Wednesday, December 18, 2013

late stage college planning

Do you and your parents have a plan to reduce college costs that includes:
  • Creating a "bidding war" between colleges who see their competitors on your applications list?
  • Expertly searching and applying for private scholarships?
  • Analyzing education-related tax breaks such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit?
  • Opting out of the college's health plan?
  • Evaluating meal plans and textbook vendors? 
If not, please read this Wall Street Journal article and talk about it with your parents, your academic/college adviser/s, and your family's financial adviser/s.

If there is interest I can also ask Ms. Deborah Fox if she'll join us online for Q&A.

In the interest of full disclosure:
  1. Ms. Deborah Fox is a brilliant, insightful, nationally known expert in the field with a quick wit and a winning smile.
  2. She's also my cousin.
  3. I don't have any financial interest in her business, but I think it's a really good idea, which is why
  4. I poached the article by taking the screen shots below, since (as you already know if you tried the link above without a subscription to the WSJ) the article lives behind a paywall (screenshot at bottom), which means that almost all of the people who most need to read it won't.  If this presents an ethical dilemma please stop reading here.

get this kid out of here

Congratulations to Nik Koyama for launching his Kickstarter campaign:


Friday, December 13, 2013

my all-time favorite christmas tree

I have friends who make Christmas trees out of all sorts of things-- this was last year's, and I still regret not trying to read one of the bottom titles...

fundraising opportunity

The library got rid of a bunch of National Geographic Magazines -- apparently they don't know what people pay for these things on ebay.  If you want any to take home, give as a gift, or sell to fund your research or collaborative working group, they're yours.  I'll keep them in the room until the end of the first week of spring semester.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

electric sheep art

Check this out.  And if you're interested in learning more please let me know-- Scott (a.k.a. Spot) is a friendly acquaintance.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

for friday & beyond


(1) New plan for reporting blog stats: please bring them with you on Friday (or email Dr. Preston if you won't be in class).  You will need:
  • posts (by month)
  • posts (total)
  • comments
  • page views
If you need any help finding these please ask/email/comment to this post.

(2) Post your research paper (title: MY FIRST MLA RESEARCH PAPER).  Do this by saving the word processing file as a .pdf (in Word click File/Print/Save as PDF).  Then remix it and post that too (title: MY FIRST MLA RESEARCH PAPER REMIX).

the fall showcase

[Working to complete this post between showcases today and tomorrow-- if you have a file, link, or embed code, please send along.]

Thanks to everyone who presented yesterday!  We learned about an amazing range of ideas and the people who are pursuing them.  Following are highlights (listed more or less in chronological order); if you don't see your presentation here or if you have something to add/correct, please comment or email with info & a link or embed code.

Alyssa, Tiana, Summer, Paige, Lauren


Xavier, Joe, Alex, Chance

Maria, Jasmine, Erik, Cesilio


Miranda & Veronica

Matt, Carlos, Alfredo

Jacob, Loren, Sierra

Daniel, Tina, Francisco, Alina

Matt, Eddie, Taylor


Jake, Anna
A passion for veterinary medicine; blog here.

Rick & Jared



Alicia & Johna

Erik, Kapule, Elias

Introducing the Fitness Gurus Grant

Collision between Milky Way & Andromeda galaxies (in 4B years)?

Roman, Analyssa, Bobby/san

Judith & Rachael

Dale & Shane

Austin, Derek, Joe, Joey
Deep sea exploration

Elizabeth, Alex, Miranda

Jon & Dylan
Collaboration on the art of fiction.  Check out the fictional side of Jon's blog here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

december 10

Welcome to the Showcase!  Looking forward to everyone's presentations today.  To complete the semester and set the stage for spring, please follow these steps:

1. Write your email address on the sign-up sheet in class;
2. Check your inbox after class for an invitation to a Google doc spreadsheet;
3. Open the spreadsheet and enter your name and blog stats.

Although the calendar says this is Finals Week, nothing about learning is final-- take the opportunity to reflect on your semester and think about how we can improve for the spring.  And, next week, CHECK THE BLOG (if you don't already follow it); there will be several shared missions over the break, opportunities for you to make up credit and get ahead, and the usual miscellany.

Wishing you and your families Happy Holidays :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

december 9

Watch this space.  Things will happen here over the next few days that you won't want to miss.

JOURNAL TOPIC: [Psych.  You can either take your journal with you or you can leave it in the crate for next semester.]

1. A word about journals
2. Several words about end-of-semester reflection, evaluation, & planning
3. A few (more specific words) about HW & where we'll head after break
4. Logistics for tomorrow's final period

1. Put the inishing touches on any/all work related to your path of inquiry that you want included in the semester evaluation.
2. Write your first email to your future self on then post about it to your blog per today's discussion (title: LIFE AFTER THIS BLOG POST)

Friday, December 6, 2013

december 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Destination Unknown" by Missing Persons; "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane]

In The Principles of Psychology (1890), William James wrote, “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. No one is compos sui if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” How have your experiences in this course helped you focus your attention? What do you still need to work on? What elements of the following text (from Haruki Murakami's 1Q84) draw your attention and help you construct meaning?

The driver nodded and took the money. "Would you like a receipt?"
"No need. And keep the change."
"Thanks very much," he said. "Be careful, it looks windy out there. Don't slip."
"I'll be careful," Aomame said.
"And also," the driver said, facing the mirror, "please remember: things are not what they seem."
Things are not what they seem, Aomame repeated mentally. "What do you mean by that?" she asked with knitted brows.
The driver chose his words carefully: "It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? People do not ordinarily climb down the emergency stairs of the Metropolitan Expressway in the middle of the day-- especially women."
"I suppose you're right."
"Right. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. I've had that experience myself. But don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality."

