Tag Archives: science resources

Science Apps for Your Smartphone

I just stumbled across this Slideshare presentation by Stephen Taylor, and I think it’s a fantastic resource. He’s done all the research and written succinct explanations, so I won’t try to improve upon his work. There’s something in here for students and teachers of almost every discipline.

Thank you Mr Taylor!

Science History Rap Battles

Good morning.

Yesterday I posted a video made by one of my students about the sustainability of food resources because I thought it was a good example of what students can create when given creative latitude in the classroom. Then one of my fellow science teachers mentioned Tom McFadden, a science teacher who’s earned quite a YouTube following for his creative and engaging raps about science. Tom supports students creating science projects in other schools, and what he has enabled children to do is really quite impressive. He has a science blog here, and you can check out his YouTube channel here. I particularly like the science history rap battles. Here’s a particularly good one, which tells the story of Rosalind Franklin and the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure:

Random Tidbits of Interesting Stuff

Good morning. It’s the last day of September, and if I lived in a temperate area, I would be anticipating the arrival of autumn’s cool weather and colorful leaves. Alas, I live in Dar es Salaam, where it’s hot, and the arrival of October just means it’s getting hotter.

At least the rising heat in Dar is a result of normal seasonal fluctuations caused by Earth’s tilted axis of rotation. That may not be the case for much of Europe and North America, according to a new study from Rutgers University, USA. Jennifer Francis claims that the ‘extreme’ weather events, which are becoming more and more common in North America, are tied to changes in Arctic sea ice levels.

Crazy weather and the jet stream. Image: screen capture from New Scientist.

Crazy weather and the jet stream. Image: screen capture from New Scientist.

And because I always read stories about the science of coffee, you should check out this article from New Scientist, outlining how researchers could use the gene sequence of robusta beans to brew the perfect cup of Joe. I’m not sure I like the idea of a scientifically-produced cappuccino. It still seems like it should remain art rather than science…

I was searching through Graphite.org again over the weekend, and this list of top picks for science apps has been sitting open on my browser since then. I haven’t had a chance to explore these apps in depth, but there seem to be some pretty good ones in this list.

And last but not least, the obligatory astronomy plug: Jupiter’s moon Europa, one of the best candidates for finding life elsewhere in our solar system, is covered by a thick layer of ice that moves around in much the same way that tectonic plates shift on the surface of our home planet.

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The Twitterverse is Not Perverse

I'm not sure where this was originally published, but here's where I found it: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BvVVZQlIMAAB5ZG.jpg

I’m not sure where this was originally published, but here’s where I found it: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BvVVZQlIMAAB5ZG.jpg

I’m relatively new to Twitter. I joined about a year and a half ago when I finally upgraded from my old-school Nokia to an iPhone 4. It seemed like an easy way to keep track of all the random topics I follow on various parts of the web, but I quit using Twitter pretty quickly because I found that there was a lot of useless junk coming my way, too. Essentially, the junk overwhelmed the worthwhile links.

But then I enrolled in an Educational Technology Leadership course over the summer holiday, and I ‘found the happy’ with Twitter. Actually, I more than found the happy. I learned a whole new way of interacting with Twitter so that I get exactly what I need from what I now think is a great form of social media.

The trick was to stop following so many others and start using TweetDeck to create lists that filter tweets by their #hashtags. I carefully chose hashtags which routinely appear in Tweets about subjects I follow. I don’t control what shows up, so my news isn’t as biased as it would be if I only read the New York Times or only consulted the Wall Street Journal. The Twitter algorithms create a steady stream of information from a wide variety of sources and sorted by topic, which means I can now keep up with those subjects I’m most interested in: science news, education news, updates on technology in education, world news, and music. Here’s a screenshot of my information intake for a typical morning:

My TweetDeck homepage on Mozilla Firefox.

My TweetDeck homepage on Mozilla Firefox.

If you’d like to learn how to do this to enhance your learning at school, just stop by during one of my science help sessions, and I’ll help you get set up!