January 2009 Archives
What are we going to see today? A great way to get ourselves ready for the coverage we'll see on television (or the web) today is by studying some of the topics we know will be mentioned. You'll hear a lot of reporters and pundits mentioning three of our previous presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. Take a moment to brush up on these three presidents so that you can make your own decisions about the comparisons they make.
The ceremony you'll see today, the inauguration, is when our president takes the oath of office. Take a look at the oath of office that every president has taken since George Washington's inauguration in 1789. Look at where the oath was taken, and who administered it. The oath hasn't changed, but other things have!
A president's inauguration is an event our country has celebrated for centuries. Take a little time to think about the many inaugurations that have come before. What has changed since our first inauguration? What will be the same for the ceremony we'll see today, the 56th inauguration in our country's history?
There's one part of the inaugural proceedings that may be the most anticipated, the inaugural speech. These are the new president's first words to the nation, and can be a sign of what we can expect. Here's an interactive tool that will take you through every inauguration speech given. Use the slider at the top of the page to find the presidents you're most interested in. Around here, we really like Thomas Jefferson's first speech, but you may also want to take a look at Franklin D. Roosevelt's and John F. Kennedy's in preparation for today's speech.
You're ready! Watch and learn as we swear in Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
Have a great inauguration day!
We're enjoying another week back at Thinkwell HQ and hope you're getting a good start to your week.
I wanted to share with you a very special day we spent recently with some families from Thurmond Heights, a housing development here in Austin, TX. Here's a little background on how we ended up there for such a fun time:
We're very lucky to be connected with the Entrepreneurs' Foundation of Central Texas, a group that helps local entrepreneurs pool their resources of time and money in ways that really help our community. They got us involved with a group called Communities in Schools,Â and we've worked with them for two years to host a Christmas party for the kids of Thurmond Heights.
It's been a blast! We've had cupcake decorating, a moon bounce, face painting, caricature drawing, games, Xmas-card making, Polaroid portraits, frame decorating, lots more crafts, and a pile of good fun. If fact, it's been so great that we have plans to get even more involved with Communities in Schools this year.
Take a look at this slideshow to see all the fun we had!
We're very excited about connecting with all of the homeschoolers who welcome us into their homes, the professors who use us inside and outside of their classrooms, and the students watching our lectures and using the exercises on their laptops and in their computer labs. And hello to everyone in the online classes using Thinkwell!
In the last 10 years, we've been lucky enough to work with the best educators and most successful students on the planet, and we've set up this blog so that we can be in touch a little more often. We're looking forward to connecting with you--don't be shy about using the comments! And we'll be setting up a blogroll soon... we're looking forward to finding out and sharing what you're talking about.
So watch this blog for our thoughts on education, interesting tidbits from the world around us, insight into what happens here at Thinkwell HQ in Austin, TX, and whatever we can think of! We already have a great post from Carl Tyson, our CEO, (you'll be hearing more from him!) and you'll be hearing a lot from me, Hank. I wear a lot of hats at Thinkwell--some days you'll find me in the studio working with our professors and the crew to make great videos, some days I'm working with artists and editors to create the final Thinkwell lecture with all of the graphics and exercises, and some days you'll find me here, blogging like crazy.Â This is me:Â
You can find us in other corners of the internet, too. Be a fan of Thinkwell on Facebook (there's also a group called "thinkwell rocks"... we like the sound of that!), or follow us on Twitter. Take a look at our Flickr page, too, for some insights into the question "How many Thinkwellians does it take to change a lightbulb?"
And keep your eyes open for the Thinkwell Forums in coming weeks!
Talk to you soon,
I often get asked "Why
dedicate your time to developing learning materials?" There are many more
exotic pursuits with potential for higher payoffs, but most of us need and want
a job that offers the opportunity to do something important--and as industries
go, education and learning are fundamental to making our country competitive in
the world.Â In other words, while I work
to make Thinkwell a winner, I also get to make a contribution to the future of
the United States.Â Let me explain:
I often get asked "Why dedicate your time to developing learning materials?" There are many more exotic pursuits with potential for higher payoffs, but most of us need and want a job that offers the opportunity to do something important--and as industries go, education and learning are fundamental to making our country competitive in the world.Â In other words, while I work to make Thinkwell a winner, I also get to make a contribution to the future of the United States.Â Let me explain:
Every nation needs lots of talented and well-equipped individuals--people who can develop software, or read blueprints, or build steel structures, or calculate the fuel needs of an airplane, and on and on. Every time I get to work with our mathematics expert, Professor Edward Burger, I am reminded of how important his work is to both students and the country. As a math-challenged person, I am in awe of Ed's ability to make elementary functions or calculus seem doable. Ed is one of those great teachers who can take a complicated subject like calculus and figure out a way to explain it in a way that makes sense to a mere mortal like me. Take a look at Ed's "The Two Questions of Calculus" and my point will become obvious.
I have enjoyed many days of just watching Ed talk about calculus or college algebra, or seeing him solving and graphing equations. It dawned on me one day that he has mastered two of the greatest challenges: he knows math cold--from the fundamental theorem of arithmetic to multivariate calculus--and he can speak from his knowledge in a way that lets all of us share his understanding.
I do not think Ed knows he is making us more productive as a nation by helping people learn algebra or trigonometry or calculus. I think he just wants to share his passion with others. Every time I watch him I know why I am working here.