Monday, August 31, 2009
Of course they wanted to go from paragraph marks to color and pictures, but we'll get there. I just love those "Oh, I get it" kinda moments.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The morning was spent hearing PowerPoint bullets read to us (a pet peeve of mine) but the content was meritorious. References were made to Friedman's book The World is Flat with several implications being drawn for education. Sometimes I feel like the bad boy in the room, bearing the brunt of tech blame for social changes. I usually like that feeling.
As I listened though, one thought kept coming to mind: The world ISN'T flat. It's cloud shaped. I think the playing field has not been leveled, it's been obliterated. There is no bottom up or top down, only fringe and mass. Then my next thought was school of fish or flocks of birds. That's what tech has done for society (and on a smaller scale education). The risk takers are on the edges, pushing us in new directions but always the most vulnerable to be eaten, while the majority stick together and follow the crowd.
So what do you think? How would you diagram our global technology and where kids' education fits into it? Can we fashion students who will "come out on top" if there is no top and bottom?
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Another cool aspect is the online community. Gaming is really a social event and the instant chat helps provide a large test base of collaborators to review your work. And with over 30,000 games already crafted, there are plenty of time wasters just waiting for you.
Already I can think of several ways to use the site in the same methodology as Scratch and Gamemaker.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
The kids and I just returned from a one day/ one tank of gas mini-vacation to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Every summer we try to take at least one day and visit Lake Michigan.
My wife's favorite spot is Washington Park in Michigan City, but I suspect it's really the nearby outlet mall that attracts her. Another family favorite is the nearby State Park where the youngest and I went camping one summer. But this year I decided to try a new spot.
View Larger Map
West Beach is part of the national park system and though smaller than the state park beach it was still a very nice facility. Most of the park is open and free to traffic but there is a gatehouse at the entrance to West Beach. We paid $6 for the carload. They did warn that the park closed at dusk and cars left unattended would be towed. The national park's campground is several miles away and removed from the beach.
One really nice feature was the stairs up the dunes on the Succession Trail which we hiked. Later on my kids wanted to blaze their own trail over the dunes, merely for the excuse of rolling down the steep inclines.
The beach did have lifeguards who frequently whistled at swimmers who wandered out too far. But they are only employed during the summer so swimming is at your own risk. Rip tides are also a possibility.
Another really cool thing we discovered is the Junior Ranger program. First we stopped by the Visitor Center located right of Highway 49. Several rangers were available and eager to help us, providing several different booklets for each kid. Because most of our day was spent enjoying the beach, the kids opted for the fire safety booklet. It was also the easiest to complete since it didn't require any travel to one of the educational centers.
On our way home, we stopped back by the office where a ranger reviewed their answers and awarded each them with a patch. The patch is a full 4" tall and reads Junior Firefighter, NPS Wildland, Indiana Dunes. The kids thought the little squirrel was funny with his tail on fire.
My 8 year old daughter was especially excited to get the patch. She said she was just like a friend of hers who was in Girl Scouts. We plan to continue collecting patches and badges from many more national parks and are trying to figure out the best way to showcase them.
One final idea that really seemed to work well was giving each kid their own state map. I showed them how to read the mile marker/exit numbers and showed the route we'd be taking. Then every time one asked "are we there yet" I just referred them back to the map. Eventually they quit asking, either out of depression or because they could find the answer out for themselves.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
View Big Trip Out West in a larger map
We're starting to talk about taking a big trip to see the West before the kids get too surly (as teenagers) and here's a preliminary route. I'd like to stay a couple days at the major stops and not feel rushed in between. Please weigh in with any suggestions of sites to see or places to visit.
Here are the major stopping spots:
- Start at the Gateway to the West (St. Louis Arch) and roughly follow Lewis and Clark's route to the north.
- Visit family in Omaha, Nebraska
- Yellowstone National Park, WY - need to spend a couple days here
- Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
- Visit family in Bakersfield, CA
- Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge, Arizona
- Visit friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sunday is also Family Fun Day when a family of four can get in for just $28. What a bargain! I might just have to settle for that though I doubt the Mrs would want to go.
For Educators, Librarians, and Hobby Retailers Trade Day 2009 will be held from 12-6 p.m. on Wednesday August 12th
For the third year in a row, Gen Con Indy is hosting trade day to provide hands-on training to educators, librarians, and retailers on using games to increase patronage, develop community, and help children achieve. Events include targeted seminar tracks from 12-2 led by expert presenters in each field. Manufacturer presentations and demonstrations will be held from 2-5 where all attendees have opportunities to win and play games. A closing panel of specialists representing all fields will be held from 5-6 to answer questions.
Registration is $100 and will include a 4-Day badge, free games and gaming supplies from companies such as Out of The Box, and exclusive offers from presenting manufacturers. To Register, visit the Gen Con Kiosk on the first floor of the Westin hotel starting Wednesday August 12th at 9 a.m.