Geeking Out for a Better World

I thought I’d get another blog post up while I sit here on the couch hanging out with my 2 1/2 week old son.  I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful baby.  He hardly cries and almost sleeps through the night already.  It’s so nice to sit here, read my Feedly feed and the COETAIL readings and look over at him in his basket next to me, fast asleep.

So as I was reading the “Geeking Out” section about Fansubbing in the report Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project” pg. 28 – 34, and it reminded me of this online game I heard about called Phylo.  McGill University developed this game to get people online to help map out genetic codes.  Here’s a YouTube movie that gives the directions to the game.  Middle school and high school  students could definitely learn how to play this game and it might be a neat actvity to do when teaching about genetics.


Fansubbing and people creating game guides for video games all sound like a pretty admirable communities but imagine if we could get kids involved in solving problems that really do make the world a better place.  If more games could be created to tap into our collective brain power as a human race, the possibilities could be endless.

So as I was “Geeking Out” on this idea, I followed a couple links on Wikipedia “]” and  Listed here are a bunch of citizen science projects especially animal classification projects that take advantage of the fact that almost everyone now has a cell phone that can take pictures.  What kinds of projects and problem solving would kids come up with if we introduced them to this collaborative concept?  In our classrooms we could start small and have students work on real world problems that matter to them.  After a project idea takes off in the classroom, we could them share it out to the world and ask for other’s help.  We could even take this idea and start a database of UBD lessons that we develop for this course.  We could invite others to post other UBD lessons on a site that we create.

One Reply to “Geeking Out for a Better World”

  1. William sounds like a pretty good kid already!! You scored!!
    I keep thinking about video games, which I don’t think I have devoted 2 minutes thought to since I last played Mario Bros 3 sometime when I was in middle school myself. Last year my co-teacher had some little game that she played on her iphone that involved animals in a zoo. She had to feed them on a regular basis to keep them alive, and by doing so she earned points that let her accumulate more animals. This sounds about as exciting to me as watching paint dry, but apparently a lot of people enjoy this type of thing. So I keep thinking that it would be great to have a simplistic game for students to play using basic French. I’m not talking about a “French video game.” I’m imagining something much more simplistic, using the basic vocabulary from our class. Would students buy into a game where they follow directions in French to feed some hippos? How about if they had to follow directions to virtually go to the library or the swimming pool? It would help them practice the names of places in a town…. but would they do it? Does such a game exist?

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