The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School reminds us that today is Public Domain Day. Unfortunately, the Public Domain (in America) is shrinking. Things need not be so dire, though. Anyone creating content (art, images, books, movies, music, software, etc) can and should consider choosing to license work under Creative Commons licenses.
A quick note to all of the kind folks who attended my blogging and podcasting session today: I’ll have the step-by-step notes up on the blog by tomorrow evening.
Ever heard of tilt-shift photography? By carefully manipulating a camera with special (often expensive) lenses, it’s possible to produce a photograph of a life-sized location or subject that looks remarkably like a miniature-scale model. The results of the technique are engrossing and are useful for creating compelling images. Thanks to the TiltShiftMaker site, students can generate their own tilt-shift pictures without spending a dime!
I’ve been playing Planarity (devised by the ever clever John Tantolo) for years now. Planarity is a supremely addictive game/pastime that’s based on planars and graph theory. Give it a try. Hours will disappear! In fact, I find it hard not to want to play Planarity because the game is so darned engaging. After playing the game I find myself thinking about what I should have done but didn’t do. What is it about certain games (like Snood, Sudoku and Tetris for instance) that generate a continual desire within us to play them over and over again? If only we could capture the thrill and satisfaction that games and enjoyable diversions provide and infuse the same qualities within other, more educational pursuits, our students would create a stampede to learn. Heck, we could use games with a purpose to make the world a much better place.
- focus on engaging the user,
- encourage frequent, important decision-making in relation to the game,
- making provisions for leveling up (providing immediate feedback that tells players when they’re getting better at the game–not,for example, unlike good assessment), and
- allow users to embrace technology.
Why aren’t schools doing more to incorporate Prensky’s ideas within classroom settings? I wonder what might happen if we designed instruction so that is learning emotionally engaging, relevant, and possibly fun. Fulfillment and education are not mutually exclusive pursuits. Technology gives educators the means of making travel along the path to enlightenment a pleasurable, meaningful journey.
Okay, Mac users, Google’s sending you a spiffy, post-holidays gift: Picasa for Mac. Enjoy!
Have you heard of the Space Collective?
Well, it won’t be long now. TimeandDate.com’s new year countdown is ticking away the moments. See you in 2009!
2008 is on the way out and 2009 is almost upon us. What better time is there to reflect upon ways we can all make the world a better place in the coming year? Consider, for example, peace on earth and sustainability. A big step toward making our planet a more tolerable place for children, living things, and other, equally interested parties, is making more informed, better use of resources. We, all of us–administrators, teachers, media specialists, students, parents, community members–need to know how much energy we’re using. WattzOn is a website that helps users calculate the amount of power needed to support all aspects of a chosen lifestyle. Before ringing in the new year, pause to consider how and why we can all reduce energy consumption and get a handle on climate change.
- It’s later than you think. Take a look at Worldclock and you’ll see why.
One of the best ways to get pupils interested in school to construct learning experiences that are additively engaging, challenging, and fun. When students enjoy the process of experimenting with a concept and develop the desire to habitually ask, “Hey, why does this happen?” they’re on their way to self-motivated lifelong learning. Good teachers do all they can to inspire, incite, and engineer such outcomes.
For example, dedicated Science teachers know that their learners need multiple pathways to understanding. As such, instructors can give students opportunities to play around with tools such a Sodaconstructor, an interactive tool that simulates the use and behaviors of masses and springs. Why is this good? Here are a few reasons:
- For starters, the resource is intriguing. Once people see it, they want to play with it over and over again.
- The wow factor in Sodaconstructor naturally generates a great deal of critical, higher level-thinking that’s needed for comprehending the application of the Scientific Method. When students create interactive objects that move about as a result of masses and springs, budding engineers have an opportunity to adjust variables such as gravity, friction, and speed adnd hypothesize what should or will happen nezt.
- Next, Sodaconstructor is accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. Think 21st Century learning–anywhere, any time.
- Finally, it’s free!
The best way to appreciate the power in Sodaconstructor is to give it a try. What are you waiting for?