Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Science, Optics & You

If you teach science or are simply interested in science, Science, Optics & You is a great resource.....

Science, Optics & You is a new interdisciplinary optics, light and microscopy curriculum resource package targeting elementary grade students. It is a collaborative project of the Center for Integrating Research and Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Molecular Expressions. The project combines scientific inquiry with hands-on instruction and state-of-the-art educational technology to equip students with skills for the twenty-first century. It provides an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, and the arts.

This resource is just a part of a much larger site called Molecular Expressions. Well worth a few minutes of your time.....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Free Touch Typing Program

Are you looking for an online touch typing program for yourself or your students. Check out Touch Typing. You can use the program online or you can download it for offline use. There are some lessons to get you started and once you get comfortable with the program, you can easily create your own.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Beggin' and Choosin' Awards 2006

It's here...The nominations are in...It's time to vote...

As we did in 2005, the Stingy Scholar wants to recognize the best free educational resources during the year 2006. So with no further ado, here are the categories and nominees.

(1) Best Textbook
Motion Mountain (2005 winner) - Christoph Schiller's book is everything you can ask for - professional and free. It's no surprise that Motion Mountain won the BCA's last year and has been recommended by institutes around the world.
Wolfram's MathWorld - One of the most complete math resources on the web.
Digital History - Not just a great free textbook, but one of the best history resources period.
Freeload Press - These guys are doing an excellent job to offer a series of complete, ad-supported textbooks for real classroom use (complete with teachers' additions).

(2) Best eBook Site
Project Gutenberg - You can't skip the old-school original as a nominee in this category. Along with the internet archive, PG is probably the most important effort to make copyright free ebooks available.
Manybooks (2005 winner) - This site won last year, based mainly on the excellent user interface and variety of download options (psp, ipod, pdf, etc).
Bookyards - We like bookyard's efforts to round-up everything ebook in one central index. With over 11,000 books and hundreds of links, it's one of the most complete around.

(3) Best Audiobook Site
LearnOutLoud (2005 winner) - Outstanding free, professionally produced original work and links to free resources around the web. - An excellent attempt to get users to contribute audio versions of copyright free texts (although quality levels do vary).
Podiobooks - We were previously unaware of this site. Podiobooks is presenting some good contemporary literature for free, with chapters broken-up and distributed in podcast form.

(4) Best Social Site
This award is given to the site that best allows users to contribute and help each other find free educational resources or share information via the site. (2005 winner) - Although many wikis and portals attempt to collectively index educational links, remains a powerhouse due to the vast number of users and ease of bookmarking.
Second Life - This virtual world is getting known as a free ed resource. See here, here, and here for some of the most outstanding uses.
qoolsqool - A Digg clone for educational resources. Visit the best and selected resources for some of the most stellar entries.

(5) Best University -
Here's the "best actor" of the BCA's. Some might call the Best University category a two-horse race between last year's winner, MIT, and UC Berkeley. But over 2006 we have seen dozens of major universities making at least some token effort to offer some sort of open courseware or podcast. Below we have six universities who are doing outstanding work to break down the ivory tower and openly share their resources. Choose carefully...this one is for all the marbles.

For all universities offering free materials, see "courses & lectures" on our wiki (and please add any resource not listed there).

You can vote as many times as you like for your favorites.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Homeschool Launch: A New Web 2.0 Site for Homeschooling

Homeschool Launch is a new portal/community site for homeschoolers, with member profiles, user-submitted resources, websites, blogs, and all that wonderful web 2.0 social stuff. The site is still new, but they already have some good links and I'm sure they'll have more in the future, so check it out!

The NYPL Rocks

We've talked before about making the most of your library card, but I wanted to touch upon my recent experiences with the New York Public Library. My wife and I had been looking for some books on investing but couldn't get them shipped to Spain cheaply. Fortunately, we still had our NYPL cards.

