Thursday, September 27, 2012

Science mythology

I am a trained scientist and science teacher.  I have done real science (only a very small amount, but I counted prairie dog burrows for 3 weeks for the BLM) I say this to preface what I am about to say.

Science is a myth. It is almost a religion. It has it's own orthodoxy, it's own priesthood and even it's own robes. Now don't get me wrong, because I love science. I actually even agree with the orthodoxy, but it's important for us to come to terms with some things.

Early mythology, legend and belief systems were fundamentally and basically established on a couple of principles.  People observed phenomena and needed explanations.  With limited powers of observations they generated the best explanations possible.  This often involved invoking supernatural beings, beings that existed beyond the visible world. Forces outside of their ability to actually observe but real.

Is science any different.  we have dozens of forces, particles, strings and even dark matter that can't be observed only predicted and hypothesized.  Our Scientific explanations aren't fundamentally better than any other explanations.  They are based on more observations but still require, like the early explanations a certain amount of trust, acceptance of certain premises, faith if you will.  But viewed from inside science gets that.  Really good scientists know that they are seeing as through a glass darkly, the truths they want to someday fully bring to light.  So do all seekers of truth, they understand that the truth is absolute, but our understanding of it is relative to our own position.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Emotionally Involved with Machines

I have to admit something. I am involved. Involved with machines. Most of us techie teachers get this. I know I have heard this before. I know I have read it, and I get it.

So, what do I mean? Well I am not having some kind of weird relationship with my computer!!! Or am I? I recently read two books that were significant, but since I am updating this blog post months after I began the draft, I can't remember them.  The ideas were these.
On incident referred to the grief people experience, even trauma, when a computer crashes. The other book detailed the experience people have when they lose a spouse. When a couple live together for a long time they begin to depend on each other for mental processes. For example, I remember dates and events really well. My wife remembers where my keys are.  We come to depend on someone else for certain mental processes.  We essentially offload certain things. Our memory expands into the other person. The trauma and loss we feel when we lose a spouse through either divorce or death we lose mental capacity. With our devices we are doing the same thing essentially.  We our offloading our mental capacity into a device. It serves as our memory and our reminder and we become literally, emotionally involved with our machines.

One of the things, that I have noticed about this in my self is my reluctance to offload to someplace I won't be able to access it.  I am very leery of the online storage systems that are "the latest and greatest" because I worry that they will lose them.

So, I am emotionally involved with my machines.  Essentially my little mobile device is acting as part of my brain.

Scheduling Yoga!

I used to joke with students that if they just let me run things we could really have a nice school schedule.

I used think there were at least 3 or 4 good ways to fix the school schedule.

4 days for students 5 days for teachers

If teachers gave up their prep time (for secondary teachers) and we extended the length of the school day we could have the same amount of instruction time. Now, this may mean we teach fewer things but  we could be more focused with that teaching. We would have longer times in each course like an A/B Block day and we as teachers would have an entire day for Prep and Professional development each week. As a teacher I could plan and get prepared for the entire upcoming week without interruptions. I could update all the grades every week.

There are other options, I just love this idea.

Effective Learning at Hogwart's School of Wizardry

I want my kids to go to Hogwarts.

Why you may ask? For Defense agains the Dark Arts? Herbology? Care of Magical Creatures, or is it just that I want my kids to live at a boarding school so I only see them for Christmas Holiday and a 8 weeks in the summer (hmmm tempting especially for teens but no). No, the reason I want my kids in Hogwarts is because this is quality education. Think of some of the things that they have at Hogwarts

  • Small Class size- There are only about 16 Griffyndors per year
  • Flexible Schedules Double Potions gets more time
  • Effective Intramural sports
  • Advisory Teachers
  • Customized schedules beginning in Grade 8
  • Focused Career Counseling and career courses
  • Practical Lab Experiences
  • Extensive social learning and group work
If you take a look at what Hogwarts offers to it's students, it is pretty exceptional.  I want my kids to go there. In fact.  I would love to teacher there.  I wonder if there is an opening for Muggle Studies?

Tech Tip Tuesday: Apple iOS 6, 6 New Things!

iOS 6Apple released iOS 6 in anticipation of the arrival of the iPhone 5 (Does anyone else agree that they should get those two lined up? Dear Tim Cook, please don't release a new iOS until 7 with the iPhone 7.  Just sayin')

Well here are 6 changes to the iOS that will make a difference!

  1. New Maps! Apple has cut ties with Google in a lot of ways, which is sad since they used to play so nicely together, but for a variety of reasons Apple opted to go with their "own" map app.  Technically, they bought it from TomTom and it has some distinct improvements.  Turn by Turn voice navigation on all iPhones, doesn't matter which carrier, you've got it.  For those on a throttled data plan this may be an issue since both the maps and voice are handled via your data network.  Favorite improvement - Faster Mapping

  2. No YouTube - The quaint and quirky retro TV is gone. YouTube as an Apple distributed App is no longer available.  Never fear, YouTube released an iPhone App even before the update.  This seems to fall along with the rift between Apple and Google, but the new improved Google distributed App is still free and has better integration with my Google Account. There are more sharing and favoriting options that integrate with my Google Account. Favorite improvement - Love the YouTube Icon

    [caption id="attachment_1475" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Old YouTube icon"]Old YouTube icon[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_1476" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="New YouTube icon"]New YouTube icon[/caption]

