Sunday, September 30, 2007

R&D Project on Algebra Software Shows Promise

SRI, the sponsor of TappedIn online educational social network, reports provided encouraging data used to determine that a longitudinal study of SimCalc based Algebra I and II learning. It appears that teachers with strong professional development in the use of the software and working knowledge of the state's curriculum standards effectively lead students in learning that was significantly higher than the students in the control classes learning from their usual textbooks.
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Computer software that shows students visual models of mathematical concepts—and lets them manipulate those models by doing math—has a certain intuitive appeal.
recent research on SimCalc MathWorlds,
is providing some of the best evidence
can lead to gains in student learning.
Data released last spring by
SRI International
“large effects” from the use of SimCalc, when
bolstered by professional development and a curriculum that are both geared to the state’s math standards
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
owns the software
U.S. Department of Education has provided a $2 million grant to the university to conduct a four-year longitudinal study starting this fall

In one algebra activity using SimCalc, each of two students has a
colored “fish” that moves according to formulas they create. Lines of
corresponding colors underneath represent the students’ formulas.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Nature - Technology MASHUP

  1. Observe the weather and seasonal conditions in your area today or some time in the next few days. Report to JourneyNorth PhenologyDataChecklist. See my post, 2 Equal Earth Days on Classroom2.0 for more information.

  2. Join the Jason Project, a premiere online educational program with an emphasis in Science, Math, Language Arts and Social Studies. More about the Jason Project in upcoming postings.

  3. Look out for migrations and join the Virtual Monarch Migrations beginning soon. Check it out at JourneyNorth.

Since I believe the focus of my efforts in the blogosphere is to share and learn about related topics of interest to those who love technology, people, education and the natural world, my related educational blog postings can be found at my Classroom2.0 blog, my TECS390fhsu, and my Greenbush blog. I invite you to take a look at the ongoing postings for my thoughts on teaching, networking and the virtual world.

I stand on the shoulder of giants, and I stay in the mix with help from my friends and neighbors. Please let me know if you spot something to correct, to add, or to change that can improve my story of teaching. Won't you be my neighbor?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 Equal Earth Days

Isn't this image a great example of what excellent teachers do best?

Today is the Autumnal or Fall Equinox, one of 2 Equal Earth Days during our orbit around Sol. All over Earth, there is an equal ratio of day to night hours, except at the poles. Equinox is a pretty cool name to describe the moment in Earth's yearly solar orbit that we mark as the beginning of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Previously, I had mention the JourneyNorth Phenology Project, where individuals or classes note the weather and outdoor sightings around the world,each month, beginning on or about September 23, 2007....TODAY.

Most JourneyNorth project members are located in the Northern Hemisphere, but not all. Therefore the core of the JourneyNorth project relates to migrations, weather, and seasonal changes in the Northern Hemisphere.

Teachers, parents, and other interested adults can use JourneyNorth DataCollection link to get ideas on how to make bulletin board displays, charts and other data collection and display samples for kids to use. Kids will gain basic lifehacks from the natural world while learning a standards based curriculum. These activities will help make up for the nature deficit modern children tend to exhibit through lack of experience.

Sign up to receive the emails, access free materials and be able to login for data collection. While you are learning about the program, do as much or as little as you can. Using JourneyNorth really helps kids understand scientific method first hand, by using it.

Whatever you do will easily mesh with your science, math, language arts, and social studies curriculum. Most of all, using JourneyNorth really helps kids discover learning is NOT tedious or is exciting and fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Phenology - What's Up With That?

Phenology - What Is It?

Phenology - Where Is It?

Phenology - Who Cares?

Signs of the Seasons - That's What I'm Talkin' 'bout!!!

"Phenology is the term for the study of the timing of these seasonal changes in plants and animals. The amount of sunlight, which affects day length and temperature, is the main factor driving these shifts.

When students closely observe the natural world, record data, and notice patterns as the seasons unfold, they build a deeper understanding of seasonal change!

Each season, carefully observe the seasonal changes shown on the Phenology Checklist."

