Tuesday, 25 September 2007

New Math: Equations for Living

Book links: Amazon and Powells

Friday, 21 September 2007

New Blog on Virtual Worlds & Learning: Pop.Cosmo

As the time of writing, this new blog has 4 posts.

From the first post:

This site has been created so that we might be able to share our research findings more quickly and efficiently with a broader audience than academic print journals sometimes allow.

I look forward to reading some interesting research findings from this.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Don't tell me you sell 'learning'

I totally agree.

What learning is NOT is a product. It can NOT be shrink-wrapped. It can NOT be updated to version 1.2. It does NOT rely on a particular OS or even give a crap about what version of the Web we happen to on.

I agree we should encourage semantic accuracy. Start to say
Sell training. Sell systems that manage training or resources. Sell hardware or software but don't tell me you sell 'learning'

Unfortunately, a lot of money in elearning comes from corporate training (or big system sold to education institutes) and everyone in the market is chasing after the money. LMS is a good example. The correct term should be "Learner management system". But it does not sound as good as "Learning" management system. So the marketing people decides to use the latter - which is absolutely abuse of language.

Since when we started hearing about ROI in training - when big business (and the managers who supported the buying of training) needs to justify the cost to their boss who has no idea of what is learning. ROI is coined and given numbers - artificial numbers.

If we want to continue to sell to business for their training dollars, unfortunately, the word "learning" will coninue to be abused.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Constructive Alignment

From the website:

Constructive Alignment, a term coined by John Biggs (Biggs, 1999) ... is the underpinning concept behind the current requirements for programme specification, declarations of Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and assessment criteria, and the use of criterion based assessment.

A short film on the approach is here

Learn by mistakes?

Should we encourage learning by mistakes? Case in point is sex education in secondary schools.

We do not teach our children to drive by allowing them to crash our cars. We only focus on making sure that they drive responsibly and correctly.

But when it is about human interaction and relationship, we are dealing at two levels: the social and actions. Building human relationship (marriage in particular) is not only about action (making love), it is more about understanding and enjoying the company of another human being.

Sex education seems to focus on "action" and taking precaution by talking about "protected sex". IS that encouraging "learning by mistakes"? Is that safe?

Sunday, 16 September 2007


From the website:

GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematics software for education in secondary schools that joins geometry, algebra and calculus.

On the one hand, GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry system. You can do constructions with points, vectors, segments, lines, conic sections as well as functions and change them dynamically afterwards.

On the other hand, equations and coordinates can be entered directly. Thus, GeoGebra has the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points, finds derivatives and integrals of functions and offers commands like Root or Extremum.

These two views are characteristic of GeoGebra: an expression in the algebra window corresponds to an object in the geometry window and vice versa.

I would characterise the website as a tool for creating visualisation of mathematical equations. :-)

See examples and an article Creating Mathlets with Open Source Tools

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Salt Water as Fuel?

This is too good to be true, but if it is true, it will really the greatest break through.

From the video, I understand that the burning is triggered by "radio frequency radiation" and can achieve a high temperature. There is ONE important point that has not been explained in the video: how much energy was used to producing the radio frequency wave and how much energy was generated as a result? The ability to produce high temperature is NOT the same as the ability to produce energy. Just like ability to produce potential difference "voltage" is not the same as electrical power.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Why re-invent the wheel

Here are two good reasons:

Bullshit- a 10-minute study

Inspired by Doug Johnson's BS Bingo

Bullshit, I scored myself on the first line of the BS Bingo.

[photo from I Me My]

One of my publicly documented Bullshits: Nano-learning (n-learning) is the future

If you are ready to pay $9.95, here is a book "On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt published by Princeton University Press.

Here are a few additional choices from Amazon for your BS pleasure:
Your Call Is Important To Us : The Truth About Bullshit
The Dictionary of Bullshit
The Business of Bullshit
Bullshit and Philosophy

OK, this is a subject that is too wide to study in only 10 minutes. Please look forward to a more detailed study report later.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Educating our kids out of their survival kit

The following two items get me thinking:

Law to increase activity eliminates recess at some schools
Not News: Our kids are fat. News: New law increases amount of physical education to 150 minutes per week in elementary schools. [source]

Do schools kill creativity?

The first item sends chills through my back. If school systems are managed like those described in the first article, the children will grow only into non-thinking ... slave.

The second item gives me hope and inspiration. A good analysis of current education system.

Please implement the ideas given by Ken Robinson!

Make a pocket LED cube

3x3x3 cube of LEDs programmable to light up anyone you like - even in an animation!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

A Giraffe is Born

The power of information has totally changed the role of teachers. Today, teachers are no longer is the gatekeeper of information. We should focus on helping our students to find and make sense of the information available.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Hydraulic robotic arm

via Gizmag

The robotic arm introduces kids to hydraulics in a fun and dynamic way that requires no batteries or external power source. By pumping the arm to generate energy it can then grab, move, lift and stack.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Physics as shown in movies

Here are some examples of the "gross scientific inaccuracies in the cinema world". See also

A fun project for the students would be to find and discuss such inaccuracies.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

How to Learn More and Study Less

by Scott Young

The article gives a lot a good suggestions to be an effective learner.

Here is my view on the same subject:

Study is input. Learning is output.

Just spending time taking in information is NOT the best way to learn. Learning is action you can do AFTER taking in information.

In the how to boost your study habits section of the article:

Metaphor - The heart of holistic learning is relating things together. Metaphors are literary devices that link two things that normally don’t go together.

Ten Year Old Rule - Explain ideas to yourself as you would to a ten year old.

Trace Back - Put away your books and start with a random fact or concept. Then relate that idea to another concept in your subject.

Write - Take a piece of paper and write out the connections in the information. Reorganize the information into different patterns. The key here is the writing, not the final product.

Out of the 7 habits, 4 is about output. You can definitely find out more way of OUTPUTing to order to learn more effectively. Blog is another way. :-)

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Google Earth Flight Simulator

by Marco Gallotta

A flight simulator has been embedded in the latest version of Google Earth. Here is what Marco has found out:

First of all you'll have to install the latest version of GE. Once you've started it all up, explored Google Sky a bit, then all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+A (if you're running OS X it's Command+Option+A).

The information page of the control is here.