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#204377 - 01/26/12 05:35 PM Words with Friends.
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
Recently got my wife a Kindle Fire which she loves and sometimes lets me use. Currently reading "Around the World in 80 days." It's a free e-book from Amazon. Also, I downloaded other free books, as well as free apps for chess, mahjongg, and sudoku. However, I had heard of "Words for Friends" and knew that my oldest daughter was playing it from her android smart phone.

I'm playing it - not bad, a bit like Scrabble (tm). But I think it would be good if one could look up the meaning of a word within the program - or if it popped up a definition as a word is played.

Also, I'm thinking back to school when sometimes the teachers would give us games to play - like find how many words you can make from the letters of some word without using any letter more times than it appears in the start word. For example, if the start word is "WORDSMITH" we can find
WORDS, SMITH, HIT, THIS, SWORD, WORTS, ORTS, ROTS, WORMS, WORTH, OMITS, TROD, RODS, SHOT, HOTS, WHIT, WHID, WRIT, WITH, MOTHS, THROWS, etc.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to allow students to play words with friends during study halls or even during class in some cases. 1) all assignments finished, 2) special assignment (say, getting extra points for playing relevant words), 3) general vocab building.

It seems like this tech could be handy - for some students, allowing teachers to focus on the kids who really need it, IF they put some thought in up front to how it would be integrated into an activity. (That was one of the problems when computers were first put into the classroom - it was great for people were really into it, but it wasn't very helpful for the non-math students.)

I wonder how open zynga would be to making mods to help it be more useful to teachers. (Or if teachers would think the idea worth pursuing.)

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#204379 - 01/26/12 08:40 PM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Candy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1705
Loc: down under
Schools in Australia are going the electronic way this year......instead of kids carrying around a bundle of books, parents now are being asked to buy a kindle or other electronic device on which to download 'books'.

I think you idea for games FF are great....anything to kindle a love of words in kids!

I wonder how Amazon came up with the name, Kindle ?
kindle as in start a fire, kindle as in collective 'of young kittens'...maybe they were thinking ..... allegory; curling up with kittens in your lap, on a cold day, reading in front of a fire ....

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#204384 - 01/26/12 10:15 PM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
There is an official story on how it got its name.

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#204386 - 01/26/12 11:28 PM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: Candy]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
The school where I tutor gives new students netbooks which is handy.

Throughout my youngest's HS sojourn it was agonizing to watch her trundle off to school buried under an overflowing backpack, a bag of swimgear, a bag of extra books, and usually an armful of some other project or cookies or what have you. For some few classes she had the choice of a hard-bound book or CD.

I suspect we will eventually go the way of completely having a cloud device (like iPad, kindle or other android), but there are issues.

There are advantages:
1) Same advantages as a netbook, but even more convenient.
2) Battery life is good and getting better.
3) Support utilities accessible (like blackboard).
4) Educational utilities (calculator apps, word processing,etc)
5) No need for any books now.
6) Cost is cheap, but not THAT cheap -- still coming down.
7) Keeping stuff in the cloud is *really* handy.

Disadvantages:
1) If you do forget (or break) your device, others are not likely to loan one to you.
2) Targets of theft.
3) preventing book theft is a problem.
4) buy-in is not cheap, but could reduce paper, shipping and storage costs.

Biggest issue is there needs to be curriculum development around this functionality - which requires teachers, etc. to buy into it and make the effort to see how it can fit into what needs to be done. Teachers still have a crucial role - and in some sense the essence of that role is preserved - but the way that essence is manifested will radically change.

There are a number of things that are almost immediately useful. A small sampling would include:

freerice.com
http://www.travelpod.com/traveler-iq
http://www.theproblemsite.com/games.asp
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~moursund/Books/Games/Games.pdf
http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-series-geography-map-snaps.html
http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-geography-venture-capital/index.html
eulerproject.net
http://mathschallenge.net/

There are lots of video things that could be useful, if teachers made the effort to actually build a curriculum.

Khan Academy is outstanding of course, as is MIT's Open Courseware, but there are also courses and materials spread across the web on various topics. And there are some amazing videos put out by Yale, et. al.

My oldest who is brilliant at math had trouble with linear algebra her first semester at college. This is normally a trivial course, but for some reason it's notoriously difficult at her school. For the first time in her life she was making Cs and Ds in a math course. She quit going to class and instead took classes through MITs Open courseware - but then took her normal tests at her regular college and her grades jumped back up to what she was accustomed to.

