Category Archives: History

Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet – 2014 TED Talk

So, if you are looking about for an interesting and timely topic for a social studies, civics, or government class, or just a dinner party, you owe it to yourself to spend 35 minutes watching this TED talk.

Whether you believe Snowden is a traitor, scoundrel, or hero, he speaks about what is perhaps the greatest change agent Spaceship Earth has witnessed in the past 20 years.

He relates the internet’s relationships and impacts – past, present, and future – with the fundamental themes and concepts of: human rights, economic – military – national security, journalism, the Bill of Rights, governance, politics, as well as the necessities for and challenges of the black-budget intel world.

I urge you to take 35 the minutes to watch it and then just imagine the discussions and experiences you may have in your classroom of kids that have only grown up knowing, and will continue growing up with and using, this amazing creation: The Internet – 2014 and beyond.

Watch the talk by clicking here.

Just for fun – Carl Jung on history

There are ongoing, and often heated, conversations regarding New Mexico education, curriculums, strengths and weaknesses. It feels like this quote from Carl Jung on history presents an interesting context for these deliberations – what is wanted and needed, who are the important individual players, what is the nature of the epoch we are inevitably making?

“The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers.  We make our own epoch.”


The 6 killer apps of prosperity – 2011 TED Talk

The world is constantly changing, only now it’s changing ever more rapidly. This 21 minute talk can give you an idea as to how you, your children and grandchildren may be affected. Here’s a summary from the TED Talk page:

“Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.  (My underlining)

History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)”

View the talk here.

This talk has been viewed 993,860 times.

Financial Education Paradox?

Great little article by economist David Laibson delves into, “Most Americans know they should save for retirement and pay off their debts. Yet they often don’t do those things. Why?”

And why it’s so difficult to consider and create effective “Financial Eduction” curricula and classes – and that’s frustrating because “finances” is such an integral part of everyone’s real-world experience!

His last couple of paragraphs, I believe, speaks volumes about what an effective education looks like:

What does this tell us about the best way to teach financial education? 

What this means is that you should get the financial education you need when you need it. If you enroll in a 401(k) plan today, you should take the 45-minute educational seminar on it during the enrollment process. The time to learn about credit cards, borrowing and compound interest is when students are 18 and starting adult life.

The human memory is so fallible. If I tell you something and expect you to remember it five years from now, that’s a big ask. So I would focus on teaching skills that translate immediately to practical application.

(My underlining – teach around ideas and stuff in a real-world-ish application context. Tie math and English and science into such things as, how do your folks buy and pay for your clothes, where in the world do they come from, what do your parents/guardians do for a living, how long do they have to work to pay for a pair of new shoes, why was a textbook written, by whom, how much does it cost, how much is that for the whole class, where does that money come from, …)

Read the whole article here.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

From a letter to Benjamin Franklin from Mr. Benjamin Vaughn, January 31, 1783

“School and other education constantly proceed upon false principles, and show a clumsy apparatus pointed at a false mark; but your apparatus is simple, and the mark a true one; and while parents and young persons are left destitute of other just means of estimating and becoming prepared for a reasonable course In life, your discovery that the thing is in many a man’s private power, will be invaluable!  Influence upon the private character, late in life, is not only an influence late in life, but a weak influence.  It is in youth that we plant our chief habits and prejudices; it is in youth that we take our party as to profession, pursuits, and matrimony.  In youth, therefore, the turn is given; in youth the education even of the next generation is given; in youth the private and public character is determined; and the term of life extending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from youth, and more especially before we take our party as to our principal objects.  But your biography will not merely teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man.  And why are weaker men to be deprived of such helps, when we see our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost without a guide in this particular from the farthest trace of time?  Show then sir, how much is to be done, both to sons and fathers; we invite all wise men to become like yourself, and other men to become wise when we see how cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the human race, and how absurd distinguished men can be to their acquaintance, it will be instructive to observe the instances multiply of pacific acquiescing manners; and to find how compatible it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet good-humored.”

From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Vaughn was born in 1751, and studied medicine in Edinburgh and was elected to Parliament.


Video: Why everything sucks; for parents & kiddo’s

Hey, it’s summer, so here’s a 3:20 video for both parents and kids.

This is both light and funny – and heavy and serious – all at the same time. Three minutes and twenty seconds of some mentally challenging social and advertising observations.

It will probably enlarge your perspective … and change some of your decision-points.