Wow – two posts in less than a week!
I want to go back to the original purpose of this space – to share what I do, and the tools that I use to hopefully make my teaching engaging and meaningful for the kids, and fun for me as well. I mean, if you’re not having fun, why do it?
So here, in no particular order, are two approaches that I’ve planned to use this year. Actually I’ve planned to use them for a few years now, but this year I’m committed to applying them meaningfully in my classes.
NOTE: “Using them” actually takes more than the thought than just thinking “I should use this” – both should not be seen a silver bullet that will make your teaching instantly better. It’s how you use the tool, not just using the tool. A poor tradesman is still a poor tradesman, even if they have the best tools yada yada yada….
- Rezzly – (it used to be called 3DGameLab)
I love the idea of using a game layer in my classes. Everyone plays games at some stage, right? The mechanics built into good gaming are well suited to get the best out of students as well – persistence, problem solving, rewards and instant meaningful feedback, etc. I don’t have a great games design brain, (reading that again is a bit cringeworthy, but hey, everyone starts somewhere) so when I read about Rezzly, it seemed to be some way toward restructuring my teaching processes. Rezzly won’t turn your class into a game completely, but it did pretty much solve the questing and XP creation and scoring problem I had (being a non coder). You still have to create the quality learning experiences, but that now becomes a lot easier IMHO. Check it out – it’s worth the effort if you’re after a questing and rewards game layer in class. It has a pretty solid community to help out with questions and issues as well.
2. Playing For Life – Australian Sports Commission
I use these Games Sense Approach resources myself, but even more powerfully, I put them in the hands of my kids and they use them to teach each other.
Not only do they explain the games, but they offers tips on how to change them to make them tougher, or to learn something different. And more powerfully for me in Australia many have an Australian Aboriginal perspective which has a whole lot of other spin-offs and benefits.
What I like about these tools is that they are relatively context free – anyone can use them, in any school, with any age group.