My Phone Coughs Politely

I’m a bit old school when it comes to phones. I habitually leave my phone on vibrate. I never notice that it vibrates. This occasionally makes people mad. I do this mainly because I’m absent minded and don’t want to be that guy with the annoying phone going off. The solution came to me the other day. I needed a ring that doesn’t sound like a ring, something that’d be a normal sound in most places1. I can make custom ringtones for the iPhone in Garageband. My phone now coughs politely2. In case anyone else wants to sound vaguely sick, but maintain politeness, here is my cough ringtone as a m4a and as a m4r ringtone. 1 The mosquito ringtone would not work for me because it’s noticeable to kids. I want something unobtrusive to everyone. 2 My guitar still gently weeps. I’m unaware what other objects I own do.

More Mixed Media

Lessons Learned the Hard Way – this could be a lot of fun with literary and historical figures. Real Life Fodder for Copyright Conversations “But honestly Monica, the Web is considered ‘public domain’ and you should be happy we just didn’t ‘lift’ your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!… If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than [it] was originally…. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”[14][15] Participate in primary source research in real life. Geography, history, science. Old Weather Help scientists recover worldwide weather observations made by Royal Navy ships around the time of World War I. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and improve a database of weather extremes. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and the stories of the people on board.

Simple, Possibly Effective

In honor of Halloween and returning from the blogging dead, I offer up this post (and so I have an excuse to use the picture above). I don’t blog much. Never have been consistent. The new job is making it easier to be worse. Lots of ready excuses. I recently found myself only looking through my FFFFound RSS feed and neglecting a lot of other things. It was easy to do. The education stuff made me nauseous and I’d never get to do the pop culture stuff that I liked, so why bother. In an attempt to remind myself of the things I like about the internet and education (and to remind myself to blog and share content intelligently) I made this aggregation site with the FeedWordPress plugin. It links in all my Delicious additions with a certain tag, my blog posts, and anything I star in Google Reader. So I’m not doing extra work (a tag here or there) but I am providing a single place/feed for a certain audience- in this case ITRTs who work in HCPS1. This kind of aggregation has some real potential for schools and sharing resources that I’ve rarely seen harnessed. But, more than anything, this will help make me focus on what I am reading and how I am sharing content. I want […]

Survival Guides

Survival guides have some interesting potential for a variety of historical and literary analysis needs. This idea was jump started by the Brighid Survival Manual which was found via Super Punch. Here’s a quick example for the Witch in The Wizard of Oz. I’ll see if time allows me to make one for a Jamestown colonist. The problem is that these take a good bit of time and effort if they’re going to be good. That’s great in a project but it does make it harder on me. Anyway, lots of English and history applications. It’d be fun to write survival guides for self-destructive historical or literary figures- maybe Edgar Allen Poe or Custard.

Animoto: An Academic Use

I despise Animoto‘s use as evidence of learning in the classroom. It produces a veneer that implies intent but requires none. It allows people to put on the facade that their students are doing intelligent work. They seem to trick even themselves. That being said, I finally came up with a use that would require some thought. Pretend Animoto is an author with intent and intelligence. Analyze the choices in image juxtaposition, camera angles etc. Really break it down as if the director had some control and thought behind all the choices. You could do this with random videos from the showcase, have students contribute their own images etc. It’d also be fun to make comparisons between two auto generated versions of the same images. Which film was produced later in the artist’s career? What experiences caused the change in filming techniques. A simple idea but it does require some thought in a process otherwise devoid of intellect.

A few things . . .

Currency Redesign This would be a fun way to look at our government (and other countries for that matter). It’s simple but complex. How do you redesign our currency so that it reflects our history and current values? There’s a lot of interesting analysis potential there. Partnering with an art class would give you some added advantage and would allow for more focus on art as problem solving. Monsters Inspired by this Boing Boing post, I thought it’d be fun to have students draw a monster of their choosing (maybe give it some particular talents) and then randomly assign them to other students who then write a story with the monster as a main character. The artist then works with the writer as a peer editor. I’d do this online and then mix in other monsters and story lines. Then the larger group has to look at the stories and figure out how they’ll merge. Drugs This list of the top 25 psychiatric prescriptions and a comparison to their numbers in 2005 would open the door for a number of conversations about our society and medicine in the U.S. I’d love to see overall prescriptions and a comparison of those numbers between countries. Random Thoughts This card trading game concept for medical students is worth thinking about more. I’m in […]

Step Up Your Vocab: The Musical

cc licensed flickr photo shared by bionicteaching This is pretty simple and likely to be pretty fun. It probably fits best in an English classroom1 I’m not sure how I’d start this . . . I think I’d go this route. I’d show the kids a bunch of article headlines and quotes complaining about the deterioration of today’s society and how today’s music sucks. This is really just to get them riled up and interested in proving they’re not the brain dead people being described. The kids pick their favorite favorite song and go find the lyrics. Then you have the kids run they lyrics through something like this site which calculates reading levels. This one isn’t great for this purpose but it’ll do for this demonstration. We just want some sort of number that quantifies the sophistication of the lyrics. The challenge for the kids is to increase the reading level as high as possible while maintaining the spirit of the song and it’s rhyme scheme (if any). So they have to really figure out what makes the reading level go up or down and then apply what they learn. They’ll be working with vocabulary, sentence structure etc. The students will have to think about the essence of the song and struggle with the subtleties of word choice. 1 […]

This is a bent paperclip on a green background. It is awesome.

Modernist Posters

When it rains, it pours snows people panic and Richmond shuts down. Also when I find one good thing on the Internet, others often show up. So here are minimalist TV show posters by Albert Exergian. I’d do this for sure. It’s another in the line of restriction = creativity possibilities. The drawing skills are really low. It’s all about figuring out the essence of the novel/era/historical person and figuring out how to represent it as simply as possible. You’d have to stress what makes things modernist and really get students thinking about using color, shape etc. with as much thought as possible. The example would be key, as would your explanation of it1. I ended up with this from one of the few email newsletters I find worth subscribing to – Very Short List. If you like this type of thing, it’s worth checking out. 1

6 Frame Comic Summaries

We’re asking you to take your favourite film and re-imagine it for us in the form of a comic, within a six-frame panel (download template files). That’s the whole film, condensed into six frames. This is another beautiful, reductionist way to analyze a book, historical figure, era, epoch or movement. I don’t see much use for math but I could also see some science possibilities. You could pair up with an art teacher or just do it on your own. I’d have a stable of activities1 similar to these and allow students the option to choose between them at various points. Keep in mind, they don’t have to be drawn. Let them use photographs. They could even take their own pictures. The concept/framework is simple but don’t let it box you in. This is the stuff I really like in history and English. It’s low work on the teacher, high processing on the students. Deciding what elements are essential is a task that requires a lot of understanding and critical thinking, then representing those ideas graphically is another level of processing. I’m working on a history example but it’s taking too much time (and thought) to do well immediately. 1 Of the condense and remix type. I’ve posted a few in the past.