Finishing up your Movie Project

Now that you’ve worked so hard on your “This I Believe” video essay, you will need to post it to your blog.

We’ll be creating  special “PAGE” in Posterous for “Projects”. This is a stagnant page, unlike blog posts, that has a fixed spot in your navigation (which may vary by theme). Throughout the 2 years we’ll be adding to this page as we go. For each project, you will need to:

1. Provide a brief overview of the assignment and why you chose to do it in the way you did.

2. Reflect on what you learned from the project (this could be some deep cognitive thing or even discussing trouble-shooting techniques).

Here’s a tutorial I created in Quicktime Screencast and iMovie for creating a page:


How do you export your iMovie so you can post on your blog? Here ya go…




Belief and Ethics- A Matter of Life and Death? (plus pres. planning)

Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways and offers up a “teachable moment”. This expression is used by educators to describe something in the “real world” that either matches what we’re doing in class OR provides an opportunity for a lesson so great one must temorarily abandon the prepared plans and address this “hot” issue (e.g. The World trade Center attack,Revolutions in the Middle East, or Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Last week (Sept. 21) marked the executionby lethal injection of Troy Davis, a man convicted 2 decades ago for the 1989 murder of a Georgia police officer. Davis claimed innocence until the end, and his case has experienced extreme controversy due to supposed recantations (taking back) of some witnesses. Watch thi reporter’s fairly unbiased video on the matter (he reminds us that whether Davis was guilty or not, his particular case did not warrant capital punishment)


The case has spurred international protests. Ethical issues abound: the right for governments to execute (i.e. capital punishment), the race factor, the legitimacy of our judicial system (there were alleged strong-arm law enforcement tactics), and the “restricting effect” of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which bars death row inmates from later presenting evidence they could have presented at trial. People from comedian Mike Farrell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to members of European Parliament have petitioned against this man’s execution. Currently protests are still going on all over the world.

WATCH: the rallies (raw footage) in front of Jackson State Prison 

WATCH: Parisians protest on same ground that witnessed French Rev executions

WATCH and READ: Al Jazeera’s show “The Stream” highlights Twitter talk on this case

READ: 10 reasons why Davis should have not been executed



TOK connection #1: How can the 4 “ways of knowing”- Sense Perception, Emotion, Language, and Reason – affect the reliability of an eyewitness account? 


TOK connection #2: To what extent should life and death decisions be based on belief? Just what does “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean and should it be connected to life and death decisions?

***READ THIS BRIEF ARTICLE regarding what the author calls a “corrupt” system.

TOK connection #3: ETHICS: What is the relationship between capital punishment and human rights? To what extent is it considered ethical or non-ethical?  How is it accepted in some societies or by some people and not others? Should governments be involved in decisions with moral implications? How can it be argued mankind has made moral progress throughout History? Are scientists (DNA evidence, etc.) and others (law enforecement, witnesses, etc.) morally responsible for how their evidence is used? 


***READ THIS ARTICLE for more thoughts about our “moral progress” and the death penalty

TOK connection #4: Knowledge Issues:

Selection of Information– What makes this particular case newsworthy while other events go unreported? Why does this event stir reaction in other parts of the world? How is corporate media and even user-generated media influencing the knowledge people may gain regarding this event?



Issues of Evidence, Bias, Stereotyping What are the problems with the evidence and the eyewitness accounts, and how does human error, bias, or even stereotyping/ racism come into play, if at all? When a protester called this a “legal lynching”, how does that choice of language relate to people’s emotions and historical memory? 


Issue of the Implications of Knowledge: There are many here, but what about something the reporter in the video addressed? He pointed out that supporters of the death penalty need to have a fail-proof system behind them – that when flaws are shown (read- knowledge of failures) the pro-capital punishment argument suffers. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, it’s important for both sides of the fence to examine what IS capital punishment and what is it DOING FOR US? (is it useful? humane? cost-effective? efficient? moral? justified?)



Check out the DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER for data and facts by state.

ROLL OVER THIS INFOGRAPHIC to see when countries abolished capital punishment or, for the ones who still have it, what types of crimes apply and what methods of execution are used.





American opinion inforgraphics, found at

CLICK HERE to see other amazing infographics, inlcuding the HISTORY of C.P.

What about the cost?



Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


 How appropriate is the  “last meal” request ritual? Read this.


