The Oakland-based Purple Silk Music Education program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing musical training to inner-city youth. One particular student in the program, Tyler Thompson, has been getting some press lately for his renditions of traditional Chinese opera (Vimeo link). (Chinese opera, previously on the blue)
On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.
144 sites for online education. Categories include science and health, business and money, history and culture, law, computer science, mathematics, and languages. [more inside]
A computer scientist teaching at a business school decides to go after students who cheat in his class. He’s come to the conclusion that it’s simply not worth his time. [via]
Major educational technology company sold: Blackboard, the leading course management system firm, agreed to be purchased. Providence Equity is spending $45 a share, for a total of around $1.64 billion US (pdf). [more inside]
PossessedHand is ostensibly a training system for students of stringed musical instruments. It teaches fingering positions by means of electrodes that stimulate muscles in the forearm, forcing the hand into the correct configuration.
I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries...
A Miss USA delegate from each state (and D.C.) was asked whether or not they felt evolution should be taught in schools.
In an effort to preserve the rich story behind this landmark film, CONELRAD has spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER's production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away. In the course of our research, CONELRAD also uncovered a wealth of archival material that leaves no doubt that a tremendous amount of thought went into the making of this nine minute motion picture that has been the subject of so much dismissive ridicule over the years. (More CONELRAD goodness previously)
Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
Louis Menand of the New Yorker looks at the competing theories of education: that it is to create more well-rounded individuals vs. teaching someone what they need to know to get a job.
How edumacated is your state legislature? (sorry, U.S. only) The Chronicle of Higher Education takes on the issue of how educated U.S. lawmakers at the state level are/should be. [more inside]
The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program (complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap. Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz, an antipode locater, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco, a virtual route-follower, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name. Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery -- highlights include a look at mountaintop removal mining, a real-time flight tracker, a guide to trails and outdoor recreation, a 360 panorama catalog, geotagged Panoramio photos, and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer. And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
Philosopher A C Grayling announces the establishment of a new force in Higher Education in England: the New College of the Humanities, with much trumpeting of its all-star line-up, and its promise to "inspire the next generation of lawyers, journalists, financiers, politicians, civil servants, writers and teachers" . [more inside]
Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce released a study comparing the economic value of different college majors.
"so you can imagine, here I was, an analyst at a hedge fund; it was very strange for me do to something of social value"
Salman Khan: The Messiah of Math - "His free website, dubbed the Khan Academy, may well be the most popular educational site in the world. Last month about 2 million students visited. MIT's OpenCourseWare site, by comparison, has been around since 2001 and averages 1 million visits each month... [more inside]
In the wake of ever deeper budget cuts, public schools have begun charging students for basics, such as registering for honors or elective classes.
Theta Music Trainer — Train your ear with fun music games. Sharpen your sense of pitch and tone. Unlock the hidden patterns in music. Strengthen your music theory skills.
Camp Cranky is a virtual sleepaway camp intended by its creators, actors Liane Balaban and Vanessa Matsui, to be a safe space for young girls to hear personal stories about first periods, learn about the biology of menstruation, read poems about periods (musician Leslie Feist and actress Emma Thompson each contribute), and learn about various menstrual products. Readers can also donate to Huru International, which sends menstrual supplies to girls in need in Kenya. Camp Cranky is the first phase in what will eventually be Crankytown [the name comes from a Feist poem], a site where women of all ages can discuss menstruation and menopause. The project is a part of the National Film Board and Studio XX's First Person Digital Program. [more inside]
The Higher Education (Debt) Bubble - "[H]igh and increasing college costs mean students need to take out more loans, more loans mean more securities lenders can package and sell, more selling means lenders can offer more loans with the capital they raise, which means colleges can continue to raise costs. The result is over $800 billion in outstanding student debt, over 30 percent of it securitized, and the federal government directly or indirectly on the hook for almost all of it. If this sounds familiar, it probably should... [more inside]
The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
‘Everyone is a worker.’ That is a powerful statement, if you think about it. Richard Scarry wasn’t afraid to paint contemporary American society in such bold strokes. Nor was he afraid to explain commerce and capitalism to children. - What Do People Do All Day.
"Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree -- because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate." John Ewing, president of Math for America and former executive director of the American Mathematical Society, criticizes the "value-added modeling" approach used as a proxy for teacher quality, most famously in a Los Angeles Times story that called out low-scoring teachers by name. A Brookings Institution paper says value-added modeling is flawed but the best measure we have of teacher value, arguing that the metric's wide fluctuations from year to year are no worse than those of batting averages in baseball. (Though the weakness of that correlation is mostly a BABIP issue.) Can we assign a numerical value to teacher quality? If so, how?
