Weakly Post #19

A collection of things I have read this week, and some tools for tech and/or learning new stuff, especially languages. Your first comment is checked, after that you are free to comment.

Recovering from some bad bug, a fever and lots of hacking. A friend I had lunch with a couple of weeks ago has a similar thing. Not sure if there was some transmission going on, or which way. Anyway, I have been limited to work and home for the last couple of weeks, and am finding it kind of refreshing. With the reduced stress, I am finding myself healthier in spirit if not in body, and that is coming along.

Revised summer plans. My daughter (24) has a vacation from her grad school that lines up with mine. She is in Chicago, and a conference I have been looking at for years is near there (TSLL in Ames Iowa). So my original plans to go to Belgium for EuroCALL have been postponed for a year. I find it hard to spend $600 for registration for 3 days, plus airfare, plus accommodations.

Important life skill: How to cheat at a coin flip. (Video 6 min). No more jan-ken (rock paper scissors).

Why writing classes are taught the way they are. A survey of the main writing formats in academia. I just wonder, with 95% of my students not going into graduate school, why we are teaching academic writing and not other types.

Free Solo is a documentary about climbing one section of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California. The tenacity of the main climber is amazing. A true hero. (Netflix). But you can use it as a metaphor for so many other things, such as the economy.

Something to pretty easily fall into. Motivation porn. Similar to Inspiration porn.

Buy something at Amazon? Anywhere else? Use Gmail? Google harvests every purchase you make and puts it into your profile. They say they only use groups for stats to sell your data. Right.

Let the Cookie Monster help you get some self-control. Video 5 min.

I have come to realize that the most important 21st century skill is Attention. Mary Oliver, the poet, warned us about looking without noticing. (Atlantic)

An interesting thought experiment. If you could time travel, but only had control about the direction (future or past) but could not set when or where, which would you choose?

Why books don’t work. Like how lectures don’t work. For learning. They still work in the outhouse.

A look at the backlash against technology in an effort not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In defense of tech. (Wired)

Are headphones necessary for your sanity these days? Especially for younger people? (Atlantic)

Rivet, an online library of 2,000 free books for kids.

This is one to order for the library. Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classes. The Infusion Approach looks like something between CLIL and content-based teaching. I’m skeptical (critical thinking), but still curious.

Editing podcasts or other audio just got a lot easier.

Supplementary material for my grad class on Materials Development, the chapter on Adapting Materials.

A 6-minute video about relationships. Perfect for the section on Gender in my Society Today class. Haircut. (Gender is such an inaccurate word. I agree with Steven Pinker. Use sex.)

Quick and easy card game that is also lots of fun. The 8-minute video is also a good exercise for listening.

Good for the critical thinking bin on Health. Japan’s vaccination policy. Con and Pro.

How to do Peer Review of student writing. The right way.

If you have an iPad or MacBook, these materials are good guides for Apple- software in the classroom.

Weakly Post #18

A collection of things I have read this week, and some tools for tech and/or learning new stuff, especially languages. Your first comment is checked, after that you are free to comment.

Golden Week is over, and the follow-up meant a week chock full of work. The most remarkable thing was observing teachers. For the vast majority, flying colors. I even learned a couple of new techniques. I made it a point to talk to the teachers after observation to get their take on it, and make a few comments. I have discovered that my positive comments work a lot better, most already knew what they wanted to improve on. But there was one teacher in whose class I felt in a time warp. Monotone lecture style with powerpoint, students sitting the back of the class scribbling notes (when they weren’t updating their calendars). Absolutely no interaction. I was flabbergasted. I felt like it was 1999.

I am liking the Baffler, an online magazine, more and more. This one is about white male privilege, and rule by tantrum. Another look at why the Cavanaugh confirmation hearings were business as usual, not something out of the ordinary. Teenage Pricks. (Baffler)

One of my favorite thinkers is Marilynne Robinson. In her (longish) essay she writes about economics, and humanism, and why most people live on subsistence wages. She quotes George, a 19th century economist who argues that the value of labor should be connected to the value of the things produced. Capital just sees labor as an impediment to creating more capital.

“Why, in spite of increase in productive power, do wages tend to a minimum which will give but a bare living?”

She works in Marx, George, Beecher and other older commentaries (curiously, not Piketty), along with social Darwinism and de-skilling. She takes a long hard look at where our society is going as we automate. Is Poverty Necessary? (Harpers)

It’s time to break up Facebook. Also, do you have a problem with anger? Here is how to take care of it.

Jake Adelstein takes a look at the dark underbelly of the new Reiwa Era.

Emily Short talks about classical literature and how it has influenced the ways she creates games. One of special note isn’t really a game, but different ways to translate four lines of Homer’s Odyssey. A real insight into the translation process. She also has an article in WireFrame magazine about her new translation adventure game Ancient Astronauts. Bonus content is a tutorial for Twine, the interactive fiction text engine. This is the one I will be teaching in my new Global Liberal Arts class (love those vague names, I can do pretty much anything.) Also, a view on the place of storytelling in game development. Also, how Dungeons and Dragons helps build a better learner.

Kottke loves maps. Here he points us to a video (9 min) on how New York developed. Amazing to see how slow it was at first, then in the mid-1800s, boom!

Back to conference going this year. Planning for EuroCALL in Belgium at the end of August. Went to a very nice presentation yesterday on life-long-learning at Gakushuin U. (Missed ExciteELT today.) But Thursday, I am going to a presentation at the Venture Cafe for innovators on Digital Transformation. A whole new crowd will have to bring my meishi.

Well, poo. Even moderate drinking is probably bad for you. But then, wine used to be prescribed for illnesses. What is one to think? Here is one for the critical thinking pile. Eat more rice to lose weight. Really? Also, Wolves are more friendly and altruistic than dogs.

Apple has easily accessible books on how to use photos, drawings and videos (and more) in their Everyone Can Create series. So if you are a maker, and use Apple products, these may be a help. They are free.

Most of us probably give too much homework. Min of Edu here in Japan suggest 45 mins of HW for 1 credit (besides the 90-min class). I am making a concerted effort to pare that down. Here is a tool to estimate. I double it for my students who are still learning the language.

A look at language learning apps and what they can and can’t do.

There is a special part of your brain designed for Pokemon. You just have to plug it in at the right time. Kind of like language learning. Also, some unusual “games” (more like experiences) of Angela He. Sorry to say that Letters-a written game will not be available until 2020. Can’t wait.

I am stoked to use Edji for collaborative reading in my class. Easier to use than Hypothes.is, I will let you know how it shakes out. Both these tools let a group of people highlight and comment on a common article or webpage.