Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ruby on Rails goes 2.0 Riding Rails
At announcement time, I thought this more a personal milestone, but have since noticed that we'd marked Rails 1.1, and I think this belongs here. If nothing else, it explains where my time has gone lately, as the 2.0 version just promised to solve a number of problems, and indeed it has.

2.0 was long undersold as a consolidation release. It does indeed consolidate, but the renewed focus which that allows on other improvements is dramatic. Little things like proper JSON output mean much if you're not that good at generating your own patches to simple shortcomings. Plus, plugin writers were anticipating 2.0 in their code, so having that release out of the way makes it much better to use some plugins. And, there's lots of RESTful stuff, for your webservice2.0 pleasure.

Oh, they've already moved up to 2.02, with some substantive improvements on the .02 tag.

Monday, December 10, 2007

You'll notice that postings have been rather sparse lately. As promised earlier, I've been spending time looking at ways to bring more into the fold. So, I've been spending time with teachers, and sometimes writing over at classroom 2.0. One outcome is that I want to switch this blog to a Ning-type discussion area. I've also been bootstrapping a Parks System, which has nothing to do with you all, bud is eating time. Third, I've been trying to teach myself RubyOnRAILS, which would be easy enough if I had any skill at programming.

Soo... I'm still here, working away at the overall project. Stay in touch.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

US Students Do Worse in Science and Math Associated Press
Worse than most other countries, that is. Hmm. And we don't have time for history and civics because we are forced by big government to teach math and science to the Test?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Audio Walking Tours: P. T. Barnum's Manhattan, The Freedom Trails of Brooklyn, Hell’s Kitchen New York Times
Heres a set of podcast walking tours of New York.I have to say, I'm a bit excited, and wish I were soon to expect a few hours free time the the Apple. (And an iPod classic for Christmas). This was one of the earliest personal media uses I envisioned, and its really great to see some taking shape.

Theres also a print version article on Barnum, but you may remember the intriguing game we told you about a couple years ago.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 476) | timeline
Here's another fromthe Xtimeline site.

Sorry about the frame; these look good across an entire page, but don't shrink well to this page format.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Uruguay buys first '$100 laptops' BBC
Of course, they aren't $100 anymore, and orders are behind the efficient production curve, but,...the first 100,000 are on order.

What will you do to teach these kids?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

IBM - Overview | Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs
The other day we linked to Ascent Stage, the blog of John Tovla. Mr. Tovla actually works for IBM, and is paid, of all things, to bring cultural and historic learning to the web. (Plus, he does RubyonRAILS!) The National Museum of African American History and Culture is his baby.

This site summarizes some of IBM's work in corporate citizenship. You might be interested in their Reinventing Education initiative. You can't yet see the Forbidden City online exhibit, but it'll be here soon. The Open Source research center focused on K12 education in partnership with China might pique your curiosity. And they did The Hermitage.


Monday, October 22, 2007

The Supply Side of School Reform and the Future of Educational Entrepreneurship
Thursday we'll be off to Paradise on the Potomac for the 3rd time this month. Hopefully next month will see more work done! This looks to be an interesting topic. Wonder who will be there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

shifthappens 2.0
Seven years ago, armed with a photocopy of Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, we started this idea that people should work together to build educational media. It hasn't happened much. But, here is one.

This video has been around more than a year now. What
s exciting is how it has morphed over that time. Want to add to it? You can...the source files are right on the wiki.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A List Apart: Articles: Findings From the Web Design Survey
We rarely talk of money and related matters here, but some of you may actually want to have an income to supplement the joy of helping others learn. Interesting survey.
A Vision of Students Today YouTube
I'm gonna add this. A lot of our friends in the tech ed and other places think it says volumes. Personally, I find it somewhat artistic, but not particularly additive to addressing the problems at hand.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ascent Stage: The National Museum of African American History and Culture
This functionality, called the Memory Book, permits site visitors to compose and upload their own “memories” about anything having to do with the African American experience. The posts can be tagged and are plopped into a visualized web of topics and other memories, forming what is hoped over time will become a rich, dense tapestry of interconnected stories.
Is this a good resource for your project? I was surprised at the technical and artistic quality of the first item I tried: Timba and Teletha, an audio piece.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pancakes at the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival
Too late, another year at the Festival is in the bag. Three 11-hour days of cooking pancakes, taking orders from customers, and washing dishes...all nestled in the historic circumstances of the Algonquin Mill and the surrounding valley.

Can you tell stories? I mean, sit down, or stand on stage, and tell them to marginally interested kids and their parents? That's what this history thing was all about. His...Story. Abe Lincoln used to be a regular visitor at the Mill. He'd come into the pancake house, and I often would chat with him on the grounds. Most people, however, stood for one of his talks. Can you get any better than that? Having Abe spin a yarn about how hard he had it in his boyhood, and how he worked his way forward to be, among other things, the man who ended slavery?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

AUSA 07 America's Army: The Strength of the Nation
This morning brings us to be among history makers; to hear from the soldiers and leaders who are changing the world. The Annual Meeting of the Association of the US Army is a tremendous event. Yesterday's opening remarks by the Secretary of the Army were quite moving, as is the courage, conviction, and creativity of so many here.

Would that the nice ladies from code pink demonstrating outside had taken the time to come inside and learn a little.

It looks like the CSS for this page has been broken by some Blogger or Firefox software changes. Hopefully we can get that fixed later this week.

Oh, yeah: Go Tribe!

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
One of the nice teachers at Classroom 2.0 recommended this set of games. I played the Blood Typing Game.
Do these teach a lot? I know my reaction is first that it looks great, then that the depth of knowledge gained is not worth the time it takes to learn and master the game. All the more frustrating in that it surely took a great deal of time, effort, and probably cash to put the game together. But then maybe I'm way off base. Maybe if I'm a digital native with lots of free time, this is a great learning tool.

Isn't anyone out there doing studies on these?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Twitter-Like Projection Bombing

Some new friends from the Columbus Ruby Brigade and will be doing this creative thing with SMS messages and building sides tonite.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Thousand Veterans of The War die Every Day
We write tonight from Fredricksburg, VA, site of the Civil War engagements. 'Tis quite an amazing thing to stand at rivers edge, at the spot the Union Troops so longed for as they viewed it from across the seemingly narrow waterway. The 'heights' above held the defending Confederate troops, heights that are really only a few steps. The peaceful park there now gives little feeling for the world-turning confusion, terror, and violence endured that December of '62.
Today was spent at Quantico in the company of Marines and their vendors. After an extended happy hour sharing beverages with an elder Marine, we slid into the hotel room in time to catch an episode of Ken Burns' The War.

The quote heading this post appears in Burns' title credits. If you were 18 on Dec. 7, 1941, you'd be 84 today. A pretty long life by most standards. To have begin that adult life in such tumultuous conditions, then seen the changes wrought by the technological and social revolutions seen since....and now to see grandsons again engaged in a world war.

Someone asked me if I'd watched all of The War. No, I didn't. Partly because I knew a lot of it, and partly because I had a backlog of work. But mostly because this is what is now called social history. It's about individuals, and those back home, in communities, in factories, and affected families.

