Boing Boing 

Watch how this beautiful game exhibit helps kids understand ecosystems

The New York Hall of Science's new Connected Worlds exhibit is a series of six interactive ecosystems that spreads across the walls of its Great Hall, united by a 3000 square foot interactive floor. Kids can use their hands to plant seeds, or to move real logs to divert water and notice the effects on the various environments. Healthy ecosystems produce creatures that migrate among the different worlds.

It's intended to teach young folks about how systems work, especially in the contest of ecology and sustainability. Prolific game designer and artist Zach Gage (we last spoke to him about fortunetelling apps and accidental clones, but he does all kinds of things) consulted on the project:

"My biggest pushes were for ensuring that the takeaways for children were experiential (to be unpacked later with educators/family members/friends) rather than a set of point-by-point facts or statistics," he writes. "I strongly believe that part of the power of games is that they can convey experiences, not just lessons, and that experiences can be key in teaching certain topics that are too complex to ever truely understand—in this case, systems thinking."

As a kid I remember very little about my class trips to museums besides the worksheets, where we had to study exhibits and then write down what they told us about how the world works. Strangely I can't remember anything specific that I learned—just that I sat for a while copying down a diagram of a flower by hand, more interested in its infrastructure than in any fact the image could convey.

Learn more about the Connected Worlds project here, or see it for yourself at the New York Hall of Science, where it'll be housed for the next 5-10 years!

connectworlds

Take control of the media with this media and news literacy course

We're in an age of information overload, and too much of what we watch, hear and read is mistaken, deceitful or even dangerous. Yet you and I can take control and make media serve us — all of us — by being active consumers and participants. Here's how.Read the rest

Why parents in Cincinnati camp out for 16 days to get a kindergarten spot


Scarce kindergarten places at magnet schools like the Fairview-Clifton German Language School are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to parents who camp out for weeks, clearing their tents every morning so the kids won't be disturbed by the tent-city on the school's lawn.

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TX schoolteacher "not a racist" because she only "almost" wants segregation [UPDATED]

Karen Fitzgibbons [Facebook]


Karen Fitzgibbons [Facebook]

Karen Fitzgibbons, a teacher at Bennett Elementary School in Wolfforth, Texas, is being investigated by the Frenship Independent School District after posting racist remarks on her Facebook page.

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UK schools using spyware to monitor students' ideology

The software monitors students' communications looking for "extremist" language like "jihobbyist," "YODO" (you only die once), and "jihadi bride."

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Scholars' collaboration tool starts with cloning existing materials

Mark writes, "ACLS Workbench encourages scholars to share their materials and even allow others to copy or clone them."

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Thousands of American kids are getting free university educations in Germany

German higher education is essentially free, even for foreign students, and many courses are conducted entirely in English.

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Kickstarting Maker History: a time-travel curriculum for kids


David Hunter (creator of the zombie currciulum units) has a new idea: teaching English, science, history and math through curriculum units that ask kids to pretend to be time-travellers.

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Watch: John Waters gave the 2015 commencement address at RISD and CRUSHED IT

The Rhode Island School of Design is the alma mater of Talking Heads, the school that gave William Gibson his honorary PhD--and now it's the school where culture hero and filth elder John Waters delivered his magnificent, world-beating rant on what design is for.

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How and why to default on your student loan


Lee Siegel defaulted on his student loans because it was "absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college" just because "he had the misfortune of coming from modest origins."

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Connecticut teacher fired for reading Allen Ginsberg poem to AP class


Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship writes, "During an AP class discussion about gratuitous language, a student asked a teacher to read an Allen Ginsberg poem. He did. He's not a teacher anymore."

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Scratch creators around the world collaborate on "I'd like to teach the world to code"

Mitchel Resnick, founder of the amazing, kid-friendly programming project Scratch, writes, "Scratch community members from around the world joined together to create a collaborative project: 'I'd like to teach the world to code.'"

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Sesame Street is giving girls around the world access to basic education

An inspiring video about educating girls in developing nations from Sesame Workshop's Global Education Initiative.

UPDATED: New York school makes poor kids huddle indoors while richer students attend carnival

Flushing's PS 120 asked kids to contribute $10/each to a carnival held in the school-yard during school hours, and kids who couldn't pay had to sit in the auditorium watching old Disney movies and listening to the shrieks of delight from outside.

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3D printed precious metal science jewelry that benefits open science curriculum

Luk Cox Idoya Lahortiga, AKA Somersault 18:24, are jewelers who makes 3D printed science objects in gold, brass and silver, like the Darwinian phylogenetic tree necklace pictured above, and invests the profits in freely usable and shareable science education resources.

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danah boyd explains student privacy bills

"The conversation is constructed as being about student privacy, but it’s really about who has the right to monitor which youth".

Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide

From a brilliant Web-rant to an indispensable guide to the perils of statistics and their remedies, Alex Reinhart's Statistics Gone Wrong is a spotter's guide to arrant nonsense cloaked in mathematical respectability.Read the rest