Russia has been in the news a fair bit lately, and perhaps you have decided it is time to learn a little bit more about Russia. Perhaps you noticed the news recently - that over a course of several days (February 6 - 15, 2017), five Russian heads resigned... heads of the the republics of Karelia and Buryatia, and the governors of Novgorod and Ryazan oblasts, as well as the governor of Perm krai. And then your next thought, without a doubt, was, "Wait, what are these oblasts, republics and krais anyway?"
So here you are, about to find out.
Russia, officially known as the Russian Federation, is made up of 85 federal subjects - republics, krais, oblasts, autonomous okrugs, federal cities and an autonomous oblast. It can be pretty confusing to understand the differences, and keep straight what's what and where.
So I've brought you a couple of resources that might help you out a bit.
First up, a youtube video by VanDeGraph: Russian Federation Explained. Watch this video to learn the history of how the various federal subjects came to be, and what their primary differences are in terms of powers.
If you want to memorize the names of the federal subjects and where they are, you could watch this next video. It's cheesy and annoying, and you probably STILL won't know where all the federal subjects are, but you will hear how to pronounce their names... and the chorus is catchy.
Chances are, you still can't name them all or place them on a map... 'cause c'mon, there are 85 of them and it's no easy task. So we've turned our Russian: federal subjects quiz into a customizable quiz. This way, you can pick which ones you want to start with, and learn at your own pace. The Russian: federal subjects quiz can be customized by anyone with a free account on Lizard Point Quizzes.
Or you could try one of these quizzes to start off:
If you're a teacher of students that are 13 years of age and older, and your students sign up for accounts themselves, you might find our new account type of interest: Student-owned accounts that are connected to a teacher account.
A quick review of Teacher accounts and their student accounts
Until now, if a teacher wants to monitor their students' activity, the teacher must create generated accounts and hand them out to the students. And give everyone the same password. And keep track of whose account is whose. This is an ideal solution for maintaining the privacy and safety of children under 13 on the internet. But it may not be ideal for teachers of a large number of students in higher grades.
Introducing... Student-owned accounts connected to your teacher account
With student-owned accounts, students can sign up for their own accounts, and maintain their own passwords. Sounds like just a regular account that has always been available? Not quite - now anyone with a regular (non-teacher) account will see a new option in their My Account menu: Join or Leave Class.
If you, the teacher, have one or more classes set up in your account, you can instruct your students to use the Join a Class option to connect their account to yours. When they do that, they will be prompted to fill in the alias/nickname and give you permission to access their results. The alias/nickname will be what you see on your class results listing (thus saving you some work figuring out who's who).
This option is available for both Teacher Basic and Teacher Plus accounts , but please note that you need a Teacher Plus account to view your student scores (Teacher Basic will just show you that the student completed the quiz - not the score).
We've just introduced a new feature that has been requested by some of our teachers: you can now force a quiz to go into strict test mode (with the other modes disabled).
If you've ever given your students a test, and and asked them to use strict test mode, you might have been frustrated by the one or two students who missed following your instructions. Problem solved! You can now set up a customized quiz that goes directly into strict test mode, with no mode change options on the screen at all.
Here is what you'll end up with: notice in the screenshot below that the quiz is in strict test mode - 1 point per question ie only one guess, no map or show me buttons, and no buttons to change the quiz to practice mode or test mode.
screenshot of a quiz forced to strict test mode
How to set up a quiz like this yourself
First, you must be signed in (to either a Teacher Plus account, or an Individual Supporter account), and select a quiz from the customize a quiz page.
On the customize screen you will see a new set of options, Quiz Mode Options, just below the options for coloring the map. Here's a screenshot of a customize screen, with a red circle around the new options:
Screenshot of where to find the mode options
The default option is that the Practice, test and strict test options are all available - this is the the standard quiz behavior that you're all familiar with. Select the second option, Force strict test mode, as shown in this little screen shot:
Force strict test radio button
After entering your title, description, selecting your locations, and your mode option, hit the save button, and you are done! You've got yourself a quiz that behaves ONLY in strict mode. This is a great option to set up a quiz to use just for testing. You can continue to use standard quizzes, or customize quizzes without this option, for your students to be able to practice and prepare for their tests.
Try this Demo quiz in Strict Test Mode
I've set up a Demo Quiz of 16 countries in Europe so you can try out what it's like when you use this feature.
Here's a quick run-through of the new feature: Favorite A Quiz.
If you're a teacher, and you want to put quizzes for your students on your (soon to be released) blackboard, this feature is going to help you get your quizzes there.
If you're a learner, favoriting a quiz is a way to keep all your favorite quizzes bookmarked in one spot. You might want to do this if you've got several quizzes you're studying for, or are frequently practicing. You can remove a quiz from your favorites just as easily.
Here's how it works...
Every quiz in the geography section has (or will soon have) a star just above the Question and Answer box. You just click on the star to mark the quiz as a favorite. It will turn from an outline to a solid star to show that it has been saved as a favorite.
