Friday, November 28, 2008

Consumption Causing Global Warming

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Leo Murray has released a dramatic illustrated video, Wake Up, Freak Out - Then Get a Grip, that talks about the scientific and social causes of Global Warming. He explains the scientific process but takes it all the way to the potential social implications of the global warming effects. This change will not be an either/or situation where today we aren't affected and tomorrow we are. As global warming brings gradual change, many humans will take extraordinary measures to hang onto what they have.

I must admit that I had not thought of the societal implications of global warming as citizens work to keep what they have. As some countries are dramatically affected by rising sea levels and erratically violent weather patterns, their inhabitants will look for somewhere else to live. This will cause a mass migration to already stressed nations throughout the world.

Murray's video doesn't leave us with Doomsday Despair. He talks about how reduced consumption is a matter that all of us need to address. We need to identify what it is that we need and how that differs from what we want. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle to relieve the strain on our planet.

This world is the only one we get. In the 70s we tried to tell the world about the impending implications of overconsumption. I have been actively recycling for over 40 years. I can't say that I am the beacon of conservation, we all need to make conscious changes in what we do and how we think about consumption.

I STRONGLY suggest that you watch Leo Murray's video. Teachers: You MUST preview this video before you share it with your students because there are some sections that are almost scary to consider. But consider it we must as well as act upon it beginning TODAY.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Story Visualization

I was just reading Guy Kawasaki's blog, How to Change the World, when he referred to Garr Reynold's Blog, Zen of Presentation. I had never heard of this blog before but it is filled with Garr's reflections on "issues with professional presentation design." We talk about Visual Literacy in our classes but Garr is living it. He discusses how the media succeed and fail in using visuals to convey their messages. Looks like he has a book called Presentation Zen.

One of his postings that I found exceptionally inspiring was entitled "Beautiful example of the visualization of a story." He discussed the D-PAN (Deaf Performing Artists Network). This is an organization that creates "media designed specifically to serve deaf audiences through the use of American Sign Language (ASL). It would be repetitive to post them here, but Garr has embedded samples of videos the D-PAN created as well as a CNN new report. The message that they "have a dream" is beautiful.

Oh, well . . . I guess I will be repetitive by embedding the "Waiting for the World to Change" Video here.

P.S. I also found Guy's posting
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint This is where Guy says that no PowerPoint should have more than 10 slides, last longer than 20 minutes or use a font less than 30 pt. The first two were incontrovertible, but he got soft on the font rule by saying that you should take the age of oldest person in your audience and divide by 2 to determine your minimum font size. That would mean that I would cause you to use 27.5 fonts. Should be interesting. ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Map Generators are Easy

My Travel Map*
Although I am not a worldly traveler, I saw Paul Glazowski make a reference to this Simple Map Generator
on the Mashable blog and it suggested that I should map out the places I have visited. I did so and the resulting map is embedded above. It actually lists all 215 countries (yes, I counted them) on seven continents and all that I had to do was click on the checkbox to select a country. While simple, this utility has an incredible potential for allowing students to "color in" maps for a variety of applications.

This Google Maps/Earth hybrid that is hosted by 29 Travels can be used to chronicle one's travels or visually identify the groups of countries or create comparative maps that can be used to document chronological change. This is a simple though effective answer.

How do you envision using it in your educational setting?

*You might note that this map is not embedded in this posting. I tried it, but it didn't format properly and took too long to load. SOOOO, I simply included a screen capture of the map and then linked it to the original map.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Comparing News Articles from Around the World

I was just reading the EdTech listserv to which I belong (how's that for fancy writing? ;-).
A teacher was asking about how she could use Google to compare news perspectives from different newspapers around the world.

I was fortunate enough to have attended Alan November's presentation at the ITEC conference in Des Moines last month where he explained how you can do this. After a little experimentation, I was able to reconstruct these steps for finding news articles that are written in specific countries about specific topics.

Let's assume that you want to compare news articles about the President-elect Barack Obama. You want to see what they are saying about him in Poland. You can go to to use the Polish Google but it will only direct you back to the articles here in the US.

The best way to find articles published in Poland is to search only the Web addresses that end in .pl (Polish domain):
  1. Begin by selecting the Advanced Search option on Google.
  2. In the "Search within a site or domain:", enter .pl (this will limit it to URLs in Poland).
  3. In case you don't speak Polish, select English or your native language in the Language section.
  4. Enter Obama in the Search box at the top and you will have a huge list of Polish-published articles that are written in your native language.
Here is a link to an advanced search page that would achieve this.

This could also be used to compare articles on a specific topic that were published in the Los Angeles Times ( or the New York Times (

This could be a powerful tool for learning about the world peoples' opinions on thing that happen in the U.S. and elsewhere.

I am interested in whether you have ever used this in your classes? If so, how did it go? If not, how do you envision yourself as using this strategy?


Thursday, November 06, 2008

AECT Google Forms Example

This form was created using Google Docs Form. Please fill it out so that we can see what it looks like to have the information appear in the Google Spreadsheet.