Timeline of the Far Future

The good news shared by this infographic is that Earth should still be around for at least another one hundred quintillion years, at which point everything that is not biodegradable will be destroyed, although this infographic does mention even the decay of titanium in laptops. But this infographic goes into many more details that lead […]

timeline-of-the-far-future_52d481e19c764The good news shared by this infographic is that Earth should still be around for at least another one hundred quintillion years, at which point everything that is not biodegradable will be destroyed, although this infographic does mention even the decay of titanium in laptops. But this infographic goes into many more details that lead to the destruction of the Earth.

The first two points on the timeline involve civilization collapse versus continuance. It gives us a timeframe for when buildings will collapse, and when vocabulary will be changed. The timeline continues to changes in the solar system and the galaxy even what can be seen with the naked eye. It also involves global changes, including global warming, Earth’s tilt.

There are several questions that arise from this infographic. First, what data supports this? We have all heard the theories of global warming, and that it is inevitable, but has man made it come sooner. In addition to this, there is the questions of Earth’s tilt, would this occur suddenly and be catastrophic, or would people most likely migrate over thousands of generations and not notice these global changes?

Blog: http://visual.ly/timeline-far-future

DNA Explained

This short video on DNA is an overview of the details of what DNA is, and what can be done with it. The video goes from explaining the correlation of DNA and genetic material, to comparing it with other living things, to Genetically Modified Organisms. While GMOs are a very controversial subject, this video simply […]

This short video on DNA is an overview of the details of what DNA is, and what can be done with it. The video goes from explaining the correlation of DNA and genetic material, to comparing it with other living things, to Genetically Modified Organisms. While GMOs are a very controversial subject, this video simply gives the positives of what may be accomplished, and the negatives of the unknown.

This video would be a great opening to a segment on DNA, or more specifically on GMOs. This video is about as unbiased as possible, giving the potential positives and negatives of GMOs. A great activity would be to divide your class into pro and anti GMO, ignoring personal feelings of your students. Have your students gather information in support of or against research into GMOs, and debate whether it should be continued, and if so, how. While this may not help lead to students changing sides, it will lead to more knowledgable students.

Blog: http://visual.ly/dna-explained

Farmville vs Real Farms

Here’s an interesting comparison between virtual world games and how people behave in them, compared to the real world.  This infographic comparers various statistics between Farmville farms, from Facebook and real farms across the country and around the world.  Interestingly, while 930 million acres are farmed in the US, Farmville players cultivate 500 million acres. […]

Here’s an interesting comparison between virtual world games and how people behave in them, compared to the real world.  This infographic comparers various statistics between Farmville farms, from Facebook and real farms across the country and around the world.  Interestingly, while 930 million acres are farmed in the US, Farmville players cultivate 500 million acres.  I’m wondering what kind of discussions might be generated from examining this graphic.

Blog Page: http://goo.gl/oM3y3i

Graphic Image: http://goo.gl/0lF9Ab

The Physics of Santa Claus

Luckily for children everywhere, a group of physicists believe Santa is real, and have worked out how he is capable of giving toys to children around the world. They deal with the issue of his bag, seeing millions of children, if not a billion, children on a single night, and of course making all his […]

they-physics-of-santa-claus_52ba4c0bb950c_w1500.pngLuckily for children everywhere, a group of physicists believe Santa is real, and have worked out how he is capable of giving toys to children around the world. They deal with the issue of his bag, seeing millions of children, if not a billion, children on a single night, and of course making all his toys.

Wormholes, relativity, and an ever moving North Pole are the answers to these questions, and a great opener to these subjects in an introductory physics class. While many of the answers are theories, it is important to remember that ideas such as gravity were also once simple theories.

Blog: http://visual.ly/physics-santa-claus

Winter Storms

The weather is an area of science that has only recently been fully understood. For centuries, people have known the difference between rain and snow, have recognized the change in temperature throughout the year, and have even realized the impact of air pressure on weather. However, only since modern satellites and other weather surveillance has […]

WinterStormsbyWeatherUnderground_52aa95fb5aa0dThe weather is an area of science that has only recently been fully understood. For centuries, people have known the difference between rain and snow, have recognized the change in temperature throughout the year, and have even realized the impact of air pressure on weather. However, only since modern satellites and other weather surveillance has the ability to predict the weather and further understand it been made possible.

