Archive for December, 2007

Dec 13 2007

More props for our Wiki!

Published by under AP Economics,Teaching

The EduBlog Awards Ceremony was podcasted live over at If you want to listen to the whole ceremony, follow the link above. Here’s a clip where they announce the “Best Educational Wiki” category and Welker’s Wikinomics!

If you’re still not sure whether the EduBlog Awards (the “Eddies”) are a big deal, it looks like they’re getting some attention in the mainstream press as well.

PBS Teachers | . More than Just Blogging: the 2007 EduBlog Awards | PBS

From the influential technology blogger Andy Carvin over at

“It’s that time of year again – the winners of the annual Edublog Awards have been announced. And despite the name having the word “blog” in it, the awards cover a whole range of educational projects, including wikis, social networks and even virtual reality spaces. If you’re looking for a quick scan of cool education initiatives using social media, this is a great place to get started.

The Edublog Awards, launched four years ago, is an annual tribute to the best and brightest across the educational Web 2.0 landscape. Back then, the awards focused solely on different types of blogs: library blogs, research blogs, group blogs and the like. You can still find some of those categories today, but what I find most enjoyable are the awards given to educational projects that aren’t actually blogs.

For example, there’s the category for best educational wiki. These are websites where students and teachers collaborate to produce interesting and informative content. Like any wiki, the pages can be edited by anyone involved in the project, so the depth, breadth and hopefully the quality of the content improves over time. The winner for best wiki is Welker’s Wikonomics. Created by the students of AP economics teacher Jason Welker at the Shanghai American School. Using the free wiki tool known as WetPaint, they’ve put together a multimedia collection of course materials, definitions of economic theories, and resources for other classrooms…”

Way to go SAS Economists! Keep up the good work! One more semester of macroeconomics and you’ll have created the largest online resource for economics students in the world!

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Dec 13 2007

Another year of econobloggin and wikinomics comes to an end!

Published by under AP Economics

As 2007 comes to a close, AP Econ students all over the world sit for their semester exams, teachers pour over papers in a mad rush to finish all their marking before the holiday break begins, and we in AP Economics at SAS begin to shift our focus from microeconomics to macroeconomics. Well, not so fast, we do have ONE more unit in Micro to cover.

As a re-cap on where we’ve come this year. Below are links to all the work our students here have done on their EduBlog Award winning wiki, “Welker’s Wikinomics”. Since school started in August, we’ve covered three of our four main units from Micro, including:

After the break, we’ll come back and spend about two weeks wrapping up micro. This is when we get to cover one of my personal favorite units, in which we study the environmental impacts of our economic system and learn about the possible solutions governments and societies face for minimizing the “spillover costs” of production. These and other topics will be learned in Unit 4: Market Failure and the Role of Government.

By the end of January we’ll begin our sixteen week adventure in macroeconomics. The unit outlines completed by last year’s AP students are still up to view on the wiki. Around mid-January, I will erase all the work done by last year’s students, in preparation for this year’s, who will begin working on our macro wiki and make it even bigger and better than the pages below! Here’s the units we’ll cover in macro:

As for myself, I’m off for three weeks to the snowy slopes of the Pacific Northwest! A week in British Columbia’s Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains followed by two weeks at my own ski cabin in Sandpoint, Idaho. I don’t predict I’ll be doing much blogging or wikiing over the next three weeks, so this will probably be my last post until January. Please check back around January 9th for the next round of blog posts: the topic? Market failure and environmental economics, of course!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Dec 09 2007

Our wiki WINS the EduBlog Award for “Best Educational Wiki”

Published by under AP Economics

» And the winners are… The Edublog Awards (click HERE if you’re in China)Best Wiki

Congratulations to the 140+ Shanghai American School AP Economics students from 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 who have contributed to our wiki over at, (click here if you’re in China). Just last night the winners of the EduBlog Awards were announced, and our wiki came in first place in the category “Best Educational Wiki”.

Welker’s Wikinomics started out as an experiment in collaborative learning less than one year ago. Thanks to my bright and enthusiastic students, it took off and quickly grew into a huge online resource for economics students and teachers, covering nearly every topic of the macro and microeconomics AP syllabus. As the months passed, more new features were dreamed up and added to the wiki, such as the “Student Thought Forum”, the “AP Econ in the News” pages, the “Test Review Center” (where we host live chats the nights before tests), and many other interactive and engaging features aimed at enhancing and extending the learning that goes on in the economics classroom at Shanghai American School.

In addition to my students, who of course deserve the greatest congratulations, I would also like to thank the folks at Wetpaint, most notably Michael Bolognino, for working with me and other educators to help develop Wetpaint into an unparalleled free (and ad-free) online resource for educators. My direct communication with Wetpaint’s programmers has helped develop this product into one of the best wiki options available for educators. Thanks to their commitment to education, Wetpaint has begun offering their product ad-free to teachers, which along with the customizability and user-friendly interface has made Wetpaint a powerful, unmatched tool for teachers who want to extend student learning beyond the realms of textbooks and into the world of Web 2.0.

I also owe a big thanks to Shanghai American School’s tech guru, Jeff Utecht, whose visionary understanding of technology in education inspired me to explore wikis and blogs in the first place. Again, congratulations and thanks to everyone who pitched in to help make Welker’s Wikinomics the best educational wiki in the world!

EduBlog Awards
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Dec 09 2007

Immigration and American labor markets – opposing views

Irrational choices | Free exchange |

The debate over the impact of immigration on American wages is a hot one. As seen in the video below of immigration opponent Lou Dobbs, many in America view the free-market, open boarders ideas of certain economists with outright disdain and hatred. Among these “anti-immigration hawks” is economist George Borjas:

“(Anti-) immigration hawks like George Borjas have estimated that wage competition from immigrant labour may reduce native, unskilled worker earnings by something like 7 percent.”

Among economists, however, such views are rare:

“Other researchers dispute such figures, arguing that immigrant impact on native, unskilled workers wages is minimal and is strongly positive for skilled labour. In either case, it’s clear that the gains enjoyed by the migrants themselves significantly exceed domestic worker losses.”

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Dec 06 2007

America: Land of the free, home of “jackass” economists

Recently, in AP Economics, we have been learning about Labor markets; in IB Economics we’ve been focusing on the benefits and costs of international trade and global economic integration. As students of market economics, it is ingrained in us that economic liberalization, the freeing of markets, enabling resources to be allocated based on the price mechanism; these are all are good things. Removing barriers to the free movement of products and resources across national and political boundaries should eventually result in greater world output, and subsequently increases in living standards and wealth for the citizens of all free trading countries.

Nations will produce the products for which they have a comparative advantage, and trade with their neighbors for those products for which they don’t. Resources will flow from markets in which they are in low demand to those where they are in high demand. Prices in both product and resource markets will rise and fall, allocating scarce resources to the markets where they are needed most.

So why, in an era where the benefits of free trade and free flow of productive resources seem so visible around the world, do Americans seem so susceptible to views like those exhibited in the video below:

[youtube zoDb3D7B2Zo]

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