Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moving Windmills - An Inspiring Story of Ingenuity

I came across this video through the TED Blog today and was totally impressed and amazed by the story of William Kamkwamba. As a 14 years-old boy in Malawi, William Kamkwamba built a windmill using the information he found in a book and miscellaneous parts that he was able to scrounge together. This is a great story of what can be accomplished with a little knowledge and ingenuity. Kamkwamba's talk (embedded below) is well worth six minutes of your time.

After you watch Kamkwamba's TED Talk you may also want to visit his website and watch the preview of the documentary of his story.

Kamkwamba's biography is also available from Amazon. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

Google Sidewiki Makes the Whole Web a Wiki

The big news coming from Google today was the release of Google Sidewiki. Sidewiki allows you to comment, annotate, and edit any webpage. To use Sidewiki you must have the latest version of the Google Toolbar installed on Firefox (v.2+) or Internet Explorer (v.6+). I must admit that at first I didn't get it, but once I tried it I found it easy to use and I can see some educational uses for Sidewiki.

Here's how Sidewiki works; start by installing the latest version of the Google Toolbar. Find the little Sidewiki button in the toolbar and click on it. When you click the Sidewiki button a left-hand column will appear on whichever page you're viewing at the moment. In the left-hand column you can write in your comments, annotations, and edits to the content displayed on the page you're viewing. If other people have done the same, their comments, annotations, and edits will also appear in that left-hand column.

The video below provides a short overview of Google Sidewiki.

Applications for Education
Google Sidewiki could be a useful tool for teaching lessons on evaluating value, bias, and legitimacy of a website. The sidebar could be used as a place for students to comment on sections of a website that they identify as containing bias or inaccuracies.

Enter to Win $250 for Classroom Supplies

Teach Hub is currently running a sweepstakes through which you could win $250 for classroom supplies. Entries will be accepted until October 31. The winner will be announced on November 15. Click here to learn more and or enter the sweepstakes.

The Impact of Flooding in the Southeast US

Today's episode of CNN Student News includes a segment about the impact of flooding in the southeastern part of the United States. This segment would go along nicely with many of the resources that Larry Ferlazzo assembled in his post The Best Sites To Learn About Georgia's Floods.

A Quick Guide to Annotating Using Diigo

For good reasons, Diigo has become one of the most popular social bookmarking services used by educators. Diigo offers good tools for highlighting, annotating, bookmarking, and sharing the gems that you find on the Internet. Yesterday, Jose Picardo (I highly recommend his blog) posted a quick guide to annotating using Diigo. He created the video for his students and if you're considering using Diigo with your students it could be very useful for you too. The video is embedded below.

A Guide to Annotating using Diigo from José Picardo on Vimeo.

If you're not familiar with the services that Diigo offers, check out the short video embedded below.