PERSPECTIVES- preparing for the TOK presentation (9 TIPS HERE)

The internal assessment piece for Theory of Knowledge comes in the form of a presentation of a “real life/contemporary situation”, during which you will address the knowledge issues that arise (it is a must that at least 1 clear question concerning knowledge can be extracted). You have 10 min. to briefly introduce the topic, then discuss the knowlege issues (10 min each if in a group of 3 or less).

Moreover, you need to show a “knower’s perspective” (“personal” use of arguments, recognition of your own bias or presuppositions, etc.)…

AND give a balanced account of how the topic can be approached from different perspectives (due to gender, race, culture, age, generation, class, religion, educational background, academic discipline, etc.), and what the implications of those would be. For example, when YOU make a claim, consider counter-claims by asking yourself what someone who disagrees with your point of view would say and why. 

Knowledge issues should be posed as an open-ended question.

Presentations can be of any type- skits, slide shows, talk show panels, films, etc.

EXAMPLE (from the IB Guidebook)

not a knowledge issue: the execution of (in this case), Troy Davis

poor knowledge issue: Capital Punishment- should we or shouldn’t we adopt it?

intermediate knowledge issue: How can we know if capital punishment is right or wrong?

good knowledge issue: What role should intuition play in justifying capital punishment?

Below is a helpful planning document I found online:



Tok Presentation Guide

View more presentations from Toby Newton
Pretend you are planning your TOK presentation using the Troy Davis case and/or capital punishment in general as your “real life issue”. Create a hypothetical presentation planning sheet with the following components:
1. At least 3 knowledge issues that relate to knoweldge itself, the ways of knowing (perception/reason/emotion/language), and/or other areas of knoweldge besides ethics (such as science, psychology, or history). ***Be sure these are formed as open-ended questions.
2. Identification of your personal stance on the issue and what bias or experience or reasoning has led you to believe that.
3. Identification of at least 2 other perspectives as counter-claims, and the implications of those persepctives.
4. At least 3 visual aids that you might use (could be screen shots of Twitter comments, political cartoons, snips of video, artwork, infographics, etc.)
5. Concept idea- how might you choose to present this issue to the class? Would you do a dramatization? a video? a Prezi or Ppt? Explain.
***while you will not be required to actually make the presentation, we will discuss and share our planning brainstorms, and you will need to answer these 5 questions and post your resources on your Posterous blog.
Here are some additional resources which will help you:

How does HOW we know change WHAT we know?

This is just a fun post- with no particular assignment attached. But I thought you’d all be interested in just what is in that droplet of water…

MICROPHOTOGRAPHY: Helping Scientists Know More


Above is a water flea magnified 100 times.

To view more, click here and roll over each photo for info.

Check out more images from the NIKON SMALL WORLD contest


At Oxford University, the Classics Dept. has a new high-tech scanner that allows them to analyze, restore, and archive ancient documents like never before. The tool also has implications for use in forensics and criminology.


‘We anticipate that using the Oxford scanner will be like moving from using a dark room to using a modern digital camera. We can use it to detect what is currently invisible and make it visible”


Technology (especially digital) is increasingly changing the arts and what artists can do. Watch this TED talk by Mr. Levin and check out his amazing conceptions.



Belief and Doubt

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” – Richard Feynman, 1918-88

TOK LINKING QUESTION: To what extent should we accept knowledge by authority?

How do you know what to believe when there is so much propaganda? How can we trust what scientists claim, if the science itself is baffling? How can we trust any claim which may be instigated by special interest groups or political parties?

Edward Harrison, prof. of Physics and Astronomy at U. of Massachusetts, 1987

Download this file

Provide a reaction paragraph about this article, including addressing the line: “The creative mind fashions the world in which we live”


“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done” – Peter Ustinov, 1921-2004

Although this is a PSA told from a biased stance, check out this video on climate change. On your blog, record your thoughts regarding this piece. To see some humorous but poignant animated videos also produced by Climate Reality Project, click here


DOUBT from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.


on YouTube or the Internet

1. Advertisers sometimes appeal to the authority of “experts” and/or “science” to sell products. Find an example (think foods, drugs, other products) and post on your blog with a brief description. You will definitely want to check out “106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney” – a Popular Science Magazine article which asked a reporter to analyze the “scientific” claims he encountered on a typical day (1 every 10 minutes!)


On Twitter…

2. I typed in “climate change” on Twitter and found some interesting tweets, like this one:


Try doing this yourself with climate change OR another controversial hot topic (pun intended)

Here’s another:


Be sure to post to your blog post with a brief analysis (for example- check out the author’s creds)