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Showing posts from October, 2014

I Just Wrote about this, didn't I?

Ok, so I don' t want to jinx this. I really didn't  expect this to happen so soon. El Paso, Texas (of all places) has taken the step to become an e-Book learning environment, and also bringing in OpenSource Education, partnering up with cK-12 .  cK-12 posted on their page:  Today, we’re excited to  announce   the launch of our   partnership   with El Paso ISD, Texas to help them transition from printed to digital e-books across the district! No I haven't forgotten this Twenty-First Century Learning is a commitment to prepare the EPISD student body for the future by using the best in technology and techniques. As technology becomes a fabric of our daily lives,  it is imperative to be in our classrooms to be used effectively and efficiently. EPISD is the first large school district in Texas to take the bold and innovative step into the world of teacher-generated electronic books. We collaborated with EPISD to understand the district teachers’ needs and how technol

It's in my Other Brain

Psychologist Betsy Sparrow’s research reveals that we forget things we are confident we can find on the Internet. We are more likely to remember things we think are not available online. And we are better able to remember where to find something on the Internet than we are at remembering the information itself. This is believed to be the first research of its kind into the impact of search engines on human memory organization. Sparrow’s paper in Science is titled, “ Google Effects on Memory : Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.” With colleagues Jenny Liu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Daniel M. Wegner of Harvard University, Sparrow explains that the Internet has become a primary form of what psychologists call transactive memory—recollections that are external to us but that we know when and how to access. “Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things,” said Sparrow. “Our brains rely on the Internet for

Vibrating insoles could help prevent falls among seniors

Falls are the leading cause of death by injury amongst seniors, and those falls are in turn typically caused by poor balance or an irregular gait. Taking things back yet another step, problems with balance and gait are often caused by diminished sensation in the feet. Now, however, a new study indicates that subtly-buzzing insoles may help seniors regain some of that lost sensation, and thus be less likely to fall down.   Read More More cool gadgets can always be found on Gizmag

I Use to Be Disgusted. Now I'm a Liberal

Deciding factors of our views on the world may be far more biological than many people are comfortable with. But it sure would explain much of the actions of deeply conservative people, who, when confronted with mountains of information continue to dismiss fact for ideology. Of course, we’d like to think we came to our core beliefs through a process of rational reflection and discussion—or, at the very least, as a psychological reaction to the influence of our parents and peers. And there is certainly some evidence for the latter position. But the profound influence of basic brain biology has just been re-affirmed in a new research paper, which found liberals and conservatives can be easily identified through fMRI scans .

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show: Slams the Koch Brothers

Daily Show viewers are likely to be the most -- moderately informed , if not b est informed -- viewers (viewers being the people who still bother to watch the tripe produced for cable TV these days). This is because, Jon Stewart (and Stephen Colbert on his show), will slam anyone who is acting stupid, or trying to gloss over a heinous activity. Historically, these two shows don't really care if their targets are Democrat or Republican, or Tea Party or in the seat of the White House ... or advertising on the time slot of their show , as the Koch brothers found out this week. Basically the message is, "we care about our viewers, and if you are going to imply that we condone your actions, you are leading with your chin."   Thank you Jon Stewart for Doing It Right! If you would like answers to baffling questions like these: Why is America 83% in favor of health insurance companies being required to accept pre-existing conditions, yet only 43% in favor o


How many teen pregnancies are there in your country? Nope, wrong. What percentage of people are immigrants? Sorry, that's incorrect. How many Muslims live where you live? Whoa, way off. Let's spell it out Jeopardy-style. Hint:  This person is wrong . Answer:  Who is you ? A recent study of public perception in 14 countries came to this basic conclusion:  Everything  you think you know about the news is probably wrong . +  The Guardian : Mistaken perceptions  can shape political opinion . Also see an earlier blog of mine: Basically the News isn't News anymore .

Teachers and Parents need to Stop listening to Secondary Sources

Remember in school, when we learned the difference between Primary sources of information and Secondary sources of information -- and why the two are not the same?  A  primary source  is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These  sources  were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of  primary sources  include: Primary vs Secondary Sources primary 2.html Princeton University A parent just asked me if I had answers for the problems with Common Core. Apparently the teachers in her district are looking for ways out of using CCSS. The problem is, the answers are in the Core.  See, as soon as they succeed in removing CCSS from their school system, then life becomes seriously difficult, because as soon as Common Core is gone, then they are back to 10 years ago under ESEA and the No Child Left Behind hell of 2002. Sinc

Paul Krugman Sums Obama Up

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning Economist took a second look at Obama in an article published in Rolling Stones , and then a follow up with ABC News. His conclusion? Obama is likely to be the most effective, and certainly the most successful   president  we have ever had.  “Bill Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician,” Krugman told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “But, in fact, Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, is a consequential president.” With his polls so low right now, it's difficult to get behind this kind of arithmetic, but Krugman shows that the economy is on the rise, unemployment is down, health care has been reformed and significant financial reform is in place. The environmental issues are being addressed.  No, he admits, it might not be everything you wanted, but it is more than any president has accomplished in decades. Reading this, I felt a bit vindicated. Though I would never have claimed