  3. FaceBook Integration - While separating itself from Google, Apple has been cozying up to the two biggest Social Media Networks.  Twitter and Facebook are even more fully integrated.  You can now sign into Facebook in the Settings area just like Twitter.  You can share more easily from all kinds of places to Facebook.  Photos are also more easily uploaded and tagged Favorite Improvement - Contact Integration

  4. Notification Center - The notification pull down now has a couple of new features: Tap to Tweet and Tap to Post.  'Nuff said

    [caption id="attachment_1478" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Notifications iOS 6"]Notifications iOS 6[/caption]

  5. Brand New Share Menu - It's Prettier and therefore easier. You can actually see exactly what you are choosing to share too.  On a related note there are new privacy settings in Settings and when you tap and hold in Mail you have options to insert a photo/video.  All related to better sharing with more control over privacy!

    [caption id="attachment_1479" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Share Menu"]Share Menu[/caption]

    Mail Options

    [caption id="attachment_1481" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Insert Photo or Video"]Insert Photo or Video[/caption]

  6. Brand New Emojii - Granted this is a silly one, but there are now new emoji icons you can use in messaging, mail and all over the place. Sometimes these don't translate when you text other phones but they can still be pretty cool.  You can turn on emoji in the Settings area.  This is also where you can turn on alternate language Keyboards as well.
    New Emoji

    [caption id="attachment_1482" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Keyboard Options in Settings, General, Keyboard"]Keyboard options[/caption]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Web of the Week Wednesday: Sports n' Science

Web Address:

The University of Utah has done more than create scholar athletes, they are creating a tool to create a whole new generation of scholar athletes and emphasize the scholarship of athletics all in one. The new Sports n Science page combines the latest science surrounding sports with the high engagement of college athletics to create an enjoyable mix of  sports and science.  The website has links to information and will be hosting YouTube videos to explain the science behind things like punting a football.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday: Pick your Tablet

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="440" caption="Apple iPad( left) vs Kindle HD 8.9" (right)"]Apple iPad( left) vs Kindle HD 8.9" (right)[/caption]

There have been a couple of big announcements about Gadgets in the last few weeks. Amazon announced their latest updates to the Kindle line.  The new Kindle HD has higher resolution and now comes in a new larger 8.9 inch screen (Amazon will also be keeping the 7" screen model) With Amazon providing a rich, and robust content store and running the Android Operating system it is head to head with Apple's iPad.  No new iPad was announced this week, but the pocketable gadgets all got an update.  Apple announced updates to their iPod Nano, it will get larger again after getting smaller last time.  Apple seems to be having a lot of trouble defining this device. If you look at a history of the Nano you can see that more than any other it's form factor has changed. The iPod Shuffle is a close second. The iPod Touch was also updated and got a colorful make-over.  The iPhone 5 was also launched and the biggest update for the newest iOS devices is a larger screen. The screen will now accomodate true widescreen ratios.  This might be forthcoming in a new generation of iPad, but in a move that didn't surprise me in the least, Apple did not announce an iPad mini.  Whether there will be a place for a screen size between the iPad and iPhone is up for debate, but my guess is we won't see one until there is compelling evidence that people prefer the smaller size screens.

So which tablet for you? right now the question comes down to factors: content and cost. The Kindle HD 8.9" comes in at only $299.00 for a wifi 16GB version. With an Amazon Prime account it will include streaming of a wide variety of video from Amazon's services. It will run the majority of Apps you might want on an iPad and will allow you to stream any content you purchase through Amazon.  The audio content especially is nice. It is yours. You get mp3 files that belong to you.  No DRM just files. However, Kindle's eBook format is the opposite.  DRM and you never really see the files.

iPad weighs in at a heftier $499.00 (or $399.00 for the previous generation) but also has a really robust content store and with recent (the last few years) changes to iTunes most of your music is yours without DRM. Amazon offers apps to access your content purchased from them, so if you already have a lot of content with iTunes the iPad may be the way to go.

Having trouble deciding.  Go take a look at their specs and take some time to think it through.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Apple iPad

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Web of the Week Wednesday:

Web Address:

Do you need that specific graph paper, or a special score sheet or just some other peculiar paper but all you have is a computer?  PrintablePaper has a variety of printable papers.  Score Sheets for games and activities, a variety of Graph papers and styles, music paper, quilt papers, and even templates.  This page does have a few adds and clickthroughs before you can download the documents but when you get them they are amazing printable papers you can use!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday: Test Your Creativity

Recently, I was reading an article on creativity and the article referred to a pretty fun little test. You can take the test here to find out how creative you are likely to be.  Visit the test: .

But even more fun that is a test designed for managers and teachers. You can take an inventory of how well you encourage creativity in your classroom and with your students.  Visit the test here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday Web of the Week: UEN Core Resources

Utah's Core resources have morphed and expanded and evolved over the years,  UEN has been there to help support and curate resources through the years.  Check out these pages for help teaching the Utah Core!:

The Utah State Office of Education also conducted a series of Core Academies this summer to help improve teacher's readiness in teaching the rigorous standards for Utah Students.  You can find information about these at:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday: Excel at games!

We don't often think of Excel as a tool for interactive multimedia, but it can be done.  Check out the site below for some cool ideas for using Microsoft Excel to create games:


Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

Visit some of my other blogs or the other blogs I find mildly entertaining for a more polished feel.