Thursday, September 29, 2005

MIT's $100 laptop CNET
MIT released images of it's $100 laptop design. For our purposes, think of it as a hand-crank-powered Flash™ player. It's much more than that, of course - even includes tablet-pc type functionality with handwriting recognition. But add this device to cell-phones, PDA's, ever-cheaper commercial laptops, and TV/DVR's with a computer-in-the-box--and you see that we are designing apps for a world much different than the banks of educational-PC's-in-a-lab and family-home-computer-on-the-desk. Slashdot has more links.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sprout Let's Grow! PBS Kids
PBS Kids has launched a new TV network, and a new web presence as well. This site has no history; It does have a remarkably seamless integration of sound. When you load the site, you get a welcome and invitation; when you mouse over something you get immediate aural feedback. The activities load quickly and execute fast. All-in-all, the developers (whoever they are) have built a homepage that lives up to my idea of a multi-media site. Perhaps they will write about their secret.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

History According to Bob | Podcasting Stories of History
Boiling Mad Henry VIII seems to our very first officially-labeled podcast. In just over a month, Bob Packett has produced 20-some audio stories, and served them up for consumption. Hopefully his server keeps up! (By the way, we found this via, which has an educational podcast directory.) Henry VIII, it seems, loved to kill his subjects, and one of them was a cook who deserved to stew in his own soup.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Privileged Status of Story (Ask the Cognitive Scientist) American Educator
You may have noticed that we focus greatly here on stories, above and beyond history. At least as it appears in texts. We've talked a little about this need, but never really gone into detail about why its so critical that we step up to the plate and return good stories to a place of prominence in the everyday curriculum.

This article nails the topic. Starting with a wonderful description of what actually makes a story, cognitive scientist and educator Daniel Willingham describes why minds accept and remember well-told stories. He then suggests ways to use this in the classroom; not just to retell small stories, but to structure lessons. Applause applause!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mayhem in the Middle - How middle schools have failed America —and how to make them work.
Is middle-school-ism a good thing or a bad thing? The idea here is that "this philosophy of schooling stressed socialization and downplayed academic rigor".

So why not both? Once, we socialized kids by having them study people of great character: Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Daniel Boone, Abigail Adams, Joan d' Arc, Elizabeth I, the Saints, Solomon, David.

A great story is a great story!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Social Impact Games : Entertaining Games with Non-Entertainment Goals : links
Since I'm just beginning to explore these, I'll have to get back to you on good details. Should be a fairly good resource list for educational games.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Do Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learners Need Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Instruction? American Educator
No, is the short and maybe surprising answer. However, "All students learn more when content drives the choice of modality."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

There is no New Orleans
Why would a successful, well paid engineer give up a lucrative, fun career to bootstrap history education? One Dr. Jeff Myers, formerly of Cleveland and now of Tulane hospital gives one answer. "There is no new Orleans", says Dr. Myers (M.D., PdD.), for national consumption.

Well, maybe there isn't. I'm not there. But from history, we learn not to utter such gibberish for others. We keep our fears to ourselves. We inspire others to reach up, reach out, and do better. We lead those who need lifting and inspiration. A PhD in anything ought to at least come with that wisdom.

That is why the history shortage is so critical. God bless citizens with illiterate leaders.