Screenshot of how to save a quiz as a favorite
Screenshot of a quiz that has been saved as a favorite
If you want to remove the quiz from your favorites, just click the solid star, and it will revert back to the original outline (unfavorited) star.
When you want to see your favorites, go to your My Account menu (yes, you have to be signed in for your favorites to be saved and viewed) and select My Favorite Quizzes.
Screenshot of navigation to My Favorites screen
Below is a screenshot of what the My Favorite Quizzes screen looks like. As you can see, you can also remove quizzes from your favorites here.
Screenshot of My Favorites screen
Favoriting a quiz is available to Individual Supporters, those with a Teacher Plus account, and students of a Teacher Plus.
Stay tuned for a blog post on how this fits in with the new blackboard feature.
We recently created two new flag/map quizzes to help test your combined flag and country location knowledge. They were initially available to our supporters first, but they are now available to everyone!
We've just launched two new quizzes to test your country flag knowledge. We'll show you a flag, you have to find the country on the map. The Africa and Europe versions have been around a long time: now we've got an Americas flag quiz as well as an Asia flag quiz.
As promised, our supporters get early access to new quizzes and features. For everyone else, the new quizzes will open up to you on February 1, 2016.
When we implemented custom quizzes a few months back, all custom quizzes had the same behavior: if a country, France for example, isn't included in the customized version of the Europe quiz, it is coloured differently (a very light white-grey) to make it plainly obvious that it is not in the quiz. And if you click on it, the response is "France is not included in this quiz. No points lost. Try again", and you still have the same number of tries left - that is, it does NOT count as a guess.
This set-up works out quite well when you're trying to learn a smaller chunk of what might otherwise be an overwhelming quiz: it lets you focus on just what you need to learn.
But when it comes to test time, your teacher probably isn't going to cross out the countries you don't need to know. So we're now offering a choice of 2 options when you set up your custom quizzes:
colour the excluded areas normally (and scoring penalty for any wrong answer)
colour the excluded areas grey (and guesses to excluded areas do not count as a guess)
I've set up 2 sample quizzes so you can see the difference. Each quiz has the exact same set of 5 questions: United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal. One quiz has the all the excluded areas coloured normally, and the other quiz has excluded areas coloured grey. Go ahead and try them out and see the difference... click on France to see the difference. (If you're not sure where France is, use the labels on button and look for France).
When you create a custom quiz, the way you select which option you want is just above the list of places you can choose, as shown in this screenshot:
When you are selecting your countries to include in your custom quiz, you will not see the difference on the map - you won't see the effect of it until you save the quiz.
If you don't like the option you chose, you can always, at any time, edit your quiz and switch options.
Need a reminder of what the options mean? Hold your mouse over the question mark icons (or tap on your touch screen) to see the explanation:
Hate remembering passwords? Or do you ever get frustrated after you've worked hard to score well on a quiz - only to find that you weren't signed in and your score wasn't recorded? This actually happens quite a bit. It could be that you took a break and got timed out (sessions time out after 90 minutes of inactivity), or it might simply be that you forgot to sign in at all. We've created a 'stay signed in' solution to this problem.
All you need to do is check the box on the sign in page that says, 'Keep me signed in'. This will ensure you never have to sign in again from that device. It works by creating a small cookie in your browser that links your computer/laptop/tablet/phone with your account. After you sign-in with this selected, you will always be connected on that device. Anytime you visit Lizard Point, for up to a year later, you will be automatically connected to your account. However, there are a few important points to remember:
Don't use this on a shared device. Anyone else accessing that device can connect to Lizard Point - as you - and perhaps mess up your account. It's even possible for someone to copy your cookie and use it later on a different device to impersonate you.
You can't stay signed in to your account from two different devices. If you have selected 'keep me signed in' from one device, and then select it from a second device, your first device will no longer be able to automatically sign in. (But you can have one device automatically sign in and have another sign in the normal way).
If you ever want to disable the 'stay signed in' feature - just click Sign out. This will invalidate the cookie on your device. You will have to sign in with your password to reset it if you wish.
And, of course, if you clean out your cookies for whatever reason, or switch to a different browser - you will have to re-sign in and check the box again.
We're hoping this feature is useful for you, and encourages you to do even more quizzes.
We announced a quiz of the whole world the other day (see our Oct 19 blog post), and feedback told us, there were just too many navigation clicks required to answer the questions. So we put together a new quiz - based on work we had already done for that one as well as the much older one with the slider bar - and we came up with what we hope is finally a solid solution.
In our latest quiz, you can answer many of the questions without leaving the world map. And if you can't answer on the world map, you can click a magnifier to get to an enlarged continent or region map.
As with the previous version, once in a continent map, you can use one of 3 ways to return to the world map, and there are no points lost for moving around.
Since we started Lizard Point Quizzes, teachers have continually requested the ability to customize quizzes of their own to match their lesson plans. And we know some learners would prefer to focus on those few countries in a map that are giving them difficulty. So, voila....