Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oxfam Food Price Pressure Points Map

Oxfam has published a new Food Price Pressure Points map that shows the places around the world that are most affected by food price spikes. The map contains interactive placemarks that outline the problem, cause, and impact of food price spikes in that location. The map includes a statistics tab that shows the percentage of undernurished people in the places highlighted on the map. You can also view each represented country's dependency on food imports.

You can explore the map as it is embedded below or click here to read Oxfam's blog post about the map and get the code for putting the map in your blog or website.
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Applications for Education
You could use Oxfam's Food Price Pressure Points Map as part of a lesson on nutrition, geography, and or agricultural. Challenge students to create their own maps, using Google Maps, of other places and peoples in the world that are affected by food price spikes. Ask students to include the causes and proposed solutions to the impacts of food price spikes.

Hat tips to Google Maps Mania and Larry Ferlazzo for this one. 

Thousands of Old Time Radio Programs

Image Credit: The Rocketeer
Before televisions appeared in every household in the US, children like Ralphie were huddled around radios to listen to their favorite programs. Long ago those programs stopped being broadcast, but you can still listen to them. The Old Time Radio Network is an online collection of more than 12,000 old radio shows. The catalog is organized alphabetically by program title. Next to each program title you'll find the number of episodes available online. To get started have a listen to Hopalong Cassidy or Abbot and Costello.

Applications for Education
Visit the Old Time Radio Network and check out a recording or two for your next lesson on 20th Century history and culture.

Thanks Matt

By now there is a good chance you've seen or read Matt Damon's speech in defense of teachers. If you haven't seen it or read it you can do so here.

Thanks to a handful of my colleagues in SAD 17 who posted it on their Facebook pages I learned about this follow-up interview with Matt Damon in which he defends teachers again. The video speaks for itself. (Warning, some language is PG-13).

I Don't Hate iPads, but...

Last night I re-Tweeted the following from Gary StagerI took my iPad away for the weekend instead of my Macbook Pro and it's not ready to replace the laptop. #notreadyforprimetime. As usually happens when I Tweet anything mildly negative about iPads, some people came out to defend iPads in classrooms. Before we go any farther you should know that I don't hate iPads, but I just don't think they're a good purchase for schools to make them the sole device for a 1:1 program. If you already have a 1:1 program in place then go for the iPad purchase as a secondary device. 

Last spring I wrote that I didn't think iPads should be purchased as the primary devices for 1:1 programs. Since then I have attended conferences and facilitated workshops (combined total of 18 if I counted correctly) in which I saw people trying to use their iPads as replacements for laptops. Of course, I didn't just sit back and watch, I asked questions of the people using their iPads (I've also talked to random strangers in airport terminals about their iPads. Hey, there's only so much a person can do at Newark International or wherever I happen to be delayed).  What I've learned in the past fourteen months is that the iPad is not capable of replacing a laptop for creative productivity. It could be done in most cases, but not without finding apps to replace some of the functionality of some otherwise routine operations. And in a few cases in the workshops I facilitated participants were left out of activities unless they purchased apps. For example, when we were creating Wolfram Alpha widgets for our blogs in one workshop the person who had only brought an iPad couldn't do it. 

Aside from the time and costs associated with getting all of the right apps to replace the creative functionality of a laptop, my concern is this that Gary said well in 140 characters: @rmbyrneSimple - keychains don't sync, needed passwords, iMovie would not import .mov file. Just sloppy, not a hardware limitation. 

The iPad does have a place in classrooms. That place for now is as a secondary device, not as a primary device for 1:1 programs.

To be continued...