Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The New York Times: Multimedia/Photos.
The New York Times Multimedia Page is becoming a very nice diary of the times we live. Many audio slideshows are available, including today, 2003 the Year in Pictures.

Of course the year was dominated by one story: the demise of an awful era, documented here as Sadaam Hussein, the Iraqi Tyrant, and the beginning of a new.

May we have the Memory and strength in the New Year to pursue peace,

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Apple's Tablet Computer Might Finally Be That Link Between Your PC and TV PBS | I, Cringely
This fascinating navigation through Ultra-Wide Band wireless (802.15.3), Steve Jobs' mind, Motorolla's foundry, and your living room, points to a high-bandwidth-media inspired, takeoff of tablet PCs.

These wonderful devices ultimately will be students' windows on new media history. It's inspiring to hear someone predict an explosive adoption.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Slashdot | Open eBook Forum Courts Controversy Over Formats
Along the Open Source road, a lot of thoughts here on the state of e-books.
The Free/Libre/Open Source Software Survey for 2003
This second major survey of free/open source software devvelopers looks at the backgrounds, emplyment, motivations, etc. of 1600 developers from around the world. Together with the earlier, more euro-centric study, provides some interesting insights as to why people contribute to open source.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. The Elements of Style
Of all things, Strunk's Element's of Style is online! I know that you, dear reader, would never willingly be caught without your dog-eared copy of Stunk and White's later edition; yet avalanches happen. Caught with only your laptop, you can still review the invocation to omit needless words and use the active voice.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Alumni Online Library
When you're researching, don't forget your local libraries! This OSU page has many resources anyone can use. With a alumni ID, you're good to use subscription services like the various EBSCO databases. I've used my public library-just key in your library card number.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Welcome to Franklins Lab!
Fantastic educational app. Only the fuels part has history - of oil and coal. But play with the rest anyway to get ideas (make sure you power the toaster long enough to get toast!).

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Remember when Regis and the Millionaire show were unstoppable? Here's a Flash version of the game. Topic: Charles Dickens.
Some Timelines
For your analysis and consideration...
Australia's Prime Ministers - Timeline
A different approach to a timeline.

Old Parliment House
A more conventional timeline, with some sound bites.

The First World War Timeline

Dickens' Timeline Page

Ancient Civilizations : Timeline of the WorldA Thinkquest project.

Timeline of Buddhist History: Major Events

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Yeah, but do they cheat on the survey?
Two recent studies report that the number of high school students who cheat is now at 75%.

But I thought it was just a corporate ethics scandal!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | The moment JFK was shot
There are probably many more of these. This may be BBC's evening coverage, though it might be a later compilation.

There's also a current video on Kennedy. JFK: Legend and Leader. 30 minutes ; in 6 sections.

Monday, December 08, 2003

'Bonnie Prince Charlie' Animation BBC History
Animated map and some sound of the life and travels of Charles Edward Stuart.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Participation in Remedial Education, Remedial Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions in Fall 2000
In this amazing report we discover that 42% of freshman at public two year colleges must take remedial training in reading, writing, or math!!

I can assure you that I needed remedial training in History (never got it). My writing couldn't have been considered college level either, but I was actually advance placed. What are high schools doing with the time?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Monday, December 01, 2003

Computer illogic / Despite great promise, technology is dumbing down the classroom
Todd Openherimer writes in the San francisco Chronicle on the shortcomings of computers in our schools. A great reminder that we have a lot of work ahead: the list of woes is long. This was discussed on Slashdot.

Thursday, November 13, 2003 Dynamic Flash database with PHP, ASP, CFM remoting and web services community
If you haven't seen it, a pretty amazing Flash resource site. Ihave to admit, I've been so caught up in other stuff, I haven't seen it myself - or if I did, it was in another incarnation of the site.

Also lists a number of web services.
This cool toystore of Web Services has quite a few public services listed. You can try them out via the client provided.

Not sure that there are any applicable to telling history, but some may show up, or it may inspire you. If you really want to play, look at ESRI's map services.

The Google service has a number of implementations you might find educational. Of those, Floogle is a tutorial/exhibit on using webservices in flash.
Bridge on the River Kwai | PBS SECRETS OF THE DEAD
Yes, the bridge from the classic movie. The real tale, however, is far more grim than the screenplay of the plucky Brits.

An aweful 16,000 of the 60,000 western prisoners who worked the rail died. Yet even that shocking death count shorts the story of merciless brutality.

The Japanese managers drove eighty thousand Asians--men, women, and children, enough to fill Yankee stadium to capacity--to their deaths.

The website does no justice to this monstrous act. Maybe you can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Expectations Alter Outcomes
A great article by Sharon Begley in the Nov. 7 Wall Street Journal discusses the affect of teachers' expectations upon students learning. In a typical experiment, elementary school teachers are told that a certain did well on a test that predicts intellectual "blooming". After a few months, the test seems proved right: all the labeled bloomers have done much better than the other students.

Except that there is no such test. The labeled students were picked from every ability level (as measured on standard intelligence tests).

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

American Valor
PBS lets you look in the faces and hear the words of Medal of Honor recipients. By following the links, find out where you can hear and meet many of them in person.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs 1851-1991 from the Library of Congress
Cousin Dan suggests this visual treasure chest.
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
I've yet to read this book on the future impact of all the wireless technologies. [ review] Apparently there are lots of "social network" books I've yet to discover.

History is a pretty powerful social network; it ties us together with not only our contemporaries in the moment; it binds us to those who learned the lessons the hard way.

The word "mob" (play that it is) reminds us that telling history is critical work.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

We Just Forge ahead--And Believe
In Parade Magazine (11/4/03) a story of Roy Sunada and his sucess at transforming John Marshall Fundamental Secondary School. In this school where 70% are Hispanic or African-American and where low-income is the norm, 33% of students are enrolled in - and succeeding at - Advanced Placement classes. It started with AP History, and they use a lot of historical figures to inspire kids.

Parade posts stories online one week after publication. Also there: links to three 2003 College Board Ispiration Award winning schools.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Great Victorian Achievments | BBC
Animation of - well, achievements in the Victorian era.

