I am going to try to return to blogging on a regular basis.
In many ways, I feel like an alcoholic climbing back on the wagon. I’ve been away from this blog since April of this year. Why?
With the economy being what it is and needing to keep my bills paid, I’ve been holding down three jobs (one full-time, the other two, part-time). I all but gave up on sleeping this year. People I know who I run into want to know where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting anything. I wince when they ask and tell them the truth: I have been too damned tired. I seem to have lost myself in any number of one of jobs. On one had, I am grateful I am able to provide for my family. On the other hand, I hate that my work has whittled away what little time I had for blogging. I also know that complaining will do little to alleviate the problem.
So, I am going to try to do this yet again. I recently began working my way through P2PU. I am so glad that I did! The experience required me to create a blog where I can document my progress. I’m doing it in fits and starts. Creating and posting to that new blog stirred up a desire to come back here and bring Preclectic back to life. I know that consistent blogging will keep my mind and skills sharp so I’m going to try.
Apps for Autism (originally broadcast in October 2011 on CBS’s 60 Minutes) explored how tablet computers and special applications allow those challenged by ASD to communicate more efficiently and effectively.
Picture AAC app (from Hearty SPIN) is an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch app that helps nonverbal individuals with autism and other special needs to communicate effectively using pictures.
I’m back. I took a break from blogging last week to celebrate my birthday. An occasional guilt-free period of goofing off does the mind and body good. Rest is also wonderful tonic for a worn out brain. Want to maximize your shut-eye? If so, visit Sleepyti.me Bedtime Calculator.
I’ve just finished reading Alex Goldmark‘s uplifting article for GOOD, The Next Time You Cut Your Finger, Save a Life. Go read Alex’s work! What makes this story so compelling is how wonderfully simple and powerful an idea be. You’ll also get to know Graham Douglas. Graham has a brother who, despite daunting odds, was fortunate to find a donor match for bone marrow. The treatment helped Graham’s brother survive leukemia. The experience inspired Graham. He focused on how to find even more potential donors. His approach was both unorthodox and brilliant.
Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab is developing a number of impressive virtual reality environments. From the looks of the lab’s work, some pretty realistic experiences are being created. I wish this kind of technology could be used to develop immersive learning experiences for students outside of the university setting. Imagine elementary, middle, and high school age learners experiencing a virtual visit to ancient Çatalhöyük, Egypt, Greece, and Rome or making a microscopic journey through the circulatory system.
A side note: As host Sumi Das toured the lab in the SmartPlanet video shown below, I noticed that an Xbox 360 Kinect sensor was part of the equipment that Prof. Bailenson and his crew are using. This makes wonder of if, after a number of iterations, this kind of technology can be made more accessible to others by way of off-the-shelf components.
The KeckCAVES at UC Davis is working on software designed to interact with three-dimensional data in real-time.
The Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder (VREP) is an educational initiative and partnership between government, education, and industry that is committed to bringing a new kind of learning and teaching to schools across the country.
Symcat is not a doctor. It is, however, quite an impressive “disease calculator” that uses information from patient records to estimate what might be afflicting you. Now, if Symcat’s makers can just give their creation a holographic interface like Star Trek Voyager‘s photonic physician, The Doctor…
If you’re teaching Social Studies this year, consider adding an extra ingredient to the meat of the content your students will be consuming. Toss in some fresh information about about food. Why? Food is a relevant part of each learner’s life in and out of the classroom. The topic is meaningful to just about everyone–administrators, educators, community members, and parents, included. People like talking about
things to eat
how foods are prepared
how they taste
why certain meals are more important than others
how edibles are used as a reflection of culture and beliefs
who discovered a dish, and so on.
More importantly, when pupils encounter information that is significant to them, they tend to pay attention and retain the information for longer periods of time. By teaching Social Studies within a culinary context, chances are students will associate the content along with the food-related facts. One more reason to consider adding food to the mental menu is that the topic also makes it possible for educators to integrate technology in a novel and useful manner.
For example, an engaging Social Studies teacher might introduce a concept–say explorers–and elicit a few essential questions from students, questions such as…
What causes people to want to explore the unknown?
What is the most important thing people accomplish through exploration?
What is the most important trait for being a successful explorer?
Who is history’s most important explorer?
Who changes more–cultures that are “discovered” by explorers or explorers that have discovered new cultures?
In order to add relevancy to the concept, the teacher might also ask food related-questions such as…
What kinds of foods were being consumed by humans at this point in history?
What new foods were discovered when ___ found ___?
Who had better (tastier, healthier, et cetera) foods in their diet–the explorer or the people the explorer met?
How did food change the way these people behaved?
Which foods, now commonly consumed, would have benefited an early explorer?
In what ways has food changed the practice of exploration or the course of human history?
What types of technology existed to help these people prepare and preserve their food?
To assist students with their own exploration of these and other questions, the instructor could suggest that learner use the following web-based resources:
Knowing what’s in food that makes it necessary for consumption will shed light on why some cultures were (or are) more prepared for historical leaps forward. The World’s Healthiest Foods examines what’s good for fueling the body.