We've been downloading a ton of materials from the site, and I've been really impressed by the depth of their collection and the friendly user interface. The print materials are easy to access and download quickly as pdfs (I usually print them out configuring my printer to do four pages per sheet). Although the audio files Overdrive DRM is annoying, you can get the mp3s onto your iPod by first burning them to a CD through Window Media Player. You can then import the audio to iTunes.

Signing up for a membership is easy and free if you are in New York as a resident or student. You are only required to enter a name and a New York address where the card will be shipped. Afterwards you will use the card number and a pin number to access the materials. Paid memberships are also available for out-of-state or foreign users.

Original Documents on the Web

Lifehacker just posted a review of Footnote, a great new site for finding and discussing original source documents on the web. Through a partnership with the National Archive, they have been uploading much material previously not available. But best of all is the slick 2.0 interface, rarely seen when seeking historical documents. Although there are paid subscription plans, access is free and non-paying members can even upload documents.

Also, on the topic of source documents, be sure to check out Lifehacker's post from last week on some of the best sites to find these materials.

Last Chance for your BCA Nominees

Hey guys, I know that deadline was supposed to be last Friday, but we've been receiving a ton of excellent suggestions. Tomorrow we're going to be loading the actual polls, so please send in any last-minute nominees. You can use the form below to name your candidates in a matter of seconds. You can suggest a candidate for only one category or more.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fred's Finds: Catch-up

Mars Pancam

From the Cornell University Department of Astronomy, the Pancam project website features the findings of a high-resolution stereo camera that takes color pictures of the surrounding Martian landscape from the Mars Exploration Rovers. The site features a large collection of images (including panoramas and Mars surface features), Pancam technical details, project information, a list of relevant publications and a data tracking database.

English A compendium of Electronic Resources

This site has a nice selection of linked topics (left margin) and covers many aspects of writing and literature. Very useful place to turn to for grammar concerns, formatting, style, publishing.

Morningstar Investment Courses

Morningstar offers some quality, free courses covering stocks, funds, bonds and portfolios.


A Paleontology Portal for kids and grown-ups alike. Fun and easy to use, but also full of lots of good information and lots of fossil images navigatable by era. See the exploring time and space section to see fossils by state in the US by era.

Ultimate Google Search Guide

If you are like me, you simply use Google in the quickest, most basic way, ie, put in a word and hit Search. But there is much more you can do to make Google yield up its full usefulness. This site has excellent things worth knowing if you want to be a more sophisticated searcher. Also, on the topic, check-out Google Research picks for video of the year 2006.

Tutorial Ground

If you are a coder or want to learn about coding, this site has much to offer. Home page lists main categories, and there are many; then, within each category, specifics for study of that category.

Good Link Portals

Here are a couple good sites collecting links to quality free educational resources:

Chemistry Coach - A huge link-rich site with links within each division above, clearly applying not just to Chemistry but to all study and learning in every discipline.
Constitutional Rights's Foundation - Still more links here on tons of topics.
The Educator's Reference Desk
The Gateway to 21st Century Skills - Specifically aimed at educators, this site links to quality resources around the net.

US Child Labor 1800 - 1930

If you are interesting in the topic of child labor throughout this era in US history, Harvard has posted an extensive list of 250 useful texts freely available just by clicking on the links.

Scientists I Should Know

Among several links, this blog post links to a great pdf with the genealogy of scientists and their contributions.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook

Extensive list of primary sources for European and American history studies.

Born on a Blue Day

"When Daniel Tammet thinks about numbers, each one has a distinct personality. Thirty-seven is lumpy, for example; four is shy. He has a rare form of autism that gives him astonishing mental powers, such as effortlessly calculating huge numbers in his head with the speed of a computer."

An interesting interview from NPR's talk of the nation. You can also read the first chapter of the book.