Beginning on September 23, 2007, people all over the world will look up and around their outside environment and report just what they see. This information is taken from Journey North, a wonderful online learning project that kids, parents, and teachers; along with interested hobbyists can learn more about science, migrations, and related topics.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Obscure, Yet Powerful Science

Having discovered that a colleague, Nancy Bosch is also very interested in teaching literacy through the use of primary sources, I was most impressed. Her work at A Very Old Place and that of her students, A Really Different Place is represented well.

I too have spent most of my life reading and learning about primary sources. My mother is a librarian, and my father is a science teacher.

While I love history, my own personal interests lay within the realm of science under the auspices of many researcher/professors who allowed me entrance into their world when I was a little girl. Most of their work was often obscured to the general public, but they were recognized by their researcher peers as the experts that they were. I grew to appreciate the power of science, and a distrust for those who seem more interested in publicity. I appreciated these scientists work and their humility, and it marked my love of science.

Nonfiction writing and its practice came from the lessons learned from my high school American History teacher. He taught us to properly approach the essay and how important primary sources were.

My teacher was a WWII vet, and I will never forget the primary source documentary movies he used with our lessons. Especially poignant remains the documentary of the Americans opening the prison camps, such as Auschwitz, and freeing the walking dead.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rough or Smooth: It's all good!

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Special Issue on the Endoplasmic Reticulum

This special issue features a collection of reviews on the endoplasmic
reticulum (ER), dysfunction of which has been implicated in multiple major human diseases,
including diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. These reviews provide unique insights into
the physiological role of, and the mechanisms behind, the endoplasmic reticulum stress response,
as well as possible targets for the treatment of human diseases involving ER stress.

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I have always been fascinated with the endoplasmic reticulum, and scientists are finding out that problems or dysfunctions in that organelle can cause death of the cell and eventually diseases.

7 Steps For Online Class

TappedIN, an educational social network, is sponsored by Stanford Research Institute, Inc. within their Center for Technology in Learning, an innovator in educational research interests, including TappedIN.

these seven simple steps to discover TappedIN, the online tech campus.
You can have an office and make protected classrooms for K-12 students.
TappedIN is robust and receptive to the educational needs of teachers,
students and tech leaders:

  1. Visit TappedIN as a guest. Sign in as a guest. Enable chat.

  2. After signing in, you will be directed to the Reception Room.

  3. You have arrived. Usually, volunteers are available to help...if you want.

  4. Move your cursor to the bottom of the TappedIN Reception Room and read the Quick orientation to Tapped In.

  5. At the top of the webpage, you will see tabs. Click on the Me tab. Read your message.

  6. Click on the TappedIN tab and visit the campus, people and calendar of events.

  7. After that, the "sky's the limit" more, join TappedIN, talk online or visit offices.

Friday, September 14, 2007

ROADTRIP: Coffeyville tour of flood and repair

Coffeyville, Kansas was the town most affected by the regional flood this past summer, 2007. While other towns in the area, including Erie, Neodesha, and Independence did have major damage and were without water in some instances for days afterwards; Coffeyville received the greatest amount of damage to the widest area of their town. Businesses, including the only oil refinery within 100 miles, homes, and city infrastructure were all affected.

Today, I will travel to Coffeyville to view how the cleanup is coming along and take a tour of of the oil refinery Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing.

Coffeyville is a town, steeped in the history of the taming of the West. They celebrate Dalton Days and the the Inter-State Fair and Rodeo. The Dalton Brothers and their outlaw gang were stopped in Coffeyville, Kansas by ordinary citizens who made a stand to protect their town. There is a museum and a re-enactment day celebration. There are other excellent museums like the Brown Mansion. This museum provides an historical reference point for the late Victorian Era on the Great Plains, which may be of interest to the traveler who loves to learn about the Old West.

This refinery was renovated during the 1990's, and it makes use of most of the leftover product from the refining process to make fertilizer. This sustainable use of waste helps make their refining effort more helpful to area farmers, so they don't have to use fertilizer that is imported from other countries.

