Category Archives: teaching

Games and learning : my recent bookmarks

I’m slowly trying to find ways to implement games in my classes. I’m bound and determined not to call a "drill" a game, or use things that are really the equivalent of a quiz in "game" format. I want the experiences to be more valid than that for the students. It might be that designing games as an assessment of content knowledge engages a certain demographic more so than a podcast or movie project.  I’m hoping my tech club will want to mod games to create teaching tools for other teachers for community service credit. I want to figure out how to use the AI of the games in ways that keeps the learning in the "hard fun" range.  We’ll see if I can pull it off in little ways this year – try a few things, get some ideas from the students, see what flies and what bombs, and which other teachers I can talk into trying these ideas in their classes too.  

Below are just a few of my recent games/learning bookmarks. Suggestions of other sites, blog posts, journal articles, etc. would be more than welcome – but most especially examples from the classroom. I teach art, but I’m doing tech integration with all subjects at the secondary level and am interested in pretty much all the applications of games in public education.

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Trying out Cover It Live for next week

Just wondering if I can try this out before the MLTI Summer Institute next week. Let’s see how this goes . . . Since it won’t embed the window IN the blog, you have to see it in its own window.

Here’s the link to the Cover It Live window.

I hope to have one going Wednesday evening, July 23 from 6:30 – 7:30 for the keynote at the MLTI Summer Institute in Castine, and hopefully any other sessions that I go to where I’m not presenting.  When I get some sense of my “schedule” for the institute, I’ll post it here so you can follow along if you want to (assuming the wireless access is operable!).

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Building Community is a Two-Way Street

Engaged in the conversationOne of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate but not necessarily personally internalize, is the necessity for EVERYONE in a community to contribute. I know this sounds silly, but in my online involvement with places like Classroom2.0 or EdTechTalk or even the blogging community I feel like I have very little to contribute. Who could possibly want to hear what I have to say? Do my 2-cents matter? Sometimes this keeps me from writing that blog response to someone else’s post – and that diminishes the dialog, even if no one ever goes to my blog to see it. I follow some teachers that are as novice in this tech thing as I am, and I love reading their classroom adventures, triumphs and outright failures -and how they are planning to pick up and move forward anyhow. I need to get over my own sense of boundaries and privacy to the point where I feel comfortable jumping in with my stories, perspectives and philosophical musings. I need to be a little less paranoid about who might take my ideas the wrong way and be confident I can state things clearly enough so most people can “get” what I mean.

Thankfully the community is patient. I can keep going to the well for buckets of information and it’s ok right now to just put back with the occasional eyedropper full of thoughts. The generosity of the online community of teachers, administrators, geeks and philosophers continues to buoy my spirits and keep me moving forward. I hope everyone in this group gets to a point where they feel they are a part of the group, a part of the conversation, and contribute to the well from which we all draw.

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You are your cloud?

I don’t often look at my own tag cloud. It’s a tool to find some subset within my bookmarks, and usually I know which tag I need before I get there.  Sometimes, though, it helps to step back and see the bigger picture, the set of relationships among pieces.  Chris Lehman wrote about his Wordle tag cloud and posted the link to Twitter this morning. I was intrigued.  My Delicious account has been organized  . . . not at all, really. It’s more of the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” method.  Viewing through the lens of Wordle, this is what I came up with: Wordle view of tagcloud

I can see some issues around the education tag – just what am I organizing that makes up most of my bookmarks anyway?  It was also fun to see how my brain seems to organize these things when I’m not paying attention: Photo is larger than Photography, HowTo is larger than Tutorial, Free is larger than Software, and for an art teacher, the Math tag is a lot larger than I would have guessed.

So go ahead, put in your delicious account and see how you are thinking about the information you valued enough to bookmark in the first place.  Will it change how you tag?  Will you reorganize your bookmark closet? Do you care that you use game and gaming, or photo and photography, enough to go back and consolidate? Or, like me, are you just glad the search function works as well as it does with no pre-planning necessary.

