Solving a Mystery

On a recent trip to Orlando, Florida my wife and I decided to try out Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show. At Sleuths the guests try to figure out a mystery that was portrayed by a group of actors while dinning. The actors setup the mystery with a skit that introduces the characters and any relationships they have with a crime at the end of the skit (we had a murder). While we dined, the actors encouraged guests at each table to discuss the mystery and come up with a question to ask the suspects. After dinner, each group had a spokesperson ask the question the group came up with. While we ate desert we were supposed to write down who did the dastardly deed and the motive for the crime. Once the desert dishes were cleared, the actors revealed the murderer and asked who in the audience solved the crime. Those who fingered the criminal and the motive for the crime received a small prize.

As the night went on I thought this is how a flipped class should operate. The skit that setup the problem could be done with a video. The actors wanted the guests, randomly grouped by table, to engage in collaborative discussion about who may have committed the crime to come up with at least two questions (in case yours was asked by another group) to ask the suspects. Finally, a formative assessment was given when the actors wanted the guests to write down who did the crime and, more importantly, why he or she did it. In other words it was a critical thinking exercise to come up with a possible solution based on using available information and group discussion. To top it off we paid $55.95 plus tax (take off $6.00 with coupon) per person for the experience. 

It was great fun that my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed. If you or someone you know wants to know how a flipped class with critical thinking exercises looks like and are headed to Orlando, Florida then I urge you to spend an evening at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows. Not going to Orlando? The actors did tell us they take their act on the road too.

Odds and Ends December 20, 20009

Top Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools have been around for awhile now but it never hurts to have a review. Mashable listed 9 document collaboration tools for teams in their blog. In the list are old standbys such as various wikis apps like PBWorks or MediaWiki. Collaborative documents such as Google Docs and Zoho Office are also mentioned. There is one new tool on the list, Google Wave but how well will this new Google entry will work remains to be seen.

Different way to learn languages

The need for students to learn new languages is a necessary skill more than ever before because of our shrinking world. Research in how game play can be used in education is ongoing. According to Tech Crunch it looks like these two things have been put together with the addictiveness of many of the Facebook games. Lingt uses gameplay to teach users how to speak Chinese with a promise of more languages to come. It they can develop phone apps then Foreign Language teachers will have a new tool to work with.

Bulls, Bears, and MULES?

Speaking of game play to teach, the economic classic game M.U.L.E. has received an update. Planet M.U.L.E., has given the classic economic education game a 21st Century makeover. This update includes the ability to play against other players online according to ARS Technica.

Kids are searching for what!?

According to Mashable, one of the top searches for kids is porn. The list of most searched for terms was compiled by Symantec. Porn was the number 4 search for 7 and under while it ranked at 6 for 13 to 18 year olds. I don’t know why porn skipped a group of kids. Other top search terms include sex, Google, Facebook, and YouTube.