Thursday, April 30, 2009

1 year Anniversary is celebrating its first year anniversary this month. I was surprised and greatly pleased when the hit counter reached 10,000 in September. This number more than doubled in the next 6 months and is currently climbing towards 40,000. I never imagined it would reach so many people. Another surprise was the feedback I have been getting has been global with comments from Australia, Europe, and other places. Please keep sharing your RealWorldMath experiences with me so that I can know what is working and how I can improve the site.

My regret of the past year is that I haven't had as much time to add lessons to the site as I would like to. Summers are golden for teachers so I hope to do more in a few months. Also, I have not received any lesson submissions or ideas from users. I was hoping that the site would become a community effort, so the lack of this disappoints me. Please try your hand at designing your own Google Earth math lessons or activities and share them with the rest of us.

What does the future hold? I have already added a lesson that uses Vocaroo audio recordings in the placemarks. I am currently working with Xtranormal movie animations and plan on including this in the future as well - perhaps in a set of Google Earth tutorials. So, combining other web tools with Google Earth is the direction I am heading. I am also planning on adding lessons that are more simplified, as some of those currently available may be too complex for the casual user.

Again, thanks for your interest in RealWorldMath. Keep the comments coming. With your involvement, the site can truly grow and evolve into something special.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Video Games vs. Education

While teachers and schools struggle to bring technology into the classroom, children seem to have no shortage of cash or time when it comes to video games. Computer and video games are a multi-billion dollar industry that produces hundreds of new games each year. No doubt, the best and brightest minds are spent in this endeavor so I wonder how it compares to education? How many technology professionals are producing educational software each year? How much money goes towards designing educational products?

No doubt, the video cards are stacked against us. There's no money in education, right? These companies have every right to profit from children and their parents for entertainment dollars. The problem is that our society doesn't put a premium dollar towards education. We have plenty of money for movie tickets, ballgames, amusement parks, DVD's, flat panel TV's, and video games, etc. etc. ... but not enough to spend on a tax increase that would benefit education?

One game, Grand Theft Auto IV, reportedly cost around $100 million to make. Over a thousand people contributed to its creation. If has any redeemable qualities and it was something I could make, then I wonder what the gaming industry could produce?

Below are some facts taken from the Entertainment Software Industry website.
  • Sixty-five percent of American households play computer or video games.
  • U.S. computer and video game software sales grew six percent in 2007 to $9.5 billion – more than tripling industry software sales since 1996.
  • The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 13 years.
  • Thirty-six percent of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20 percent in 2002.
  • Eighty-five percent of all games sold in 2007 were rated "E" for Everyone, "T" for Teen, or "E10+" for Everyone 10+.
  • Ninety-four percent of game players under the age of 18 report that their parents are present when they purchase or rent games.
  • Sixty-three percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.