Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Science and Math videos on Science

There are thousands of videos on YouTube, Google Video, and TeacherTube. But how can you be sure if the content is accurate and free from bias? Check out Science Hack. Here's a post from their blog:

There are a lot of videos on the internet and it is getting very hard to find high quality, accurate and spam-free science videos. ScienceHack is a search engine with one focus: science videos. Every video is screened by a scientist (a university student or a university graduate with a major in a science related field, examples: applied science in physics and electrical engineering). When you search our database you will get relevant and informative results. Moreover, you could browse our videos and you will definitely learn something new. ScienceHack is in alpha release to test the idea and the system. We are always adding videos with a focus on Physics, Chemistry and Space videos for the time being. Please help us test ScienceHack and send us feedback. In addition, if you find good science videos, please send them to us (just the link to the video is fine). As we grow, we will add many more features, including: more categories, comments, articles, related videos, lectures, reviewer section and many more. Please send us feedback with your ideas and feature requests.
Rami Nasser Founder of ScienceHack
Halifax, NS, Canada
May 22, 2007

The site is searchable, or you can browse by subject.

Too cool--

Yesterday I was singing the praises of the Wireless Wizard, and I came across his reference to a free service called Jott.

Jott will record your voice via a toll free phone number, transcribe your message, then send it as an email to whoever you want. And it really works! I've sent a few test Jotts and the words have been recorded and transcribed EXACTLY as I said them! Even words like ubiquitous, Monroe County Intermediate School District, and Afghanistan Banana Stand (I seem to remember that from an old Woody Allen movie).

I can imagine students using Jott to record assignments or important reminders, or even teachers recording assignments for absent students. I can see myself being away from my computer and needing to send someone (or myself) an important email.

Jott will even import any and all of the email addresses in your address book from the major email providers like Yahoo, Gmail, and others. It takes about 2 minutes to set up and you'll be sending Jotts in no time. Here's one of several videos from the Jott website:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Robert Fulghum

A few months ago I came across Robert (All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten) Fulghum's blog. Today he had another wonderful post on learning to Tango at the age of 70. But here's the best part of the post for me, where Fulghum expresses his passion for learning...

I fear the shrinking of life that goes with aging. I fear the boredom that comes with not learning, not taking chances, not getting out on a limb of some kind - where the fruit is. I fear traveling around as a senior spectator just looking at stuff without being involved in it. I fear the dying that goes on inside when you get up from the game to sit in the waiting room for the final checkout line. No. I want the sharp pleasure of the anxious edge that comes from beginning something new that calls on all my resources and challenges my ego. I long for the excitement that comes from being able to say to a dancer, “I admire that. I want that. I do not know - teach me. I’ve come to learn.”

As I think of the many veteran teachers I've worked with, I don't see this same type of passion for learning about technology, or, perhaps, for anything else. I know they haven't always been this way, but they're feeling burned out, like they're counting the days until they can retire. Not all of them, but many of them. And sadly, when that light has gone out, it no longer shines for their students who are just learning how to learn, and who need to see the power of that passion for learning.

I wish I had a solution rather than just an observation.

Check out Google Mobile

More amazing free stuff from Google, this time for your cellphone.

To see how it works, go to: and enter a sample query. The picture here is a simulation of the text message response I would have received on my cellphone for the query "Detroit Tigers."

Suppose I needed to know the definition for ubiquitous. My query is "define ubiquitous" and the response looks like this:

Fascinating! My head might explode!

Cellphones in the classroom???

I'm getting ready to conduct a workshop on using iPods and cellphones in the classroom. iPods-- sure, a no-brainer-- but cellphones???? Obviously if one has a WEP there are countless websites to use. But what if, like me, you have just BASIC cell service? How can you use a cellphone for anything besides a PHONE???

I'm learning A LOT of great stuff from a guy who calls himself the Wireless Wizard. Check out his blog at:

There is so much FREE stuff out there that can be done through SMS (aka 'text messaging'), including weather forecasts, news alerts, definitions... amazing! Who knew?

I may have to upgrade my service plan so I'm not paying for individual text messages. This looks really interesting! Can't wait to try these out

Friday, July 06, 2007

Life-long computer skills

Via the TECHlearning blog...

An interesting article by Jakob Nielsen, "the guru of Web page usability" (The New York Times), says that "Schools should teach deep, strategic computer insights that can't be learned from reading a manual."

These include:
  • Search strategies
  • Information credibility
  • Information overload
  • Writing for online readers
  • Computerized presentation skills
  • Workspace ergonomics
  • Debugging
  • User testing and other basic usability guidelines
A short article worth reading. I had never considered the importance of workspace ergonomics before, but I imagine we'll be reading more and more about various RSI maladies as computing becomes more and more ubiquitous.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

D'OH! Create your own Simpsons avatar

I've been a huge Simpsons fan since season 1. Can't wait for the movie in just a few weeks. I came across the Simpsons Movie website and had a blast creating my own Simpsons style avatar seen here.

Go create your own at:
And for even more Simpsons fun, check out this Flickr slideshow. It's one of the 7-11's that has been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart
Thank you, come again.