Twitter for the secondary social studies class, and teacher

November 1, 2010

Some teachers desperately work to make sure that education doesn’t completely miss the computer, internet and telecommunications revolution, the way it missed the television revolution.

Twitter?  Sure it’s annoying — if you know it only as a tool for egotistical twenty-somethings to brag about binge drinking.

Can it be useful to support learning in the classroom, or for the classroom?

New Century History delivers information on Twitter to you on a platter.  Part 1 discusses the basics of Twitter, and the most common uses including communication that should be very useful to any classroom teacher.  Part 2 pushes the envelope a bit, discussion how to use Twitter in direct support of the classroom, and maybe in the classroom .

Well worth the read, if you have a lot of kids on smart phones, or a lot of kids with internet access at any place during the day.

This is good stuff, really.  I just routed the posts to our entire department.   I’m looking for allies who know how to use technology in the War on Ignorance of History.


Rick Perry is the new Corrupt Bargain

November 1, 2010

The fiercely independent Democratic Blog of Collin County compiled a series of Burnt Orange Report posts that make the case that Rick Perry should be retired from the governorship, at a bare minimum.

Will voters wake up before Tuesday, and do the right thing?

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption

From the BOR:

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas’ Dropout Crisis

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas Forensic Science Commission

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Ethics Complaints

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Emerging Technology Fund

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Political Appointees

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Secret Schedules

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: The $500,000 Land Deal

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas Youth Commission

Rick Perry’s Cover-Up and Corruption: Teacher Retirement System

Rick Perry to Launch National Book Tour, Won’t Commit to Full Term as Governor

Bonus points if you know off the top of your head where “corrupt bargain” plays in U.S. political history.

WWII veterans tell their stories – Central Florida WWII Museum

November 1, 2010

Part of the Veterans History Project, a museum in Florida interviews World War II veterans, and much of the material shows up on YouTube.

These interviews offer great resources for student projects, and are simply a grand way to capture history.

See this story about “Flying the Hump,” transporting war materiel over the Himalayas into China; it’s an interview with E. W. “Bill” Cutler, one of the fliers who survived:

This interview caught my attention for a personal reason.  My uncle, Bruce Davis, died flying the route.  His aircraft and remains were recovered more than 30 years later — someone stumbled on the wreckage accidentally.  When an aircraft went down for any reason (usually weather), the crews passed into a limbo that comprised a special hell for their families.  It was almost impossible that anyone would survive, as Cutler details.  But, with no wreckage and no remains, there were always questions.

Update: Brother Dwight informed me his father-in-law served at the last base before the airplanes went over the mountains.  We have more family Himalayan connections than I knew.

This interview has a mere 152 views as of this posting — pass it around, let’s bump the viewing total up, and get the story out.  At YouTube, the Central Florida WWII Museum has its own channel, listing several similar interviews.

I could see each student assigned to one interview, to tell the story of the interview to the class, to research the background of the theatre of war discussed, the battle, the incident, the armaments, the nations and people involved — to make a history narrative out of the interview, in other words.    What other uses do you see?

Here’s the rest of the story:  The museum has not yet been built.  This project, the video interviews, is a place-holder, a way to communicate while raising the money to build an edifice to honor the veterans more appropriately.  It’s a virtual museum — one your students may browse from the classroom.  How cool is that?


November 1, 2010

One of the key hoax points of the pro-DDT crowd claims that most early studies on the harms of DDT — from 1945 into the 1970s — must be dismissed because chemists then could not distinguish DDT from PCBs.

Chemically, were that the case at any point, modern methods of spectrophotometry would allow the retesting of tissues, or egg shells, or anything sampled years ago.   Why not retest?

I stumbled into this interview with Art Cooley, one of the early activists with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) (now just “Environmental Defense”).  In it, Cooley said that EDF had been able to establish that DDT can be distinguished from PCBs.

Which case is he talking about, in Wisconsin?  What was its outcome?  Which research papers, where, discuss how to tell DDT from PCBs?  This appears to be one more point where the hoaxsters exploited a general lack of specific information about a case.  What will the record show?

Climate Action Can’t Rest: Q&A with Art Cooley

August 12, 2010 | Posted by Sam Parry in climate action report

Sam Cooley, a founder of EDF

Art Cooley, one of EDF's founders, offers his perspective on the climate fight and the road ahead.

With the Senate apparently giving up on its efforts to pass a strong climate and energy bill this year, we took some time to talk with several EDF experts to help provide a broader perspective and describe some of the other important ways we are fighting to cut global warming pollution.

We begin this series with Art Cooley, who helped found EDF in 1967 to campaign against the use of DDT. Art remains on EDF’s board as a founding trustee.

Question: You helped found EDF more than 40 years ago. Can you tell us a bit about the early years and what EDF’s mission has been since?

We originally got started because we were concerned about the decline of ospreys on Long Island. We started by looking at the science and the case we put together — the effect on brown pelicans and peregrine falcons and bald eagles and ospreys — was compelling. It was DDT.

In one of our first cases in Wisconsin they tried to confuse the debate and tell us that we couldn’t differentiate between DDT and PCBs. Well, we plotted out evidence and showed that in fact yes we could tell the difference, and so weren’t confusing the effects from DDT with other chemicals.

That focus on science has always been central to our work. And getting the science right remains at the core of our mission today, which is why we are all so concerned about climate change.

%d bloggers like this: