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!).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An Internet Storytelling Center and Bookstore
Not a huge or fancy site, but it reminds us again or that critical element--story. External links to storytelling organizations near you, as well as storytelling resources.

Friday, January 26, 2007

AHDS History
For those of you who really want to dig for info to tell, we remind you of the data source at the Arts and Humnities Data service, in the U.K. Some of the offerings:
- Peasant Land Market in Southern England, 1260-1350
- Acta of Henry II and His Family, 1154-1204
- Crop Yields and Animal Carcass Weights in England, c.1700-1914
- Medieval Marriage Sermons, 1200- 1299
- Wills and Inventories of Single Women in Durham, 1611-1700
List of all AHDS History's studies - pdf

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The U.S.-Mexican War . Interactive Timeline PBS
This beautiful timeline--and the show--slipped by last year (likely a deficit in the budget at the local station). This makes a great subject for analysis!
1) Why not break it up the way the main site is: Prelude to War, War, Aftermath? There's just too much to take in at once.
2) Similarly, the War coverage needs levels. The invention of Daguerreotype and the penny press make interesting facts, yet break into the initial telling of the story for a neophyte.
3) Obviously, 'twould be nice if the timeline better integrated with the text material. Some links have popups in the Flash--nice. Others open a new window with HTML text of jarringly different design. The popup should be standard, unless a symbol warns the reader.
4) Strangely, the postwar section, in describing the finding of gold, pops up a video only about Indian oppression. Tell the story--and only the story!
5) And, of course, sound!
I really love this one--as it is so ambitious and beautiful, and yet so shows the faultlines of the Flash | HTML DMZ. Adobe is working it..but we also need creative design to help bridge the chasm.

Anyone want to fund a contest to encourage students to so experiment?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

iTunes U
You'll generously recall that we predicted a day when students of mediocre professors would regularly be found in class, listening not to the drone before them, but to an excellent professor speaking via the headphones of their iPod. And indeed, Apple has been on the case.

First to join the chase was Stanford. I am now listening to Stanford professor Thomas Sheehan lecture on The Historical Jesus.
Stanford on iTunesU - Profile
Stanford on iTunesU - link to iTunes

Next up was archrival Berkely:
UC Berkeley on iTunes U Galvanizes Campus
University-Branded Site an Immediate Hit

The University of Wisconsin at Madison joined in:
Podcasts: Earmarked for Success
Centralized Content Streamlines Studies Birdcalls for Ornithology class.
Will this catch on and continue? The iTunes Music Store does seem to be at odds with the Open Source movement-kindof. It'll be fun to watch.
If you want to get in on the discussion, join in at Apple Digital Campus Exchange

Monday, January 22, 2007

Developing K12 courses: Early online course prototypes:
"Amelia Jackson Zaremba is one of K12's most experienced instructional designers, has focused for many years on building the highly engaging and popular K12 history courses. Instructional designers coordinate all the different elements that go into a new course: the online and off-line media, the activities students are expected to do, the writing, interface, and illustration designs, and more."
Amelia takes over Bror's Blog at K12 this week, describing her team's work in creating interactive content for history. K12's work is very challenging, as they must produce an entire curriculum, so the lessons must be integrated and testable. They also work with the constraint that most of their lessons were developed with dial-up in mind; and of course, they must fit the educracy's edicts to some degree (though they have more freedom than public school curriculum designers).

Be sure to try out the Interactive Kitchen rollover.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

PodcastDirectory - History Podcast Search Results
Aside from our discovery of (sweet!), PodCast directory remains disappointing. It could be easily fixed: if they would just add a search function that filters out all podcasts with less than five pods. Don't know about you, but I when I look for History, I'm not really interested in a show devoted only to 1)a child's head lice, 2) the Buckeye's two week old loss, and 3) some garageband. The five-pod filter won't eliminate that directly, but it is a quality control measure of the type that eliminates casts from people smart enough to know they had nothing to say and know its time to quit.

That said, keep looking; you may find some goody like!
The title here plays on the word Art, and is an History through art blog/podcast/enhanced podcast. "Beth Harris & Steven Zucker teach art history (online and in the classroom) at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY."

Check out their visits to the Met and MOMA, where they give you some great background into some of the worlds most interesting art.

Friday, January 19, 2007

How to Tell a Story Yahoo! You-Witness-News
Kevin Sites of Yahoo!'s In the Hot Zone talks about telling the story.
Potraits of Fallen Soldiers YouWitnessNews Yahoo!
This Flash pod takes a look at the exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery of artistic representations of the soldiers lost in the war. Aside from the feax pas is one of putting a huge jobs ad below a film deserving more respect, it has some nice storytelling features. Especially, you can go back and see the main static scenes of the film.

