The first game that I decided to try out was Progenitor X, the Zombies attracted me.
I was intrigued as I started the game and maybe also a bit confused. The graphics were great but I didn’t get to experience any of the zombie killing I expected. When it came to the cell replication, my face clearly showed that I was confused about what I was doing. If I played a little longer I think it would have become more clear. It felt like I had learned about this cell reproduction process long ago in science class, but the specifics weren’t there anymore. I’m sure this would help students with the scientific processes it was trying to emulate, especially if they had some background information. Looking at my face in the video was painful. What a grimace! It’s worse then my mirror face, I think they call it duck face now a days… My husband always teases me about that. He would tease me more if he saw these clips.
The second game I tried was CommonSense Media’s Digital Compass. As I was preparing for our school’s Digital Literacy week I came across this game and decided to see if it would be good to play in advisory classes. I felt much better playing this game and I think my face shows that. I could follow the storyline and was not confused. I also found something that I could use immediately with my advisory students. I shared this resource out to the Middle School and I think several teachers went through the game with their advisory students to introduce the Digital Citizenship unit.
Introducing the Digital Compass game to my advisory kids revealed one of the hidden treasures of game based learning; increased motivation. Digital Citizenship might have not been such a hot topic in today’s class if I didn’t present it through this game. The students were so jazzed about it that they even asked for the URL so they could play at home. Games can turn seemingly dry material into the most interesting subject ever. Kids sometimes don’t even realize they are learning. This happened last week when I had a group demo Dragon Box + for their math class. The kids have come back to ask me several times when the follow up lesson will be so they can show their classmates how to play.
Another hidden gem was illuminated in this movie…
-alternative, embedded assessment. I really believe this is the best way to assess the students. Observations, rubrics and questioning during game-based activities can give you a great feel of where of how well the students are really understanding the learning objectives. I loved the Galactic Continents game. I think I’m going to “mod” it for a French teacher that wants kids to create their own French speaking country after researching the existing ones. Instead of land mass and ocean cards, I could make restaurant and monument cards…
In the feedback for this Gamification course, Robert asked me if I planned to challenge the rules in the library about no gaming. This question really connected me with the CQ Researcher article that was about librarians having video game sessions to attract students that would normally not frequent the library.
In the article, one student said,
“If it wasn’t for the gaming stuff dragging me in that first time, I would have gone maybe once in the past two years,” says Ian Melcher, 17, a gamer in Ann Arbor, Mich.,
I felt compelled to share this article with our librarian, my close work buddy. Having video games for check out! What a great idea!
As I approach the end of class I am thinking about doing my final project on the follow up lesson for Dragon Box + with the 6th grade Math students. Unfortunately, I won’t get to implement the lesson until after the class ends. But, I’ll be nice to have something planned out that I can jump right into when we come back from break.
My idea is to have the students try out the game for a certain amount over two weeks. After they are familiar with the game and the rules, I plan to give them screenshots of the game with blanks where the picture cards (numbers) are supposed to go. Using what they know of the game rules, I want to see if they can do these algebraic questions. I’m interested to see if playing the game leads to faster understanding of algebra in the 6th grade.