The annual Games in Education Symposium was held in Malta, NY. Over 200 educators spent 2 days immersed in workshops from “Getting started in Gamifying your Classroom” to advanced “Minecraft for Teachers”. I found out about this from two teachers from NY that I met at San Antonio ISTE social sponsored by TechSmith. It just shows that connections for one thing an be found an any place!
One inspiring session was offered by John Fallon and how he created an alternate reality game for his class study of Odyssey with 7th grade boys. He created videos, puzzles, an alternate personality with an email account to communicate with students and fake documents. John mentioned that he started the unit with a fake article he “found” online and hooked the students into finding more information. In their search for information, students will learn about Odyssey, plot and characters. It blends some academic time with out of school time for students to complete the mission. He created the puzzles, riddles and process in several weeks of planning. There were even other teachers in the school involved as “characters” in this mission.
This session was so inspiring to see that some teachers are stepping out of the box to plan exciting lessons for their students to master content! I look forward to following John’s tweets and how this progresses in his second year of implementation. He is a very creative thinker!
Then I learned more about using the free games in the BrainPop site. From BrainPOP home page click on GameUP for FREE games! Many are from MIT game group. They are organized by subject and most begin with some type of graphic novel. The game Lure of the Labrynth is a good starting place for gaming. It includes a short video if you get stuck, lesson ideas, a game quiz and more. The concept is problem solving that gets gradually more difficult. Some feel that it is a good start to Algebra concepts.
After viewing some of the BrainPOP games as well as the Classroom Inc programs I came across the SportsNetwork2 game. Sports Network2 is geared for 8th graders and int concept is their interaction with the business and organization of a sports franchise. There are letters to write, ads to check and some math to do with income and expenses in the game. This is a free program and for more information contact http://classroominc.org Both of these sites are a good starting place if you want to a gaming experience to your classroom.
I think I am going to try this with my Monday club activity next school year. I always get students who like gaming, but are bored with what I have in my classroom. This might be a good challenge and fun for them to explore!
Classroom Inc – non-profit organization
This session was two hours in length for learning about ARIS and experience a quest. ARIS is an online platform that allows you to create a quest with characters and items. When the quest is created you can have the qrcode reveal an image, photo, audio or video file. There are quests already created, but most are location based and you need to be where the game is intended for it to work.
Doing the quest first, we had a group of four and each person had a different role to play in the activity. The quest was location based and we followed some QR codes and clues to solve the crime of who took the answer codes from the teachers desk. Each person in the group HAD to scan the qrcode because we each had different replies and activities to do.
I look forward to learning more about ARIS and creating some fun activity for the classroom. More information can be found at: http://arisgames.org/make/ Be sure to look for the .pdf manual.