Friday, October 31, 2003

PBS - New Perspectives on THE WEST
Another fantastic series. They covered 100,000 air-miles more than 250 hours of film, and some beautiful and informative work comes out of it.
The website, though...hopefully its just not finished. Lots of sophmoric errors, like calling Colorado Arizona. It says there's an "interactive" map and timeline; both are static html pages. Even the "Where in the West" quiz doesn't work; worse: they put about 2 minutes of thought on learning value into it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A Sense of Scale
While this is history but in the extreme view, the Flash mechanics are definitely in the spirit of a timeline. From PBS' The Elegant Universe, a wonderful and fun trip though size! (Be sure to follow to the last frame! :-) )

Monday, October 27, 2003

Scavenger Hunt Through History!
From the Freedom: A History of US. | PBS site. A great little game where you put events in their place on a timeline!

As so often, sound would help so much. You should get to hear at least a little of the material presented when you get a right answer. Also, wrong answers get no feedback at all. And, at this time, some of the segments don't work entirely correctly.

Still, I love the educational approach of this game. Being able to place things in order, and in general time periods, is critical to deeper thinking about the events.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
The National Park Service' new site includes massive data on soldiers who fought, prisoners, regiments, cemetaries, and lots more. A great discussion on the battlefields we're loosing to development, and a wonderful summary of battles, by campaign or by state.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Lawrence of Arabia . Battle Features . Emerging Middle East | PBS
Ahh, this is too sweet! This is the type of interactivity I got into this work to see!

The TV show is great. Helps to understand how the Arabs came to so resent the west in the 20th century. The best part of the web interactive is the maps - which the TV show sort of lacked. Sound would be great. A timeline, or timetags on the panels, is essential.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Lost from even our language.
We note here that "gulag" and "genocide" are not in Blogger's spellchecker dictionary.
Tolerating Gulags
The Nazi death camps and the Soviet gulags were so awful we must remember them--so they won't happen again. We have holocaust museums and memorials across the land. Would we ever tolerate such a thing to happen again?

Apparently so. David Hawk, a chronicler of the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, leads the team presenting a new report today: The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea's Prison Camps .

A policy of starvation, overwork, and torture. Newborns murdered on grounds of suspected genetic diversity. Imprisonment of three generation of an offender's family. A lifetime political prisoner population of 200,000 - more than all the US military in Iraq; more than all the people in a small industrial city.

Report is from the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea [ ].

Monday, October 20, 2003

Educational Testing Service
A question from our friends at the discussion group FutureTeachersUSA, seemed honest enough: "What does the fee for teacher testing cover, and is it a good bargain?"

Well, no answers here, but at least it sent us to the website of the biggest testing company, Educational Testing Service, the home of the SAT, GRE, etc. It's worth a look. They even have their own Policy Information Center, lots of opinions on education (hey, they support tests!), surveys, international testing, and more.

Friday, October 17, 2003

History for the Classroom - PBS
Don't think we've mentioned this: PBS has a compilation of all its classroom resources for history. You can choose by grade level, subject, time period. Of course there are lots of classroom activities and teaching suggestions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Distance Learning with Abe, Oakley, Edison, and More
I described Monday our encounter with Abe Lincoln. What's really cool is that you can get him in your school, wherever you may be.

This company makes him and a number of other Living Historians (Orville Wright, Annie Oakley, Twain, an 1860 Physician, Columbus, more) available via distance learning:

Monday, October 13, 2003

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival - & Abe Lincoln
This weekend brought our annual marathon work stint for the Algonquin Mill Festival. For the first time, I took some time to do what normal people do - see the event!

One goody was a talk by Honest Abe. (I've chatted with Abe in the pancake line and elsewhere--even about the 2000 election--but this was the first time I got to hear his presentation.

From a rocking-chair on the front porch of a little cabin, he spun a short tale of his early life. Off the bat, Lincoln dispelled the myth that his family was poor when he was a child. On the contrary, they were substantial landowners.

Even more compelling were the tales of his first starts as a young man into the riverboating business and later the law.

How awesome it would be to have parts of this recorded for the web, so that young people everywhere could tune in on demand and hear him talk of his first steps in the business world!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

GWOT links
Afghanistan Interactive - Guardian
Just stumbled across this collection.

Iraq Interactive - Guardian
Parallel collection on Iraq.

For more of these, see our own Iraqi Freedom as Told through Interactive Media
From the Annual Meeting of the Association of the US Army
Nothing like a good visit with the Army's annual convention to be reminded of a whole lot of history. General Sullivan's opening remarks called to mind the critical point in history at which we stand today. A presentation by actors and multimedia from the Old Guard took us from Paul Revere's ride warning Americans of the British march, to WWII and the events of 2001 and today.

Then there was the award to General Paik Sun Yup, of the Army of the Republic of Korea:

Fifty years past, he stood with his beaten, exhausted, devastated troops on a ridge. Having lost their Capital, and much of their country; their backs were against the Pacific Ocean. Racing to address them, he said, "Men, there is no where else to retreat. If we quit now, the enemy will take our country, and there will be no more Republic of Korea.

"Look there. The Americans are tired, exhausted, yet they fight.

"I will lead you forward. If I turn back, shoot me." [animated map ]

That was fifty years ago, and he has since spent his life - giving up so many of the good, comfortable things of life - to serve and represent his country in its capital and in 19 nations around the world. [Paik bio | Korea50 site]

There were, too, great presentations from soldier leaders who made history this year: freeing, protecting and helping the people of Iraq. You rarely hear their stories on the news. I didn't get to hear near enough from them.

Finally, we had lots of great discussions with people working hard to tell more of our history to more of our students and countrymen [countrypersons?]. Both the National Museum of the US Army, and the Army Heritage and Education Center are moving forward in their capital and devlopment campaigns.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

The Production of Smooth Scale Changes in an Animated Map Project
A white paper on map designs - don't know if it might help.
Hybrid Designs - Custom Cartography is the map-making company.They have some examples.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Timeline of The Old Testament
Fred sends in this very thorough chart of dates and events in the Hebrew civilization; contrasted nicely with events from surrounding cultures.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

National Constitution Center: Interactive Constitution
Explore the Constitution by article, topic, or even selected court cases. You can also search the Constitution by keywords. Funny...if you type in "privacy" or "separation of church and state" you get zero results. Anybody know why that would be?

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Blues . Blues Road Trip | PBS
Trace the Blues with this interactive map from PBS, from their origins in the Mississippi Delta to Chicago, to the Great Britain Blues Festival. With video clips.
NCSS Responds
Last month the Fordham foundation issued its report on the state of social studies education. The National Council for the Social Studies has responded:

Of two items there, I would categorize the first, the Sept. 10 press release, as typically uninclusive, not open, and lacking intellectual depth.

