My book about gamification is out! You've Been Played (Bookshop.org, Goodreads) examines how points, badges, and leaderboards are creeping into every aspect of modern life as tools for profit and coercion. It’s a critique of gamification, sure – but by an actual game designer, games journalist, and former neuroscientist. And it goes far beyond the usual suspects like Fitbit and Duolingo to look at the historical roots of gamification. Foucault, Lewis Mumford, Skinner, medieval indulgences, Taylorism, ARGs – this book has it all! Reviews, talks, and excerpts inside... [more inside]
A story we've been working on at Chalkbeat for a little while, on the challenges faced by curriculum in Williamson Co., Tennessee. A lot of these kinds of moral panic stories concentrate on the things that individual actors say, but for this reporting my team dug into the report for all 31 texts that had been challenged, and tried to put them into context of exactly what the complaints were, and how they were addressed. [more inside]
CircuitPython is a version of Python for tiny computers called microcontrollers. We're celebrating CircuitPython Day on 9/9, the snakiest day of the year (or at least, that's what it says here), with livestreams and more. [more inside]
A couple of years ago I made a free 8-week writing course in podcast form. Starting from Jan 1st I'm releasing a new, bigger version called The 100 Day Writing Challenge. [more inside]
Science Twitter has some great holiday hashtags - #25DaysOfFishmas, #AdventCalendaR, #25DaysOfCrustmas, #AdventOfHominins - but they're all pretty Christmas-y. I decided to combine some science education and a little bit of religious diversity to celebrate the #8PrimatesOfChanukah - every day, a new primate species with some resonance for Chanukah! [more inside]
Last year I started writing up our joint experiences and adventures in peer learning together with my friend Salim Virani. It started off with an idea for a practical guide on education program design, and tools. But it soon enough turned into an impractical collection of peer learning stories and profiles of learners , in an attempt to give readers the look, and feel of the many great peer learning experiences there are in the world. [more inside]
This blog shares one interesting thing, every day. Recent topics have included Samoan independence, fake professors, and Renaissance fart jokes. Also on Facebook and Twitter.
From the team that brought you Payback and Stax comes our newest financial literacy game: Shady Sam. [more inside]
High school kids are still learning investing the way I did in the '90s: get a large sum of imaginary money and buy individual stocks for 8-10 weeks. Basically the exact wrong way to learn a lifelong investment strategy. (Not to mention these programs are often sponsored by groups representing the interests of investment brokerages.) We created Stax to take down "the stock market game." [more inside]
Co-hosts Gina Gagliano (Publishing Director of Random House Graphic) and Alison Wilgus (Cartoonist, writer, editor and MeFite) guide listeners through the inner workings of graphic novel publishing through a series of interviews where professionals in the industry -- editors, agents, cartoonists, designers, etc -- explain the details of their jobs. [more inside]
Cat Insanity is a responsive browser game that slowly, inevitably forces you into the brutal massacre of imaginary cats*, all to capture the emotional experience of drowning in high-interest debt. [more inside]
Canadian law is fun and cool and exciting! Every three weeks, we release another podcast where we take something in the news or the general cultural conversation in Canada, and break down how the law applies. The web link works, but it's better to look it up & subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. [more inside]
Payba¢k is a game designed to help teens understand the costs of college BEFORE they begin applying. We made it to address an issue many families face: Kids have no idea how much college actually costs. Parents are super uncomfortable discussing finances with their kids. So too often, nobody talks, kids apply to schools they can't afford, parents stretch themselves too thin and everyone ends up disappointed. [more inside]
I have a 2 and 4 year old and am tired of it being so hard to figure out my child care options. So my partner & I researched and indexed 800+ child care providers in SF, including the impossible-to-find in-home daycares. (Other cities are coming, but I started here because I live here.) [more inside]
I'm currently taking Harvard Business School's HBX CORe, an online business fundamentals course that covers analytics, accounting, and economics. I'm writing up what I'm learning and making it accessible to non-MBA types. Topics covered include minimum wage, the math behind trendlines, and why the Spiders Georg meme is off, amongst others!
The Learning and Technology Library is an online digital library of over 100,000 journal articles, conference papers, ebooks, and dissertation abstracts all focused on the use of technology in learning and education. [more inside]
The cartography of ethnomusicology? The archaeology of algebra? How about the radiology of ecology? OlogyBot is a Twitter bot that pairs two randomly-selected fields of study (mostly -ologies).
