Muddling through the blogosphere

Favorite Sites for the Week


  1. Over the last 24 hours, a ton of Tweeters are referencing WolframAlpha . Stephen Wolfram’s opening phrase Making the World’s Knowledge Computable sort of explains it. But you really need to listen to his introduction to get a feel for how mind-blowing this application is.  If you’ve been looking for an example to show administrators and colleagues about why for our students’ sake, it’s no longer about finding information (which the Internet makes easy-peasy); it should be about applying information. For a more extensive post on WolframAlpha visit Karl Fisch’s recent post (Sorry, Karl, I’m  not commenting directly on your blog because, due to your settings, I can only use my Blogger URL, which is actually my dog Nola’s blog)
  2. ScratchNWP colleague Kevin posted this resource. Wow!

    “Scratch is a free download (for Mac or Windows) that lets children build their own interactive games, animations, and digital stories. After building their creations, children can share their Scratch creations via the Web. Children can learn from each other, be inspired by one another, and build upon each others’ creations.”

    Designed by the “good folks at the Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT’s Media Lab,” Scratch “puts children in the driver’s seat. They become actors upon the world rather than acted upon by the world.” What a great resource for elementary computer lab teachers! Classroom 2.0 colleague Zack Dowell just Tweeted that “Scratch is a really excellent program – I know some 12 year olds that are obsessed with it!”

  3. From the DEN Diigo group via Tim Childers100 Incredibly Inspiring Blog Posts for Educators – Great range of articles!
  4. From NWP mentor Elyse E-ADrape’s Takes: The Educator’s Guide to Creative Commons. If you’re looking for an easy way to explain the CC concept, this is it!
  5. Also from Elyse E-A – We cannot have too many copyright friendly resources for educators like this recent post by Making Teachers NerdyBest sites to find Public Domain Images.

This weekend ends an exhausting week (daughter in bicycle accident and needs chauffeuring; son’s car vandalized and needs chauffeuring), so I’m taking a virtual trip to Verana, Mexico (near Puerta Vallarta), via this stunning photo tour.  Yep, it’s a commercial, but, oh my, what beautiful camera shots and angles!

Verana 2009 – The Houses from Heinz Legler on Vimeo.

Happy weekend to all!


  1. Being one of the many that have been heralding Wolfram|Aplha, I have to say that there’s a very precarious scenario we’re dealing with right now in education:

    Yes, the abundance and ease with which we have access to information, especially simple wrote skills and knowledge, puts the urgency to memorize information on the back-burner. However, until every student has access to the information from their desk, whether ut be cellphone, netbook, or some other mobile computing device, it’s VERY difficult to make the argument that we stop teaching HOW to find information.

  2. Good point, Ben. It’s not acceptable that at some sites students still do not have equitable access to information. However, from elementary through high school, I still see what Nancy Bosch refers to as “Panda Reports” (Nancy, if you read this comment, I’m remembering something you posted to Liz Davis’s blog or ning a while back).

    Do California 4th graders, for instance, still need to write a Mission report? How about the 5th grade state report? And moving right on to the 6th grade country report?

    Years after great mentors such as Bernie Dodge and Jamie McKenzie, just to name a few, have continued to share strategies, templates, etc., that would allow students to question and apply information, rather than do the “dump truck writing thing” (pick up info from one site and paste it into another), I have to question why, at many sites, students are still completing the same assignments I had as an elementary student – back in the days when it was all about who could get to the library first to grab the book on Idaho (my state report – and I lucked out, since, amazingly, three years earlier, my brother had been assigned the same state). My family also had a set of World Book encyclopedias;-).

    By simply not assigning any more “Panda Reports,” I know Nancy hoped to step away from issues of student plagiarism and to promote critical thinking by asking students to answer questions that had not yet been asked.

    But back to your point…how can students question, share, remix information if they lack digital equity?

    Thanks for your response, Ben.

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