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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spent - A Game for Learning About Life on Minimum Wage

Spent is an online game designed to teach players about the challenges of living on minimum wage (or slightly higher) employment. Players begin by selecting a job which will provide the wages they have to survive on for a month. Then throughout the game players are confronted with challenges that they have to handle by making an "either or" choice. After each choice the player's account balance is adjusted. In addition to the change in the player's balance sheet, each choice is followed by an explanation of consequence of the choice made.

Applications for Education
When I saw Spent it reminded me of a simulation activity called Life on Minimum Wage that I developed and have used for a couple of years now. Both activities are useful for teaching students about the difficult decisions that some people have to make just to take care of the basic necessities.

Explore the Iraq Museum with Google Maps Street View

Over the last couple of years Google has continued to expand the catalog of  Google Maps Street View imagery. This week interior imagery of The Iraq Museum was added to Google Maps Street View. Using Street View you can take a virtual tour of the museum. You can find the imagery in the Google Maps gallery or on the museum's website.

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Applications for Education
The Iraq Museum contains artifacts representing some of the earliest civilizations. The museum is still closed to the public, and even if it wasn't the chances of taking your students on a field trip to it are slim, but through the use of Google Street View and the museums's virtual tours you and your students can explore the contents of the museum.

I enjoyed reading the Google Lat Long blog post about how the Google Maps team captured the imagery. If you're interested in how they did it, take a few minutes to read the post. 

Newswordy - Learn About News Buzzwords

Newswordy is a neat website that features a new buzzword of the day everyday. Each buzzword is picked from the currently trending topics being discussed on news programs, political talk shows, and news websites. Each buzzword of the day is accompanied by quoted examples of that buzzword being used and links to articles and other media in which the buzzword of the day was used. You'll also find some links to the buzzword being used on Twitter. You can find previous buzzwords of the day by clicking on the very small archive button in the upper right corner of the Newswordy homepage.

Applications for Education
If you teach any current events lessons, Newswordy could be a handy resource for finding articles that provide students with the context of the buzzwords that they might be hearing in newscasts.

Remembering 9/11 - Interviews and Artifacts

It's almost hard to believe that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were almost ten years ago now. To mark the anniversary National Geographic has developed Remembering 9/11. Remembering 9/11 features videos of eyewitness accounts and testimonials about that day. The videos feature a range of people from "average" people like you and me who were just going to work that day to President Bush. Remembering 9/11 has an artifact display from 9/11. A story from an eyewitness accompanies each artifact in the display.

Applications for Education
Even my oldest students this year will have only been eight years old on 9/11. To them 9/11 is almost a historic event not a modern event that they experienced. National Geographic's Remembering 9/11 could be a resource for letting them learn about and understand the emotions that so many people felt that day.

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