1. Journal (and be sure to turn it in! :)
2. Turn in papers
3. Planning next week's showcase: Q&A, logistics
4. Evaluative introspections

1. Get ready to rock.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

reminder: all research papers due in class tomorrow

Please remember to turn in your final paper (if you submitted as a draft earlier this week) in class tomorrow.  No exceptions.  Mahalo.

where does your t-shirt come from?

After reading a description of rice farming in When Heaven & Earth Changed Places, I started honoring every kernel of rice on my plate and eating every last one because of what I learned about the time and effort required to grow, harvest, and market it.

About 20 years later, this story from NPR is making me look at my t-shirts differently.

my new new favorite website

Banksy speaks for himself.

my new favorite website

If you get just four or five of the 1,057 reasons this is awesome, you can consider yourself culturally literate.

december 5


Analyze your preparation and your performance on today's essay exam.  How well did you do?  Better or worse than you expected?  Why?  To what factors do you attribute your degree of success?  Is there anything you thought of afterward that you'd like to add? 

1. Prepare for your Showcase
2. Remaining lit analysis work (as needed)
3. Blog maintenance (as needed)
4. Bring journal up to date (as needed)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

our biggest challenge

People frequently ask me what I see as the biggest challenge in education.  I imagine they expect the usual litany--poverty, culture, resources, policy-- but to me there is only one thing worth talking about: trust.  Americans don't seem to trust each other anymore.  Maybe taking the risk to learn out in the open will change some minds.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

december 4


Analyze your preparation and your performance on today's vocabulary exam.  How well did you do?  Better or worse than you expected?  Why?  To what factors do you attribute your degree of success? 

1. Review for tomorrow's essay exam
2. Remaining lit analysis work (if needed)
3. Blog maintenance (if needed)
4. Bring journal up to date (if needed)

no excuses

I don't listen too much to people when they tell me I can't do something There's not a whole lot that's going to stand in my way. -Richie Parker

why you're going to follow me on twitter in the next five minutes

Earlier I posted the following on the AP blog, and (even though the answer I gave was for their test & not yours) Judith & Jared picked up on the Tweet and RT'd to their followers.  Fair's fair: I'll give Expos Comp the same deal.  I'll Tweet now, and if everyone follows by 8 I'll Tweet more.  NOTE: please remember to keep the clues straight-- AP uses the hashtag #dplitcomp and Expos Comp uses #dpexposcomp.

For a while now I've been thinking about how to hack our physical classroom.  I've designed  furniture, interactive wall spaces and surfaces, talking Arduino units that collect data and put it where we need it, hardware, a fully integrated Open Source Learning experience, the works, so that it really will be "not a classroom, but more of a space, a space that hold [sic] endless possibilities." 

But first thing's first.  You have certainly proven yourselves worthy, and you have inspired me to the next level of Open Source Learning, but-- I don't know, maybe it's finals-- sometimes it still just feels like this is all, um, you know.  A class.

I hate that feeling.

As everyone knows, there is no better time to mess with a student's head than the night before a big test.  Very interesting and potentially very rewarding things are about to happen all around you.  You won't want to miss anything that will help you take full advantage.

For example, in five minutes I will reveal the answer to one question on tomorrow's vocabulary final.  I will do this on Twitter via @prestonlearning.  You should probably start a Twitter account and follow @prestonlearning.  Like, now.

To be fair, since this may take five minutes, especially if you're still on campus, I will include the hashtag #dplitcomp in the Tweet so that it appears on the course blog feed.  Starting at 8:00 P.M. I will post more answers-- and for those I will not include the hashtag, so if you're not following @prestonlearning by then you won't see them.  Also, since so many of you have mastered the art of collaboration and will no doubt post all this on Random Absence Mentoring, FB, and elsewhere, I will only continue Tweeting the correct answers if every student in every period is following @prestonlearning by 8:00 P.M.

Have a nice day. :)

december 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Get Up Stand Up" by Bob Marley & The Wailers; "People Get Ready" by Jeff Beck]

It's time to put the research paper baby to bed. Congratulations to everyone who rose to the challenge. Whether you met your goals or not, please take a few moments to reflect on the experience as follows. What did you learn about: (a) the topic you researched, (b) the process of writing and presenting a research paper, (c) your own strengths and weaknesses, and (d) the role that emotion (such as feelings of inspiration, motivation, challenge, intimidation, frustration, determination, etc.) played in your approach and performance?

1. Journal
2. Finals Review

1. Literature analyses, blog maintenance, final/showcase prep

Monday, December 2, 2013

guadalupe scholarship

This just in from Sal Reynoso: Lupe Alvarez, the former mayor of Guadalupe, has sponsored a scholarship with his family for students who live in Guadalupe.  Here is the information:

Lupe Alvarez Sons Flier 2014-2015.pdf

december 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Back in the High Life Again" by Steve Winwood; "We Are The Champions" by Queen; "Winning" by Santana]

This weekend my beloved UCLA Bruins beat USC in football to reclaim all sorts of bragging rights in Los Angeles.  Why does anyone care?  Seriously: what difference does it actually make in the world that a bunch of barely-outta-high-school athletes I've never met won a football game?  Why am I so happy about it?  Why do so many of us students/alumni love our school colors and express loyalty and belonging by screaming about our teams at the top of our lungs?

1. Journal
2. Turn in research papers (mark "DRAFT" or "FINAL")
3. Finals/end-of-semester prep & plan for the week

1. Semester wrap up: research paper (if applicable); literature analyses; any/all outstanding work that you want considered for your final semester grade, all of which is due on your blog BY the time we meet on Friday, December 6.