12/23/2008

Missing them.....


It sounds ironic when you say that you miss work. Especially when you are a few days from your time off work, enjoying the holidays. However, as much as I want to rest and have fun with my family, can I stop working? Or, at least, can I stop searching for resources and new things to offer in and out of the classroom?
Yes! Vacations all summer, woohoo!!!........not really. I guess that's the fine print when you sign the professional contract to become an educator (working 8 hours at school and several more at home). I didn't leave for vacation time and I can't stop working about the curricular challenges for 2009. My country's academic year runs from march to december. So the holidays mark the end of the academic year too.
I tried to stay away from my tools of research: twitter, ning, monitter, etc. But, even though disconnected for a while, I know I can't get too far from from it. The rest of the world is learning and teaching at all times.
I use lots of videos in my classes, I found the next video from daibarnes at twitter. The US spends thousands of dollars per student every year, my country barely spends tens of dollars per student every year, and I think bioth have similar results in primary and secondary schools. This is no irony, it is a reality. Something that we have to face and that we must change.
The world says technology is the solution. I'm a huge fan of technology, I use it in all my classes, but I think technology alone is not the solution. We must not rely solely on that. The contribution that parents bring to students' performance when they get involved in their education is incomparable.
Get involved in your children's education and you'll see that education and many other areas of interest in their lives will improve.

12/16/2008

Welcome Members of DIM-Barcelona, SPAIN


Thanks to our visitors from DIM Barcelona-Spain, one of the greatest and most diverse cities in the world. Home to the best soccer team in the world, Barca FCB.....Can you tell I'm a big fan?
My blog is dedicated to the process of Learning anything interesting, with a tendency to explain and question things from the Science's and Technology's points of view, or at least I try to.
I hope you can enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Gracias a nuestros visitantes del DIM Barcelona-España, una de las más grandiosas y más diversas ciudades del mundo. Hogar del mejor equipo de fútbol del mundo, el Barca FCB.......¿Se nota que soy un gran fanático?
Mi blog está dedicado al proceso de Aprendizaje, con tendencia a explicar y cuestionar las cosas desde el punto de vista de la Ciencia y la Tecnología, o por lo menos eso intento.
Espero que disfruten leerlo tanto, como yo disfruto escribiéndolo.

12/01/2008

Twisted Ankle - December 1st

I twisted my ankle two days ago playing basketball at a school activity. I guess the intensity of the game and being out of shape caused that. Anyway, my case is very similar to many others suffering from overweight. Limb and hip injuries are very common in overweight people, because knees, feet and ankles have a limit to support the body's weight.
So, Ive spent the whole day working in the computer and producing a lot. Browsing the links that I receive daily stumbled upon this video, that even though is titled Ankle Injuries, has nothing to do do with the physical phenomenon, but a lot with patience and creativity. Take a look at it.


Fujiya & Miyagi- Ankle Injuries from Insound on Vimeo.

Widgets - December 1st

I just found out this website called Sprout, it allows you to create your own widgets easily to promote things or to present information in an interactive way. I think it's a great way to make your web surfing more dynamic.



For those of you who have blogs and wikis, this list of places will also serve their purpose:

11/30/2008

Lecturing - November 30th


Last week I went to Rio de Janeiro to give two lectures about Wikis and its uses in Primary and Secondary Education. I went to share my experience during this year. Until february this year, I had never worked in blogs, wikis or anything beyond MSN Messenger and basic internet search engines.

But it took only a few weeks of basic training, institutional support and self-learning to become the ICT Coordinator at my school.

Going to Rio helped me realize that even though I have the possibility to communicate with anybody in the world in real-time through Plurk, Twitter, or receive the information in a matter of minutes after it was published in any part of the world through bloglines; not everybody does it.

Part because their technological immersion is still in the rise, or because the need to do it has not reached them yet. It reached me quickly, and even though I will never stop learning I feel happy to be part of the educational technology world team, because the distances in a global community are reduces with one or two clicks.

Reading and Writing in the 21st Century



Learning to read and write are two of the most fundamental skills in humans. That's basically what differentiates us from the other superior animals. Although if you listen to many people talking or reading, it seems as if they didn't alphabetize at all.
Those two basic skills have been suffering changes in response to the changing technology in today's world.

The internet meant a whole new way of communication with people as general public, consumers, students and laymen. Advertising campaigns had to be modified to fit the format of small space and quick seconds-long ads from any brand or product in order to be published and targeted to specific audiences.

As any emerging technology, the internet had a great impact in children, teenagers and young adults. It is not a surprise that advertising in the internet was not different from the tv major campaigns. Even though it was an uncertain year or in the nineties when the internet got popular, it has consiolidated as a completely new way of doing business and shopping. It's not necessary to be hooked up to QVC or any other shopping channel, you could access to any brand with a website at anytime, from any part of the world.

And then came the Web 2.0, a brand new way to generate information. Anybody can contribute and/or publish anything, from family events to professional education. These technologies also require a new set of skills and styles of presentation of information. Because we read and write in different ways nowadays. It is actually not bad to write a lot through a computer, because you have the capabilities of instantaneous editing and improvement, instead of drawing scratches over paper, and pretend to move words with arrows from one position to another. The cherry on top is the fact that we pollute less and we help saving our planet.

And these days you can also read with your ears, yes. Thanks to audiobooks and podcasting, you can take lots of information in a simple mp3 player anywhere with you. So, everytime you're riding a bus, train or airplane, don't waste your time, learn something new by e-writing and e-reading (via audio or visual publications).