Word of the Day : Proselytize

  pros·e·lyt·ize ˈpräs(ə)ləˌtīz/ verb convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another. "the program did have a tremendous evangelical effect, proselytizing many" synonyms: evangelize ,  convert ,  save ,  redeem , win over, preach (to),  recruit , act as a missionary "I'm not here to proselytize" advocate or promote (a belief or course of action). "Davis wanted to share his concept and proselytize his ideas" synonyms: promote ,  advocate ,  champion , advance , further ,  spread ,  proclaim , peddle ,  preach , endorse ,  urge , recommend ,  boost "he wanted to proselytize his ideas"

Time Hits Hard -- Teachers Judging Cover?

The writers on EmpathyEducates have put out a plea for their readers to demand an apology from Time Magazine, based on the Cover.  The cover has the blurb: It's Nearly Impossible to Fire A Bad Teacher... I'm guessing that is the offending comment, and what they are objecting to. I'm all in for Teachers, I really am. I spend many hours a week, unpaid, writing, researching and supporting them with all of my skills... however, I'm even more supportive of the kids. That is where my loyalty lies. The page that requests our support to give Time a black eye for their "attack" on teachers, does nothing to support their request with anything other than emotional appeals. This saddens me. And Time‘s cover doesn't even reflect its own reporting. The Time article itself looks at the wealthy sponsors of these efforts. And while it looks critically at tenure, it also questions the testing industry’s connections to Silicon Valley and the motives of these player

Places for Teacher Learning : Common Core

Groups and Organizations These links will take you to essential reading materials from the institutions and organizations behind Common Core. Common Core State Standards Initiative : This is the official site for the CCSSI, featuring information about the standards, news, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions. National Governors Association :  The NGA played a major role in the development of Common Core, so their website is a great place to look for answers about the standards. Council of Chief State School Officers :  The other major group behind Common Core is the CCSSO, an organization you can learn more about by visiting their site. Useful Resources Read up on Common Core, find out more about what it will mean for your classes, and get some help from educational providers and groups by following these links. CCSSI Wiki : One simple way to learn more about the CCSSI is to visit the program’s Wikipedia page, which is packed with useful information on the

Lessons Learned : Obama Sued By Congress

Lessons Learned is for teachers who wish to add into their curriculum lessons from current events which are highlighted in the news and a focus their students are interested in. There are many very good resources out on the Internet now for focused, well made, professional CCSS aligned lesson modules. From these resources, I try to find a few so that teachers can review them and use them in their classrooms.  Current Event  :  For the first time in History, Congress (as Congress) is suing the President of the United States. From the Atlantic When, on July 2, the Obama Administration announced a one-year  postponement  of the January 1, 2014 effective date for the Affordable Care Act's requirement that large employers provide their workers health insurance or pay a tax, affected businesses  "cheered."  But anti-"Obamacare" advocates and politicians howled. They saw a " blatantly illegal move " (  pundit Ken Klukowski),

Stay Away From Our Kids Neville!

To Mr. Neville, who already calls himself Senator Neville. I'm fairly certain that your campaign in and around Jeffco is over. The idea that you would use the very serious, and deeply personal struggles of the kids to bolster your own pathetic political agenda, without even bothering to understand them - is as ludicrous as it is insulting. We are currently putting out as many messages as possible to assure that no parent, kid, teacher or neighbor is tricked by your sham, and that they all know what kind of "Changes" you would bring to our district in the senate. It boggles the mind that someone with the shallowness of thought you have, might have actually been our voice. Your Sister-Inlaw, Julie Williams , the woman who works on the Jeffco School Board has apparently, publicly endorsed you. Which is against the law.  You have used the School Board Logo and pictures of the kids, in a way that implies endorsement. Which is against the law. You are saying tha

Bully Texas gets the Back of Core's Hand

I recently signed a petition to stop the Texas State Education Board from censoring Climate Change from school books and curriculums. (Yes, Koch is involved, yawda yawda... not the point). The group pushing this effort against the board sent me back a thank you note and a letter of 'reasoning' which I thought was slightly odd, since  I already signed the petition . Guessing that I might be missing something, I sipped a bit of coffee, wiped my eyes and took another shot at the email. The reasoning is ... after reading the message... sent to me because they aren't getting much attention and they want me to post to Facebook with their message that they have designed to encourage the highest rate of success. So, now I have to read the message carefully because my Friends list is filled with writers, artists, business specialist, doctors,and many other intelligent people, and I don't want to look stupid, just to get this group a few more names on the petition. T