Ah, one of my favorites. https://t.co/2RTENWbLf4

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April 26, 2017 at 08:30AM

Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss https://t.co/DnJriVsmsA https://t.co/hD3YauDb46

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April 26, 2017 at 04:45AM


How to Run a More Effective Meeting ... Hmmm. https://t.co/O6HilpsUTl

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April 25, 2017 at 06:11PM

Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug? It's more than fake news... https://t.co/Lmn3OWE1pT

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April 25, 2017 at 06:11PM

What a great book... Everyone should read this at least once sometime between junior year of high school and… https://t.co/ImeMoTFIUj

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April 25, 2017 at 06:11PM

Still working on connecting accounts. Just trying to reconnect the plumbing from here, my G+ account to my… https://t.co/n34BoWaAZu

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April 25, 2017 at 06:11PM


Legos + Math

Saw this and thought it was a great use of play for learning.

Click here.

Matt Reads: Worm

Most most recent book in the #MattReads series was Mark Bowden's Worm. Subtitled the "First Digital World War" it chronicles the discovery, dissection, and ultimate stalemate between the worm Conficker's creators and a group of nerd. Besides the technical stuff (and it is an easy, albeit disturbing read for the layman) it was an interesting anthology of a very small subculture, the nerds. Bowden calls them the Tribe, the very small group of software engineers, network administrators and security specialists who understand how the internet works. Or, the non-tech translation, these are the folks who make sure the planes don't fall out of the sky, that the lights stay on... oh yeah, and my mom can read Facebook.

BTW, Conflicker is still out there, sleeping. By estimates, there are over 6 million machines that remain infected... As was illustrated in this vivid tale, that is enough computing power to grind the modern world to a halt. We're one set of instructions away from waking up Godzilla.


The Playing Fields of Eton

While certainly some parents push their kids into too many sports commitments in search of D1 full rides or Olympic gold... On the other hand, I know -- more than a few -- colleagues who are disdainfully dismissive of sports. It is galling to their sensibilities that kids might seek excellence in something other than (or, from their PoV, at the expense of) their subject, and gasp, something so crass as chasing a ball. Turns out sports may have some value in our quest for #LifeReady students. Guess the Duke of Wellington / George Orwell was correct: The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.


Matt Reads: Man in the High Castle

Next up in my #MattReads series is Phillip Dick's alternative history of the post-WW2 world where the Nazis and Imperial Japan divide the (former) United States and the World. Phillip Dick is one of the giants of Sci Fi, he being most famous for works like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which was made into a little film called Blade Runner. Anyway, you all know how I love the dystopian genre...

Very interesting read. It's written from the first person prospectives of several characters but includes snippets from a banned book - The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which includes another alternate history of the world after an Allied victory. Two alternative histories for the price of one!!

I picked up The Man in the High Castle before wanting to view the new Amazon series based on the book. Good book, now I'm anxious to start viewing it... 


Ubuntu Phones? Dual boot with Android? Yes Please.

A preview of what Ubuntu Touch might look like on a mobile device. How exciting. Presumably since this is running on a Nexus device, there exists the possibility of dual booting between operating systems too.


Jamaican Slave Revolt Interactive Map

I found this interactive map about the Jamaican Slave Revolt and was totally captivated by both the subject and the medium.

From the project's website:

This animated thematic map narrates the spatial history of the greatest slave insurrection in the eighteenth century British Empire.  To teachers and researchers, the presentation offers a carefully curated archive of key documentary evidence.  To all viewers, the map suggests an argument about the strategies of the rebels and the tactics of counterinsurgency, about the importance of the landscape to the course of the uprising, and about the difficulty of representing such events cartographically with available sources.  Although this cartographic narration cannot be taken as an exhaustive database—for instance, it does not examine major themes such as belonging and affiliation among the insurgents or the larger imperial context and interconnected Atlantic world— the map offers an illuminating interpretation of the military campaign’s spatial dynamics.

In particular, I was struck by the way the information was conveyed both geographically and linearly. The project's website calls it "animated thematic map". But for me, the combination of additional media, geographical location, and a timeline told a story in a way that text could not.  It was a fascinating topic and I was happy to learn more about the revolt.

However, was struck me even more was the method and medium of delivery. I did not read it in a book. Nor, did I read about it in an academic dissertation. Yet, the result was the same - I was engaged, interested, and learned a lot about the revolt. In fact, I want to make the case that because the medium was multisensory, multimedia, interactive it was more effective than text. A picture is worth a thousand words. Which got me thinking that perhaps this project-based research project would be a great replacement for the "traditional research paper".

Now, this is not to say that thesis construction and the written organization of an argument is not important. In fact, you can see that structure in this project even with paragraph after paragraph.  It was obvious that the material was well-researched, provided essential context, and laid out an argument about the topic. The end-effect was the reader was presented with a clear picture of the Jamaican Slave Revolt -- again, importantly, more effectively than the (mere) written word.

Sure, the project is the work of Harvard professor, Dr. Vincent Brown, so no doubt he access to deep pockets and sophisticated tools.  But what if these tools were available to middle school students or high school students?  In many ways they are, for example Google's Map Engine Lite or Google Earth provides a lot of the tools, though not nearly in a completely slickly wrapped project. In fact this particular map was designed by Axis Maps, one of the cool Cambridge firms (where I wished I worked) and you can see it in the production value. Dr Brown also cites Stanford's Spatial History Project and Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis as providing assistance.

Interestingly though, Dr. Brown, besides being a professor of African American Studies at Harvard is also the director of the History Design Studio. BTW, love the inclusion of the name "studio" in a history department offshoot.

From the HDS website:

The History Design Studio is a workshop for the most exciting new ideas in multimedia history. Joining a commitment to the professional practice of history with an experimental approach to form and presentation, the HDS is a creative space where students and scholars can design new modes of historical storytelling. We express historians’ core values through the innovative methods of artisanship and craft. Extensive use of primary sources, keen historiographical awareness, attention to change over time, and an overarching respect for evidence guide our projects in databasing, storyboarding, audiovisual narration, performance, cartography, and software development. By stretching the canvas of historical scholarship, studio participants make lasting contributions to the understanding of the past and its many meanings.

If places as esteemed as Harvard are presenting social sciences in this way, I can only hope it is a matter of time before there is a trickle down to secondary and middle school education. I only wish I was a college senior applying to grad schools again... this looks like SO much fun. And for a student like me who visualizes things before I can articulate them in words, this sort of opportunity was well, an opportunity missed.


Mappa Mundi

As the map website teases, did you know:

The Mappa Mundi contains over 500 drawings, depicting over 420 cities and towns, 15 Biblical events, 33 plants, animals, birds, and strange creatures, 32 images of the people of the world and eight pictures from classical mythology.

It was made in 1250. Yeah, that makes it a really old map.

The Hereford Mappa Mundi is a medieval map of the world on vellum (yeah, animal skin), it is one of the few surviving and largest example from that period. Until recently if you wanted to see it, you had to visit Hereford Cathedral. That is until recently...

There is now a fully digitized and interactive map available for exploration online.


More Google Maps

More cool stuff from Google Maps. They recently partnered with the National Geographic Society and other groups to digitize a whole collection of historical maps and made them available online. Other organizations include the World Bank, USGS, NASA, as well as government organizations.

A handy tool enables you to change the opacity of the overlay so you can switch back and forth from the modern map to the historical one. You know if you wanted to see if Sherman's March to the Sea followed the Interstate.

You can search the collection thematically or by keyword. Overall the collection is limited (when you consider all the NG maps that are sitting in my basement), but I image will grow over time. Pretty cool start.