The Real Reason Girls Don’t Like to Code

My friend shared this article with me on Linkedin yesterday and it resonated with me. I like how the author says we have to change our arguments when promoting STEM fields for girls, that the argument of “this is where the jobs are” though true, is not enough.:

We need to stop telling an entire gender they need to embrace STEM because it’s good for their brain or if they don’t, boys will get all the good, high-paying jobs. It’s not working, and I’m kind of glad, because it means girls aren’t buying the logic that they need to do something just because boys do. We need to play to girls’ strengths and invite them to participate in projects that create solutions for social issues or problems that they care about — and then offer accessible tech which empowers girls to stop thinking about doing STEM and just use the technology, developing skills along the way as a means to an end. When STEM is simply a set of skills and tools to help solve problems we care about, it takes the scary out of tech.

Which is what we are doing with our newly minted Technovation Challenge team! The teams consist of girls aged 10-23 from all around the worl. The challenge is to create a prototype of an app that helps solve a community problem. Technically, the challenge doesn’t begin until January, but our girls are so hung ho we have begun to meet regularly on Thursday after school.

In fact, you might have seen this form in your inbox this morning. It would be wonderful if you could take a minute and think about a problem that has been bugging you in the community (it could be at school, in your neighbourhood or all of Montreal) and tell us about it. Although the girls have a lot of great ideas, it would be awesome to hear from the community at large. Take a minute and tell us your ideas!

I don’t believe that girls are turned off by STEM because it’s hard or simply because girls think they’re bad at math. Girls aren’t wimps or wilting flowers; they don’t shrink from challenges just because something isn’t a strength. We, as a culture,…


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rAPPido Review: Padlet

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.23.01 AMI forgot to mention this in the “what I learned at the QAIS Conference” posts, but in the last session where we made our Popplet, we posted our finished product to Padlet.

What is it?

It is a virtual bulletin board. You can use it to post questions and receive answers from your students. Or you can use it as a virtual display board, where students upload their work and contribute it to a board.



There is a “backpack” edition for schools however, but this costs 5$ per month per teacher.

NOTE: It is not an app. You have to access it online and you can sign in with your google account (which makes it easy for students to use it. And it works fine on the iPads.

How does it work?

Easy! Once you are signed in, you can create your own padlet, or board. Here is a screenshot of the one I contributed to at the Conference:

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.18.01 AM

Of course, a month later, I forgot what I did to be able to contribute…Let us re-create the steps shall we?

Tap the “Create new padlet” button:

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Here is your blank canvas:
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Now we can change the look of it by choosing a wallpaper:

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.36.36 AMLet’s give it a title and a description as well as an icon:

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Now Lay out:

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You can also choose when and how you will get notifications if somebody posts to your board:

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Now change the address to reflect the title. This is the address you will send to your class so that they can contribute to the Padlet:

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Posting is as easy as double tapping. I noticed that the one aspect that doesn’t work is pasting a URL of an image. The best thing to do is find the images you would like to contribute, save them to your camera roll  and then upload them:

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.42.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 9.47.28 AM

If you tap on the image, you will get a larger view of it:

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Padlet also gives you lots of exporting options:

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The one complaint I have is that on the iPad at least, it is really hard to edit or delete a post once you have it on the tablet. I am not sure if this is a glitch, but it seems like a pretty large oversight if this is just the way it is on the iPad. Let me try it on the desktop…

Yep. It is on iPad thing. On the desktop you can edit easily:

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But this is the only thing you get on the iPad:Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 10.29.42 AM

Given this fatal flaw, I would hesitate to recommend it for use in your class, unless you are uploading them through the computers in the library or computer lab. It will be too frustrating.

Introducing the Digital Tool Box!

I am proud to announce that the Digital ToolBox is online! The idea behind it is to have all the information you might need as well as any tools that would be helpful in teaching Digital Citizenship skills to your students. From How to evaluate a website to Netiquette, from Plagiarism to Passwords, hopefully this will be your one stop digital citizenship shop.

It lives in several places on our portal, but you can access it publicly by going to the Traf website –>academics–>Library. And there it is on the left hand side:

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What is the digital toolbox you ask?  Well, let me give you a tour!

The toolbox is divided into the following sections:

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Research Tools

Research tools include resources to use for brainstorming, note-taking, website evaluation as well as actual search and citation tips:

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NOTE: I will be updating it the toolbox frequently, so if you have a suggestion for something you would like to see in it, please contact me!

Plagiarism and Copyright

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In the plagiarism and copyright section you will find information on how copyright works, what plagiarism is as well as links to sites with images in the public domain, under the Creative commons license or where you have the right to use them (as in Imagequest database that we pay for). But remember, just because you are allowed to use it, doesn’t mean you are off the hook for giving credit where credit is due. Always attribute your images!

Social Media Policies

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Here you will find a link to the social media policy for students as well as our iPad rules in the class and an info graphic on Netiquette. When you are giving a project with a social media component (blogs, etc.) Take a minute and refer back to these documents with your students!

Digital Security

This is of special interest, given our presentation this morning on more secure passwords. Keep yourself safe! Teach the students how to do the same!

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Digital Health and Wellness

Avoid carpal tunnel syndrome with these tips.

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ONCE AGAIN, I reiterate: I will be updating and adding to these sections periodically. If you would like to see something included in these sections, email me!

