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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.

Archive for April, 2007

An Ill-Defined Bottom Line, Why it’s So Hard to Get Public Education Right

by David Colarusso - April 27th, 2007

I’ll get to my thesis in the second paragraph, but first some background. Two weeks ago I was involved in a rather interesting discussion surrounding American education. It all started with a posting I made in response to YouTube’s Spotlight ’08 posting from former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He wanted to know what we thought was America’s greatest challenge and what we would do to face it. I said “adaptability in a changing world” and suggested improving public schools. To his credit, he posted a reply to my video, using it as a starting point to provide his own thoughts on adaptability. He didn’t, however, have much to say in relation to my suggestion that we improve public schools. You can judge the quality of the exchange for yourself. I’m putting all of the candidates’ Spotlight ’08 postings along with my replies here. This is so I’m not tempted to blog every time I upload a reply. Check back weekly, as I intend to respond to each of the candidates.

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Viacom admits error; one small content producer takes a breath.

by David Colarusso - April 23rd, 2007

You may remember that all this Viacom YouTube stuff has been making me a little nervous. We’ll now I can take a small breather. Read this great news from the EFF: Viacom Admits Error — Takes Steps to Protect Fair Use on YouTube.

An educational philosophy: What are schools for?

by David Colarusso - April 22nd, 2007

In the past two year’s I’ve had the “pleasure” of contributing to the mission statements of two “learning institutions.” Unfortunately, these statements always seem to fall short of asserting any strong educational philosophy. More often than not, they are meaningless exercises in window dressing. So I decided to give it my best go. Below you’ll find my mission statement for public/state education. Tell me what you think.

Public education should aim to provide students with the skills and experience necessary to individually and collectively construct, acquire, evaluate, and apply robust emotive, descriptive, and predictive models of their world.

Noting these tasks are most often performed within the context of a community and recognizing its role as a public service, schools should aim to assure that individual learners understand their role in the healthy operation of society and that in an ever-changing world, a deliberative democracy is most healthy when comprised of individuals holding a diverse set of beliefs.

Update: 2006-04-29. That last sentence is too long and needs some clarification.

Nomenclature — Special Relativity (2 of 5)

by David Colarusso - April 21st, 2007

Last time we covered the two postulates of special relativity, and next time we’ll use geometry to derive some of its consequences, but first we need to learn some nomenclature. It’s not exciting, but it will prove helpful in the long run.

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The Story Behind Phylm (physics + film)

by David Colarusso - April 18th, 2007

In its latest incarnation, “Phylm,” a portmanteau of “physics” and “film,” is both an attempt to increase interest in physics and raise the profile of digital media in education. As a high school teacher, I’m tired of new technology being met with the knee-jerk reaction “let’s ban it.” I’d much rather see educators asking “how can we use this?”

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