11/12/2008

eWaste - November 12th

As much as technology help us progressing: Those of us who have access to: tv, cable, wireless phones, mobile phones, and computers are avid users of technology.
But, where do we dump our technology trash or waste. At the current rate, the life span of a mobile phone is between 6 and 12 months, a computer's 12 to 18 months, and so on, just to name a few of the most popular ones.
Unfortunately eWaste is discarded in dumping places in countries such as China, and many poor countries located in latinamerica, to mention some.

Let's watch this video and think twice before we want to change our mobile phone just because the new "in" model comes out.


Watch CBS Videos Online

11/02/2008

The Future - November 2nd

I stumbled upon this conference about the future of media. Even though it's a long video, it is certainloy interesting to hear Gerd Leonhard, a known futurist, talking about Web 2.0 as our current future..... or present?

10/29/2008

Table got SMARTer - October 29th


I'm a big fan of using technology and web 2.0 resources in the classroom. The tool that allows me to do that in an interactive way is the Interactive White Board, or IWB. Since I started using it early this year, I embraced the countless resources it comes with, but best of all, it's the canvas I use to paint my classes with my originality and self-expression to present Science concepts and ideas.
Even though the goods of the IWB, one of the little flaws was the fact that only one user could interact with the board at the same time. However, it appears that it is not a problem anymore. Last thursday, Octobder 23rd Smart Tech (the manufacturer of the brand I use) released to the media the new version of the Smart family, The Smart Table. Customized for the little ones, primary students, those that get more enthusiastic when using it, the Smart Table allows several kids to touch the board at the same time, with a whole new set of ready-made activities and fully customizable. I'm certainly eager to try it, and I'm sure that all my students feel the same way too.

ICT in St. George's College - October 29th

This is the presentation and video used to inform the PTA from St. George's College about our Technological Innovation Project. Please review and make your comments.


10/24/2008

Blogging at 95 - October 24th


I love blogging, because it is a great way to express, to learn and also to teach. But nothing is more impressive that appreciating when a person who is supposedly "outdated" in terms of technology embraces it and gets the best out of her to communicate it to the world. Amelia is a 95 year old lady from La Coruña, Spain who received a blog as her 95th present from her grandson.
Happy Birthday Amelia!
Keep blogging so we can learn from your enthusiasm and energy.

10/15/2008

Wiki, Week, and Weak - October 15th


"Men are from Mars and Women are from venus" or so said John Gray when published his book in 1992. Cliché phrases are everywhere in our daily lives. I actually found a website that helps you find clichés. Technology doesn't escape from clichés. Female presence in the ICt area is not as high as the male one, yet. I think that proportion will reverse soon. My experience with Wikis is reduced to a few jonths only. I work producing weekly edits in my class wikis, even though I was as weak as any IT ignorant until I discovered the benefit of being "connected". you're in the loop as long as you participate in the world. The World Wide Web has opened new possibilities in the communication area. I read dozens of updates in my twitter network. I follow a lot of people in the same area. I benefit from them. I use all that expertise as an empowerment. ICT empowers my mind, it challenges my perception of things and keeps me very busy, that's for sure.


It helps me discover that there is a whole world of possibilities on a nanosecond base, and if you are out of the loop you'll be delayed in your professional development. Will that be my weakness if I stop checking information on a weekend? I saw a great video the other day, shifthappens, check it out. Information generated daily is doubling on astronomical figures and in shorter time than just a few decades before. I'll try to keep up-to-date!

10/14/2008

Elections - October 13th


Even though this blog is not a political one, or it doesn't intend to be by any means. I have to recognize that elections have a special attraction, many times disappointing but mostly challenging, who will be the winner? What is that nation choosing for its future?
Sometimes little decisions can have a tremendous consequence, good or bad. Can you imagine how deciding the election of a new president might alter the course of a country over time?
We face that every time we, as adults, vote for a new president. I have to admit that choosing a new president for my country has been plagued with irregularities and/or decisions not in favor of one but against the other, at least in Peru for the last 20 years.
Just a few weeks ago we've been witnesses of the collapse of a big part of the financial system, and even though we dare to say that our world is too big, the financial tsunami has reached each and every continent, and those who were not properly protected economically, are suffering the consequences, starting in the very own capitalism epicenter, the United States of America.
So, I found a web 2.0 application, a timeline, to follow the US elections, soon to happen.
Therefore, if you're a little but interested, check out this timeline and decide which side you're on.


9/29/2008

Dinobirds - September 29th

Ever since I remember, I knew dinosaurs were extinct. The discussion was how they disappeared not if. And even though there is no final word about it, the consensus is that dinosaurs suffered from a series of dramatic changes in the climates supporting their voracious appetites and necessities.

However, evolution is hard to predict. So a hypothesis started ringing the bells of science and modern scientists claimed since the 19th century that birds were the living descendants of dinosaurs, and ever since the discussion has been in place, supported mostly by the discovery of fossils such as the Archaeopteryx, strongly linking dinosaurs and birds.

Besides, it doesn't take much comparing an ostrich with the image of a velociraptor, they are about the same size, strong legs for running, long neck and elongated snout, etc, etc. Of course, that is out of my imagination, but it's not difficult to see the resemblance, moreover when we talk about certain key bones being conserved in both animals.

Anyway, PLoS just published a study done in a Aerosteon riocoloradensis, a dinosaur that lived 85 million years ago in Argentina and that possessed a bird-like respiratory system. A very interesting report that tells us about the "invention" in nature of a structure later exploited by a different species. Related or not? Probably, until we have a certain anser these reports bring us something good to read.

Etiquetas de Technorati: ,,,,,

9/27/2008

Green thoughts, or so i thought - September 27th

I remember reading about serious green movements in the early 90's when I was coming out of my teenage years. It sounded as the right thing to do, but how much have we done ever since? Buty "we" I mean us, society, you, me and everybody else. Governments sign agreements, treaties, one less respected than others. As with any other world topic, it is subjected to politics but, in this case, mainly to economics. Yes because it is the money the ruler of any movement right or wrong trying to save our planet.

Our society and even the industry predicates the good manners to conserve our planet. Be sure that I started being very concerned when news kept coming about global warming, ice caps melting, icebergs breaking down, hurricanes increasing frequency and intensity, El Niño visiting us more often, etc.

All of this made me think, how are my two children going to live in this world. When they turn 25, the world's population will be around 9 billion people, and I'm sure the oil will still be driving the economy, but it will have a very strong competitor, water.

Yes, water shortage is a reality. and not a projection. Not in vane "Thirst" was the winner of the SlideShare annual contest, because it is something we are living, not something we're hypothesizing.







THIRST
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design crisis)

Hear me on this...or you won't later - September 27th


I'm a great fan of technology and the products derived from it. It amazes me that we are able to handle information (audio, video, documents, etc) in the way we do nowadays, whatever the information is we can carry it, send it, remix it, upload it, download it or anything that a computer allows us to do.
But as any other human activity, if we don't control its use responsibly, we can lose important things such as your ability to hear.
NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss) is a condition that is on the rise because most earphone users are not paying attention to the big picture, keep it low.
The use, or abuse, of loud sounds directed to your ear canal will have a damaging effect if you don't control its use.
I recommend you to follow simple guidelines published in this document from the Minnesota Department of Health.
And please, don't let this message fall in deaf ears!

9/21/2008

Daring Education - September 21st

Every single time I open my bloglines account, or visit my favorite sites from my delicious account, I get constant reminders that information and communication technology (ICT) is the current technology. it's difficult to adapt to changes, but that's what human beings excel at, no wonder we have advanced more in the last 200 years than in the previous 18 centuries. Before people use to create friends communities by postal mail, waiting for replies every month. Nowadays your replies can take a minute or two, literally. Communication has experienced a revolutionary growth speed. Videoconferencing by Skype, or other tools such as Ekko, help you realize that the world isn't that big, and that we are closer to each other than we suspect.
Denying that ICT is a major tool to spread the knowledge is like going back to light up cities with candles and oil torches. Could we make it to our final destination? Sure, at some point. Is taking too long being necessarily conservative? No, it is just denying a reality.
Try it. Give your students the power to speak, podcast, webcast, reply 24/7.
Check out the following video, a daring video with a reality that is closer to you than you realize. If not, ask your son or daughter how many people can they meet through the WWW.


9/20/2008

TecnoEducación - Septiembre 20

El nivel de exigencia que se vive hoy en día en la educación va cada vez más en aumento. Pero no me refiero a la exigencia hacia los alumnos por hacer tareas y estudiar, más bien es la exigencia de los alumnos sobre el sistema de educación y la metodología educativa lo que cambia, evoluciona y demanda una renovación constante acorde con las nuevas tendencias mundiales.Hasta hace no muchos años se pensaba que al Perú las cosas tardarían varios años en llegar, más aún cuando se trataba de tecnología. Sin embargo, el mundo de hoy es un mundo que se puede recorrer en segundos a través de tours virtuales con Google Earth, Educación en Europa, Mitos Mundiales, etc.
Uno de los ámbitos en donde el uso de la tecnología viene siendo utilizada con gran amplitud es la Educación. Veamos una pequeña prueba de ellos en el siguiente video:



Nuestro Colegio está seriamente comprometido con liderar el uso de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. La implementación de las nuevas tecnologías: Podcast, Webcast, Moodle, y las innumerables herramientas Web 2.0 vienen siendo parte de una gran capacitación a nivel de docentes, para poder utilizarlas de forma directa en las aulas. Nuestros docentes se encuentran en una constante capacitación y entrenamiento en estas herramientas.
La información está esperando para que cualquiera la encuentre, analice y modifique. Nosotros, los docentes, somos los encargados de señalar el camino de forma interactiva y dinámica.

8/27/2008

ICT in Education - August 27th, 2008


I've mentioned before that the education is constantly evolving, but for the last few years the incorporation of the Information and Communication Technologies, or ICTs is an unstoppable tendency. Our school is constantly working trying to implement the use of technology as a complementary tool within the teaching methodology. The use of the Web 2.0 tools is becoming a must in our classes. And for those of us who appreciate the use of technology instead of banning it within the classrooom is always useful to find and implement the direct use and impact of these tools in our lessons preparation.


Today's teacher is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to present information in a way that the primary beneficiary has to be the student. Nowadays the information is not reserved, on the contrary it is available for anybody, at any time and from anywehere.


Tools are always useful, that's why I share this nice presentation found recently in the web giving us a great deal of websites and tools.



101 Free Learning Tools
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: teaching thinking)

8/02/2008

Learning for the future, or the present? - August 2nd

The methodologies in Education have been changing along time. Lecture-based, skills-based, curriculum-based, etc.

It appears that new times bring new methodologies, or tendencies. Nowadays though, the tendency tends to be a giant snow ball coming to us. So we can choose to ride with it or we surrender to it, regardless if we are students, parents or teachers.

The change to a more technological working position brings some resistance, usually. but that resistance is evaporated once the virtues of the "new" technology are discovered and incorporated into the personal way of working.

Our current technology, demands that as teachers we should be at the forefront of guidance. yes, only guidance. Our capabilities will soon be surpassed by the most skillful and/or dedicated savvy students.

So we better go with the roll and guide the tour of teaching through technology or we will be considered eternal students of something that we reject, technology.

I found a great video that shows in a very simple but clear way what students want, think, and need. Check ot out.


7/30/2008

Videos as a powerful educational tool - July 30th


Videos have been in our lives for a few decades already. But it wasn't until the explosion of electronics and the low pricing of video cameras that the regular citizen was able to really grab this technology. Even better, the internet has offered a global distribution platform without limits, literally. Anyone that has access to the internet is able to search, upload, or download videos 24/7/365. But that's not all, videos are a powerful tool in the classroom too. My Science classes would be empty without videos. My video search is a constant in my weekly duties. I'm sure my students appreciate videos too, although sometimes they don't show it. You know, things are never cool enough for them. I was born with cable tv and computers in my adolescent years, they were born with broadband connection, Youtube and web 2.0.

The following video is the presentation that Professor Michael Wesch recently did at the US Library of Congress. An interesting compilation and testimony about the use of videos and its transcendence in our daily life. Enjoy!




7/26/2008

iKids - July 26th, 2008


As a teacher, have you ever asked your students how they want to be taught? i certainly have not in the purest sense. Even though i try to mold a little bit my class to what the kids like by using interactive resources, it is difficult to hear from the student that they have no interest in this or that. I just read a publication from the magazine Edutopia, where an article opens eyes and ideas. It was interesting to be reprimanded that the schools and teachers don't investigate what their students want, as it says there: "Unlike in the corporate world, where businesses spend tens of millions researching what their consumers really want, when it comes to how we structure and organize our kids' education, we generally don't make the slightest attempt to listen to, or even care, what students think about how they are taught." Tough punch.

My best approach has been to offer them options and exercising democracy and having them vote for the options that sometimes they come up with.

Should we bring our articulate students to our board meetings to share their ideas and perceptions of their own education?

Animal Power to reduce GHG - July 26th, 2008



Greenhouse gases (GHG) are causing our planet to warm to temperatures that are melting the icebergs at damaging rates already. Reducing car emissions, lowering the burning of fossil fuels, and searching for alternative sources of energy are the current trends in government actions around the world. Capturing the CO2 underwater is also an option that has been explored for some years already, but that is part of the plant kingdom function, as long as we take care of that kingdom we'll be securing our future too. Unfortunately there many fronts to work on, lots of people to educate and a tons of work to be done. Some is done, but it appears that is not enough.


For those of us who love to eat meat, there will be a better way to contribute to the environment. Converting livestock manure into biogas is something that isproved to be benefitial in many ways. Leaving manure to biodegrade takes time and contaminates a lot.


Did you know that the gases emitted by decomposing manure, methane and nitrous oxide warm up our atmosphere 21 and 320 times more than carbon dioxide. Yes, astounding right?


A group of researches have published a study in the Environmental Research Letters confirming that working on manure to obtain energy and decreasing the detrimental effect of warming our atmosphere is feasible and convenient.


Considering that most nations have a large consumption of livestock products this is a great initiative.

7/25/2008

Bat the fat! - July 25th, 2008



Trans fat is a type of modified fat, vegetable oil (liquid) is transformed into solid fat. But, why is it done? Simply because it has neutral flavor, it's good for frying and makes foods last longer, as it is mentioned by the BBC news update. This update tells us that California is the first US state to ban trans fat in their foods, following previous initiatives from some cities like New York and Philadelphia.


Trans fats are linked to increasing levels of the LDL or bad cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that makes our cell membranes less fluid, and our arteries harder than necessary, finally connected with heart conditions, of course that happens after years of daily trans fat consumption.


Cis fat in turn, is a good type of fat, because it is what our cells regularly use. And as polyunsaturated fats, they are considered heart-friendly.


So the California initiative is a very good one, shame it will be fully implemented starting January 1, 2010 and not before.


7/23/2008

Spinal Cord Injuries - July 23rd, 2008


I just read about some exciting news. Investigation has been conducted on spinal cord injuries and found that stem cells within the spinal cord could help injured patients if they are properly stimulated to cause less scarring and more and more healing cells.

We hear about stem cells practically on a daily basis, something hard to believe considering that it still raises so many so-called ethical issues.

Regardless of politics or ethics, stem cells will probably the weapon against major diseases that are killing millions around the world nowadays.

We only need to remember that stem cells aren't only obtained from frozen embryos from fertility clinics, they can also be obtained by more mature cells in the body.

You can obtain the open access report by visiting the PLoS Biology website.

7/07/2008

Fertility - July 7th, 2008



Fertility has been an issue since the beginning of human societies. According to its definiton, it is the capacity to conceive and generate offspring. In many ways, fertility is one of nature's selective methods to allow only the fittest to continue the life journey along time.

Plants have great resources for reproduction: wind, water, animal-assistance, etc. Some animals also use some of those resources. However, the more complex the animal, the more complex the reproductive method, and the least successful. Sexual reproduction in complex animals such as humans has been a major advance, but also a major restriction. Why? Humans as animals, cannot survive purely by themselves until late infancy. Which means that humans need a lot of support, energy and guidance. And who is going to provide that but the mother.

Humans need extra energy and time, because they need to mature a series of complex structures (organs and systems) that will help accomplish life's exigencies.

Most of these requirements are guided toward the maturation of the nervous system, mainly the growth of the brain and its annex structures. That is human's trade off. It has been a sacrifice to invest in a longer period of gestation and rearing to obtain a highly-complex, multi-tasking animal capable of interacting with its envioronment not only sensorially but also at a very important level, socioculturally.

