OER Presentation

I gave a variation of a talk I’ve given before about all the stuff on the web that ought to be considered both educational and open. My rather blurry definition of open is that I can link to it on the Internet without a password- from there it’s degrees of openness towards Nirvana. I may be getting towards some elements that I think matter in the selfies series of links and with the Shorpy photo becoming a writing prompt randomizer thanks to interactions with Luke Neff. They both start to grow and change based on input, then interaction, and then creation. Anyway, there may be some stuff that’s useful to someone and since I went to all the trouble of writing it down I might as well make it visible.

TED Spreadsheet Exhibit Remix

This Exhibit is based of the spreadsheet found here. None of the data is mine. I found the spreadsheet via this tweet by scmorgan. If anyone knows who to give original credit to please let me know1 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.

Life Photos on Google

I’m sure this one will get blogged to death but . . . it does fit in with my earlier post so I’ll add to the noise. Google is hosting 10 million or so photos from Life magazine in a very nice searchable way. They are really nice photos that’d work well in any number of subject areas. Oddly, I don’t see any stated copyright information (although the largest images are watermarked with LIFE in the lower left hand corner). via Lifehacker

Stats, Math, Data and Sociology

Want some really interesting and topical statistics to use? Of course you do. This is a great site for math, stats, and sociology. Seems like Zubin Jelveh is writing things that’d mix into Dan Meyer’s class pretty well. 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.

Just in time tech . . .

Google spreadsheets now lets you share editing by sending out a custom form. This is a huge deal. No, really. Huge. 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 […]


Harper’s Weekly – Weekly Review

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). Check out (email subscribable) the Weekly Review from, fittingly, Harper’s Weekly. 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. -Harper’s Weekly 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 […]

Feel Like Going to TED?

There’s a TED Conference pass for sale on EBay. It’s now at $32,000 (starting price was $10,000 and it’s gone up $9,000 since I looked last night). Bidding ends on February 3rd so you’ve still got time. If you haven’t watched the TED conferences they are up for free on iTunes (video or audio) or the TED site. I’d check them out for three reasons. There are some great talks relating directly to education There are tons of options to pull these videos into class to introduce or enrich any subject you can think of This is a perfect chance to watch some really spectacular presentations and look for ways to use their techniques and style in your delivery


Asterpix – Part Deux – The Review

Through the magic of the Internet I got a comment from Nat Kausik who works for Asterpix (update 2015 – asterpix is now spammy). It still amazes me when this happens (and ups my faith that they’ll stick around because they are listening and responding to the user). Nat requested a little more detail regarding what I’d like to see improved in Asterpix. I’m not really sure why he needs more information. I think “it’s not quite as slick as I’d like” is a pretty detailed and useful feedback. 🙂 Here is what I’d really like to be able to do with Asterpix in my dream world. Please note- I find Asterpix to be very useful right now and I intend to use it. I encourage others to use it. I really feel they’re providing something that no one else is and I’m very grateful for that. That being said, here’s what they could do that would result in my getting a “I Heart Asterpix” tattoo. I’d like much more control over my notes. I want to be able to control their shape, fill opacity/color, line thickness/color/opacity. In a really perfect world I’d be able to use a tool something like the polygon creator in Google Maps to plot points to make irregular objects. I’d like to know what html […]

Types of Creative Communication: Video Messages

I’ve been on the job for about two months with the staff and have realized one thing: email is dead. I get little to no response when I send a text email to my staff, so I’ve started to play with important messages for my teachers. For instance, I needed them to complete a survey and reminded them with this Bollywood themed message from Bombay TV. It hooked half of the MIA teachers with a good laugh. The staff stopped me for days to talk about it. When I received a run of emails concerning computers were not working, I created a reminder featuring a very young Bob Dylan (previous). The emails subsided, and now many of my teachers are quick to tell me that they have restarted a couple times when their computers are acting up. They just seem to listen better when I can get it across in an entertaining way. I guess some things never change. I know your students tune out the same way we do when something is visually monotonous. We are children of an instant, entertaining culture. So, here’s a suggestion: Think of that one rule in your classroom your kids are still having trouble with the second month of school. Are they standing up to sharpen their pencil while you are leading the […]

Physics Flash Animations

David Harrison at The University of Toronto’s School of Physics has a wonderful collection of physics animations. Many of them are interactive, and some allow the viewer to make predictions before the animation plays. Now, I have to be honest. I made it through physics because the top three students in my graduating class (wonderfully kind ladies) befriended me my senior year of high school. I remember little about the class except my teacher insisting that “1 and 1 makes three.” Needless to say, physics is not my strong suit, but I enjoyed playing with these animations. I found myself testing what would happen with this change or that one. Let me know if you can use these in your classroom. I’m trying to dig up more science and math resources, but these subjects are not my ex-per-tise. Link