Pop Culture Omnibus

An aggregation of strange things that interested me in one way or another. tl;dr and government communication in the age of the hipster SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back? No. Seattle PD’s information on marijuana legalization is an interesting piece with a tl;dr reference and an embedded Lord of the Rings “finest weed” video clip. Compare the voice and audience of this government communication to other state communications. We will kill you so fast We need doctors because people grow up and you fall down and go boom. Everyone’s going to need a doctor. Let’s have 3 doctors per floor of every apartment building in this town. How about that as a good idea? Like that is a good idea. OK. So let’s make college tuition either free or really low. And if you have a country full of whip-crack-smart-people, you have a country the rest of the world will fear. They will not invade a country of educated people because we are so smart. We’ll build a laser that will burn you, the enemy, in your sleep before you can even mobilize your air force to kill us. We will kill you so fast because we are so smart. –Henry Rollins Henry Rollins gives a whole new side of STEM […]

My Take on #DS106

I recently tried to present something on #ds106 and MOOCs in general at VSTE. It’s probably best it wasn’t filmed. I’m going to try to present something more coherent in writing.1 This will be a description of what made this course work for me although I believe it could be generalized at least some to the world as a whole. My description of #DS106 was essentially an online course2 meets Woodstock. You take a guided online experience and mix it with both chaos and, more importantly, community. At the core, this is all about community. I’ll play out a few of the things that seem to indicate that to me. Mechanical Aggregation DS106 seems to have the semi-mythical eduglu working. People are writing in all sorts of places with a variety of clients and it’s being captured in a way that encourages both commenting, community, and creativity. The synchronous aspect of this course is important and one that is encouraged and leveraged by being able to display both content and comments in one space with very little effort on the user. It’s a really interesting world when we can both have a “room of our own” and aggregate to communal place. It doesn’t take a room of Java developers or a million dollar a year site license for the shiniest […]


Science Video Contest

This is a pretty nice little video1 explaining entropy while at the same time giving tips on how to create a good science video. It’s made by Small Mammal who makes short videos for people like NPR. And the whole thing is part of a science video contest for Ars Technica that you can submit to here. -via Boing Boing 1 There is a pre-roll Canon ad.


Iron Teacher

So there’s been good conversation lately recently about the lack of good lesson plans on the Internet. I think that’s true. I’m not sure this game will bring us much closer to the end game but it has the potential to produce some good content1. Hopefully it’ll be fun and catch on2. Here’s the idea Milobo and I came up with a few days ago. It’s Michelle’s better twist on the Pimp My Lesson Plan idea that’s been nagging at me for a while3. Instead of Pimp My Ride, the inspiration is a lesson plan contest based on Iron Chef. Basic Rules Two teams of educators (more if others are game) will battle4 to develop a unit or lesson plan to meet the requirements of a selected teacher. Each team will share their lesson along with the process they used to brainstorm and develop the idea. A panel of judges, including the teacher who issued the challenge, will rate the lesson on Originality, Student Appeal, and Ability to Meet Outcome. Here’s the current lesson request. It’s due by midnight- Sunday, April 26th. Post the content to your blog and link back in the comments5. The Audience: 2 classes of 10th grade General Level Literature students. The Secret Ingredient: The novel “A Separate Peace” The Challenge (as defined by the teacher): […]

BattleDecks- Presentation Ninjitsu

I found these beautiful notes from SXSW via Boing Boing where I saw Battledecks which led to this summary. credit Mike Rohde Powerpoint meets Karaoke in this battle of wits. Watch your favorite speakers craft an off-the-cuff presentation using slides they’ve never seen before. Eight competitors will have five minutes to complete their presentation. Three judges will score the participants based on their use of jargon, gesturing and credibility. Who will take home the trophy and who will totally choke? Come see for yourself! Two things came to mind for me. 1. Battledecks with your class. You set up a serious of slides that deal with your topic. Divide the class into groups and give out the deck. They’ve got X minutes to come up with the content to match the slides. Points are awarded for relevancy, creativity/entertainment, jargon etc. For English, this could get really creative. It’d be an awesome way to do work with vocabulary words or story structure. They could pitch a story Hollywood style using as many vocabulary words as possible while working the story through the basic steps (rising action, etc). You could add difficulty by forcing genres on the students (nice way to review those elements as well). Now, this won’t work at all if you’re giving them traditional bullet point slide decks to […]

Design a Space Pennant for NASA

NASA has announced a contest to design a pennant to be flown into space on the STS-818 shuttle mission. From the official site: The STS-118 flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be the first spaceflight of an Educator Astronaut, mission specialist Barbara Morgan. STS-118 is also an important step in the ongoing assembly of the International Space Station. It’s not enough to just come up with a creative design. Students must research their topic, and use what they learn to design their pennant. Then, they must write essays explaining their designs. The essays must tell how the pennants reflect the research about STS-118 or the Vision for Space Exploration. Entries are being accepted now through April 10th by students ages 6-12. See NASA’s official announcement for details. Via BoingBoing