Later, there will be pictures of the area for future postings.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gapminder is the best Web 2.0 app

I was amazed that Mr. Yunus was in the introduction of this Google Europe session. There is a speech by Hans Rosling where he discusses statistics in an interesting, enticing way to draw his students and the public into the conversation of the rest of the world...who live in squalor and poverty.

Go to see Gapminder:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Science Images: Deputy Dog's Blog - 7 Amazing Holes

All my friends share really cool images, but I don't come across many that would be interesting, scientific, strange and cool. I did today, and I hope you will think they are cool too.
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(if you’re expecting filth you’ll be disappointed).

looking at photos like these scares and fascinates me in equal doses. the sheer scale of these holes reminds you of just how tiny you are.

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A teacher asks, "How do you approach the topic of evolution?"

My initial response to the Classroom2.0 teacher question, "How do you approach the topic of evolution?":
What an appropriate question. I am assuming you are teaching biology, is that right? As in all things, collaboration is the key. If your teaching colleagues (K-12) agree and support the scientific method, then you will present a unified front on this topic. The more exposure and experience your students have in related science classes over the YEARS, the better prior knowledge base about evolution they will have in high school.
The power of personality is also important. If your students think you are interested in them and your subject, they often will give what you teach a fair hearing.
Having said that, I will tell you that there are some places where it is considered a mortal sin to even listen to anything related to evolution or a long time frame in the history of the universe.
Let me give you an example.
I was teaching Chemistry and we were discussing atomic decay. I was using the example of using atomic decay to measure time for the entire globe and set atomic clocks. Well, one of my students shouted out, "We don't believe in evolution!"
See, these kids learn, over the YEARS, not to accept anything that supports time measurement...including things like the Red Shift. This is anathema to their cultural and religious world view.
For more info: Evolution Outreach Projects

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Previewing wiziq - Sample Presentation

I am checking out this social networking website for teachers that my TappedIn colleague Jeff Cooper suggested. It looks pretty cool, and I will evaluate more. Can join for free.
The website address is:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Brain Painting with EEG

The Beauty of the Brain: Brain Painting with EEG
these aren't just inspired works of art, they are actually images derived from EEG activity.
They come from a site about a new neurofeedback system developed by Bill Scott, who has been a leader in the field for many years.
I can't get into all of his pages, but he seems to have developed a system that can take the EEG waves produced by an individual's brain and to create a visual image of the activity.
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Congress Disrespects Teachers, Students, and Parents

It is amazing how pointed the disrespect with which teachers, students and parents are held by Congress really is...they speak out of both sides of their collective mouth. They say they want teacher comments, but they waited until August 27, 2007 to send out an 11 page draft of a bill that the House Ed Committee hopes to present to Congress shortly after Labor Day. That gives any teacher who wants to look at it about a week to read and analyze the draft summary and to write a comment.
For those who have lost touch with the real world of teachers, students and parents, this time of year is the most hectic of all. School just started, people are trying to refocus their schedules, and there is very little time to deal with any other issues.
Surely Congress didn't intend to put out a draft of the NCLB bill for teachers, knowing that most real teachers wouldn't have time to look it over? It makes you wonder how separated from reality these people in Congress really are. I can't imagine that they planned to put this draft out to the public when the people most affected by it are so busy beginning a new shool year.
Congressional leaders, can you spell, N'er Do Well? Ill timed and ill conceived management of the people's business just makes you wonder why citizen approval ratings of Congress are so low, doesn't it? LORL
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The leaders of the House education committee today released a draft of a plan for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, outlining proposals that would revise how adequate yearly progress is calculated and overhaul the interventions for schools failing to meet achievement goals.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., said that they were inviting comments from educators so that they can incorporate their ideas into the bill they hope to introduce shortly after Labor Day.

Reps. Miller and McKeon wrote in a letter to “education stakeholders.” Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

“The committee has not endorsed this staff discussion draft,” adds the Aug. 27 letter, which was also signed by Rep. Dale E. Kildee, D-Mich., and Rep. Michael Castle, R-Del., the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Education and Labor Committee's key subcommittee on K-12 education.

An 11-page summary of the draft bill
Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader details many of the ideas
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