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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

WikiWhere - A Challenging Map Game

WikiWhere is a neat map-based trivia game. The goal of the game is to identify cities based on their descriptions. The descriptions come from Wikipedia entries. You can get up to three clues before you have to answer by clicking on the map to identify the city that you think is described by the excerpts. When you click on the map you'll be shown the correct answer and how far away you were from the correct answer.

Applications for Education
WikiWhere could be a fun and challenging way for students to test their knowledge of world geography. One way to extend the use of the game would be to set a rule for students that if they were off by more than 50 or 100 miles that they then have to do some light research about the city.

H/T to Maps Mania.

Hurricane Webinar 2018!

Thanks to a teacher at Sigsbee Charter School in Key West I learned about a free webinar for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. The webinar is the 2018 Hurricane Webinar hosted by Hurricanes: Science and Society team in partnership with the NOAA National Hurricane Center and the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center.

The goal of the 2018 Hurricane Webinar is to teach students about hurricane hazards, hurricane forecasting, observing hurricanes with airplanes, and hurricane preparedness.

This free webinar is scheduled for May 9, 2018 at 10:00 Central Time. Click here to learn more about the webinar and click here to register.

On a related note, Hurricanes: Engines of Destruction is a good video that explains how the Coriolis Effect influences the direction in which hurricanes rotate, the role of heat in hurricane formation, and the origin of the word hurricane. The video is embedded below, but you should also take a look at the video on YouTube to access the reference materials used in the creation of the video.

Inspiration From an App That Didn't Work as Expected

In preparation for a webinar that I am hosting on Thursday I tested a new app that is supposed to help users identify trees. The app is called FindATree. The concept behind the app is solid, but the execution is lacking. The app has you answer a few questions about the characteristics of the tree that you see in front of you. Based on those responses the app tells you what you're seeing. Except in my case it didn't identify the correct tree. The app repeatedly told me that I was looking at a red cedar tree when I knew I was looking at an eastern hemlock.

The FindATree app lacked a few components that could make it better. First, more detailed questions should be asked before stating a result. Second, a bigger database of images of trees is needed for users to compare what to what they're seeing in real life. And third, an augmented reality component would make it possible to capture a picture of a tree to compare to a database. While it would take a long time build an app that includes every possible tree and variation of tree, students could build their own regionally-based app through the services of either the MIT App Inventor or Metaverse.


To be clear, I didn't write this post to bash FindATree. I wrote it to share the idea that I got from testing an app that didn't work as I thought it would.

New Scenes and Characters Added to Storyboard That

Storyboard That has been one of my favorite digital storytelling tools since I first tried it many years ago. Many readers of this blog have come to love it too. Three of the things that make Storyboard That popular are its ease of use, the free lesson plans, and a commitment to continuous development. That continuous development includes enlarging the collection of original artwork that you can grab from the Storyboard That library to use in your stories.

This morning Storyboard That released new artwork that includes eleven new characters, four new background scenes, and dozens of new scene items like kitchen utensils and character enhancements like Roman helmets. Some of the new characters are generic while others are designed to look like famous people. Those people are Sally Ride, Sandra Day O'Connor, Amelia Earhart, and Mother Teresa.

Check out this post for five ways to use comics in elementary school and this one for using comics in social studies classrooms.


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com