YouTube help page here at

For more on Curation for learning, may I suggest “To Boost Higher-Order Thinking, Try Curation” by Jennifer Gonzalez

For more on Ontario Extend, please visit

Nerding out Extend

Wow, I had no idea it was that easy for just about anyone to make and up load a video in response to a prompt. Today’s Extend asked us to make a short video about something we are passionate about, something that makes us Nerdy.

I chose to talk about my love of the online browser game, Travian. I have played this game for nine years and every day for more that 3 years. I even have a youtube channel of instructional video about the game which have been viewed by people in 120 countries. If you are interested, you can find the link to the International English server here (link opens in new tab).

But as fun as it was to talk about something I love, the learning piece was finding out about Flipgrid. An online service for educators that  is crazy easy to use. It took me less than 10 minutes to record and upload a short video and all the recording software was part of the site. It got me thinking about ways this could be used in the classroom and the ease at which students could participate. I even got to create a selfie with stickers to act as the front page for my video!! Check it out for yourself at

Here is screenshot of my video listing long with a couple others posted by Extenders!


It can feel risky to make a video and put it out there. It can be uncomfortable to see yourself in a video and hear what you sound like. This is yet another way to stretch and extend. If we, as educators, want to ask our students to take risks, we should be willing to ourselves.

Extend Parodealia

Today’s Daily Extend asked us to look for a face in the wild. This ability to find a pattern where one does not exist is called Paroealia. I read the Daily Extend before I left for work and decided to look but not look for a face in the wild, to just think about the idea and see what turned up. I saw a few possibilities on the drive from Chatham to Windsor but it was not until I was walking from the parking lot that I caught my first.

Mr. Tree waving me into work today!

tree face

This is the first one that I tweeted. But the idea did not leave me and later in the day, I found the one below in the rock beneath the balcony outside my office.

Woman in a storm, clutching her coat and hood against the wind.

woman in a storm


E is for Extend & E-Juice

Today’s Daily Extend from Ontario Extend, a Learning and Teaching professional development project, was to emphasize the letter E in a picture taken with my phone. I was to play with editing this photo to highlight and isolate the E.

E in e-juice
This excellent e-juice is almost e-mpty!

I had already decided that I was not going to overthink these exercises and would just do it. Sometimes, when taking a risk, I can get caught up in thoughts of “what do others expect” or “what if this is not good enough.” Bleh! My eye fell on the e-juice sitting on my desk. I quit smoking on December 23, 2015 with the help of e-cigarettes. I received my first mod as a gift, smoked my last two cigarettes reading the instructions and have not had a smoke since. I continue to enjoy vaping and recently, Canada E-juice opened a Vape Shop in Chatham, Ontario so now I have excellent e-juice available just minutes away! I took a picture of Strawberries and Creme with my phone.

It was a bit of a challenge to get my phone to focus on the bottle and not the background. Thankfully, I had a handy envelope and a container of Catnip! Here is the original photograph.


I don’t have many photo editing software packages on my home laptop, but I do have Techsmith’s Snag-it. Using Snag-it, I played with the magic wand feature after cropping the photo. Then I used the magnifying glass to enhance the E. I am fairly ecstatic with the result. I enjoyed trying a little editing!

Check out:

Ontario Extend

Canada E-juice

Techsmith Snag-it

All links open in a new tab and I used 21 E words in this post!

Extend: Open Culture and Rijsk Museum

Screenshot showing art collections created by Irene Stewart

For the daily extend, part of Ontario Extend, we were to explore Open Culture, a website featuring collections and media that are shared freely on the internet. I was fascinated by Rijsk Museum in the Netherlands. Rijsk Museum digitized over 125,000 masterpieces of Dutch artists and you can explore and create your own collections. You can also remix these into a variety of projects use the whole work or just a small piece.  I created a couple of collections of pieces that resonated with me. I found this to be a new way to connect to my dutch heritage as well as a new way to interact with art.


Try it for yourself at Rijsk Studio

Also check out Open Culture

Note: All links open in a new tab.


Wooden blue chair on a beach

I am joining Ontario Extend, an initiative from ecampus Ontario. This is an project that looks to build teaching and learning skills in educators in the realms of technology and online learning…. I think. Well, that is what the website said anyways.

Specifically, I am joining ExtendWest and the opening event is in about two weeks. To prepare, I am opening up a bit of interweb landscape to play with, my own little sandbox, if you will. So far, I have a chair to rest in set up. Extending like stretching can be uncomfortable. I don’t yet know what I am getting into with this project but I am giving myself permission now to dabble, to rest, to wiggle my toes in the sand and enjoy the experience without expectation.

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” — Deborah Day