Monday, September 27, 2010
Without comment for now, I'll post this as prelude to a longer series of comments on where we're at in integrated online, individualizes learning.
"Effect Games provides free, online tools for building, sharing and playing your own browser based games.

"Your games may include sound effects, music, and multiple layers of parallax-scrolling tiles and sprites.

"Users can play your games right in their browsers, without needing any new plugins or extensions. Publish your games on your website or blog, share on social networking sites, and submit them to our featured games section!
"Build your games using JavaScript and our custom browser game engine, level editor, and suite of developer tools."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reform Surge?
If your TV is stuck on ESPN, you might not have heard. Otherwise, you've likely been told of the premier of Waiting for Superman. Somehow, this film has ignited in the main stream media the passion we have been seeking since 1990 at least.

First Oprah, who reviewed the movie on Monday, and then on Friday hosted Geoffrey Canada, Mayor Corie Booker and Gov. Todd Christy, and Mark Zuckerberg for a $100,000,000 reform and challenge announcement.

NBC has taken up the baton with its Education Nation effort (pressroom). (Kudos to the VP of Strategic Initiatives Lisa Gersh). All weekend and into the week, shows from Today to Meet the Press to a special 2 hour Teacher Town Hall. They've converted the plaza at 30 Rock to a Learning Plaza for the Week, and tomorrow a primetime interview with the President. Tonight, a townhall meeting, and there's also a great resource for looking up school performance info:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Viewing historical numbers, e.g. U.S. Income and Poverty
Take a look at how differently today's student can explore data from the past. Some of it's just a timesaver--rollover for a specific data point rather than use your straightedge. Yet there's ease and elegance and interactivity here which also invited deeper inquiry.

Take my midwestern neighbors, whose income climbed by a fifth from 93-2000--much sharper than other regions--then plunged til '05. Toward what deeper insight does this hint? (Age? Land prices? Job types?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HTML5 + JS: The Future of Open EducationThere's much to think about here.

The Background: the One Laptop Per Child project offers  cheap computing in remote locations. However, 1) Flash™ has many issues, especially with internationalization and 2) most open source contributors aren't sitting around with an OLPC platform, nor do they see that their friends, family, and future employers will be. So how to entice them?

The Proposal: create Flash™ equivalent education apps that run only in the browser, that use only HTML5 plus JavaScript. For example, Adding Up to 10; more lessons.

This presentation was essentially a plea for help extending the work began in a Google Summer of Code project. Yet it's also a great thought piece on the issues confronting anyone who aims to teach the world.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Illiterate Afghan Non-Com
Dr. Seuss and the Afghan Military
Many of our countrymen, convinced in 2003-4 and again in 2008 that Afghanistan was the "right" war, are now not so sure. It's taking too long.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

HTML5 vs. Flash
Apparently there was a challenge, and here's an HTML5 response:
"This demo uses Mozilla's Audio Data API for beat detection, FFT and waveform rendering; SVG Filters for the bloom effect; WebGL for the 3D box'o'Jackson in full-awesome; Ogg Theora HTML5 video playback and some special JavaScript libraries by the Mozilla #Audio hacking team that brought you Flight of The Navigator in all of it's WebGL glory.  (HTML5 Can Dance! from Bocoup on Vimeo.)
The actual demo renders fully only if you have Firefox 4.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The End of Management -
Are efforts like Open History Project the "new 21st Century organization"? What about and the dreams we have for it and its sister sites?
"British economist Ronald Coase laid out the basic logic of the managed corporation in his 1937 work, "The Nature of the Firm." He argued corporations were necessary because of what he called "transaction costs." It was simply too complicated and too costly

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Education Apps Review
Don't know how many more there are like this, but it's a good start. Look to the left menu: app reviews are classed by grade level.

