Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Pictures of India

I'm tinkering around with my Google account and am trying to embed some of my India photos onto my blog. I'm a terrible photographer, but here's what I have.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Copyright for Educators

Wes Fryer has an interesting, if somewhat long, slideshow on copyright issues for teachers. He's not, as he points out, a lawyer, so none of this is canonical, but it's worth viewing.

World's Largest Music Store Closing Down

Virgin's Manhattan megastore, reportedly the world's largest, preparing to close down soon. An article on Wired magazine's site, says that this is writing on the wall for traditional music retailers. Another sign of the times...

Project-Based Geometry

Edutopia has two articles that focus on some really interesting student projects. One is about a Seattle-area teacher who has her students learn geometry through giving her students design and architectural-based projects. Here's her basic challenge to the students:

"Working as a member of an architectural team in 2050, you are competing against five other companies to win the contract to design a state-of-the-art high school on a given site. You must present your proposed design to a panel of professional architects who will award the contract. Your design must meet the learning needs of students in 2050, must accommodate 2,000 students, and must make use of the natural benefits of this particular site, while also preserving at least half of the existing wetland."

Read the full story here. The article outlines the project in some detail and has some great materials on exactly what the kids did.

The other article is about San Francisco's Build SF project. There's an interesting video on the link, but I cannot get it to embed on my site. Be sure to take a look at it, though.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If You Twitter...

If you use Twitter, Open Culture has a list of tweets to follow. Among them, the NY Times Book Review, The Library of Congress, Harpers, etc. It's largely for the cultural geek, but that's me. Another great way to stay informed on the cheap.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ken Robinson

For those of you who haven't seen Ken Robinson, now is your chance. He has been quite the celebrity in the independent school world and for good reason. His presentation is a combination of a stand-up comedian and a philosopher. His primary focus is creativity in education. His new book, The Element, profiles people who have made their creative passions their life. He interviews a wide range of people from all walks of life. His definition of creativity is broad and goes well beyond traditional definitions. I strongly recommend this video (and the book, for that matter), to anyone.

Foreign Languages and Kids

The Washington Post had an article that shows once again the importance of foreign language instruction.

Foreign language instruction is considered more important than ever as the nation's demographics and national security issues change and the world's economies become intertwined.

Equally important is that we expose kids to learning languages at an early age:

"The kids getting it for 30 minutes won't become fluent, but that's not the point of those programs," said Julie Sugarman, research associate at the nonprofit Center for Applied Linguistics in the District. "It's to give them exposure to the language. Just because kids aren't able to do calculus in sixth grade doesn't mean we shouldn't teach math in elementary school."

Facebook Concerns: Who Owns Content

The New York Times reported on a current debate over who owns what's posted on Facebook -- the user or Facebook itself. Facebook recently changed its terms of service and the blog Consumerist argues that the changes amount to Facebook taking control of everything people post on the site forever. As more and more things move into the virtual world, it seems pretty likely that these sorts of issues are going to be commonplace. Internet law could be a pretty lucrative field...

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Liberal Arts in a Global Context

We hear a lot about how we need to learn from other nations' education systems if we are to "keep up". Inside Higher Education, though, has an article that turns this entire discussion on its head. It turns out that American style liberal arts colleges are spreading around the world in such places as Ghana, Bangladesh, Russia, and South Africa. Why? According to the Susan H. Gillespie, director of the Institute for International Liberal Education at Bard College:

“It’s not just the spread of an American-style education. It’s something I think specific about the nature of liberal arts education, its ideology if you will, which I think people perceive – and I think correctly so – to be allied with democratization. Because it teaches tolerance, because it teaches critical thinking, which is nothing other than an ability… to understand diverse points of view.”

Art History Online

Via Open Culture (an amazing resource!), comes a link to, an online art history textbook. I don't know that it's a comprehensive histories -- it seems to lack much non-Western art -- but it has some great discussions of the masterpieces. Lots of fun to browse around.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Library of Congress

I haven't looked at the Library of Congress' web site recently, but I'm glad I did this morning. The webcast section is excellent. They have interviews with Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, Madeline Albright, and many more. There are scholarly presentations, cultural performances, religious discussions, etc.

This Gaming Life

This Gaming Life is an exploration of the impact of gaming culture on the world at large (you can read my review here). You can now read it free online at digital culture books. If you have any interest in gaming communities, pick up this book. My review (along with around 40 others) is on LibraryThing.

Shakespeare's Sonnets from 1609

Google books has a copy of a 1609 imprint of Shakespeare's sonnets online. I'm still stunned at the type of things one can find online nowadays. I remember when you had to go to an actual library of rare manuscripts to find these sort of things. There's a missing romance to traipsing to those libraries, but the democratization of knowledge far outweighs that consideration to me.

What Would Google Do?

Jeff Jarvis' new book What Would Google Do? is an interesting analysis of how Google conducts itself. More importantly, Jarvis takes Google's success and tries to translates its success to a larger world. It's somewhat business oriented but the lessons are easily applicable to education. It's a quick read and bound to get you thinking.

Here's an interview with Jarvis.