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Today’s 2 Steps Forward

What a great morning! I led technology PD during our late start this morning, and I’d been planning to do some work on Noteshare, then let anyone who felt they wanted to work with it do so. I thought I’d maybe introduce one or two things to the (I thought few) folks who wanted to see some new tools. I try to be aware of the “too much too fast” freight train that I can be with this stuff, so this was my version of taking it easy. Much to my pleasant surprise, the consensus was “Show us neat new stuff!” Tech Wiki screenshot Of course, this meant that my freight train ramped up – hopefully not running anyone down on the tracks in the process. We looked at blogs, even getting to the point where we went through the steps of signing up for a new blog. I also advocated for reading some blogs before going too far down their blogging path, but I couldn’t really bring myself to curb their new enthusiasm. A couple of teachers asked about Twitter – and I showed them a widget with Twitter posts, but the Twitter site is blocked at school, so that was put on hold for now. Same thing for all Nings. I shared a wiki I’ve made as a resource for technology information, so if they want to go back and learn more about blogging or wikis or nings or whatever, they can do that when they have time. I also had some conversations later in the day – in person and via email – about individual ideas teachers had about projects they want to do. Wahoo! I have no idea what sparked it, but I’m very excited about the next steps forward at our school. I also think I’ll advocate for a workshop-PD next month, where I can help everyone on their own project or tool, giving them at least 1.5 hrs to work on something they find valuable for themselves or their class. I know the 1.5 hrs is only a start, but I think that’s the next step on the path forward.

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links for 2008-02-02

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Educon 2.0 Friday Fun

Alice Barr, Colleen King and I arrived in Philadelphia for Educon 2.0 yesterday at 12:30, having driven down from Massachusetts that morning. (Alice and I got a head start from Maine Thursday night, which helped immensely!) We went straight to the Science Leadership Academy to see the students and teachers in action, which was wonderful. SLA teacher Marcie Hull gave me a tour of the art facilities, including her brightly lit, window lined corner room with gorgeous butcher block tables and stools, a ceramics studio with four wheels, a kiln room with storage, and wonderful art on every vertical surface. I was then able to observe her crowded digital video class, where 30+ students were actively engaged in creating projects, brainstorming, and using iTunes (movies need music, after all) in an energetic cacophony of learning.

As an art teacher, I was interested in some of her resources, including an art text : Exploring Art from McGraw-Hill and the text for her digital video class : Film Making for Teens : Pulling off your shorts by Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols With several preps and duties which include instructional technology for the building, these books provide a guide for the direction of the classes which then focus on the projects the students create and the discussion and evaluation of those works by the students themselves.

Just being in Philadelphia is of course a treat. The evening social event at the Franklin Institute was a great opportunity to go to the museum and enjoy the various exhibits, including the Identity exhibit about genetics and nature/nurture concepts of what makes us who we are. We had way too much fun with the station where you could see if your face is symmetrical. Educonners also took a moment to see how tall we were both with, and without, the three-inch heels! The Imax movie of the dinosaurs would make any kid want to be a paleontologist and go dig fossils in Mongolia.

Dinner, despite our wandering around trying to find a place to seat 18 at 8:30 on a Friday night, turned out great. The Asian fusion spot in the hotel turned out to be our best bet, and they were able to seat us ALL right away. The conversation was fast and furious – we are a loud bunch of educators, and we have so much to share! I was soaking up most of it, making mental (and audio recorded) notes on specific tools, websites, and toys that others mentioned. Dennis Richards got the ball rolling at one point where he asked our end of the table to share one new tool we were excited about. I shared my Olympus WS-110 audio recorders (I heard about them on Wes Fryer’s blog) which have served me and my students well over the last three months. Dennis Richards shared Mind42, a mind mapping web app that can be used collaboratively and will save all of the various iterations as you go. I also mentioned the Mac Heist software purchasing opportunity – the iStop Motion and SnapZPro alone made it a deal for me – but apparently the 15 day window is now closed. Next year maybe?. Maria Knee brought up the Snowball Mic, which she just got for her classroom, and a case for the video recorder that I need to ask the name of again. The case makes it possible for the kindergarten students to hold the recorder safely and securely while they use it. There was so much more – I have to do better at taking notes! At least I know the answers are but a tweet away on Twitter, or better yet, just a question away while I enjoy the rest of the f2f conference for the next two days. Check Flickr for pictures from all the attendees tagged educon20.

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