Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ask President Clinton

On Monday, September 20 as a part of the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting President Clinton will be recording an interview for YouTube's CitizenTube. President Clinton will answer a selection of questions submitted by YouTube users. You can submit your questions by recording them as videos or submitting them as typed messages. Submit questions and vote on questions here.

Learn more about the interview from President Clinton himself in the video below.

Applications for Education
One of the questions that my Civics and US History students often ask is, "what do Presidents do after their time in office is up?" The interview with President Clinton could provide an opportunity for students to get an answer to that question. Now that I think about it, perhaps I'll turn finding the answer to that question into a research assignment.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Nine Resources for Learning About US Presidents
How to Use C-Span's Video Library in Your Classroom

TED Talk - How to Start a Movement

Do you ever feel like you're the only person trying something new at your school? Perhaps you are the only person trying new and innovative things at your school. If so, in his three minute TED Talk below, Derek Sivers explains how you can start a movement if can get just one person to follow you.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Fighting the Locked Net Monster
TED Talk - Creativity and Play
TED Talk - Underwater Astonishments

Google Instant - Search As You Type

Earlier today Google launched a new search tool called Google Instant. The benefits of Google Instant being touted Google are faster search, smarter predictions, and instant results. Here's how it works; start typing any search term and as soon as you type a letter search results start to populate, keep typing and the results continue to change until you're done typing. Watch the video below to learn more about Google Instant.

For fans of Bob Dylan, check out this neat demonstration of Google Instant.

Applications for Education
I'm not sure if Google Instant will make a significant impact on classrooms, but it could certainly help some students search more efficiently.

Update: Now that I've had some time to use Google Instant, read Jeff Utecht's take on Google Instant, and observed students using it, I am convinced that it does significantly improve the way that students will search for content.

Don't Eat Lunch Alone

In last week's post 131 Tips for New Teachers (thanks again to everyone that contributed) one of the tips that came up a few times was "form a PLN" (personal learning network). A PLN is a valuable resource for sharing ideas, getting feedback, and locating resources and strategies that will make you a better teacher. And as I realized today, having a PLN also means that you never have to eat lunch alone.

My Lunch Story
My school doesn't have a traditional staff lunch room or "teachers lounge" (I hate that term by the way because it makes it sound like teachers are hanging out and smoking cigarettes all day). There are some small rooms filled with cubicles where some teachers meet, work, and eat. There is also a copy room with a small table where some people eat too. None of those places are terribly inviting places to lunch so most people end up eating in unoccupied classrooms.

This year, every other day my schedule doesn't give me the opportunity to eat with others in one of those unoccupied rooms. Today, was one of those days, but I still didn't spend my lunch in complete isolated silence. On the days when I don't have the opportunity to eat with colleagues, I eat my yogurt and granola while connecting with my PLN on Twitter. Now you know why my Twitter activity spikes between 10:30 and 11am EST.

Resources for Creating Your PLN

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
My PLN and the Butter Battle Book
Why Do We Connect?

Two Cool Language Infographics

Through the Cool Infographics blog I learned about two interesting infographics produced by PS Translation Services. The first is titled The Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World, but I think a better name would be "translation station." The Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World is a train map of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Each track on the map represents one of twelve languages. Each station on each track indicates a country in which that language is widely spoken.

The second infographic from PS Translation Services is titled the Language Olympics. The Language Olympics features five rings. The rings represent Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. Each of the rings is comprised of the languages spoken there. The infographic includes some additional information about the number of languages spoken at the Olympics and the demographics of visitors expected at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Applications for Education

These infographics (download for free) could make for interesting classroom display and discussion. Here's a question to pose to your students looking at the Language Olympics infographic, do you think it's important for athletes that speak different languages to try to understand each other? (A little background on that question, in the mid-late 90's I competed in some international archery competitions. One the difficulties for me was trying to communicate during the scoring process with other archers and judges who did not speak English).

A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet

Julie Greller is an educational media specialist in a New Jersey junior-senior high school. Over the summer I to checked out her website A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet and found it to be a well organized resource that all K-12 educators could benefit from. Julie has organized her site into three sections, one each for elementary, middle, and high school. Within each section are dozens of subsections for all manner of topics taught in public schools. Julie even has a subsection to lighten your day called humor for teachers. If you're looking for a good catalog of resources, check out Julie Greller's A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet.

Update: Subscribe to A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
What You Wanted to Know About Blogging
What I Read First or RSS Recommendations
Hack Education