However, the second, the Sept. 16 remarks, offers a much better contrast. While the last few paragraphs reflect an unknowing bias, the rest is pretty good stuff, and a good entry in the discussion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Three principles from James Gee on repairing broken identities of learners (I quote verbatum):
    1) The learner must be enticed to try, even if he or she already has good grounds to be afraid to try.
    2) The learner must be enticed to put in lots of effort even if he or she begins with little motivation to do so.
    3) The learner must achieve some meaningful success when he or she has expended this effort.

While these may seem basic, how often are they the focus of discussions and action in schools?
Learning Principles
Gee, in What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy gives us fully 36 principles of Learning! Here are six:
6. Low Risk.
Learning in video games allows learners to take risks in a way that real-world consequences are minimal.
7. Committed Learning
In a video game, learners commit for long engagements in a world they find compelling.
8. Identity
The learner, while learning facts and mechanics, also develops a view of a certain identity in themselves. Just as Ed the blogger is only one of my growing identities, so games (and school) properly allow learners to try out identities.
9. A great game allows the player to learn about themselves and capabilities-current and potential.
10. More back than put in.
For a little input, learners get a lot of output.
11. Achievement
For learners of all levels there are rewards from the beginning, customized to their level, effort, and growing mastery.

How do schools do on this last? Bey you've never seen a student who responds great to a good one-on one session with a teacher, but are perfectly indifferent to receiving their daily "C" for staying in the center of the bell curve.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Oh, goody, goody! Blogger has upgraded the blogging software, so we may be able to work on this in batches and then post on a more regular basis. And, it has spellchecking!!

If you read this, you might send me a note, and let me know what you work on or look for in the future of learning.

Monday, September 01, 2003

A. Pintura, Art Detective
A cool little (HTML-based) game that introduces you to several artists, styles, and historical periods.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Learning Without Limits
We've long talked of the day when all students use notepad computers as text, notebook, blackboard, and homework. Converge Magazine tells us of a Michigan initiative to give all sixth-graders their own laptop - all 130,00 of them!. It's part of Michigan's Freedom to Learn Program.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Layers of Lower Manhattan
This 5-view map looks at lower Manhattan as it grows (literally!) from the original island Henry Hudson found, through the Revolution, Industrial expansion, and today. It is also its own testament to the power of interactive map--the fifth is a single flat map, of the type you'd normally find in a textbook. How 1990's!!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Reclaiming Social Studies
The Fordham Foundation released two reports on Social Studies education in our schools. These will not be loved by all; they seriously challenge the educational mainstream.
  • Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong? offers eight looks at "Social Studies" vs. traditional history and civics education.
  • Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know includes thoughts from 30 prominent thinkers. Also, they've published a pamphlet for parents: Six Questions to Ask on Back to School Night(pdf).
  • Thursday, August 21, 2003

    Valley Forge, Propane Powered
    The Boy Scouts are giving up campfires, says today's paper, and no less a group is joining them than the Campfire Girls (CampFire USA)!

    Its all part of the "Leave No Trace" ideology--combined with scares from past years' droughts and fires. And, hey, I've seen my share of weinie campers cutting branches off standing trees to fuel the bonfire at their massive RV.

    But when the facilities manager for a Boy Scout camp cries, "I hate campfires", and the cooking merit badge requires a propane stove, do we think about a young dude's interpretation of History? Do ya still "get" what pioneers and soldiers faced when you whip out the Coleman to light and heat your way?

    Tuesday, August 19, 2003

    The Character of George Washington [ related book and pbs site | more books | more sites]
    In the two years since 9/11, we've fought two wars half a world away, major combat in each lasting weeks. The American Revolution took eight and a half years to bring to conclusion. One man, George Washington, led the hopeless cause for its duration.

    The Revolution drew out longer than our Civil War and WWII engagement put together. His troops were untrained. He lost more battles than he won. Through brutal winters and fetid summers, with not even enough boots or food, or certainly ammunition, he led on.

    In the end, what Washington didn't do was as important as what he did. He didn't become King. He didn't retire to farm in peace, either. He served. Tirelessly. And then, he stepped aside.

    In an age of monarchs, Washington preferred "my friends and fellow citizens" as his view of troops and people governed. Lincoln called it govenrment of, by, and for the people. In corporate America, we now call it servant leadership. In the time of George III, Louis XVI, and Napoleon, Washington nearly invented it.

    Monday, August 18, 2003

    Things in Perspective
    New Yorkers were attacked twice in our history; you saw the second assault. The first was the summer of 1776. George Washington got there in time to command the defense.

    Against a couple-score British warships and 32,000 professional soldiers, Washington had but 19,000 mostly untrained militia, few proper weapons, and no ships. Of two major land battles, they lost both. Several hundred soldiers died in those battles--many more young men than in Iraq and Afghanistan, and small compared to our civilian losses in 2001. Yet that is not the terrible story of New York in the Revolution.

    In the East River (along New York), for the rest of the long war, the British kept ships filled with American prisoners. The sailors and soldiers were not fed well, had little fresh air, and were not even given sufficient water - amazingly cruel treatment in a river. Dissentery, typhoid, smallpox all ran free.

    Each day, the British would yell to the captives in the holds, "Rebels, throw out your dead!" And corpses would be pitched overboard in response. The war lasted eight-and-a-half years. Eleven thousand American men died on those ships. For years after, people of New York would find human remains along the waterfront.

    Moreover, the men aboard had a choice to leave [More]. This is the kind of history to give strength when times are tough.

    Sunday, August 17, 2003

    Nefertiti Resurrected Discovery Channel
    Evidence that a discarded, defaced mummy in a long known tomb is actually Nefertiti, the beautiful Egyptian queen and stepmother of Tutankamen. Tour the Tomb actually lets you visit 8 Pharoahs' tombs, and see their positions in the Valley of the Kings. Explore the Evidence uses some interesting text box and link treatment.

    Friday, August 15, 2003

    Rags to Riches Timeline
    Andrew Carnegie was born the same year Alexis deToqueville published Democracy in America. He died after the end of World War I, living from a time when farm work was the norm and there were virtually no corporations, to the heart of the new industrial age.

    Boy, would I like to see these timelines use up more of my screen. But this one is great in the way it puts Carnegie's life in the context of other history.

    Thursday, August 14, 2003

    ...and the Semiotic domain thereof

    We could re-phrase this in terms from cognitive psychology [see 7 Aug.]: What semiotic elements should citizens master and pass on to their children? What would you like students to learn from US, UK, and other western history? Totem pole designs? Or something more related to avoiding another Sadaam clan?
    Iraqis, Self-Governance,

    What, then, is important to teach? One way to look at what our own kids should learn is to ask what the Iraqis need to learn if they want to permanently govern themselves. (It's certainly a question for the new Iraq Ministry of Education).

