QuizUp App!- Leaves me asking how to use in class?

Over Thanksgiving break my 14 year-old niece was busy staring at her I-phone in the corner of the room. Wondering what drew her attention away from her cousins, I asked what she was “doing?”  She introduced me to QuizUp, a hot new app that is engaging children and adults alike.

The app is set up to like any other basic trivia/quiz game. Unlike most limited games, QuizUp has unlimited categories ranging from basic math facts to your favorite television shows. The app allows you to play anyone else who uses the app, or challenge you friends. Your score is based on accuracy and speed, going for 7 rounds. The first 6 rounds are worth 20 points each with the 7th (bonus) round worth 40 points. 160 points earns you a perfect score. Don’t hesitate with the correct answer because each second you take to think lowers your score.

Although not everyone likes the app, I feel it is an engaging, competitive way to review knowledge. I love the endless categories and the ability to challenge friends to matches (and rematches when/if you lose). It reminds me of the bar trivia games I enjoyed in my younger days without the expense of going to the bar. The app is still in development for Android devices, currently relying on IOS and Facebook users to play.

I wonder if the creators have though about adding an educational interface where teachers/states can upload questions for students to review knowledge. I feel adding the ability to compete with other classes/schools would be cool. After I explained the app to my advisory class the other day, my students we totally engaged by what it had to offer. The app has so many extras: It graphs the matches, tracks data, and calculates you average speed to answer questions. It seems the developers really like data and tracking it. Think of how this could lead to data discussions with students about their learning! I hope the developers continue to improve this product and make an education version we can better utilize in our schools.

Try the app out I think you will like it!

**Disclosure: I rarely review apps unless I see value in them for my student’s learning. I am not compensated for the review.

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A Christmas Wish for Education

Dear Santa-

I know this time of year you are filled with requests from children, asking for a variety of toys, trips and goodies. Some wishes are self-serving and others are filled with generosity. An example comes from my 9 year old son Griffin who wishes for a sled to enjoy the winter weather in Michigan and wants to adopt an pet from the Michigan Humane society to give an animal a home.  This year I have one Christmas wish that tops the rest:

I wish our society valued education!

Over the past few years, education has gotten plenty of lip-service from politicians and education reform groups. Teachers have been attacked, deemed the enemy and left out of reform process. Education has been viewed as an untapped cash cow, that corporations deem ready to take over. Instead of listening to educational experts, the voices of corporate reformers have taken center stage. World rankings of standardized test scores are often featured as prime evidence of need for reform. Poverty is often overlooked as a hindrance to the education process. Don’t reformers realize that our education system is just a reflection of our society!

What does our society value?

How does a society show value towards something? When we are willing to pay a price for it! Our society values sports and entertainment. We pack stadiums every weekend for college and professional sports, paying more than $30 per ticket (yes low estimate). The “Big House” in Ann Arbor has been selling out since the 1970’s, with over 100,000 attending each contest. Communities pass tax breaks and spend millions to fund new stadiums. Even Bankrupt Detroit wants to spend money it doesn’t have to fund a new home for the Red Wings.   Atlanta is replacing Turner Field which was built in 1996 for the Olympics with a new stadium in 2017. This sports infrastructure projects are happening while our educational infrastructure mostly built in the 1940’s t0 1960’s is crumbing and in major need of upgrades. Film companies spend millions to produce a few hours of entertainment, just think what schools could do with these budgets? Society accepts paying sports figures and actors millions per season or film, but to pay a teacher $70,000 for a year of teaching brings public outrage! Don’t these actions alone send the wrong message to our children about education?

How many books are going to be on your sleigh?

Did many children wish for books? Mine always get some, but do the majority of children receive them? Many parents give presents with education in mind. Giving a computer, tablet, or smartphone seems popular these days, often with the idea that it is an educational present (at least many advertisers want us to believe this). Do parents monitor the use? Do students know how to use them for education? Frequently the answers to these questions is NO. Often the presents are given with great intentions but when students are left to their own choices they use the tools for entertainment (not that there is anything wrong with entertainment). Society needs to model the importance of education. Instead it seems it mocks education every chance it gets. Ever notice that every mention of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates includes that they both dropped out of College? Yet, it is rarely mentioned where other CEOs/ Celebrities graduated from college!

Santa, please make our society realize the importance of education as an individual journey and process, not one dictated by teachers or a common core. Have our society value EDUCATION and show respect for those that foster the process.

Sincerely,

An educator…