Here's some miscellaneous stuff for illustrative purposes:
Harvard CS http://cs50.tv/2007/fall/

Anatomy at Berkeley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9WtBRNydso

Thermodynamics at Yale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb8LqNlHeLY

Special Relativity at Stanford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAurgxtOdxY (taught by Leonard Susskind!)

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#204389 - 01/27/12 10:44 AM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
Another disadvantage is typing ... can't type at speed with the on-screen keyboards. Some sites rudely "do stuff" that makes the use of the display area impossible (google is one that uses microsoft level rudeness).

Extension keyboards exist, but that's extra cost, no idea how well they work, also not sure how they affect power consumption.

Some sites have special views for this types of devices, but some address it with special apps (which don't work as well as a regular web interface). Vaguely, I put this whole thing down to "It's going to take a while to figure out the best way of doing this."

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#204477 - 02/02/12 10:06 PM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Carson Offline
stranger

Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 1
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
Recently got my wife a Kindle Fire which she loves and sometimes lets me use. Currently reading "Around the World in 80 days." It's a free e-book from Amazon. Also, I downloaded other free books, as well as free apps for chess, mahjongg, and sudoku. However, I had heard of "Words for Friends" and knew that my oldest daughter was playing it from her android smart phone.
ipad 2 chargers
ipad 2 adapter
ipad 2 batteries
I'm playing it - not bad, a bit like Scrabble (tm). But I think it would be good if one could look up the meaning of a word within the program - or if it popped up a definition as a word is played.

Also, I'm thinking back to school when sometimes the teachers would give us games to play - like find how many words you can make from the letters of some word without using any letter more times than it appears in the start word. For example, if the start word is "WORDSMITH" we can find
WORDS, SMITH, HIT, THIS, SWORD, WORTS, ORTS, ROTS, WORMS, WORTH, OMITS, TROD, RODS, SHOT, HOTS, WHIT, WHID, WRIT, WITH, MOTHS, THROWS, etc.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to allow students to play words with friends during study halls or even during class in some cases. 1) all assignments finished, 2) special assignment (say, getting extra points for playing relevant words), 3) general vocab building.

It seems like this tech could be handy - for some students, allowing teachers to focus on the kids who really need it, IF they put some thought in up front to how it would be integrated into an activity. (That was one of the problems when computers were first put into the classroom - it was great for people were really into it, but it wasn't very helpful for the non-math students.)

I wonder how open zynga would be to making mods to help it be more useful to teachers. (Or if teachers would think the idea worth pursuing.)



Throughout my youngest's HS sojourn it was agonizing to watch her trundle off to school buried under an overflowing backpack, a bag of swimgear, a bag of extra books, and usually an armful of some other project or cookies or what have you. For some few classes she had the choice of a hard-bound book or CD


Edited by Carson (02/02/12 10:06 PM)

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#204479 - 02/03/12 05:13 AM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: Faldage]
Candy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1705
Loc: down under
Originally Posted By: Faldage
There is an official story on how it got its name.


Thanks Faldo.....its a good story.

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#204648 - 02/13/12 09:25 AM Re: Words with Friends. [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
Finished my first e-book the other day, "Around the World in 80 Days." It was a free download. I want to rewatch the David Niven movie now. IIRC, it follows pretty closely.

Just started "The Island of Dr. Moreau." Also a free download.

I'm about to buy my first non-free e-book. When I finish "Salt" I'm going to get Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing." E-book is only $3 less than the paper book - so it's maybe about $12 instead of $15. I'm kinda surprised it would cost more than $5. Sure, there's extra editing to produce an e-book that displays nicely, but you're not paying for paper, shipping, etc.

Anyway, there's a LOT of free books available. I think curriculum and practice are more important than getting the most modern books. A teacher could really do an awful lot with the free stuff, if he put in the time to think about it.

Also, I found an interesting free app called Study Blue that allows one to create electronic flash cards. I haven't used it yet, but I've downloaded and will look it over later. Interesting idea. My kids make their own flash cards for the languages they study - but the paper cards are bulky when there's a lot of them and can easily be lost.

Irrelevant, but amusing observation:
I notice that there is a free kindle version of "Wealth of Nations," but not of "Das Kapital."

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#204881 - 02/24/12 09:49 AM Educational / entertainment site [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 1523
Loc: Virginia, USA
Another interesting site:

http://www.openculture.com/free_textbooks

Links to free books, audio books, movies, courses, etc.

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#204882 - 02/24/12 11:29 AM Re: Educational / entertainment site [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
The promise of the cover,
smell of the paper
sound of leafing
crispness
leafing of pages.
The many shades of white
the black
of fonts
the first opening
of a title page

( I could go on for another half hour) smile

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