Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

You might recall the article on Immigrants and temp work that I linked to a few weeks ago. It was published on today’s featured Web site, ProPublica–they describe themselves as an “independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.” They go on to say, “Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.”

I can think of a few people who might blanch at the squishiness of some of those terms, but as you can see from this list of stories, they pick interesting subjects to explore, use interesting visual representations of data, and quality writing and story-telling.

It’s well worth a few minutes, and you might even want it in your list of bookmarks. Good stuff.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Looking for something else, I came across this article about Bertrand Russell and “everyday philosophy,” which led me to an essay of his that I hadn’t seen before. But I was intrigued by the subtitle, which said, “Part 7.” So, I poked around a bit and came upon THIS–a pretty great index of columns from The Guardian, collected under the header “How to Believe.”

Written by philosophers and theologians, writing for popular audiences, they take readers through topics and thinkers (e.g., The Book of Genesis, the thought of Spinoza, or the poetry of Rumi)  in a series of five to eight columns. It’s a great place to start for someone looking to get a toe-hold on some topic or other on the way to autodidact-ing, and might even make a decent source for secondary, background reading for students. Check it out.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Another list! This time the “50 Best Free Education Web Tools” of 2013. Some of them were around before 2013, but there are a bunch on there that I haven’t seen before and look useful. Check it out. If you’ve used any, let us know your opinion of it.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

You might find something useful on this list of “50 Must-Read K-12 Education IT Blogs” (or in the additional suggestions in the comments) posted on EdTech. If not, try poking around the site, where you’ll find a brief puff piece on CPS making Computer Science a core subject or one on a few teachers who are teaching without desk (anybody ready for 36 bean bag chairs? Me neither, but I do loathe the rows. There has to be a better arrangement doesn’t there? Anybody seen any literature on it?), including a link to an amusing “Obituary for the Desk” published on Edudemic.

 

Website Wednesday

The (poorly named) World Series starts tonight! If you love baseball, you already know that. But if you don’t love baseball (yet), perhaps it’s because you don’t have a full understanding of the game.

Well, I can’t fix that with a Web site, but, just in case, you might find one or more of the following interesting enough to encourage you to watch a few innings and maybe learn something (or at least have something to look for) as you watch the drama unfold.

First up, a site that is all about contemporary examples of “the code”--the so-called unwritten rules of baseball. If you don’t know what they are, you can get a quick primer on some of them here.

But that’s not all, there’s the pleasures of transgressing and defying authority, as well as occasional dissemblance in order to satisfy the demands of the audience, a kind of game within the game, as here where, according to the participants, there was more showmanship than argumentativeness. Trickery! Just in time for Halloween.

And, there’s always the human drama, as here, in the story of Thurman Munson. I remember when he died. I remember being kind of sad about it even though I wasn’t a Yankees fan and didn’t really know much about Munson or baseball. This summer, reading this, I came to think that I was right to be sad about his death way back then.

Enjoy the Series, if you watch sports. Give it a shot if you don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Website Wednesday

In honor of the latest fiscal crisis (here is a piece on “How the Shutdown is Affecting College Students“), I turn you to the august pages of the Wall Street Journal to see what the titans of finance and industry (such a fun phrase to type) are reading about.

Education, as it turns out! Here is a whole section dedicated to the topic (albeit, under the header of “Leadership”). Dig a little and you’ll find a piece about tough teachers, and another about the importance of failure for success (which, incidentally, is the final point in a series of convincing ones that I need in order to know that Scott Adams and I live with pretty different pictures of the world, even if they slightly overlap), and a set of predictions that I hope I can find ten years from now–if I could make a bet in Vegas I would parlay them as all false. But that’s me. Time will tell.

Website Wednesday

So, I totally missed Tuesday and this is hours late, but it IS beautiful outside, so there’s that at least.

Furthermore, I have no idea how or if today’s site, called Wait But Why, will be useful to anyone’s teaching, but I found it to be wonderfully entertaining and addictive upon first encountering it via one of its posts featuring infographics that show what the world’s water (and various subsets–fresh water, drinkable water (i.e., fresh, non-polluted, accessible water) would look like if it were stored in cubes and how those cubes would compare to each other. It’s wonderful, whether the topic is one related to Art History or population density or childhood toys.

So, too, are many of the others. Enjoy. If you think of a use for them, let us know!

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

I’ve been fascinated by infographics ever since I started reading about Edward Tufte and making Wordles, but in the last year I’ve seen a lot of really informative ones, including that really compelling one on adjuncts that I posted last week, along with this list of educational infographics, this one on how much cats actually kill (hint: a lot!), and this one, which I’ve seen referred to as “everything that’s wrong with America in a single graphic.”  With each one that I saw, I grew increasingly curious what tools people are using to make these things. So I did a Google and found this.

