Charlie Sheen and Apocalypse Now

As we are getting ready to watch Apocalypse Now and reading Heart of Darkness, I thought this article might be interesting. It deals with Charlie Sheen - quite famous/notorious right now - and his connections with the movie and its lead actor, Martin Sheen - Charlie Sheen's father.

Read more here.


Education Reform: Let kids rule the school?

Take a moment to read the following article in the New York Times. It concerns the possibilty of allowing students more input or influence in curriculum development.

More here.


A Glimpse of the Future

Take a look at this very cool video of the way the world might work in the not so distant future.

A Day made of Glass from Corning


Education Reform: Sir Ken Robinson video

Grade 9, you should take another look at this video when you're thinking about your school of the future. It's the speech by Sir Ken Robinson entitled Changing Education Paradigms.

The link to the video on youtube is here.

Keep thinking. According to Sir Ken the education system needs change - or even a revolution. What would you do if you designed the school and curriculum of the future?


The IPad in School

From the New York Times (Education Section)

As students returned to class this week, some were carrying brand-new Apple iPads in their backpacks, given not by their parents but by their schools.

A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through “Jeopardy”-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problems.

As part of a pilot program, Roslyn High School on Long Island handed out 47 iPads on Dec. 20 to the students and teachers in two humanities classes. The school district hopes to provide iPads eventually to all 1,100 of its students.

The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios.

“It allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,” said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn who now posts all his course materials online.

Read more here


Angry Birds

From Newsweek Magazine

Angry Birds is the first mobile game to have real mainstream success. So what’s next for the game that pits fowl against swine?

Any time in history when two dominant forces have had to share space—such as the PC and Mac, Google and every other search engine—someone tends to get mad. According to Peter Vesterbacka, marketing and branding manager for Rovio Mobile, that’s what happened on a remote island where birds and pigs were the primary species. The gluttonous pigs would eat the birds’ eggs. The birds sought vengeance by launching themselves in a slingshot at the pigs in hopes of killing them and destroying their forts. This battle, by the way, rages on in the form of the Angry Birds mobile game played on millions of smart phones every day.

 And while pitting fowl against swine is a whole lot of fun, what makes the game particularly special is that it’s managed to move beyond traditional gamers and strike a cultural chord. Since its creation in 2009, Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 80 million times. There are plush toys—a million sold since they debuted in October—a board game coming soon, a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, and videogame versions in the works. In the midst of a mobile-app boom, Angry Birds is, in effect, the first of its kind to go mainstream, ingraining itself in everyone from tweens to Al Gore. “Our vision is to build this into a massive entertainment franchise, along the lines of Mario Brothers or SpongeBob [SquarePants],” says Vesterbacka, also known as “Mighty Eagle.”

Read more here

The Top Places to Study Video Game Design — For Credit

From The New York Times.

Are you a high school student who dreams of inventing the next Wii or Kinect sensation, or the next “Call of Duty”?

For the second year in a row, Princeton Review and GamePro Media, the publisher of GamePro magazine, a video-gamers’ bible, have joined forces to handicap what they consider the “Top 10” undergraduate and graduate programs in video game design.
For readers of The Choice who may have logged so much time on the X-Box that they have actually contemplated a career in this (virtual) world, a list like this is probably most valuable as a vehicle for brainstorming the names of universities that actually permit students to study such things. (And yes, I would count myself among those whose first response might well be, “Who knew?”)

Which undergraduate institutions made the list?

More here

And if you go the web page, take a look at the comments. They are even more informative with opinions from former game design students who are now working in the industry.