Create an rss feed with magic
Wiki Mind Map.org This is a really cool free site that’d be great to use in the classroom. You pick a topic from wikipedia and it creates an interactive mind map of the content. Click on the pluses and topics expand. You can even change the “center” topic of the map on the fly. Lots of cool stuff you could do with this and it’d be a great way to get to those visual learners that don’t respond well to outlines or even static mind maps. Too bad you can’t point it at any mediawiki site. That’d really open up some interesting options in the classroom.
I saw this Wednesday on Wonderland, Thursday on MetaFilter, and was reminded of it again on BoingBoing late Friday night. You get others to sign up and assign experience points (XP) for completing chores. I finally asked the “How would this fit in a classroom?” question the third time I saw it, and I came up with two ideas. 1. Use it as a creative homework incentive program. Students get XP for completion of work. “Prizes” are awarded for the best performance. You know, the usual, but within a “gaming” framework. 2. Use it to map out a group project. Teams get to map out the tasks necessary for completing the assignment. Tasks are giving point values based on difficulty or time commitment. Once a student completes a task, they give themselves credit. The XP becomes a gauge for individual participation levels. Clearly, there would be issues with this site, as there are fight scenes that you would find in any role playing game which might not appeal to all students/parents. But the idea of integrating gaming, organization, and accountability in a classroom has appeal. Chore Wars
The kind and brilliant folks at MIT have come out with a new Exhibit API that allows for more flexibility and power. The bonus is that it looks good doing it. I’ve now revised my Google spreadsheet fed history example to use some of the new power. It’s here if you’re interested. In the end I opted to mimic their new presidents layout (much like I mimicked their old presidents layout). This time I had a better reason than pure ignorance of the API (I now have impure ignorance after all). Their new layout is really right in line with what I’d like to focus on this year- data visualization/interaction. The new layout has the map right their with the time line. I like that. Time and location on one easy interactive page. Add in their option to sort and hide/expand sets based on the data you define and you’ve got something really powerful that will help students make connections. A simple example is if I restrict my set to show only “explorers” then suddenly in the map and the time line things change. I notice explorers were mainly earlier and than none were born in the Americas (obvious to you and I but maybe the spark some kids need). Then I switch map views and I see that explorers […]