So fertility problems, or difficulties to conceive or produce an offspring is just another way nature has used to select us as living things.

But as any other problem, we gçfound a way around to solve it. Infertility treatments started decades ago with trial and error as the main technique, and it wasn't until the late 60's that artificial insemination really started working. And only in 1978, Louise Joy Browne, the first baby conceived by InVitro Fertilization was born in England after Robert Edwards, PhD and Patrick Steptoe, MD performed hundreds of experimental procedures trying to overcome the blocking of fallopian tubes. Decades have past since that first success, and many other procedures have been implemented in the fertility lab, such as: GIFT and ZIFT, SUZI, ICSI, Oocyte maturation, sperm-retrieval procedures and lately, PGD, and lately IMSI.

The question here is, what is the limit? I just read a news report that indicates that a 70 year old woman has delivered twins. Even though I support the assisted reproductive techniques, I think it must be limited to people under a certain range of age. Because, as a father, I can testify that raising kids takes a lot of physical and mental effort, but overall the main ingredient nowadays, is to be able to give them our TIME.

6/24/2008

Prions - June 25th, 2008




It was during my undergraduate years that I started appreciating the trascendence of the work as a scientist. Dr. Stanley Prusiner was not taken seriously initially when he announced the existence of a nonliving transforming agent to the scientific community around the mid 80s.


Prions are chaperone proteins, polypeptides in charge of the folding of other proteins. When a cell contains the infective form, the consequences can be counted by the millions, of cows and dollars. But as humans, we are not exempt of the risks. We can contract a type of prion disease called CJD or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, where the brain becomes something like a sponge, literally.

A new report has come out informing that prions are a very strong form af aberrant proteins, describing the work of Wisconsin scientists reporting the persistence of prions in wastewater 20 days after the water passed through regular sewage treatment.
This report is available as open-access in this link.

World Wide Web 2.0 - June 24th, 2008


There has been an explosion followed by a snowball coming to us at all times, it is called flow of information. The resources derived from and to handle all sorts of information generated from the ever-expanding knowledge, but most of all by the practically unlimited availability of it, is astounding. Proof of that is the exponential amount of blogs and wikis that have been in the last few years. This is certainly a new generation of interaction between user, interface and the powerful feedback.

There are several websites that promote the use of the new types of tools available: cool, fresh, dynamic and friendly web 2.0 tools. Pages such as Go2Web2.0, and Mosaic are good examples of that.

the best of all is that a new way to interact and present information is available in Education. Generating contents with new approaches, visions and levelsof interactivity. Let's celebrate the web 2.0 and the possibilities it brings us for our social, academic, business and personal life.

Educating with Skills - June 24th, 2008






My school is very interested in students learning skills through the Inquiry-based Learning, an investigative method that allows students to search, review, filter and integrate information in order to answer to open-ended questions.



This is a great approach for kids to develop the skills that remain dormant for many years, in some cases. And that would make student's life much easier in higher education instances.



Learning that you have skills is probably the greatest part of all, because it is a discovery in any student's mind and body capability to solve problems, or difficult situations. Does it sound like real lfe? Yes it does. Those skills are so important that will be required for the rest of your life. Might as well start learning them now as a kid than later when the pressure and promptness to succeed make it much more difficult.



This learning approach has been around for some time with other similar names, PYP for example. I was lucky to be part of a training given by Lesley & Kenneth Snowball, founders and strong promoters of this learning approach around the world.



Integrating the inquiry-based learning with the Bloom's taxonomy, and the strong theoretical contents of today's education, is the goal to prepare a student to solve a problem in Peru, USa or China, because the skills will be there to assist in the journey of life and its academic problems.



6/16/2008

Quality in Education - June 16th, 2008

Education is a very clear concept, obtaining knowledge and experiences to enlighten one's background. The education has been around us for thousands of years, in one way or another.
Education, as well as any other part of the human expression, has suffered "revolutions" along time.
It wasn't until a few decades ago that the use of a green board with dusty chalks (white at the beginning, coloured later) was the gold standard. Time after, year after year, the evolution of technology and the implementation of it around the sociocultural environment has marked distinct changes in education.
State-sponsored education, still very popular in many countries around the world, is no longer the prime source of knowledge production. Private institutions, with a significant presence in forming renowned scientists and thinkers are probably the leading machinery of knowledge production nowadays.
However, Education has entered into a new era. Knowledge is no longer reserved for the elite families or people with lots of financial resources. Money is not the primary obstacle for a person to be educated. Willingness and progress desire is the main ingredient, but technology and its open and immensely vast of available resources, not only of educational material but also in the current ways to creating, communicating, disseminating, and sharing information.
Perhaps the "obstacle" nowadays is to decide what to study, where to study and when. Age is not a problem, many universities in different countries have older adult programs.
It is the amount of information that is unstoppable what sets people in jeopardy if good education is not part of its resume.
Finally, developing countries like Peru are used to form and educate people with lots and lots of skills to compensate for the lack of resources (books, equipment, technology, etc) that are perfect for facing the first world working markets as well as postgraduate studies.
Even though my country has been placed in one of the last positions in educational achievements of our region, there is a lot valuable people trying to revert this uncomfortable truth. Unfortunately, usually the ones in charge of taking the decisions are the first blockers of progress, here and anywhere.

6/10/2008

Bionic Hand - June 10th, 2008


On April 23rd I posted a picture and a brief comment about a bionic eye implants that was developed for blind people to recover, or obtain, detection of light and imagery.

Now a new report has come out about bionics, in this case it is a bionic hand that has won Britain most prestiged award in engineering, the Mac Robert Award.

