* Econ, apps, and eye gaze

Mix Tobii Dynavox, Communicator 5, economics, and the Township app to get… a terrific way to learn while playing!  Playing is indeed one of the best ways for all of us to learn.  Let me explain how a special needs student applies theories of supply and demand, micro and macroeconomics, opportunity cost, and much more while using an eye gaze system and this fun app.

I’ve blogged before about Tobii Dynavox eye gaze technology and the Communicator 5 software that accompanies it.  I also described a cool book, “How to Build Your Own Country, that supports the creative development of nation states, government, and even national anthems.  My student is president, of course, and has named his township after his country.  He uses Communicator 5 to select what actions he wants to perform, from breeding animals to mining for ore.  The image below is the main topic page.  When he looks at each box, the button “reads” the text I’ve added and then takes him to additional pages, where he can make decisions about what crops to plant, which friends to help, and whether to ask the city market dealer for help.  The black box in the upper left links to a rest page for his eyes, while the blue arrows return him systematically to the main menu.

township C5

These images are from the Township Wiki.  

I’ve only encountered a couple of difficulties so far.  For one, my dearest teaching widower does get tired of hearing the Communicator 5 program repeated over and over, as I make sure all the links are correct.  Then there’s the issue of my own addiction to this game!  Finally, my student does love using Mrs. Everson’s bank, but he must first earn the bills and coins (he named them doodads and dubas in his country).  And who supplies Mrs. Everson’s bank?  Shh….  This will be a test of whether my widower still reads my posts!!

* And the president is….

Well, I have no idea.  But if you and your students are unhappy with the election results, you might consider a cool book I am using: How to Build Your Own Country.  Written by Valerie Wyatt and illustrated by Fred Rix, this book is a one-of-a-kind interactive tool for helping kids (and adults) create their own country.  It’s too late to offer your candidacy for this election cycle, but in two years, you’d be good to go.  In your own country, of course.

how_to_build_your_own_country

From staking a claim on land to designing your government, this book has it all.  You can create a national anthem, determine citizen’s rights, and learn some very interesting facts about rogue leaders and bizarre laws.  Did you know that Canada and Denmark have split Hans Island, with an area of about 1.3 km.2?  I’m sure some kiddos would want to conquer others’ lands as well, while many may focus on improving their GNP (i.e., $$$ or £££).  Students could create their country online using a site such as Glogster.

This book would work well with grades 4th and up, although you might want to white-out or tone down one illustration of a beheaded ruler.  For kids and adults who “know it all,” this book could be a humbling experience.  Hey, that would make it just like the real world!