Evolution from Past to Future

Here are a couple gems that may or may not fit well together. First, the clip linked below of Carl Sagan narrating an animated illustration of evolution. YouTube GoogleVid (via Neatorama) Next, Alan Weisman’s new book entitled The World Without Us comes with an interesting illustration of how the world would react if human suddenly disappeared. Could spark an interesting conversation about how our species impacts the world around us. (via Yer Daily AWEsome)

Facebook Loosening Up Privacy Restrictions

  Facebook is letting non-registered users find pictures and names of private accounts owners.  See link below for official Facebook statement and the page you need to keep your pic and name truly private. This would be good information to pass around to your colleagues.  Many teachers have Facebook accounts they have made private to keep prying students at bay.  This change would give the students access that most responsible teachers try to prevent. Link to Facebook’s explanation of  the privacy change Link to page where Facebook users can (again) restrict search access. via Lifehacker

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Vocabulary- Lost in Translation

What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages? Lost in Translation is a fun little web page that does all that translation for you using Babelfish. Why in the world would you want to do this? Well, it’s funny and while it can become nonsense very easily, with a little effort this is a fun and interesting way to get students looking at vocabulary and language. It’s fun and easy so why not give it a shot. I type in “I love the ocean” and get- Translated to French: J’aime l’océan Translated back to English: I like the ocean – now we’ve got a synonym! Is it close enough to keep the meaning? Translated to German: Ich mag den Ozean Translated back to English: I like the ocean – ditto above Translated to Italian: Gradisco l’oceano Translated back to English: I appreciate the ocean – another synonym! I know you’re excited. Translated to Portuguese: Eu aprecio o oceano Translated back to English: I appreciate the ocean – Sadly, this worked pretty well. Translated to Spanish: Aprecio el océano Translated back to English: Esteem the ocean – Now this is a very different phrase than we started out with. Does esteem mean the same thing as love? Is “esteem the ocean” a […]

Finally, a Planbook for the 21st Century Teacher (Update)

Let me say that as I write this, my wife is gleefully entering her first week into Planbook. Periodically, I hear an “oo” and am informed of another feature that simply makes sense for the modern teacher. Planbook is a digital lesson book. Actually, it is a digital organizer for teachers. Jeff Hellman was frustrated with the limitations of a paper planbook, so he created a program that includes document and link integration, lets you publish to the web with customizable themes, and will print your plans in a traditional format. I was using a blog as the information center for my English classes the last couple of years. It made managing my disorganized students a reasonable task. If they lost something, I told them to go to my blog and click on the link. If they missed a day, I sent them to the blog before arranging their makeup work. Planbook gives you the same opportunities but integrates it into your organizational system. That’s one less step each day in your routine. When it comes time to share your plans, you can publish them or print them. You choose the information you want published and tell Planbook to send it to your website, iWeb, or a folder. The publishable plans can be accessed through a master list or a […]