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Alice in Quantumland: A Charming Illustrated Allegory of Quantum Mechanics by a CERN Physicist

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics is absolutely fantastic in its entirety, certain to engage the simultaneous states of entertainment and education with unequaled grace. Complement it with scientists’ answers to little kids’ questions about how the world works, then bend your mind by considering what it’s like to live in a universe of ten dimensions. For a look at how physicists’ understanding of the field has evolved…

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School ditches rules and loses bullies

Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time, he said.When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results.…

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Where Professors Send Their Children to College

To understand this story, you have to keep in mind the distinction between a large research–oriented university (where professors teach about 2 courses a semester and spend a lot of their time conducting their own research and supervising graduate students) and a small liberal arts college (where professors teach about 4 courses per semester, spend much less time on their own research, and they may have no graduate students in…

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STEM Needs a New Letter

Creativity alone does not foster innovation, nor do abstract scientific or mathematical concepts. Innovators also need to know how to render those creative ideas into working products that can be put into use. In order to bridge the chasm between abstract idea and utility, some educators are advocating for an expansion of the popular STEM acronym—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, the list of skills many experts believe more students need.…

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7 ways for teachers to beat the Sunday blues

Tell yourself, I am rejecting these thoughts about school because they’re not productive. I’m choosing to replace them with the thought that when Monday morning comes, I can trust myself to know what to do, so I don’t need to think about it right now. Then distract yourself by doing something more enjoyable, and dismiss any thoughts about school that continue to arise. It takes awhile to discipline your mind…

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Games as Text and K12 Social Studies

Rather than training students to identify and practice the strategies of rhetoric through reading and writing, what if a media existed (and the students regularly engaged in it) that communicated ideas, arguments, and points of view through its procedure, rather than in a linear set of carefully structured arguments? In this case, learning is at least 3D- it includes the dimensions of experience, agency, and action. What if these “procedural”…

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Jerz and Daughter Teach Scratch (Digital Storytelling Tutorial)

In the past I have posted tutorials for how to use Scratch to create a ball-and paddle computer game, but I let Carolyn create what she wanted to create. Rather than targets to shoot or puzzles to solve, she chose to tour a virtual environment, via a self-paced storybook. You move ahead by clicking the screen, and invisible buttons trigger animations.

This tutorial is a good introduction to how easy it is to make something interactive in Scratch.

Carolyn started with photos she had already taken of her Lego hobbit hole, added some simple programming to make a click advance to the next screen, and to make an invisible button trigger some animation.

In the video, she’s careful to run the program after every couple of steps, and she catches a few mistakes. When I point out that an interactive detail she coded would be hidden from a player who didn’t know where to click, she added a label that made sure her players wouldn’t miss the interactive bits.

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This Is What It Is Like To Be Deaf From Birth

Ultimately, I got sick and tired of both groups trying to tell me how to live my life. The deaf culture advocates tell me I should fling away my [cochlear implant (CI)] and make my home within the community. The CI advocates tell me that I should give up using [American Sign Langauge] and become fully immersed in the hearing world. My experience in the firestorm of the culture wars…

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My Tween Preps to Program a Lego Hobbit Game

As part of a course I’m teaching on “Digital Storytelling,” I’m going to make a video in which I show my students how to code a branching story in Scratch. My daughter will provide the visuals. Here she is photographing her model of Bag End. We bought just a few actual Lord of the Rings sets, but between the handful of Harry Potter and Star Wars, and the much larger…