Amazon To Allow Library Lending

Submitted by Julia Martin on Wed, 04/20/2011 - 12:56pm.
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Here is an article that was published in the library journal.

"We're doing a little something extra here," Jay Marine, director, Amazon Kindle, said in a press release. "Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we're extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced."

This feature could raise privacy concerns within the library community as apparently Amazon would be maintaining a detailed record of reading habits.

Commentary here and Posted in Public | Julia Martin's blog | 2 comments | read more »


U.S. Budget Debates on Vialogues

Submitted by Skanda Amarnath on Wed, 04/20/2011 - 11:10am.
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[*Note: This is Chingfu's post...I just hijacked it to add links to Vialogues since the embed feature isn't totally clean yet.]
Thanks to George and Skanda, the current US fiscal policy debates have been introduced on the Vialogues with comments that aim to help the audience watch these talks critically. As we continue to explore the instructional possibilities of Vialogues in the classrooms, here are some categories of vialogue comments, from the perspectives of instructional design, that might help our future work:

1. Open Note Book: teachers can invite students to comment on the videos with any thoughts or questions that come up to their mind as they go through the videos. These comments will help teachers get a sense of students’ thinking and understanding about the videos.

2. Live Poll: teachers can ask students to answer multiple-choice questions (single or multiple answers) that are based on the content from the videos. This will help teachers understand students stance on selected issues and design classroom discussions and activities on these public issues accordingly.

3. Table of (Video) Content: Teachers can summarize major points of the videos through time-coded comments. These comments will help teachers direct the viewing experiences easily.

4. Critical Reading: Teachers can provide prompt questions on issues raised from the videos, and ask students to explore these points further. (this analysis from is very useful in this regard)

5. Dissecting Series: The UFR project team can invite experts in the field to dissect selected videos on the Vialogues. These vialogues can serve as rich multimedia texts themselves (and do not require student participation) for students to learn relevant UFR topics.

What are some other ideas you have for using this vialogue to teach UFR in the classrooms?

Dissecting President Obama's Proposal for Improving America's Fiscal Future

Dissecting Paul Ryan's Interview on Fox News Sunday

Update on Budget Negotiations


21 Reasons Why The English Language is Hard to Learn

Submitted by Angela Lee on Tue, 04/19/2011 - 3:21pm.
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I was forwarded an email about why English Language is hard to learn!

enjoy :)

21 Reasons Why the English Language is Hard to Learn:

There have been a lot of discussion on grammar and lately the English language has prompted me to search for this email I received years ago. I wish I knew who the original author so I could give proper credit to him/her.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.


Looking better on Skype

Submitted by Angela Lee on Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:41am.
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Edlab space is blessed with natural sunlight and our faces all look beautiful in our seminar long shots. Maybe we can give a quick tip to those on the other end of skype to dazzle their appearance with these Webcam lights ?


Columbia SEBS: Science & Humanities Discussion Panel Event

Submitted by Skanda Amarnath on Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:41am.
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Yesterday I attended the Science & Humanities Discussion Panel Event held by the Columbia chapter of Scientists & Engineers for a Better Society. The panel consisted of Dean of Columbia College and Professor of Political Philosophy & Legal Theory Michele Moody-Adams, Professor of Chemistry James Valentini, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Severin Fowles, and Professor of Philosophy of Science Philip Kitcher. This all-star panel certainly made many interesting points on the interactions between the science and the humanities.

Here are my takeaways:

Dean Moody-Adams defended the element of Columbia's Core Curriculum known as the Science Core and claimed that we needed better translators so that those in the humanities could better understand the ideas of the scientific community.

Professor Valentini encouraged scientists and engineers to humanize science for the greater community. He also emphasized the need for application in science classes and the ability to make mistakes in the process of scientific exploration.


A Better Way to Teach Math

Submitted by Ankit Ranka on Tue, 04/19/2011 - 9:30am.
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This article in the New York Times explains how a curriculum created by John Mighton, "Jump Math," is being used by teachers in England and Canada to teach math. The idea is to break each mathematical step into micro steps. In the words of Mighton - "No step is too small to ignore. Math is like a ladder. If you miss a step, sometimes you can’t go on. And then you start losing your confidence and then the hierarchies develop. It’s all interconnected.”


For Starbucks coffee lovers: Free Starbucks coffee on friday

Submitted by Megha Agarwala on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 9:45pm.
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Starbucks is celebrating Earth Day. On April 22, bring your own reusable mug or tumbler and get free brewed coffee or tea, at the Starbucks participating stores in the US and Canada.

Complete information here.

PS: I am not a Starbucks coffee fan.



Submitted by Josh Anderson on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 6:34pm.
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jsFiddle is a cool little site that is like a workbench for javascript, css and html.

Take a look at my example.

I actually find myself writing a lot of little bits of code this way. I have yet to put it through it's paces but it's held up for everything I've used it for. All in all it's a nice way to test snippets out.

Happy coding y'all! :D


Trends in Ed: More Chinese Students Studying Abroad

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 4:10pm.
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China’s education ministry recently claimed there are a record number of Chinese born students studying abroad. According to the ministry, there are some 1.27 Chinese students spread out at universities in the US, Canada, UK and other Western nations. At least over 284,000 Chinese students left to study abroad in 2010. The increase in the number of foreign Chinese students is a direct result of Chinese’s economic power as the government, since opening up its economy 25 years ago, has aided programs geared towards sending Chinese students abroad to acquire a new set of skills.

A large bulk of Chinese students who seek higher education abroad return to China to aid the country’s ever-increasing economy and enhanced global status. Most of the students’ education are privately funded, another indicator of China’s newfound economic status. This video below features Ting’s visit to an elementary school in her hometown of Shanghai. It is interesting to note how the students, despite their age, have a keen interest in Western education, which may imply that Chinese students’ interest in studying abroad starts at an early age.


Paper installation at Bremen University

Submitted by Gonzalo Obelleiro on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 4:10pm.
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Paper @ Bremen
Intriguing paper installation functional as a projection screen. See more images here.

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