This infographic goes into some of the advanced information on weather patters, specifically winter storms. Arguably, winter storms can be some of the most destructive due to the period of time their effects reside. Hurricanes are very destructive as well, and especially on islands can cause a great deal of destruction, however, the affects of winter storms (the snow and ice) can last for days if not weeks, while the affects of other storms (rain and wind), only last for a matter of hours. For this reason, it takes longer to be able to recover from such a storm.

What do your students think about this statement? What have they learned from this infographic?

Blog: http://visual.ly/winter-storms

Inside the International Space Station

To go up into space and live for a period of time is the dream of many children, but one that is reached by few adults. It takes a peak of physical health, a high level of intelligence, and a great deal of training. There are also a great deal of people who meet these […]

life-on-the-international-space-station_52af966d06edaTo go up into space and live for a period of time is the dream of many children, but one that is reached by few adults. It takes a peak of physical health, a high level of intelligence, and a great deal of training. There are also a great deal of people who meet these criteria, and so they then must go through a stringent weeding out process, following by intense training.

Once one reaches the space station, it is a tight fit with little human contact. Thanks to modern technology, the astronauts are able to communicate with their colleagues, and maybe even family back on Earth. But even modern technology cannot give these astronauts a gourmet meal, a luxurious bed, or an overly pleasant experience. These men and women are there to work, and work during the majority of their waking hours.

But the space program does now have an education program for grade schools. It allows schools to submit experiments to be performed in space, which the astronauts will record and discuss in a short segment. Do your students have any experiments they want to happen in space?

Blog: http://visual.ly/life-international-space-station

Superbugs

There is a growing problem in the United States, and that is the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. For several decades nearly every concerned parent has brought their children to the doctor for every cough, sneeze, and minor infection. Antibiotics are among the most prescribed category of medications (this information is based on experience […]

Superbugs_52b5e064389f0There is a growing problem in the United States, and that is the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. For several decades nearly every concerned parent has brought their children to the doctor for every cough, sneeze, and minor infection. Antibiotics are among the most prescribed category of medications (this information is based on experience in a pharmacy a few years ago).

Because of this overmedication, an increasing number of bacteria are resistant to common antibiotics. New medications are having to be created, but some bacteria seem to be adapting faster than the new medications can be developed.

This infographic goes into the science behind the the resistance of bacteria, and what can be done about it. Poll your class about whether this is a problem that needs to be addressed, or if it is simply a hiccup in human existence. Also, what can be done to help this problem? What do your students already do that is suggested, and can your students come up with any other solutions?

Blog: http://visual.ly/superbugs-0

What are the Odds?

What are the odds that you exist? No doubt this is something few people have thought about, but according to this infographic, the odds are 0. Luckily, this world has you, and hopefully luckily, the world has every one of your students. In teaching odds, this would be an interesting infographic to share. Beginning with […]

what-are-the-odds_50290d9b95578What are the odds that you exist? No doubt this is something few people have thought about, but according to this infographic, the odds are 0. Luckily, this world has you, and hopefully luckily, the world has every one of your students. In teaching odds, this would be an interesting infographic to share.

Beginning with the chances of your parents meeting the odds are increasingly less likely. Then, once your parents have met, the infographic goes into the odds of a specific egg and sperm meetings (this infographic may be reserved for only the most mature of students), and creating you. On top of this, as this infographic shares, your existence is dependent upon not only these events, but these events occurring for every one of your ancestors.

Dealing with odds, exponents, and other various mathematics, this would be a great infographic for the math classroom. Share this infographic with your students, and hopefully they will realize how lucky they are. And hopefully this feeling of luck will make them want to learn more, rather than live a crazier life.

Blog: http://visual.ly/what-are-odds

Why I’m Speaking to Science Teachers

Yesterday, Tim Holt wrote “Why I am At a Science Conference,” describing his work at this week’s Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), and why it is so important that we edubloggers and techspeakers should be sharing our messages into other communities of interest, science teachers for instance. I agree. I’ve tried, for years, to get into social studies conferences. When I succeed, it’s to do a concurrent session, and only 12 teachers showed up. It’s part of the nature of the profession, that we owe our professional identity to our particular area of specialty.