This is an interesting device called the iLimb, it has the five fingers separately powered. This device came out for sale in July 2007 with a price of 10,000 pounds and has been used in mutilated soldiers and patients with no limbs. It's worth taking a look at this technology and the video that the BBC presented with the interview of one of the patients using the device.



6/06/2008

Immersed in Technology - June 6th, 2008

It's been only 4 months since I came into this world, yes into the eLearning, Web 2.0, Teacher 2.0, world. It all came amazingly fast to me. I started working in St. George's College in february of this year, and from there on my appreciation on technological tools changed dramatically.
I didn't have a blog or a wiki before. Now I have 2 blogs and 2 wikis.
The Wikis I've prepared are mostly dedicated to class contents, dates, homeworks, assignments, deadlines, etc.
The blogs are focused into something fresh. Something you can read if you're interested in Science or any topic of significant cultural or academic impact.
My first Wiki is a dedicated, and very useful and powerful tool that allows me to extend the communication I have with my students, but also with their parents. That's one of the powerful parts. Although I have to recognize it was not easy to introduce students...and parents into this "new" technology. Even though Blogs and Wikis are not new, in computer time, they are still entering into the Educational world, faster and faster everyday.
The most difficult part was to let people open their eyes, including myself, to an endless list of possible resources, techniques, designs, and content that was usually reserved for elite populations.
that's the beauty of it, knowledge has entered into a real democracy, anyone with an internet connection has access to a limitless amount of information.
All you need to KNOW is that the resources are there for you to start using them and exploiting them, at home, at work and now, in classrooms.
Although it is extremely important that facing such an immense flow of information we must FILTER that information, because not everything will be useful for you at the same time.
My students from lower 5th grade up to middle 1st grade (5th to 7th grade) have learned in the past 3 months to deal with Interactive SMART Boards, Notebook presentations, Issuu displays, PDF documents, Flash Animations, Inserted Images and Videos, Blogs, Wikis, and Podcast.
Three months ago they were not used to this, nowadays they demand that from me. They request that I publish classes and information faster.
I don't know how this will keep changing and evolving, but one thing is certain, it is here we might as well use it or, our student will leave us behind sooner or later.

6/02/2008

Teachers Teaching Teachers


Teachers Teaching Teachers TTTThis past saturday, May 31st, the TTT event took place in Lima-Peru. In Peruano Britanico, the primary teachers, and in San Silvestre for Secondary Teachers, we all had a great experience to learn from peers.I was fortunate because I could present a lecture about "Demonstration of Wikis and Blogs and Internet Resources in the Science Claaroom". For those who couldn't assist to my lecture I publish it in the following link :


5/27/2008

Corals - May 27th, 2008

Are you aware of Corals?
They are easily confused with plants bytheir appearance, but these animals display a wide variety of beautiful colors and shapes, that magnify the appeal of seawater.
You can experience a little bit of that with this application from Mapwing.

5/25/2008

Do you believe in Resurrection? - May 25th, 2008


Until a few days ago, resurrection to me only brought memories from my childhood when learning about religious concepts, and more recently from blockbuster science fiction movies, like Jurassic Park. However, this week a report came out from real scientists announcing that they had been able to resurrect the function of a gene from an extinct animal's genome, the Tasmanian Tiger. Despite its name, this animal was a quiet hunter of a small size, that resembled a striped dog. Officially declared extinct in 1986, but its disappearance was a reality several years before that.

On May 21st, an article appeared in the journal PLoS One, a free-access journal, the report became available.

Take a look at the article, who knows maybe in a few years science fiction will become a reality.

5/24/2008

Is there Life on Mars? - May 24th, 2008


That is a question that has been in many of scientists for a very long time. Why is it important to know that there is water on Mars?

Mars is one of the few terrestrial planets in our Solar System, others are Venus and Mercury.
Mars has a thin atmosphere and surface features (peaks, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps) that resemble those in our planet.
It is specifically to the Polar Ice Caps where NASA has focused its attention. In August 2007, the Phoenix Mars Lander was launched with the purpose of digging the surface of the martian polar ice caps and find water and other molecules that could prove the existence of life in the red planet.
On Sunday, May 25th after 10 months, Phoenix will land (hopefully safe!) on the Martian Arctic. Follow this remarkable event through NASA's tv channel.

5/20/2008

Universal Grammar - May 20th, 2008

This is one of those theories that are truly universal. The ability for all human beings to acquire language whatever this is, has been one of the most solid scientific basics in Neuroscience for the last decades. This was proposed by a brilliant scientist, Mr. Noam Chomsky. Here we can see one of his last interviews.

5/18/2008

Internet and Education - May 18th, 2008

Are you familiar with the Internet? That sounds like a rhetorical question nowadays. Regardless of their age, children are becoming more and more familiar with the use of computers in the world wide web. The level of interaction and the amount of current information is practically unlimited.
We have to be careful though to control that the reight information is delivered to the right person, at all times.
But the internet doesn´t only "help" you finish yoiur homework providing the information and or pictures for your assignment. There is an in creasing tendency to do classes online. E-learning, 0nline classes or webeducation are a few of terms used to indicate that your classes are carried out online. Why not? It is cheap, reliable, affordable and interesting. The graphic and audiovisual interface helps capturing the attention of students.
Take a look at this article that indicates that in a few years, up to 50% of classes will be online.
Report: Half of High School Classes Could Be Online by 2019

5/14/2008

Charles Darwin - Natural Selection - May 14th, 2008

HMS Beagle, Galapagos Islands, Finches, Tortoises, Natural Selection and the Origin of Species are all words that we immediately recognize as part of Charles Darwin's life. But we think of him and his theory of evolution, we mainly think of it in animal terms. But surprisingly, Charles Darwin was highly trained in the area of botany.
Let´s hear this podcast from Scientific Talk from Scientific American to know a little bit more about Darwin's garden affinities. You should also take a look at the fine New York Botanical Garden exhibit.

