Sunday, May 20, 2012

Basic is a site where you can take and create multiple-choice tests. One caveat is that created tests are open for any Smarterer member to take and to add to. So if you create a test about basic math, as I did, you may discover that the interpretation of "basic math" is very different from what you anticipated.

My basic math test became popular fairly quickly. It soon had close to 500 questions, even though I had only created about 30. The owners of the site asked if I'd be willing to take on the role of "Professor" for that test. As the Professor, I review questions and can now remove questions that don't fit into my definition of "basic math".

Basic Algebra SkillsMany people had added algebra and geometry questions into the mix. When I removed those items, I placed them in new tests. The algebra test is ready to go, but the geometry test is not quite done yet. You need 20 questions before the test goes "live".

If you'd like to test you skills on a few random questions, check out my two tests. You can compete with others to make it on the leaderboard. You can also comment on any of the questions. Please do leave a comment if you see one that shouldn't be there or isn't correct. Have fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I was introduced to TED about a year ago. I was an instant fan. Their videos of innovative people and ideas are inspirational and engaging.

Now TED has decided to start creating videos for education. These videos will be a collaboration of some of the best teachers along with video animators who can help teachers bring the ideas to life. The videos will then be made available for free use. Check out the video below to find out more.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cautions for Gamification

I've recently run across several articles/blogs discussing the down-side to gamification. Before experiencing a gamified class myself, I probably would have not given these posts as much merit as I do today. Instead I'm finding I resonate with what they have to say.

Kathy Sierra, a well-known tech writer, had a few things to say about gamification. She categorized situations as to the level of harm gamification could cause. Her cautions make sense to me, and bring back to mind all the reasons I learned it was psychologically inappropriate to always give students extrinsic rewards for their work. While it's not so harmful in some instances, in others it sets up a pattern of expectations that can never be maintained for a lifetime.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dear Esther

UPDATE: This game is now available for Macs. Yippee!! I'll be buying Dear Esther this week and will create a new post with my review after I've played.

After watching this review of the new, narrative game, Dear Esther, I wanted to buy immediately. From the short glimpse, it felt like an interactive mystery. Instead of solving riddles or puzzles, you are trying to discover what happened on this deserted island. I would guess, as a player of the game, you might feel like an investigator.

I can't give you a first-hand account of my experience with this game because it is not yet available for Macs. I would have purchased the game tonight had a Mac version been available. Just the story and graphics alone I think are worth the $10 price tag.

In a math classroom, the game may provide a conversation starter for problem solving. In reading/language arts classrooms, the game may provide inspiration for students writing their own backstories or events they think could have happened in this land.

If you purchase this game, I'd love to hear about your experiences and how you would use it in the classroom.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Playing with Light

Today I found this interesting javascript. Let your students play around with it, discover what it does. Students will enjoy experimenting. Encourage them see what happens when two or more circles are placed on top of each other. When students are happy with their "design," let them capture a screen shot, print it, and add a geometric description of their design.