Monday, October 17, 2005

Blog reading options

If you're reading this, you may already know about the standard blog-reading (aggregator) services available, including web-based ones like Bloglines and My Yahoo. I've recently been testing a service called RSSFWD.

This service watches for new posts on your favorite blogs, and sends them to you as clean, simple emails. This might be more convenient than most aggregators if you don't want a standalone service on your computer, don't have great internet access, or if you're just getting started with blogs and haven't gotten into the habit of checking a reader regularly. I had tried another email-based system that was in beta, but this one seems more reliable. If you try it out, let me know what your experience with it is by leaving a comment. Or, if you have another reader that you particularly like, consider posting a brief review of it here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How the Brain Learns

Greetings,

I am currently enrolled in a brain research class. The class is fascinating. For those of you who teach (who doesn’t) consider reading David A. Sousa’s book “How the Brain Learns.”

This book answers those mysterious questions of how memory works. For example: why do you “remember” that important fact at 2 AM? Why when you look up a phone number or call number and two minutes later it’s gone? Why do students “forget” to turn in their work, why do they lose focus? When is the best time to teach a lesson? How come students loose focus after 20 minutes…

I found this book to be enlightening in how my own foggy brain works and gives me insight into my two teenagers and the 500 I work with at North Pole Middle School.

Happy reading,Lyn Ballam

Monday, October 03, 2005

More free, searchable books and other content online

According to today's SearchDay, "Yahoo, The Internet Archive and several other organizations announced the formation of the Open Content Alliance (OCA) to make thousands of books, multimedia files and other materials freely searchable and accessible online." The article goes on to describe this opt-in system (permission must be obtained from the copyright holder to include material, unless it is in the public domain, and Creative Commons licenses are encouraged). Libraries and others are encouraged to join the alliance. Read more.