Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for March, 2014

I am now a Certified Microsoft Office Word 2010 Expert

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Today I  took and passed the Microsoft Office Word 2010 Expert exam, which is my second test towards being fully certified as a  Microsoft Office Specialist Master. I had passed the Excel exam last year, and today I passed the Word Exam.  While I didn’t quite get a perfect score, as I did in Excel, I only missed one question, although I felt overall it was any easier test than Excel’s.  I will probably take Access next, and then PowerPoint.

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March 26th, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Bob and Ben the Trains for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Picture of Bob the Train from YouTubeMy 3 year old son loves Bob the Train on YouTube (who apparently has a brother named Ben), which teaches basic lessons about the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  And while as an adult he seems so repetitive, as an educator, I think it is great that he wants to watch this over and over, as that is what will get his neurons to click together to learn these concepts.  And if I watch it with him, I can prompt him to see if he can say something like the color before Bob/Ben says it.

So if you have a young child or grandchild, you might want to share Bob and Ben with them too.

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March 25th, 2014 at 8:03 am

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Thought of the Day: “I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level… Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured.”

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This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students.

Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is
taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each
day, doing the real work–lighting fires in young minds

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March 15th, 2014 at 8:51 am

Thought of the Day: “As teachers, we must continue to re-engineer our curriculum, experiment with new and different methods of delivering course content, and bring emerging technologies into our classrooms.”

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As teachers, we must continue to re-engineer our curriculum, experiment with new and different methods of delivering course content, and bring emerging technologies into our classrooms.

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March 14th, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Happy Pi Day! Using Excel as a Music Synthesizer

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As some of my nerd friends know, today is Pi Day. (3.14)  (Of course next year will be the BIG celebration because it will be 3.14.15!)

This year I was talking with my older daughter about how music and Pi are quite related, since all sound are waves, and waves are based on sine waves, and sine waves are based upon Pi…  So I wanted to show her (and also my students) how to create a formula in Excel for a wave, and how to graph it and then convert it to music.

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March 14th, 2014 at 9:27 am

“Crazy” Thought of the Day: Virtual Tactile Touch Display

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Ok, here is a quick idea, that I need to take the time to detail more.  Braille displays are very expensive right now, because of the technology and not being able to be mass produced.  But what if you could make a flat panel, like a touch screen, not only be something you could touch,  but that it would “feel” as if it had bumps or ridges.  This could possibly be done through magnets and a glove, or maybe even through some form of negative charge, where the display would feel like it had a bump or ridge, etc because the electrons in our hands would repel more from the negative charge of the screen.  What this could do, is not only make better Braille displays, but also make tactile keyboards on our smart phones be something that not only we would see, but something we could feel, to make our ability to type on a mobile device work better.

If anyone else is interested in developing this “crazy” idea with me, please post or email me.

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March 13th, 2014 at 8:21 am

Thought of the Day: “If you want to always be right, then admit when you are wrong.”

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Photo of smaller chancel window depicting 'The Truth'I have found in my life, that if I truly want to be right most often, then the best thing I can do is to admit when I’m not right.  Or to simplify, and slightly overstate things, if you want to always be right, then admit when you are wrong.

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March 6th, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Thought of the Day: “The greatest teachers are the ones that turn a B student into an A student, or a failing student into a B student.”

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The greatest teachers are the ones that turn a B student into an A student, or a failing student into a B student.

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March 2nd, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thought of the Day: “A Straight-A Student has straight A’s not because of teachers, but in spite of teachers”

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Also consider that if you [have] a straight-A student in your class, that student has straight A’s not because of teachers, but in spite of teachers. That’s what having straight-A means. It means you do well, no matter the teaching talent of the teacher. That’s what straight A’s mean. So if you’re a teacher and you put forth your straight-A student as though you had something to do with it, you are deluding yourself.

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Written by Jacob Walker

March 1st, 2014 at 11:59 am