Learning that stuff doesn't help us prevent wars.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TeacherTube Channel - Social Sciences
If you haven't visited TeacherTube, you might try it out. Not sure if there's a huge amount of added value here over YouTube, but the potential is certainly there. It's really getting to be the wild west in the online media world, hopefully some quality standards, selection processes, and categorization will evolve.

Friday, September 21, 2007

D.C. Schools Scorecard Washington Post
This report covers the progress of the individual DC schools. It makes this blog mostly because of the interactive map, which not only lets you search school data, but shows this audience a new way of presenting info!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

EASE History
Here's a colorful visual romp through recent times, with some nice AJAXY features.

There's also a Macromedia Case Study write-uo to go with it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Babatha's Scroll | Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land | PBS/Nova
Two things are certain--death and taxes--and Babatha, a reasonably well-off Jew of the second century, faced both. Babatha really lived, and seems to have had a pretty good life, owning property in a lovely oasis. Things didn't end so well for Babtha, though, and she died in a rather nasty salt-crusted cave.

We, lucky inhabitants of the 21st century, have the odd fortune to nose through Babatha's purse. Do you think of Jews from c.160AD carrying around title deeds to property? Babatha did. You can see if for yourself, and read with a magic translator. Lawyers, it seems, didn't just yesterday learn to write overblown prose. Babatha's deed effects an impenetrable tone many a modern lawyer would be proud of.

True to the times, Babatha needed a male guardian, having lost two husbands and her father. She didn't seem to think much of them, and you can explore that too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogger Play
Well, that's it. The folks at Google Blogger have come up with the ultimate attention span killer. Blogger Play is amazingly compelling, multicultural to the max, beautiful, and I just suppose totally entropic to any sort of organized thinking. A good metaphor for education 2007?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

History on the Summertime Road IV: "Tecumseh!"...The Ultimate Outdoor Drama Experience - Chillicothe, Ohio
Saturday we joined 1500 other viewers in a packed house closing night for Tecumseh!, the "story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700's." The cast is now on their way home to whichever university they hail from, the stage is battened down for winter, and you will have to wait til next year to take in this or most any of the outdoor dramas.

Is there an outdoor drama near you? Ninety nine are held in thirty-six states, according to the Institute for Outdoor Drama. And, should you visit Tecumseh! next summer, you can camp on the backside of Sugarloaf Mountain - about a half mile away. A splendid evening.

Monday, September 03, 2007

What Americans Think about Their Schools Hoover Inst. Education Next
Last week the Fall issue of Education Next came out with this survey co-sponsored by Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance. Not surprisingly, it asks Americans questions about issues of concern to Hoover, and gets answers much more favorable perhaps than if the same topics had been broached by, say, the NEA.

Still, there are encouraging things. One is that Americans are willing to pay for education, they just want their money's worth. We observed this first hand last weekend, seeing a beautiful new campus for Appalachian Vinton County Schools, pop. 13,519, median income, $32,089. Another is that they think schools can do better, that classroom size will help more than increased teacher pay, and that charter schools could definitely be part of the solution. Only 30% oppose merit pay for teachers, 33% oppose hiring teachers without formal credentials, and less than 35% oppose vouchers or tax credits to private schools. No one asked about online, interactive storytelling.

What do you think of your local school? If you're like most Americans, it is better than average! Garrison Keillor would be so proud!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rocks - at Geography at the Movies
Hey, I'm tired of doing all the commentary!! You comment on this one!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

National Council on Teacher Quality - Yearbook
In for a good read? If you only peruse the national report, your state's and one other state for comparison, you're still in for close to 400 pages of study results on Teacher Quality. In all, there are 51 volumes, for about 6000 pages or so, so you might want to brush up on your speed reading.

In general, the report is not very rosy, but much of the pessamism also stems because the researchers don't feel they have enough quantifiable research data. Well, we can tell if a kid can't read or do algebra, but I'm not sure that all these measures are really the road to good teaching.

As to the topic of Federal government induced teacher quality, teachers better start finding ways to better police their own profession. (Oh, maybe, say, by using the web to more creatively educate and evaluate teacher's subject knowledge?)

In truth, though, I just posted this because of the cool Javascript applet on the report home page. It's a sweet way of comparing a lot of state by state data, you could use it to talk about slavery, religious tests for office, poll taxes, you name it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Adobe - Flash Tenth Anniversary
Happy Anniversary Flash! 'Twas Flash that really inspired this project, so we can't help but want to join the celebration. And celebrate you can! User groups around the county are hosting events this month. If you don't already belong, what better time to pop in!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Publications : Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center
We don't get to spend enough time looking at hard analyzes of what works and what doesn't in learning interactives, partly because we still haven't seen a reliable source for that specific field of study. These papers from the PSLC may be of some help to you; although they're pretty deep in the science.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

History On the Summertime Road III Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail U.S. National Park Service
Along with the new Visitors' center at Jamestown, we discovered the coolest thing in the works in the surrounding waters: the nation's first national water trail! Don't worry that you can't make it this year, they only have in place the first three markers. But talking markers they are! You can visit the markers by website, phone, or mobile browser, but of course, you should go by water. We didn't make it into the James this year, but past visits have shown the area of the Jamestown buoy to be some of the most scenic river coastline you'll find. I've long wanted to spend a fews days patrolling the Chesapeake bay, the completion of this trail will be a powerful incentive to get that done!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Metropolitan Museum's new Greek and Roman Galleries New York Times
The Met has a new (old) look! And so does interactive exhibiting.

First, this Flash app has some of the best panoramic photo presentation we've seen. These panoramas were big awhile back, and use seems to have fallen; here the Times makes great use of the media in a way that will make you really want to up and visit the renovated Met.

It's almost easy to miss, but catch the overview narrative by critic Michael Kimmelman. He explains how the redesign is intended to work. And here, too, is something exciting for those of us who bemoan the lapse of classical education for what is overly fashionable each day. As Kimmelman says, the layout is not politically correct. It follows Rome in a chronological progression. Its place in the museum makes clear that these are the foundations of our civilization.

And the design takes the space converted in 1954 to a restaurant back to a study of the classic images of civilization.

This isn't VR, and that makes it great. You can't zoom, or walk about as you like. You do get great pictures, and the interactive gives just enough of the space and the individual objects (some with narration) to really make you want to visit. At least I do.

By the way, this approach contrast greatly with that of the Met online itself. Their website, while surely informative to scholars and art lovers, is just overwhelming. The whole of their collection must surely be online. The Timeline of Art History--well, they mean it. It's all of art history. Whew!

Play with the Times interactive, then go see for yourself!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Crisis in Iraq Interactive WSJ
A creative interactive showing the day by day news events out of Iraq, as located on a map.

The calendar is a nice touch; pme little broken thing is that, if you click on the calendar date, the corresponding text element is not highlighted; the reverse does work. And I wish the ethnicities would stay up.

Then one wonders what the next steps should be. Should we be able to show events, say for the past four months in Mosul? Or by ethnic area, or by province? Can we make this tie in with videos? Or stories? How hard would it be to have the captions robot-read?