    If you're an Iraqi, and you want to live in a republic and elect your own leaders for a long time to come, what should you want your neighbors to know?

    What qualities must a culture have to be able to sustain peaceful democracy? Can it be done anywhere, or must certain values be in place? If a culture values, say, tribe loyalty over rule of law, will democracy work?

    Stanley Kurtz takes up these questions of old cultures and new democracies (Japan, Germany, India, Iraq); and asks what role schools may play: The Job Ahead Bringing democracy to Iraq will take more than elections.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2003

    How People Learn National Research Council
    I've been refreshing my awareness of cognitive science: How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School was early on the list. Naturally, I turned quickly to the sections dealing with history education.

    Page 16 gets things off to a rough start. "In humanities, [students'] preconceptions often include stereotypes or simplifications, as when history is understood as a struggle between good guys and bad guys." But that's exactly what history is. At least the really interesting parts.

    The book goes on: Effective teaching, they say, teaches students to think like professional historians (ch. 7 "Effective Teaching: Examples in History"). "Expert people to understand the problematic nature of historical interpretation and analysis..."

    Yeah. What we need is more people thinking like our history professorate.

    Their basic point is right. Teachers should teach, and students learn, more in the fashion that "expert learners learn". But for Pete's sake, don't model the learning after history professors!

    The judge who learns history to better his verdicts should be your example. The legislator who considers his vote; the mayor pushing for development. If you're looking for models of succesful learners, don't choose some professional investigator of sex habits in Byzantium. Make your model the entrepreneur who tempers his expectation about gold-rush markets, the voter who seeks 200 more years of the world's oldest constitution.

    Monday, August 11, 2003

    Since we're talking about full-length video games and learning, we'll note that the first cohort has begun their tour at The Guildhall at SMU. SMU has partnered with big names in game design to create an 18-month certificate program toward becoming a "serious digital game designer". Note that they are serious: they'd like students to already have a bachelor's degree, though its not mandatory. First day of classes was July 11; an interview with Gamezone is posted; and a Jan interview on HomeLan Fed.

    Thursday, August 07, 2003

    Semiotic Domains and Student Mastery (What Video Games ch. 2)
    Gee introduces the concept of different literacies, and how print reading is not the only, or perhaps even the correct, way to think about literacy. In the context of this site, he's exactly right. We are trying to build an open platform for all types of history; yet I am most interested in a fairly narrow domain of history.

    We looked at Caroline Kennedy's A Patriot's Handbook. What mastery of a semiotic domain does it take to really appreciate and savor the works in that book?

    The first question on a sample Ohio Proficiency Test asked students to match a particular totem pole design with the Native tribe it represented. This is a piece of knowledge totally unrelated to the domain of Ms. Kennedy's book. Is it still a critical piece of knowledge that Ohio students and their teachers should by law be accountable for?

    Similarly, we recently looked at the timeline on Britannica Student Encyclopedia. In it, the composition of the Veda and the poetry of Lesbos and Ptahhotep are covered, as are the domestication of dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, and pidgeons as major events. There is, however, no mention at all of the Hebrews or their literature (or even the temple). Can a person be a minimalist citizen without more of that?
    Video Games and Learning
    "So here we have something that is long, hard, and challenging. However, you cannot play a game if you cannot learn it. ... Of course, designers could keep making the games shorter and simpler to facilitate learning. That's often what shcools do. But, no, in this case game designers keep making the games longer and more challenging (and introduce new things in new ones) and still manage to get them learned. How?"
    --What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy ( publisher | Amazon )

    Thursday, July 31, 2003

    A Patriot's Handbook
    Caroline Kennedy's wonderful work. 212 poems, songs, speeches, and historical documents. From John Winthrop to Bob Dillan, she's got it all.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2003

    Liberia:America’s Stepchild     Timeline
    "Today people generally think of Liberia as a disaster, but it was not always so," says producer Nancee Oku Bright. "Liberia was a founding member of the United Nations and one of the key initiators of the Organization of African Unity. It was the only Black republic in the sea of colonial Africa, and it made the colonizers very uncomfortable and the Africans very proud.

    "Many of the events that occur in Liberia happen partly because people simply don't know their own history, and, in that vacuum, history can be terribly manipulated," Bright explains. "I would still like to believe that human beings can, if they understand the nuances of their own histories, learn not to repeat the destructive lessons of the past. "

    Tuesday, July 29, 2003

    The Nation's Report Card
    The 2002 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress are published, for the reading and writing subject areas.

    For the first time, the tests included the Trial Urban District Assessment for both reading and writing, looking at students from New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and D.C. In these results are more sad news about education for the nations urban Black children, discussed somewhat by Education Secretary Paige in today's Wall Street Journal (haven't found it online). The aweful truth: black D.C. fourth graders scored 60 points lower than their white counterparts. Fully 72% scored below the Basic achievement level in reading.

    Monday, July 28, 2003

    Beer in Ancient Times
    No animation, but a great example of using one story to trace a lot of time and historic periods.
    There's also: and more at Google

    Friday, July 25, 2003

    Crimes of the Ba'ath
    Today, a distasteful subject. History, here, is not the domain of dry tomes, insufferable tests, or squirrely nerds burried in their middle edwardian period. Rather, it is serious knowledge we should use to make the world a better place for our fellow man, woman, child.

    To that, we note with dry relief, the ends of two of heinous lives. The fight-to-the-death conviction of Uday and Qusay Hussein earned them that end, with whatever implications for future justice.

    It's worth again pointing to one record of their brutality, the notes kept on them by

    Thursday, July 10, 2003

    A Monk's Life
    Supporting Martin Luther, the PBS show. Wow! Talk about odd shifts, those monks must have had constant sleep deprivation!

    There's also a quiz checking chat you know about Luther vs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2003

    What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
    Slashdot points out this gamezone interview: Professor James Paul Gee shows the world the importance of video games. The author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy ( publisher | Amazon ) summarizes what he's learned about learning.

    I'll get back to you about the book!

    Monday, July 07, 2003

    Gouverneur Morris, Philosopher-Poet
    Celebrating Independence Day, Richard Brookhiser writes on this pen-wielding founding father. His story says something to us, about the power of good prose, about the value of quality editing. Too much history suffers from cumbersome rhetoric. Morris, through his skillful quill, brought the constitution alive. More history writeres should take such care.


