Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is a regular feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

So I was surfing the cyberwaves in search of a good site for today’s post, Googling things like “cool websites for community college teachers.” Eventually I stumbled upon I nosed around for a bit and thought that it might be a good site to post, so I emailed the link to myself and planned to get to it later. Next I zipped over to to get a quick dose of headline news. There I see a link to Time’s 50 Best Websites of 2011. I click it. I then scroll down to the education category. What site do I see first? Mmmmhmmm.

So what is it? It’s a site run by United Nations World Food Programme that has two main goals: “Provide education to everyone for free, and help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.” They do this by having advertising sponsors who donate 10 grains of rice for every multiple-choice question answered correctly. Questions come from six different subjects (math, English, geography, chemistry, language learning, and humanities), with each category having multiple levels of difficulty. According to their totals page, they have currently donated 91864527800 grains of rice. I’m not sure how to pronounce that number, but I do know that it’s pretty darn impressive!

Games and Learning

This article from this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine is (once I could get over my ethical misgivings about experimenting on children, even for educational purposes) absolutely mind-bending and jaw dropping–for good and horrifying reasons.

A sample:

A game, as Salen sees it, is really just a “designed experience,” in which a participant is motivated to achieve a goal while operating inside a prescribed system of boundaries and rules. In this way, school itself is one giant designed experience. It could be viewed, in fact, as the biggest and most important game any child will ever play.

Read the rest. It’s long (18 pages if you click on the printer friendly version), but completely worth it the time and paper.