What should a next-gen story-telling platform looks like?
History On the Summertime Road II - Jamestown 400
We couldn't go to the east shore in 2007 without a stop by Jamestown to mark the 400th anniversary of the settling of the US! The brand-spankin new visitors center was of course open, and settling into normal mode (following visits by the Queen, W, and hosts of world-wide dignitaries). It was a highly pleasant day, no fleas bit, the sun was tolerable, and the archaeologists more than amiable and talkative. The pit they'd begun last summer when we visited is now a completely open area exposing a 10 foot 17th century brick wall face, and what was beginning to look suspiciously like a brick staircase. The digging that afternoon was what they call "recordkeeping": scraping very small bits away to watch for slight changes in soil color, texture, and content. And such a change was emerging, as an ash color appeared slowly out of the more reddish brown substrate.

Meanwhile, unbothered that day on the riverside clay wall face, protruded what is surely a sword hilt.

If you go, get the archaeologists talking. There are also volunteers who act as guides around the digs, who are very informed. Remember, for the past 200 years, we thought all this was lost to river and sea! Yet in the past 10, over 100,000 artifacts have been pulled out! Of course, go to the Archaearium.

As to the visitors center, well, too many PhD's got involved. Rather than tell a good story, they regressed to "Critical Skills" and Multiculturalism" theory, and filled the walls with overwhelming dry expository. The videography of the introductory film was state of the practice, the content focused too much on Multiculturalism and too little on real events and real--flesh, blood, and feelings--people.

Alas, we didn't catch up with Dick Cheatham, or whoever was appearing in character that day--'twas not John Rolfe as we so enjoyed last year. But if you go, do try to fit in a session with the historic interpreter of the day.

Oh, and don't forget to visit the APVA's Jamestown website and Jamestown Rediscovery site. They have two interactives for "You are the Archeologist", a nice html interactive of the Fort James excavation area, and plenty more to plan, follow up on, or substitute for a very pleasant visit! The Park Service operates a separate site.

Finally, we still didn't get to experience Jamestown Settlement, or its brother, Yorktown Victory Center. If you're takin kids, and planning more than a brief pass through, don't forget to budget for these excellent resources!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cyc 101 -- Cycorp, Inc.
Yes, your opportunity to spend three days learning how to make a machine world-smart is just around the corner. ... Maybe. It says in one place Fall '07. Elsewhere is says they planned it for April.

I came to Cyc this morn on perusing mine own resume, which lists me as a follower of Cyc/OpenCyc and the CRL/KRL languages and ontologies which proceeded Cyc. This effort is starting to look like the building of a Gothic cathedral. We knew it would take awhile, but golly gee, fifteen years and they're just up to version 1.0!!

The world has changed enormously since Cyc started - the Internet ran on 9.6kbps modems and was thinking of adding gif images. So what have the Cyc crew been up to all this time? I suspect it has much to do with some folk who work in Langley and Ft. Meade, but...

Anyway, if you ever say, "I wish things would just slow down", why take a gander at CycCorp!
History on the Summertime Road
The human body simply requires an occasional return to the sea, and a UV-filled reminder that we belong outdoors. That objective in aim, we took to the road last week.

The first and best encounter: Horn in the West, the 56th season outdoor drama of Daniel Boone's west and the coming of the Revolution. What an awesome way to spend an evening, and what a tremendous job these summer production companies do for young actors. I'm jealous that we weren't able this summer to similarly work with college developers.

There are side stories of commitment here. How consistent are you? You know that Cal Ripken played 21 seasons, sixteen without missing a game? Glenn Causey played the role of Daniel Boone for 41 seasons without missing a show! Dr. Kermit Hunter, script author, wrote forty other historical dramas, taking up the baton from Paul Green, of our own Trumpet in the Land and the Roanoke (Outer Banks)' Lost Colony.

The story itself of course just leaves more questions. How accurate is it? Why did Daniel disappear just when the war called? Has modern research altered the script? Should it?

And for our own interests, what parts of this can we bring to online, interactive, sound-and-motion storytelling? Are they on Youtube. etc? Can they be?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Building Community
Wondering about the lack of posts lately? The stand-down is deliberate. This site should be a vibrant community; it's been more like a tea party with stuffed toys and dollies. So..we're working at other tacks.

Read below for some good measures of the state of interactive education. We can do much, much netter if we work together. Whether your concern is the poor education of inner cities and minorities, the dearth of humanities education, the loss of connection with Western History and universal values, or just cool art and technology, there's a place here for you.

Call, email, twitter, comment, or carrier-pigeon me. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

(Oh, and its summer. I've been building trails and park, hosting community music/beerfests, and am heading to the mountains. We'll be soon fresh to hit this hard.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

> Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Highlight Reel AllThingsDigital
"You and I have memories longer than the road ahead." I'm not gonna go into why I too wanted to cry at this.

The road ahead has much more potential than the past 25 years of Bill & Steve's cooperation/competition. We can transition from experiences for the tech elite to real, deep, learned experiences for the world's 7 million humans. But the road is not guaranteed.

I've decided to take a break from daily blogging. I need to build community here, and the blogging and other past attempts aren't doing it. Take a look at the previous post. Is the landscape that different from when we started? Not really. I'm gonna look at new ways to build community. I hope you'll join in.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Course to Midway - Battle of MIdway
This excellent site from the US Navy looks like it might have been up for awhile..but it's the first time I've seen it. We're especially interested in the battle map:

The best thing here: They Actually Use A Narrator. OK, so we're excited easily here. But think about it, how many of the educational Flash interactives that we've seen use voice? A handful at best. Even the videos popping up on YouTube tend to be way short on voice-overs.

For like a hundred thousand years, people have passed history to the next generation via vocal story. It might still work on the web.

As to interactivity, this one falls short. There isn't even a pause feature. And we always like to see a clock/timeline with the map. That's so much more informative to the general learner.

What do you think about the lead ins? I have a post coming on an inline video that takes 4 minutes to get to the storyteller...this one is lightning fast by comparison. Still, is it quick enough for the target audience here?

All of this reminds me that we're still finding dreadfully little critical review of these things. It must be out there somewhere; the word is certainly full of critics and educational laboratories. I just need to bust butt in the right places. I miss real print-bearing libraries.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

No Adobe Flash Support on the iPhone Mac Rumors
This seems a bit strange. After all, Steve announced monday (video ) that iPhone would support lots of independent apps - just without an SDK. 'It already has a well known SDK', says Steve: 'AJAX.' OK, I'm likin that. Still, we all expected Flash to be available on any moderately powerful platform. Many phones have had it for awhile, TIVO has it, PDA's, etc. On the other hand, the initial base iPhone has only 4GB of memory, so one can see where they might be tight on room for plugins.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Age of Exploration | History Now. Interactive History
Our good friends at Gilder-Lehrman (Hi, Janice!) have released another of their quarterly journals. I'm labeling this as an interactive, but in reality, the audience for this sort of thing is going to be pretty narrow. Not that you couldn't use it to build something that told a story for kids and the average learner. But, you know, who's the hero here? Where is the character development? Why should a learner want to invest energy and emotion?
National History Day Webcast
You can watch the event tomorrow, June 14th.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation: Honor the Victims of Communism and Those Who Love Liberty
If you're in DC today, you can stop by the dedication of the monument to the millions of victims of totalitarian Communism. You might pause and think of Ronald Reagan, who twenty years ago today stood at the Berlin Wall and said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Mr. Reagan's call was then received in the press and the academy about as enthusiatically as the surge is today.

