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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A need for soccer balls, other sports equipment in Kenya

We have much to be thankful for in Evanston, and the United States in general. One thing we take for granted is an almost unlimited supply and exposure to sporting goods of every possible type. But unfortunately this is not the case everywhere.

A world-class teacher and friend, and Top 10 Finalist in the 2015 Global Teacher Prize, Jacque Jumba-Kehura, has a school in rural Kenya. The students at Makonjemare Primary School love sports, but literally have to improvise and make their own from any materials they can find - there is no sporting goods store of any kind within hundreds of miles, and those stores have very limited supplies. She has asked our global community of schools to consider sending any type of soccer balls, volleyballs and nets, or other gear, even if it is used equipment...just something for the kids to use. Notice many of the children are barefoot going to school. If interested in helping out, let's figure out what we might be able to send, and the logistics and costs of shipping packages to Kenya.
Thanks for considering!  😊



Monday, November 20, 2017

Consider taking action: Let Congress know about Starvation in Yemen

Hello, all, and I hope you are well heading into Thanksgiving. We have SO much to be thankful for in our lives, but after watching one of the stories on '60 Minutes' this past Sunday, it was reinforced how horrible some in this world have it.
Please consider contacting your congressional representatives and senators about the situation in Yemen. Due to a Saudi Arabian blockade, millions of meals are not making it to innocent civilians, including children who are dying at a rate of 1 every 10 minutes, due to starvation. Let's see if anyone in Congress will even bring this to the attention of the appropriate committee or the State Dept. You can find email contacts for Congress at https://democracy.io/#!/.
If it helps, a possible message to your representatives is:
"It has come to my attention that millions of innocent citizens of Yemen, including hundreds of thousands of children, are at risk of starving to death. The reason for this humanitarian crisis is primarily due to a blockade of Yemen's ports by Saudi Arabia. Millions of meals are on ships, waiting to be unloaded and distributed by the United Nations and other NGOs. This action by the Saudis, one of our supposed allies in the Middle East, goes against international standards for war and is simply inhuman.
While the civil war in Yemen is a complex issue, I am asking that you at least bring this to the attention of the appropriate committees as well as the State Department. There must be some leverage the United States has with the Saudis to encourage them to do the right thing, and allow food go to starving, innocent noncombatants, including children who are dying at a rate of one every ten minutes. Thank you for your consideration."

A second option is to sign this petition. Thanks for your consideration!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

A glimpse into education and '2030 issues' from the UK

There is a featured opinion piece from my Varkey Foundation brother, Vikas Pota (who is the CEO of the foundation), about three major converging issues in the United Kingdom: Brexit, the 'age of the machines' and automation, and a growing shortage of teachers at all levels.

This is timely, of course, because of our discussions in class about these issues over the next 10-15 years, that will continue to change, rapidly, the world's economies and ways of life.

As many brought up in our discussions, education is the foundation of dealing with present and future changes as technologies evolve. Without an educated public on these issues, my personal fear is that we will never elect any officials at any level of government who will be willing to bring these up and have as major planks in their platforms - politicians focus on issues the public is interested in if they want to be elected. So it starts, and ends, with a well educated electorate.

There is also a growing shortage of teachers in some parts of the U.S. This, combined with a large segment of the population who buy into 'fake news' and an anti-science/anti-intellectual/anti-expert perspective, will make progress difficult in the U.S. over the next couple election cycles.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What can the public do NOW to have a sustainable future? Check out UN Sustainable Development Goals

For those wondering what we can do individually and collectively, despite any action or lack thereof of governments, to help both the country and the world have a sustainable future, the United Nations developed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is a global movement for this to be taught, or at least to have exposure, in classrooms...if our youngest students are exposed to these ideas and actions, and it is part of their 'normal' experience and routine, then we have a chance for lots of people doing lots of things, and that adds up to create some level of change and success.

As far as how we can change how we do high school, and better prepare students for a fast-changing world, check out one model I have in mind. Keep in mind that things like creativity and innovation skills, along with content in various subject areas, including competency with a variety of technologies, are some of the most important things we should be developing in the next generation.

Check out the SDGs here! Are you doing anything for any of the goals? Are you interested in trying to do something for any of the goals?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Articles on Artificial Intelligence

After some good discussions about our global future, and the almost incomprehensible level and affect on human life that technology will have in the next 10 or 15 years, check out two articles on Artificial Intelligence (AI), courtesy of Gavi.

The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence

The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What do you want your world to look like in 10 or 15 years?

Most of us are pretty bad planning for the future. It is difficult to prepare for next week, let alone for 10 or 15 years from now. But think about what the world might look like in 2030 and beyond...and what will schools and education look like by then? We're talking about the education your kids will be getting, and that will need to prepare them for a world that could be on one of the following pathways.

Which scenario do you want to be part of? Which scenario do you want your children to inherit? What do we need to be doing NOW to get to the world that you want in 2030 and beyond?

And, what should schools be doing to provide the education that will prepare you for one of these worlds? What should you be doing to make a good life for yourself and family in one of these worlds?

*Since some have asked, if I could change high school, check out one model I would love to build and run.

SCENARIO 1:

Government, corporations, and civil society have all worked closely together to manage the huge changes that have occurred over the past 15 years. 

Robotics and AI have become mainstream and operate within a broadly agreed regulatory framework. They support humans, and are becoming increasingly integrated into society. 

They are especially prevalent in the growing mega cities that are present in Africa and Asia, where they work night and day supporting public services and also aiding consumer life. 

The world is generally ageing, and communities of elderly people are coming together to live and share services in their latter years. 

Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, although new diseases are present and are testing the boundaries of current antibiotics.


SCENARIO 2:
Technology, a shortage of resources, and growing gaps between rich and poor have led to countries increasingly becoming antagonistic.
  
AI and automation is common and has caused significant disruption – lowering prices of goods and services, including food, but also dislocating millions as robots take over human jobs. 

Megacities support much economic growth but the sense of community is fading with the growth of robot populations. Many people live far away from their elderly families. 

Although overall wealth has risen, but is owned by the wealthiest 1% of the population. People around the world feel poorer than ever before. 

Megacities are hotbeds of new diseases. A serious contagion could wipe out millions in short time as companies stockpile antidotes for the wealthy.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday

Periods 3-4, 8-9:

There will be research club during periods 5 (H322) and 6 (S305), as usual.

Please try to reach consensus on the HW set from last night. Any volunteers to come up would be wonderful!

After that, check out a few minute video about the basics of how a nuclear reactor works. It is a nice combination of relativity, power production, and everyday application of energy transfer.

And then you have a chance to work, digest and process what we have been doing, and get additional practice with the remaining problems on the board.


Period 6:

Yesterday we saw the clip of Apollo 13 launching and going into orbit around the earth. That means it was moving in a large circular path around the earth. We are doing the same around the sun right now. Check out two relevant ideas for this. First, a good introduction to circular motion and what we call centripetal force. Click on the one called Centripetal force and acceleration intuition. The second is an introduction to a projectile, which can be as simple as a ball rolling off a table or you throwing a ball.

Take notes on these two videos, because we will be combining the ideas to understand how lots of things work!

Finally, there is a three and a half minute video about why astronauts appear to be 'weightless' when they are in orbit, like we saw yesterday. Check it out! It is NOT because there is no gravity, but rather the fact that something in orbit is actually falling!