Tuesday, June 15, 2010
End of Year thoughts on the Wii
Well, our school year has come to a close so Chris and I did some final wrap-up of the Wii in the classroom project. We discussed the positives, the negatives, and throw around some future plans with using the Wii for next year and beyond. All in all using the Wii this year has been a positive experience and I can't thank Chris enough for working with me (heck, running most of the show!) as we try to implement a new tool for learning.
Student engagement- could not be more engaging- when something can hold a 10 year olds attention for 45 minutes on the concept of ratio- we are good to go!
Group/team building aspects- I saw the beginnings of great team building opportunities with the Wii in class- I saw it with the Brain Age contests we did and when the 6th graders played Mario Kart for fun- Finding some games where the team aspect is emphasized might go a long way for bringing together some classes
Using the Wii allowed me to address standards based skills (for example comparing and ordering integers and identifying equivalent ratios) in depth in one class period- the games held their attention for the full class period- allowing many examples and practice problems and also allowed me the ability to see over time who already had the skill and who was struggling- then I could make sure to focus in on those who needed help. When you have the prolonged attention span on one core skill- it gives the teacher the assessment time needed in the classroom
Using the Wii gave me the opportunity to address certain 5th grade math skills that sometimes (a lot of the times) get pushed to the side in order to make sure other more prominent skills are mastered before middle school (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals). By using the games to teach about integers, ratio, and equivalent ratios, I utilized three class periods (instead of trying to teach the skill using the text book lessons and chapters (at least one week for each skill) and feel as though the skill was taught in a much more retainable manner- it is all about student engagement and attention.
Student excitement- 5th grade Math exciting- film at eleven- who would have thought?
Teacher excitement- never mind the kids- I had fun using the games and being amazed at students who normally have trouble paying attention in class for five minutes- ready to go after 35 minutes- still doing the math and wanting to play again! It is a great feeling to teach a new skill and see a student grasp it- the Wii lessons let me do that with many of the students in just one class period.
Increased incentive for class parties- students wanted to play the Wii during class party times and this served as a great party feature and good incentive.
Increased my professional interest in ed tech in general- looking for new ways to use the Wii- like the online http://www.arcademicskills.com/ Wii games page and all the blogs out there talking about using the Wii
Expense of system, pieces, and games
Pre-planning time (including finding games with educational applications, playing through the games to plan out lesson structure and set up, etc.)
Limited educational uses (so far) which are standards based
Use Are you Smarter than a 5th grader with the small 7th grade Brain Bowl group- not only to build knowledge and speed of response, but also team skills.
Crossword Wii game in LA- try to incorporate vocabulary- either those words used in the game or additional words if you are able to add your own to the game.
Super Hero game to tie in with the Super Hero writing, reading, and creation unit (Superman For All Seasons- graphic novel).
Brain Age Academy- do tests with all middle school students to give all of them an idea of their learning styles and strengths and weaknesses- allow time (outside of class) for students to improve skills throughout the year.
Create Miis for students over the summer and then allow them to customize their Mii when they have time. Maybe use the Check Mii Out Channel (a free download) to see about working on their Mii's from different controllers and sending them to the classroom.
I like the idea of using the Wii as an incentive in class.
Hope to inspire more staff to utilize the Wii next year- especially math uses that we have already planned out.
Download more options from the online Wii channel. There are many puzzle games (being careful to keep track of ratings and appropriateness of games) including Aha! I got it Escape, Art of Balance, Brain Challenge, Neves Plus, Loupos, Sudoko Challenge, World of Goo, just to name a few.
Use the Everybody Votes Channel (which is a free download from the Wii Channel) to allow students to see they are part of a global community and that their voice counts.
Virtual Pets - My Aquarium game allows the students the ability to take care of a fish tank - including feeding the fish. Each morning during homeroom/morning time you have someone whose job it is to take care of the tank! The cleanest pet of the year for sure!