Clearly, I have no official or non-official affiliation with TED. I just like to watch the videos.
I do want to thank David F. Huynh for making Exhibit which enabled me to make this site in about 10 minutes. Most of that time taken up by messing with the CSS2. I am an Exhibit fan which is pretty obvious if you search the site. This data just seemed to beg for Exhibit so . . . I obeyed.
In the future, I may add some additional fields based on what I see as valuable to different strands of education (leadership, planning, creativity etc.). If you want to do something similar it’s really easy to get this data out and do with it what you will.
1 I did look around for about 10 minutes but no original source presented itself- popular link though.
2 Obviously, I have only the roughest ideas regarding CSS so if you have skills it’d take you no time.
He’s got everything from Pete Rose’s betting stats to the cost of pennies and the economic ramifications of their removal. I thought the stats dealing with the NY prostitution ring were really interesting as well but probably not suitable for most k12 classrooms. The things that’s good about these posts is that they’re all about numbers and stats but they have a real solid tie to our lives and culture. It makes room for some really passionate and interesting conversations and as a result a lot more interest in the numbers.
I can’t recall how I ended up here so apologies to whoever I stole the link from.
It solves so many problems I see happening all the time in schools. This is such a great way to get large amounts of information from all sorts of people of varying technical skill levels so you have it one place to manipulate. No need for the hassle of Adobe PDF and the complications of those forms or the need to create custom web forms of various types. It’s free and dead simple.
I’m going to use it to collect testing information on programs for our upcoming Vista move. Previously, I was going to use cforms ii (awesome WordPress plug in by the way- especially if you need to fully customize the CSS- see an example I did for the NSDC here- it is real so don’t fill out fake info please). But there’s no real easy way to share that information. You could give people the password to the blog but that’s no always a good thing and the information that’s there is really just for looking at or exporting. I wanted something more dynamic. I think you could write some custom php pages and pull the info out but that’s a hassle and it takes time.
I was going to download the data, upload it into a Google spreadsheet and possibly push it out to an Exhibit front end (yes, I’m still in love with them). Major hassle for me in terms of keeping things updated as I’d have to add to the spreadsheet with each new entry to keep things up to date. Blah. I considered trying to write an Applescript to do it for me based on folder update changes but that’s more time and, if you’ve ever messed with Applescript, it’s likely to be a hassle.
Instead, I set up the spreadsheet to feed my data into Exhibit and send out a form. As you can see below it’s got the option to change the field names in the form, add help text etc. I never have to update. Anyone can use it. So very nice. I’ll post my example when I get it finished.
The bridge between these two platforms has never seemed more interesting to me.
Easy to use, free and friendly data entry.
An easy to set up “database” backend – yes I know it’s not relational blah blah but it’ll do for 99% of things normal human need (and I wonder if you linked a series of spreadsheets in the right ways . . . )
A visual and friendly web front end for user interaction with the data using Exhibit.
You need to know NO programming to do any of this. Some html, css will help but no php, mySQL, no real languages. That’s amazing.
Now start thinking of the cool things you can do with students, how you could save your school and district hours of useless work.
Looking for a way to get your students thinking about current events, how the US is not the only place on Earth and have it all in a nice humorous weekly package? Where else will you get a mix of Chinese communists, Australian Aborigines and German polar bears in one paragraph. It’s also all properly referenced so you can easily send students out to the source material (although that didn’t transfer well through the copy and paste).
The Chinese government expelled more than five hundred people from the Communist Party for violating the country’s one-child policy, South Asia was suffering from severe food shortages, and the Australian government refused to provide compensation to Aborigines (who until 1967 were governed under flora and fauna laws) who were stolen from their parents as children. Keepers at the Nuremberg Zoo, under criticism for allegedly allowing polar bear mothers to eat and abandon their young, announced that they would hand-rear an at-risk cub but also made clear that they do not want a repeat of the Berlin Zoo’s Knut-mania.
The authors vary so does the quality but it’s usually a really interesting and subtly linked variety of news from all over. It’d make for some interesting conversation just talking about why the author might link two items. There’s some sophisticated and subtle (sometimes) work going on here.
Even if this particular use is above your students’ heads or not to their tastes the idea is pretty interesting. The writing style and the way diverse items are woven together is a pretty sophisticated task. We’ve got a class called Core where students read a wide variety of books (Darwin, Nietzsche, Adrienne Rich, Plate etc.). I’d love to see something like this made from the ideas of their works with direct quotes worked in. It’d take a lot of time and effort as well as a pretty extensive understanding of the various works. The upswing would be the variety and creativity that doing something like this would allow.