There's an interactive of the gulag systems, but you'll need your Cyrillic decoder ring.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Web 2.0 and pedagogy overview, Wesleyan 2006 � SlideShare
Not sure there's much deep pedagogical insight to be taken from this survey-of-the-web circa Dec. 2006, but maybe you'll find something that tickles your thinking.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Gunner's World
When I mentioned this blog in the last post, it was following up on a comment from Op-For, and I thought this was a blog well in progress. Wrong. CWO4 Sears is just beginning his duty as Marine Corps Historian in Fallujah and parts dangerous. I was first caught by his "real" job at the F/A-18 program office in Pax River (Pax River being a parallel life path I didn't take). Then I started following the writing in the blog. Very well written. Lt Col P at OP-FOR promises that Sears will be sharing his stories. As the only USMC Historian in Iraq, who knows where Sears will find the time, but we can all hope. Godspeed, Mike.
YouTube - Henry V- Speech
CWO4 Sears, a U.S.M.C. historian blogging at The Gunners World reminded us this week of the Bard's speech to soldiers going to battle. Of course, YouTube has a version or two. In this scene, the director must have had a brain fart in setting up the video imagery, but the audio delivery is tremendous.
MIT World | Distributed Intelligence
Browsing through iTunesU, we noted that MIT has a video portal now. Featured today are broadcasts summarized as MIT: Open for Education. Included are remarks from an iCampus conference, and discussions of experiences with open courseware and open standards.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

As too often happens, finally made it last eve to see 300 in its last week at the $1 theatre. Or part of it, anyway.

Did anyone over 15 like this?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Roosevelt's D-Day Eve speech on the Fall of Rome Miller Center of Public Affairs
As promised, XM Radio has begun its re-creation of the day's broadcasts of the D-Day invasions. They've just finished up FDR's Fall of Rome Speech (Mp3) and will air the first D-Day bulletin at 12:43AM.

More Franklin D. Roosevelt Speeches (many with mp3) are available at the Miller Archives Multimedia Archive.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sights & Sounds of Arlington Cemetery National Geographic Magazine
Three videos from NG start with the early history of Arlington. A potter's field for soldiers from Ohio? That's the story from the resident Historian.

Friday, June 01, 2007

National History Day
The National History Day national competition begins next weekend. Do you know anyone going? Is there a young person you can get started for next year? Local competitions begin in spring.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

XM recreates D-Day radio coverage in real-time
One Marine's View
Oh, is this cool!! Too bad the schools are mostly empty this week.

The broadcast will run on the 40's channel, and will recreate and rebroadcst the entire day's coverage.
American Folklore: Famous American folktales, tall tales, myths and legends, ghost stories, and more.
A great collection of old stories, tales, and verse. Brer Rabbit, Pecos Bill, Davy Crockett, Clementine, Babe the Blue Ox, Hey Diddle Diddle, The Muffin Man, and lots more. A few MP3's. You could probably make a bit of money making a flash/audio version of this site!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

OPFOR: New Market Day 2007
Can't help but reference this video and commentary this Memorial Day week.
Not really an interactive, and not especially history in motion...yet the whole thing speaks in the de jur storytelling language circa 2007.
HubbleSite -- Out of the ordinary...out of this world.
Today some reaaaaaally old history! Actually, I'm not finding the really cool interactive I first found at this site. But there's still lots here. Many of the interactives are in the Amazing Space section, including this cool history of telescopes.Some of these start as HTML pages, but keep digging. There are Flash, Php, and Quicktime interactives burried here and in the rest of the site.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

leadership innovation business narrative, & storytelling
Here's a different take on StoryTelling -- for business and organizational leadership.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Faces of the Fallen: Iraq and Afghanistan Casualties washingtonpost
This weekend is to remember all who died in achieving, preserving, and expanding our freedoms. But remember especially those whose families have such recent losses.

Grief in Section 60 is a Flash presentation of 10 photos in Arlington National Cemetery has no multimedia that I see, but covers the basics. lists national events in Washington, including the PBS event you can watch at home.

And, if you have time, pray a bit for the wounded.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

YouTube - Romans vs. Saxons
How did they do this? And why?And is it legal? If it is, can we open source it for someone to place in context with narration and maps and sweet interactivity that compels the average learner?

Here's another: Medieval II Total War Holy Chronicles 18 In fact, this guy has a page of 550 of them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Nation's Report Card
I've been holding this back for a week now, perhaps perplexed by the headline in the Fox News article: More Students Know their History, Civics. Is that really the case? Yeah, a few states have upped their curriculum requirements a bit. At the same time, the standards opponents will have us all believe that testing of reading and math have obliterated all time in school to study the arts, social sciences, and anything of culture. Perhaps both views are right. Perhaps the students can answer more history and civics questions because more students can actually read the questions.

And, does identifying tribe totem poles and the joys of cliff-dwelling really provide a boost in understanding how to earn, keep, protect, and expand freedom and the rule of law and the ensuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Civics 2006
History 2006

We'll keep working here. Our discussions with those under 25 (or 45) lead us to believe there just might still be a market and even a need for rich stories of heroes told with sound, motion, and interactivity.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mus�e McCord Museum - Home Page
On the road today, but quickly, some history for our Canadian friends, and a bag of interactive tricks for all the rest of you.What do you think of these approaches?

Monday, May 21, 2007

We Interrupt this Blog
At this point I am feeling --well, sad. I have never met Kathy Sierra, never read her work, never seen her presentations, and until this morning never heard her speak. And after listening to her via podcast, the one word that overwhelms me--above smart, informed, funny, passionate, caring, intuitive, is just plain "sweet". I can't imagine any person hearing her remarks and not thinking that. I felt better about the world for having listened this morn.

So imagine my shock to find her blog closed down, her speaking engagements canceled, and her life disrupted by a bunch of juvenile miscreants who either see no shame or harm in verbal and graphic abuse, or who do and enjoy the results.

I started and continue this project because I believe the culture should be at a higher level. Not a huge amount; we're certainly not snobs here, and we argue frequently for accessible stories. In that sense, episodes like this vindicate and inspire me forward, as we aim for a return to some sort of minimum civility. On the other hand, in a case this absurd, one just wonders if a culture of openness and freedom can even survive.

The answer lies mostly in the 1128 overwhelmingly supportive comments Kathy received in 2 days. Some of the answer lies in an old sign I once saw: Gentlemen respect God; Christians fear him. But maybe some of it lies in putting overgrown children like this in the stocks on the public square, next to piles of rotten fruit.
south by southwest: "Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks"
Speaking of writing code and text for users, I just finished listening to Kathy Sierra's Opening Remarks at SXSW. (Yeah, yeah,...the event was 10 weeks ago, and I should have been in her live audience instead of wandering around the Alamo, enjoying my first 80deg. temps in 7 months, and sipping a cold beverage next to Hooters).

