Showing posts with label mashable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mashable. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Might Be the Worst Idea for "Fixing Education"

I cringe whenever I see a popular blog like Mashable run posts about "fixing education." Last week they ran a  post titled An Idea for Fixing Education: Skip College, Work at a Startup. The author of the article, Sarah Kessler,  proposes that students would be better served by spending two years in internships for these technology start-ups than they would be by going to college. I am all for students getting practical experience in the fields that they have an interest in working in, but to suggest that students can learn everything they need to know through a two year internship is ludicrous.

Internship experience is valuable if it is done correctly. Student teaching is a good example of internships done right because students get actual experience performing the job of teaching. Internships that turn students into glorified personal assistants don't benefit students. I'm not saying that these internships will do that to students, but even at their best good internships don't supply all of the other skills taught and experiences gained by spending four years college. 

Even if you think that spending two years in an internship is better than spending that time in college, committing to two years with an tech start-up is still a risky proposition. Tech start-ups rise and fall with remarkable speed. What happens to a student when the start-up fails one year into his internship? 

Yes, four years of college is expensive and students are increasingly taking on enormous amounts of debt, but the knowledge and experience good students gain are invaluable. An internship can be a part of that four year experience. An internship should not be a replacement for four years of education. The internships with which I am familiar expect that students already know how to write, research, and communicate. The internship is where those skills are refined and put to use in a career field. The internship is not where you learn those skills.

For the writers and editors at Mashable, please stick to making lists of Adorable Google Doodles for Valentine's Day and leave "fixing education" to educators before you send more students down a dangerous path. I know that you all think that anyone can become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates by dropping out of college and working on their tech start-ups. Just remember Zuckerberg and Gates graduated from exclusive prep schools and dropped out of Ivy League schools, so on some level they were already exceptional before they became exceptional. If you can afford (financially and personally) to go to and drop out of Ivy League schools then maybe you should just spend a couple of years at an internship. The rest of us should stay in school, graduate, and then work on building the next big thing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Use Twitter's Advanced Search Options

First, this is not one of those "Twitter will save education" posts. That said, Twitter can be useful for finding resources that can help you as a teacher. The first step in using Twitter is to develop a nice network of people that you interact with, commonly referred to as a personal learning network or PLN. Here are eight ways to develop a PLN. Once you develop a PLN you have a great place to ask questions and share resources. But even then sometimes you won't get quite what you're seeking. In those cases you can turn to Twitter Advanced Search to see what people outside of your PLN have to offer.

Mashable recently produced a video demonstrating how to use Twitter Advanced Search. This three minute video covers what you need to know in order to take advantage of all the information shared on Twitter.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Insightful News Infographics

Mashable has an article today titled 10 of the Web's Most Insightful Infographics. I looked through the list and while I didn't think all of them were great, there were a couple that jumped out at me. Actually the two that I'm going to highlight below are really interactive maps that Mashable called infographics.

Geography of a Recession is an interactive map found on the NY Times website. The map outlines every county in the United States. Click on any county to see the unemployment rate for that county and the increase or decrease in unemployment over the last year.

The World Factbook Dashboard is an interactive map that allows you to color code the world based on statistics including population, infant mortality, GDP, and inflation.

Applications for Education
Both of the interactive maps listed above could be useful for economics lessons for students to compare the economic well being of different parts of the world. You could use these maps as the launching point for further research into the causes of the economic differences between different places.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Is It Better to Rent or Buy? Interactive Infographic
Two Cool Economics Infographics

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The State of the Internet 2009

Using data from the Pew Research Center, Technorati, and other organizations, Focus has produced an infographic about Internet use and Internet access in 2009. The State of the Internet 2009 highlights who uses the Internet and how much they use it. Some of the statistics that may be of interest to educators are: average broadband speed in the US is only one third the speed of that found in France and just one fifteenth the speed of that found in Japan. Another key statistic while not ground-breaking is representative of one of the challenges facing those of us in poorer districts, broadband access is lowest among households earning less than $30,000/year. View the complete infographic here.

Mashable, which is where I first learned about this infographic, has some commentary on the infographic that you might also be interested in reading.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Fun Physical Education and Video Activity

The International Olympic Committee in partnership with YouTube has launched a new site called The Best of Us Challenge. The Best of Us Challenge is designed to give average people a chance to test their unique athletic abilities against those of real Olympians. Through The Best of Us Challenge, participants "compete" against Olympians in unique physical challenges such as spinning an umbrella or balancing a stick your foot. To enter, select a challenge, create a short video of yourself completing the challenge, then upload the video to the YouTube The Best of Us Challege page. Winners of the contest can win t-shirts, video games, posters, and possibly a trip to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The contest is open to participants age 13 and older (under 18 needs parental consent). Read all of the contest details here.

The video below is Asafa Powell's challenge to balance a stick on your foot.

Thanks to Mashable for the information about this fun challenge.

Applications for Education
The Best of Us Challenge provides a fun opportunity to get kids excited about physical education challenges while also providing an opportunity to integrate a technology component into a physical education class. The Best of Us Challenge also provides an opportunity for students who may not fit into the typical "athlete" mold to show-off their unique skills.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We Choose the Moon - Apollo 11 40th Anniversary

We Choose the Moon, featured earlier today on Mashable, is a site commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The site is a project put together by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

We Choose the Moon has eleven stages that viewers will follow as the mission progresses. If you visit the site right now, Stage One is the only active stage because the mission hasn't yet launched. On July 16th, Stage Two will be active and all other stages will become active in the same sequence as on the original mission forty years ago.

