Wednesday, November 30, 2005

This service from Discovery Network and other content partners claims to deliver 40,000 video clips to your school or homeschool. Unfortunately, the 30 day trial period comes with a $150 ding to the credit card. Much as I love our readers, I won't be accepting the charge to inform y'all how much history content appears.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Autodesk Contributes Web Mapping Software to Open Source Community: Yahoo! Finance
Those of you working on the digital cartography side of storytelling will understand this better than I. Autodesk has created "a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide a supportive framework for open, collaborative development of geospatial software."
The discussion on Slashdot runs to the cynical side; however, I wonder if Autodesk isn't seriously viewing this as their best alternative to compete with ESRI.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Via con dios, Hugh Sidey Gerald R. Ford
No interactive content here, no hot technical idea. Hugh Sidey, with a pad & pen, and maybe a typewriter, was the one person who turned me on to politics, policy, people, and history. Sidey's easy reading The Presidency column got me reading the Time issues that otherwise may have only been opened for Current Events quizzes.

The tribute here is from Gerald R. Ford, and that says a lot. If you plan to write about people and events, Hugh Sidey deserves your study time.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Battle Lines: Letters from American Wars Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
You should know us well enough by now to guess that no simple collection of letters would make this column. So what does this one do to make the list?

Audio! Each of thirty-some letters are read aloud. With a cool viewer that lets you see both the original handwriting and a typed copy. The currators organize them by simple topic: Enlisting, Comforts of Home, Love, Combat. So far. You can also sign up for the next installment.

This feature is part of the Guilder Lehrman collection, a wonderful resource for developers. And its all found at the address of yesterday's interactive,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Follow the Trail to Freedom in the 1850's. History Now.
Yes! I've only traveled 3 steps on this interactive march, and I'm hooked to find out what will happen to my character. So far, as a runaway slave, I'm farther south than I started, so curiosity and anxiousness are rising.

But let's talk a little about open source. This is just the type of wonderful applet that has so many narration, animation, dynamic map, a ticking clock,... Way to many possibilities to sit there, statically, with no hope of further development!

Open sourcing this would turn it over to a nation of students who might just adopt it and make it something huge.

Excuse me, I have a slave to get to freedom.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Educational Entrepreneurship: Why It Matters, What Risks It Poses, and How to Make the Most of It AEI
The conference room at American Enterprise was filled with scholars and entrepreneurs eyeing the changing face of education. It was quite a long day! Speakers ran from Larry Rosenstock, founder of High Tech High in San Diego, to Joel Klein, now chancellor of NY City schools to Joe Williams, reporter of Milwaukee schools' transition and now New York's. The catalogue of the landscape in education risktaking and innovation was astounding.

Wm. Roberti talked of rebuilding New Orleans schools, a job he’d been hired for two months before Katrina. (The job changed - though his mission remained!) John Chubb of Edison deftly illuminated the legal restrictions on charter schools – restrictions designed to keep them from scaling up to a point of efficiency! Kim Smith of New Schools Venture Fund reminded us that Entrepreneurs leap much further than intrapreneurs: both strategically break the rules, but entrepreneurs create new organizations.

Startlingly, the encouragement for our project came not from the main entrepreneurial advocates. To me, our view was actually framed only by host Frederick Hess of AEI-who started the day; and contrarian author Larry Cuban-who helped wrap it up. Innovation and entrepreneurship, they said, should reach beyond EMO’s and CMO’s and the functions of finding new mechanisms to deliver essentially old services. It should not just be about fixing broken bureaucracy (though that’s critical!).

Rather, we should be inventing new streams of revenue and delivering new ways to reach students--often students who never have been properly served by traditional public schools. Or, any student (or adult) who just wants to learn more, faster, better.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In Digital Games, Complexity Matters Marc
How do we bring to learning the intense concentration and commitment students give to their video games at home? Marc Prensky takes on this subject in a number of his writings. In particular this paper (published in Educational Technology) looks at the differences between simple games that we often see and the complex games delivered via Nintendo, etc.

There's nothing really deep here; see the recommended books for more. But it does serve as a warning that making a lesson an online game does not necessarily make it more engaging.