Evolution Enclaves: Darwin the Botanist and Origins of Life Research

News - Wednesday May 14th, 2008


Bacteria killing

Misuse of antibiotics has well-known consequences, all resumed into one, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that are challenging the medical expertise of today's physicians when facing a patient with one of these strains.

Creating resistance is like going back to the 19th century from a medical point of view, because youa re at the microorganisms' disposal.

Pharmaceutical research to create new drugs and the clearance from clinical trials are not fast-enough to cope with the bacterial mutation capacity. Other alternatives are always an option, although scarcely found.

However as we will see in the next report the situation might change in our favor.



A biotech company is developing polymers and medicines that attack microorganisms.

Despite the proliferation of antibiotics and assorted antibacterial hand lotions and wipes, bacteria remain a moving target for hospitals and clinics seeking to protect their patients from infections. One approach gaining traction in the effort to banish bacteria is to mimic the way the human body attacks these microorganisms by punching holes in bacterial cell membranes and hobbling their ability to morph into antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

PolyMedix is, with the help of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, developing drugs and polymers that behave much like the body's own defenses. Among those in the works: medications that can kill bacteria without the need to actually enter the cells themselves as well as new polymers that the company hopes will be used in paints, plastics and textiles to create self-sterilizing products and surfaces. The polymer is not a coating like silver, ammonium salts or phenols. "Our compounds become part of the surface," he says, and can kill bacteria in a matter of seconds. "If you make the antibiotic part of the material, the effect is long lasting."

5/05/2008

Technology Use increases Social Skills in Students - May 5th, 2008



Well-integrated technology opens social networks for students and allows children to develop key social skills, according to two recent studies conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tutorials for Teachers - May 5th, 2008

This information was obtained through one of my feeds from Bloglines. It's very interesting for those of us who use Microsoft Office intensively. Check it out!
These tutorials for Microsoft's Office 2007 are designed to help pre-service and in-service teachers learn the set of applications included in Microsoft Office 2007. Bernie also has sets of tutorials for Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003. The tutorials, with skill consolidation exercises, are designed to teach Word (including mail merge), Excel (including graphing and charting and Lookup Tables), Access (including searching, sorting, and reporting), and PowerPoint in the context of the K-12 classroom. They also include a lesson on the Office 2007 drawing and diagramming tools.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/poole/office_tutorials/

Blogging - May 5th, 2008

Blogs, or Weblogs, are one of the fascinating tools of the Web 2.0 generation of tools from the Internet. These tools are totally interactive tools that allow layman people communicate, edit, and publish injformation of all types. Blogs are used for many purposes. this blog, for example, is the tool for science students and curious people to learn about current and interesting news about Science.
In San Jorge School we try to use blogs and other technology tools to reach out to students and parents so we can create a community of wisdom, shared from all points of view.
Here is a sample video about why blogging is beneficial:


5/01/2008

SMART Board use in San Jorge School - May 1st, 2008


San Jorge School ac quired 5 SMART Boards for this year. Our experience as teachers with that technolopgy has been certainly gratifying, despite the fact that we're just starting to know how to use it.

The use of its vurtues and flexibility in terms of using images, sounds, videos, flash animations, and all the resources that can be acquired from the company's website are so big that you need a lot of time to start learning and interacting with all these tools.

At San Jorge the use of the SMART Board is becoming more and more4 popular, either during regular classes or for lectures and speeches given by teachers.

There is no recommended age for this technology, anybody can use it, even the little ones from Nursery up to the older students in the Upper secondary level.

We are very enthusiastic that coupling this new technology with the use of the Wiki pages and Blogs will have a strong and promising future in the use of Innovative Technologies for the Education of students at San Jorge School.

This technology is everywhere as we will know after reading the following link:

4/26/2008

Science News - April 26th


Cereal Mothers: Babies' Sex Linked to Moms' Breakfast Calories
British researchers say a new study shows that would-be moms who skip breakfast are more likely to have girls than boys.

Want a son? Pack on the calories. Biologist Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter in England and her colleagues surveyed 740 first-time mothers on their pre-pregnancy eating habits and found that 56 percent of those on high-calorie diets had sons, compared with 45 percent of those on leaner menus.But it wasn't only calories that contributed; specific foods also appear to play a role, say researchers. "Prior to pregnancy, breakfast cereal, but no other item, was strongly associated with infant sex," the researchers write in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. "Women producing male infants consumed more breakfast cereal than those with female infants."The reason is a mystery, but Mathews speculates that glucose may be key. This type of sugar, converted by the human body into energy, is a by-product of the breakdown of carbohydrates such as those in breakfast cereal. Women who do not eat breakfast tend to have low levels of glucose, and other studies have shown that glucose enhances the growth of male fetuses in vitro.




The Defense Department today launched a five-year, Army-led cooperative effort to leverage cutting-edge medical technology to develop new ways to assist servicemembers who’ve suffered severe, disfiguring wounds during their wartime service.

The newly established Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, known by the acronym AFIRM, will serve as the military’s operational agency for the effort, Dr. S. Ward Casscells, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. A key component of the initiative is to harness stem cell research and technology in finding innovative ways to use a patient’s natural cellular structure to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers, Casscells said.