    The print version of this article makes another point (though by negative example): Published History is too full of old people. At least in pictures.

    Morris, in print for this article, appears a retired gentleman of stately posture in 200 year old clothes. Yet Morris was only 35 when he accomplished the deeds recounted! Ignite Media is one example of new media undoing this inordiate aging of heroic characters. They use a goofy young Jefferson in one of their media. Perhaps simply the voice of a younger actor can be a way around the advanced aging sysndrome.

    Tuesday, July 01, 2003

    Cut on the Bias
    This hilarious article by the author of The Language Police describes some of the great efforts of the status-quo educational industry. Remember, 40-50% of urban minorities don't get a full education, yet these people are banning canes and Klingons in the name of amity and so-called diversity!!

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    Gondwana Animation Homepage
    For a really intense view of the continental drift, get the full animation from the International Institute for Aerospace Surveys
    Animation of Gondwana breakup
    A cool animation of the supercontinent (OK, I'm ignorant, I thought it was called "pangea"). It even projects 50 million years into the future, when India is swallowed by Asia, and Austrailia becomes a suburb of Tokyo.

    Also on this site, you can Build an Atoll
    This Far by Faith
    Its a little hard to find the media content in this site on African American faith throughout our history, but a number of audio and video components are listed on the sitemap. In particular, listen to the four audio clips of "slave narratives". (If you can find an explanation for them, let me know!)

    The timeline on the main page and timeline page is not Flash based, but has some features to learn from.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2003

    On Time
    All right. I'm sure the positive, motivating thing todo would be to simply ignore this one, or at least pass it on without comment. But I learned from the incredible Ryszard Michalski that learning often only occurs through both postitive and negative examples. The navigation features on this are the most blatant negative feature, but look too at the text.

    Who is the audience for this? Remember, this is our National Museum of American History, not some snooty little Mid-town gallery, and scarce resources being used to tell...what?
    Thanks,Kyle...we need both types of Examples!

    Friday, June 13, 2003

    Ohio Proficiency Tests
    For a look at examples of one state's proficiency tests. See if you can find much history - or Biography!
    States' High School Exit Exams

    "When the results of statewide tests were released in late May, high school senior Eric Lira had scored 286 on the reading exam--one point less than he needed to pass. That means Mr. Lira, who is earning A's in advanced placement calculus and honors physics this semester and has a 3.3 grade-point average, won't receive a diploma when his class graduates from Miami Senior High School on June 12.

    "Without the diploma, Mr. Lira, who is 19 years old and arrived from Nicaragua three years ago speaking no English, won't be able to go on to college. 'My future is broke. Everything. By one test,' he said, dropping his face into his hands during an interview in his guidance counselor's office."
    --June Kronholz, States' High School Exit Exams Are Political Minefields, Wall Street Journal, 6/6/03

    I believe kids should graduate actually knowing something, and that accountability of schools, teachers, and students is part of that. Is this the way? Go look at the wonders achieved on Surely we can be more creative about communicating this student's status than this.

    The article also decribes areas where schools pull back in order to achieve test scores (like writing).

    Tuesday, June 10, 2003

    Secrets of the Dead
    The Great Classic swf on this site was Cannibals of the Canyon. And the show is airing tonight on PBS!

    To celebrate, I revisited the Secrets of the Dead homepage to see what new interactives might have showed up:
    The Tomb of Christ See the rebuilt faces over the centuries.
    The Witches Curse offers a map called "Explore Salem". Its not clear how the map actually adds to the story, but I do like the timeline, and how easy it is to get info on each person.
    Murder at Stonehenge has an interactive that portraits the building of the site over about 1400 years.
    Day of the Zulu This one is awesome! In a little window, it presents some fantastic graphic panoramas of the battle of the Zulus and the British army.
    Australians at War
    Kyle's other submission is a huge site with many stories, particularly of individual soldiers - captures in audio. I'll just have to come back to it, but I wanted to post it here now.
    Iraq War
    Found among the above links pages, this great new map comes from
    Wadsworth Publishing
    As noted, a textbook publisher,with many authors and classes to support.
    History Home supports American,European, Western Civ, and World Civ areas. Be sure to check the special features; they are evolving nicely.

    World civ maps Same comments as above. Plus: "Critical Thinking Questions"? Arghhhh!!!!!
    Historical Simulations You choose a role in each of these games; the computer offers you choices. There's quite a bit of reading at each choice, with fairly small print. Again, a good starting point.
    At the Movies
    Map Central

    Theres also a separate Religion section, which includes a large set of religion maps
    Maps of Western Civilization
    Kyle checked in with two more good sites -just before his WinXP system decided not to boot anymore.

    The first would appear to be a trememdous collection of interactive maps. And it is a great collection. The maps just aren't extremely interactive. Most are static maps linked together - some have as few as two. i find it hard to read the legends. And the accompanying narrative keeps that aweful prose style which can only be found in hitory tomes: "These aquisitions were confirmed by a treaty in 1774 which also gave Russia an outlet to the Mediterranean bu granting access through the Bosphorous Strait. Although the treaty made Crimea an independent state, ..." (Do you see the Bosphorous Strait on this map? )

    Thursday, June 05, 2003

    Nelson Thorne's [ sitemap ]
    Nephew Kyle has joined the hunt for web media, and he immediately found a great example from Britain! Nelson Thornes, ltd, the textbook publisher, offers interactive features, and has a couple examples.

    They made the first, Contenders for the Throne, a downloadable archive. Unzip it, go to your browser, and open the swf file there. It’s actually a great little exercise. Question, though: Isn’t “fascinating fact” an oxymoron?

    The second, Dress the Norman Knight is a frustrating little game that you get all right, or start all over again. More frustrating from a public perspective is that it’s in the "secondary" or “Key Stage 3” resources, directory. Does a 8th grader learn from this?

    Both are part of a 12 game CD-ROM that includes:
    Black Death Diaries
    Castle Attack
    Help Farmer Eustace
    The Life and Death of Thomas Becket
    Monastery Challenge
    You be the Judge

    Finally, they also have a list of recommended websites:
    Nelson Thornes History Website Directory

    Sunday, June 01, 2003

    Jefferson's West
    Gotta go,and haven't explored this yet, but it looks sweet. You get a character to move around.
    A Map of Virginia, John Smith 1612 Narration would go great with this navigation style.
    Music of the Spanish AMerican War. From the PBS website Crucible of Empire. Not sure which empire they mean, but....
    Sounds of Monty Python
    Someone has taken the time and risk to record and publish all these excerpts from Monty Python. Hmmm, we could sure use that kind of help!
    Early Recorded Sounds & Wax Cylinders
    A cool discovery from the previous sitelist. Hear these recodings as they sounded. All kinds of music, some comedy, and the worlds oldest playable recording.
    Flash Flashcards
    Here's a wierd thingie: Houghton Mifflin has a Flash app to show Flash cards of terms relating to its history course, The Enduring Vision. It says "College Division"... OK...

