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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M.

Montessorium – Math is all around us

Maria Montessori (1870-1952) took the idea that the human has a mathematical mind from the French philosopher Pascal. A mathematical mind, in her words, is “a sort of mind which is built up with exactity.” The mathematical mind tends to estimate, needs to quantify, to see identity, similarity, difference, and patterns, to make order and sequence and to control error. Young children observe and experience the world sensorial. Math is all around them from day one. How old are you? In one hour you will go to school. You were born on the 3rd.

The concrete Montessori materials for arithmetics are materialized abstractions. The child’s growing knowledge of the environment makes it possible for him to have a sense of positioning in space. Numerocity is also related to special orientation. The Montessori materials help the child construct precise and internal order.

Intro to Math by Montessorium elegantly adapts this idea for the use with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It provides several activities  to teach the numbers 0-9 and the concepts behind them: arranging a collection of rods from smallest to largest, learning how many bars are in another collection of rods, tracing numbers as they appear on screen, matching written numbers with rods, and matching dots from a box with numbers.

When Montessori meets Montessorium. (c) www.montessorium.com

Maybe Montessori classrooms will include some iPads with Montessorium’s apps in the near future. There is a great potential for an enhanced learning experience using different approaches to the same old idea: that math is all around us.

Intro to Math by Montessorium on the App Store.
Wooden Montessori Materials at www.kidadvance.com.

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A.

A Picture Book and an App for the iPhone

Mobile Art Lab has developed a picture book for children in which the iPhone plays an important role. The phone is put into a children’s book. Readers turn the pages on the phone and in the book simultaneously. The iPhone adds interactive elements to the reading experience. In my opinion, this is not only a great idea but also a promising approach to show how electronic media and print media can coexist and create synergetic effects. The iPhone application can be downloaded for free from the App Store, the picture book is available for about $30 at Amazon in Japan.

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I.

Imaginary Landscapes and Literary Maps

Did you ever wonder which of your favorite literary characters lived in the same street or were actually neighbors? Now you can find it out.

Visit the Literary Map of Manhattan to see where some 100 imaginary New Yorkers “lived, worked, played, drank, walked and looked at ducks.” In my opinion this is the best combination of maps and literature so far.

Looking at ducks (c) www.nytimes.com

Across the Atlantic you can find a similar project called Books in London marking the location of more than 400 books either set in, or about, London.

Mapping the books. (c) www.getlondonreading.co.uk

The creators of Books in London also provide a free iPhone app of their literary map.

Augmented reality by bike.

Still another way to explore maps and literature is Gutenkarte. The so called “geographic text browser” is intended to help readers explore the spatial component of classic works of literature. Gutenkarte downloads public domain texts from Project Gutenberg, and stores all the geographic locations it can find locations in a database, along with citations into the text itself.

Tagging the world of War and Peace. (c) www.gutenkarte.org

You can also browse historical literary maps at the Library of Congress. This collection of maps was part of an exhibition entitled “Language of the Land“, a breathtaking journey through the literary heritage of the US.

The historical point of view. (c) www.loc.gov

Augmented reality is reality. And I am eager to see what is coming next.

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E.

Ellen and Eleanor try out iPad and iPhone

Maybe these two videos explain why the iPhone may not perfectly fit educational needs, but the iPad does! The touch screen and intuitive usability were already there from the very beginning. But for Kids, and not only for them, less is more! The iPod touch was a great step in this direction. I remember my son playing with an iPod touch from the age of 1. But now, the iPad’s bigger screen is the latest development that was still needed to be able to develop real educational Apps. What do you think?

Ellen’s iPhone parody

Eleanor, 2, tries out an iPad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhdoHtnD4Ts

(thx Ellen and Gizmodo)

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