More Humorous/Interesting Info-graphics Based on Songs

brianmn Originally uploaded by boyshapedbox Links to a large set of graphics on flickr based on songs. I didn’t recognize some of the songs but there are lots of fun things to think about. In terms of class use – great art projects, great ways to introduce graphing or diagramming flow charts. Even if you don’t use them in class, it’s just worth looking at them as ways to think about things differently. Link via Gawker by way of Information Aesthetics.


To Clarify Add Detail

I bounced from this O’Reilly post to this Edward Tufte video on the iPhone. It’s a big file but fairly short and worth listening to if just for the last few lines. To clarify add detail. Clutter and overload are not an attribute of information. They are failures of design. If the information is in chaos don’t start throwing out information, instead fix the design. This doesn’t just apply to software or visuals. I know I’ve tried to explain things to people and when I see I’m failing have over simplified. I think that’s a mistake. It wasn’t because I was giving them too much that they weren’t understanding, it was because I was giving them information in the wrong way. Communication can be designed just like a visual. I think our education system is a system that is/was in chaos. Our response has been to throw out information, to standardize everything, to make testing so ABCD simplified that we don’t really have to think about the design. The perfect example is the “sandwich” writing style that students are coming into college with. I can see it as a way to teach introductory writing but because of the way standardized writing samples are graded the style carries right over into high school. Students then end up in college writing standardized […]


Feeds Growing Slowly

So I’m slowly re-adding feeds to the newly blank aggregator (I always picture a very aggravated alligator when I see that word- too many Crocodile Hunter shows with my son). See what I’m reading below maybe you’ll find something interesting (maybe not) but I’m looking to expand so drop your top sites (educational or non) in the comments. I’m really looking for more on WordPress, design, change and data visualization. Real Life Collides Rationale: People I’ve actually met. bavatuesdays – Jim “WordPress” Groom (coworker) Pandaemonium – Kevin “Bossman” Creamer (coworker – counts as only .3 of a blog due to infrequent updating) EdTech Journeys – a wise man from NY who writes about staffdev and change Operative Fitness – My brother-in-law’s slightly nutty fitness blog (in a good way). I dabble with extreme-ish fitness and am back at it now that I’m out of K12. Humor/Non Serious/Inspiration Rationale: I like odd things and I feel humor plays a really important role in teaching (or should anyway). Boing Boing – lots of good ideas here Defective Yeti – I really like this guy and he writes really well Tcritic – a blog about interesting t-shirts XKCD – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language Education Rationale: Each of these blogs has something unique that keeps me coming back. Dy/Dan – […]

Staying Uncomfortable

I listened to a great conversation today between the president of UR (Ed Ayers– former Professor of the Year and major player in the creation of the Valley of the Shadow project) and a UR Business School professor and VA Professor of the Year (Joe Hoyle). So some high power professors and great teachers. It was really impressive to watch. I’ll be posting the video for it soon. Really great stuff. Anyway, one of the things they talked about was the danger of becoming too comfortable, complacent. You get set in your ways and things just flow onward while you sit like a rock (my interpretation anyway). It spurred me to do something I’ve been contemplating for a while. I wiped my Google Reader account. I had 299 feeds until a few moments ago. Now I have none*. I think the intent here is important. This isn’t a number 11 on Pete’s list. I’m not overwhelmed or cutting down. I’m just starting over rather than pruning. I’ve had a lot of those feeds for several years. I’ve grown comfortable with them. If I don’t read them I worry I’m missing things. It was a really strange feeling to hit unsubscribe on all of them. Some people are probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about (most never read this far) […]

Welcome to Nonprogramistan

nonprogramistan Originally uploaded by bionicteaching Thought some of you might get a kick out of this graphic that’ll be part of a presentation Jim Groom and I are working on. The premise is that a variety of recent technologies allow the creation of mashups and other interesting web based options without the need for programming skills. Andy Warhol is the patron saint of the mashup so he adorns our poster. Original photos here.


More Limited Communication Purity

Apparently, I really like the idea cutting down communication to it’s purest form. (that’s really pompous sounding)- I like short writing. I like the idea that you have to pack as much as possible in just a few words. Boing Boing has come through again by finding a book dealing with 6 word memoirs by a variety of writers. My two favorites are below. Yes, you can edit my biography. — Jimmy Wales Must remember: people, gadgets. That order. — Brian Lam I might simplify the idea for students and make them obituaries- it also avoids any of their work getting sucked into the Oprah memoir furor (nothing worse than having to apologize to Oprah on national TV). Give them bonus points for working in vocabulary words etc. Here a more academic example that I took a shot at (I listened to this Tesla podcast recently- interesting stuff). Eccentric Serb electrifies science. Dies poor. — Nikolai Tesla I guess it all boils down to- well, boiling things down. There’s a lot of processing and thinking that goes into trying to sum up a life or period in just a few words. In the end it’ll help everyone. Have them vote on the best sentence. Post them individually in a blog and install the star rating plugin. Make your life painless […]

Google Forms to Exhibit Example (POC)

So, I’ve managed to create two quick websites for work that are driven by Google’s new form option for getting data into spreadsheets. I’ve put a quick example of a log here. Feel free to enter data etc. It’s up there to play around with and hopefully is simple enough to help people figure out how to do it. One thing I don’t like about the form option. I don’t like that changes I make to the submission form alter my spreadsheet. I might want the form to read “Your name here” while my spreadsheet says {name:text}. I don’t believe there’s any way to do that and it would be much nicer when using this with Exhibit. Instead I have to add another sheet and I use a formula to reference the data in. It’s just =sheet1!A2 in case anyone needs it. Then if I get my mouse in just the right place it turns into cross hairs and I can drag that formula dynamically so that it pastes as =sheet1!A3 and A4 etc. then I can drag it across to create =sheet1B2 etc. That is much better than typing all that in. In a perfect world I’d also be able to apply some css to it but that’s getting a little picky. So the key steps. create spreadsheet and […]

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 […]

Teachers, can you spare a dime?

Let’s all get behind this worthy charity that will clearly benefit all educators… Happy Friday, Y’all! via Neatorama