..Anyway, Kathy had some really good points about how developers who can speak perfectly normal English go into "writers mode" and spit out completely inhuman text.
Writing For Multimedia
Something to think about, if not to learn from by example! :-)
One way to achieve this is by keeping your scripts in the active voice. Active voice is more direct, and usually shorter than a passive construction. The passive voice tends toward imprecision, which affects clarity. A good way of cleaning up your scripts is performing a global search for words like “be,” “can” and “will.” There are some instances where passive voice is acceptable, usually shifts of time, or sentences where the person who performs the action is unknown or unimportant:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Event: The Politics of Knowledge: Why Research Does (or Does Not) Influence Education Policy AEI
This Monday's seminar could either be extremely interesting or bone death dry.
"Researchers and discussants will suggest how incentives and institutions can be altered to encourage rigorous research and its proper use, while recognizing its limits."
The papers are already available at this link.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past ABC Radio
We don't get into Presidential politics here, but an item in our domain comes this week from not-candidate Fred Thompson. You can hear or read Thompson talk a little about military history and college campuses. I particularly love this quote:
"The hundred years of talking about slavery was not as important as two days at Gettysburg. The success or failure of Normandy affected Hitler more in an hour than had years of pleading with him in the 1930s."
In fairness to the Professoriate, Thompson misses one point in that many of the left brain types on campus have their hands and head more than full with technology, sciences a plenty, and just keeping systems running. That too much curriculum design gets left to those of the feel more than think side, well, that's our fault and we (the taxpayers and donors who fund colleges) need to explain what we want taught and direct them back to focusing on the art of storytelling.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Silent Epidemic -- Homepage
We've long written here about it; MTV, the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation, America's Promise, and others have banded together to try and force some change. The site provides resources for teens, parents, policy makers, and citizens to help reverse teen dropouts. MTV is running a show about educational choices, aiming to remind their young viewers that the piece of paper matters. The site offers a 10 Point Plan, this week there was a National Summit, and you can help hold a local summit.

Senator Kennedy and Secretary Spellings co-authored National epidemic, economic necessity this week. Included in their facts:
Fifteen percent of the nation’s high schools produce more than half of its dropouts.
Jynell Harrison was the winner of thinkMTV's Be the Voice campaign and a $10,000 college scholarship. She told of her story of dropping out, and you can find more of these: MTV's The Dropout Chronicles. MTV also has more on the summit

Of course, if you're reading this, you're already compelled to help make education much more accessible, interesting, and sticky. You're working to raise the knowledge and excitement of teachers everywhere, and that alone can't help but rub off on students.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy 400th, America!!
Yes, today is it! The 4ooth anniversary of the landing and settling at Jametown island. After a bad attempt to set up camp at Virginia beach (unfriendly campers there), and a rather long sail up the Roads and the James River, they found a spot that looked comfy and plunked down...400 years ago today. 'Twas not much later til the US suffered its first war dead. And I can tell you from the flies that bit my legs the entire time we stood there last summer, 'tis not the most enjoyable place on the coast. But there they stayed, and eventually profitably. And here we are to tell the tale.

The President stopped by yesterday. The Queen was there last week of course. What about you? Will you make it?
Jamestown 2007 - America's 400th Anniversary

Friday, May 11, 2007

Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont College
I know, a little heavy for a nice Friday May morn. Many of us have come to believe that the tradiational liberal education is nearly dead. The classes and departments formerly responsible for providing these have been usurped by professors with physics envy--purveyors of CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS which in the end provide anything but.

I haven't covered this site in detail, but it looks like there's food for thought.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Texas Ranch House . Interactive History . Intro | PBS
From last spring's show, six interactive games to test and train you on 1860's cowboy culture and work in Texas. There are also interviews with the cast members, video from the show, and lesson plans.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium
OK, personally, I expect to spend July 22 1)somewhere on a Carolina beach, 2) working the county fair, or 3) on a jetski on the Sandusky river. But don't let that stop you. If you're in Chicago that week, you might want to visit with the Librarians! James Gee is speaking, and there will be at least 27 more sessions on gaming, learning, and your library.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Linux to help the Library of Congress save American history
No doubt some of you have tried to tell a story, as we have with the Great Trail, and found the source material more than a bit difficult to get hold of. When Doug Angelloni, wanted to find out about our little Indian trail fro the Ohio to Lake Erie, his source maps and materials were in the U.K. When I turned to the job, much was available on my screen.

How will the library of Congress move 200 years of books and materials, some in bad shape, into the digital, universal access world? Read on.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flashforward 2007
Registration is now open for FlashForward 2007, coming in Sept. This year it's Boston! So, get your in gear, register, and plan to take in a little of the Boston Freedom Trail whilst there.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Head2Head Interviews ActiveHistory
I know, it should be Free Beer Friday! And on an Open Sources project blog no less!! But this one will cost you. $60US, in fact. A big chunk of change--half our yearly webhosting budget! Looks like they use Oddcast Characters--like our own Lydia. MAybe your school will foot the bill. Russell Tarr, the proprietor of Active History, is certainly an amazing man. While many full time teachers complain at the end of the day that they have no time. Mr. Tarr has gone off and built up over the years this amazing site.
Most of the site used to be free; you can imagine that his costs have jumped over time, and a man of these talents should certainly retire on more than a schoolmaster's pension!! Some of the interactive items are still available free at this writing. One we've been playing with is Rennaissance Florence: Time Machine Mission.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

History Podcast Shows (pdf)
As nothing is working this week, today a short reference, sans comment, to this list of history podcasts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

History on Air - Home of HistoryPodcast
Ahh!! Now here is a promising podcast! We've seen lots of good podcasts, of course. What makes this one special is partly the multiple authors. Even better, they band together to produce a supporting wiki! There's discussion forums as well, and even a phone number, of all things! (Back in the day, if you wanted info, you picked up this strange black instrument invented by Mr. Bell, and living people at the other end would tell you things or send you stuff in the mail).

In just under two years of work, they've produced ninety-some podcasts diverse topics. Good work!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't by Stephen Prothero.
This book came out last month; it was featured on the cover of Time, and received a good bit of television coverage.

I wrote yesterday of stories of Judeo-Christian culture. This was in a church setting, but what about the public schools? I know I had an entire course on Greek myths and stories as a hs sophomore. In college I was taught, and I'm sure many high school students are now taught, stories of "modern" writers who have a particular value system. Native American, Chinese, and Hindu stories are making their way into the public schools. Do stories of the Hebrews and early Christians deserve less of a place in schools?

Monday, April 30, 2007

First Communion
Yesterday Regan received her first communion. Her proud aunts & uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. all gathered to wish her well and celebrate as she marked this first milestone in moral and intellectual development. We only had two young ones, so things went fast. I had a moment to think upon stories.

Above many things, this is a rite of storytelling. In the readings, we heard a tale 2000 years old, --in many ways older--of grouchy old we-don't-need-to-change elders who have no interest in allowing their group to evolve. Paul and Barnabas, as young leaders have done for ages, say, to their tribe: 'Fine. We offered. You refuse. We'll find a new group."