My six year old son needed some extra motivation to practice reading and writing this summer, so we built a video game. Now, we're tracking visits and viewing them on a map to talk about geography. Please delight him by checking it out! [more inside]
A philosophy paper on punishment and education I published with Daniel Levine in the Radical Philosophy Review where we argue for a novel sense of the reprobative function of punishment in the context of our prison work. [more inside]
We've kicked off the latest season of our YouTube series on media and digital literacy with a spoof of "Tomorrow" from the movie Annie. (OK, so this particular episode isn't really about media literacy... aside from taking the piss out of yet another movie retread.) [more inside]
Did you study hard in science class? Neither did comics Aric and Levi. Regret Labs is their attempt to make up for lost time. In each episode they attempt to explain a scientific concept and then invite a guest expert to join them and tell them how very wrong they are. [more inside]
I was horrified when I learned about the 276 female students who were kidnapped (some raped, some killed, all survivors to be sold into forced "marriage") in April. I built this site to encourage people to donate to build a school in rural Africa, in a community that supports the idea of women learning. Some problematic bits about it, but the whole situation is so dark, I wanted to see if I could help something good happen.
Hello! UX Launchpad is a one day design course in Seattle. The event is built with non-designers in mind, and so far we've had a great blend of developers, PMs, fine artists, and interaction designers looking to learn more. Classes are designed to be small and hands-on.
I work in maps but am generally frustrated with the way the field is taught: so this is my attempt at making educational materials that dial down the corporate tie-ins and talk about concept. I also write about the process of making it and am planning on illustrating & printing it for free/cheap for students.
I'm digitizing the covers of a significant portion of my children's book collection and posting them to my Flickr account. Among the items in that collection is a book shaped card game called Dr. Quack which is sort of like Mad Libs. I've parsed out the story and the accompanying cards into a twitter feed just for snicks and giggles. The rest of the books are typically either science books, textbooks, or early examples of cross media licensing based on comic strips, radio shows, TV shows, or movies. [more inside]
I have been working with video journalist Brady Haran on a series of hand made animations for science videos. Other videos include:Numbers Confuse Americans, Maths Jokes Explained and Lagrange Points. I'm currently auctioning the drawings used to make the dimensions video here.
Gametron 7000 (GT7K) is a web-based game-building toolkit, designed and built by myself for use in non-programming-centric game design classes I've been teaching in NYC. It's almost all visual (no coding) and allows non-tech-savvy game creators to make fairly simple 2D sprite-based games. Even though it's a little rough around the edges, hopefully it's fun to use! [more inside]
A while back I posted a collection of free online courses in philosophy. Through a weird confluence of events, that led to interest in teaching philosophy outside of the university, first at an Anarchist Free School, and then at Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. This website is an attempt to collect and organize our activities. We hope to fund accreditation or join with a program recently begun by the nearby Goucher College to offer Bachelor's degrees. Meanwhile, we offer courses as "reading groups."
I was working on being able to identify musical intervals by ear, but the apps I had tried weren't very fun. So instead of cursing the darkness, I got a few musical folks together and we made Project Unison, an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that turns interval ear training into a fun arcade game. [more inside]
Building on the work with CPS Apples to Apples, I joined forces with Chicago's Open Data Institute to help shine a light on the real data around Chicago Public Schools anticipated historically large number of school closings. The data is being used by parents and community groups to ask targeted, educated questions about the schools on the closing and receiving lists, and to educate parents about how District policy affects their local school's staffing, class sizes, etc. Some of the data being visualized exists in disconnected sites, some of it has had to be "liberated" from PDF's in order to be used. The team is hoping to extend its work at some point into a project called SchoolCircles, a site that will help public school parents in Chicago (and with code that can be repurposed for other districts) understand the data that affects their schools (budgets, staffing, student performance and mobility, utilization) more completely, as well as quickly run "what if" scenarios for how proposed changes to district policy would affect their specific school.
Robust data on individual CPS (Chicago Public Schools) schools is often difficult to locate and almost impossible to compare between schools. Although this data is used to make important decisions at the student family level (what school to apply to?) and the district level (which schools to close?), there are few resources that allow open government groups to easily access and use the data in formats that would allow them to educate the public and increase transparency and understanding. So I decided to tackle some of it, unpaid and on my own time as a CPS parent, in a project that I'm calling "Apples to Apples." I get the data out of PDFs and up into Google Fusion. And open gov groups, parents and journalists get to use it.
