Archive for October, 2008

This is my favorite educational video about the way the election system works. It is short and didactic, clearly showing why votes do not all have the same weight.



The “in Plain English” series include videos like this about Web Search Strategies, PodcastingBlogging, Using Wikis, Social Networking, Social Media,…

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YouTube Videos

First off, it looks like DARPA is going to expand the BigDog project.  If you’ve never seen the videos of the robotic mule, it really is a must.  It has an uncanny look and is the best representation of an autonomous walking machine.

To move to something that might be more useful in education, I just started watching video of Google’s Android cell phone OS.  Having used an iTouch pretty extensively last year (regularly bumming it off friends), I am impressed by the thought put into the Google applications and interface options.  I would recommend watching most of the videos Google has created at http://www.youtube.com/user/androiddevelopers but this video shows I think the best use of the applications:

I could see applications like this, with multiple input potentials being highly valued in education.  For just an interesting thought piece think of the 2d bar code on the developers business card.  What if a poster presentation included bar codes on the posters that downloaded the researcher’s information, downloaded any related papers from the Internet, and saved a picture of the poster right to your phone.

Expand this to a museum where being near a certain exhibit or scanning a bar code on a display send students to a virtual set of information.

Now expand this further to a classroom where students can move about and learn through their location in space.  The multimodal input capacity allows students to access on demand information and can even better allow them to access more specific information by way of a set of bar codes on an object of interest.  Think of a science classroom with various experiments set up displaying Newtonian Mechanics.  The experiment’s position is used to create connection on their Android.  As they explore the information, a link about gravity opens up a radar bringing them from a velocity experiment to a pendulum challenging any confusion that might be forming about velocity and acceleration.

I am a fan of multimodal computer input because I believe that like the example above it creates more chances for embodied learning.

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Best U.S. elections sites

What are your favorite sites for analysis and discussion of the upcoming U.S. elections?  One of my favorites is FiveThirthyEight.com.  The site was launched by Nate Silver, previously best known for his work on development statistical approaches to project the performance of baseball players.  He has now applied similar statisical approaches toward analyzing U.S. elections. Silver’s quantitative analysis is complemented with writings by Sean Quinn, who is traveling  across the U.S. and providing in-depth reports on the mood and activities in different locations.

What are your favorites?

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One Laptop Per Child News

For those of you interested in pursuing the developments and ramifications of the “One Laptop Per Child” program, one of the best sources of news, information, commentary, and discussion is the independent One Laptop Per Child News.

For broader technical updates on the development of small, inexpensive “netbook” computers, I recommend Lilputing.

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Today and tomorrow -October 27 and 28- is taking place the fourth edition of the International Conference “Fundamentos Web” (“Web Foundations”), in Gijón, Spain. Speakers from different leading Internet companies and researchers are discussing issues related to the active participation of society in the use and development of the web. Workshops and debates include an exchange of opinions about the current and future Internet-based applications available and the emergent needs, both from a technological and a practical point of view.

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A three-day workshop on Researching Computer-Mediated Communication in Foreign Language Education will be held at the University of Léon, Spain, April 23-25, 2009.  The workshop will cover a broad range of topics related to telecollaboration among language learners, the development of blogs, wikis, and podcasts, and participation in virtual environments and social networks.

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The Atlas of Cyberspace

The Atlas of Cyberspace is a new book that explores the spatial and visual nature of cyberspace and its infrastructures through more than 300 color images and historical maps. The full contents of the book are downloadable for free.

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