IES – NCES page: Graph Plotting and more for Kids



If you want to teach subject based English – this NCES page is for you!
Here you can explore Civics, Geography, History, Mathematics, Economics and Science graphs in manageable English chunks.

The NCES Kids’ Zone provides information to help you learn about schools; decide on a college; find a public library; engage in several games, quizzes and skill building about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians; and to learn many interesting facts about education.

Pedlar Lady by Moving Tales – Multimedia ipad Book – A Review for Language Learning

I was watching the interview on Kika’s Logo news of kids who were asked about e-readers on the occasion of the Leipziger Buchmesse. Unfortunately, they were only shown the e-readers but not the e-books on ipad. Their conclusion was that e-readers might be a good thing for vacation trips as the e-books are a lot lighter than the actual books. Is that really the only advantage that they could come up with??

According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers people want e-readers and don’t think of the ipad as a better device but rather an additional device. Yet, I wonder, how much longer we will be looking at paper-emulating gadgets when technology already allows us to go so far beyond what we see there. Granted, it is hard to assemble a team of lyricists, translators, voice artists, film makers and programmers that can compose an entirely new immersive “reading” experience on an ipad but this is something you will never see on an ereader:

Pedlar Lady by Moving Tales Inc. is just one of the (so far 4) stories that have been transformed into a multi-media and multi-lingual “reading” experience involving aspects of movie, sound and written and oral story telling. Here is an interview with producers. Listening to the interview, production clearly requires a multi-disciplinary effort leading us to the future when you can see kids, reading at night-time, their faces aglow from the reflection of the moving screen, (uninterruptedly looking up meanings of new words by pointing at them with their fingers / this is unfortunately not working in this e-book yet) as they read and the action flows around the text. Here is my favorite downloadable Jewish folktale. As these books have come out in three languages, kids can switch easily between English, Spanish and French, read the text and listen to native speakers. No direct translation here but a literary re-interpretation of the text. (And should you not know a word – simply touch it – not working yet?). And since the English language used in these books is by no means simple, there is implicit language acquisition involved even for native speakers. What do you think about this kind of reading experience? Is this high-quality literature? Isn’t story telling tradition, going back further than the infamous book, which put an end to all that, an oral tradition after all that is worth going back to in this manner?

I am still not telling you the name of that other e-book I mentioned yesterday. It adds another dimension to this series in terms of length for older kids and interactivity – and the ability to look up unknown words while reading!. So send me your “likes” – or have you figured it out already?

The next generation of Ebooks

You think you know what an ebook is but you have no idea.
My daughter, who never reads unless forced to, is reading this one. She showed it to us tonight, dragging a stick into a machine to save a baby. She says she is already at level three in the book. We asked her whether this was a book. She replied: “Of course it is a book. Look how much I have read already”, lifting up a tab to scroll through the read pages.

I will not tell you which “book” it is unless at least four people leave comments on my blog or “like” me on facebook.


Khan Academy – you should use it in Germany to learn English and Math

I have been watching Khan academy for a while now – see previous posts. Lately, some changes have taken these online videos a big step forward. Notice that all videos are now sequenced for learning. Then you can watch those movies.

But now, there are an increasingly large number of exercises added to those films. That is now, you can earn badges and brag. Elements of gaming have been brought into the interface. I can reach achievement. A progress bar shows me whether I am reaching mastery in the subject for which I am working examples. You can see in the first page that I have mastered addition and in this picture below you can see how my progress bar is still empty. On David Hu’s Blog you can read up on the statistical function underlying the progress bar – that is the type of thing that fascinates me. But probably not the reader of this blog 🙂

They key here is that you can sit your kid in front of the khan academy and watch them master the material from school. No need to pay a tutor – here it is online with a teacher view for parents! Check out my progress below.

But notice that you can see so many different things by looking at the menu on the left side. Progress, work done, performance, achievements, goal settings! Wow… watch out for this site during the next couple of years. All this will change drastically! Thanks Gates for sponsoring this and thanks to all those volunteers who believe in free education and high quality and learning as a goal!

Learning iOS5 for Highschool Students – AND learning English at the same time?

Why not try and sit your teen in front of a computer an read this tutorial on learning how to program an app? Of course they don’t write these things in German. In fact most of the really juice tech info online is not in German. It’s in English. What better way than this to drive home the necessity to learn English if you want to learn what is going on outside your country?

Here is Ray Wenderlich’s page – he get’s your kids started on writing their own applications on a Mac.