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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Would You Eat That? Learn What Is In Your Food

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago recently released a new game designed to promote awareness of the ingredients in common foods. Would You Eat That? presents a food and a list of ten ingredients that you might not expect to find in that food. To play the game you have to correctly identify which four of those ten ingredients is in your food. When I tried the game with a packet of hot cocoa and a bag of dog food, I was surprised at a couple of the ingredients.

Applications for Education
Playing Would You Eat That? brought to mind Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. While the ingredients in the foods in Would You Eat That? aren't as disturbing as what Sinclair discovered, there are still some surprises. Playing the game could teach students about ingredients and what function they perform in creating a tasty food.

And click here if you would like a digital copy of The Jungle as well as one of Sinclair's letters to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Five Resources for Learning About North Korea

The web comic The Oatmeal doesn't often (perhaps ever) have cartoons that are appropriate for the classroom but today there was one that could be used for a very simple social studies lesson. The Primary Difference Between North Korea and South Korea uses two drawings to show the difference between living in Communist North Korea and Democratic South Korea. It might be a fun little comic to show your students. The comic did get me to look in my archives for resources on North Korea that I've highlighted in the past. Those resources are listed below.

Life Inside North Korea
North Korea v. South Korea Incidence Map
North Korea's Military Parade in Slow Motion
Music from North Korea and Around the World

And for a very quick explanation of why the Korean peninsula is divided, here is a video overview of the Korean War.

Pinball - Tools for Organizing Ideas

Pinball is a suite of fun tools from the BBC for organizing ideas and generating new ideas. In Pinball you will find tools for creating mindmaps, outlines, and simple slideshows. Pinball also has tools to help you brainstorm and generate new ideas. Each one of the six Pinball tools provides options for including text and images in your mindmaps, outlines, and slideshows. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, each Pinball tool has a "lucky dip" button that will serve up a random image or bit of text to prompt you.


Applications for Education
All six of the tools in the Pinball suite could be very useful for students. The three that stand out the most to me are Dot Dash, Wild Reels, and Live Wire.

Dot Dash is a template for creating webs of ideas. Each part of the web can have text and images in it. It could be very useful for students who have a lot of ideas but aren't quite sure how to connect them all yet.

Wild Reels uses a virtual slot machine format for mixing up ideas. Students type in topics, type in keywords, and enter images in each of the slot machine reels. Then when they click spin the ideas and images are mixed up. I think of the final product as Mad Libs in a casino. Wild Reels could be a great creative story starter.

Live Wire allows students to organize their ideas sequentially and build a small slideshow. Each frame in the slideshow can include text and images. Rearranging slides is a simple drag and drop process. To eliminate a slide just "x" it out. After creating webs of ideas with Dot Dash and spinning ideas in Wild Reels using Live Wire could be a great way for students to publish their stories.

LocaModa - An Easy Way to Gather Tweets

Last month I wrote about Wiffiti. Wiffiti is a tool for gathering and displaying feedback via text messages. Last week I learned about a new offering from Wiffiti called LocaModa. LocaModa provides an easy way to gather and display Tweets about a topic.

Here's how LocaModa works. LocaModa provides a display board of all Tweets tagged with the hashtags that you specify. When you create your board just title it and specify which hashtags you want to be collected and displayed. As a test I created a LocaModa board that gathers and displays all Tweets containing the hashtags #edchat and #edtech. You can see a screenshot of that board below or visit the board here.

Applications for Education
Over the weekend people were Tweeting Titanic events in the times and sequences that they actually happened on the night the Titanic sunk. If you wanted to gather and display those Tweets in your classroom, you could do so with LocaModa. If you're using Twitter in your classroom to have students follow a news story, LocaModa could be useful for that too. Or if you're using Twitter as a backchannel in your classroom, using LocaModa could be a great way to monitor those conversations.

WorkFlowy Is a Simple Task Management Tool

WorkFlowy is a simple task management service that I just learned about from Dianne Krause's daily bookmarks post. WorkFlowy works in an intuitive outline format. It works just like I would have it function if I was writing a list of things to do in a notebook. Click "+" to add an item and use the tab key to indent an item. To set a due date for yourself just type a hashtag like #today or #tomorrow to prioritize your tasks. When you complete a task just click on it and strike it out. WorkFlowy has a series of tutorial videos to help you discover all of the little tricks it offers, but even if you don't watch them you can use WorkFlowy efficiently. The video below shows the fundamental of WorkFlowy in  24 seconds.

Applications for Education
WorkFlowy doesn't offer bells and whistles, just a simple and clear way for students to organize the tasks that they need to complete. For students using iPads, WorkFlowy works on iPads too.

Taxes, Sandstorms, and Tractors

On Friday I shared some resources for teaching about taxes and economics. This morning CNN Student News explains why US income tax filings are due today, where the tax revenue goes, and the history of income taxes in the United States. The episode is embedded below.


The second segment of today's CNN Student News covers sandstorms in the Middle East. Then learn about what some Major League Baseball players are doing to try to end human trafficking and slavery. Finally, students will learn about a school that allows students to drive tractors to school.

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