Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More on WolframAlpha

It's no secret (to anyone who knows me) that I'm a HUGE fan of the WolframAlpha project and of the creator, Stephen Wolfram. How can you NOT like a guy who says, "Ever since I was a kid I've been thinking about systematizing knowledge and somehow making it computable." (I feel like such a loser! All I ever thought about were girls and hunting or fishing, depending upon the time of the year.)

Watch this video of Stephen Wolfram talking at the TED conference. Share it with your math students or those AP or Gifted students. Then, ask them what THEY think about. Ask them, "If you could take any path in life right now, where would you want to go and what would you want to do?" No, it's not a question that will appear on any test, so it won't a test score, but it just might get them thinking about their own interests and passions.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Worlds Largest Garbage Patch

Here's another video to show your students. This would make a great writing prompt, I think.

This is an issue that our students will have to deal with as adults. You can't help but watch this and feel horrified.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Great TED video for your science teachers

Once again TED has shared an amazing talk on their webites, this time from Edith Widder. She shares her passion for underwater sea life that produce light. Share this video with your students. It's perhaps one of the few wonders left for some of your students. This is just cool stuff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

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  • "Beyond educational computing and technology foundations for teachers, ISTE has established Technology Facilitation Standards for teacher education programs or professional development that prepare candidates to serve as building/campus-level technology facilitators. Candidates completing this program will exhibit knowledge, skills, and dispositions equipping them to teach technology applications; demonstrate effective use of technology to support student learning of content; and provide professional development, mentoring, and basic technical assistance for other teachers."

    tags: iste

  • "Wolfram|Alpha is a free online computational knowledge engine that generates answers to questions in real time by doing computations on its own vast internal knowledge base. Our long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. This can be valuable to educators in many ways. "

    tags: wolframalpha

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THIS is what drives me crazy

I was in two schools today. They're about 30 minutes ride from each other. Same county. In the first, they block Wikispaces. Why? It's thought that the board is just a little nervous about what COULD be there.

In the second school they allow student access to youtube.

This kind of stuff just drives me insane. (OK, more insane) All of this COULD be avoided if there were just CLEAR guidelines to follow. "Run this test. If nothing gets through, then you're good to go." Why why WHY do we have to GUESS?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Can grownups learn from Kids?

Thanks to Sue Sheffer for pointing me to this one. What do you think?

"When expectations are low, trust me, we will sink to them."

Saturday, April 03, 2010

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dear Dept of Education

To whom this may Concern:

I've written to you before, but I feel compelled to write again with one very simple request. Before you spend another dime on Education reform, please consider doing the following:

Publish instructions on how to test our school filters for CIPA compliance.

That's it. Just tell us what sites you use to make that determination. Such an easy thing to do, but something that would do more for advancing public education than ANY new law or tweak you can make on NCLB, for example. I'll tell you why.

Around this country there are as many different interpretations of that law (with respect to what should be or need not be blocked) as there are districts. We'll assume that every person who is making that decision has the very best intentions at heart, in that they want to provide a safe, secure network that facilitates learning as we currently define it. Yet, access to the tools and information on the Internet isn't the same across the country. The haves and have nots aren't defined so much any more by their access to technology, but by the access that their technology has to the world's information, and to the online tools that allow them to create and collaborate.

And the saddest part of this, from my experience, is that it seems that the poorer the area is, the more likely it is that their filter will lock them out of the very resource that will help to educate their children. In some of the poorest areas in Pennsylvania we can find districts that block Google Docs, for example, because they fear that a specific kind of abuse of the tool falls under some definition of CIPA that would put them out of compliance. (I don't get it, either. I'm just telling you how it is.) So, the children whose lives are already so geographically restricted due to their economy also cannot even READ about what is going on in other parts of the world. (See this post) Some children are learning with and from other children from around the world, while others are not permitted - because of one person's definition of CIPA compliance.

Giving us that list would level the playing field in this country between those WITH broad Internet access and those with limited access. What a SHAME it is to allow that to continue - for no good reason. There is NO REASON why we should be operating in the dark with this. Simply publish the instructions on how to test our networks. You'll be able to hear the cheers rise up from the far corners of the country. Think about the immediate impact that would have on the education of ALL children in this country.

PLEASE, publish those instructions! WHY keep us guessing, when the losers in that guessing game are our children - and the very future of this great nation?