This is a video about a math camp in Maseno, Kenya, that I've helped coordinate for the last two years. The idea is to give secondary school students a new perspective on mathematics, and expose teachers to activity-based teaching methods. We're aiming to get across the idea that math is about the concepts rather than the drills, understanding rather than mindless computation, beauty rather than grades. The video runs about 13 minutes, but there's a catchy song at the beginning to rope you in and get the idea across more quickly. Finally, there's a blog post here outlining a bit of the work we've been up to this year. [more inside]
Just thought I'd keep MeFites updated on the progress of The Media Show, my show on media literacy, as people seem to have been interested in past episodes. We recently posted an episode on health claims in advertisements, as well as a more thoughtful meditation on whether recent ads using the Muppets violated the spirit in which Jim Henson created them. Earlier this year we made two videos on what it means to be a hacker, one with TV-B-Gone inventor Mitch Altman and one with 2600 editor Emmanuel Goldstein. And we're also particularly proud of our episode on how important spelling is online -- titled Syntax Terror -- which is a riff on a the old Kermit The Frog Tee Shirt sketch from Sesame Street and features the vocal stylings of MeFi's Own Yoz. Enjoy, and let me know if you end up using any of these with your students!
I post articles here about the deceptive and shady tactics being practiced by U.S. law schools, as well as stories about the decline in the quality of U.S. legal education.
A curated monthly review devoted to spirited debate about books and the arts, created by and for a transnational community of writers, artists, and activists. Inaugural contributors include Tobias Kelly, Bruce Robbins, Lawrence Weschler (interviewing Errol Morris), Laura Norén, David Henkin, Adam Morris, and Sharon Marcus. Brought to you by the editors of Public Culture and NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge. [more inside]
with a mecha-spider marionette. [more inside]
What did you learn today? Here's a way to share it with others: "You Learn Something New Every Day" aggregates tweets and public Flickr photos (with proper licenses) that are tagged with "ylsned". [more inside]
This is a project that I'm working on with some members of my local hackerspace. The project invites teams from around the world to compete in the design and assembly of a weather balloon equipped with cameras to take photos of the Earth from near space. We also are trying to promote this type of activity in schools by attempting to get balloon kits into science classrooms.
Last year we had a 9 week overview of western philosophy geared towards artists and makers. This year we tackle the history and philosophy of the idea of the rhizome, among other things. It's an introduction to philosophy for artists, an introduction to psychoanalysis for philosophers, an introduction to pragmatics for psychoanalysts and an introduction to art for pragmatists. This happens in Portland, OR, but you can follow online. Week 3 is online in its entirety, and there's more to follow. Also, our instructor is hosting reading groups under the name First Hand Philosophy. [more inside]
So I was looking to improve my aural skills, and instead of doing some ear training ended up creating this site with excercises.
The "New Books Network" is a consortium of 70 podcast channels. Each channel is devoted to a particular field (history, biology, literature, law, etc.), hosted by an expert in that field, and features hour-long interviews with the authors of new books in that field. The podcasts are free and available on the "New Books" channels, by RSS, and on iTunes. We are seeking people who would like to participate in the project, both as hosts and editors. Those interested should contact Marshall Poe at email@example.com. For those who have written or would like to recommend a book to be featured on a "New Books" channel, we also welcome pitches.
I wrote a book designed to teach the essentials of modern business practice. If you're a craftsman, designer, programmer, artist, entrepreneur, or professional, you'll find it quite useful. There's no need to spend $150,000+ to attend business school. Learn the fundamentals on your own, and you'll do just as well - and save a ton of money in the process.
I just launched a beautiful and quirky children's iPad book app. It features an adjustable reading level making it appealing to a wide range of curious children and adults. It's scary but enthusiastic look at ants and their relevance to us. [more inside]
I wrote an Internet toy/widget/app to pick out random population centres in the United States. Fun and educational! [more inside]
I teach music at an elementary school, and the students and I spent the year creating a long-form musical story, which became a CD. It's based on a folk tale from an Amazon tribe. All the music, singing and sounds are by the kids. [more inside]