Thursday, June 24, 2010

Video from Clearwater Beach

Here's a video of Jackson on the balcony of our hotel in Clearwater Beach, Florida. I took the camera directly from our air-conditioned room into the humidity of Florida. You can see the camera fogging up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA! Goal! We're in!

Now this is what I call waiting until the last minute! Actually...waiting until AFTER the last minute...the 91st minute to be exact. You can't wait much later to score a goal. I was depressed. I thought the Yanks were done. Then came this amazing sequence and one of the greatest goals scored by the United States. Great Great Stuff! Landon Donovan!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Webless Living

So I was reading THIS article about a new book coming out that looks at the effect that the internet has on our brains. I was intrigued by the topic because I was in Colorado at the time for the AP World History grading. Without my laptop and internet access my nights would be almost unbearable. After the grading I'd hang out with the crew and go to other activities. But when the sun went down I usually headed to my room and browsed the net for a couple of hours. I would watch TED talks and lectures or youtube videos. I would catch up with friends on facebook or whatever. I'd send video emails to my wife and son. The idea of not having internet access the nine days I was in Colorado just seemed unthinkable. What would I do differently if I didn't have a web connection was the question I asked myself.

Well, I lived a year in Spain without a laptop, internet access of any kind and no iPod. This was back in the tech dark ages. I didn't even have a phone at my flat. I had to use a phone booth down the street if I wanted to make a call. And you know what? Life was great.

Not having any entertainment in my flat (no TV even!) forced me out into the city to explore. I read a whole heck of a lot more. I finished a Tolstoy, Turgenev and a Dostoeyevsky. I journaled a ton and wrote real letters to friends and family back home. I listened to Barcelona radio. I didn't even know what I was missing.

If I made that trip experience would be a lot different. I'd have my iPod, laptop, cell phone and what have you. I would probably miss out on much of the experience of being out in a foreign city.

Fortunately that experience encouraged me to head out most nights in Fort Collins. I either hung out with friends, walked around the town or enjoyed just looking at the mountains. But it was tempting just to go back and play on the computer. I really wonder what the long term effects of our internet addiction will have on future generations.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TBK on Fallon

On May 30th the Black Keys performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the night after they performed on Letterman. They played a few songs but only two aired on the show. This song was only made available online. Great tune from their new album which is wicked cool.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Creative Talk

A few days ago I directed you to a TED talk link of Sir Ken Robinson speaking about the need for a revolution in our education system. That talk was a follow-up to this legendary talk a few years ago. Check out this video...only 20 minutes long and very inspiring.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Rules of Powerpoint

I was speaking to colleagues in Colorado about the proper use of powerpoint in the classroom. When done correctly powerpoint presentations can greatly enhance your discussion. I don't know how I ever lived without it. Unfortunately most of the powerpoints that you see are boring, lame and take away from the presentation.

The New York Times recently published an article about how the U.S. Army is now eschewing powerpoint because they think over reliance on the platform muddies thinking and confuses issues. An infamous slide (shown above) from an army briefing in Afghanistan reportedly had our commanding General saying "when we understand that slide, we'll have won the war."

I follow several rules in my presentations. I borrowed some of these rules from the 10/20/30 rule of powerpoint. No more than 10 slides, 20 minutes and no less than 30 font. Every one of my slides has a picture, photograph, chart or map...some type of helpful graphic. I use very little special machine gun bulleting letters on the screen or whirling titles. I keep the bullets short and simple...they're simply to spark discussion.

Unfortunately, even many of the university lectures I've attended in the recent past violate most of these rules...and their ppts come off lame. Here are two good articles about good powerpoint presentations...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hunting Modern Day Benedict Arnolds

Today the Yanks play England in the World Cup. Hoping that some of that 1950 mojo finds it way to the current squad. During the reading I saw several guys throughout the week wearing England soccer jerseys. Finally I got fed up and began to call them on it. I told three different guys "Dude...any other time of the year that would be a cool jersey to wear...but we are playing those guys in a week. You gotta represent the USA...otherwise you're just a Benedict Arnold."

Most responded that come game day they'd be sporting an American kit. Except for the last soon as he talked I knew this was a different story...He was an actual Brit. I said "that's're an authentic...but I still hope we kick your rears just like we did in 1783." Only at a WHAP reading would you trashtalk using historical references from 200 years ago.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cultivating Creativity

I love TED Talks. Each speaker only has 18 minutes to blow your mind. Sir Ken Robinson blew away the TED conference several years ago with his call for education reform. It was an extremely informative and inspiring talk. Earlier this year he came back to the TED conference and blew away the crowd again with a call for a revolution in education and cultivating creativity. I'm currently reading his book The Element. Check out this video if you want to be inspired. His talk lasts about 17 minutes.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Darth Vader and Personality Disorder

Turns out Anakin Skywalker had borderline personality disorder...that's what turned him into Darth Vader. Interesting article at HERE.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wrapping up in Fort Collins

Things are about done here at Colorado State University. I've had a great eight days. The reading went much smoother this year. The weather was perfect. The 850 readers are reading at a superfast pace and we expect to be done early...around noon...compared to 5:00 pm last year on the last day.

I won't be able to fly out early so I'll just enjoy my last afternoon in the mountains loungin' in the sun and hanging with the crew (some who are pictured above).

I added a few pics to my flickr account HERE. There are few photos of the pack of foxes that live next to Summit Hall where I stayed.

I also blogged on my school blog throughout the past week HERE.

Feeling pretty good. Got word today that I've been accepted to Southern Methodist University's graduate program. I will be working on a Masters in Humanities with a concentration in history. Been a long time since I've been a student. Hey...I'll get a student ID! Cheaper tix at the movies! I guess grad school tuition is worth it!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Back in Colo

So I'm back in Fort Collins, Colorado to grade AP World History exams. I will be blogging daily for my students on my school blog HERE. So click on the link to see how the reading is going.