– Connecting Wikipedia articles with their locations allows users to connect Wikipedia entries with their geographical location. What a great way to see what landmarks/historical entries are located near your home town. It allows anyone one to place entries on the map, so if your area is blank you can search Wikipedia for local landmarks and place them on the map yourself. And if the local landmarks are not in Wikipedia, it would be a great start for your students to research, edit, and then publish their entry on the landmark in Wikipedia.

WILD Wednesdays – Nov. 30th, Dec. 7th, 14th

Using e-mail to communicate effectively – Nov. 30th
This class will demonstrate how you can use e-mail to more effectively communicate with your peers, students, and parents, and how to save you time!

SPAM E-mail filtering – Dec. 7th
This session will show you how to set up Squirrel Mail to automatically filter out most of the spam e-mail that you receive.

Potpourri – Dec. 14th
For the last WILD Wednesday of 2005, please come with your computer questions or concerns for assistance. Is there a project that you want to do, but don’t know where to begin? Come to this session and brainstorm ideas.

More information at the WILD Wednesday class.

Videogames are better teachers?

This Wired article brings up some very good points on how video games are teaching students today. Not how to carjack and shoot people, but how to manage a group of beings to solve problems (Pikmin), carry out intricate missions (Metal Gear Solid 2), and micromanage resources (Warcraft III).

How did videogames become such successful models of effective learning? Game coders aren’t trained as cognitive scientists. It’s a simple case of free-market economics: If a title doesn’t teach players how to play it well, it won’t sell well. Game companies don’t rake in $6.9 billion a year by dumbing down the material – aficionados condemn short and easy games like Half Life: Blue Shift and Devil May Cry 2.

The games teach the players how to play the game. The players are rewarded by applying what the game has taught them. There is also anecdotal evidence that playing some of these games are helping youngsters as young as 4 to read.

Are videogames a replacement for teachers? NO! We overlook that things should be done in moderation. A class that only plays Pikmin might learn how to manage an army of alien beings, but will it help them in History?

Too much time online?

In Parents Fret That Dialing Up Interferes With Growing Up – New York Times, parents are worried that their kids spend too much time on the computer:

In interviews and surveys many parents say that their children spend
too much time in front of computers and on cellphones. Some parents
worry that long, sedentary hours spent at a computer may lead to weight
gain, or that an excess of instant and text messaging comes at the
expense of learning face-to-face social skills. Some complain of having
to compete for their childrens’ attention more than ever.

Anything in excess is mostly bad for you, so parents should not be afraid to limit their children’s online activities. Internet addiction is real.

Children need to learn how to do things in moderation, hedonism is alive and well in today’s society. It reminds me of the 1980’s, where the motto was me, me, me, and if it feels good, you should do it.

Atomic Learning – Online Tutorials

The WILD Wednesday course for November 16th will be: How to use Atomic Learning

Atomic Learning provides literally thousands of movie tutorials on using the software already on your machine, including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. This course will show you how to access the tutorials and how you may use them in your classroom.

About Weekly Instructional Learning Discovery Wednesday
Classes are open to all teachers and take place every Wednesday in Room 220 at the High School from 3:15pm to 4:00pm.

Learn how to use blogs – WILD Wednesday, November 9th

This class will show you how to setup a blog for your classroom and allow your students to publish their work or comment on other published work. What you are looking at right now is a blog. A blog consists of posts, such as this one, or static pages, like the ESAL link at the top of the page. You can use a blog to facilitate communication and enhance reading and writing skills of your students. You can decide you can post to your blog, and what comments can be posted. You can also sponsor student blogs, allowing them a creative outlet.

More info at the WILD Wednesday class.