The Great Book of Knowledge | CBC Ideas

Image via The Atlantic

Adding to our recent discussions of Howard Zinn’s look at Columbus’ meeting with the Arawak People, as well as our emerging inquiries into the nature and meaning of history, culture, and truth, this weekend’s homework listening is the recent CBC Ideas episode The Great Book of Knowledge (Part I).  From the episode page:

We used to need libraries to make the sum of human knowledge available to all. Today we have Wikipedia, where the sum of human knowledge can be shaped by all of us. But can we trust it? Philip Coulter suggests that the collective mind is perhaps the best mind we have.

It features 30 million articles, in 287 languages. And it’s written and edited — for free — by 77,000 contributors around the world.

What did we do before Wikipedia? Well, if you wanted to know something, you looked it up in a book. And if you didn’t have the book yourself, you had to go to the library.

In the old days, books contained pretty much all the information there was. And they were written by “experts” — and that usually didn’t mean you.

But what if you knew something that the guy who wrote the book didn’t know? Or what if they were wrong? Well, too bad.

And then, along came the computer, and after that, the wiki. And everything changed forever.

In addition to finding a playable version of the episode on the page linked above, you may also download The Great Book of Knowledge in the iTunes store, or as an mp3 by clicking this link. Or this one right here. Those with devices will find CBC Ideas in the Podcast Ap.

For Monday, have an outline and/or notes on the episode to discuss with the class. As well, you are invited to engage in discussion of various elements of the episode on the Talons Social Studies Twitter hashtag: #talonsSS. 

Introverted Participation in Class Discussions

Confederation Discussions

I wanted to share a few articles I came across on John T. Spencer‘s blog about introverts in class discussions. Having spent the last few weeks thinking about our own participation and facilitation of class discussions, how do you feel about the points made on either side of this debate?

Jessica Lahey argues in the Atlantic that, Introverted Kids Need to Learn to Speak Up at School:

When I asked her why she puts so much effort into her children’s ability to communicate with strangers, she answered, “In order to be effective in this world, you must be able to communicate. If you can’t speak up for yourself, if you can’t muster the courage to tell the person you love that you love them, if you can’t advocate for your own safety, the world will be a very intimidating and frightening place. I don’t want my kids to be intimidated by the world.”

When a parent tells me that his or her child is simply not capable of communicating educational and emotional needs, I see a child even more in need of mastering interpersonal communication. I’m not talking about the value of communication as it relates to grades here; I am talking about the value of communication as it relates to personal health, happiness, and safety. A student who is unwilling to stand up for herself and tell me that she does not understand the difference between an adverb and a verb is also less likely to stand up for herself if she is being harassed or pressured in other areas of her life.

While Valerie Strauss counters in the Washington Post, describing Why introverts shouldn’t be forced to talk in class

I suggest that we redefine what we mean by classroom participation. Teachers often define classroom participation as a verbal response that fits into a routine that the teacher has established. (Typically, the teacher asks a question, the student responds and the teacher affirms the correctness of the answer. Students are then said to participate.)  But can students participate without speaking out loud?  Should teachers consider the times that a student gives silent assent to a question or thoughtfully jots notes for a future essay as participation?  Are these useful forms of participation?  It is important to note that one student’s silence can enable another student to speak.  Do students have a responsibility to contribute to the silence of a classroom so that others can talk, along with a responsibility to contribute verbally to the discussion?  How might silence be re-framed as a “productive” or useful contribution to classroom classrooms?  Finally, how to we create other contexts for participation such as multimedia projects where students “speak” through recorded text.

How to Survive Being Sick #2 – Chelsea

Back in March, Meghan wrote a post on how to survive being sick.  Lying in bed sick and bored out of my mind, I went back to see what she said.

Tip #1: Sleep.

Most teenagers and adults don’t get enough sleep during the school week, especially teenagers. Consider this an opportunity to catch up on it so you’re not tired for when you finally to go back to your regular life, but also because it speeds up the healing processes for you feeling your best.

Tip #2: Movie/TV Marathons.

I was lucky enough to have movie marathons playing on TV a few of the days I was sick. On Saturday I watched How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, The Break Up, and Sex in the City. Now all of these movies are fairly long and with commercials it made them even longer. All together I probably watched TV for about eight hours straight. You can also catch up on that great TV show that you’ve been missing week after week. Great way to stay all curled up in bed to feel better, while being entertained.

P.S. This could also include your favourite YouTube channel, but for obvious reasons, will not last as long as movies or TV shows.

Tip #3: Apps, Apps, and More Apps.

This is something for all those people with smart phones, iPhones, and iPod Touches. I had just gotten a new phone so I started downloading ever app that looked slightly interesting to me. I would test it. If I liked it I would keep it, if not, I would uninstall it, simple as that. But it provided hours of entertainment just sitting there, trying games out.

Tip #4: Keep in Contact.

This is something we all need to remain sane. We need to be able to talk to people other than our family. Whether its texting, calling, or talking to someone over the computer it needs to be done. We need contact with our friends and talk to people with similar interests as us otherwise you will go loony.

This morning, when I went downstairs to tell my mom I wasn’t feeling well, the first thing she said to me was, “Just go back to bed, Chelsea”. This was followed by, “But, because I’m letting you stay home today, I expect you to be sleeping. No TV. No computer. No phone. Just sleep.” So, here’s my version of How to Survive Being Sick.

Tip #1: Sleep or Daydream

Sleeping when you’re sick is just about the best thing you could possibly do to get better. But, you can only sleep for so many hours. So, when getting out of bed isn’t an option (not just because of my mom, but the room goes spinning every time I try to get up), daydreaming is much more fun than just staring at the ceiling.

Tip #2: Read

I always have a million books lying around that I never have time to read. So, whenever I’m sick I try to finish one of them. Usually, I fall asleep after a chapter or so, but it’s worth a shot.

Tip #3: Break the Rules

Sorry mom, but after sleeping all night plus another 7 hours, I can’t sleep anymore. So, while you’re out at work I do watch TV. And text. And go on the computer (I am writing this, aren’t I?). It’s much better than just sitting around. I’m actually being productive!

And if you want some more unique things to do when you’re sick, check out this blog post. Finding it was the highlight of my day.