Later, Father spoke directly to the children, telling a story even older. The story could be of any time, of children and a father, presents and a tree. It could be in any language or any culture (where there are trees, anyway). It reminded me that one of the oldest stories in our culture--passing four thousand years-- is the tale of the Garden of Eden and the Forbidden Tree.

This day celebrated the girls, it gives them a first experience of being publicly acknowledged. Acknowledged not for individual exceptionalism, but for growing in an exceptional community. That alone is a gift too many people don't get. But it also marks our commitment to continue to pass on the stories of those who came before...and the realization that community will continue long after our encounter with troubles and joys is long gone.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Guided By iPod: iPod Tour Guide
Just in time for a nice weekend excursion,...visit your favorite museum via your iPod.
This was one of the apps that excited our imaginagtion way back when we started the project. A visit to Gettysburg (Go. Really....Go.) has the entire family mesmerized as we listened to the CD re-enacting those 3 fateful days. COmplete with cannon fire and everything, the story plays out as you drive about the battlefield. Just amazing.

Similarly, we went to the Toledo Art museum. The magic audio tour there had my brother-in-law just mesmerized. He who was reluctant to go was the last one to frag out.

So, naturally, your iPod should bring these stories to you. iTunes Museum Room is growing, and already includes the Met, MOMA, SFMOMA, Hirschorn, Smithsonian, Versaiiles, San Diego Zoo, and more!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pritzker Military Library
This one comes to us from blogger Captain Chaz (Long Live Military History). He notes that the Pritzker Military Library has long been a great resource for those in the Chicago area, and is becoming a great resource for those on the web. I guess we're in a podcast theme lately. These may be a bit steep for many users, but you might still take a look. They include interviews with Medal of Honor winners: PML Podcasts on the Web or PML Podcasts at iTunes

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Open Culture (
Here too is a great site. A compendium of things cultural in the classic sense. The directory of audiobooks and podcasts is probably the most useful. A blog keeps you up to date. There is a section for Open Culture: History, not huge but growing. Much of the content comes from old favorites like Librivox.

There's also coverage of the culture, politics, and technology of open sourcing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quarterbacks, Faith, Family, Football, Coach Kehris
(Dept. of Forgotten Drafts - 3/2/07)
Last night's banquet featured Mount Union head coach Larry Kehris, nine-time National Championship winner, 148-2 in 15 seasons, and eight-time NCAA Coach of the Year.

Look at that again: Nine national championships. His 21 year win rate is .920--the best in college history; his winning streaks are the two longest (55 games, 54 games). This is an astounding accomplishment.

Naturally, the huge, huge question is: how? One championship takes skill, determination and luck. Two take skill, determination, and luck squared. But NINE? And this isn't Tiger Woods nine. Coach Kehris fields a different set of individuals each season. What can be done that consistently?

First, Coach looks like an academic Jim Tressel. His glasses dangle from a granny-chain around his neck. His voice is soft. You might mistake him for the finance professor. Here's what he says:
1) "I work with the quarterbacks. They control the game, so I work with them. " OK, that makes sense. Not sure what he whispers in their ear, but it must work.
2) "We practice faith, family, football. In that order.

"It happens all the time. In the spring, or early summer, a kid comes up and says, ' sister wants to get married Oct. 5. It's the big game with ___.' Young ladies do that. Here's what we tell the players: 'Go To The Wedding. This isn't rocket science. You have one or two sisters. Hopefully they get married once. Go. Have fun.'"

We live 30 miles from Massillon High, 70 from Heinz Field, 145 from The Horseshoe. We've seen a few dedicated and victorious football programs. I can't tell you why Coach Kehres loves winning so much. But you can now see why his players love winning--because they love him as he loves them.

Go forth. Take care of those on your team. +

Monday, April 23, 2007

Making History - The Calm and the Storm
It's been three years since we first told you or f Muzzy Lane Software, the company that wants to bring real action/education software to schools and homes everywhere.

This month the released their flagship product, Making History-The Calm and the Storm. CBS News has a video on use of the game in classrooms. The site has some beautiful screenshots, including:Can't say I have my copy yet. Maybe when we're not doing accounting and systems repair for others, trying to learn RAILS, fighting bureaucrats for parks, etc. Meanwhile, I hope many of you get to try it. This is the sort of thing that looks to make computers actually worthwhile and fun.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The History Blog
Old bloggers never die; they just leave an unfinished story lying around for us to stumble upon and wonder, "Whither went the author?' This one was pretty; as I write it hadn't been updated in ten months.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

LibriVox � O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
Need some audio? gives you mp3's etc. all in the public domain!

Are you an actor, needing practice and/or publicity? Grab a book or poem and pitch in. If you're an amateur, why this tells the rest of us how hard this voice bit is. Consider O Captain, My Captain. 13 versions are posted here. I tried 5-6. None really grabbed me as expressing the emotion which the words on print convey. I have no idea what Walt Whitman sounded like, but I have seen photos and descriptions of the shock and sadness of Lincoln's death. Capturing that in voice is hard.
So, apparently the way to get noticed is to create a blog, write for a week, and then switch to marketing mode to push yourself higher and higher in the buzz sphere. Well, we started year five of blogging last month, so what the heck, let's try technorati.
Here is their magic link, ipso presso, pshaah!! Work your pr magic: Technorati Profile

Saturday, April 14, 2007

12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire RSS
This wonderful podcast was prepared by a high school history teacher at a small private school in New York. Just shows what a little passion, time when you can spare it, and the wonders of technology 2007 can bring. We love Mr. (yes its Mr., not Dr., yea!) Brownworth just for his opening page of introduction:
I've always found both of these ways of telling History distinctly and extremely uninteresting.
Earlier releases made this one of the seminal podcasts which made skeptics sit up and take notice that podcasting could be more than the music or opinion of the day. I can hardly wait for a long roadtrip to take more in.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

O'Reilly School of Technology
This interesting announcement came up yesterday. For those of us long used to getting our larnin' from a handful of publisher brands, to see that brand put on a school certainly perks some curiosity. We'll leave it to you to dig any deeper. The best news is, if you go for a certificate, you'll join me in being a Fighting Illini!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Revolutionary Battle Tactics

Here's one that illustrates well much that's right about online, sound-and-animation learning, and much that's wrong with industrialized education. There is sound here! Both a narrator and sound effects. Its simple: light enough bitwise that a dial-up user might well use it, and light enough content-wise that it won't overwhelm most students from go. And the graphics are simple but clear.

Then there's the bad part: the script is classic dry-as-dirt text-book-ese. Nothing to make you want to care about the subject, no rhetorical devices to peak your curiosity in event the mildest manner. Clauses of the sort that killed history education in schools in the first place. Active verbs? We don't need no stinkin' active verbs!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Kongregate: Play Free Online Games & Upload Your Own
This site comes from our notes at SXSW. 'Twas introduced there as aiming to be "YouTube for Games" or somesuch. Perhaps you will find some cool ideas for telling histories!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Church History Internet Archive
Happy Easter! Today a podcast on church history. This one is delivered as a set of sermons at the Denton Bible Church, and that means two things: one, it is somewhat preachy, and occasionally anti-Catholic. It also means however, that a professional speaker is at the mic. We don't hear that in many history podcasts; too many are created in a basement office by hermits scholars with voices barely audible.

iTunes has another early Christian history podcast from the North Phoenix Baptist Church.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jamestown Adventure History Globe
This one's a bit old now, but it gives us a chance to talk about a really exciting event! The 400th anniversary of the settling of the US is just 4 weeks away!!

