Category Archive: culture

The 5 Best Podcasts for Learning History

The world ain’t what it used to be. Kids don’t read anymore. Its all the parents fault. Maybe. While history is still full of great stories, they are all trapped in dusty books. But that is about to change. Podcasting has given birth to the genre-bending works of a few intrepid historians. A new generation of storytellers trying to make the way we handle history a thing of the past.


History from the Bard, or from the Scholar?

In the following podcast, the historian meets the bard. World War Two was an event that has shaped the modern world. One that deserves attention to detail, requires factual accountability but must be handled with care. Newly released on itunes, The Story Engine takes a new approach to history, it puts it back in the hands of the storyteller. Spinning dusty volumes into yarn. In this two-part story of the showdown between Hitler and Stalin, every word refers to an actual event in the war, while the imagery is fantastical. A mixture of Gothic prose, operatic crescendo and fact. History the way it should be told. History the way it was once told, but with the benefit of academic accountability. I present The Curse of the Broken Cross:

How Unsolvable Problems Solve Themselves

The word “change” comes up a lot, whether it’s popular uprisings, important elections, or the work of great leaders. Great turning points in history always seem to be marked by great events. Its tempting, even romantic, to think of change in terms of sweeping political movements, but we ought to give ourselves a little more credit. Lets face it, Ive never seen an omelet that wasn’t made out of broken eggs. Progress does not always happen in great forward strides. Often it happens despite them.

5 Ways to Improve Language Skills without Taking Language Courses

Having a romantic relationship with a person who only speaks the target language may be the best way to learn a language fast, but it is not the wisest. In fact it’s not even on this list. But learning how to do something in another language is.

Making School More Like Hogwarts

At Hogwarts, students were treated like soon-to-be-adults, expected to fulfill obligations, meet deadlines, and pass difficult, detailed exit exams. Disruptions were almost non-existent, and students who just couldn’t get it were not allowed to enter the upper level classes. It is insinuated that such students would end up as clerks, housemaids, servers, bus drivers, and service sector workers, etc. There is nothing wrong with this.

Leaving “No Child Left Behind” Behind

The result satisfies those who are concerned with maintaining standards of English fluency. English learners, who would otherwise be falling behind, benefit threefold. They integrate more effectively, they maintain educated fluency in their mother language, and they cultivate bilingualism as empowerment rather than a burden. Being a Spanish speaker becomes a valuable asset rather than obstacle to success.

5 Myths about Video Games, Busted

It may come as no surprise that he most popular games on the market are also the most engaging for players, with complicated level structures, multi-players and challenging but attainable goals. A typical gamer can sustain several hours of uninterrupted play without losing interest; quite a different claim from that made by recent studies. It is only once the player turns the game off and interacts with the outside world that the lack of attention kicks in.

6 More Things in Education We Need a New Name For

School is riddled with misnomers and obsolete terminologies. Relics of the days we are glad we no longer have to live. But as our world moves on, some words have stood the test of time. They bind us to power structures that lay at the very foundations of how we use knowledge and education. But the smell lingers, a smell that is so old we have gotten used to it. Here is another installment of words up for review:

Check out the School Sucks Podcast A podcast that has inspired many of my articles. Skeptical, articulate and informed. One of the most important voices of the next generation of teachers and students.

Good Public Speaking Makes Good Listeners

Bad listeners? No. Bad speaker. Sorry to tell you this, but if your audience is bored, its your fault. They are giving you their attention and time, you owe them to make it worthwhile. Public Speaking and good communication are all about taking control of both your information and your listeners.

  • “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” -Abraham Lincoln
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