    Really test your Am. history knowledge
    ACE Practice Tests are online at the Houghton-Mifflin site. I got 10 of 12 on independence and nationhood...but I may have guessed.
    Quite a few weblinks here. Need to return to this list for more media examples.
    - American History
    - Western History"
    - World Civilizations
    Primary Sources
    - US
    - Western
    - World
    The 'companion site to the video series and telecourse'. Twenty-six chapters, each with some sort of interactive feature, including....

    Some excellent maps:
    - Slave and Free Soil Animated map reminds us that all 13 colonies once had slavery. (Wish: click on states to learn more).
    - Mapping Conquest 8 maps in one. Nice overlay/comparison feature. Their method of turning on and off map features should be noted.
    - Transportation Revolution Roads, canals, railroads to 1830-1870.
    - The New West Less history than commentary, this map still has some interesting things--like the map of public lands.

    - 1555-1735: Colonial Settlement Note that you can view events in Europe, and also other settlement activity.
    - 1555-1876: America at the Centennial "Alternative timeline"; lets you view events dealing with women, African Americans, labor, and Indians.
    - 1876-1999

    You can find all the features at the sitemap. While the "You Decide" features don't use new media, they're an excellent example of deep interactive learning.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Ignite! Learning has udpated their media gallery with a whole new list of example web media. Also, I wrote a little note on their role in improving education.

    Sunday, May 11, 2003

    Greek Vase Construction
    This particularly cool movie about the making of Greek pottery is even more impressive in that it comes from a native Japanese speaker. The clay digging is hilarious. I wasn't very good at turning the pottery wheel, though.

    Plato at the Hearst Museum
    The Hearst Museum has this Flash-driven news story on a statue of Plato. Its rather beautiful.

    Andean Archaeology
    Someone has created these animations on Andean pyramids,etc. Part of it says copyright 1998 Microsoft, so I'm not sure what thats about.

    Hunt the Ancestor BBC
    A game to rescue a burial site from destruction by quarrying, and thereby identifying an ancestor.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2003

    Digging for Clues
    Alan Alda's Scientific American posts this look at what bones can tell.
    A War Summary
    The Times caps its daily interactive graphic coverage of the military action with a overview of the Strategy Throughout the War

    Completing the series:
    April 14: Focus shifts toward Syria
    April 12: Stabilizing Iraq

    Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    Some random timelines
    The interactive timeline seems an important component of online storytelling. They come in many different forms, with varying degrees of success. A number are already listed on this site; here are a few more.
    Muhammed: Legacy of a Prophet
    Queens Jubilee CTV
    Cold War - Bay of Pigs Oregon Public Broadcasting
    Comunity Foundation of Oakville I kind of like some of their approach.
    Australia's Prime Ministers
    Clinton Administration Nope, no Monica.
    R/GAA design firm'scoroporate history, and very high bandwidth. But an approach to examine.
    History of Computing PC Mag.
    Salvation Army
    US-Afghanistan timeline In These Times
    No content An open source resource? Look here
    Michael Jackson: Changing Faces Guardian Unlimited
    Foot and Mouth ibid.
    History of Papermate
    Nine Months in Yorktown Continental Congress in York, PA
    Alberta Archaeology

    Not a timeline: Who'sYour Daddy A little project someone took on to ask about the mega media. Compelling use of flash, at least to ask a question.

    Sunday, April 13, 2003

    Maps U. Texas Library Collection
    This morning's news shows brought up the question "What Next?", with issues concerning places like the Bekaa Valley, Syria, and the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territory.

    Whether looking to learn about these, or create interactive maps for other learners, you might remember the map collection at the University of Texas. Not only are they often good maps, most are in the public domain - you can reuse them to tell your story.

    Saturday, April 12, 2003

    On to Northern Iraq NY Times graphic.
    I love this one: a satellite view as it looks from straight above Bagdhad, looking north. The Iraqi border is overlaid along the mountains shared with Iran; city limits of Bagdhad are lain on as well. Mouseovers give more detail. Nice.
    The Birthplace of Civilization - Seattle Times
    Not interactive, but a nice cummary of 10,000 years of history in Iraq.

    Also, there's an interactive strategic map. While it was current events about 3 weeks ago, today it shows only history. This static map isn't bad.

    Friday, April 11, 2003

    "legitimacy is not something that can be imposed by the United Nations--or the United States for that matter. Legitimacy derives from the consent of the governed: the people of Iraq."
    Speeking of the French....
    While there's no interactivity in this timeline, I mention it because of the committment that fiction can teach as well as dry fact. The simple text timeline matches the Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower with real current events.
    Here's a weird, but beautiful, little site promoting A&E's Napoleon. Actually, as a trailer its kind of cool. Just that it is chewing up my processor (and forget about dialup!). I think a little more text would help, too.

    The History section lets you learn more about Napoleon's life. It includes a timeline, and an index of his battles. If the two were somehow linked, it might make more sense.
    The News We Kept to Ourselves
    From their bosses pen, here's what CNN didn't tell you as they breathlessly covered each new UN delay.
    Lost Treasures of Tibet
    PBS/NOVA offers a look at the wall paintings in Thubchen monastery, before and after restoration. More intesting as an interactive, perhaps, is Deciphering Buddha Imagery.

    Tour Mustang has some fantastic images from this long-closed Himalayan kingdom between Nepal and Tibet. Includes a number of stunning Quicktime panoramas.
    This morning, lets have a link having nothing to do with war, but dealing with violence on an uncomprehendable scale!

    Nova offers a short "History of the Universe". It's really just a slider timeline with 14 picture/text segments. However, Birth of a Supernova is a simple animated graphic. And The Local Universe in 3-D uses VRML. (Still haven't figured out how to use it- guess I could read the directions). Open and Closed Universes illustrates 3 different ideas about how the universe evolves. Also, four Quicktime panoramic views in Spin a Spiral Galaxy.

    Best of the lot? Not history, Moving Targets nicely explains doppler.

    Thursday, April 10, 2003

    History of Iraq
    The Washington Post's interactive history. Great timeline; explains various eras. Map could change to show something.

