12 interesting things to explore

Here is a current listing of some things I found mentally stimulating:

I really enjoyed reading John Suk’s book: Not Sure: A Pastor’s Journey from Faith to Doubt. Maybe it is because we are similar ages, but I felt like I could really relate to his description of growing up in the culture of the same denomination. He takes us through the past and present of Christian belief by looking at history and reflecting on his own personal faith development. It is a painfully honest, yet hopeful book about a faith journey that a faith that lives and deals with doubt, a faith that receives grace as a little child.

A friend, who heard that I would be speaking in Hungary and Romania, suggested that I check out the site Live Mocha  to learn some phrases. What a great tool – it says the word, shows a picture, and takes you through self-paced lessons – for free!

Another friend mentioned that he was in a study group on the book, Wasting Minds: Why Our Education System is Failing and What We Can Do About It by Ronald Wolk. I am about 2/3rds of the way through the book and appreciate the fact that the author (former editor of Education Week for 20+ years) is speaking boldly about problems and solutions. My favorite quote so far: “We will make real progress only when we realize our problem in education is not mainly one of performance but one of design. It is the obsolete and flawed design of the conventional public school that accounts for the poor performance of a great many students.” (p.25)

Infographics have grown in popularity – they are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. The graphic on the left comes from Daily Infographic and another leading site is visual.ly. The big news is that you can now create your own infographics – here are the details and you can also visit visual.ly. What a cool way to present information!

Did you know that the Blue Man Group is starting a school? What are the implications of this school that encourages better learning through fun?

The idea of digital learning badges is gaining traction and should give colleges and universities some pause. What are the implications for hgher education if I can learn anything from anyone at anytime and get a badge/certification of my competency? Would an electronic portfolio through a site like Mahara be more descriptive of my skills, abilities, and passions? Mozilla, the open source organization behind the Firefox browser has been a key leader in the Open Badges movement.  Here is a great aggregation of information on badges and here are some examples of how this is working in real life.

Perhaps by now you have heard of TED Talks – short, stimulating lectures of less than 20 minutes or less – if not, Google it or go to YouTube for videos or ITunes for podcasts. The exciting news of this past week is that TED has now launched TED-Ed – a new educational channel on YouTube. They hope to add free video lessons to help educators supplement their curriculum.

The latest Pew Foundation report on teens, smartphones, and texting can be read here.

If you have IPads at your disposal, or just have one of your own, here are “40 Most Awesome Science Apps”  that really do look very cool!

For my Canadian friends, a research based answer to the question: “Do Dual Credit Programs Help Students Succeed?”

Nice 5 minute movie  on Project Based Learning and Student Engagement in Dawson Creek, BC – note the reference to dual enrollment.

Here’s what it can look like when schools move toward making 21st Century education happen.

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Filed under change, devotional, resources, staff development

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