Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cool 2007 Tech

What's interesting on this list is how little they matter to education. I don't see much that applies to the classroom.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Telegraphic Note-Taking

I can't remember where I read the phrase "telegraphic note-taking". It refers to how students learn to reduce their note-taking to the absolutely essential. It made perfect sense to me.

Until I realized that today's students have no clue what a telegram is, or why people tried to limit the number of words in them.

What does make sense to them is the concept of "TM note-taking" - that is, abbreviating and eliminating unnecessary words, as they do for Text-Messages.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Physics First - or Maybe Not

I can see some issues with this study's conclusions.

Well, of course, the students with a better performance in math will generally do better in the sciences in college. Most college courses are taught from a quantitative standpoint. In contrast, in most high schools, Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science are structured so math skills are relatively unimportant.

An example: last week, I was talking to my Physical Science class about graphs. I pointed out that a certain curved line would indicate exponential growth. Then I said, "But, I'm sure that you've all seen these kind of graphs in Biology". I was dumbfounded to hear that they never used graphs in Biology.

Now, perhaps that's an example of the well-known selective memory of students - 2 months after a class, most are hard put to name one thing they learned or a lab they performed. But, it's also possible that their teacher, like many Bio teachers, doesn't dwell on use of graphs.

New Science Education Plan

I'll be interested to see what comes of this plan, in practice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Apple for the Teacher

I'm publishing this on my first Mac. I choose the MacBook after I dropped my Gateway laptop on my desk. The screen broke, and, rather than get another PC, I decided to try a Mac.

I've seen a lot of users lately, in the crowds I hang around with. Many of the Physics teachers are sworn converts, raving about the ease of use, and the superior sound and graphics handling.

I've only owned it a few hours, but I have to agree that it is remarkably easy to use. In many respects, it handles very like my PC. Some things may require getting used to - tomorrow, I'm going to try to install some science software (Windows), and I'll blog about how THAT went. The MacBook was under $1400, and came with a camera above the screen - kind of neat. I'm going to load the something-or-other 11 part of the system, which apparently I have to do before I can load OpenOffice. That's the down side, it comes with really no software installed - not even Solitaire.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now THAT'S Dedication!

At Joanne Jacobs site:
As battle raged in Baqubah, an Iraqi teacher realized students wouldn’t be able to take end-of-year tests critical to their future. The roads were mined or blocked by the U.S. and Iraqi military. School directors were afraid to come pick up the tests. So she picked up the tests herself and boated across the Diyala River to deliver tests to 1,300 students.

Even Vampires Eventually Leave You Alone

The state of Washington, apparently not understanding what the words teaching shortage in math, science, and special ed mean, has decided to up the annoyance factor for experienced teachers, by requiring MO' MONEY:
Professional Certification (ProCert) is a relatively new program that requires teachers who hold initial Washington State Residency Certificates to return to education school for one to two years of additional coursework in such archetypal ed-school activities as reflecting on "their intentional decision-making skills," collegial collaboration, portfolio development and writing professional growth plans.
God forbid that teachers not REFLECT ON THEIR PRACTICE! at every opportunity. When they're not planning, grading, counseling, conferencing, and, oh, yeah, TEACHING!Why is this a big deal?
ProCert tuition is especially onerous to the targeted early-career educators who already are struggling to survive on low pay, and in many cases to repay college loans.

Moreover, the requirement is redundant. There already are established systems in place for meeting stated ProCert objectives, including demonstrating positive impact on student learning. ProCert is a program that treats teachers as slackers who must be bullied into career planning.

Teachers with excellent performance reviews and six to seven years of in-service training, teachers in shortage fields such as math, science and special education, even teachers with master's degrees in education, all will be fired unless they register for ProCert.

It is such hoop-jumping that causes educators to leave the profession early, and that keeps otherwise highly qualified teachers out of public education altogether.

Ed schools already wield far too much control over Washington's system of public education, with virtual veto power on who even gets to become a teacher, and often limiting entry into the profession to those who demonstrate a politically correct mindset or who are deemed amenable to indoctrination.
Those teachers who've been out of Ed school may not understand this rant - the situation was different, even 15 years ago.

Now, the Ed schools have moved into 1984 territory - exercising thought control on the budding teachers. For example:

Guys, I've been there. While in grad school, I encountered the dreaded PC professor, who openly derided all who didn't parrot her twisted (and terribly misinformed) views. Fortunately, I didn't suffer in silence - I posted my thoughts on No Indoctrination. Never let it be said that computer geeks don't know how to even the score.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Small Changes to the Blog

I moved my template to the new Blogger Layout. It took little time, and, as I've found from my others blogs, it is ridiculously easy to use and modify. One of the few times in life that an upgrade is actually an improvement.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Grants from HP

Check out the link - I'm going to be talking to the math and science teachers at my school next week.

Monday, August 06, 2007

USB Apps

Here's a new use for your USB that really makes sense - applications that run off the USB, without cluttering your hard drive. Just the thing if you use more than one computer, or use shared computers.

