Day 64 (of 188) returning to gamification
Full disclosure: as a child of the 80s I was lucky enough to have both an Apple II & an Atari system – and neighbours with Coleco, Tandys, Commodores etc – and we had one cross-platform love: gaming.
The high-tech graphics of Yars Revenge don’t/can’t/shouldn’t be compared to the games of today with budgets bigger than most motion pictures – but the key ideals remain the same:
play * die * learn * re-plan * repeat (some educators might call this a feedback loop….)
Whether it was Lemonade Stand (a great game to work on predictions, patterns, business & math) or Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (fabulous geography motivator) – fails were more common than wins….for a while! Then we’d teach others how to be successful – except in PacMan – that was a game that I kept my secrets to myself!
Over the years I’ve used online games such as Math Tic Tac Toe to model differentiated instruction and how “an assessment” doesn’t have to be ‘one size fits all’. Other games like Deal or No Deal were used for probability. Over the years I’ve archived many onto a “virtual assignment page” where I encourage kids to go to do ‘homework’.
I’ve also had great success bringing gaming systems into the school – my first go around was a reward-day (class movies were getting very ‘blah’ and disruptive) where we had kids bring in their game systems; we had every system available (wii’s were new for a time reference) and the best was watching our principal get ‘hooked’ with wii golf!
I then brought the wii into a school to promote ‘active living’. I know it sounds weird – but we had kids (and a few parents) who avoided workouts actually sweating as they played boxing and athletic games (the wii needs you to move!). And most recently to support our music program (and build off of our garageband idea) we have set up a PS3 with a great ‘game’ called RockSmith to help kids learn the guitar.
Video games, much like most of our technology in our school has a dual purpose: tool or toy. As we talk (a lot) at our learning community – tech is great when it enhances learning (as a tool) and not so good when it is distracting (a toy) – not that it’s a bad thing, just that there’s a time and place for fun….!!;-)