Firey Teaching methods

Another interesting talk of the nation interview:

"Rafe Esquith is a trail-blazing, fast-talking, fifth-grade teacher who has racked up a slew of awards for his work at a public school in Los Angeles. Ninety-two percent of the children at the school live in households below the poverty level, but Esquith's students have reached the pinnacle of academic and artistic success. His fifth-graders are already tackling high-school fare: algebra, philosophy and Shakespeare."

Odysseus Unbound

"Where is the Ithaca described in such detail in Homer's Odyssey? The mystery has baffled scholars for over two millennia because Homer's descriptions bear little resemblance to the modern island called Ithaki, one of the Ionian Islands off the coast of western Greece. Homer himself is thought to have lived far away in Asia Minor (western Turkey) several hundred years after the events of the Odyssey, so most experts think that he based his poem on stories he had heard of distant Ithaki. The geographical mismatch in his poems perhaps reflected his lack of familiarity with the Ionian Islands, together with the fact that he was composing a poem rather than a travel guide.

In 2003 a radical alternative was proposed. What if Homer has been right all along? What if this mismatch has occurred not because of geographical errors by the poet, but because of geological changes in the landscape? Could something unprecedented have altered the layout of these islands since the time of the Trojan War around 1200 BC?

Since 2003 an interdisciplinary project team of geologists, classicists and archaeologists has been testing this hypothesis and the results that have emerged are astonishing. We have been able to reconstruct the former layout of these islands and it provides a compelling solution to the long-established enigma of the location of Homer's Ithaca."

Homer's great epic may have more reality embedded in it than has previously been thought. In addition to perhaps finding the place here Odysseus actually is said to have lived, science working with history and literature helps us better understand our past. Additionally, it is worth noting that instead of keeping such scholarly studies to be shared by other scholars and in the journals and books, now scholars can post to blogs or web sites to gain a wider audience and also perhaps to market their findings.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Independent Scholar's Handbook

Although I'm posting this before giving a real good looking-over, this looks like a great find. The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars has made available the full 322 page text of the The Independent Scholar's Handbook written by Ronald Gross (direct link to pdf). This book discusses how to practice serious scholarship independent from an university or institution. We're not talking platitudes or self-help nonsense - there is a good deal of information on how to access research databases, receive grants and awards, collaborate and publish. Thanks to Gladys for the link.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Philosophy Games & Quizzes

Since finding this list of philosophy games on, I've been addicted to the Interactive Philosophy quiz. Damn it's tough...I even have a rough time against the "Nigel the Novice" computer opponent. You'd think that with my high-priced NYU philosophy education I'd remember some of these dates and treatise titles. I guess that's what I get for hanging with the deconstructionists.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Fred's Finds: Massive Resource List for all Autodidacts

This title says it all. You could spend a lifetime with this huge compilation of learning sites and tools. Look over this site and its links and see that I am not exaggerating.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nomination your Beggin' & Choosin' Awards Candidate

Beggars can't be choosers, right? Well, when it comes to free educational resources, we can...more and more everyday. That was the idea behind the Beggin' & Choosin' Awards when the Stingy Scholar first did them back in 2005. We wanted to acknowledge the efforts made by universities, institutions, and individuals to not only make these resources available, but to present them in a professional and truly open manner.

So, yeah, we're in 2007, but we want to do this again. But this time, we want to hear from you guys. We're going to start voting this Friday...until then, we're looking for some more good candidates to add to the list. You can enter your nomination using the form below (choose one, any number, or all of the categories).

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Most of these categories should be self-explanatory, but check out the winners and comments from last year, if it helps. To clarify the "Social Site" category, these are collaborative sites where users can interact and provide the content (, digg, second life, youtube, qoolsqool, etc).

Screencast, Engineering, and Wiki Search Engines from eContent

eContent is a blog on "Technical Knowledge Management Online Resources". Rich Hoeg writes about all kinds of technical topics, and he links to lots of great elearning sites. He's even created a bunch of search engines, which are all listed at this page: Have a Knowledge Domain? Google-ize It!