To learn more about the events of our big 400th, visit If you plan to go, plan for traffic--its a peninsula, don't ya know.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Selling Software - How vendors manipulate research and cheat students Oppenheimer | Education Next
The Flickering MindOppenheimer |
A new article and older book and website by author Todd Oppenheimer all take on the value of educational software. We certainly don't disagree with the overall conclusion, but the word "cheat" seems overly dramatic too.

Oppenheimer seems to get whats wrong with education, yet he confuses that with what's wrong (and right) with educational software. Indeed, its not clear he gets communications technology at all. His website makes no attempt to engage others; his "blog" has all of one entry, posted in October, 2003. The more I read here, the more the term "Luddite" (and maybe "anti-business") seems to pop into mind.

Yet here is someone on our side of the cultural/intellectual divide. Oppenheimer likely would have been at home at December's "The Narrowing K12 Curriculum" event. He may or may not agree with the majority there on particular content, but one suspects he'd definitely support more humanities of some sort. He hangs out at The Grotto, a collaborative for the Storytelling Arts.

If you're among those people who still talk of "computer literacy", "technology training" in schools, or the "digital divide" between rich and poor, these resources are for you. Definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

YouTube - Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us
We'll stick with YouTube again today, as this video on Web 2.0 is just cool. Not overly educational, but eye-catching all the same. Plus, you can look at several related videos, including a tutorial that compares web 1 and web 2 sites.

Monday, April 02, 2007

MNF-Iraq on YouTube
It's no secret that if there's an Ernie Pyle in the current war, he's not getting past any editor in NY/D.C. Those latter worthies pretty much limit the view of the war here in Ohio to Katie Couric reading the day's body count and partisan talking heads in D.C. debating the brilliant foreign policy analysts of Hollywood. PBS' talks with John Byrnes are about the only chance Joe Public gets to hear about the situation on the ground--about the war the historians will write about when the dust finally settles. is hardly what you'd want in independent war coverage, but in this climate it at least provides a glimpse into daily operations. And now they've set up on YouTube, as a place for soldiers and others to post combat and war related film. It's just up and running, but maybe cool things will happen.

Raiders of the Thundering Herd offers one example of what videographers might take off with. The video montage from USMC combat correspondent CPL Jan Bender come with no narration, but a soundtrack more in keeping with many of the soldiers' mental soundtrack. I hope it and follow on videos will inspire some great films and interactives.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pirates III, Blackbeard: Terror at Sea : National Geographic
As promised, Disney is gearing up for another summer of Pirates, and has released the trailer for At World's End.
Meanwhile you might enjoy playing and learning of a real pirate, Blackbeard.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Games for Health Competition
Unless you are really, really speedy, this comes too late for this year; the flip side is you might have a whole year to plan!! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Serious games folk are sponsoring a competition. $30,000 is the reward.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Better World
We're trying hard to catch up and get back to regular blogging; I will say that the time off has also led to some cool steps forward in terms of meeting people. It's also gotten me out in parts of the country. And so a word about how things can and do get better.

I pick this topic because its too easy for sensitive self-analytical types to fall into the "world is doomed" mode. This has become the modus operandi of the press the past four years, some people have this view their entire lives; most all of us take it on at times.

The world is much better than it was. Take New York, where we visited last week. I don't love New York, there are just too many people. But it has its cool side, and its day-to-day side is much improved over a decade ago. I saw one beggar and zero drug dealers. That is an amazing improvement over the times I first visited. The city did not reek. Another amazing improvement. The people on the buses and subs all had bathed that week, and non seemed overly threatening or insane. Again, major improvement. Of course the times square district with the demise of all the porn shows is a far more civilized area--if you don't find pixelated billboards overly uncivil.

That civility has saved thousands of lives. From 1987 to 1994, each year brought over 2000 murders to NY. The state is now under 900. Rape and assault stats have fallen similarly, and robberies are cut by two thirds.

Let's make that clearer: policy and law changes since 1994 have saved some fifteen thousand lives otherwise snuffed out through tragic crime. Fifteen thousand American lives.

Follow those stats into other states, into Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia. Los Angeles...the world can get better and policy can make a difference.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

History Now. Interactive History
Gilder Lehrman released its quarterly site today. There's an interactive on the growth of American cities. This thing is reeeally bad. Given some of GL's previous interactive good stuff, one wonders why they would ever release this thing. Also released are more text bits of modest contribution to kids learning history. Really. How 'bout moving a little of that cash this direction, so we could empower more developers?

Monday, March 19, 2007

AJAXWorld Conference & Expo
Can't believe this, but we're back on the road for AJAX World. Who knew?

Friday, March 16, 2007 | The Official Home Page For All Things Disney
Have you seen Disney's home page lately Very cool. Reminds me of a Mac!
PS. Trailer for Pirates III comes out Monday.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Party's Over.
south by southwest interactive is all over but the blogging. What a week!
If you need no other reason, go for the parties. 5-10 open bar parties every night. Plus, the music!! In particular, we partied ("Mashup party) on the Austin City Limits Soundstage. For a long-time fan from frozen Ohio, this was a treat indeed. (Plus, we met managers from PBS and NPR. We begged them to open source their interactives code).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Off to SxSW!!
Can you tell its been a bit busy here? No bloggings for two full weeks? The good news is, we've bit the bullet, purchased our $172 round trip ticket to Austin, and are off to South by SouthWest Interactive.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 - Gen Nexters have their hands full
We're rather behind this month, so a story from the drafts folder. This is part of the PBS Generation Next project; and provides some focus on the overachieving end of the student spectrum. It just adds to our contention that we do not need to spend more time trining kids to be amateur historians; we just need people young and old to master a few stories of those who got us this far.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Opportunities @ PSLC : Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center
If you reaaally want to dig in deep into learning, join, partner, train, or intern with the PSLC.

(Or go work at a video game company :-) ).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Apple CEO Jobs attacks teacher unions | Houston Chronicle
Wow. Apparently when you have the coolest technology on the planet, you start to say crazy things--even about your oldest customers!

Monday, February 19, 2007

SIMILE | Exhibit | Presidents {select Birth Places view}
MIT brings this effort to make publishing of entire exhibits an effort you do online with a little markup language. This example demonstrates the integration with Google maps; other templates allow you to create tables and do interesting things.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Yahoo! UI Library: Animation
This surely deserved much more attention than we're going to give it this morn. While yours truly is not a professional programmer, these look rather cool. Consider the shrinking bar demo. It takes just a div layout item; styled in this case as:
#demo {
font:100%/1.2em arial;
height:10px; }
...and animates it with two these lines:
var anim = new YAHOO.util.Anim('demo', 
{ width: { from: 30, to: 10, unit: 'em'} } );
YAHOO.util.Event.on(document, 'click',
anim.animate, anim, true);
Wuhu! the gray bar shrinks from 30 to 10 ems. In not much more code than it would take for the placeholder for a custom flash component.

