I recently talked with Lucas Gillispie, an instructional technology coordinator at Pender County Schools in Burgaw, North Carolina. Like Alex Pettyfer, Gillispie sports a beard befitting a Teutonic infantryman at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae or an avatar-warrior in World of Warcraft's (WoW) Dragonblight graveyard. Gillispie seems bemused by the acclaim he has received by incorporating Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games (MMORPG) into the public school curriculum. To his credit, when I talked to him about three of his projects -- WoWinSchool (WoW used with middle school children), Minecraft (used with elementary students), and SAGA (Story and Game Academy) -- Gillispie repeatedly deflected credit from himself to his professional peers and administration. For conciseness, I edited some parts of the interview below.
One of the most interesting ways game-based learning (GBL) is being implemented is with the use of Microsoft’s Kinect. Kinect specifically is an accessory to the Xbox 360, where motion and gestures control game functions. From sports games, to “hack and slash,” the Kinect physically involves the player in gameplay. But why use it in the classroom? And how should you use it in the classroom?
Perhaps more than anything else, the English Language Arts classroom is a place of diversity.
There is diversity of academic expectations for teachers. The ELA Common Core assigns literature and informational reading, writing, speaking/listening and language to what is usually a single "class." This is a total of five extremely broad topics, each of which could more than stand on its own as a content area.
Earlier this summer, the Institute of Play (famous their work in gamification of education and the Quest to Learn school model), announced the launch of the GlassLab (Games Learning and Assessment Lab). With support from a variety of leaders in education and technology, this non-profit focuses on many aspects of games and learning.
These last few weeks I have read some enlightening blogs and articles about game design, motivation and praise in children's apps. As the education director at KinderTown, I have looked at a tremendous number of apps that use stars, stickers and praise as the method of keeping kids engaged and active on the app. In contrast, as a teacher, I see more value in educational apps modeling lesson design, content and activities that are engaging with leveling for decreased frustration. The challenge for me has been to find apps and games which develop any kind of intrinsic (internal) motivation.
A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2011-12 school year, and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here is a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of personal preference or coolness.
Game-Based Learning, and particularly serious games that teach content, are fast becoming utilized in the classroom. Frequent success stories are appearing, from Minecraft in the elementary classroom to games that teach civics. There is curriculum that pairs World of Warcraft with language arts standards, and many other variations where the gaming focus is on content. What about 21st century skills? Yes, games can be used to teach and assess 21st century skills! As the conversation in education reform moves forward, and educators are increasingly leveraging 21st century skills, we need to consider how to couple games with reform. Let's take a look at what many consider the top three 21st century skills and how games can teach and assess them.
As we approach the summer months, many educators lament the "summer slide." The months between June and September can vary between enriching camp or other learning experiences to days upon days spent playing video games or watching TV on the couch. Students often return to school having lost a reading level or a variety of math concepts.