Why I won’t buy an iPad-Maker Manifesto…

Infantalizing hardware

Then there’s the device itself: clearly there’s a lot of thoughtfulness and smarts that went into the design. But there’s also a palpable contempt for the owner. I believe — really believe — in the stirring words of the Maker Manifesto: if you can’t open it, you don’t own it. Screws not glue. The original Apple ][+ came with schematics for the circuit boards, and birthed a generation of hardware and software hackers who upended the world for the better. If you wanted your kid to grow up to be a confident, entrepreneurial, and firmly in the camp that believes that you should forever be rearranging the world to make it better, you bought her an Apple ][+.

But with the iPad, it seems like Apple’s model customer is that same stupid stereotype of a technophobic, timid, scatterbrained mother as appears in a billion renditions of “that’s too complicated for my mom” listen to the pundits extol the virtues of the iPad and time how long it takes for them to explain that here, finally, is something that isn’t too complicated for their poor old mothers.

via Why I won’t buy an iPad and think you shouldn’t, either – Boing Boing. Continue reading

For “Why Study Math?” First Week of School–Also Homework Design

I showed Dan’s video to my freshmen study hall. The first thing it showed me is how much they still need to read. They had a hard time following Dan’s vocabulary, which, while he is well spoken, he isn’t exactly Mary Shelley or anything.

Second, they totally agreed with him. I have a really great mix of high and low achievers in this study hall. All of them responded the same way. They said, why can’t we just ask simple questions that need math? One kid said he hates doing math, because he does every homework problem and repeats the same thing that he either understands or doesn’t. Notice that he said he can still do his homework whether he understands the concept or not. Yikes.

Test for math PROBLEM-SOLVING homework–if kids can do by dumb rote–is it really helping?

via Yahoo, Good News! Susan Ohanian Speaks Out.

via For “Why Study Math?” First Week of School–Also Homework Design.

Manual with Great Ecology-Energy Flow DIAGRAMS

Chapter II


  1. What are ecosystems and biological communities?
  2. How does an ecosystem work?
  3. Producers, Consumers, Decomposers
  4. Non-living environment
  5. How are energy and the environment related?
  6. What is energy flow?
  7. What is a nutrient cycle?
  8. What is the hydrologic water cycle?
  9. What are limiting factors?
  10. What is renewability?
  11. Energy, ecology, and the tropics
  12. What are environmental effects?


via Manual with Great Ecology-Energy Flow DIAGRAMS.

Revisionaries |Texas Conservatives rewrite textbooks

Even in deeply conservative Texas, the bloc’s breathtaking hubris—coupled with allegations of vote swapping (see “Money and Power on the Texas State Board of Education”—have spurred a backlash. In May, the Texas state legislature refused to confirm McLeroy as board chair Governor Perry replaced him with another bloc member, and, for the first time since he took office in 1998, he is facing a primary fight. His challenger, Thomas Ratliff, a lobbyist and legislative consultant whose father was the state’s lieutenant governor, argues that under McLeroy’s leadership the board has become a “liability” to the Republican Party. Two other members of the ultraconservative bloc are also mired in heated primary battles. Continue reading

Joy Hakim | The Story of Science | Science Textbooks

A series of literate (reverse-engineering, i.e. history-based) science texts. They look promising—though in the one chapter I read there were no hands-on activities… so I’m dubious about whether or not they will help students develop PHYSICAL INTUITIONS about the natural world. Still, they might be a great series to have in the classroom as REFERENCE books (for optional history-of-science projects or even as assigned reading for Core Projects.

If you think science is difficult, these books are meant for you. They focus on the quest to understand the universe, from Thales to today’s cosmology. Reading them you’ll meet Pythagoras (a great mind, but a strange man), Archimedes (he could do everything), Isaac Newton (not very likeable), James Clerk Maxwell (a shy Scotsman who did the math that led to the electromagnetic revolution), and Einstein (who not only brought us relativity, but confirmed the atom and laid the foundation for quantum theory). Quantum theory? Relativity? What are they? Read these books and you’ll find out.

via Joy Hakim | The Story of Science | Science Textbooks.

makezine.com: MAKE: Magazine

Why stick this post to the top of the Science blog? Because making things by hand is the way we operate in Matter * Energy * Life on Earth program.

  • No black boxes!
  • No kits!
  • No cookbook “investigations”!

This magazine is radical in the way the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft describes those radicals (subversives) who dare to know enough about how something works to actually fix it!

The first magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology projects, MAKE Magazine unites, inspires and informs a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages.

via makezine.com: MAKE: Magazine.