Interland “sweetener”

Google has created a series of games for kids to learn how to “be internet awesome”. It’s called Interland, which one translation dictionary tells me means “international contest” in Dutch.

Here’s a look at the game and the thinking behind it:

Here are a couple of articles about it from the past week’s news:

I played it for a little while yesterday and got to the 3rd level, feeling all the while how bad I am at games like this. I didn’t grow up playing computer games — not because they weren’t available (at least later in my formative years) but just a lack of interest. I do remember having a very good friend who spent entirely too much time playing something called Dark Castle. I got pretty good at that one.

Anyway, I don’t know how successful this game is at teaching people about online safety or digital citizenship, but for people who like games like this, at least it’s not violent. As the Verge article says, it

“seems less like a training tool and more like a sweetener that could get students interested in the material.”

Totoro to neighboring Nagoya

Well, Nagoya isn’t “neighboring” Tokyo, but it’s closer than USJ in Osaka, and the movie is called “My Neighbor Totoro”, so… (actually, Tokyo Disneyland isn’t really in Tokyo, but neighboring Chiba).

The BBC reports that a Totoro theme park is being built in Nagoya, to open by 2020. Someplace to go before or after the Olympics, perhaps.

Read the article to find out more. There are related links, too, so you can get lots of English input about this topic.

Within the article:

At the end:

 

Taking a break

I’m taking some time off for spring vacation, but if you’re looking for something to do over the break, there are plenty of topics in the archives, categories, or click on “Surprise me” for a random post. I’ll be back in a few weeks with more things to read, write, think, and talk about in English.

These images were made with Photofunia (there’s an app too) —  Cookies Writing, Snow Writing, Smart Kitty, Chalk Writing, and Double Decker

 

The unlikely connection between music and computers

Sure, people invent things because we need them, but just as often, says Steven Johnson in this short TED Talk,

“New ideas come into the world simply because they’re fun.”

What do flutes and computers have in common? Watch and find out:

He ends with this:

“You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.”

So, where does the future lie?