Aloha English: educational app for Android

Aloha English is a learning tool for memorizing knowledge about Hawai’i and our planet’s environment through playing a unique matching game. First you choose a topic that interests you. Then you study the phrases. When you are ready, you begin the match game by shuffling the 14 phrases. Using your memory and understanding of the subject matter, you choose a number and see if you can find its match. Aloha English can provide you with limitless topics as users can share topics in the cloud!

・ Aloha English is the perfect tool for studying English in a Hawaiian context!
・ Wide-ranging topics about people, the environment, arts, and science.
・ Play offline, in groups, or studying alone. No in-app purchases or ads.

Absurdum Infinitum in 3 acts

Act 1: Tommy’s Chosen Reality (4th grade Software Coding Class)

In this episode in the educational series, we are introduced to the new federally mandated computer class in the fourth grade of Cheney Elementary School. Principal Laura Cummings; the recently outsourced computer instructor Gerry Shillencamp; the precocious Haruka Kawauchi; and that rascal Tommy — combine all their madcap efforts to get through a new day at school.

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Topicmatch: Android™ app for contextual learning.

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Topicmatch: the text phrase matching game about people, places, nature, arts, and science.

Choose a topic. Study the paired text phrases. Shuffle the phrases. Then try to match them: Choose a number, read the phrase that appears, and then try to find its match.

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Wall Street and Speed Limit

Why is it that protests on Wall Street and elsewhere — denouncing corporate greed and perverse distribution of wealth, and the attendant corruption of our institutions — why don’t we recognize energy policies and energy’s absolute relevance to inequity? (Indeed, amassing capital essentially correlates to determining energy policy.)

But do you really think this is primarily about class struggle? When we toss the capitalists out, who exactly are we going to bring in to assist in managing this clusterfuck we call our society? Some good old anti-capitalist professionals? Maybe even some young ones?

Well, did you ever consider the inequity and degradation that necessarily result from a high-energy consumption economy? Forget capitalist or socialist. Think: society gorging itself on energy actually deprives and frustrates the hell out of us.

Significantly, in this mostly unacknowledged aspect of quanta of energy as it correlates to inequity, the actual source of energy is irrelevant; whether it be petroleum, nuke plants, the “clean” energies of wind and solar, the hoped-for magnificent new battery; maybe even cheap plentiful energy gushing from used kitty litter, or some other techno-splendorous future development.

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Apocalypse. There, I said it.

KMO is a guy who has recorded nearly 300 podcasts called C-Realm Podcast. Of the dozen or so that I’ve listened to, they have been dialogs both edifying and entertaining, along with consistently grooving music. One can’t help but observe that, in these fragmented times, and of corrupted institutions, such discussions are a very healthy part of how we might go about educating ourselves about our rapidly transforming culture. In any case, I appreciate KMO’s efforts to further awareness of the people and ideas that he explores on the C-Realm Podcast. The following comment is one that I sent in after listening to a talk he had with author and neo-druid, John Michael Greer. Their discussion revolved around Greer’s study of the meme of impending apocalypse and of its varying mythologies throughout the ages. While at once I take comfort in the fact that, historically, the true believers in our coming doom have mostly been misguided; the discussion seemingly had a glaring omission worthy of note:

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Dr. Gabor Maté Diagnoses Messed Up Children

As a sort of dovetail to my last post which explored why networks might lead to sickness, but more importantly, for anyone concerned about their communities, families — their children — and the reasons and possible solutions for a society that has dropped the ball in regards to its present and future wellness; this guy, Dr. Gabor Maté, was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. In the interview, Dr. Maté breaks it down — in regards to parenting, substance abuse (pharmaceuticals and others), education, electronic media, and otherwise, in a way that is both…astanding and outstounding (you know what I mean).

Suffice to say, it’s well worth listening to. As the following link is a Realplayer audio file, it should stream just fine, even to those backwater dial-up types (i.e. those not on speed):

Dr. Gabor Maté interviewed on Democracy Now

Digital Personality

Hey Darren! Did you leave anything out in your last rap about networks versus the richness and complexity of real community interaction?

I’m glad you asked, because one thing I failed to mention in my last post is that FaceBook, blogs, and other forums that operate in the guise of community interaction are unable to, as John Taylor Gatto puts it, “nourish their members emotionally”.

While networks are generally extremely rational, illusion unfolds from ignorance of the fact that, as Gatto goes on to say: At our best we human beings are much, much grander than merely rational; at our best we transcend rationality while incorporating its procedures into our lower levels of functioning.

To be sure, networks can be super efficient and convenient at specific and sometimes necessary tasks. However, I’m more concerned about the absurdity of displacing interpersonal, community, and educational relationships with networks that perpetuate an illusion. Continue reading

Networks, Community, and Early Childhood Education

Today’s post borrows more of John Taylor Gatto’s ideas — in particular his summation of the profound difference between networks and community and how recognition of these differences is pretty important in the efforts at bettering our children’s education — or more broadly: in sensibly developing our community’s well-being.

