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Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* (January 18-25, 2013}











Firearm Disposal: Designed by Luis Prado, adapted from NPS trash symbol, from The Noun Project


How to Have a Year that Matters ~ Why are you here? Do you want this to be another year that flies by, half-hearted, arid, rootless, barely remembered, dull with dim glimpses of what might have been? Or do you want this to be a year that you savor, for the rest of your surprisingly short time on Planet Earth, as the year you started, finally, irreversibly, uncompromisingly, to explosively unfurl a life that felt fully worth living? The choice is yours. And it always has been. via Harvard Business Review, published January 22, 2013.

Study Shows How Classroom Design Affects Student Learning ~ New study shows how color, lighting, and other classroom design choices can have a huge impact on student progress. via FastCoDesign, published January 18, 2013.

Why All High School Courses Should Be Elective ~ Very few of us could pass the subject matter tests we once took, or would agree that being unable to do so significantly handicaps us. How can we ignore the implications of that fact? Marion Brady asks what’s worth teaching and what’s worth learning to rethink student disengagement and institutional inefficiency. via The Washington Post, published January 22, 2012.

Bio Design In The Home: The Beauty of Bacteria “Bio Design” focuses on the growing movement to integrate organic processes in the creation of buildings and household objects so that resources are conserved and waste is limited. via The New York Times, published January 16, 2013.

The Rhythms of Work vs The Rhythms of Creative Labor ~ Work is what we do by the hour. It begins and, if possible, we do it for money. Welding car bodies on an assembly line is work; washing dishes, computing taxes, walking the rounds in a psychiatric ward, picking asparagus–these are work. Labor, on the other hand, sets its own pace. We may get paid for it, but it’s harder to quantify… Writing a poem, raising a child, developing a new calculus, resolving a neurosis, invention in all forms — these are labors.  via 99u.

The First Rule of Brainstorming: Suspend Disbelief ~ interview with Kon Leong, co-founder, president and chief executive of ZL Technologies, an e-mail and file archiving company. via The New York Times, published January 19, 2013.

Collaboration Across Borders Through Artist Workshops ~ Triangle is a decentralized global network of artists and arts organizations that recently celebrated its thirty-year anniversary. It was founded by artists and continues to be run largely by them. Its objective from the beginning was to connect artists across borders in order to challenge their regular studio practices, engage them in their processes, and foster an intense dialogue about why they’re doing what they’re all doing in their corners of the world. via Hyperallergic, published January 22, 2013.


Wicker-Covered Car By Ojo Obaniyi ~ ‘I wanted to prove a point that it is not only the educated elite that can make positive changes in society. We, the artisans also have talents to effect change and make a positive impact in the society.’  via Design Boom, published January 18, 2013

Space Blogger: Chris Hadfield’s Photos from the ISS ~ Colonel Chris Hadfield is  blogging from perhaps the most exclusive place around: the International Space Station (ISS). Hadfield’s Tumblr and Twitter accounts have been very active lately as he treats us with a large selection of photography from his many orbits around the earth. Often shooting from the space station’s famous cupola, he has been getting fantastically beautiful – almost painterly – images of our precious earth. via Visual News, published January 21, 2013.

Korean Students Speak Their Mind Through Written Signs ~ ‘STOP printing out students as if they’re ROBOTS. Let them be humane’ ~ Korean Students Speak tumblr. via My Modern Met, published January 18, 2013


TEDxTalks Roundup: 4 Fascinating Talks on Education ~ four talks examining advancements in education: Preventing forgetfulness after the test: Jamshed Bharucha at TEDxCooperUnion; Where is the research and development in education? Jim Shelton at TEDxMidAtlantic; The impact of desegregation on learning: Rucker Johnson at TEDxMiamiUniversity; An end to age-grouping in the classroom: Mary Esselman at TEDxSarasota. via TEDx

Printing 3D Buildings: Five tenets of a new kind of architecture / Neri Oxman ~ 1. Growth over Assembly; 2. Integration over Segregation; 3. Heterogeneity over Homogeneity; 4. Difference over Repetition; 5. Material is the New Software. via Archdaily, published January 18, 2013.

Big Hugging ~ Giant Bear Hugging Video Game ~ Big Huggin’ is a game played with a 30 inch custom teddy bear controller. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs. It is an experiment and gesture in alternative interface. Instead of firing toy guns at countless enemies or revving the engines of countless gas guzzling virtual cars, why not give a hug? A hug is simple gesture. It is one of the first physical expressions of affections a child learns. It is a gesture for the familial through the romantic. It is a gesture of mutual benefit. The game is designed to offer reflection on the way we play and cultural benefits of alternative play. via Kickstarter.

This Airplane’s Been Repurposed Into a Classroom ~ Creating a “kindergarten where the children would not want to go home.” via GOOD, published December 5, 2012

School Without Walls: Mapping Mandarin Language Experience in New York

He who is not yet informed persists in the curiosity of his gaze, displaces his angle of vision, reworks the first ways of putting together words and images, undoes the certainties of place, and thereby reawakens the power present in each of us to become a foreigner on the map of places and paths generally known as reality.

-Ranciere’s Short Voyages to the Land of People

The rethinkED team has kicked off the fall working with the Mandarin teachers in the Middle and Upper Schools at Riverdale.  The overarching aim of the project is to help students find opportunities to use their language skills outside the classroom using technology to record the interactions. This aim is not specific to World Language programs, but also builds students’ abilities to map their learning experiences in their own unfolding lives in their community.

The project came out of a desire on the part of the Mandarin language teachers to increase student awareness of native Mandarin speakers in their own city.  The feeling amongst the teachers was that students perceived Mandarin as a language spoken only in the classroom or far away.  The teachers also hoped to improve student fluency and develop their colloquial speech (as opposed to their textbook speech) by having them speak more with Mandarin speakers.

Working with two Mandarin teachers at RCS, the rethinkED team interviewed, brainstormed ideas, developed a proposal, and ultimately a prototype of an interactive map and a class blogging site with the teachers where students could go both to record the places where they spoke or encountered Mandarin in New York and blog about those experiences through video, audio, photo, and text.
The virtual interactive map allows students to individualize their learning experience by recording specific speaking interactions, and it allows the students to locate those experiences on a visual and sharable map that can be passed on to incoming grades. In turn, the map and blog allows students to visualize and interact with the earning of other students, allowing them to learn and grow more from their classmates’ experiences as well.

The first phase of this project was to:
1. teach students about the value of mapping and blogging about language/ cultural experience in their home city.
2. give students the tools to map and blog about experiences with Mandarin in the city.

In summary, Google Maps is a tool that allows you to navigate global maps and gather information. It is interactive, which means that you can drag and change directions, plot information and switch views to gather different data — geographical, roads, even visuals of streets.

Google Maps can be shared and edited much like Google docs, so that teams can collaborate and post experiences, reviews, or images. We used Google Maps to create the interactive map for this project. Each class has its own map, but all the Mandarin students have access to all the class maps so that younger students can see the places and more advanced blog entries from older students. When the younger students move on to more advanced courses, they will be able to build on the existing maps that their predecessors have already started.

The second phase of the project is to:
3.  visit Columbia University and to offer students the opportunity to speak with native Mandarin speakers, who will lead the students on a tour of the campus.

The maps–along with the text, videos, and photos in the blogs–become a portfolio of experience and work that the students and teachers can evaluate together to assess learning over time and place.


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