Thursday, March 11, 2010

Think Twice Thursday #8 - Video Games in Education

At a recent session at the KySTE conference I attended the presenter was discussing the impact on Video Games in education.  It was an interesting conversation.  I received quite a few good links for games in education that I wanted to share with you in the hopes that you might be able to use in your classroom.  There are different aspects of Games.  There is game creation, and then there is game playing.  Our students are playing video games more than they are watching TV.  They are playing games on their Phones quite a bit as well.  As teachers we should harness this interest that the students have.

Game Creation:
YoYo Games - Most of you might know it as GameMaker.  Most schools have it blocked, so it would have to be something completed at home.
Scratch - This is the program created by M.I.T.  Most have seen this.  Best advice is to take a previously created game to learn the code and then make the game do what you want.  There are plenty of tutorials for you to watch as well.
Alice - From Carnegie Mellon.  This was the pioneer and has a different software for middle and high school students.  Really interesting stuff.

Game Playing
Making-History - Great for Social Studies Teachers.  Another option for learning history, different from any other way you have tried in the past.
ClearLab Project - Still in the works, but these will be games for science teachers, especially physics.  As a science teacher, this will definitely be worth following to check on the progress.  Seems promising.
ARIS Games - Now this seems interesting.  You can download the software with your phone and link to the students' phones.  They could be able to do a scavenger hunt using their phones.  Mobile Media Learning.  Would make for a great opening house activity to learn the school.
3 Wish - No directions, so it requires students to figure out the game.  Causes Higher Order Thinking.  More for Elementary and Middle Schools
Activities for Kids - - More for Elementary, but worth seeing how you can implement it for your students and how parents can use it at home.
American Dynasties - A way to learn about an era in American History.
JASON Science - Great games about Earth, a Roller Coaster Creation, Weather, and Mini Labs.  Seems fun!
Hot Shot Business - From Disney - Creating a Business - A more extensive version of the Lemonade Stand Game.

So here are some educational game sites for all grade levels.  We got to create lessons and activities that our students want to do.  Even girls are playing video games, so don't think of this as just a boys type of activity.  So Think Twice about implementing games as part of your education.  If you use or end up using any of these with your students, please share your experiences.

Wiki Wednesday #8 - Ten Big Questions For Education

I know it is Thursday, but it has been a busy week.  Better late than never.  At a recent session at Educon 2.2 there was a discussion about "The Ten Big Questions" about education.  From the session at the conference a Wiki was created to address those "Ten Big Questions For Education."  Here is a place for you to answer questions about education and offer your opinion.  If I was not so busy, I probably would have answered some, but I figured sharing with you all would make up for it.

There are some deadlines to the Wiki.  YOU HAVE 5 DAYS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS!!!!  After that, editing, revisions, and finalizing will take place.  You can get more information by looking at the Front Page of the Wiki.  Each question has been provided its own page which helps for organizing information.  These questions are very viable questions for educators to answer.  You can also follow a hashtag for Twitter #10fored to see what other people are saying.  I would provide a list of the questions, but by not, I am enticing you to visit the wiki to see what those questions are and help provide your opinion.  There have been others to visit the wiki who have volunteered to help moderate the pages.  Show your support for their volunteering by visiting and offering your opinion.  

There are many aspects of American History where change started because of a Grassroots movement.  Part of me believes that education is on the verge of being one of those movements because of the lack of involvement of teachers in decisions being made for OUR students.  So it takes us to help move the process forward.  Answering the questions on the wiki would be a great start.