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Posts tagged ‘wiebe’

Tip of the Week: Using board games for teaching and learning

Video games and simulations have always been part of my instructional DNA. I started out with a basic but powerfully engaging archeology simulation during my first month in the classroom, used text-based games to teach medieval Japan, added PC based simulations to highlight economic impacts, integrated cutscenes into instruction, encouraged the use of game specific wikis for building content knowledge and have watched first person shooter console games used to embed students into World War II.

I’ve also had the chance to work with a variety of software developers to pilot several different computer and online based simulations. So . . . yes. A firm believer in the use of video games and gaming theory as part of teaching and learning.

But not until recently have I given much thought to using board games in the same way as video games and sims. Most social studies teachers have incorporated some sort of paper-based or board game-based simulation as part of they do. But there is a whole different level of board game out there. This is more than just Monopoly or the simple roll the dice to see what happens to your Gold Rush bound wagon train. Read more

1,000,000 minutes of historical YouTube goodness (and cat videos)

What could you do with one million minutes of historical YouTube video clips? If I’ve done my arithmetics correctly, that’s almost 7000 days or just over 19 years worth of video goodness. What could you do with that many video clips?

Deliver a base of foundational knowledge. Hook students into content. Develop writing prompts. Supplement instructional. Create a playlist of subject and period specific clips. Generate interest in a topic. Design a PBL unit around a series of related videos.

If your brain isn’t already bouncing off the walls in your head with other possible ideas, head over to the AP and Movietone YouTube channels to check out thousands of online video resources. I will guarantee that you’ll leave the vault with all sorts of possibilities.

According to their press release, the Associated Press and British Movietone, one of the world’s most comprehensive newsreel archives, are together bringing more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. Showcasing the moments, people and events that shape the world, it will be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date.

The two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia, offering a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history. Available for all to explore, the channels will also be powerful educational tools and a source of inspiration for history enthusiasts and documentary filmmakers.

The YouTube channels will include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. For example, viewers can see video from the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, exclusive footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941,Marilyn Monroe captured on film in London in the 1950s and Twiggy modeling the fashions of the 1960s.

Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive,

The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history. At AP we are always astonished at the sheer breadth of footage that we have access to, and the upload to YouTube means that, for the first time, the public can enjoy some of the oldest and most remarkable moments in history.

Stephen Nuttall, the director of YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, comments:

Making this content available on YouTube is a wonderful initiative from AP and British Movietone that will breathe new life into their footage and no doubt delight our global community – from students researching history projects to curious culture-vultures and the billions in between. It’s an historical treasure trove that will give YouTube users around the world a moving window into the past and I can’t wait to explore it.

Content on the channels will also include videos from different regions across the United Kingdom, fashion through the ages, sporting events, entertainment, extreme weather, technological innovations, the evolution of eating and drinking habits, political milestones and historical moments. They will be continually refreshed with up-to-date contemporary footage.

The archive is split into two YouTube channels: AP offers both historical and up-to-the-minute political, sports, celebrity, and science (with “new content every day”). The British Movietone channel is solely historical, with much of its content coming from the 1960s.

Enjoy.

Where Are the Jobs & Racial Dot Maps. What could you do with this?

I’ve been to the Fast Company network of sites in the past but I need to learn to spend more time over there, uh . . . researching possible post topics. Yeah. That’s it. Not wasting time reading interesting articles about how Batman videos have evolved over time. I’m over there investing valuable minutes tracking down very appropriate articles directly tied to education related subjects.

Seriously.

Okay. A few articles may be tough to defend education-wise but you’ve got four channels – Exist, Design, Create, Video – to choose from and you can find a ton of interesting reads here. If nothing else, you’ve got some great writing prompts.

A recent research trip to the Exist channel uncovered two of my favorite things: a map and another map.

The most recent map claims to highlight every single job in America with a variety of different colors. The map plots out each job with an actual dot in four simplified categories. Factory and trade jobs are red, professional jobs are blue, health care, education, and government jobs are green, and service jobs like retail are yellow.” It is interactive, allowing you to zoom and scroll from one place to another, providing a chance to see patterns both small and large. Read more

Create learners, not widgets

Podstock 2015 is in the books. And like all previous Podstock tech conferences, 2015 was three days of learning, conversation, pinewood derby cars, tech ed, great food, giveaways, and MakerSpace goodness.

Here’s the one thing I learned from my three days:

There is no silver bullet in education. There’s a ton of wrong ways to do school. But not one right way.

The answer to great teaching and learning is never just one thing. It’s not just one strategy or program or philosophy or book or website. The answer is whatever works for you in your situation. The tool that works for you might not work for me. The website that drop dead saves my bacon every time does nothing for your kids.