I have keynoted foreign language conferences, library conferences, administrator, and even book publisher, real-estate developer and farmer conferences. Perhaps the most receptive to my particular message are school boards conferences. But Tim is right. Little of this actually makes it into classrooms, especially the “Common Core” classrooms.

Part of my Kerbal Space Program Diary
One of my early attempts into orbit, achieving a spectacular fall after a 35 meter ascent.
At about 26 Kilometers, my Kerban pilot decided to do a space walk. Alas he locked his keys in the capsule and burned up during the descent.
These three Kerbans made it into an orbit whose apogee was around 1.4 million kilometers and perigee was somebody’s basement on the far side of Kerbal.

Holt referred to the fact that I too will also be speaking to Science teachers this week, in Charlotte, at one of the regional conferences of the National Science Teachers Association – and my efforts to tailor my presentation to that audience. I admit some concern about speaking to science teachers, because I taught social studies, and my examples tend to be more social studies oriented – though I would maintain that any good social studies teacher is also teaching science, math, health, literature, and everything else. It’s all societal.

Tim mentioned me because of a string of posts I made to Facebook and Twitter yesterday, reporting my progress in playing with Kerbal Space Program, a sandbox-style game that has the player designing, building, and flying space craft, on missions from the planet Kerbal. It’s been fun, regardless of my immigrant clumsiness with video games – though I am experiencing some pride in finally getting a manned (well a Kerban-piloted) space craft into orbit. It cost the lives of 12 fellow kerbans and several billion $kerbols worth of hardware. 😉

Holt writes,

And although (David’s) message is VERY general, it is at least a start. He is trying to tailor the message to the audience by demoing the Kerbal Space Program online game (https://kerbalspaceprogram.com) so good for him. But those opportunities are few and far between.

These opportunities rare and priceless. ..and forgive me if I seem overly sensitive and even defensive, but there is nothing general about this. The message is singular and it is revolutionary. It has nothing to do with, “Look, here’s something that you can do in your classroom with technology.” It is,

Look, here’s what many of your students are doing outside your classroom. It’s fun, but it’s work. It’s hard work. And it is entirely about learning. The energy of our students’ youth culture is not based on how high you can jump or fast you can run. It is neither wit nor the appealing symmetry of your face. The energy of their culture is the ability to skillfully and resourcefully learn and to inventively employ that learning.”

My message is that children are entering our classrooms with learning skills that, although based on long understood pedagogies, they are skills that we are too often ignoring and sometimes even handicapping. When I say that we “chop their tentacles off,” it’s not about cutting them off from technology. We’re amputating their access to the learning skills that they are so effectively developing outside our classrooms – their avenues to personally meaningful accomplishment.

Perhaps those of us who have chosen to pursue education technology or have been seduced by its potentials are in a unique position to notice our children’s ’native’ learning skills – more so than science or social studies teachers. But we all must be careful to shed the glow of tech, and get right down to the point of being educated in this time of rapid change.

It’s not about being taught.

It’s about becoming a learner.

 

A Visualization of Science “Brain Drain”

This is one of the infographics that is not so easy to read, but well worth the effort.  It maps out the flow of scientific research talent across 16 countries.  Created by information designer, Giorgia Lupi and here team in Italy, as a follow-up to several celebrated graphics (this and this), it was not initially apparent to me that it is […]

This is one of the infographics that is not so easy to read, but well worth the effort.  It maps out the flow of scientific research talent across 16 countries.  Created by information designer, Giorgia Lupi and here team in Italy, as a follow-up to several celebrated graphics (this and this), it was not initially apparent to me that it is a scatter plot.  

Some things are better discovered than obvious.  

The X axis represents the percent of the country’s GDP that is invested in research and development, with Sweden, Japan, Denmark and Switzerland leading the field.  The Y axis represents the number of researchers in the country for ever one million people.  At the top here are Denmark, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.A.

The lines show the migration of scientific researchers.  For instance, Denmark exports talent to Great Britain and the U.S.  The U.S. exports to Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Australia.  Just about everybody exports to the U.S.

Of particular interest are the percent of foreigner and emigrant researchers in the countries compared to the  total foreign and emigrant residents.

All in all, it’s worth a study by teachers and STEM and social studies students.