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Scratch – A Visual Programming Language for Lifelong Learners

Scratch is a visual programming language designed for learning and education. As learners create and share projects in Scratch, they develop important design and problem-solving skills, think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Scratch is used in many different settings: schools, museums, community centers, and homes – or even in introductory computer science classes in higher education, for example in Harvard’s edX-course CS50. That’s how I discovered this great project by MIT media lab’s lifelong kindergarten, and I was really impressed seeing the learning and teaching opportunities of Scratch in action.
Download Scratch and give it a try. It’s really easy and fun to learn!

https://scratch.mit.edu/

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T.

The Month Of Poems That You Used To Know By Heart

It’s April, it’s spring, and it’s National Poetry Month in the U.S. This is a good occasion to scan the web for poetry. We found some gems to brighten up our lifes, hypnotize our minds and remind us of our forgetfulness.

Animated Poetry

Animated poetry can be a mesmerizing way to rediscover and enjoy poems. One of our favourites is Julian Grey’s animation of Billy Collins’ poem “Forgetfulness”. The animation underlines the intelligent humor and insight, Billy Collins’ poems are loved for.

Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Spoken Word Poetry @TED

Sarah Kay is one of the founders of Project V.O.I.C.E, a lovely project that aims to use poetry as a way to entertain and educate. Sarah’s TED Talk “If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … “ recently inspired standing ovations. Enjoy!

PDF Poetry For The Busy

The Academy of American Poets, spin doctor of the National Poetry Month, aims to bring poetry to everyday life. The Academy wants to get even the busiest people involved. Take for example these pocket-sized poem PDFs. You can click a pocket and share the attached poems with others. Download, print, and enjoy!

iPhone Poetry

The App Store wouldn’t be the App Store if there wasn’t a handy app that brings poetry to our touchscreens. “Poem Flow” delivers a new poem each day in order to create an invisible community of simultaneous readers. Join the flow!

By the way, which poems do you (still) know by heart?

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Happy Birthday, Dear Vincent!

Vincent van Gogh was born 158 years ago on 30 March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, a village in the southern Netherlands. He died, largely unknown, at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the most important contributors to the foundation of modern art.

For his birthday we found this gem of digital artist Philip Scott Johnson who has morphed Vincent van Gogh’s self portraits into this great video.

Meanwhile swiss comedian and cabaret artist Ursus Wehrli has tidyed up the artist’s bedroom and has given a very entertaining TED Talk about his project Tidying Up Art.

However, due to time and self inflicted gun shots, visiting van Gogh today should bring you to Auvers-sur-Oise next time you come to France. Happy Birthday, Vincent van Gogh!

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S.

Salman Khan’s TED talk on how and why he has built his Khan Academy

This is a must see video on the future of education and it will definitely put a smile on your face. The Khan Academy is known for the comprehensive video library that its founder Salman Khan started creating during his hedge fund days to help out his younger cousins with algebra.

Thanks to recent funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google, the Khan Academy now builds software and tools for teachers and students in the classroom, too. Khan’s aim is to humanize the classroom trough technology in order to enable self paced learning.

What started out as a few algebra videos has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced exercises ranging from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history. Just give it a try!

www.khanacademy.org

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Skype in the classroom

Skype has launched a beta version of skype in the classroom

Skype in the classroom is a new product inspired by the growing community of teachers that use Skype and video chat to help their students learn. It’s easy to see why: video chat can help students discover new cultures, languages and ideas, all without even leaving the classroom. Schools use it to bring speakers, experts and guest instructors into the classroom.

Skype in the classroom, a directory of like-minded educators, can help those teachers prepare and manage the new learning experiences more efficiently:

  • Cultural exchange: Introduce students to new ways of seeing the world with a cultural exchange between their class and another classroom anywhere in the world.
  • Language skills: Enable real-life conversations where students can practice a new language with a class of native speakers, or help English learners practice their skills.
  • Discovery: Try mystery Skype calls, where classes connect online and give clues to help each guess the other’s location. Or introduce your students to a classroom in the location of a book they’re reading or a subject they’re studying.

Although Skype has supported several educational initiatives before, e.g. Peace One Day, which uses video chat to produce intercultural cooperation lessons, Skype in the classroom brings the whole learning and teaching experience to a new level.

Skype in the classroom (beta) is still under development and for the moment basically a growing directory of educators. But Skype says it plans to widen the network and to support connecting classes with speakers and experts who are willing to Skype in to a class. Just imagine an astronaut skyping in from the international space station.

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