Here are the search engines he has so far:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Quintura for Kids

You just gotta love this country.....for the past two days we were in the grips of a prairie wide blizzard that had all of the school buses shut down and this morning, we woke up to wind chill warnings in the -47 C range and once again, no buses. Snow, wind, cold......we think it builds character. And one more benefit.... there has not been so much as a mention of global warming around here for the past couple of day.

The search engine Quintura has been around for awhile now, but just recently, Quintura for Kids was released. Quintura for Kids has some unique features including Tag Clouds to help your kids find the information they are looking for. Check it out for yourself.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Revealing God(s) in the Media

The Revealer is a great research tool for exploring the way religion manifests itself in media and the news. In addition to exploring the archive of blogs about various reports and articles, one is also able to explore links organized by subjects such as Holy Wars, Holy Books, Judaism, and Paganism. The Revealing Photos archive has some great essays and striking photography.

The Revealer seeks to find depth that much of the press does not seem interested or competent enough to report on. Exploration of questions of faith and religion in events reported on by popular media are often cursory and revert to steroetypes or third-hand information. The Revealer provides a means to find a missing, necessary dimension to news reports. In light of current events, I feel that the articles linked to by this site are an important supplement to the daily news.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ilana Yahav - Sand Artist

Maybe it's cause I don't have an artistic gene in my body, but this stuff blows me away......

Ilana Yahav is a sand animation artist. Using only her fingers, she draws with sand on glass. You can check out her site, Sand Fantasy here and if you have a few minutes, have a look as some of these video clips of the artist in action. make sure you turn up your sound.

Google Sketchup 6

While I have previously mentioned Sketchup on a couple of occasions (here and here), it's worth noting that just yesterday Google announced the release of a new version called Google Sketchup 6.

As before, the newest version comes with a complete set of free, online video tutorials. You can download Sketchup here.

On another unrelated note, today we are experiencing a genuine Canadian Prairie winter blizzard. All of the area school buses are canceled but schools remain open. The new dump of fresh snow has all of our snowmobilers and skiers smiling.

K12 Hotlinks

If you're a K-12 teacher or a parent of a K-12 student (ages 5-18), these Hotlinks are great for you. K-12 Hotlinks posts valuable links for teachers to manage their class, parents to help their kids, or students to come up with an idea for the science fair (great link here). Don't you just love tags? Come on Blogger, I'm waiting for the upgrade...

This site is going in my RSS feed (yes, Lorne, I'm part of those 2%ers). For the other 98% it's also going on our list of suggested links.

Monday, January 08, 2007

RSS Usage at 2%

According to a recent article on Scientific, RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is used by only about 2% of the online community. That is a sobering thought.

RSS is probably the single most significant tool we can use as we construct our Personal Learning Environment (PLE) in an attempt to take control of our own learning. There is nothing else out there that allows us to read and monitor information as easily and efficiently as does RSS.

If you need to learn more about RSS, check out Will Richardson's RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators and Quentin D'Souza's RSS Ideas for Educators.

Just think what the other 98% are missing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Navigational training aids

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Richard, and I've been kindly invited to this already superb blog by it's founder and my close friend and ally in Madrid, Wynn Williamson. Having known Wynn for nearly 2 years now, he's more than familiar with my fascination (more obsession) with aircraft. I've recently began my PPL (Private Pilot's Licence) courses, and am currently working my way through the internationally recognised Air Pilot's Manuals (see picture attached).

If any of you have thought seriously about your PPL, then these books are a great way to start. The purpose of this blog entry however is to inform any fellow air nuts out there that there are some great websites dedicated to assisting the budding pilot in some of us. Whether you use Microsofts Flight Simulator, or are actually completing flying lessons and attending courses, these sites are a great aid. I would like to share what I've come across online with all your readers so that you may benefit as I have;

1. The first one is called Professional Pilot, and this is a comprehensive site containing numerous navigational training aids aswell as detailed Aerodynamics information. The part I use most is the IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) section (see wikipedia for definition), which contains detailed .pdf pages of information from how to interpret dispays to predetermined intercepts and VOR tracking (again good info at Wikipedia). The 3 great things about this educational site is the content, the Macromedia Shcokwave playable Simulations, and the fact you can print out the instructions and use them alongside your MS Flight Simulator. The Simulations are incredibly accurate and professional, and are not designed for the mere passer-by.

