Trick or Treat!

I am not a fan of scary movies, so I can’t say whether the link below is more treat or more trick. It is, however, free multimedia online.

Four Horror Classics Free Online


If you’re looking for video that more closely reflects accepted science, check out this sweet animation about why studying physics is worthwhile.

Just as a reminder, here is blog post with more information about using videos in your course as well as the Koehler Center list of internet streaming video resources.

Virtual Field Trips, Part II

We wrote about virtual field trips in June, including some options for integrating these into your course.

Virtual field trips are a featured collection this week in the apps and iTunesU sections of the iTunes Store. There are both iPad and iPhone apps that cover museums, historic sites, national parks, libraries, and performing arts.

Here’s a screenshot of just a few of the apps in the collection:

screenshot of iTunes store field trip apps

Sample listing of virtual field trip apps from the iTunes Store.

Happy travels!

p.s. If you’re looking to explore the world in a less focused manner, you can check out my favorite new addiction, GeoGuessr. This is a free online guessing game based on Google Street View images. The game will show you a random image, and you drop a pin on a world map based on where you think the image was taken. The game then calculates the distance between reality and your guess. This is a fascinating way to make the work of decoding images fairly transparent. It’s also a great illustration of how little images really tell us – or maybe I’m just uniquely horrible at the game!

Stress Relief

Final exams are nearly upon us. Are you stressed? Are your students?

Here are some smiles for you: therapy dogs soothing stress during finals week at George Mason University. Here’s hoping that some therapy dogs find their way to our campus!

Read all about therapy dogs, university students, and final exams on the national stage. Bonus: a local tie-in.

If dogs aren’t your thing, there’s always Maru, the Japanese cat. Or, you know, the panda cam.

In addition to the joy cute animals bring, biologists suggest that looking at cute animals can improve concentration. Perfect justification for a quick break!

Thanksgiving 2012

For those out there who find themselves somewhere on the continuum between hard at work and hardly working on this last day before Thanksgiving, here are some fun holiday links:

First, if you’re still looking for that one last recipe, here’s a link to a source for handwritten European and American recipes from the 1600s to the1960s. If you can’t find something good in there, you may not be trying hard enough. The bad news is that you will likely have to hit the grocery store. The good news? Digital archives making our lives better (and maybe even tastier?).

Second, here’s some common ground if find yourself needing to make small talk with strangers: crossword puzzles. Love ’em? Hate ’em? Never tried ’em?  There’s enough in there for a few minutes of polite chitchat. If you really want to elevate your game to the next level, however, there’s this video with the puzzle editor of the New York Times offering a behind the scenes look at how crosswords are made. Also, he majored in engimatology. How cool is that?

Last, here’s one more thing to to think about if you find yourself trapped in conversation over the holidays: this TED video starring Adam Savage (host of MythBusters on the Discovery Channel) explains how simple observations can lay the groundwork for great scientific discoveries. Maybe your seemingly dull conversation partner is actually laying the groundwork for your amazing forthcoming scientific discovery! Or, you know, you can take control of the conversation and impress the other person with some great science stories. Actually, I think this short video has a lot of food for thought regarding curiosity, how we can all use observations, and the stories we tell about science and discoveries.

If this post comes too late for your Thanksgiving festivities, never fear – the winter holidays are just around the corner!

p.s. If you’re looking more holiday-related content, you can always check out our post from Thanksgiving 2011 and our 2011 winter break post.

Midsummer Break

There’s still a bit of time left before the ramp-up to Fall classes. And, for those that have been teaching during the Summer term, hopefully, there is some time in your schedule for a well-deserved break.

We have a few posts coming about your course shell, tips for your students, and other eLearning-related topics. But, ideally, summer also means a little space to kickback, recharge, and explore some new things.

So here’s a mid-summer gift to you of some lighter things I’ve found recently related to learning, online learning, and, well, relaxing. Enjoy!

1. From Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium (New York City), a list of the eight books every single intelligent person on the planet should read. Better yet, the linked article will even direct you to free online versions of these books, when available.

2. A free online course from Stanford University on the art of living. Over 17 videos, the course uses “great works of literature and philosophy to explore what it means to live a well-lived life.”

3. Not to be outdone, here is video footage eight all-star professors from Harvard University each discussing their favorite ideas.

4. Continuing the Harvard theme, check out this course where Harvard science professors and professional chefs team up to use cooking to explain principles of physics and engineering.

5. Still hungry? Here’s a fascinating post on the cultural history of lunch.

6. Whether you like to ride your bike for exercise or transportation – or just like to watch others ride their bikes – here is a collection of videos about the history, physics, physiology, and technology of cycling.

7. Build with LEGOs in 3-D using the Chrome browser.

8. If none of these float your relaxation boat, here’s a list of five ways to recharge during the summer, courtesy of GradHacker.

Happy summer!