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Monday, February 29, 2016

Can Cheating Be Learning? Sporcle and the World

Sporcle is a quiz site. Free, free free. The children and I have been playing geography quizzes. 

Okay, I'll admit it. I am astounded at how little geography I really know. I thought I knew a lot, because I'm always talking to people--like the janitor at the zoo who told me a lot about the political situation back home in northern Nigeria, from which he fled--and where he was high up in banking before he tried to fight corruption. (I believed him--he seemed a decent and honest man.) I have talked a lot to the painter from Mauritania, which I know is one of the poorest countries in Africa. And I have talked with our cashier at the local market about how much he looks forward to going home to Madagascar. I thought that I knew where Madagascar was--on the Atlantic side of Africa, right? 


I'm not as lost as Amelia Earheart, but it's close. . .

I knew Djibouti was on the coast of the Gulf of Aden, and I knew that Djibouti was a far less traumatized country than Somalia, (Or Ethiopia or Eritrea--and I even know a few words of those languages) but I thought Djibouti was an island. I knew that Sudan had recently divided into Sudan and South Sudan, but I didn't know that there was a Republic of Congo and a Democratic Republic of Congo. I still don't know the difference. While I knew about Lesotho and Swaziland, I didn't know that they were essentially Islands in South Africa.  

I had no idea that there was a country--a whole country--called Sao Tome and Principe. (Hint--look off the Atlantic coast of Africa, mid-level.) 

See? I know now. 

And I know where Andorra is, and San Marino and Montenegro and Moldova. When Cyprus, Malta and Bosnia Herzegovina show up as locations where I've had readers, I know where they are. Because, I'll be perfectly honest, I cheated. And I took the test repeatedly. And I cheated repeatedly. Yes, the whole Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia and Slovakia/Slovenia/Czech Republic is still a jumble to me, (and I'm still shaky about that Benin/Togo/Burkina Faso part of Africa) but that means I will have to read about it, just as I will have to read about how Congo divided and why Gambia is called The Gambia and why there is a Guinea, Republic of Guinea and Equatorial Guinea. 
See you guys on Sporcle. I'll be the genius in Geography. 

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