Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kindernet Appears to be Fixed

Through a comment from Mark at Kindernet we now know that it wasn't Kindernet that was hacked, but some of the sites within the search engine that were hacked. Mark informs us that Kindernet has fixed the problem (read about the problems here). I just tested the fixed version of Kindernet by trying a wide variety of "health education" terms including the terms that generated the inappropriate results yesterday. Kindernet has been fixed and can safely be used again.

The experience with Kindernet over the last 24 hours reminds us that we should always carefully explore any web resource before taking it live into the classroom.

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5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Today's Twitter tip is to follow Larry Ferlazzo. As many readers probably know, Larry Ferlazzo authors an excellent blog containing great resources for education. Larry just joined Twitter yesterday and has started sharing some of his great lists of links on Twitter.

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things I found today on Twitter (follow me here).
1. Stop Bullying Now from @joy49
2. The Sudden Charm of Public School from @ELFdotorg
3. SMART Board Search Engine from @paulawhite
4. How To Identify Phishing and Spam from @wimkhan
5. Tuition-Free Education Courses for Teachers from @snbeach

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Shmoop Adds More Quality Content

Shmoop, a great provider of online Literature and History study guides has just announced the addition of twenty more great study guides. The new study guides cover topics in US History and Literature. The additions to the literature section includes guides for works by Melville, Hemingway, Wilde, Salinger, Eliot, and Shakespeare. The new additions to the history section include study guides for the Gilded Age and the development of labor unions.

To learn more about Shmoop please visit my original review of the service.

Applications for Education
I am really impressed by the quality of the content on Shmoop. Shmoop's literature guides provide good depth of information without providing so much depth that students would be tempted to just use the review guides instead of actually doing their assigned readings.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Build Your Own Review Games
Cramberry - Studying Made Easier With Flashcards
Flashcard Flash - Search for Flashcard Sets

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Fun 4 The Brain - Great Educational Games

Fun 4 The Brain is a great website offering math, science, and English games. I played one of the math games and one of the English games this morning. The design of the games makes it easy to understand how to play without having to read a lot of instructions. This design makes it easy for a teacher to have a classroom of students playing different games without having to spend a lot of time giving different sets of directions to different groups of students. The games that I played this morning all had an audio element to them, had clear graphics, and provided instant feedback for each question or problem.

The English game I tried, Base Word Baseball, is designed to help students learn suffixes. The way the game works is a word is read and a "pitcher" throws three balls labeled with suffixes. The student then has to "swing" at the correct suffix.

The mathematics game that I tried, Pizza Pizzazz, is designed to help students practice basic addition skills. The student acts a "server" in a pizza restaurant and has to "deliver" pizzas to the correct table based on their solution to an addition problem. For example, if a the problem is "2+6" the student has to deliver the pizza to the table that has an "8" on it.

Applications for Education
Overall, the Fun 4 The Brain games are great games for elementary school and middle school students. I'm a big fan of review games like those found on Fun 4 The Brain because the games can keep students engaged in learning. For me, it is a fun teaching experience to have a group of students that are excited to play an educational game.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Games for the Brain
Brain Training Games from Mind 360
Physics Games for Your Blog or Website

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