Not Very Punny . . .

. . . but I couldn’t resist. Not timeless certainly, nor broadly applicable but I’d have some fun with this in an English classroom. It’s along the same lines as the remixed “Read” posters Dan started and I did a few of a while back. Lil Wayne and one of his lines from A Milli1. Not sure if I need to be this obvious but it’d depend on the class. If, for some reason, you want the big version of either just click on the image. 1 A good song but probably not playable in most classrooms and if you can get away with it I’d play the version with Jay Z instead.

Zombies, Flamethrowers and Catfish

Image credit – CogDogBlog It’s really a strange world. The shot above was taken in Second Life by CogDog following my presentation with Jim Groom the other night. It was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had with a presentation. The video’s down there somewhere. There were zombies, flame throwers and a lot of madness1. Jim was in rare form and really justifying his Reverend moniker. It was a pleasure to listen to him roll. CogDog has a very solid synopsis on his blog. The gist of the presentation is that forcing people into boxes tends to mess up education rather than improve it- that things like BlackBoard create a lot of false impressions. They make it look like lots of your teachers are using tech but the way that they’re using it tend to be very low level and actually hurts your real tech integrators. The future is open. The future is mobile, agile and friendly. BB (and others) are slow, ugly and unfriendly. It seems simple to me. Forced tech integration doesn’t work. It just gets you really poor teaching with tech sprinkled on top. Focus on forcing good teaching, get rid of people who don’t do it. You can do things to require that and your time and energy will be spent in a much […]

A Little More Wordle and Poetry

Well, you know how I love Exhibit and I’m also a poetry fan. So after messing around with it some the other day and seeing some interest from a few people who put in their own poems- I decided to see what other poems might be on there and see if I couldn’t display them in an interesting way. Go mess with it. Add your own wordle poem if you’d like (the css in the embed code will likely mess things up temporarily but I’ll fix it). Now, if I had a class1 I’d get a bunch of these done for a number of poems from the same author and probably the same genre. Then you could sort them by author or genre and do a surface analysis. Do the big words matter? Are the “big words” shared between poems, across authors? Does it matter? Where things could get interesting is creating fake Wordles that do represent the words you think matter most2. Students would falsely elevate the number of words to make them larger regardless of occurrence. Then the explanation of why becomes an interesting conversation- especially when comparing the two. 1 or more free time 2 Oddly, most of my favorite lessons involve faking data, rap, animal attacks or, hopefully, all three

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Citizen Data Visualization

How cool is this? Today, we’re taking the next step in reader involvement with the launch of The New York Times Visualization Lab, which allows readers to create compelling interactive charts, graphs, maps and other types of graphical presentations from data made available by Times editors. NYTimes.com readers can comment on the visualizations, share them with others in the form of widgets and images, and create topic hubs where people can collect visualizations and discuss specific subjects. –source Sure you could do this the hard way for a lot of the data but to have it supported and built into the system is pretty nice and an interesting shift towards a different kind of user interaction. It, as well as the growth of sites like wordle, swivel and manyeyes, really shows how prevalent and important information visualization is becoming. Now we have to start teaching our students how to analyze and how to make these visualizations in ways that matter. The thought behind the construction (or deconstruction) is what’s important. It’d be easy for a lot of this to be the powerpoint animation of data- just a quick way to pretend something crappy is much cooler and more important than it is (but that fools no one). I’m not sure how flexible things will be. Seems like students might be […]