I'll add that the library setup is superb. In one glance you can find the demos, cheat sheet, docs, downloads, everything. Very nicely done.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pigeon Forge Storytelling
Does anyone know how common this type of event is? I'd never heard of even an evening here; this festival ran three days. In addition to veteran storytellers,
The festival also features the National Youth Storytelling Showcase where the next Grand Torchbearer will be selected from performers age 17 and younger. The Showcase is presented in partnership with the National Storytelling Network.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

WSJ - Every journey needs a Journal.
A simple set of animations...and yet powerful. They're designed to inspire; to draw motivation from the lives of stars/athletes/ entrepreneurs.

You could do the same with a set of say, Saints, Villains, Inventors; Merchant-Traders; Explorers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

George and Martha
OK, the Library of Congress' effort to celebrate Valentines Day may strain credibility with the kids just a bit. Still, we wanted to talk about these plain old html interactives. The entire set introduces 43 "Amazing Americans", 11 historic periods, 51 state profiles, and 12 recreation and music highlights. The simplicity does have much to commend. Audio?

What we really want to address, though, is Young Love. George paid a lot of attention to the ladies. Some times not with the success he hoped for .

Teens could learn much from Washington and other leaders' own youth. George started the Seven Years War when he was 22--five years before he married. (Many 22-year olds today are just hoping to get out of school). What was GW's life like in the years before that?

Wouldn't be cool if teens could experience much more of that life in the wild mountains of Allegheny and the ballrooms of northern Virginia?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pipes: Rewire the web
Yahoo! has unveiled (but seemingly not branded) this interesting service.
Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.
Use the graphical interface to connect, aggregate, and filter data streams.

Be sure to check New York Times filtered through FlickR!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lincoln's Birthday |
Nice story for this anniversary. On his death, they emptied Lincoln's pockets. Among the contents was a Confederate five dollar bill--crumpled up in a ball. Why a Confederate bill in the pocket of their most ardent enemy?

After the war, Lincoln wanted to see Richmond (the Confederate capital). It's not far from DC, so he rode down in a carriage guarded by Union soldiers.

On the streets of Richmond, black Americans were not a little happy to see President Lincoln. One approached, and shoved the $5 bill into Lincoln's giant hand. "I was saving this to buy my freedom." he said. "Since you brought my freedom instead, the $5 is yours." Gentle Lincoln carried that precious gift 'til the day he died.

Lincoln (R-Illinois) had plenty of detractors. In the north, many of these were called Peace Democrats--a famous one, Clement Vallandigham, was from right here in Ohio. For Peace Democrats, they just hated the Great Emancipator.Lincoln didn't much like them either, arresting some 18,000 northern confederate sympathizers. Vallandingham (a former Congressman) was among the convicted.
After General Ambrose E. Burnside issued General Order Number 38, warning that the "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio, Vallandigham gave a major speech, charging the war was being fought not to save the Union but to free blacks and enslave whites. To those who supported the war he declared, "Defeat, debt, taxation [and] sepulchres - these are your trophies".

He denounced "King Lincoln," calling for Abraham Lincoln's removal from the presidency. On May 5 he was arrested as a violator of General Order No. 38.
He was sentenced to 2 years' confinement in a military prison.
Gaming advances as a learning tool eSchool News online
Started a longer review of a "scholarly" organization which sniffs "only the most worthy institutions have been invited to join the consortium,...." My 'tude was promptly not proper for such a fine Monday morn.

This one gives a nice little summary article on the use of games for classroom time. Old friends Marc Prensky, MuzzyLane, and Civilization are mentioned, and also some perspective on the growing acceptance of games for school learning.

Friday, February 09, 2007 - The World Is Thinking
This one is a "YouTube for thinking people". Well, some of them don't think very deep and most engage pie hole much longer than their brain cells fire. Still, a nice resource for a variety of videos, without wading through the pranks of every high school in America.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bible.kmz - Google Maps
You know that people can do cool things with datasets and overlays for Google Maps. This one locates sixty sites from the Bible on a satellite map of the land. Bible.kmz - Google Maps It's a strange collection; not as familiar a set as might be. Still, who can resist the beauty of zooming in on Solomon's Porch?

Paul's 1st Missionary Journey offers a different view-one extended event mapped out. This one hits me especially deeply: such a map sketched out in Paint was one of my very first efforts to bring History to the net.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The PSLC Theoretical Framework (pdf)
We promised there'd be cognitive science and pedagogical synthesis here. Does this offer any help? The framework is billed as an evolving document; the folks at the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center use it to know what kinds of experiments to do next. If you need to cite something, choose from among their research papers.

Aside from looking around the Learnlab site, you can visit CTAT, the technology that got PSLC started.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Life & Death of Visual Literacy
Today a nice presentation on understanding symbols and images through the ages. Delivered via Macromedia Breeze, it's a reminder of this useful method.
Does scene 11, Learning Perspective, remind you at all of our rush to develop new art today?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Somewhere, Milton Is Smiling OpinionJournal
Does this mark the end-times for public education?
"all new kindergartners would qualify, so that by 2020 all private school students would be eligible for vouchers."
We mention this sort of thing because, if you want curricula that include more history and more interactivity, the money for such invention comes mainly through the private and home school markets. Also, we do have the word "Open" in our name.

Read on in the article for some interesting observations on civilized policy development. Talk about compromise!
"Given that the average district gets $3,500 from the state and the average voucher is expected to be $2,000, a typical school district would gain some $1,500 every time a student left its system."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Firebug - Web Development Evolved
Just noticed: Firebug updated to 1.0 last week. And what improvements they've made! If you've not previously used Firebug to debug your web pages, you'll be pleasantly surprised. If you have, you'll still be all smiley over the improved features in 1.0.

Friday, February 02, 2007

NARA | The National Archives Experience
The National Archives has done well with this presentation of the three Charter Documents of Freedom.
I do love the iconic index at the top. Wish it would give a bit more of a hint to the contents as you roll over each icon. They could make some of the image resource links etc. more AJAXy. Overall, its a beautiful look, a deserving frame for these critical papers. Kudos to the artist who created those cool icon buttons.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ernie Pyle
Digging and Grousing
I really love these columns by the great Ernie Pyle. So many newspapermen count him among their idols; would that they actually followed his model.

This presentation is all the more special, as you can hear the columns being read.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Monday, Californians celebrated "Milton Friedman Day" Among the other events was a broadcast (PBS) review of his life's work , The Power Of Choice: The Life And Ideas Of Milton Friedman. Friday, IdeaChannel will put up video of a the University of Chicago memorial service.

As an Open Source project, we surely have to note the workings of this great mind and friend of the masses. One guest opined that, through just his influence on the economies of China and India, perhaps no one person has helped more people than Milton Friedman.

Via the magic of web tech, you can watch his show, Free to Choose, for, well..., free. Volume 6, What's Wrong with Our Schools? remains as powerful and true today as then. (Kids' hair and all!).