    Post' Audio Slideshow
    A number of great slide shows with Post reporters narrating.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2003

    Washington Post Media Archive
    Index of the Post's multimedia war coverage include its great maps, , graphics, video clips, and panoramic views(Quicktime).

    Unlike the networks, the Post's video clips seem to be FREE

    Post's Chronological index
    This index lists all the Post war media by day.
    VI Day
    Anyone who had the priviledge of watching the morning's events can't help but feel we found the enduring image of liberation. There is good news, too, in the overall struggle of Islamic Arabs for faith, peace, and some prosperity.

    I can't find any particular web multimedia to celebrate this moment, so I'll pass on some print news.
    Scenes from the Liberation are offered in several day's editions of's Best of The Web. Here's one:
    Jailed Iraqi children run free as marines roll into Baghdad suburbs
    More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes..., a US officer said.

    Around 150 children spilled out of the jail after the gates were opened as a US military Humvee vehicle approached, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment.

    "Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said.

    "There were parents running up, so happy to have their kids back."

    "The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."

    The children, who were wearing threadbare clothes and looked under-nourished, walked on the streets crossing their hands as if to mimic handcuffs, before giving the thumbs up sign and shouting their thanks.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    CNN Audio Slideshows

    CNN also provides audio slide shows of the war coverage.
  • A Grisly Find
  • Urban fighters with the 82nd airborne as they secure Iraq's cities and conduct "cleanup operations". I like this one because the text also talks about the divisions history.
  • 4th Infantry The Army's 'digitized' division's deployment.
  • Double DutyMarine 24th MEU - arrived straight from duty in Kosovo, and several Africa / Asian deployments.
  • Devil Docs Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report on the Naval docs with the Marines.
  • March 28: Battle at Nasiriya
  • April 3: Misunderstanding in Najaf A pivotal moment in the way we win the long run.

    Sights and Sounds - CNN
    The index of CNN's audio slide showa and video. [CNN charges for video.] To get previous week's indexes, check the archive or click "past dates".

  • Battle Scenarios
    As noted 30 March, CNN offers a number of its simulations, in Quicktime movie format. Some more are:
    . Moment of Battle [a look at a column moving to contact along a desert road]
    . Urban warfare [Sadaam's underground bunker]
    . Hitting Infrastructure
    . Anti-Aircraft Artillery [Iraqi. Includes an SA-2 against an F-18]
    . EA-6B "Prowler" radar jamming
    . Radar
    . Silkworm

    Sorry, I can't now put links to each of these. Nor can I find an index at CNN. It seems that each movie window will link you to 5-7 others; if I can figure out their code, I'll still try to create an overall directory.

    Sunday, April 06, 2003

    Iraq: A Geography
    Not interactive at all, I mention this resource because it talks about land. Not just about Iraq, but about the subject of geography as it is applied to one specific place.

    One of the hopes I have for this site is that we use the medium to understand how events and people are affected by the shape and nature of the land.
    Chicago Tribune War Graphics
    Has some links to other papers graphics as well.

    Orlando Sentinel
    Weapons of War
    Modern US Soldier
    A blue ribbon to the tribune for its weapons systems viewer. While it doesn't offer a lot of detail, this is the way to navigate through 25 items.
    LA Times War Coverage
    The LA Times Iraq map has a nice feature where you can turn on and off the oil wells, piplelines, military facitilities. Link requires registratio - if you're not looking for ideas to develop interactive storytelling - don't bother. Although...

    There is a PDF page summarizing the week of Mar 23-29. Also, a 1 page pdf "War Briefing" for each day of fighting. Would fill a 3-ring nicely.

    Friday, April 04, 2003

    Mapping the War: Day in Review
    The Washington Post's take on the interactive map starts with one big plus: its bigger! (750 px or so, which is a start!) Different approach to a pop-up detail map, kind of nice.

    One content complaint that has nothing to do with interactive media: why accept Iraq's precise estimate of civilian deaths when they can't or won't give an accurate account of their forces? The count of Iraqi POW's is also wrong.

    Oh. Back to technology, shouldn't we be able to access earlier day's maps? A la the calendar feature of MSNBC's In the Battlezone?

    The Ballet Behind Battle

    Here's a Times graphic that adds simple interactive features; the tanks don't move forward, the map moves backward! Still, the interactivity does add value to the newspaper graphic - unlike their daily action map.

    Now, if the Times would just donate it to the Project so some enterprising Flasher could turn the tanks into flash symbols and move them over the terrain!

    Orchestrating Combat
    For comparison with the above, here is a Post graphic in normal newspaper format. Note that it's hard to know where to start looking. The Times graphic above nicely uses scenes to fix this shortcoming of static illustrations.

    (Still, I love the fact that I don't have to drag this map around just to see it in a too-small box--like many of the Times maps).

    Wednesday, April 02, 2003

    Where have all those divisions gone?
    You've heard all the reporting of US generals underestimating the strength of the Iraqi Army, and of the fight put up by Republican Guard and Fedayeen forces. So, have you asked yourself where the regular Iraqi army is?

    Sadaam had 14 regular army divisions before the war, organized into the I, II, III, IV, and V corps. So far, the only mention of these 180,000 troops is an early mention that two divisions in the south had broken up.

    Today, Strategy Page quietly notes on its excellent Iraq War Map that "It appears that regular Iraqi army units from II, III, and IV corps have faded away." Seems a decent accomplishment for a weeks work to me.

    Tuesday, April 01, 2003

    NY Times
    The Times continues its coverage in thoseteeny little interactive boxes:
    March 31: Gaining Ground
    March 30: Movement toward Karbala
    ADust Storm Nice little look at what happened in the air.
    Nasiriya: A Hot Spot Great use of satellite pic of the area.
    March 28: Central Pause,Northern Action
    More Interactives on Iraq
    The Associated Press' Inside Irag map offers six small overlays of the Iraq map. The geographic relief version is worth going to just for the quick visual of the Kurdish hills, the fertile Euphrates/Tigris valley, and the desert that comprises the rest of the country.

    BBC's Version of the interactive war map hasn't much to note - I mention it here just as an example of a different navigation approach.
    This Newsweek Map of Baghdad lists 24 sites on a satellite map of Baghdad. Click on the one you're interested in, and you get athe close-in view,with quick explanation. Interestingly, it lists the Ministry of Defense not as one of 14 targets, but as one of 10 'Other Areas of Interest'.
    Newsweek has an Interactive Showcase. I'll explore and comment later.

