Finland Eyes Programming Classes for Elementary School Students
Beyond Mindcraft: Games That Inspire Building and Exploration
Garry’s Mod (GMod) is a sandbox game like Minecraft but instead of building and exploring, students use a fun physics engine that simulates things like gravity and mass. They also use a virtual toy box of assets from Valve Software’s popular games. The tool is a step up in complexity from the elegant simplicity of Minecraft, but with Garry’s Mod,students are exposed to physics concepts while having madcap fun.
Kerbal Space Program has a robust physics engine too, but it’s more focused than Garry’s Mod. Players purchase rocket parts, put them together, and then see if they can get a ship into orbit, to one of two moons, or even to another planet. These aren’t easy tasks, so play is focused on trial and error testing, and, like Minecraft, seeking help from the community is part of a successful strategy.
Sound Shapes is a visually stunning platform puzzle game set to a rich musical soundscape. Even better: students can create and share their own levels – like interactive sheet music — using sounds and objects unlocked by playing the platform game. It’s an accessible entry point into musical composition as well as game design, and provides an experience that builds on the creativity of Minecraft while offering something wholly unique for music lovers.
For creative kids who want to get their hands dirty, check out DIY, a site where students can find things to build, instructions for how to build them, and ways to share their creations with others. All projects are aligned to 50 skills that run the gamut from outdoors to indoors, and feature various challenges to complete and cool badges to earn and display.
Computer programming is a great next step for students who love to mod Minecraft or toy around with the redstone resource (which simulates basic logic and circuitry). One solid entry-level tool is Stencyl, a game creation program focused on codeless, cross-platform game making. By snapping blocks of code together, students can create games that can be published and played on a variety of platforms including mobile phones.
Minecraft has introduced a lot of youth to games as well as the critical thinking, problem solving, and creation skills necessary for self-motivated learning. The games and sites on this list have the potential to extend that learning, providing fresh outlets for self-expression in the digital world and beyond.
Top Tech Trends – 2013 Annual
- DIY Library eBook Platforms
- Digital Rights Management
- Discovery and rights determination
- MOOCs, flipped classrooms, and gamification fatigue
- Linked data
- Data collection and data mining
Teachers Report Growing Interest, Persistent Skepticism About Games
- 62% of teachers said it was their own comfort level with technology that was one of the biggest barriers to incorporating games and tech in the classroom.
teachers said they feel they are “bombarded by games,” but despite the overall belief in the engaging quality of games, there remains “skepticism about how much games are actually helping.”
5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts
Promote Your Article Across a “Wider” Variety of Platforms
Here are some examples of smaller networks:
- Quora.com—A question/answer-based website founded by two former Facebook employees. What makes Quora unique is that all content is created, edited and organized by its user community. The user base tends to be more business- and academic-oriented.
- Tumblr—A microblogging site that recently made headlines when Yahoo! acquired it. Its user base tends to be younger and more “hip,” making it the perfect platform to share edgier, niche-based content.
- Empire Avenue—Part social network, part social media marketing tool, Empire Avenue uses gamification to enable users to broadcast content across all of the other social networks. The primary members of EAv are small businesses, social media professionals and blogger
Grab Viewer Interest With Different Types of Media
promote your posts with images, audio and video.
#1: Use Dubbler to Give a Short Audio Introduction
#2: Create a 6-Second Preview of Your Post with Vine
#3: Create a SlideShare Overview of Your Post
#4: Pin Your Post to a Pinterest Group Board
#5: Instagram an Image From Your Post
Greg Jorgensen emailed us with his new darling:
Explain Everything – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.morriscooke.explaineverything
and raises a very good question:
What do we know and how do we organize our tools and apps for whiteboard screencasting and lecture capture?
Greg’s choice of the day is atop of a list from the Ed Tech/y and Mobile Learning web site:
next on that top-6-list are
Educreations Interactive Whiteboard
Doceri (http://doceri.com/) is a very promissing app, which Bob Lessinger was pushing to be installed on campuos computers (being free), but it is ONLY iPAD-bound (not even iPHone or iTouch)
In addition to Doceri: Stage : Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera and Splashtop Whiteboard per: 3 Apps to Turn Your iPad into Interactive Whiteboard ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
Here is a neat table about the compatibility (iOS and Android) for several of these apps:
Here is another good resource from Alaska. The screencasting apps reviewed are the same as above, but other good sources regarding a pedagogy involving the technology.
A broader approach to this issue (Presentation & Screencasting Apps) on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/itechservices/presentation-screencasting-apps/
More apps and possibilities, as well as “how-to” directions here:
Here is an useful blog entry, comparing ExlpainEverything with Educreation —
Lecturnity ( http://www.lecturnity.com )
a lengthy review is available here: http://smorgastech.blogspot.com/?goback=%2Egde_2038260_member_5807615489219772416#%21
The Awesome Power of Gaming in Higher Education
EDUCAUSE 2013 welcomes Jane McGonigal and considers the potential of games in education.
The University of Washington’s Foldit game enables anyone to contribute to scientific research through virtual protein folding. The university’s game developers posit that human gamers’ propensity to not give up on a gaming task – resiliency – make them much more adept at solving complex protein structure prediction and design than supercomputers. And in some ways, they’ve already proven that to be so. Foldit game participants have been named in several published scientific journal articles, including one that describes how a protein structure could be solved and used in the treatment of HIV.
The rich, interactive universe of Grand Theft Auto was the inspiration for this game, developed for The World Bank as a way to teach Sub-Sahara African youths to solve social problems in ways that also could provide a sustainable living. The platform is free and available online and can be used by schools to teach social entrepreneurship. A graphic novel serves as the game’s centerpiece, and players build out their gaming profiles as a comic or graphic novel might retell a superhero’s origin story. Participants complete projects in real life to solve real problems, such as securing a community’s food supply or establishing a sustainable power source, then progress through levels of the game. Those who successfully complete their 10-week missions ultimately earn certification from the World Bank Institute. In 2010, 50 student participants saw their entrepreneurship models funded by the World Bank, including Libraries Across Africa (now Librii), a franchise operating in Ghana.
Not all games must be played out in a virtual space. This game – developed by McGonigal with Natron Baxter and Playmatics – combines real-world missions with virtual clues and online collaboration, resulting in young people working together overnight in the New York Public Library to write and publish a book of personal essays about what they learned.
“The game is designed to empower young people to find their own futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and objects of people who made an extraordinary difference.”
Participants spend a night wandering throughout the library’s stacks and research materials, scanning QR codes to prove they found and interacted with the objects of their clues or missions. One 2011 participant, upon discovering the library’s early draft of the Declaration of Independence wrote an essay called a “Declaration of Interdependence.”
More on Jane McGonigal on YouTube: