Before I lose my mind and forget about these things, I thought I'd post a couple of fun things to do with kids.
My students this week showed me Line Rider, an interactive Flash game in which a user draws a path and when a play button is clicked, a little person on a sled slides down this path, sometimes with disastrous results. These scenes can even be downloaded and sent to a mobile phone. It turns out people really are into creating elaborate scenes and pathways as evidenced in this related collection at Squidoo. (Squidoo, by the way, is interesting, too. I discovered it via Typepad, I think, and you can essentially build a web page called a lens. You can add various web resources such as video and links to provide support for your topic. RSS feeds to Squidoo pages are available so that you can track comments and such about a page.) At any rate, I am contemplating how Line Rider and similar games could be incorporated into educational settings. I know from a computer science stand point that it would be great to have kids program such a game, but from a simulation perspective, how can such games be used in the classroom?
After discovering the joys of Line Rider, another student directed me to Ski Battle at Addictinggames.com. One of his classmates said that he thought Addictinggames.com had inappropriate stuff, but I haven't seen anything yet beyond the usual annoying banner ad. Ski Battle is very similar to Line Rider and you can add holiday music, snowflakes and animated characters. Ski Battle also gives you the code for your creations so you can embed a scence in your web site. Also, at Addictinggames.com, I noticed a Christmas e-card maker that may interest some kids.
Finally, as I was researching online video stuff for tomorrow's Friday 5, I browsed the Google Earth Blog and noticed this post about tracking Santa and a related game in Google Earth. The GE Santa tracker piece is not new, but apparently Sketch Up has been incorporated this. Sounds like fun and I am planning to try this with my kids. Too bad Santa won't let me open my Christmas present until the big day... a brand new iMac! Tracking Santa would look so much better on a big screen!