Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National STEM Video Game Challenge

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a nationwide (US) contest that asks middle school students to design an educational video game. Games can be designed using a platform like Scratch or Game Maker. Games can also be designed and submitted on paper. Either way that they're designed, the games must address concepts in mathematics and or science. Entries will be judging on creativity, gameplay, and integration of math and science concepts. There is $50,000 worth of prizes and cash being given away to winning designs. Entries will be accepted October 12, 2010 through January 5, 2011. Read all of the contest details here.

Applications for Education
Contests like the National STEM Video Game Challenge offer the opportunity for students to create products through which they demonstrate their learning to an audience larger than their classrooms. In order to create a good game design students will need to first master mathematics and or science concepts in order to build games around those concepts. For some students this will provide a motivation to master a concept that they don't have when they're simply learning for a test or to write a research paper.

Vote Easy - Which Candidates Match Your Opinions

In another example of my PLN helping me improve my lessons, Diana Laufenberg shared a great resource with me via Twitter. Diana shared Vote Easy which I immediately knew that I could use in my Civics class. Vote Easy is an interactive map designed to help voters identify the Congressional candidate that most closely aligned with their views on a selection of twelve issues. Answer each question then specify how important that issue is to you. Based on those responses Vote Easy will indicate which candidate in your Congressional district is most closely aligned to your views.

Applications for Education
I used Vote Easy in my Civics class this afternoon as a tool to get my students thinking about the twelve issues (including Afghanistan, Health Care, and Education) presented to them. After my students answered all of the questions and found out which candidate was most closely aligned to their views, I had my students take it again to see what type of answers it would take to be aligned with the other candidates.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:The History of Credit Cards in the United States
9 Resources for Learning About US Presidents
How to Use C-Span's Video Library in Your Classroom

Let's Get Video on Wikipedia

Let's Get Video on Wikipedia is a joint project of five organizations including Miro, Kaltura, and the Wikimedia Foundation. As the name implies, the purpose of the project is get people to develop videos to complement Wikipedia articles. In an attempt to ensure that only quality videos appear on Wikipedia, Let's Get Video on Wikipedia has outlined a format and creation process for video submissions. Interested in making a video for Wikipedia? Take a look at the list of topics on this Wikipedia page.
To learn more about Let's Get Video on Wikipedia, watch the video below.

Applications for Education
Let's Get Video on Wikipedia could prove to be an excellent complement to Wikipedia entries. Other services have tried to match Wikipedia articles to YouTube videos in the past, but putting videos directly on Wikipedia pages would make it easier to quickly find videos that provide explanations. If you're looking for a video project in which students demonstrate their understanding of a topic, take a look at the list of suggestions on Let's Get Video on Wikipedia

EduTecher's Change the World Challenge

Adam Bellow at EduTecher is currently running a nice charitable event through his site. Through November 25, Adam will donate one cent for every unique visitor to EduTecher. Then in the week following November 25, all of the money will be donated to a charity selected by a reader vote on EduTecher. Watch the video below to learn more.

On a related note, Adam and I are working on a collaborative project that I think a lot of readers will like.

Everything's Free! Now What?

Yesterday, I had the privilege of giving the keynote talk at MOREnet MITC. The focus of the talk was on free web resources that address five challenges all educators face. Prior to the resource sharing portion, I shared a bit about my school's policies regarding Internet filtering, cell phones, and how those policies came to be. The slide deck from my talk is embedded below.
Everything's Free! Now What?

On Sunday, I ran a pre-conference workshop titled Lesson Plan Rehab. The resources from that workshop are available here.

After the keynote on Monday I gave a short presentation about making videos with web-based tools. The resources from that session are here.