Friday, October 1, 2010

Gaming and Learning

My school does not have one laptop for every kid, but I've been fortunate to have a class set of laptops every day. I set up a class Ning and have been teaching my grade 6 students the tech skills they need to have an online learning community.

I've also encouraged my students to find games that can support their learning. Some of the games are pretty good, but there are a lot of waste-your-time-mindless drivel out there. As much as I like games and believe they can in fact support learning, I have to admit that there are times when I seriously consider banning certain games from class, so I've been thinking of ways to do more with games than even just playing them.

Today, I had the kids make a strategy guide for a game of their choice. As common practice, I always make sure that I actually do the project I ask the kids to do. I find this important because I sometimes come up with hair-brained ideas that don't appear to be hair-brained ideas until I actually try to do them.

I taught them to paste their screenshots from their games into Microsoft Publisher; using arrows, text boxes and word art, they created a guide. Here is a quick screencast of how we use Publisher:

Here's the guide I made to show kids what their guide might look like when they are done:

Vehicles Strategy Guide

Here's the screencast guide I made to show kids what their video guide might look like:

So how did I do all these screencasts? I use screenr. It is free and allows up to 5 minutes of recording. It's also super easy to link directly with Twitter. Here's a 1 minute intro to screenr:

When the kids are done, they publish their strategy guides as PDFs, and upload both their written guide and screencasts to our class Ning, where we can share our finished products.

I only need three reasons to justify this kind of project: It's in a context, for a purpose and FUN!! But, if you are someone who needs to check with the curriculum guide, can you imagine how many outcomes you could achieve with a project like this? 


  1. Okay, I like your project. Is your Ning private? I would like to share the project with my students. My Ning was private but the new is not. We are posting portfolio projects there eventually.

  2. Alan, our class Ning is private, so send me your e-mail and I'll invite you to look at it.

  3. Check out Tool Factory for some great educational games. Good prices and lots about reading. Mostly for younger students. PS I am not an employee of TF... Just a teacher.

  4. I never thought of writing a strategy guide (for a level/stage) for a game could be used as a way to teach. This is actually something I would do in a class if I ever find a related topic for it in my areas of expertise! Excellent way to use video games for education, I really liked what you did.

  5. Hi,
    This is a good idea to indulge students in learning based activities like finding a game.
    I have used English Grammar websites to make them learn online except filling their work books.
    screencast guide is good:)
    Essay Writing Service


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