Thursday, November 29, 2007


How do ideas spread? How do powerful ideas change attitudes? Take a look at the TED clearinghouse which offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. In 1984 it began as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Almost 150 talks from their archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. Click on this sample of themes inspired by nature. View the video of David Keith's surprising ideas on climate change.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Did You Know?

This June 2007 video is an official update to "Shift Happens" created by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod. It includes new and updated statistics, thought-provoking questions and a
different design. For more information, and/or to join the conversation, please visit

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dot Earth Blog

Our Science librarian at Northfield, Deborah Lazar recently found this excellent resource for teachers and students.
Reporter Andrew C. Revkin's blog on Climate Change helps us to face the reality that by 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. "Supported in part by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Mr. Revkin tracks relevant news from suburbia to Siberia, and conducts an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts." Dot Earth also includes a "blogroll" to other blogs dealing with news, earth and environmental science, poverty, development & design, media & environment, sustainability, analysis & policy, freemarket advocates, industry views, and youth activism. Quite a gold mine. Thanks, Deborah.

The Energy Challenge

Articles in this New York Times series examine the ways in which the world is, and is not, moving toward a more energy efficient, environmentally benign future. Mulitmedia clips and useful weblinks are included: The Home Energy Saver; Climate Information From Grist Magazine; BP's Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Vision of Students Today

This video began as a brainstorming exercise, thinking about how students learn, what they need to learn for their future, and how our current educational system fits in. Using Google Docs to brainstorm ideas, Professor Michael Wesch’s cultural anthropology students at Kansas State University made hundreds of edits in the course of a week and students submitted answers to a class survey.

At first glance this video might seem to be a critique about too much time spent online. However, the subtext of the film sends the message that our traditional classrooms (“Teacher as Sage-on-the-Stage” format) are outdated. We need to pay attention to how students learn in the 21st Century. In just 3 weeks since this was posted on YouTube there have been 700,000 viewings, so it appears that this is indeed happening.

The Power of Web 2.0 Tools

Wanted to share this YouTube video recommended by David Warlick which has a humorous take on tech support.

Warlick educates teachers and librarians about literacy in the 21st century which is being redefined due to the nature of information itself. He says, "It is changing in what it looks like, where we find it, what we look at to view it, what we can do with it, and how we communicate it."

As a result of learning with David Warlick yesterday, I learned that along with librarians providing those feeds, we should also be teaching students to control their own information worlds by selecting relevant RSS feeds for their research needs. This will bring information automatically to them.

With blogs, podcasts, wikis, and RSS, we can connect, share, respond, and grow knowledge anytime, anywhere. Librarians know that access to information is changing and David is a master teacher in breaking it down for us. He patiently demonstrates new ways to view it, what we can do with it, and how we can communicate these changes to our peers and to our students. See links to a variety of resources about RSS.

As David says, “we train the information to come to us”. He refers to his bookmarks as his “personal digital library”. I also learned about bringing someone else’s tags in as an RSS feed. He demonstrated Netvibes as a way to cluster your aggregators into one web page to build a “personal learning network”.

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