The people who have come to staff schools are often fond of networking. Professional educators readily embrace the positive attributes of networks. Seemingly however, they are often unaware of the sapping of family and community vitality that such mechanization can induce.

Automations and routines can very well squelch human tendency; dehumanize by any other name.

And to the contrary, participation — as fully human — in complex human affairs — is what makes us fully human. Continue reading

Scatological Hope

A colleague from where I teach sent me an article written by one of his former colleagues. The article: Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete by Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade, appears in the summer 2009 edition of the Harvard Educational Review.

It opens with this quote from Paulo Freire:

“The idea that hope alone will transform the world, and action undertaken in that kind of naïveté, is an excellent route to hopelessness, pessimism, and fatalism. But the attempt to do without hope, in the struggle to improve the world, as if that struggle could be reduced to calculated acts alone, or a purely scientific approach, is a frivolous illusion.”

The piece then goes on to identify what Duncan-Andrade terms, enemies of hopeand “false hope” namely: Hokey Hope, Mythical Hope, and Hope Deferred.

Eventually, the author identifies Critical Hope as the true hope that is crucial for the betterment of lives of urban youth — inner city young people inhabiting what he terms “socially toxic environments“.

A metaphorical vehicle for the thesis stems from a quote by Tupac Shakur whereby young people, transcending such obstacles, are like that of “roses that grow from concrete” — and a perfectly fine metaphor it is for lives overcoming the obstacles of concrete, analogized as, “one of the worst imaginable surfaces in which to grow, devoid of essential nutrients and frequently contaminated by pollutants.”

Nonetheless, a glaring omission from Duncan-Andrade’s analysis is educational technology’s mix in the concrete — concrete through which Duncan-Andrade suggests we encourage cracks through “the quality of our teaching, along with the resources and networks we connect our students to.” continued here

Commie Radio Coming Soon?

This post sort of began as a comment to Big Island Chronicle and a discussion concerning fast food businesses coming to the entry of Pahoa, Hawaii, a truly …unique village in the lower Puna district on Hawai’i Island. A fellow, Mike Middlesworth, writes this comment at the tail-end of a good discussion:

All of this begs the real question:

If local businesses are so much better, why don’t more people shop at them so they can succeed?

Why are WalMart, Target, Costco, McDonalds, Longs, etc. so successful?

Could it be it’s because they offer things more people want at good prices?

Isn’t that what Free Enterprise is all about?

In this instance of degradation of a community’s natural heritage in the name of “free enterprise” perhaps the real question is:

Should capitalism be regulated (by gov’t) such that the public good of a community is dominantly expressed politically, to determine pono (righteous) policy?

An old rivalry: private property vs. public (democratic) government. Click here to see the scorecard!

Antipodes for Anthropoids

Some fifteen years into the Internet’s emergence onto our lives, we are informing and being informed at a rate that was inconceivable prior to our connection to this digital network. As kids growing up in the seventies we fantasized about the all-knowing, all-powerful computer to which we’d just inquire for answers to pretty much everything.

So now we’ve thoroughly inquired of the great machine. Some have tried to engage it sexually, if not just find a date. Others have practiced varieties of digital alchemy whereby cleverly programmed computer code, or portals established for gathering yet more information, has led to untold riches if not merely new strategies for paying the rent. Antipodes for Anthropoids continued here

So Much More Than Mai Tais

I first learned of the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) sponsoring of a group of eight mainland internet entrepreneurs, dubbed: So Much More Hawaii through local media impresario Damon Tucker’s blog. (Damon really wants to down some Mai Tais with these folks. “Hey everyone! I’ll twitter for the next round! Oops! my dang cell phone is stuck!”)

Apparently, the idea is for these folks to tour the islands whilst blogging away in their respective “vertical niche markets” : convention biz, blog talk-radio, travel; both family and solo, food, and so on.

Sounds like a great gig to me.

All kidding aside, the HTA sponsoring of these savvy social media marketers, to have a good time and broaden their bloggees’ online understanding of the “real Hawaii”, could be viewed in various ways. And yes, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is in the business of generating tax revenue and tourism money.

Well, that’s part of their objective anyway. The other goals of the HTA are what you might call of a social, cultural, and environmental nature. click here to read the rest of the story

Follow Marshall McLuhan on Twitter!

Hey! Isn’t that numbnuts staring at his reflection again?

--some Greek person 

(The following ideas are largely borrowed from an essay by Marshall McLuhan entitled: The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis, appearing as Chapter 4 of his book: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1st Ed. McGraw Hill, NY, 1964; reissued MIT Press, 1994, with introduction by Lewis H. Lapham; reissued by Gingko Press, 2003 ISBN 1-58423-073-8). Likewise, McLuhan interprets the ideas of medical researchers Hans Selye and Adolphe Jonas, Lewis Mumford, and William Blake — He also said the Virgin Mary provided intellectual guidance — and if you can’t borrow from her, who can ya?)

Narcissus comes from the Greek word narcosis, or numbness.

Narcissus did not actually fall in love with himself, contrary to popular interpretation.

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