Thursday, August 31, 2006

Free Books on Google

If your eyes aren't already glazed over enough from reading text on a computer all day long, you can now add some evening reading to your list with free public-domain books from Google. More information can be found in this CNET News article.

These PDF books can be downloaded and even printed (unlike their other Google Books), depending on the country you're currently in (a factor of the public-domain issue). Obviously, these downloaded books should be for personal use only.

Readers can find the books by choosing the "Full view books" option on the Google Book Search home page before they activate their search. Once they have chosen a book from the results page, a download button is clearly visible on the top-right corner of the page.

Using Google Book Search, you can find The Free Library and many other extraordinary old books, such as:
* Ferriar's The Bibliomania
* A futurist from 1881's 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century
* Aesop's Fables
* Shakespeare's Hamlet
* Abbott's Flatland
* Hugo's Marion De Lorme
* Dunant's Eine Erinnerung an Solferino
* Bolívar's Proclamas
* Dante's Inferno

So is this a good thing or not... or neither - just another step in information technology's evolution?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nine is not Enough! (planets, that is)

From NSTA:

Astronomers Debate Definition of Planets; Vote Next Week May Raise Number of Planets From 9 to 12

After two years of work a panel convened by the International Astronomical Union has reached a decision about the definition of "planets" and smaller "solar system bodies" such as comets and asteroids. If the definition is approved this week the number of planets in the Solar System would rise from 9 to 12, with more to come. Read more in the USA Today article and an article from the Boston Globe.

What we consider the information or facts of today, may change as our ways of understanding and observing change or develop (or evolve). Since the beginning of time, technological advancements are deemed responsible for these changes and there is obviously no end in sight to this onslaught.

As you decide what to teach students, be sure to also venture beyond content, into the realm of learning... THEIR learning, once they're no longer in your course. What skills and abilities do you want them to take with them so they can inquire and learn more on their own? Do they know how to go about doing this? (It's dangerous to assume they do.)