2. This second site is far more basic which I use for reminder courses. If you are at the navigational stage then it is vital to stay familiar with VOR. This is one of the areas which is no doubt the most basic of all nav training procedures but which for some reason is often overlooked. Take a look and have go on the interactive map which lets you choose heading, speed, OBS and tracking. Here you go.

3. Although not strictly a training site, this glossary of aviation terms has proved very useful in the past.

I will be adding more to this list as time goes on. Unfortunately I have run out of social activity time and must return to work. I hope the above has come in useful for some of you, and of course, if you have any comments then please feel free to write. Also, if any fellow plane enthusiasts have anything they would like to share, that would be great. Wynn and I have have been talking about creating an 'aviation' section, so if any of you are interested in learning more on the topic, then I will be happy to post.

Happy New Year.

Fred's Finds: Literary Stuff

THE SLOT: A Spot for Copy Editors
Bill Walsh is a pro, and he has a number of published books on copyediting. Nothing helps a good writer get better than a good copy editor. Learn more about this craft and what it offers writers and publishing. You might even consider becoming a copy editor yourself, or do free lance work in this field. Also visit the blog.

Chronicles of the Beast?
The Times Literary Supplement covers four books discussing the development of the Devil figure and it current resurgence as a figure for university studies and appeal to contemporaries as a newly minted gentleman, at home and fashionable. This article is a quick trip through history as the figure of the Devil has evolved.

Google Book Search Offering Out-of-Copyright Materials

"Starting today, you can go to Google Book Search and download full copies of out-of-copyright books to read at your own pace. You're free to choose from a diverse collection of public domain titles -- from well-known classics to obscure gems."

Very nice. Also, Google Book search can be a helpful tool for authors or professors. If you put in an piece of writing (say 4 sentences), if the work has been plagerized, you will be given the source of what you put into the search.

Literary Resources on the Net

This is an excellent portal maintained by the very busy Jack Lynch, who also runs sites on writing and grammar. Categories include "Classical & Biblical", "Medieval", "Renaissance", "Twentieth-Century British & Irish", "Women's Literature & Feminism", and many more.

The Luminarium

A great multimedia resource on the Renaissance. I found it through John F. Tinkler's handy list of Renaissance Texts.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Golden Age Children Book Illustrations's galleries contain a seemingly endless collection of gorgeous children's book illustration from the "Golden Age" (early 20th century). Choose a gallery and watch the slideshow. If you're looking a good place to start, try the Top 10 Most Beautiful Illustrated Books. If beautifully illustrated books are your cup o' tea, also see our friend Paul's blog, BibliOdyssey.

Fred's Finds: Glaciers & Anthro

Glaciers and Glacial Geology: A hypertext for the appreciation of glaciers, and how they work

Somewhat of an old page (1998), but an excellent introduction to the major topics in glaciology and glacial geology. Also, a very good glossary.

Hominid Species Timeline

The title says it us develop! Look at us now. You've come a long way, baby.

Wanna Be An Anthropologist

Paul Wren, undergrad student at Arisona State University, blogs about his studies in Anthropology. Also, found a link under resources for Shovelbums, a site listing jobs and internships in anthropology.

Uranium: known facts and hidden dangers

"What do we know about uranium? Well, uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element on earth. It is a metal, like all other metals, except that it had no commercial value before the mid-twentieth century. Until the last fifty years it was produced only as a byproduct. Thus the entire history of the mining of uranium has taken place during my lifetime..."

Perhaps we should learn more about this potentially dirty weapon in the age of terrorism.