I wanted to write a quick blog entry to share a couple of great resources I've found recently. I'm a big fan of podcasts because they really help the time go by when I'm doing menial household chores. Most of the resources I'm sharing are from some great podcasts.
Last month, my all-time favorite podcast Radiolab put out an hour-long episode called "Words". In the podcast, they explore scientific studies that show the relationship between one's language abilities and one's cognitive abilities. (Hint: there's a really close relationship.) I found it very inspiring because that's exactly what 1010 and 2010 are really about. It's not just about writing; it's about beginning to think in a different way---and language unlocks the door. I'm planning on sharing the story that begins at 43:00 about a school for deaf children in Nicaragua in which scientists were able to watch a new language being born. As the language progresses and becomes more complex, so do the speakers' abilities to process more complex thoughts. It's a short little piece that can be tacked on at the end of the lesson to help students see how learning to write (to better use language) is relevant to their lives. So, check it out! (And then download the rest of their catalogue, because it is seriously that good.)
Skeptoid is another podcast I listen to. It's a weekly podcast in which host Brian Dunning applies scientific logic and critical thinking to disprove a lot of myths in pop culture. Here's a few episodes that might be helpful:
Episode #50 - How to Identify a "Good" Scientific Journal
Episode #73 - A Magical Journey through the Land of Logical Fallacies Part One
Episode #74 - A Magical Journey through the Land of Logical Fallacies Part Two
Episode #217 - Some New Logical Fallacies
Plus, every now and then one of my students picks a (cough) New Age-y type topic and it can be helpful to point students to some of his intelligent discussions about those kinds of topics. It's my polite way of telling them they should probably choose a more academic research topic.
Also, just as an FYI, last semester I discovered that you can hook up an iPod (or other portable music player) directly to the media consoles in the UVU classrooms. All you have to do is get a male to male stereo cable, plug it into the console, and switch the console to "Computer" mode and it will work great. I use a lot of music and sound clips in my class, so it's pretty handy not to have to lug my laptop onto campus with me.