Here are ten tools for making them, in the form of a list titled, “Ten Tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographic.” I haven’t used any of them, but I plan to. If you have used any of them, let us know how it went and user-friendly they are.

And if you’ve made one, post it!

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

I don’t like Facebook, and I don’t use it, but if I did, I would be a regular reader of this site, called, “I Fucking Love Science.”

I first learned of it when it created something of a stir and a controversy broke into the news last March, perhaps surprisingly having nothing to do with the name and everything to do with the sex of the site’s author; regular readers were shocked–shocked I tell you–to find out that the site’s author is a woman!

Anyway, for great links to new science articles, fun and funny cartoons on science and scientific topics, and much, much more, you should check it out.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Introducing, Medium.

I think it’s basically a prettier Reddit (for intellectuals) and PR/Marketing site, but it’s lovely to look at and interesting besides. I originally found it through this post, called, “How to Spot a Weak Argument,” featuring an excerpt from Daniel Dennett’s new book, Intuition Pumps (also discussed here).

It’s become a regular spot for me to look for great stuff (along with The Browser, Longform, and Arts and Letters Daily). My suggestion would be that you pick one and check it regularly. Life is too short to read drivel.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

A while ago, I posted a bunch of readings about philosophy. I was surprised over the next few days to see how many people clicked on the link that said “Teach yourself logic!” (which linked to a list of texts for doing so. I thought then that I’d have to find some good resources for doing that. These are those.

First up is a website devoted to critical thinking skills called Critical Thinking Web–with over 100 modules devoted to everything from basic argument analysis to quantifiers to decision theory, that are brief with only three to five parts each and have a set of exercises (with answers) for comprehension checks. My favorite thing on the site? This list of 101 philosophical questions. Find your favorite (I like #6 a lot) and the next time you feel the urge to ask someone what they do for a living, ask them a philosophical question instead. Everyone wins.

But maybe you don’t like the look of that first one. Maybe it’s too busy, or too orange or whatever. Maybe you want more text, more explanation. Then The Many Worlds of Logic is the place you want to go. This site won’t get you as far, but it will get you through most of the concepts that students work on in a first logic course (fundamental concepts, formalization and truth-functions, truth tables, and the first eight inference rules for proofs). That’s a lot. As a bonus, you can learn about some of the “classic arguments” and see the role of logic in arguments about the existence of God, free will, and the mind/body problem.

In other words, using one or the other (or both!) you really could teach yourself logic.

And if you don’t want to teach yourself, you could take the free Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative course and work your way through while exploring an example of the world of MOOCs.

Have fun with it! And let us know if you get lost!

Website Wednesday

Did you happen to catch Makers on PBS last week? It’s a documentary featuring ground breaking women and telling “the  remarkable story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy… MAKERS brings this story to life with priceless archival treasures and poignant, often funny interviews with those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those first generations to benefit from its success.”

I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but (happily!) it’s available online. You can watch the whole thing here. Try watching the first four minutes and not want to watch the rest.

Still, perhaps you don’t have the time for a long documentary–no problem! Check out some of the individual interviews, or at least look at the names and breadth: Susan Brownmiller, Sandra Cisneros, Eve Ensler, Nora Ephron, Catherine MacKinnon, Robin Morgan, Alice Walker, and that’s just a few of the writers! It’s an amazing list of people. Surely there’s something you can use for a class, and lots of potential learning.

But maybe that’s overwhelming, too–a paradox of choice. No problem! Go to the blog, where they are presenting one story per day during March. Let them choose for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Website Wednesday

Though it’s been on a bit of a hiatus this semester (Website Wednesday, I mean), I’ve recently come across a few Web tools that I wanted to share:

~Storify: Have you seen this? It’s a super tool for storytelling, potentially useable for everything from student projects to building teaching narratives to the teaching of narrative and storytelling technique. It’s free (just an email signup), and allows you to search web products (video, blog posts, tweets and more) and build (by dragging and dropping and inserting text in between items) a story that you want to tell. It’s really great and really easy to use. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

~TimeToast: I’ve been looking for a good timeline tool for years, but most of the ones I’ve seen are either really clunky or littered with ads. This one is slick and not ad-tastically overwhelming. Not perfect, but really functional and cool looking and free (again, with an email sign up). I like it.

~Bubbl.us: This is a sweet concept mapping tool that makes it easy to build flowcharts, timelines, concept maps and more. The interface takes a little playing with to figure out, but once you master the hover then click move and play with it a little, it all makes sense. Again, FREE (just an email sign up) and a really nice support for content organization (by faculty or students) and visualization.

I have recommended all three of these as tools for my students to use in the course of their studying, suggesting to them that one way to both master and verify mastery of material is to tell a story about it. All three of these tools help students and teachers construct and organize their knowledge.

Enjoy.