Games reflection

games reflectionThere are assessment rubrics for students making games. There is a really good assessment rubric for teachers to evaluate the learning value of educational games at gamifi-ed. What about assessment rubrics and reflection tools for when the students are using digital games? I have created 10 questions which I think should be part of a self reflection tool on using an electronic game. I have also linked it to the aitsl professional standards. You are welcome to the Games Reflection pdf so you can suit it to your own needs. We need to work on rubrics for the assessment of digital games. Getting students to reflect is a good first step because from that it will become clear what sorts of key areas need to be addressed in an assessment rubric.

The performance standards this Games Reflection addresses are:

1.1

Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

  1.2

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

 1.5

Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

 2.6

Use effective teaching strategies to integrate ICT into learning and teaching programs to make selected content relevant and meaningful.

 3.2

Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.

  3.3

Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

 3.4

Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

  3.6

Evaluate personal teaching and learning programs using evidence, including feedback from students and student assessment data, to inform planning.

 5.1

Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning.

  5.4

Use student assessment data to analyse and evaluate student understanding of subject/content, identifying interventions and modifying teaching practice.

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What about the games?

FarmTownThe games debate in education is gaining strength and depth and should continue. Games play a significant role in most people’s lives these days and we need to continue examining the impact, questioning the value and looking for the benefits. You will never find me advocating for violent games. I cannot see they would serve a useful purpose so someone else will need to pick up that line of argument. I find it difficult to believe that there are people who actually conceive these games, market them and have no problem with it. The male/female gender breakdown of game players is about the same. This wasn’t always the case. As a mother I can remember spending hours with my daughter helping her work through the frustration of no games for girls. She had played Donkey Kong with her Dad as a child, she  then always had a Play Station and loved games like Indiana Jones,Jurassic Park, Tetris and Sponge Bob. She had a lot of Play Station games she enjoyed and could play with friends and family. She settled on Tomb Raider as her favourite game after a long time of playing Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? She then got into SIMS because she had always loved Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon. We never chose her games.We taught her how to find the games to suit her and to look online and in shops and get information and discuss things. As a parent I could see it was part of her world but then, as a parent, I offered her other interests and other things to do as did the rest of the family. PsyPost offers a look at recent research that links the amount of time playing games with behavioural problems. Those students who just cannot leave their games alone need to be helped to be less intense about playing games. It’s a question of balance and then the time and place approach. As teachers we can have an impact and find ways of helping students to know they can live without their games for a little while. At one stage I was one of those who thought games were stupid and had no real purpose. I then went on a mission to find games which suited me. I had to say the games sites I started with, once they recovered from the shock I was not going to play what they said, actually worked with me and found me the sorts of games I like. I play a game on FaceBook, games on my iPad, I have games on my phone incase I am stuck somewhere waiting and I have  training and puzzle games on my NintendoDS. I like puzzles, word games and things like Bejewelled Blitz but I also like games which are based on Lego thinking where you build something complex one tiny thing at a time. Minecraft is a game which has been very successful and which a number of my students have used in class. It does have educational support and teachers who are pioneering its use. kidspot has a very thought provoking and well thought out article about what Minecraft offers children. Worth a read and the games debate needs to carry on with some decent research and thinking so we can find ways of using the gaming approach in class but also combatting the negative impact of games on some students. We need to be more precise about what those impacts are and what can be done about it. My former stance of “Games are silly they are not for me” is not adequate!

Should we teach games?

50 millions usersThis is a really interesting graphic which I found on ScoopNest. It took 75 years to get 50 million phone users. It took 35 days to get 50 million users onto Angry Birds. Today we can’t live without our phones or our games. Should we teach games, though? Should we teach the skills for creating games? Currently, we always tend to look at education from an economic rationale point of view . There is little room for learning and intellectual development for the sake of it. games jobsToday on SEEK there are 1008 jobs for games. If you look up Games Developer you only get 157 so the key word search has to be accurate. It’s only Thursday in Australia and already there are over 1000 jobs for games this week.I have been teaching long enough to know we had schools with rooms full of the new, mysterious golf ball typewriters which we used because everyone needed keyboard and typing skills to get a job. There were big discussions as to how much time would be allocated to keyboard skills and typing practice in the curriculum and then students were separated into separate classes so they could become executive in their office skills. I have heard no discussions like that about games and games development.

I read a heartfelt piece on TechCrunch the other night: Dear Teacher, A Video Game Developer Is A Real Job And Should Be Celebrated where a father talks about the need for teachers to recognise games developer as a future career. Matt Burns was clear and made some valid points. Teachers constantly need to shift their headsets into what are currently the job skills sets for any given decade.

Looking at all of this from an education, classroom stand point is matter for some big, robust discussions. It’s not just about games, edutainment, keeping the students occupied. It is about deconstructing games and their impact and looking at their educational value and the skills they teach and use so that we can have some valid input as teachers into this whole industry. It’s about thinking , creativity, collaboration, coding, maths, algorhythms, art, design, literacy, social skills – and that is just off the top of my head. I need more than one post and we need more than one thought.

Teenage Drinking

drinking nightmare The campaign slogan was Don’t turn a night out into a nighmare and the students at our school seemed to take it seriously. It was a 2 year campaign in Australia from 2008 – 2010. My students showed me the game which goes with it. They know I run this blog, they know I care about teenage health, they know I care that they stay safe and they know I like to know what games they are playing. At the end of a lesson last year one of my senior students had loaded it onto their computer and showed it to me. They told me they like playing it and they thought it was a really good idea to help them think about social issues. They had liked the site too. Our latest campaign is targeting parents and the role they can play. There is no doubt that the internet can facilitate the distribution of good and well targeted information. As a teacher I can play my part by listening and noticing . My students know that the end of a lesson is a great time to show me things they have discovered. I make it part of my classroom routine and it works.

Little Christmas Games

santa's room Need something to amuse the children but teach them at the same time? Looking to feed your inner child for Christmas? There is quite a selection of games at Primary Games. I decided to decorate Santa’s Room. There are puzzle and word games as well as just entertaining ones. They help the child develop skills and ideas as well as just being good fun.

Schnippelboy

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