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
The science education video series Sixty Symbols (previously) explores the Cadbury Creme Egg. [more inside]
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is America’s first water-based national historic trail. It consists of the combined routes of Smith’s historic voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1607-1609. Designated by Congress in December 2006, the trail stretches approximately 3,000 miles up and down the Bay and along tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. [more inside]
Rarely is the question asked -- is our business majors learning?
Harvard's 1869 Entrance Exam (PDF - NYT)
The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Music Dance Culture is the first peer-reviewed scholarly journal for promulgating interdisciplinary research concerning all aspects of electronic dance music culture. [more inside]
With the institution of No Child Left Behind, educational testing in the US boomed. Now, some of the low paid temp workers hired to score these tests are speaking out about the behind the scenes manipulation that goes on to ensure test scores are in line with "customer expectations".
Waterlife — No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
Forty years of incredible programming from Ontario's public broadcaster now viewable on the Web at The TVO Public Archive. Samples include: Imprint 1993: Leonard Cohen talks about his poetry and music. The Education of Mike McManus 1977: Timothy Leary talks about what freedoms the drug culture wrought and reflects on his own role in bringing about these changes. Talking Film 1980: The Cinema Of John Huston offers anecdotes about Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, and Truman Capote. Allan Gregg in Conversation 2007: Carol Off/Alvin Toffler, authors of Bitter Chocolate and Future Shock. [more inside]
When her son refused to do his school work, his mom had him stand out on a busy street corner with a sandwich board trumpeting his 1.22 GPA. [more inside]
Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms "In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools' dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD."
An Urban Teacher's Education is a intelligent, touching and very personal blog about the challenges that a high school teacher faces in the Bronx. [via]
Stephen Biesty is an award-winning British illustrator famous for his bestselling "Incredible" series of engineering art books: Incredible Cross-Sections, Incredible Explosions, Incredible Body, and many more. A master draftsman, Biesty does not use computers or even rulers in composing his intricate and imaginative drawings, relying on nothing more than pen and ink, watercolor, and a steady hand. Over the years, he's adapted his work to many other mediums, including pop-up books, educational games (video), interactive history sites, and animation. You can view much of his work in the zoomable galleries on his professional page, or click inside for a full listing of direct links to high-resolution, desktop-quality copies from his and other sites, including several with written commentary from collaborator Richard Platt [site, .mp3 chat]. [more inside]
Ivan Illich was an Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest and critic of the institutions of contemporary western culture and their effects on the provenance and practice of education, medicine, work, energy use, and economic development.
"I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school systems."
Kelly Williams-Bolar has been sentenced to ten days in prison in a school residency case. The African-American mother of two lives in public housing in Akron, Ohio, and forged court records so that her children could attend a better school in nearby Copley Township. Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced her to 10 days in prison, 80 hours of community service, and two years of probation. Ms. Williams-Bolar works as a special education classroom aide, and was working towards a teaching degree. Because of the felony conviction she may no longer be eligible to teach in the state of Ohio.
Horizon asks "What is reality?" -- youtube for links for those outside the UK: 1, 2, 3, 4. It's a hard question. To help you answer it, Stanford has a set of free courses available on line by Leonard Susskind: General Relativity, Cosmology, New Revolutions in Particle Physics, Quantum Entanglement, Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, The Standard Model. (Each link is to lecture 1 of a full college course of a dozen or so lectures.) If you need help with the math, the Khan Academy should help get you up to speed.
The Art of Hermann Zapf film "was produced in 1967 at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and in my design studio in Dreieichenhain, Germany... After long discussions and the help of a lot of alcohol we started late in the night. I was sitting at a slanted glass table with a hot spotlight in my neck. Frank Robinson was lying on the floor with the camera ready for a frog-view shot. My task was to write beautiful letters with ink which dried as soon the pen touched the slippery surface of an astralon sheet." — Hermann Zapf
Student puts the cost of education on the table Out of state student Nic Ramos paid his $14,300 tuition cost for a semester at CU Boulder in $1 bills to bring attention to the rising cost of education in the U.S. [more inside]
"little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
On MLK Day, Some Thoughts on Segregated Schools, Arne Duncan, and President Obama "American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago. The average white child in America attends a school that is 77 percent white, and where just 32 percent of the student body lives in poverty. The average black child attends a school that is 59 percent poor but only 29 percent white. The typical Latino kid is similarly segregated; his school is 57 percent poor and 27 percent white."