Thursday, March 15, 2012

101 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers You Should Know About

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pinterest in the Classroom

It seems that the fastest growing social network site is Pinterest. To give you a sense of how fast, in September 2011, there was about 350,000 users. In December there was about 1.3 million and now just over 3 million. Sure, that's no Facebook but that is a 1000% increase in users in about a half a year. And by all accounts, the users are like junkies.

If you are not sure what Pinterest is, then you are in the same boat as me. It has been compared to a cross between Delicious and Facebook. Delicious is a social bookmarking site and Facebook is MySpace Ver 2.0 (You can Like that if you wish). Full disclosure: I joined Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and haven't done a thing with it. I have been a user of Delicious for about 3 years and have over 1000 links now (mostly about math - go figure) so moving to a new social bookmarking site might be a lot of work. I am not sure why I joined Pinterest but this video has actually inspired me to give it a closer look as a collaboration tool in the classroom.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Philosophy of Computer Programming

  • If you have ever done any computer programming, you should watch this seminar. For it shows how simple tweaks in our programming languages could make creativity flourish.
  • If you have ever been interested in the history of computing, you should watch this seminar. For it shows that there have been visionaries in computer science that think of the computer as something that can transform us.
  • If you have ever considered yourself a visual learner, you should watch this seminar. For it shows the power of how seeing immediate feedback can accelerate your knowledge.
  • If you have ever been interested in science or math, you should watch this seminar. For it shows how the merging of analytic thinking and real time feedback can make solving equations and the scientific method so easy a 4th grader could do it.
Bret Victor is a software pioneer and artist. He has worked for Apple and Al Gore (among others). He has also shown that math does not have to be abstract with his Kill Math project. In this seminar he starts off fairly dry, showing some software coding but quickly shows that by exploiting the tools available, programming creativity explodes.

He then shows how intuitive animation production could be on the iPad and then finishes off by using the example of Larry Tesler (the guy who invented cut, copy, paste - really) that invention can be so much more than just making new stuff.

In the end, this seems like the perfect fit for a blog that is called "Don't fight tech, use the right tech". I mean if you look at how programming is still done, it's ironic that it hasn't changed much in 40 years. Sure there are new languages but the fundamental process is the same. Bret shows that it doesn't have to be.