Some of the available apps:
  • OpenOffice (an MS Office clone)
  • GIMP - media viewer and manipulator
  • Firefox & Thunderbird
  • Mini-Sukodu

Since I spend time on several different computers, this seems a worthy use of the USB.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Old Dog Learns a New Trick

If you want to specifically look for blogs on a topic in Google, you can get a list, from the most recently posted to the oldest, by choosing your search term, then clicking the MORE tab above that. The term to look for is Blog Search. That way, you avoid non-blogs and commercial sites.

Some New Uses for Technology

I have just returned from the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers) national conference. One of the workshops was "Blogs, Wikis, and Forums".

We were a relatively savvy audience - most of us know of the technologies, some had used them, fewer had used them in class. Once I get my camera out of our overloaded car, I'll download the pictures.

Other references to blogging in academics:


west of the moon: academic blogging

Teaching with Blogs: Always Something New

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Eat Better, Get Smarter - Duh!

Like, this is a surprise? Any teacher can list the kids who routinely eat sugar-laden garbage, and you will see a near-perfect correlation with test scores. You could probably also get a linear relationship with behavior.

I really don't get it. Why, when parents claim to want the best for their kids, do they let them eat non-nutritional junk?

Nice Bio of Fermi

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PTRA - Monday, 2007

Jan Mader is demonstrating resources to use in leading the PTRA workshop, Waves. She and Jane Nelson showed the PTRA leaders some new resources and strategies that are available.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

PTRA - First Day

This is Liz Harper, another woman in PTRA. We're in Greensboro, NC, at UNC

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It Takes a Thief - Dumb Ones

This is another example of technology being smarter than people.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Amazing Women in Science

This is an incredible story about the woman who invented the material that turns men into Supermen:
In the mid-1960s, Kwolek was a researcher at the DuPont Co. in Wilmington when she stumbled on the discovery that became the chemistry that led to the strong, lightweight fiber known as Kevlar. Pound for pound, Kevlar fiber is five times stronger than steel.

More than 3,000 law enforcement officers have survived potentially fatal or disabling injuries because of the golden-colored fiber that is spun into the sheets used in vests, helmets and shields, according to DuPont research. Since the first Gulf War in 1991, nearly every U.S. combat soldier has worn a helmet of Kevlar, according to DuPont data.
Police officers and military are only a few occupations that use the product.
Besides body armor, the fiber is used in products ranging from oven mitts to tires, from airplane parts to mattresses.

Kwolek is scrupulous about taking credit only for the initial discovery of a technology that was used in the development of Kevlar. She credits the team of scientists who worked on the development, particularly DuPont scientist Herbert Blades. She has received numerous honors, including being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. The hall of fame includes such names in American scientific history as Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers.
The 4'11" scientist
recalled how excited she was when former DuPont scientist Paul J. Flory visited the Experimental Station. Flory won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1974.

"He came and talked to me, and he told me that I had proven his theoretical conditions for the formation of polymer liquid crystals," Kwolek said.

In technical terms, Kwolek invented a liquid crystalline solution of synthetic aromatic polyamides, from which she spun a very strong and stiff fiber.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How NOT to Get More US Students to Major in SMET

This is an issue that I believe all SMET professionals, including teachers, need to become informed about.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Singing Tesla Coil

I just love techno-geeks!

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's Official

My husband and I have taken jobs in Chester, SC. I'll be teaching the Physical Science classes; he'll probably be teaching Physics & Chemistry - a few Math classes is a possibility.

We're very excited about it. It's a shorter drive to Cleveland from there, and it's near a major airport and several universities. We've been on the road almost non-stop for the last month. We've narrowed housing down to a few - we'll probably make a bid early next week.

No word yet on our Low Country house yet. It'll be officially on the market next week, if we don't hear back from a prospective buyer.

Which all means that I have a ton of work to do to get it ready for showing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

REALLY Cool Technology

This is the cutting edge of new technology. I expect that it will be expensive, and, of course, being Microsoft, it won't work seamlessly without a few glitches.

But it IS cool.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Best Educational Blog?

I'm in the running for Best Educational Blog. If you click on the blog title, or the preceding link, you can vote for me (or anyone else you want to - they have many categories).

Yes, this is a shameless plea for votes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Love Laptops

This is belated Valentine to my laptop. It is:
  • Convenient - I can take it most anywhere, and get some work done
  • Possessing an integrated wireless setup - I just need to find a coffee shop with a link, and I'm set
  • Making it easy to enter my grades right now. I just need to find the time, and it's a breeze.
  • not jealous of the time I'm spending with my OTHER laptop - that's the school's, and it's mainly used for the interactive response system (used with remotes) and showing the streaming video that SC has made available to us - free!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Great Physics Video

I found several videos illustrating Physics concepts.

Turning Boiling Water to Snow

Another Snow Demonstration

Making Snow the Hard Way

All of these are fun, and create a good bridge to discussing phase changes.

Friday, March 09, 2007


No time to update lately. I've truly been too busy to spend much time on this blog. With luck, I'll be move active in the future.