Best website ever: runner-up goes to TED.com

I am amazed that so many teachers are not aware of TED.com. Tagline: Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world

It doesn’t matter what subject you teach – there is something there for you. I like it because it is a counter to the compartmentalisation of knowledge which is so endemic in secondary schools.

So what should I recommend? I was going to try to list a few, but that would actually go against the spirit of TED; there is no ‘best’. Simply go to the home page and just browse through a category that interests you. It won’t be long before you get pulled out of your comfort zone.

But keep it a secret; if the powers-that-be find out how incredible it is they may just have to block it.


Last two videos watched:
Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?
Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives


Firewalking; a wonderful introduction to heat

I introduce Heat Capacity by asking the following question: How come, when you get up in the middle of the night to take a pee, and walk across both tile and carpet, the tile seems much colder than the carpet even though in reality both are at the same temperature (room temperature)?
It introduces the concept of thermal conductivity, and also acts as a reminder to why we need objective measurements in science.

This video on firewalking would make a wonderful follow-up activity, and might just make some a little wary of  ‘life-coaches’.

Thermal conductivity and Low heat capacity; Firewalking explained in terms of taking a cake out of an oven.

Would work at both Junior or Senior cycle.

So how could you design an experiment to ascertain who is right?

And then while we’re here at all, let’s look at an intertaining presentation by Michael Shermer on debunking pseudoscience.

From http://www.ted.com; part one of two. The second half is also well worth seeing.

Ken Robinson on Ted.com

This talk is beginning to develop cult status, and rightly so.

I can’t embed from ted.com, so this is from youtube (not sure how they managed to post up a 20 minute video).

Do schools kill creativity?
“A must-see for every parent and teacher. Education guru Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. Sir Ken Robinson is author of “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative,” and a leading expert on innovation in education and business. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.) More TEDTalks at http://www.TED.com