Geography game with Google Maps

A Google maps mashup was made into a very interesting research game, where you have to find out clues to get the location of some place in the world. You get the image and have to match it. It’s tough, but well worth the try. PlaceSpotting.

Education in America

My younger daughter may be going over to the US for high school. I am looking forward to seeing her older sister attend university in the US, but am wary about the prospects for the one going into 10th grade. This article in the Atlantic is one reason why I worry. It shows how local control is causing the US to fall behind. Here in Japan every teacher follows a very specific national curriculum so they are all teaching the same concept, the same equation, the same event in history in the same week. This may seem crazy to you, but it works here. There is a very high literacy rate with a writing system that is 100 times as hard as English. It works. Find out why the locally-run system in the US doesn’t.

A good quote from the article:

“In the first place, God made idiots,” Mark Twain once wrote. “This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.”

And kudos to The Atlantic for opening up their archives to all. I’m sure it will lead to increased revenue from increased traffic.

Brains work differently in US and Asia

That’s what a study done at MIT says. East Asians and Americans were asked to make both absolute and relative judgments about shapes and length of lines in a drawing. The Americans used more of their brain for relative judgments, and the East Asians used more of their brains for absolute judgments. Reported in PsyCentral online magazine.

Spellify Spell Checker for your website

I use Firefox as my browser, much better than Internet Explorer. One of the add-ons I use is a spell checker. But many people don’t have a spell checker in their browser.

What if I could put a nice spell checker on my web site? Well, I can. Spellify is an Ajax based web 2.0 software application that you can add to your domain hosting site so that everyone can have their form input checked for spelling. I have to try this out and see if it works with other programs like Moodle.