At this writing, the reviews include:
Early Elementary: 31
Late elementary: 31
Middle school: 40
High school: 27

Unfortunately, these aren't app reviews as the title indicates; they're blog posts. Some posts review, some don't. But...persevere! iPads in Science for example, discusses quite a few science apps.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The New Assessments
"The New Assessments" is the topic over at National Journal's Education Experts Blogs, and I wanted to highlight Tom Vander Ark’s response. He summarizes as:
“I’d much rather see a marketplace of powerful instructional systems that invisibly embed assessment.”
I’d love to be building part of this marketplace.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 | Sticky vs Noise
Just got off the phone with Neeru Khosla of and the substance of our agreement was that technology is too often noise--and how do we get around that?

This site (part of the Active History sites) at first seems to fit the category noise. And yet....
it's worth remembering chapter 3 of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point--"The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, and the Educational Virus".

Noise in education is stuff that doesn't make sense. 'Stickiness' is the stuff that helps you pay attention and perhaps remember.

Will a hamburger essay diagram or a fishbone diagram help you better learn and remember? I don't know the research. We'll bet though, that it depends on the quality and appropriateness of the content being engaged.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Adobe - Flash CS3 resources
How to help interactives developers focus on
  • Content
  • Curricular relevance
  • Composition
instead of technology and gadgets?

That's the road we're on, especially as I look toward assembling the SXSW Panel (Building Open Platforms for Learning K-12 Core Content).

Monday, September 06, 2010

New Ruby Project Support in Sprouts - ProjectSprouts
Your pardons while we drill a bit into a few more techie things. Following up on Sprouts, it installed very nicely, but the first run out of the box ran into issues with my Ruby Gems installation. Investigations underway.

Meanwhile, this thread in their support group gives more insight into where things were heading c. late June. If the first couple posts scare you, read on to Matt's questions and the answers for reassurance.

Speaking of reassurance, my previous query about sustainment of the project seems settled for now. The users bb shows some 226 members--pretty good. And a core team that seems committed to the long haul, not just to sustaining, but to expanding in perhaps even new directions.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Rails & Actionscript: Project Sprouts Screencast
Oh, my. This is just too sweet.

Want to embed a nice Flash™ animation/interactive in a oh-so-adaptable Rails app? The very thing I've been exploring the past couple weeks. And look, here's...

  1. Install it with your Rails setup.
  2. Generate a project.
  3. Type in your Actionscript (or MXML) code into the appropriate .as file.
  4. Run the generator, and woo-hoo! your .swf file is ready to go!!

Just seems like right where my head was at today, in planning out the content for the SXSW panel!
Union on strike against Ohio teachers union
I'm sorry, but this is just toooo funny.

It appears that the OEA is stiffing these poor, oppressed members of the working class. The heartless bastards! The imperious, greedy corporate overlords!!
"OEA officers and managers need to practice what they preach. It's a pretty high form of hypocrisy for OEA officers and managers to be giving us this treatment when they expect us to protect OEA members from the same treatment out in the schools," said Norm Young, president of the Professional Staff Union.
Young said the workers are dealing with the same issues they help teachers deal with - protecting pensions, health-care benefits, job security, workload and compensation.
Uh, wait. The workers on strike make how much? $111,350, on average?! About $10,000 more than the average school superintendent?

Seriously, does no one at NEA/OEA get how this illustrates the absurdity of the current situation in public schools? We pretend that people making $80,000 are members of working class on the edge of poverty, ready to be squashed by the man the minute they let go of collective bargaining. When, in reality, they are generally treated as good or better than most professionals. Only with silly working conditions imposed by their own (silly) 240 page contracts.

Don't get me wrong. I am fairly sure the negotiators are well worth the price (and more) to their customers, the teachers.

In the real world, though, wouldn't they all form a company, negotiate a contract without the threat of federal intervention, and provide the best services for the best price? The way the rest of us do it; the way teachers buy everything else in their lives?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends -
I don't even understand this, and I lost interest before giving reading enough to try.

Still, there's a lesson here to would be builders of Individualized Networked Learning. Maybe. I think.