RSS, DIY, Technology, RSS and Passion

Passive Aggressive Learning and Other Drivel

These things are less techy and more inspired by pop culture once again but I thought they were worth remembering. Scion Crest Generator – While the choices aren’t unlimited, this nice flash interface will help you make a lot of different crests. The real power would be in requiring logic for the various choices and in that way the restrictions almost work for you- less time in building and more time spent on why your choices make sense. You could do this with just about any character or historical figure. The really nice thing is the image sizes are really good- up to 2048×1536 so you could print them out and do other things with them or just use them as a starting point in Photoshop or some other image editor. For instance, I made the crest above for this blog. The wrenches on the left to represent the DIY ethic of much of the stuff I like. The circuit board patter on the right to represent the technology. Then the broadcasting icon represented RSS to me and the fire is for igniting a passion for learning. The wolf is because I like to bite people. I just liked the wolf, a little gritty and banged up from the real world. Corny, I know, but you get the idea. It’d […]

Pop Culture and Education Omnibus

A few odd educational goodies from today’s RSS soup. I lay them out here for your dining pleasure. Mental Floss serves up Monte Python clips referencing all sorts of classic literature. References include- Proust, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Dickens and others. A great way to start of a class or provide a little levity when things are rough reading. They’re linked through on YouTube for your use but if that’s blocked don’t forget about to download them.’s “How to Nap” infographic would be a great way to re-think a project or report. Check out just how much information is crammed in there. You want some deep processing? Get your students creating something this dense in a way that’s visually pleasing and doesn’t feel oppressive. The Pi Crop Circle via the Uri’s Eso Garden Blog makes for some really interesting math related conversations and possible activities. Give them the image and tell them it is a code for pi and see who can figure it out. You could make one about pi or any other significant number or date. There would be lots of hands on measurement (angles, lines etc.) and thought involved (use chalk on the parking lot if you’re fresh out of local barley fields or maybe you’ve got a local field of tall grass).

Killer Black Swans!

Photo Source – Richard Giles I found this article on Nicholas Taleb to be really interesting. There’s a lot in here that could and should be applied to education. It seems to touch on a lot of ideas that are circulating around the idea of “edupunk” but more importantly, to me anyway, is the idea that you can’t know everything, you can’t control everything and that failure and fun need to be built into the equation. That’s not how NCLB etc. see the world. The short list below really doesn’t get at the full ideas so I recommend reading the whole article. I’m not sure about some of them- like #8 but I think it should also be read with some humor and I heartily encourage “tease(ing) people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.” It is worth thinking about. Above all, accept randomness. Accept that the world is opaque, majestically unknown and unknowable. From its depths emerge the black swans that can destroy us or make us free. Right now they’re killing us, so remember to shave. But we can tinker our way out of it. It’s what we do best. Listen to Taleb, an ancient figure, one of the great Mediterranean minds, when he says: “You find peace by coming to terms with what you don’t know.” […]