Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Purpose Games - Create and Play Games

Purpose Games is a free service that allows users to create custom games, share games, and play games. There are two styles of games that you can create and play on Purpose Games. The simpler of the two styles is a fairly basic multiple choice game. The other style uses images and maps on which players have to name the places represented by placemarks on the image or map. For an example, try this game about the skeletal system.

Purpose Games gives game creators the option to make their games public or private. If you select the private option, only the people to whom you send invitations will be able to play your game.

Thanks to Dianne Krause for the link to Purpose Games.

Applications for Education
Rather than relying on games made by someone else who has never taught your curriculum, try using Purpose Games to create an educational game to match your curriculum. You could also have your students create games for their classmates to play as a review activity.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
35+ Educational Games and Games Resources
US Government Studies Games

Brainyflix BrainyPics Vocabulary Flashcard Contest

Just as they did earlier this year, Brainyflix is holding a student vocabulary contest. In the prior contest students were asked to create videos in which they demonstrated the meaning of SAT vocabulary words. In the current contest which runs from now through December 7, students are asked to create BrainyPics flashcards containing images that demonstrate the meaning of vocabulary words. Students can create their BrainyPics flashcards using the simple BrainyPics flashcard builder.

The contest will award iTunes credit each week and a grand prize of $200 to the winner on December 7. Each week five BrainyPics will be chosen for the finals. Students can enter as many times as they like. You can read the full contest rules here.

Applications for Education
Even if they don't enter the contest, creating BrainyFlix videos and BrainyPics could be a good way for your students to learn new vocabulary words.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Scholastic Word Wizard - Vocab Quiz Creator
Visuwords - Online Graphical Dictionary
Word Ahead Vocabulary Videos

Find Free eBooks On BookServer

The Internet Archive is, in general, a very good place to find all manner of free information in text, audio, image, and video formats. On Monday, the Internet Archive launched a new service called BookServer. BookServer is a search engine for finding, borrowing, downloading, and purchasing books in digital form. A search on BookServer will yield results listing both free ebooks and ebooks for sale. I gave it a try this afternoon and was impressed by the quantity of titles that are available. That said, the BookServer's search tools could use some improvement.

Applications for Education
If you or your students are willing to spend some time searching and browsing through the titles available through BookServer, you should be rewarded with some good free ebooks.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Free eBooks of Classic Titles
200+ Free Mathematics Books
Free eBooks at Planet eBook

Meatless Mondays and School Lunch Programs

Today's edition of CNN Student News has two segments that could be used in health classes and or civics classes. The middle segment is about proposed changes to school lunch programs. That segment is followed by a story about a school in Maryland that is trying to implement a "meatless Monday" lunch program.

Applications for Education
These segments could be the starting place for conversations in a health class about the nutrition of school lunches. In a civics class the discussion could be based around the question "what role should the government play in the personal lives of its citizens?"

Today is Wolfram Alpha's Homework Day!

Last week I posted some information about Wolfram Alpha's Homework Day. Homework Day is here. If you've been curious about how to use Wolfram Alpha in your classroom, check out some of today's interactive sessions to discover how you might use it in the future. If you can't make for today's interactive sessions, but you're curious as to how Wolfram Alpha works, check out these two videos that I posted last week.