Tagged nytimes

10 Courses With a Twist

FLASH AND DRIVE With 700 students, David J. Malan’s computer science course is one of Harvard’s most popular.

Why are so many nonmajors taking “Introduction to Computer Science” at Harvard or “Introductory Oceanography” at Cornell? Why is Temple Grandin’s livestock course at Colorado State always filled, and not just with students at home on the range?

Some professors can make a subject sing, and their courses are not just a credit but an event.

“I’ve wanted to take it since freshman year,” Rhyann Dozier, a Virginia Tech senior, said of “World Regions,” taught by John Boyer, whose high-octane style and throwback vibe channels Will Ferrell, turning lectures into performances.

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Updated Microsoft Photosynth

From the NYTIMES, this is a partial reprint to update the local knowledgebase of understanding, for the complete article, full pictures, comments and all the useful items head over to the full article on NYTimes.com Updated Microsoft Photosynth Makes HDTV Look Low-Resolution, the pictures are amazing.

Microsoft's latest update to Photosynth, a  technology that stitches together overlapping photos, to create 3-D panoramas.Microsoft’s latest update to Photosynth, a  technology that stitches together overlapping photos, to create 3-D panoramas.

While online panoramas have been available for years, the new updates to Photosynth, which will be available on a first-come first-serve basis Tuesday, can now create panoramas that are hyper-detailed and actually look 3-D.

Microsoft said it is able to make the 3-D panorama look so realistic by actually creating a sort-of 3-D model of a photo using proprietary algorithms, then taking high-resolutions photos and layering them on top of each other. The company’s latest updates also make panoramas much smoother and speedier — they could sometimes be jittery in the earlier versions of the software.

The new software shows images almost like a high-resolution video that is fully interactive. Swiping your mouse up will move you forward on the screen; swiping down will smoothly bring you backwards through an image.

The image above is pieced together in 3-D. Below, an images show how a Photosynth photo is layered together.The image above is pieced together in 3-D. Below, an images show how a Photosynth photo is layered together.

The images are incredibly detailed, too. The Mount Everest Photosynth demo was shot by David Brashears, a mountaineer, and is made up of 177 different 60-megapixel photos. Microsoft says this resolution allows the panorama to play like a video that is 30 times more detailed than an HDTV signal.

David Gedye, lead program manager at Microsoft, said that while there is an artistic goal to offer people software that makes these types of images, there is also a business reason behind the software.

“At Microsoft, we’ve long had a goal of documenting the important places in the world and sharing them on Bing,” he said in a phone interview, referring to the company’s search engine. ”We don’t need to drive trucks or employ people to capture the world, we can work with enthusiasts who take these pictures” and then stitch them all together in a highly immersive way.

Mr. Gedye said that adding these images to Microsoft’s search features, including Bing search and its mapping software, makes a more compelling offering for users who are searching through Microsoft products.

“It’s about giving this power to Bing to make it a place where things are really presented beautifully and in a place where it’s immersive and interactive,” he said. People can also use the updated software to document their own objects or places that can be embedded on a personal website.

The new software does not work on iPads or smartphones that don’t support WebGL, a JavaScript 3-D rendering engine. But Microsoft said it is working on updates that will enable the software, or a variation of it, on these platforms.

The company also plans to add updates to Photosynth apps that allow people to create these immersive images on their smartphones. Until then, users will have to upload an array of photos to the Photosynth website to be turned into an interactive 3-D space.

A version of this article appears in print on 12/16/2013, on page B8 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Making Images Appear 3-D.

Are We Still Teachers?

The next collaborative project between English and Information Technology is going to be this project from the NYTimes Learning Network:  Student Contest | 15-Second Vocabulary Videos

If we can fit this into CCSS, the deliverology we are mandated, collection of Data Team results, statistics for evaluations, new systems implementation, and everything else required this year.

Remember when we just got passionate about a great idea and inspired out students by teaching like our hair was on fire and asking for miracles and basking in the meta-cognitive moment that far surpassed anything else we would do that year.

We were teachers then.

 

Go to Book Review essay, Luc MelansonGo to Book Review essay, “A Nose for Words” »

Updated: Nov. 1.

We’ve been publishing a Word of the Day every school day since our blogbegan, and sometime this December we’ll reach our 1,000th.

A perfect time, we thought, to celebrate with a contest.

So here’s the challenge: Along with our collaborators for Word of the Day — the linguists who run Vocabulary.com and Visual Thesaurus — we invite you to create a short video that defines or teaches any of the words in ourcollection.

You have until Dec. 3 to do it, and all the rules and regulations, plus some inspiration from other students and teachers, are below.

Remember: tenacity + a desire to edify + an enterprising nature – sloth = abeguiling result.


vocabulary •\vōˈkabyəˌlerē,vi-\• noun

Q.  I’m in! What are the rules and guidelines?

A.  – All words must come from our Word of the Day feature. Each word must be pronounced and defined, and the part of speech must be given.Update: We now have a PDF of all 979 words published through Nov. 1.

–All definitions must come from either the Word of the Day orVocabulary.com. If there are several definitions, you may just use the first one if you like.

– You must be 13 to 19 years old, but can be from anywhere in the world.

– Your video should be no more than 15 seconds, but can be shorter.

– You can work alone, with a partner or in a group, but only one submission per student, please, whether you’re working alone or with others.

