Sunday, October 26, 2008

FiveThirtyEight... electoral projections

If your passion is elections (USA), polls, or statistics, then this site will most likely interest you!

Here’s an example of what the folks behind the site do…
"The basic process for computing our Presidential projections consists of six steps:
1. Polling Average: Aggregate polling data, and weight it according to our reliability scores.
2. Trend Adjustment: Adjust the polling data for current trends.
3. Regression: Analyze demographic data in each state by means of regression analysis.
4. Snapshot: Combine the polling data with the regression analysis to produce an electoral snapshot. This is our estimate of what would happen if the election were held today.
5. Projection: Translate the snapshot into a projection of what will happen in November, by allocating out undecided voters and applying a discount to current polling leads based on historical trends.
6. Simulation: Simulate our results 10,000 times based on the results of the projection to account for the uncertainty in our estimates. The end result is a robust probabilistic assessment of what will happen in each state as well as in the nation as a whole."
You will see maps, charts, graphs, and commentary as you check out today’s polls, pollster ratings, Senate polls and projections, and electoral history. This site will be interesting to follow during the next ten days.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

iTunes U has Many Good Resources We Can Use

Have you examined the resources available at iTunes U? To navigate there, launch iTunes. (It’s a free download.) Then click on iTunes U in the iTunes Store.

Several options are provided for us to search for content.

On the left side is a list of categories (business, engineering, fine arts, health and medicine, history, humanities, language, literature, mathematics, science, social science, society, teaching and education). We can explore through the offerings in each category.

Educational providers are listed in three types: universities and colleges, beyond campus, and K-12. (Beyond Campus consists of educational providers such as the Brooklyn Museum, Edutopia, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, WETA, and the New York Public Library.) We can wander through the offerings in each of these three types to find some great resources.

Some examples of what I found follow.

In the K-12 type, I found these interesting podcasts:
  • Paradise Valley USD: Information Literacy > The SMHS Media Center > How to use our library for 9th-graders
  • (book) … A Day No Pigs Would Die > circle map > main character
  • Tempe Elementary Mathematics > Quantitative Quandries > description of a unit for students strong in mathematics
  • (student work) Conexiones > Catch the Dream opening video > community outreach program for children in under-served communities, K12 outreach of Arizona State University
  • Maine > Inquiry in Science > PD enhanced podcast
  • … Teaching and Learning with Digital Text > PD enhanced podcast
As I wandered through the categories, I found these:
  • Meet the Author: Interviews with Children’s Books Authors and Illustrators… video interviews / audio interviews / transcripts…
  • Nanotechnology… University of Oxford… explore the nanoworld… look at the research…
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art… American Art… the earliest art of the Americas with approximately 200 more recent works…
  • The Great Depression and WWII… short video clips with audio lectures… discussion of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and World War II… links to Great Depression resources including primary source documents, learning tools, visual aids, and resources
Some of the podcasts I found were simple without sophisticated techniques… and still they managed to serve their purposes. Others were quite impressive and instructive and used very skilled techniques. Having access to these podcasts and videos for free allows us to supplement our courses with some outstanding resources. This is also a great way for us to keep learning!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

IAE-pedia Resources

David Moursund’s IAE-pedia ( provides a variety of resources for educators. I’ll list a few of them here, but you’ll want to visit the site to see more.

A List of Five-Minute Workshops (
short videos)
topics include Second Life, Google Docs, PowerPoint, the last day of class, embedding resources in wikis, eClips, virtual office hours, a vision of students today, learning styles, podcasting

Creating short hybrid videos (
slides with voice-overs)
short hybrid videos might be described as a subset of a project page or of a curriculum page unit

Project-Based Learning)
good instruction and resources are available

good resources for mathematics education
dedicated to increasing achievement, especially with a diverse population
new resources are added weekly for…
  • Problem of the Week
  • Quote of the Week
  • Statistic of the Week
  • Website of the Week
  • Math Person of the Week
  • Resource of the Week
  • Golden Oldie of the Week
  • Calendar: Events and Birthdays
Note: don’t skip this section as just another “problem of the week”… these are really good!

David Moursund (free) books
Twenty-six of David Moursund’s more than 50 books are available free

The IAE-pedia is a project of Information Age Education, a non-profit organization created by Dave Moursund, and of the Science Factory, a children’s museum and planetarium in Eugene, Oregon.

Clip Art:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Teaching and Learning in Style

Are you a proponent of learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) as a concept we can use to improve both teaching and learning for many individuals? Whether your answer is yes or no, you will find some good ideas in Heather Johnson's article.

The Art of Learning Better: 101 Tips to Find and Fit Your Learning Style
provides suggestions for preservice and inservice teachers as we’re learning new ideas. Ideas presented encourage us to use our personal learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) as we learn. That’s a great idea. However, we can also use these recommendations to help us reach students with different learning styles as we teach.

For each learning style, Heather Johnson provides ideas for organization, in class activities, studying, and using other learning methods.

Visual learners understand better when ideas are represented visually: pictures, drawings, graphs, charts, even text. Johnson recommends the use of color coding, making lists, sketching, creating a timeline or an outline, watching videos, creating mind maps, using the computer, keeping things quiet, and many other ideas.

Auditory learners prefer hearing new ideas; so, sounds work well for them. That includes music and talking as well as other sounds. Tips for auditory learners include creating auditory cues and leaving yourself audio messages, participating in discussions, asking for things to be repeated, studying with others, using audio books, creating oral stories that include the ideas you want to remember, creating songs, watching videos, listening to podcasts and music, using headphones, creating rhymes, and other tips.

Kinesthetic learners need to learn with hands-on opportunities. Interactive computer programs or web sites as well as labs or demonstrations work well for them. These learners benefit from using notebooks with distinct surfaces, being active, using the computer, interacting with teachers and other learners, chewing gum, typing notes, going on field trips, taking lab classes, studying in short blocks of time and with others, participating in role play, drawing, creating models, tracing letters, moving while studying, making learning aids such as quizzes or flash cards, and many other ideas suggested.

I can’t help but think about ideas previously discussed in this blog as I look at some of Johnson’s suggestions…
  • Audio Books: LearnOutLoud
  • Audio Messages:
  • Charts: Gliffy
  • Creating Songs: GarageBand (Mac only)
  • Drawings: Comic Life, Kerpoof!, Glogster
  • Field Trips: National History Education Clearinghouse, search for field trip at the top left of the blog web page and click Search Blog
  • Graphs:,
  • Music: GarageBand (Mac only)
  • Pictures: Creative Commons, check the clip art label to the right, Kerpoof!, Dumpr, LunaPic, Picnik
  • Podcasts: Gabcast, check the podcast label to the right for many resources
  • Quizzes: ClassTools
  • Timelines: HyperHistory Online, Xtimeline
  • Typing Notes: Word, Google Docs, many others
  • Videos: Kerpoof!, LearnOutLoud, TeacherTube, YouTube, UnitedStreaming
  • Web Sites: check the web sites label to the right
BTW, there are two ways to search for ideas in this blog. First, you can simply click on any of the labels listed in the right sidebar below the listed blogs. The second way to search for an idea is to use the search box at the top left of the page. Type what you want to search for in the search box and then click on Search Blog.

These tips for working with learning styles are found at Teaching Tips, a web site for both preservice and inservice teachers.