If you visit We Choose the Moon anytime between now and July 16th you can explore image and video galleries capturing the sights and sounds of the lead-up to the launch. Included in these galleries are videos of President Kennedy talking about the goal of putting a man on the moon.

Applications for Education
We Choose the Moon is a great website for students to explore in a history class or in any science class that addresses space exploration.

An excellent companion to We Choose the Moon, Moon Landing Memories, was posted in the comments on Mashable's article about We Choose the Moon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Navify - Wikipedia With Images and Videos

Navify is a new mashup of Wikipedia, Flickr, and YouTube. Like Nibipedia and Visual Wikipedia, Navify attempts to match videos and images to Wikipedia articles. To use Navify, simply enter a search term just as you would on Wikipedia. The results of your search will be shown in a three tab display of Wikipedia article, related images, and related videos. The screenshot below shows the results page for my search for WWII.

Applications for Education
What I like about this type of Wikipedia and video mashup is that it provides a second or third option for students to get engaged in learning. A student that struggles as a reader can still get engaged in an article through the corresponding videos and images.

Visual Wikipedia is still my favorite mash-up of Wikipedia and videos because of its web-style of information discovery. That said, Navify is a very good resource for finding visual aids to complement the topics that your students are studying.

Mashable and Larry Ferlazzo also have good things to say about Navify.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just for Fun - Twitter in Real Life

I'm a big proponent of using Twitter as a tool for developing a personal learning network and I've written dozens of posts about various uses of Twitter for learning professional learning purposes. Sometimes it's healthy to be able to poke a little fun at ourselves and have a laugh about the things that we do. Twitter in Real Life is a fun look at Twitter. Thanks to Mashable for sharing the video.

Here are some related blog posts that may be of interest to you:
Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter
WebMynd - Google Search + Social Search

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Week in Review or... My Mashable Moment

The last seven days have seen Free Technology for Teachers receive more traffic than ever before thanks to Mashable. Friday and Saturday are typically the slowest traffic days for this blog, but last Friday the super huge tech blog Mashable tweeted my blog post about finding teachers on Twitter to more than 200,00o people. That one little message sent out by someone at Mashable resulted in Friday and Saturday being the two biggest days of traffic on Free Technology for Teachers since I started this blog.

It's not just Mashable that has helped this blog grow it's all of the loyal readers and subscribers that have made Free Technology for Teachers grow. Thank you to everyone that has shared a link or told a colleague about Free Technology for Teachers.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter
2. World of Teaching - Slideshows for all Subjects
3. Connecting Classrooms Through VoiceThread
4. How Much is One Trillion Dollars?
5. Explaining Daylight Saving Time
6. Figure This! Family Math Challenges
7. Myths and Legends Storybuilder

If you're new to the blog, welcome, please take a few minutes to browse the archives. If you find this blog useful, please consider subscribing to the RSS or daily email feed. You can subscribe to the RSS feed here or subscribe to the daily email feed here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Part-Time Work For Students?

Yesterday, Mashable posted one of their great web resource lists. Yesterday's list was 40+ Places to Sell Your Designs Online. Lately, I've been talking with some of my high school students about part-time work and how hard it is for them to find part-time jobs right now. In some cases much of their concern stems from a desire to save money for college expenses. Mashable's list presents a list of potential money making opportunities for artistically inclined students and or students that possess html and css skills. This aren't "get rich" opportunities, but they certainly could be a "make money" opportunity for some high school students and college students. One word of caution before sharing the list with high school students; the terms or service for most of these services require the contributor to be at least 18. High school students and their parents do need to read the fine print carefully before using one of the services.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Use Google Maps to Read the News

MetaCarta is one of the Google Maps mashups listed in Mashable's 100+ Google Maps Mashups list. MetaCarta is a mashup of Reuters news stories and Google Maps. Using MetaCarta you can search for new stories by location, by topic, or by date/time. On the left side of the screen a list of stories is displayed and on the right side a Google Map displays the location of each news story in the list.

Applications for Education
MetaCarta provides all of the current news stories that a Social Studies/ Current Events teacher needs along with a geographic context for each story. You could use the idea of MetaCarta to have your students create their own mashup of news stories that they read in class.

If you're not familiar with creating content on Google Maps or would like an easy-to-understand tutorial for your students, check out the Google Maps YouTube Channel. On the Google Maps YouTube Channel you will videos like the one below.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beta Invites via Mashable

This service is no longer available.

As the holiday break approaches and you begin to wonder what you'll do with your days off, consider taking a look at the Mashable Invites page. There you will find beta invites to hundreds of Internet start-up companies. You will have to sift through the list to find things that are useful for education, but there is good stuff in there. The Mashable Invites page is where I first gained access to the Dipity Timeline service. Or, if you're just curious about what's happening in the way of new Internet companies, take a look at the list. Finally, even if you don't find something you like, you'll at least feel like a cool "Internet insider" after reading Mashable.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Free SAT Prep - Act Quickly

Brightstorm is a test prep and online tutoring company that normally charges $49 for students to take their online SAT prep course. Right now they are offering the course for free to the first 1,000 people to sign-up through Mashable. Visit Mashable for all of the details.

Embedded below is a video introduction to Brightstorm services.