A real mix of things this week. Hopefully there is something useful and/or interesting for you. In my own blog the post I write Saturday night (Real Life Is An Open Book Test) seems to have gotten more traffic that anything I’ve posted recently. If you haven’t seen it please take a look, read the comments people have left and join the conversation.
From danah boyd (@zephoria) I found out about this disappointing bit of misogyny at Flashbelt. This is the sort of thing that makes the computer field unattractive and unwelcoming to women. It’s very sad that this sort of thing goes on. This post has some explicit language and descriptions that may not be appropriate for young people. It does give us all something to think long and hard about when we think about presentations, conferences and professionalism.
Mark Guzdial (@guzdial) Linked to this column in the Economist that echoes Gladwell's "Outliers": American school kids work the least in developed world. I’m reminded that when one school I was at wanted to increase the length of the school day people objected because it would interfere with sports. Well I guess we know what their priorities are.
On the humorous side @BarbInNebraska Linked to a funny article in the Onion: 2nd grade teacher overhyping 3rd grade. It does give one pause for thought as to how we present future courses, grade levels and teachers to our students.
I had a short exchange with Liz Lawley (@lizlawley) who was Tweeting from a conference. I asked her “how do you get teens to not be sullen?” and she replied “Give them engaging and compelling experiences. have them teach as well as learn.” I think that is great advice. I think she hits the nail right on the head. Teens are not sullen when they are engaged and when the work given to them makes sense. I also love the idea of having students teach because this causes them to learn more and deeper. It also helps get through to other students as they know how to present things in ways that relate to their peers.
That is the sort of short Twitter conversation that really helps me learn quite a bit in the course of an average week.
Clint Rutkas (@ClintRutkas) follows a bunch of different people from me and this means he often finds and Tweets links I would not otherwise see. In this case he linked to a post from Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror ) called how to motivate programmers. It’s somewhat tongue in cheek but it highlights how possessive many programmers are about their code. If you tell them you are going to “fix it” they will often take a serious look at it and try to better what you can do. This is a post that I think leads to some discussions about peer review, egoless programming, and pair or team programming.
Luis Von Ahn from Carnegie Mellon was behind the creation of captcha and recaptcha. In this talk he talks about how they are using recapctha get people to do useful work for free. Specifically how they are using this method to make sure that optical character recognition gives reliable results for digitizing books.
Do you work with a public library? The Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) has opened applications for the Access to Learning Award which recognizes innovation in public libraries. You can apply now for the 2010 award.
Channel 9 (@ch9) has a new show called The Coding4Fun Show The first episode is about the Physics Helper for Silverlight by Andy Beaulieu. Looks like a fun application that may have learning opportunities.