I’m also starting to realize it’s even more than that. It’s not just different tools and websites. It can also be past and present. Old and new. That’s why I was so excited about the Podstock 2015 Steampunk conference theme.

STEAMpunk is, well . . . it’s a bit hard to describe. Basically it’s modern technology – iPads, computers, robotics, air travel – powered by steam and set in the 1800s. Sounds wierd but so much fun. And it fits our thinking at the Podstock conference about STEAM and STEM and Makerspaces. Steampunk takes the best of both worlds, old and new, and combines them into something completely different.

Nathan-steampunkClassic Steampunk keeps the traditional stuff that’s good. Adds the new stuff that’s good. And together it’s awesome.

You add a cool “steam-powered” robotic arm to TV crime fighter Richard Castle and you get television Steampunk.

That’s what’s so cool for me at Podstock. You always get the best of both worlds: Teachers who care about kids, who are passionate about learning, and use practical research-based strategies combined with the new software and hardwire goodies that support high levels of learning. Combining experience, skilled teachers with new technology and tools.

It’s educational SteamPunk.

But any quality learning experience should also generate a few questions. My questions for the week: Read more

Tip of the Week: It’s official. Zoom In just went live.

It’s official. Zoom In just went live. And you and your kids so need this.

I know that I’ve mentioned Zoom In before. But a year ago, the tool was still in beta. The signup process was a bit clunky and the lessons were still in development. So I was incredibly excited to find out that last month, Zoom In is officially official. The site has been remodeled, signup is a snap, and all 18 lessons are ready to go.

If you missed my earlier excitement about Zoom In, here’s a brief recap. Zoom In is a free, web-based platform that helps students build literacy and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources.

Zoom In’s online learning environment features 18 content-rich U.S. history units that supplement your regular instruction and help you use technology to support students’ mastery of both content and skills required by the most recent state and national social studies standards: Read more

Hacking #iste2015: Subversive teaching and video games

Back in the day, during my high school and college journalism period, every advisor I ever had always said the same thing.

“Never bury the lead.”

Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter, during an #iste2015 Playground session:

“Think of the havoc you can wreak in your classroom, good havoc, with a really good iPad game.”

I love that. During his 30 minutes, Toppo shared a preso he called To the Moon and Back in Five Minutes: Technology as a Subversive Force. And while he did talk about video games, his main point was that technology can be a way for educators to have a huge impact on learning. 

Toppo asked us to think about Moore’s Law, the idea that computers continue to get faster while costing less. If applied to the automobile, he suggested, using a 1970 car as the starting point, a current car would cost nine dollars, be as large as a match head, be able to travel across the country on a half cup of gas, and make it to the moon and back in five minutes.’

Yet education continues to be satisfied with a culture that seems stuck in the past. As educators, we can use video games and gaming theory to subvert that culture. Some teachers and administrators are afraid of games and technology because they see control of the process slipping from their fingers.

His example?

The Photomath app makes teacher both harder and easier. The app uses the cell phone camera to view any math problem. It then solves the problem for the user and provides the steps. It shows the work.

So is that good or bad? It is very subversive – taking the role of teacher by showing the answer and the steps needed to solve the problem. In a traditional classroom with the teacher in charge of all learning, this sort of tool is a threat. “What is the role of the teacher?” But if we see Photomath as a way for kids to think more about process and problem solving then teachers can spend more time helping students understand the steps, showing uses for formulas, and discussing the why of math. Higher level thinking becomes the focus rather than simply memorizing formulas.

Toppo did share some games. If you’ve read the book, the list is familiar. But he did say his current favorite game is Monument Valley.

Get a sense of the book and Greg’s ideas by viewing an earlier conversation.

———-

Just before Greg spoke, Matt Farber of Gamify Your Classroom fame spent his 30 minutes sharing characteristics of a good game. He talked about chocolate covered broccoli to describe many ed-related games. They look delicious on the outside but really aren’t that tasty once you get past the outer shell. 

I hate broccoli so Matt’s analogy . . . pretty spot on.

The important parts of a good game?

  • goal – may not be winning
  • rules – working within constraints
  • Space – “magic circle” where play happens, a field, chess board, the classroom
  • core mechanics – repeated actions that happen in a game. “actions of play”
  • components – avatars, dice, etc
  • interconnected systems – means understanding a system

Find Matt’s preso here. It’s got some interesting things to say about how and why games can be engaging for learners. Find out more of what Matt does here and here.

Matt also suggested a few games that I need to look at more closely:

A great 60 minutes, filled with helpful ideas and thoughtful conversation.

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