The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well. [more inside]
Evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray, writes about why play is an important part of learning, and also key to good mental health. He believes that American kids are over-structured at home and school, with too much focus on adult-directed activities. He also explores the value of play from an evolutionary perspective, in different cultures around the world.
instaGrok is a website that presents information in a mindmap-style visual interface, which allows users to learn about topics by exploring the connections between concepts and facts.
Try one of over 600 courses available through the Open University's Learning Space. Get to know the meaning behind the making of kente cloth of Ghana or learn the mathematical modelling involved in analysing skid marks. Lose yourself in art and design or simply learn a new old language. All you need is a device with a browser and internet access. Bonus: OU on the BBC's Frozen Planet series
Louis Menand of the New Yorker looks at the competing theories of education: that it is to create more well-rounded individuals vs. teaching someone what they need to know to get a job.
Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid has been recorded as a series of video lectures for MIT's Open Courseware project.
Dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando make and play with bubble rings. Others learn by watching. (SLYP) via [more inside]
The most creative jazz musician to originate anywhere outside the United States (Duke Ellington) is maybe the great guitarist Django Reinhardt. It is true that he gave birth to a style which is now played by many musicians. His achievements are outstanding, if we consider the events of his life. He still fascinates both the scholar (great links but in need of some work : see french wiki for more biographic details) among other things because of controversial details (his survival during WWII and the very origin of swing manouche (gypsy jazz)) and the aspiring guitarist (more) (essential resource). But it's maybe better just to listen - and watch - him play. Further watching : Nuages, an amateur documentary in 1 2 3 4 5 parts. Previously.
Cooking with Vincent Price! Delicious mushrooms & stuffed eggs! Roast pork sirloin with prunes, onions & red wine! Small boys in a spectacular curry! Cooking not your thing? Well, would you prefer learning about cricket? Or perhaps Florentine art? Voilà, my friends!