Wednesday, 26 September 2012

My ELA Identity

We had an assignment in my senior years ELA course to think about who we are and what that means as future teachers of English. It was a great way to reflect on the fact that who I am influences my teaching. I need to make the best of my strengths and focus on my weaknesses to reach all students across all learning styles/preferences. So, this is where ELA and I intersect.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Sporcle homepage.
My brother introduced me to this site close to two years ago, I believe. It is a collection of user made quizzes, games and trivia challenges. I have spent many free hours testing my knowledge. A few of my favourite quizzes are: The Countries of the World, The Periodic Table, and Movie Posters.
There are a wide range of categories and the days' most popular quizzes are posted on the homepage. Quizzes posted on the homepage are verified by Sporcle to be accurate.

I have mostly used sporcle as a mentally stimulating diversion, as the catch phrase says. However, being back in University has got me thinking of using sporcle in new ways, educational ways. Verified quizzes can serve as great review tools. They can also serve as an interesting way to see student's prior knowledge. If you have enough computers students can do the quizzes individually and share results or it can be a class group activity with a designated typist or clicker, there are two types of quizzes. (Parenthetically, I've recently been demoted from quiz typist when I play with my wife. I'm an inaccurate typist under pressure.) Clickable quizzes could be very Smartboard friendly, I think.

I started along this train of thought because I made my first quiz last week. I signed up, agreed to the conditions and am now a quiz master! An assignment in the math class I'm in is to make a mental math game or activity. I was immediately drawn to sporcle. My quiz is Radians to Degrees and is intended to be used as review in pre-calculus. Making your own quizzes allows you to tailor them specifically to your students' learning.

Another, and again math related, way to use sporcle is that data is kept on every quiz, every time it is taken. This allows a quiz to be used as an investigation of statistics. The percentage each answer is guessed correctly is tallied for every quiz, as well as final score. You can see if a quiz has a normal distribution or is skewed in a certain direction. You can see which answers are the most common and the least common.
It can be a great way to move into discussion about what the statistics actually mean. The stats I've shown on the left are from the 1 to 100 in Hexadecimal quiz. It has a very even distribution, except that most people only get about 60% through the quiz. What does this actually say about the quiz? Do most people who choose to do a hexadecimal quiz only know 60% of the numbers? Or since there is a 1 minute time limit to the quiz, does it really speak more about typing speed?

I think it can be a valuable resource in the classroom. What other ways can we use it?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

International Talk Like A Pirate Day X

Imagine I's holdin' a deadly blade.
Plottin' mutiny!
In honour o' ten voyages o' International Talk Like a scurvy Pirate Day here be some pictures o' me participatin' in a buccanneer-y play in Tasmania. 't be here I learned th' two letters in th' Seafarin'  Alphabet: Arrrrr an' Aye!

Good night me hearties an' long may yer big jib draw.

(Translated with and check out for all things related to talking like a pirate. On a side note, I'm very thankful we don't celebrate acting like a pirate. I don't think I would appreciate being pillaged.)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I currently write four blogs.

  • ICTyler (this one) about explorations in the world of ICT and education.
  • The KT Adventures - Personal things like travel pictures, stories, thoughts and such.
  • Tried It! - a chronicle of my attempt to overcome pickiness and food in general.
  • Poetic Times - a multi-author blog where we create found poetry from current events to use a resource in the classroom.

I started blogging in high school on Teen Open Diary. As for purpose I'd say a lot of it was that other people were and that I wanted to articulate my thoughts for an audience, plus I love being silly.

There are as many reasons to blog as there are people. As an individual, I use blogging as a creative outlet, a way to connect with family and friends while travelling, a way to organize and sort through my thoughts. As an educator, I use blogging for building connections, sharing resources and seeing new ideas and perspectives.

Blogging is an amazing reflective tool. To sit and think what you want to say on a topic/experience makes you sort through it. You re-engage with things.

Going back to Teen Open Diary. The concept of an open diary is a great way to think of a blog. It is your personal opinions, thoughts, experiences, but left open for any interested passerby to read through AND comment on. Comments can be inane, advertisements, vitriolic, or instructive, insightful and helpful.