Burger rights now!

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 01:27 pm
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Absentmindedly listening to news in slow German to improve my dismal German and thoguht I heard something about a "Burger movement". Is that anything like a sausage movement, I wondered - after all, this is Germany. But wait. Burger means something else in German. Citizen movement. Right.


Monday, August 25th, 2014 03:37 pm
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It's such a treat to come across a nice new word in the course of one's days, in this case in a podcast visiting some old building or another. Either I wasn't paying attention, or every other piece of information was washed away by the coolness of the word "ambulatorium". Apparently that's "ambulatory" in Engish, but don't worry, Latin Wikipedia's got it covered.

This thing is a place to walk around a central room - in a European context, the cloister. What struck me (as I've just been to India) is that they've got the same kind of corridorish things in Hindu temples, to walk around the idol room. I doubt they're called ambulatories, though.
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I'd heard in passing about a place in Ethiopia where children basically learned to read on their own, using tablets containing learning apps. I found out more in this storyfrom 2012 and this one from 2013. Children in two remote villages, with little or no exposure to any writing, figured out how to spell English (and hack tablets) in a short period of time, without any outside input. I'm not sure how far they've been proven to go with this method, but it's certainly interesting. I was also wondering why they went for English rather than the children's native language (Oromo), but one researcher has some good answers: The software doesn't exist in Oromo, and the parents prefer their children to learn English.

Closer to home, my daugther's taken to writing long, illustrated stories involving My Little Ponies on her beloved tablet. She's using autocomplete a good bit, which helps her to insert apostrophes (but not to distinguish "there" and "they're") and hopefully become familiar with the spellings of longer words. Today, she needed help to spell "ginormous". I helped her with the beginning, then watched in amazement as the spellchecker helpfully finished the whole thing for her. That's some wordlist they've got there!

Anyway, this is not the first time tablets have been used to improve literacy. But the Sumerians used round ones...


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