The pod is part of a new service from Yahoo, You Witness News. A little bit Flickr, a little bit Current TV, a little bit YouTube, I guess. Looks interesting, will people watch?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Half of all children are below average in intelligence,...
Too many Americans are going to college.
Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise.
"It is not enough that gifted children learn to be nice. They must know what it means to be good."
"As William F. Buckley rightly instructs us, it is better to be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard University. But we have that option only in the choice of our elected officials. In all other respects, the government, economy and culture are run by a cognitive elite that we do not choose.
Charles Murray has an interesting three part series over at From his conclusions, we wonder if he has looked at

Monday, January 15, 2007

Story Arts | Story Arts Online!
Today a cheap Google result: this small site on StoryTelling in the Classroom. Does not seem to have been updated since 2000' I'll let you know if I get any of the newsletters we signed up for. You can find a number of stories. Here is the sitemap.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Warrior Challenge PBS
Not sure how we missed this one. It's four years old, now!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

5th Anniversary of No Child Left Behind
Monday, Congress took the day off to celebrate the 5th anniversary--oh, wait, they took the day off to see a football game that started at 8:45pm that night. Either way, we got home from game watching just in time to catch Secretary Spellings' speech. CSPAN streams it; I have no idea how to get you a link-its under Domestic/Social.

Education Gadfly (channeling through Mike Petrelli) very thoughtfully asks Is No Child Left Behind's birthday worth celebrating? Among the issues, NCLB's irrelevancy to getting quality content into schools. But then, we've had decades of trying to legislate and bureaucraslate quality into education; why should this one be any different?

If you'd like to see good, quality, fun, interesting content made available, why skip the lobbying and jump in here to build something. I doubt schools will be much likely to skip past the Online online, interactive, occasionally rockin’, sound-and- animation history textbook when it turns out the way we envision.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Place the State
A fine little game. I especially like that it judges how close you got. I, of course, was handed Nebraska right from the start!!

We saw another of these once. With the rivers and mountains in place? Didn't help!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I just looked up from the computer screen after noticing that dawn (or the closest we'll see today) had arrived. With it, not ten paces from my nose, were five full-sized wild turkeys, hunting and pecking with one eye, and giving me the other.

Now, turkeys are interactive, but in a very limited fashion. You move. They notice. They trot away. Or, if you have a shotgun, you move, and then you have dinner. (Full disclosure: I've never shot anything not made of clay.) So why bring them up here?

History doesn't make any sense if all it is but names of personages, shifting maps, and themes like reconstruction and manifest destiny. It makes no sense if you can't feel for people for whom a wild turkey covers several much needed meals, and may not be very easy to come by.

We promised the other day to look more at storytelling. Turkeys and deer and wild berries and sparse plots of hand-tilled corn, beaver pelts and buffalo tallow should play a large part in those stories, as they played such a large part of the daily lives of the very real people behind the events of history.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The 1960s: A Multi-Media View from Capitol Hill
Since we're celebrating a brand new Congress, and a change of power to boot, this week seems a good time to highlight this offering from the Dirksen Congressional Center. The Center's mission is all things educational about Congress. These audio tapes highlight historic moments in the Civil Rights/Vietnam era.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Annie Leibovitz on American Masters PBS
Last night PBS ran a story on this celebrated photographer. It was a pretty good show. Amazing how many of her pictures you recognize. The trick is...telling a story in one shot.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Making Mummies PBS NOVA
Now here is a way to tell a story. It's just an audio slideshow; it does have a storyteller. You can hear her.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.
For New Years Eve, we took in some sights and senses of Pittsburgh. Among the treats were Macy's (Kaufmann's) window displays. Now, these weren't like the little 30" windows at the downtown Washington Macy's. No indeed. These were full display window visual feasts . The storytelling craft is at its best in these true works of love. Every detail of the rooms and people are considered.

As I stood before these gifts, downtown Pittsburgh slowly filling with families and friends ready to enjoy First Night activities, with the surrounding shops in better shape, the streets and sidewalks cleaner, and the mood lighter than the city has been in my traveling lifetime; it occurred that we had somehow, finally, found our way back to 1959, or '61, or '65. Before Woodstock changed the culture. Before suburbanization shewed civilization from our city cores. Before the "Great Society" unevened the playing field. Somehow, our cities are livable again.

They're better, of course, as the sky above and the areas up and down Pittsburgh's rivers attest loudly.
Early last year, we promised to dig in to the emerging Web 2.0 technologies. This year, we want to focus much more on the art of storytelling. I don't yet know how we're going to do that. Pretty sure we need to find a storyteller who wants to talk about their art. Hmmm, I feel a road-trip coming on...