– Use your imagination. You can act the word out, animate it, use puppets, draw, sing a song, create a dance, incorporate photographs, create a Claymation, or anything else that will help viewers understand and learn your word.

– Post a link to the video as a comment on this blog post, along with the first name of everyone who worked on the video. We will watch the videos first to make sure they are appropriate before we approve your comment, so don’t worry if you don’t see your link for a day or two.

–The contest ends on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Q. So we only post a link to our video on your blog. Where do we post the videos themselves?

A.  Anywhere that you, your teachers and your parents or guardians are comfortable with.

We chose the 15-second limit since we know many teenagers are already onInstagram. You can post there, on YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube,Vimeo or even on Google Docs, Flickr or anywhere else that provides an embed code so we can post your final product on our blog if you win.

This page on “Video in the Classroom,” from EdTechTeacher.org, offers an excellent, clear overview of how and where you might film and post.

We also recommend this Edutopia post, “Five-Minute Film Festival: Vine and Instagram Video in the Classroom.”

Of course, please follow the Terms of Service for whatever platform you use.

Q. Where can I look for inspiration?

A.  Vocabulary videos aren’t an original idea — in fact, we originally came up with this contest after we saw an English teacher on Twitter, Brett Vogelsinger, post that he’d had his students make “Vocabulary Vines.”

Bridget Dalton, a professor, has written extensively about developing vocabulary through multimodal expression. In this piece for Literacy Beat, she describes the step-by-step process she went through with her graduate students to have them create short videos like this one:

Another set of examples come from students in John Mynatt’s Irving High School Webmastering 2 classes:

Still more examples can be found on the blog of a teacher, Vincent Bissonette, who talks about his process and shares tips, and on a site called Vocab Ahead, where videos of SAT words are available.

Finally, Larry Ferlazzo, a teacher and Learning Network contributor, recentlyexperimented by doing Instagram vocabulary videos with his E.L.L. students. Here is one:

(Please note that some of the video examples above exceed our 15-second limit.)

Q. Updated: How can I choose a word then learn enough about it to make a video?

A.  To choose your word, you can click back through our Word of the Day feature to see about 10 at a time, or you can scan this seven-page list of all 979 words we published through Nov. 1, 2013. (Teachers, you might choose the specific words from that list that you’d like your students to use.)

Next, look up the word by putting it, along with the phrase “Word of the Day,” into “search this blog.” Read the entry to learn its definition and see how it has been used in The Times.

You might next head to the Vocabulary.com dictionary where you’ll find a friendly explanation and a rich supply of authentic usage examples from both current and classic sources. Take a look at the entries for retinue anduproarious — both from the Word of the Day — as examples. Once you have a handle on the word’s meaning and how it is commonly used, you can start to think about the most effective way to teach that word in a 15-second video.

Q.  Vocabulary’s not really my thing, but I love the idea of a student video contest. What else do you have for me?

A.  You’re in luck. Purely by coincidence, The New York Times’s Culture desk is currently running a contest in which young people are invited to submit 15-second “Hamlet” videos. Read more about it and join in.


Thank you for participating! Post the link to your video, along with the first name (and last initial, if you like) of all those who worked on it, in the comments field, below. You can also post your questions there, and we’ll answer them in bold as soon as we can.

No last names please, although if you win you will have the option of having your last name listed.

NYTimes: It’s My Birthday Too, Yeah

 

I was explaining to my class the other day that given our class sizes it is better than 50-50 that two students have the same birthday.

But hard to explain.

So I give them this article.

Article below By STEVEN STROGATZ

Me, Myself and Math

Me, Myself and Math, a six-part series by Steven Strogatz, looks at us through the lens of math.

By an amazing coincidence my sister, Cathy, and my Aunt Vere have the same birthday: April 4.

Actually, it’s not so amazing. In any extended family with enough siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, you’d expect at least one such birthday coincidence. Certainly, if there are 366 people in the family — more relatives than days of the year — they can’t all have different birthdays, so a match is guaranteed in a family this big. (Or if you’re worried about leap year, make it 367.)

But suppose we don’t insist on absolute certainty. A classic puzzle called the “birthday problem” asks: How many people would be enough to make the odds of a match at least 50-50?

The answer, just 23 people, comes as a shock to most of us the first time we hear it. Partly that’s because it’s so much less than 366. But it’s also because we tend to mistake the question for one aboutourselves. My birthday.

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Fostering Tech Talent in Schools

I have included a reprint from the NYTimes this morning.  While the effort is absolutely laudable and worthy, I wonder, in the time I move from the washroom to my classroom, if there is a lack of clarity as to why this might occur, the need to have extra assistance. 

I vacuumed my room this morning, responded as best I could to parent emails, have setup my Moodle course agendas with Learning Goals for the day, and grading, always grading, despite being over 300 marks behind.  I updated my servers over the weekend, and still can’t figure out a few technical glitches from last week.

I will, in the time allowed, work to the best of my capability to inspire and challenge students, keeping in mind all of the things a guest instructor may be able to push aside.  And in my spare time I will continue to attempt to get my high school to approved a computer science course and to let me teach even the basic courses in my department to engage students. 

Luck.

Stuart Isett for The New York Times

“We are taking the kids farther than I could do,” said Michael Braun, a teacher who is working with the Microsoft volunteers.

By NICK WINGFIELD
Published: September 30, 2012 41 Comments

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