Need Help? Ask the IT Team!

For Parents

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The Toolbox that lives on the faculy portal also includes a section for teachers:

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Check it out!

iPad Challenge: Put Last Month’s Presentations into Practice!

Well, the feedback came and we heard it loud and clear: you would have liked more time to try out the skills presented to you by our amazing presenters Nadia and Greg. So tomorrow’s meeting will be devoted to trying out GoodNotes with Google Drive and following Greg’s recipe for an explainer video.

Here is what you will need:

  • laptop
  • iPad
  • GoodNotes (all departments should have this) Price: $5.99)
  • Google Drive
  • Material you would like to work with (a concept you would like to make a video for, or a PDF you would lilt annotate in GoodNotes!)
  • Air server (talk to Brian about this).
  • MPEG Streamclip
  • Greg’s Videos (Please take some time to view these before tomorrow’s meeting. It will give you a flipped classroom experience as well as give you an idea of what you can do with your own videos!):
    • Video 1 (1.  Turn on AirServer
                     2.  Connect your iPad to your computer
      3.  Record your computer with QuickTime Player
                     4.  Using GoodNotes as a “smart board” )

      Video 2   More  Using GoodNotes, 5.  Using “Hide User Interface” for a                  better user experience.
      Video 3  Yet still more  Using GoodNotes
      Video 4   6.  Editing with MPEG Streamclip
      Video 5    More editing with MPEG Streamclip
      Video 6   7.  Uploading to iTunes
                     8.  Linking to your portal

Greg and Nadia will be circulating through the room to help you with any problem you might be facing.

Good luck and see you tomorrow!

Notions de base sur la confidentialité Facebook

I got a message from Facebook this morning saying that they are changing their privacy policy on January 1, 2015. Here is the message:

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.33.29 AMI have link the Facebook Basics page below (Although I linked to the English side, for some reason it shows up in French – but if you click on the link, it turns back to English. I think it is suffering from a bout of the Mondays…)

Another thing you might want to check out is their new Data Policy, which they lay out in an easy-to-understand, un-intimidating format. As such, it is also kind of terrifying:

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And it goes on. If you are a Facebook user, I highly recommend taking some time before January to read through their policy as well as their privacy tips. I know I will.

Nous sommes là pour vous aider à vivre l’expérience que vous souhaitez. Découvrez comment protéger votre confidentialité sur Facebook.


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The 23 Best Game-Based Education Resources for 2014 | Edudemic

There has been a lot of talk about gamification in education lately – in fact, the last couple of conferences I have attended had detailed presentations on how to implement some of the game strategies in the classroom.

Here is a very comprehensive list of resources that covers the theory (and even criticism) behind gamification in the classroom, resources and videos on how to get started as well as a lit of links to help you on your way!


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7 Ways to Deal With Digital Distractions in the Classroom | Edudemic

I have become weary of any articles that begin with [insert number] ways you can [insert topic], but the article below makes some good suggestions. The two that stand out for me is taking bait of time in class to bust the myth of multitasking. This would be especially  useful with students who feel they work best when doing many things. The article gives a great, easy little test to cure them of that particular delusion.

As well, the author makes a good point about reading online and how you format your text. Check it out!


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Guess What I’m Downloading right now?

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The EasyBib app! Thanks to Grade 7 student Amanda H. for showing this to me!

Price: Free

What does it do? You scan the ISBN barcode on your books and it creates a citation and a bibliography for you!

Note: Seems to only do books. Huh. Weird. But the website still works on the iPad…

Ok.. So the first time I tried to scan a book it crashed my iPad. But that might have been because of low battery?

Ok- phew. Just a glitch. When it works it is super easy. Here is the first screen you will see:

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.03.42 AM

Tap Scan and scan the barcode:


This can get finicky. I recommend getting in really close to the barcode – I think the iPad finds it easier to read.



Then repeat:


There was only one book EasyBib had trouble with -a French from France Country tourist guide. I tried the search feature and wasn’t able to find it either.

Once you are done, you can manage your citations (which basically means selecting or deselecting certain citations) and then email yourself the bibliography!


Aurasma: Augmented Reality for Your Classroom | Edudemic

Aurasma has been getting a lot of buzz lately in Ed Tech circles- it was one of the apps mentioned at the QAIS tech conference. I have mentioned it before several times in this blog. However, I liked the way this teacher thought to use it in the classroom:

For example, we’re currently studying Shakespeare in my 7th-grade English class. I’ve noticed the students struggle with Shakespearean cadence when we read aloud in class. To help them, I created auras for some soliloquies that link to YouTube videos of scenes performed by a local production company. The students simply scan the page with their phones or iPads to trigger the Aura and watch the corresponding performance.

My students also participate more with Aurasma. For instance, I had each student pick a character from Shakespeare’s plays and bring in a poster describing that character. They also created an aura featuring video of a friend interviewing them as their chosen character. The posters then triggered these auras for the class to watch. My students went above and beyond with their character research to create a video their classmates would enjoy.

Basically, it is a more elegant QR Code. Instead of having one of those weird little boxes full of scribbles, you simply scan the image/text/object and that will bring you to whatever content you want people to see.

How would this be a useful tool in your classroom? Do tell! And check out the article!


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