It's far from the first time a researcher has enlisted the help of his own family or kids, but MIT's Deb Roy's latest endeavor looks to be a bit more ambitious than most, as he's aiming to do nothing short of understand how children learn language. To do that, Roy and his wife installed 11 video cameras and 14 microphones throughout their house to record just about every moment of their son's first three years. That, obviously, also required a good deal of computing power, which came in the form of a temperature-controlled data-storage room consisting of five Apple Xserves and a 4.4TB Xserve RAID (you can guess why Apple's profiling 'em), along with an array of backup tape drives and robotic tape changes (and an amply supply of other Macs, of course). While the project is obviously still a work in progress, they have apparently already developed some new methods for audio and video pattern recognition, among other things, and it seems they'll have plenty of work to sift through for years to come, with the project expected to churn out some 1.4 petabytes of data by the end of year three.




Ancient Praying Mantis Found in Amber
Julian Ryall in Tokyofor National Geographic News
April 25, 2008
An 87-million-year-old praying mantis found encased in amber in Japan may be a "missing link" between mantises from the Cretaceous period and modern-day insects.
The fossil mantis measures 0.5 inch (1.4 centimeters) from its antennae to the tip of its abdomen.

Although the forelegs, head, and antennae appear to be well preserved, the wings and abdomen have been badly crushed.

4/24/2008

Science News - April 24th, 2008

Heart cells cultured in the lab
Scientists have moved a step closer to creating functioning heart tissue for transplants in the lab.
They have grown three types of human heart cells from cultures derived from embryonic stem cells. When a mix of the cells was transplanted into mice with simulated heart disease, the animals' heart function was significantly improved.
The study, by a team of Canadian, US and UK scientists, features in the journal Nature.
The researchers created the cells by supplying embryonic stem cell cultures with a cocktail of growth factors and other molecules involved in development.
By supplying the right growth factors at the right time, they encouraged the cells to grow into immature versions of three different types of cardiac cell.

4/23/2008

Science News - April 23rd





Bionic eye 'blindness cure hope'
The AMD disease leads to a progressive loss of sight
A 'bionic eye' may hold the key to returning sight to people left blind by a hereditary disease, experts believe.
A team at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital have carried out the treatment on the UK's first patients as part of a clinical study into the therapy.
The artificial eye, connected to a camera on a pair of glasses, has been developed by US firm Second Sight.
It said the technique may be able to restore a basic level of vision, but experts warned it was still early days.
The trial aims to help people who have been made blind through retinitis pigmentosa, a group of inherited eye diseases that affects the retina.

4/18/2008

Science News - April 18th



Research has suggested certain vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death.
A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying.
Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body's natural defences.
"Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," according to the review by the respected Cochrane Collaboration.
The research involved selecting various studies from 817 on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium which the team felt were the most likely to fairly reflect the impact of the supplements on reducing mortality.

4/13/2008

Science News - Sunday, April 13th



When Art and Science Meet, Nanoscale Smiley Faces Abound [Slideshow]
Caltech researcher Paul Rothemund folds DNA strands into an origami of nanosize shapes and patterns.

Paul Rothemund is a computer scientist and an artist, although not necessarily in that order. Using a few DNA molecules, an atomic force microscope and a computer, he can fit the likenesses of 50 billion smiley faces into a space no bigger than a drop of water.Rothemund refers to his brew of art, biology and technology as "DNA origami," because it is created by using hundreds of short DNA strands (which Rothemund refers to as "staples") to fold much longer genetic ribbons into nanoscale shapes and patterns.

DNA origami proves that microscopic material can be controlled so that it forms specific objects. "The reason the work is exciting for [potentially] making smaller circuits," he says, "is that this resolution is roughly eight to 10 times smaller than the features in current computer chips' [at] 45 to 60 nanometers." The process of creating DNA origami allows many shapes or patterns to be crafted simultaneously (50 billion in a single drop of water), paving the way to make loads of circuits more quickly and cheaper than is now possible.







Process Behind Heart Muscle Contraction Uncovered
ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2008) — Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Chicago were able to control heart muscle function in a new way after discovering the previously unknown role of two enzymes in heart muscle contraction, as detailed in the April 11 cover story of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Although in the early stages, the research provides fresh knowledge of how heart muscle functions and also holds early potential as a treatment for various heart diseases—including congestive heart failure—that is possibly less taxing on the heart than current regimens.






The First Animal On Earth Was Significantly More Complex Than Previously Believed
A new study mapping the evolutionary history of animals indicates that Earth's first animal -- a mysterious creature whose characteristics can only be inferred from fossils and studies of living animals--was probably significantly more complex than previously believed.







Earliest Step In Human Development Revealed By Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have uncovered the molecular underpinnings of one of the earliest steps in human development using human embryonic stem cells. Their identification of a critical signal mediated by the protein BMP-4 that drives the differentiation of stem cells into what will become the placenta, will be published in the April issue of Cell Stem Cell.

4/08/2008

Science News - April 8th, 2008


Darwin Was Right: Natural Selection Speeds Up Speciation
In the first experiment of its kind conducted in nature, a University of British Columbia evolutionary biologist has come up with strong evidence for one of Charles Darwin's cornerstone ideas -- adaptation to the environment accelerates the creation of new species.




First Lungless Frog Discovered
Researchers have confirmed the first case of complete lunglessness in a frog, according to a report in the April 8th issue of Current Biology. The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis apparently gets all the oxygen it needs through its skin.







Breakthrough In Biofuel Production Process
Researchers have made a breakthrough in the development of "green gasoline," a liquid identical to standard gasoline yet created from sustainable biomass sources like switchgrass and poplar trees.
 
Clicky Web Analytics