    MSNBC Interactives
    As mentioned, the complete list of MSNBC Interactives is long. Comments on a few:
    This graphic explaining several systems in an armored column would make a great set of components. I'd love to see the graphic elements used to expand a topic, say to illustrate the column advance with flanking protection
    The In The Battlezone interactive is overall not as useful as the half page map in my newspaper. However, it has one very neat feature - a calendar which lets you set the date.
    If I could have a full screen map, with terrain features, day's events, and this calendar function, I'd be thrilled!

    Sunday, March 30, 2003

    CNN has paosted a number of Quicktime animations of various systems operating in Iraq. First one I saw was Blackhawk Palace Takeover. Also posted:
    Predator Drone
    Bunker Buster
    Air Strike Package
    Urban Warfare
    Cruise Missiles
    Patriot Anti-missile missile
    Taking an Airfield
    GPS Jammers
    This last one has a great graphic of the GPS satellite constellation around earth.
    This Flash presentation of Amnesty International USA's Imagine ad campaign isn't history really. I mention it in the context of the last entry.

    History may well hold groups like Amnesty accountable that more of us were unaware of the volume of attrocities. By diluting their message with domestic political squabbles, Amnesty wastes energy and goodwill which should focus on barberous acts like torture.
    Today, for example, instead of using their website as a platform to bring attention to the years of horror in Iraq, they instead use their site to attack and urge action against the US President. Instead of cheering for an end to the torture regime of Iraq, they blast the US for attacking Iraqi TV. AI-USA callously calls this broadcast tower a civilian asset, though it has this week been used to remind Iraqi civilians and military alike that they risk being shot or worse if they help the coalition.
    Feeding men into the plastic shredder
    It being Sunday, perhaps you will pray that our friends who work and rally for Peace will not forget that peace cannot ever be merely an absence of war.
    “There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food . . . on one occasion, I saw Qusay [President Saddam Hussein’s youngest son] personally supervise these murders.
    Sickened as the statement of this witness may make us, we should not stop here in remembering the suffering of those stricken people. For more testimony of the acts of Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein, and other members of Iraq's Government, visit

    Friday, March 28, 2003

    Times Interactives
    The Times continues its interactive series covering the war. Alas, some great maps are made nearly worthless by the "interactive" containers. We could read the maps much more easily if they were simply displayed full screen, with a small region map inset.
    March 27: Consolidation and skirmishes
    March 28: Close to Confrontation

    More useful as interactives are:
    Fighting Oil Well Fires.
    A-10 Thunderbolt
    Women in the Military
    Also, they've added to their audio/visual War Briefing:
    Thursday's Events

    Thursday, March 27, 2003

    The Empire Strikes Back
    This project and blog are built to help teachers and their students. Sometimes, though, teachers seem to over-reach to shoot themselves in the foot.

    In Milwaukee (where abominable graduation rates and scores set the legislature to action) per-pupal spending now passes $10,000 per year. Since the rest of us make due with a national average of $7,640, you'd think Milwaukee teachers would be grateful.

    Hardly! Instead, they are this spring spending $2 million to defeat one member of the school board.

    Of all things, in a bad budget year, he suggested that the teachers second pension should be reduced or at least contributed to. And yes, they'd like to see the voucher plan end, though 92% of low-income black Milwaukee residents support it.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2003

    Our Coalition
    Lest readers dispair that this blog is about weapons and destruction, I'll quote from Condoleezza Rice, who today explains the coalition.

    Months ago, the prime minister of Estonia told President Bush that he did not need an explanation of the need to confront Iraq. Because the great democracies failed to act in 1930s, his people lived in slavery for 50 years.

    The NYTimes interactive series continutes to grow. I note the latest not because its incredibly informative, but because it could serve as a great base if it were combined with other interactives:
    A Week at War: March 19-25.
    Americs's Arsenal
    Sweet! gets the gold star for its animated explanations of several major weapons systems. Some show the systems in action; be sure you see:
    B-52 Bomber, Tomahawk Missile, JDAM, and the 'Daisy Cutter' Bomb

    Tuesday, March 25, 2003

    Not only could this be the first war with television correspondents embedded in every major unit, it could also be the first war history told with interactive graphics. CNN offers:
  • Major Iraqi Flash Points.
  • Ground Weapons
  • War Tracker page includes an interactive map of the day's situation. Previous days are also available.
  • Maps page is also interactive. It includes satellite imagery for several major locations. Look for palace in Taqrit.
  • Video viewing is now a premium service at CNN, but they have several audio slide shows which are great. Index
  • The Weapons page has interactive graphics for nearly every weapon in the inventories. If you make it to Iraq's WMD's, including gangrene, you've seen a pretty comprehensive list.
    See the neat 3-D view of the Scud launcher. (Uses Cult 3-D ).

    MSNBC also has Iraq: The Interactive Library. Most of these are quick text facts. I will point out the History of U.S. forays since 1898.
  • Speaking of war and Iraq, the New York Times carries a series of interactive graphics dedicated to it.

    You can find the series, and many more interactive graphics at their Multimedia Index page. Or, find it through their "Nation at War" page.

    Among the interactive features published so far:
    Objectives in Iraq
    U.S. Forces
    Iraqi Forces
    Iraq Journal: A Land of Open Secrets
    Europe and the Iraq Crisis
    Interactive Graphic: Building a Floating Bridge
    Interactive Graphics: Baghad From Above
    Interactive Map: Day 3: Action in Iraq
    Interactive Graphics: Anatomy of the Air Campaign
    On the Ground [sound]
    Apache Longbow
    March 22: Pushing North
    March 24: Monday's Action in Iraq
    March 25: Entering the 'Red Zone'
    Interactive Graphics: Downtown Baghdad
    The Republican Guard
    The Allies
    Iraq's Potential Future

    Thursday, March 20, 2003

    Today bore the Gulf War II, or Operation Iraq Freedom.

    This day will, in history, pass perhaps the fall of the Soviet Union in its mark on the peoples of much of the world.
    Will schoolchildren memorize Mar. 20, 2003? Perhaps not.

    We don't yet have our visual moment, a la the Liberation of Paris, the Fall of Saigon, the Boston Tea Party. Yet bound to that moment-to-come, whichever way it goes, are the yearnings of a region of people, yearnings to rise above extreme poverty for some, political oppression for most; yearnings to see a day when they have some say in their own fate, can change leaders more than every odd decade, may speak critically without fear of bodily harm.

    No one knows if Iraq will emulate Japan and Germany, remaining a people who choose their own leaders (and live peacefully) for a half century and more.