Arise, Awake

Winter holidays are great. We get a chance to stay up late and sleep in for a few days. It’s decadent, a thoroughly guilty pleasure. The only problem with this kind of arrangement is that we enjoy our sleepfest too much. We indulge just long enough to get out of the habit of waking up when we normally would. Later, when we have to return to our workaday schedule, sloughing off slumber is all the more difficult. Alarm clocks help. Even so, a little bit of assistance in the form of a bedtime calculator is extremely prudent. Here are a few resources designed to help the most determined dozers disembark from a cruise through Dreamland:

Just for fun:

H1N1 Tracking Goes Viral

Educators and students are visiting the CDC’s  2009 H1N1 Flu website for frequent updates. They’re using technology to enrich their understanding of the disease. That’s fortunate. Why? Science Daily and other sources report that computer models indicate a rapid vaccine rollout is effective in reducing infection rates; however, frustrating shortages of the H1N1 vaccine make the quick and thorough vaccination of the population unlikely. Help your pupils make better health-related choices. Teach them how to use FluTracker to keep up with the spread of the disease.

Screen shot 2009-10-26 at 1.26.06 AM

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Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime: Common Good Forecaster

What if the educational outcomes in your community were better? In what ways would life be enhanced for students and citizens in the town, city, or community where you live? Would augmented education lead to better jobs, improved health, fewer crimes, increased participation in civic duties such as voting? Think about this:  a survey conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America found that adults with the lowest education levels tend to have the worst health.

The American Human Development Project (of the Social Science Research Council) and the United Way have teamed up to bring you the Common Good Forecaster, a resource that predicts what happens when there’s a signifigant improvement in educational attainment levels within a given community.

common-good-forecaster

Related links:

  • While we’re on the topic of the blessings of a better quality of life, consider taking a peak at the Well-O-Meter. This nifty web-based resource will give you a better idea of your level of human development.
  • Do we really understand what it takes to improve the quality of life where we live? Instead of stressing over the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to measure progress in our society, maybe we should consider using the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). The GPI was developed by Redefining Progress, a public policy organization dedicated to sustainability (now there’s an idea for improving qulaity of life).
  • Finally, take a gander at Mercer’s 2009 Quality of Living Survey highlights. This intriguing report “identifies the cities with the best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transport provision, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports.

Health Tracking Goes Viral: What We Can Learn from the H1N1 Swine Flu Event

SwineFluMap

As bad as the recent H1N1 Swine Flu crisis is–and to be sure, the rapid spread of the illness is quite troubling–the event presents a powerful opportunity for authentic learning. Thanks to technology resources such as web mapping service applications like Google Maps and dynamically updated information by way of RSS, students, educators, and citizens everywhere can reinforce use of knowledge and skills from diverse disciplines such as Reading, Geography, Science, Math, Economics, and Media Literacy. By following reports of H1N1 Swine Flu and reflecting upon what’s needed to maintain a healthy body, economy, government, and society, policy-makers, educators, pupils, and common citizens have a chance to blend and apply knowledge in a real-world manner that leaves traditional, textbook-driven instruction far behind. The H1N1 Swine Flu emergency reinforces the importance of access to critical data, the ability to differentiate between unreliable and reliable information, problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity. How motivated and well-prepared are your students to monitor news, integrate content knowledge and skills, and make choices that ensure a long and healthy life?

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Fleeing the Flu

Achoo!

Had your flu shot yet? If not, Google Flu Trends will either reinforce your procrastination or move you to action. Why? Well, this nifty online resource is able to “estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional flu surveillance systems.” Roll up your sleeve and get ready for a slight sting. Lest you think that presenting statistics to persuade us to monitor and improve health conditions is a new thing, Florence Nightengale was hip to the process as early as the 1850s.


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