Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game Changer: Telegraph

Just finished reading Tom Standage's The Victorian Internet. Lest you think that all this modern technology is changing the way we live, first consider the impact of the telegraph. It's amazing to consider that the mechanics of electric communication and networks have changed so little in the past 150 years.
Sure, we've seen increases of speed and data storage capabilities, but no modern electric convenience has had quite the same impact. Even "wireless" technology defines itself as the absence of wires, not a completely new thing.
I appreciated Standage's commitment to scholarship and historical narrative.Often, the parallels to today were obvious and didn't require explanation. But in case those connections were missed, the epilogue provided a concise correlation.
I have added the book to my recommended reading lists for students. The history is fascinating. The human story haunting. The call to wake up and avoid the mistakes of past generations compelling.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sail to Bible Islands

If the winter snow is keeping you indoors and you're looking to give the kids something constructive to do, send them out to the Bible Islands. This engaging edutainment world is presented by Answers In Genesis so the content is theologically sound. Another nice feature is that kids cannot sign up without parental consent. Don't let cabin fever overwhelm you, get involved with your child's online learning and have some fun exploring the Bible Islands together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Going Off The Rails

I'm hooked on Rollacoasta. All you do is build a roller coaster that scores the most points. Sounds easy right? Not. The physics behind this game are amazing. I've even got a couple loops to work (though not all the riders appreciated it). What's even better is that it's Gamemaker so the code is available to review. I could see a physics or programming class spending time tearing this one apart. If the web version doesn't work, just download the executable and install on your computer.
YoYoGames
Screenshot_1
Rollacoasta
Added: 21 March 2011
By: Erik Leppen

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No Where To Hide

Heard the following exchange between sales associates in the restroom at Best Buy:
"Ah, texting in the restroom."
"Yeah, it's the only place you can hide."
Perhaps we should be teaching customer relation policies in our technology classes? I think kids walk away from high school with such a sense of entitlement, that they don't understand how their actions (such as texting INSTEAD of serving customers) is detrimental to the entire business, and ultimately their own paycheck.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jamaica Bulletin Board

The yearbook class helped me put up a Jamaica bulletin board. Journey is our yearbook theme. The seniors went to Jamaica for their senior trip. So we made a Jamaica Journey board.
The fish each have a senior's name and the pictures were taken on their trip. I came up with the concept, but the yearbook underclassmen did all the work. I think they really did an excellent job!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Academic Bullying

Dr. James McGrath's blog post against young-earth creationists provides a perfect example of academic bullying. It's tough to discern his fundamental argument against AIG in the midst of his angry tirade. But Dr. McGrath tips his hand halfway through the post when he derides AIG for claiming "to take Genesis 1 literally in a manner that is not selective."
According to his arguments in the third from last paragraph, the Bible cannot be trusted. And in a more recent post, McGrath implores us not to believe the Bible alone but the evidence of it. In spite of Dr. McGrath's position at Butler University, he doesn't believe everything in the Bible can be taken literally! As I understand him, Dr. McGrath would rather have us believe the scientific evidence instead of sola scriptura.
Forget parallel days or domes, Dr. McGrath is really arguing against a literal interpretation of scripture. I wonder how many students would have recognized the real debate within the bravado? I also find it interesting that he links to an article that references an AIG post rather than the original source. Aren't students expected to cite primary sources? But then again, if we destroy the credibility of Scripture, we erode the foundation of all Truth. That opens the door to a selective belief system where each person determines the primacy of their sources, but I digress.
Hidden behind the high tech blogging , hyperlinks and comments, it all seems like schoolyard bullying: "oh yeah, well PROVE it!" Why do we have to prove the Bible? Just believe it. If we don't agree let's discuss it, but why attack my belief in a young-earth creation? Bullying is uncalled for and unnecessary, at every academic level. As teachers, we are examples to our students. I fear that Dr. McGrath's comments provide the evidence students need to justify a no-holds-barred bullying attitude instead of an academic pursuit of Truth. It is easier to agree with someone who throws taunts and ridicule rather than searching out answers through academic inquiry.

Streaming My Music

Finally set up UPnP streaming of my music files to my Archos 5 IMT over the home wireless network. Love it! Popped the ear-buds in and began rocking out while washing dishes, dusting and all those fun weekend tasks. The Archos was already configured, I had to play with my Windows Media Player settings. All my music is stored on an added hard drive rather than the default C: drive. At first all I could find on the mobile was the sample music that comes with Windows. But after changing the default monitored folder in the Add to Library option, everything came across the network. I can also view all my photos, and videos too!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Developing Accurate Citations

EasyBib is a website dedicated to correct documentation of all resources, both web and print. The student section gives resources on researching, writing and citation. The educators section has lesson plans on plagiarism and source credibility. The Downloads section has stickers, flyers and logos you can use.

Nobel Prize Winning Games

NobelPrize.org has several educational games related to different Nobel Prize winning scientists and their ideas. If you are looking for a fun, creative way to understand some of history's greatest discoveries inPhysics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace or Economics, there may be a game you could use.